Category Archives: Quick Dinners

I have Dinner Amnesia+ Some Ideas

Every busy parent has suffered from a case of dinner amnesia. You stand in front of the fridge, exhausted, with a handful of whatever you find to snack on and you can’t for the life of you think of what you want to make for the kids.

The background music is familiar, it doesn’t matter if you have one, two or three kids. You hear the yelling ” Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama”. “I am hungry.” In a perfect world, you already have everything ready to go. Come on, everyone knows you need to plan a week ahead. NOT. Truth be told, I love meal planning and truly believe in it (a post coming soon) but there are days when I really do not have the time or just forget.

I know how to cook a lot of things but when I think of what to make, nothing comes to mind. It is really frustrating. I forget how easy it is to throw some pasta together. I made a short list of quick dinners you can make on those nights when fresh ideas are a thing of a past. Some of these require a little prep (insert into slow cooker here).

1. Quesadillas. Throw some salsa in the slow cooker or the Ninja with some chicken or pour barbecue sauce on some chicken and slow cook it for a few hours. Make the Quesadillas: shred the chicken, add avocado and some cheese into some tortillas, grill them in a pan and your kids will love it.

2. Oatmeal. A huge favorite in our house. We add date syrup and tahini for iron and calcium. My babies love it. Get creative with your favorite add ins such as honey, coconut, berries or dried fruit. In the mornings, we put it in a cup and take it in the stroller for the walk to daycare.
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3. Slow Cooker Lasagna. This is delicious and I am not kidding. Just layer the lasagna in the slow cooker as you would in the oven and cook for a few hours.
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4. Hummus with chopped vegetables and a nice warm tomato basil soup.

5. The easiest meatballs ever. Sweet and Sour Meatballs. Make these and freeze them for a rainy day.

6. Tortilla Pizzas. Put all the toppings out on the table and have your kids layer the toppings. Use cheese, corn, tomatoes, mushrooms or anything else you like on your pizza. I actually love canned tuna on pizza (don’t judge). Spread some tomato sauce on the tortilla with the toppings and bake or microwave if you are really in a rush.

7. Fruit Shakes with a twist. I like to freeze bananas and add them to some fruit in the blender. I sneak in a little spinach or kale and my kids drink it by the glass. Serve that with a tortilla rolled up with cream cheese and vegetables or the famous peanut butter and banana that my son will take any day.

What are your favorite dinner ideas?

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Filed under Motherhood, Quick Dinners

The New Food Processor Bible and Rosh Hashana

Rosh Hashana is one of my favorite Jewish holidays. Literally, translated into the “head of the new year”, it is the Jewish new year. Now if you know me, then you know that my posts are far from kosher I eat everything and anything around but when it comes to tradition it is a different story, I love tradition and culture and love the holidays for this reason. What I really love is an excuse to get family or friends together and a reason to tear up Challah bread with my hands (yes, no knife required) and eat as much as you want. Usually, a trip to Macrina is all this girl needs to make this challah fantasy complete.

In our family, there is one lady we go to for Jewish recipes and she is Norene Gilletz, the fairy godmother of Jewish cooking, she has them all, in the simple most convenient way. Her books have been passed on from my grandma, to my mom and to all of her friends. Her most recent cookbook is the “The New Food Processor Bible”.
As the busy mom that I am, with an almost 3 year old and twins on the way, on weekdays, her recipes have become my gateway to a home-cooked meal. I am obsessed with my food processor, especially on days when I am in a flurry to get everything done, this one magic machine can chop, grate and mince giving me time for other things.

Her revised and updated version of the Food Processor Bible is an enormous collection of recipes, that you can make every day; basic ingredients and easy dinner options that will feed hungry monsters of all kinds. This book is focused on everything from Food Processor-related tips and how to use it to appetizers, desserts , latkes, kugel and other Jewish favorites. Not necessarily a Jewish cookbook but you can’t take the Jewish mom out of any of her books. This book is a must-have for busy cooks and you can get it here on Amazon.

Our family’s favorite recipe has become the tuna patties. My son calls them tuna pancakes and will ask for them every time. We top them with sour cream or truffle honey. Recipe is below.

And before you start making these. I must post her recipe for sweet and sour meatballs because I post it yearly and these are favorites of kids all over the world. And they are fast, freeze well and can be made a couple days in advance. For more about Norene Gilletz, here is a link to her site.

If you are on a hunt for Jewish recipes, you will also want to check out some other favorites of mine. There is Chef Paula Shoyer for Jewish Baking and for Jewish cooking with a twist of Indian cooking, check out Food Wanderings.

Tuna Patties (Recipe Permission/ Whitecap Books)

1 medium onion, cut in chunks
1 carrot, cut in chunks
3 cans (6 oz/170 g each) tuna, drained
4 eggs (or 2 eggs plus 4 egg whites)
½ cup dried bread crumbs or matzo meal
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp oil for frying

Steel blade: Process onion and carrot until minced, about 8 seconds. Add tuna, eggs, bread crumbs or matzo meal, salt and pepper. Process until mixed, about 10 seconds. Shape into patties or 1-inch balls.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet. Brown on medium heat on both sides, until golden. Drain well on paper towels.

117 calories per patty, 4.6 g carbohydrates, 0.4 g fiber, 13 g protein, 4.7 g fat (0.9 g saturated fat), 83 mg cholesterol, 174 mg sodium, 150 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 24 mg calcium, 107 mg phosphorus

Yield: 6 servings (12 patties). Keeps 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator. Freezes well.

Variation:
Mixture can also be shaped into a loaf and baked at 350°F for 45 to 50 minutes or fill muffin tins two-thirds full and bake for 25 minutes, until golden. Makes 10 to 12. May be sliced and used for sandwiches.

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Filed under Appetizers, Cookbooks and Books, Nut Allergy Friendly, Quick Dinners, Recipes

Sexy Vodka-Tomato Pasta

I once taught a cooking class to bachelors. I really wanted to do something that was easy and not intimidating.  Pasta is always great for new cooks and the Vodka adds a nice kick.

Every Friday, I make something totally different. Something that I would eat in a restaurant. We sit down to eat no matter what is going on. Fridays are special in our home.  We just started this Friday night dinner ritual a few months ago but it’s the best part of the week. I like to dress up for dinner too. No sweatpants on Friday night. This pasta is a great Friday night dinner. It feels romantic and we feel like we are eating in a restaurant (except without people giving us looks when the baby throws pasta on the floor). No, we don’t serve this to our son. He likes his pasta plain but that’s okay. We hope the food police are not watching.

Sexy Vodka-Tomato Pasta

Ingredients:

500 grams of pasta

Salt

1 and a half tablespoons of butter

Olive oil

1 onion (chopped)

1 and a half cups of whole canned tomatoes (diced)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

Fresh thyme (about 4 sprigs)

250 ml of cream

¼ cup of vodka

Tabasco

Fresh Basil

Parmesan cheese

 1. Heat oil and butter in pan.  Place onion in butter and sauté until transparent.

 2. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and thyme. Cook while stirring until the liquid disappears (about 10 minutes).

2. Add cream, vodka and Tabasco until thick (about 3 minutes).

4. At the same time, cook pasta according to directions.

5. Mix with sauce and top with basil and Parmesan if desired

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Filed under Dinner, Quick Dinners, Recipes