Category Archives: Lunchbox

Dijon & Brown Sugar Glazed Chicken

Chicken dishes aren’t a frequent occurrence around here. In my mind, chicken is kind of boring and when thinking of what to make for dinner, it’s never my go-to protein. But sometimes… sometimes… (like when it’s not overcooked into a dry, crispy, pulp) chicken can be a shining star!

Dijon & Brown Sugar Glazed Chicken in an Oven-Ready Skillet

Dijon & Brown Sugar Glazed Chicken in an Oven-Ready Skillet

The chicken breast here is quick, juicy and delicious!

Enjoy!

Dijon and Brown Sugar Crusted Chicken

Dijon and Brown Sugar Glazed Chicken 

Dijon & Brown Sugar Glazed Chicken

Makes 4 breasts

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 chicken breasts
4 tablespoons dijon mustard, divided
4 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
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Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
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Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. In an oven-ready skillet, on medium high, heat olive oil.
2. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breast.
3. Place chicken breast into hot skillet. Let cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip over and let cook for another 4-5 minutes.
4. Flip so that the “smooth” side of the breast is up. Smother 1 tablespoon of dijon onto each chicken breast. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of brown sugar onto each breast and gently pat it down.
5. Place skillet into the oven, about 7-10 minutes until cooked through (an internal thermometer should read 165 degrees).
6. Be careful not to over-bake the chicken, otherwise it will be dry and rubbery…
7. Enjoy!!
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Lamb Solyanka (Солянка из баранины)

A few months ago, I blogged a recipe for Beef Borscht and I spoke about the controversies of writing down traditional Russian recipes. The reality is that tradition varies from region to region and also family to family. I often get emails and comments on my most popular blogged dishes (Lamb Plov, Lemon Ricotta Syrniki and Pelmeni) indicating that while my recipe was yummy, this is *not* how their mother/grandmother/aunt made the dish. I have a feeling that I’m going to receive similar reaction to this soup recipe.

Lamb Solyanka

Lamb Solyanka

When my mama made Solyanka, it kind of felt like she was taking all of these random orphan ingredients and pulling them together into a salty, soupy goodness.  So while I write specific ingredients for this recipe, know that it’s very flexible. If you don’t like lamb and prefer beff, swap it out. If you have leftover cold cuts or sausage, throw them in! Everything will stand to boost the flavor of this forgiving soup.

Enjoy!

Solyanka Ingredients

Solyanka Ingredients

Everyone into the pot!

Everyone into the pot!

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Solyanka is often enjoyed with vodka 🙂

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Lightly garnished with dill, this Solyanka is delicious!

 

Lamb Solyanka (Солянка из баранины)

Makes 12-16 bowls of soup

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 boneless leg of lamb (about 3.5 pounds) cut into bite size pieces
2 Spanish onions, diced
3 large carrots, shredded
3 celery stalks, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 28oz can of pureed tomatoes
1 package all beef uncured hot dogs, cut into coins
6 ounces pitted black olives, halved
1 24oz jar Trader Joe’s Dill Pickles (or any other variety) dice pickles, reserve pickle juice
4 “cans” of water (I’ll explain later)
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Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
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For serving:
Dill Sprigs

Directions

1. In a large heavy bottomed pot (7.25 quart), on medium-high heat, add olive oil. Working in batches, sear lamb pieces adding a bit of salt and pepper to each batch. Don’t cook through. Remove lamb pieces and any juices. Set aside and repeat with remaining lamb.
2. After all of the lamb has been cooked and set aside (along with all of the rendered lamb juice), wipe the pot “clean” with a paper towel and add remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
3. Heat for a few minutes and add the diced onion, shredded carrots and finely diced celery. Saute for 7-10 minutes, on medium heat, until onions are translucent.
4. Add the meat and rendered juices back to the pot. Stir to combine.
5. Everyone else into the pot! Diced pickles, half of the pickle juice, hot dog coins, halved olives, and tomato puree.
6. Using the can from the tomato puree, add 4 cans of water to the pot. This will be about 14 cups of water.
7. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a low simmer. Let simmer for at least an hour.
8. Taste. It should be a little briny without being overpowering. If necessary, add remaining pickle juice, some kosher salt or freshly ground pepper.
9. Enjoy!!
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Cooks note: The soup tastes best after it’s been cooled and reheated… so go ahead and enjoy it tomorrow for dinner!
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Goat Cheese, Brie & Zucchini Tart

We often have ingredients laying around that don’t have a specific intended use. And when we put them together into a magical dish, we then have to buy those same ingredients for the magical dish. Do I make sense??

Goat Cheese, Brie & Zucchini Tart

Goat Cheese, Brie & Zucchini Tart

A few months ago, during the height of summer and summer guests, I had some leftovers. Almost an entire log of goat cheese and some brie… and summer squash that the kids picked themselves from Holbrook Farms. With only those ingredients, I defrosted a puff pastry shell and set out to make an easy dinner.  

Since making it the first time, it’s a dish that the kids ask that I repeat almost once a week! So easy and the results are so fancy! You’ll love it at home or for a dinner party!

Enjoy!

Place brie and goat cheese on raw puff pastry

Place brie and goat cheese on raw puff pastry

Alternating zucchini and summer squash makes the tart colorful and playful

Alternating zucchini and summer squash makes the tart colorful and playful

Goat Cheese, Brie & Zucchini Tart

Goat Cheese, Brie & Zucchini Tart

Vegetables can be sexy from any angle!

Vegetables can be sexy from any angle!

Cut into the tart once it's cooled down a little bit

Cut into the tart once it’s cooled down a little bit

Goat Cheese, Brie & Zucchini 

Makes about 8 appetizer size slices

Ingredients

1 frozen puff pastry, defrosted
8 ounces goat cheese, sliced
5 ounces brie, rind removed, sliced
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 yellow summer squash, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
1. In a large bowl, combine zucchini, summer squash, olive oil and salt. Toss to coat.
2. Unfold puff pastry dough onto silicone baking mat, laying on a large baking sheet.
3. Using a sharp knife, score along the perimeter of the pastry dough, about 1/2 inch in from the edge. (Optional)
4. Break up the goat cheese and spread evenly over the puff pastry.
5. Fill in the empty spaces with pieces of brie that you break up with your fingers.
6. Alternate the zucchini and summer squash over the cheeses.
7. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.
8. Bake for 25 minutes, or until crust edge is golden brown and zucchini has softened.
9. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
10. Delicious warm or at room temperature!
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Borscht with Beef (Борщ с мясом)

Blogging traditional Russian recipes can be controversial. Three of my most popular recipe blogs are Russian dishes: Lamb Plov, Lemon Ricotta Syrniki and Pelmeni. About once a week I get emails from readers who tell me that although my recipe was delicious, this is *not* how their mother/grandmother/aunt made the dish. I have a feeling that I’m going to receive similar reaction to this recipe.

Borscht

Borscht

When I was growing up, borscht was a staple in our Russian Jewish household. Mama made borscht once every two months or so. When we were really lucky, grandma would make it! Somehow, even though grandma used the same recipe, hers was always better (shhhhh…. don’t tell mama!)  Now I get to share my version of my family recipe with you!

Enjoy!

Stew meat and beef bones ready to braise

Stew meat and beef bones ready to braise

Sauteed Vegetables

Sauteed Vegetables

Peeled Beets

Peeled Beets

Cubed Beets

Cubed Beets

Borscht with Beef

Borscht with Beef

Beef Borscht

Beef Borscht

Borscht with Beef (Борщ с мясом)

Makes 12-16 bowls of soup

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 large red, orange or yellow peppers, diced
3 large carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
2 pounds stew meat, diced
2-3 pounds beef bones
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 small can of tomato paste
4 medium size raw beets, peeled and diced
4 medium size potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cups shredded cabbage
24 cups water (approximately), divided
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
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For serving:
Dill Sprigs
Sour Cream

Directions

1. In a large heavy bottomed pot (7.25 quart), on medium-high heat, add olive oil. Add onion, peppers, carrots and celery. Saute for 5-7 minutes, until onions are translucent and peppers have softened. Remove from pot, set aside.
2. Season stew meat liberally with kosher salt and pepper. Add stew meat to the pot and brown on all sides.
3. Season beef bones liberally with kosher salt and pepper. Add beef bones to the pot and brown on all sides.
4. Add enough water to cover beef bones. Approximately 8 cups. Bring to a boil and then turn heat down to a medium/low simmer.
5. Let simmer until water has reduced by half, stirring occasionally. This will take about 1 hour.
6. Add garlic, tomato paste, raw beets and potatoes. Return sauteed vegetables to the pot. Add 16 cups of water (the pot should almost be full).
7. Bring heat up to a medium/high and let the soup come to a boil.  Turn down to a low simmer and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, until beets and potatoes are cooked through.
8. Add cabbage. Simmer another 5 minutes.
9. Taste and add kosher salt and pepper as needed.
10. Enjoy!!
Cooks note: The soup tastes best after it’s been cooled and reheated… so go ahead and enjoy it tomorrow for dinner!
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Traditional Chicken Soup (Бульон)

I was lucky to grow up with two full time working parents and we sat down to dinner every weeknight at 6:15pm. My mama cooked up a storm on Sunday’s and would supplement the soups, meats and starches with fresh vegetables throughout the week. Our meals weren’t exotic or exciting, but warm and steady staples that allowed us to eat together as a family.

As with many other Eastern European families soup was a constant at our house. So much so that my niece, Sandra, wrote an article about it a few years ago! Chicken soup made a regular appearance on the schedule of soups, but mama also made it when one of us was sick. My sister and I would dutifully drink our soup while simultaneously making mocking comments about mama’s Jewish penicillin. Now, as a parent myself, I mock no more.

These days, we have chicken soup whenever the urge hits us… but rest assured that whenever someone starts to sniffle, chicken soup is definitely making an appearance at our house!

Traditional Chicken Soup with Egg Noodles

Traditional Chicken Soup with Egg Noodles

My kids grew up eating grandma’s chicken soup because I simply couldn’t make it as well as she did/does. That’s the truth. A few years ago I asked my mama to write down the recipe and she did…. with commentary. Sharing the recipe is like sharing an actual piece of my heart. My mama is the most important person in the world to me and I’m so lucky that she gets to be such an active part of my kids lives.

Enjoy!

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup

Traditional Chicken Soup (Бульон)

Baba Emma’s/Deda Yasha’s Chicken Soup (Bulon)

Recorded 04-29-10

For our dear children and grandchildren

Makes 15-18 bowls of soup

Ingredients

(1) Bell & Evan’s organic while chicken
(1) Big pot of water (approximately 12-14 cups of water)
(1) Large onion, whole, skin removed
(4) Celery sticks, cleaned and halved
(3 or more) Carrots, peeled (more if you like a sweeter soup)
Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper
Optional: Cooked egg noodles or matzo balls
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Love: the more the better

Directions

1. On the day of cooking Deda Yasha buys the freshest-prettiest Bell & Evan’s organic whole chicken.
2. He takes off skin from the chicken and cuts it in portions.
3. Baba Emma washes thoroughly every piece of chicken with cold water lets it stay for a while in the cold water and then rinses it again.
4. Put all chicken parts in a big pot with cold water and bring it on the medium heat to a smooth boil, BUT BEFORE it will boil you MUST take off-out ALL “soapy” stuff from the surface.
5. Add the thoroughly washed vegetables and depending on their future use either cook them until they are very soft and gave all their taste to the soup or take out carrots so they will be not too mushy.
6. During this slow simmering add salt, pepper to your taste (don’t over-salt it, please).
7. Let chicken soup simmer for about 40-60 minutes on “low”: it should be very clear.
8. Take it off from the stove, let it cool off a little bit and take out all veggies with the DRY utensils. NEVER go with the wet serving spoon into the soup, it will sour the soup! Bring to room temperature before refrigerating.
9. When you make it with Love it tastes even better!!!
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-When plating, cut up vegetables and chicken. Add noodles or matzo balls.
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Truffled Ricotta & Asiago Dip

About a year ago, when I recreated Fairway’s Artichoke Garlic Cream, I mentioned that we live in a place with access to amazing food. We’re walking distance from Fairway MarketTrader Joe’s, the Union Square Farmers Market and Whole Foods. Having immediate access to all four are what foodie fantasies are made of.

Truffled Ricotta & Asiago Dip

Truffled Ricotta & Asiago Dip

Of the four amazing stores, Whole Foods is closest to us. A friend recently recommended WF’s Truffled Ricotta Asiago Dip.  Since I’m a sucker for any and all things truffled, I made sure to stop by the store the following day. The dip with rich and slightly chunky from bits of asiago. I knew that I had to recreate this deliciousness because I simply couldn’t afford frequent trips to Whole Foods.

My version is rich and creamy, with the same slightly chunky consistency. The version that I made is a bit thinner than the original, but still very stable. It will hold up to any cracker, baguette or vegetable. Remember, everything goes with truffles! Enjoy it on a sandwich instead of mayonnaise. You’ll find so many ways to enjoy it… including straight out of the jar with a spoon!

Enjoy!

Recreating a great find from Whole Foods

Recreating a great find from Whole Foods

Hand chop the second half of the asiago

Hand chop the second half of the asiago

Recreating store-bought yumminess

Recreating store-bought yumminess

Truffled Ricotta & Asiago Dip

Truffled Ricotta & Asiago Dip

Truffled Ricotta & Asiago Dip

Makes about 2 cups, 16 ounces

Ingredients

1 15 ounce Trader Joe’s Whole Milk Ricotta
3 ounces Asiago, divided
1 Tablespoon truffle oil
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tablespoon 1% milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt (optional)

Directions

1. Using a blender cup, combine the ricotta, 1.5 ounces of the asiago, and remaining ingredients. Blend together.
2. Hand chop or shred remaining asiago. Add to the smooth ricotta mixture.
3. Add kosher salt to taste.
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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School Lunches, Take 13 (2013/2014 10 lunch photos)

Here are 10 more lunch ideas! Are you keeping track? These are 131-140 photos/ideas of my entire list of makemealsmama school lunch photos and ideas.

Packing lunch (almost) every day for three school aged kids is an adventure! I photograph the lunches and share them with my ah-mazing Facebook food group and I’m now sharing last years school lunches with my blogger friends. During the 2013-2014 school year, the kids were in 5th grade, 3rd grade and Pre-K. It was the only year where I had three kids attending the same school. What a treat for drop-offs and pick-ups!

Sometimes we gave them leftovers, sometimes sandwiches, sometimes random foods thrown together, sometimes thoughtfully put together… always with an effort to keep them fun, yet healthful. Hope that these lunches give you ideas for your own kids lunches.

**How to keep food in thermoses hot: Pour boiling water into an empty thermos and cover. While you are preparing the lunch, this will “pre-heat” the thermos. When you’re read to fill the thermos, spill out the boiling water and fill it with the lunch.**

 

1. Panini thins with ham, mayo & mesculin greens. Strawberries & English cucumber “chips” 2013lunch71

2. Soft multigrain with hummus, bologna and romaine. Sugar snap peas, cheese stick, yogurt and bosc pear 2013lunch72

3. Fussili with basil pesto (pesto purchased from fairway), watermelon, some crunchy salty snack mix thing and a fruit leather 2013lunch73

4. Raisin bagel with goat cheese, sugar snap peas and yogurt 2013lunch74

5.  Pita with hummus and cucumber slices, grape tomatoes, cheez-it’s & a leftover pink peep 2013lunch75

6. BLT on white whole wheat bread. Cucumber spears, gum balls to share with friends and popcorn – camera shy 2013lunch76

7. Trader Joe’s clam chowder, goldfish, carrots and dates (LO got a cream cheese and fig jam sandwich for a bag lunch school trip) 2013lunch77

8. Honey roasted turkey, cucumber slices and mayo on sandwich thins. Muscat grapes and sugar snap peas 2013lunch78

9. Peanut Butter and Jelly on white whole wheat, applesauce pack & edamame 2013lunch79

10. Challah roll with cream cheese, salami and thinly sliced tomatoes. English peas with garlic salt, cherries & yogurt 2013lunch80

 

Enjoy!

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Kids should also Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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