Vegetarian Chili

Vegetarian Chili

Every year on the Friday after Thanksgiving, out-of-town family visits and I’m in the mood for something other than leftover turkey. This year, Vegetarian Chili and Red Lentil and Barely Soup took center stage with lots of “fixin’s” on the side. As a time-saver, I made the chili ahead and froze it. After defrosting at room temperature for a day, it simmered over a low flame for a few hours. It was a hit! This hearty, healthy chili is so delicious, I’ve already made it again.

Chili is perfect when it’s, ummm, chilly! Stay warm, hon.

Vegetarian Chili


1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 jalapeno, finely chopped (seeds and veins removed) (I omitted this since my family does’t like things too spicy.)
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
3 heaping tbsp tomato paste
3 soft plum tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto or black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup veggie stock or water
salt and pepper, to taste


1.Heat the olive oil in a pan* and add onions and garlic. Saute until translucent. Add the jalapeno (keep some of the vein and/or seeds for more heat) and saute for another minute.

2.Add the chili, cumin and garlic and continue to saute until fragrant. Add the tomato paste and saute for another 1-2 minutes.

3.Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally so that the chili doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Add additional veggie stock, if needed.

*Tip: The first time I made this recipe, I sautéed the onions and garlic in a saute pan, followed the directions, and then poured the mixture in a large pot to simmer. The second time, I sautéed the onions and garlic directly in the large pot, added the remaining ingredients, and simmered. It was less work and just as yummy.



Maple-Walnut Chicken with Sweet Potato Aioli

Dinner’s ready! Maple Chicken, garlic rice, steamed green beans.

Mix syrup and panko crumbs.

Combine canola oil, Dijon mustard, and thyme.







Drizzle maple syrup in cutlet pockets.

Brush cutlets with mustard mixture.






After cutlets are baked, spoon and press on panko paste to form a crust.

Broil cutlets for about 2 minutes, until crust is golden-brown.







Maple-Walnut Chicken with Sweet Potato Aioli

This chicken recipe in Kosher by Design, Short on Time by Susie Fishbein caught my eye. I should rename it “Maple Chicken” since I made it without walnuts and skipped the sweet potato aioli. Why? Because a) my-picky-eaters-aka-my-daughters don’t like nuts and b) I was really short on time! This recipe was easy and yummy which means next time I make the dish–preparing some cutlets with walnuts, some without, and leaving time for the aioli–it’ll taste even better.

Happy cooking, hon!


6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup (not pancake syrup), divided

fine sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons canola oil

2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1 1/2 cups canned sweet potatoes, drained

1 1/2 Tablespoons light-brown sugar

2 Tablespoons mayonnaise

1 1/2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup, not pancake syrup



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. Lay chicken breasts on a cutting board, and make a cut to form a pocket in each cutlet.

3.  Stuff each pocket with 1 Tablespoon walnuts. Drizzle in 1 teaspoon maple syrup. Close up the pocket. Place pocket-side down on prepared pan. Repeat with remaining breasts. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Combine the canola oil, Dijon mustard, and thyme. Brush each cutlet with this mixture.

4.  Bake for about 18 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

5. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup maple syrup and panko crumbs to make a paste.

6. After the cutlets are baked, remove from the oven and spoon and press on the panko paste to form a crust. Turn the oven to broil, return the chicken to the oven, and bro 6-8 inches from heat source for 2 minutes, until crust is golden-brown. (Tip: watch cutlets so they don’t burn.)

7. In a small pot, heat the sweet potatoes, smashing them with a fork or spoon. Mix in light -brown sugar. Turn off the heat and whisk in the mayonnaise and 1 1/2 Tablespoons maple syrup.

Serve each cutlet with a dollop of the aioli.

Yield: serves: 6

Source: Kosher by Design, Short on Time


Three Berry Lovely Hostess Gifts

Chocolate-covered raspberries from Sweet Nothings.

One of the best things about summer is getting together with friends. With less carpools and craziness, it’s nice to hang out and catch up. I love that the day seems longer. Last night, we left a concert in our town’s park about 9pm and it was still light.

Summer invitations mean hostess gifts. Here are three berry-lovely ideas.

I found this adorable strawberry basket filled with chocolate-covered raspberries at Sweet Nothings, a chocolate shop in Summit, NJ. How easy is this to make yourself? All you need is a basket, filler “grass,” and candy or berries. How about making a berry mix? Wrap the mix in plastic wrap and nestle it inside the basket. Tie a bow and off you go!

Hand-thrown berry bowls filled with local berries.

Berry bowls aren’t just pretty, they’re practical since they are small colanders. I made the two ceramic bowls above, but I’ve seen them in several stores. How sweet would it be to give the hostess a berry bowl already filled? Want to make it even sweeter? Bring along whipped cream and (dare-I-say?) chocolate sauce.

Photo of Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries from

I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture the last time I made Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries. Click here for a recipe. Know what’s fun about making these? Finishing up the leftover melted chocolate at home.


Sources: Sweet Nothings  and


Herbed Celery-Potato Salad

Small purple and yellow potatoes.

Herbed Celery-Potato Salad

Herbed Celery-Potato Salad

We hosted a Memorial Day bbq and, in addition to needing dessert ideas (the search resulted in Top Ten Patriotic Desserts), I needed a side dish. The Herbed Celery-Potato salad from a Martha Stewart Living magazine was easy and delicious.

Make ahead. Serve with lunch or dinner. Pack a picnic. Hon, it tastes like summer.


1 1/2 pounds peewee potatoes, scrubbed (I used both yellow and purple potatoes.)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

5 teaspoons apple-cider vinegar

1 1/2 cups mixed fresh herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley and basil, chopped

2 scallions, chopped

1 stalk celery, finely diced (1/4 cup)


1. In a medium saucepan, cover potatoes with 2-inches of cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat and season generously with salt; cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, 10-12 minutes. Drain. (Note: the purple potatoes needed less cooking time, so next time, I’ll remove them earlier than the yellow potatoes.)

2. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, halve and transfer to a large bowl.

3.  Add oil, vinegar, herbs, scallions, and celery. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

4.  Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled.

Tip: “Make ahead to let the flavors meld, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If you’re using larger potatoes, boil them longer, and quarter or cut them into one-inch pieces after cooking.”

Serves: 6 (I think it serves more than that, but I guess it depends on how big a serving  people take.)

Source: Martha Stewart Living


Puree of Bean and Vegetable Soup

Pureed Bean and Vegetable Soup

Puree of Bean and Vegetable Soup

Lucky me! One of my daughters made this thick and hearty soup and there was enough for me to have seconds…and thirds. She said that despite the many ingredients, it’s easy to make. Simple and delicious soup are perfect for a cold, winter’s day.

Keep warm, hon.



1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained

1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained

1 (15-ounce) can peas and carrots, drained

1 (15-ounce) can sweet corn niblets, drained

1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained

2 cups water

1 cup liquid non-dairy creamer

4 Tablespoons olive oil

3 Tablespoons vegetable soup mix or vegetable bouillon

4 frozen crushed garlic cubes or 4 medium garlic cloves

spices to taste (salt, pepper and whatever else you think will add to the flavor)


  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth, taking care not to overload the blender. Blend in batches if necessary.
  2. Transfer mixture to a 6-quart stockpot, cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes or until heated through.
  3. Add spices and simmer for a few more minutes.
  4. Serve warm, or refrigerate overnight and serve cold as a bean dip.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Source: Quick and Kosher, Recipes From The Bride who Knew Nothing by Jamie Geller

Healthy, hearty and delicious bean and vegetable soup.

Healthy, hearty and delicious bean and vegetable soup.


DIY Raincoat Crisps, Rosemary Raisin Pecan Crisps


I had never heard of Raincoast Crisps until a friend served her homemade crisps with cheese as appetizers. I couldn’t stop eating them!  Thekitchn describes them perfectly.

“These crackers are thin, crispy, and packed with flavor. The raisins add their chewy texture and sweetness, while the nuts and seeds give the crackers substance. The fresh rosemary gives a breath of pine-y goodness to every bite, just like in the original crackers.”

Rosemary Raisin Pecan Crisps


2 cups all-purpose flour (to make these gluten-free, substitute with gluten-free flour or rice flour)

2 teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups buttermilk (to make these gluten-free or non-dairy, substitute with 1 ¾ cups almond milk)

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup honey

1 cup raisins

½ cup chopped pecans

½ cup roasted pumpkin seeds (optional)

¼ cup sesame seeds1/4 cup flax seed (ground)

1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary (I used dried rosemary)


Preheat oven to 350 degree F.

  1. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt.
  2. Add buttermilk, brown sugar and honey and stir a few strokes.
  3. Add raisins, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed and rosemary. Stir until blended.
  4. Spray two 8 x 4 inch loaf pans with non-stick spray, then pour batter into two pans. Bake for about 35 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch. Remove pans and cool on a wire rack.
  5. The cooler the bread, the easier it is to slice really thin. When ready to continue baking, preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Slice loaves as thin as possible and place slices in a single layer on an ungreased cookie sheet. (Tip. One loaf can be sliced and baked, and the other can be frozen to be slice and baked at another time.) Bake for about 15 minutes, then flip over and bake another 10 minutes, until crisp and deep golden.

Yield. About 8 dozen crackers.

Source: Dinner With Julie

Tips from  thekitchn

–freeze loaves before slicing in order to get the thinnest crackers

–bake loaves in mini-loaf pans for the perfect cracker shape

–double quantity of rosemary if you love the rosemary taste

–replace half of all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour

–plump up raisins before mixing them into batter if you want them to stand out more in finished cracker


Hearty Tomato Soup

Hearty Tomato Soup

Hearty Tomato Soup.

Gather ingredients.

Gather ingredients.

Puree in blender.

Puree in blender.









Hearty Tomato Soup

I love a hearty, healthy soup and this delicious recipe is both. A food processor will make easy work of the chopping and grating, although you can certainly prep by hand. At first I used a hand-held blender but, when I didn’t get the right consistency, pureed it in a blender. This soup has body and texture, which is what makes it hearty.

Happy cooking, hon!


1 small onion. finely chopped

1 small carrot, grated or chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes with juice

1 teaspoons chicken soup powder (I used chicken-flavored, parve soup powder.)

1 bay leaf

4 leaves fresh basil

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Dried Thyme and Oregano, Salt and Pepper


  1. In a soup pot, saute onion, carrot, garlic and celery in olive oil until translucent.
  2. Add tomatoes with juice, soup powder, bay leaf, basil, thyme and oregano. Bring to a boil and simmer 30-45 minutes.
  3. Puree in blender until smooth and season with salt and pepper and lemon juice.

Yield:  8-10 servings

Source: Kosher Chic,


Italian Stew with Winter Squash and Chickpeas

Italian Stew w/Winter Squash and Chickpeas

Italian Stew w/Winter Squash and Chickpeas


Italian Stew with Winter Squash and Chickpeas

Whether you are digging your way out of a blizzard like we are, or are just in the mood for warm soup, this recipe is delicious, hearty and healthy! Shout out to my niece and her hubby who served this at a family gathering. I took one spoonful and said, “Send me the recipe!”

If you have a food processor, it’ll make quick work of the chopping and dicing. One of my daughters and I made this together. We made some for now and some for later so I’m hoping it freezes well.

Happy cooking, hon!


3 cups chopped onions

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons olive oil

6 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1 15-ounce can chick peas, drained

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 cup diced carrots

2 cups diced, peeled butternut squash

1/2 cup diced bell peppers (optional)

5 cups chopped kale (about 1 pound kale=5 cups sorted, stemmed, chopped kale)

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil (I used about 1/2 Tbl dried basil)

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar


  1. In a soup pot on medium-high heat, cook onions and salt in oil, stirring often, until very soft and beginning to carmelize, about 12 to 15 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, coriander, thyme, and black pepper, and stir for a minute. Stir in water, squash, chickpeas, tomatoes, carrots, and bell peppers. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in kale, cover and simmer 5 to 10 minutes until greens are tender but still bright green. Stir in basil and vinegar.

Prep Time:  1 hour, Serves:  4-6 cups, Yield:  8 cups


Roasted Cauliflower


Brown cut-up cauliflower in olive oil over medium .heat

Brown cut-up cauliflower in olive oil over medium heat.

Mix browned cauliflower with spices.

Mix browned cauliflower with spices.







Spread cauliflower on a greased baking pan.

Spread cauliflower on a greased baking pan. 

Bake at 400 degrees F, uncovered, for approx. 20 minutes, until top is golden. Serve.

Bake at 400 degrees F, uncovered, for approx. 20 minutes, until top is golden. Serve.


Roasted Cauliflower–Easy, Delicious and Healthy.

I used the recipe from David Tanis’ City Kitchen column* as guidance, and then altered the spices. Tanis baked his cauliflower with pre-cooked rigatoni and added cheese for a main dish. Click Rigatoni and Cauliflower Al Forno to see the his recipe. I’ll definitely be making this side dish again.

Happy cooking, hon.


–1 cauliflower

–olive oil

–1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced

–salt, pepper, thyme, about 1 to 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro or any spices you think will go well with cauliflower


  1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut cauliflower in half from top to bottom, cut out tough core, stem and extraneous leaves. Lay cauliflower flat side down and cut crosswise into rough 1/4-inch slices.
  3. Put 3 Tablespoons olive oil in skillet over high heat. Brown cauliflower for about 2 minutes, then turn pieces over to brown other side. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until cauliflower is easily pierced with a fork. Some pieces won’t be brown.  Season with salt and pepper and stir to coat.’
  4. Put cauliflower in a mixing bowl. Add cilantro, garlic and thyme.
  5. Spray a foil-lined baking sheet.
  6. Spread cauliflower evenly on the baking sheet.
  7. Bake, uncovered, for approximately 20 -30 minutes, until top is crisp and golden.

*Source:  City Kitchen column in The New York Times

Stuffed Green Peppers

Stuffed Green Peppers

Stuffed Green Peppers

It all started with salad.

I was shopping for salad ingredients when bright green peppers caught my eye. I hadn’t cooked Stuffed Green Peppers in awhile and I don’t know why.  They’re easy to make, delicious and healthy. If you’re a vegetarian, substitute a beef alternative and I bet this dish will still be delish.  Next time, I might add more spices and golden raisins.  There was enough rice to serve as a side.  So yummy!

1. Cook rice and gather ingredients.

1. Cook rice and gather ingredients.

2. Cut and seed green peppers.

2. Cut and seed green peppers.






3. Mix ground beef (or beef substitute), egg, parsley and 2 T tomato sauce.

3. Mix ground beef (or beef substitute), egg, parsley and 2 T tomato sauce.

4. Stuff peppers with ground beef mixture.

4. Stuff peppers with ground beef mixture.








5. Combine tomato sauce, wine, water and oregano.

5. Combine tomato sauce, wine, water and oregano.

6. Pour tomato sauce mixture over peppers.   Bake.

6. Pour tomato sauce mixture over peppers.



Out of the oven.

Out of the oven.

Stuffed Green Peppers


1 lb green peppers (I used 4), cut and seeded (pepper body is abt 3/4 & top is

1 lb lean ground beef (or beef substitute)

1 egg

1/2 cup cooked rice (I used brown rice)

1 Tablespoon chopped parsley

1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce

3 Tablespoons dry red wine

1/2 teaspoon oregano, optional

1 cup water


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  In a baking dish, place green peppers, cut side up.

3.  Mix together ground beef, egg, rice, parsley and 2 Tablespoons tomato sauce.

4.  Stuff peppers with ground beef mixture.

5.  Combine remaining tomato sauce, water, wine and oregano and pour over peppers.

6.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour