You say Flodni, I say Fluden


(Originally published 2/17 in The Jewish Link)

So what the heck is fluden anyway? Growing up, my grandmother made it for Purim. To me, it was something she put together after she got tired of making hamentashen. You know, there was too much dough left, and she was not rolling, cutting, filling and pinching anymore. So she just layered the dough she had left, with the prune jelly and poppy seed filling she had left, and voila, it’s fluden. Okay, so I wasn’t any more likely to eat the fluden than I was going to eat the hamentashen with the poppy seeds anyway. But, regardless, it was pretty to look at.

This past December I learned that fluden is actually a real thing! In fact, it’s a traditional Jewish pastry in Hungary! And that’s where my family is from, so now it all makes sense! Except in Hungary, they call it flodni, and it has many more layers than I thought, but  it tastes, well, like fluden. So where did I learn all this? In Budapest, of course!  Every kosher restaurant and bakery has this traditional layered pastry on the menu.  I was so excited to see it, because it reminded me of my grandmother, and of my childhood.   So of course I bought a piece everywhere kosher that it was sold.  Some had more layers than others; apples, walnuts, poppy seeds, plum jam.  It was exciting to be able to get authentic flodni, in Hungary. Unfortunately, I still didn’t love it. Any of it.  I guess the idea of it was more exciting that the taste.

So of course, when digging up my grandmother’s hamentashen recipe to get ready for purim, I decided to try my hand at making a fluden, her way.   This dough makes an amazing, flaky pastry, (also used for her kindle), and is very different than your standard cookie dough for hamentashen.  Of course it’s a little more time-consuming, but it is so worth it.  By the way, with a few adjustments my fluden came out amazing, and I used the extra dough to make my first round of hamentashen.



For the dough:

  • 6 cups flour divided
  • 1 lb. margarine or butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks reserve whites to glaze the dough
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ cups cold water

For the filling:

  • 2 cups raisins
  • 2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 heaping tablespoons prune lekvar
  • 1 10.5 oz. jar apricot butter (or jam)


Prepare the dough:

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine 2 cups of flour with all the margarine (cut into chunks). Pulse to combine into a paste. Place the bowl into the refrigerator while you finish the dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add remaining four cups of flour and make a well in the middle. Add the egg yolks, yeast and water into the well. Sprinkle the sugar, salt and baking powder around the sides and mix until smooth. Flour a clean surface and roll out the dough into a rectangle. The dough may seem difficult to roll out, but it will ease up. Take the flour paste out of the refrigerator and smear 1/3 of the mixture on about 2/3rds of the dough. Fold the dough into thirds and roll out again into a rectangle. Repeat smearing and folding 2 more times. You are essentially layering the dough with the margarine to create the flaky layers. Divide the dough into four pieces, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

Prepare the filling:

  1. Soak the raisins in boiling water with lemon juice to soften (about 5-10 minutes) In the bowl of a food processor, add the walnuts and pulse a few times to chop – don’t over process into a butter! Drain the raisins and add to the bowl with the walnuts. Add the zest and sugar and pulse a few more times to chop the raisins. Add the lekvar and pulse to combine well. You should have a chunky, sticky mixture.


  1. Flour a clean surface and roll out 1 piece of dough to fit into the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Spread the raisin/nut mixture on the dough. Flour the surface again and roll out another piece of dough, thinner than the first, and place on top of raisin mixture. Spread this second layer of dough with apricot butter. Roll out another piece of dough and either cover the apricot jam, or cut dough into strips and arrange in a pretty lattice. Brush dough with the reserved egg white and sprinkle with a little sugar.
  2. Bake at 375 for about 40 minutes, until dough is brown and puffed. Cut into squares when cool. You should have 1 more piece of dough left, so make some hamentashen!

Recipe Notes

Bake at 375 for about 40 minutes, until dough is brown and puffed. Cut into squares when cool. You should have 1 more piece of dough left, so make some hamentashen!

Chocolate Halva Hamentashen

If you are one of those people that like halva, you will absolutely go nuts for this hamentashen recipe! A delicious chocolate cookie, filled with halva, and topped with a chocolate tahini drizzle.  Now you know what you can do with all that halva you got talked into buying at the shuk!  Make sure you use raw tahini in the chocolate drizzle!

Make sure you flour the counter surface and rolling pin! Alternatively, you can roll dough between two sheets of parchment paper.


Don’t overfill your hamentashen – a scant teaspoon will be enough!


Get ready for deliciousness!

You can put the chocolate tahini drizzle in a piping bag, or a plastic bag, or use a fork to drizzle.

Chocolate Halva Hamentashen

 If you love halva, you will go crazy for this halva-filled chocolate hamentashen.  

Course Dessert
Servings 3 dozen


Chocolate dough

  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons milk coconut, soy or almond
  • 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Halva Filling

  • 3-4 oz. halva, crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons raw tahini

Chocolate Tahini Drizzle

  • 8 oz good quality chocolate, chopped
  • 8 oz milk coconut, soy or almond
  • 2-3 tablespoons raw tahini


Chocolate Dough: In a stand mixer, add the egg, egg white, sugar, oil and milk until combined well. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt until dry ingredients are just combined. Divide the dough into two discs, and cover well in plastic wrap. Allow dough to rest in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours, or overnight. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Take one piece of dough and roll out on parchment paper, or lightly floured surface. Dough should be 1/4 inch thick. Cut into circles with a 3 inch cookie cutter, or a glass, and place circles on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Place 1 scant teaspoon of halva mixture on each dough circle and pinch closed into a triangle shape. Bake for 9-10 minutes, and remove to cooling rack.

Halva filling: Combine halva with tahini in a small bowl, and reserve to fill the hamentashen

Chocolate Tahini Drizzle: Place chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring milk to a boil and pour over the chocolate. Allow chocolate mixture to sit for a minute, then stir from the middle until emulsified with the milk. Add tahini and stir to combine. Drizzle over the hamentashen with a fork, or place in a bag with the corner snipped to drizzle.

Use as much or as little drizzle as you prefer – but more is better!





S’mores Hamentashen

Here is a fun variation on a hamentashen that the kids will surely love! Graham flavored cookie dough with a smooth chocolate gananche filling, topped with marshmallow and a chocolate drizzle.  An over-the-top variation you have to try!

S’mores hamentashen are made with graham flour – a coursely ground whole wheat flour, so we can pretend they are healthy! (Don’t confuse Graham flour with Gram flour – which is chickpea flour!)

The dough is easy to make, and does not need refrigeration prior to rolling out.

Flour the surface you are rolling the dough on, as it tends to be sticky – you can roll it on parchment paper as well.

Use only a scant teaspoon of filling, so it won’t leak out.  It doesn’t look like much, but it will be plenty!

While the hamentashen are baking, prepare the meringue so it will be ready to pipe!

If the ganache  has thickened, rewarm for a few second in the microwave before you drizzle on top.

S'mores Hamentashen

Here is a fun variation on a hamentashen that the kids will surely love! Graham flavored cookie dough with a smooth chocolate gananche filling, topped with marshmallow and a chocolate drizzle.  An over-the-top variation you have to try!

Course Dessert
Servings 3 dozen


Graham Dough

  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup milk coconut, soy or almond
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cup graham flour or coarsley ground whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup fine graham cracker crumbs, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Chocolate Ganache Filling and Drizzle

  • 8 oz. good quality chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • 8 oz. milk coconut, soy, almond
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Swiss Meringue

  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar scant
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and bake hamentashen for 9-10 minutes.

Graham Dough: In a stand mixer, combine the first 7 ingredients (oil through vanilla) and then add the flours, with the mixer on low. Increase to medium speed just until all flour is incorporated. Let the mixture rest for 15 minutes (on the counter or in the refrigerator.) You want the flour to have time to absorb the wet ingredients. Divide the dough into three, and work with one piece at a time. Cover remaining two pieces with plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator until ready to use. Lighly flour the surface of your counter and rolling pin and gently roll the dough, checking to make sure it isn't sticking to the counter. (You may roll the dough between two sheets of parchment as well). Cut the dough into circles with a 3 inch cookie cutter, or a glass, and fill with 1 teaspoon of the chilled chocolate gananche. Alternatively, you may use prepared chocolate spread, nutella or chocolate chips.) Pinch the circle to form a triangle, by almost folding in half, pinching the top, then bringing the bottom to meet it in two places. If the dough doesn't seem to stick, dip your finger in water and wet the edges you want to bring together. Place on parchment lined baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes.

Chocolate Ganache: Chop chocolate into small pieces and place in a heatproof container. Bring milk just to a boil and pour over the chocolate. Let it rest for a minute, and then stir, from the middle, until the milk and chocolate are emulsified. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Place in the refrigerator until the chocolate has hardened to the consistency of peanut butter and can be scooped out with a spoon.

Swiss Meringue: Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is 170 degrees (will feel hot to the touch and sugar has fully dissolved.) Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Add vanilla and continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes. Fill a piping bag fitted with a plain round tip and pipe a blob of meringue on the baked hamentashen, as desired. Alternatively, you can spoon some meringue on the hamentashen.

Recipe Notes

Assemble the S'mores, by piping or spooning some meringue on the hamentashen. drizzle with some melted ganache and top with graham cracker crumbs.

Lemon Meringue Hamentashen

I would always choose lemon over chocolate.  Does that make me weird?  Don’t get me wrong,  it’s not that I don’t love chocolate too, but there is something bright, refreshing and lighter about the taste of citrus fruit. After getting creative for channukah with lemon meringue sufganiyot, I thought it was time to do the same for hamentashen.  And look out, because when pesach comes around (sorry, it’s coming too) you bet I will be making meringues with lemon curd filling.

I love workin with this easy vanilla dough. It works well with practically any filling, and there is no chilling time necessary, so immediate gratification!

Try to use as little flour as possible when rolling out, or roll between two sheets of parchment paper.  Use a 3 inch circle to cut, for a nice size hamentashen.

Although it is tempting, don’t fill with more than a scant teaspoon of filling, as it will bubble out.

Lemon Meringue Hamentashen

This recipe has three components: the cookie dough, the lemon filling and the meringue topping. This basic dough can be filled with any filling you like. It is made with oil, not margarine or butter, so it is “healthier” and does not need to be refrigerated prior to rolling out. The lemon curd filling can be substituted with prune lekvar, apricot jelly, chocolate spread or even canned lemon pie filling. The Swiss meringue topping is what makes this version special, but can easily be left out if you find it too challenging. Prepare the lemon curd first, as it needs to cool and thicken prior to being used as filling.
Course Dessert
Servings 3 dozen
Author Rachel Berger



  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water or orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cup all purpose flour

Lemon Curd

  • 3 whole eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 8 tablespoons butter or margarine cut into pieces

Swiss Meringue

  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar scant
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla, bean, paste or extract


Dough: In a stand mixer, combine oil, water or juice, zest, sugar, eggs and vanilla, and mix until combined. Add baking powder, salt and flour, and mix just until the ingredients are combined. Take care not to overmix to avoid the formation of gluten. Divide dough into 3 parts, and wrap each in plastic wrap until ready to use. The dough tends to dry out if left exposed for too long. When you are ready to bake, roll out one piece of dough on lightly floured surface, or between two sheets of parchment paper, until 1/4 inch thick. Cut dough with a cookie cutter or glass, into 3 inch rounds. Fill with desired filling, pinch closed into a triangle. Bake on a parchment-lined cookie sheet for 9-10 minutes, or until bottom is golden, and edges are just starting to brown.

Lemon Curd: Heat one inch of water in the bottom of a double boiler. Place the curd ingredients (except the butter) in a non-reactive bowl and whisk together until well combined. Place the bowl over the simmering water and cook, whisking for about 8-10 minutes, until mixture has thickened and is a light, lemony yellow color. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add the butter to the mixture, one piece at a time, and continue to stir until it is all incorporated. Strain the curd by pouring it through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl. The curd will continue to thicken as it cools. Cover with plastic wrap, with the plastic touching the surface of the curd to avoid the formation of a skin. If you are reserving the curd for another day, place it in the refrigerator until ready to use. Otherwise, to cool it down quickly, place the bowl of curd into a larger bowl filled with ice water. The curd can keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.

Swiss Meringue: Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is 170 degrees (will feel hot to the touch and sugar has fully dissolved.) Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Add vanilla and continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes. Fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe rosettes as desired. Alternatively, you can spoon some meringue on the hamentashen and swirl. If you have a hand-held culinary torch, toast the meringue carefully by running the flame over the meringue. Otherwise, return the hamentashen to the oven set to 400 for 2-3 minutes, keeping a close eye so that the meringue doesn’t burn.

Leek and Date filled Chicken Roulade, with Pomegranate Glaze


Chicken, chicken, chicken.  It’s hard to get away from it, and coming up with new recipes to keep it interesting ain’t so easy.  I mostly end up making the same, simple roast chicken for ease of time and thought.  However, while thinking about the upcoming holidays, I was hoping to come across something different.  Something that everyone would like. Something no one is allergic to!  And of course, a holiday-worthy recipe that was elegant, delicious and which included some of the “simanim” or “symbols” for the holiday.  So, I set about creating my own, and I came up with this chicken roulade.  It passed the testing stage with flying colors, and I hope you enjoy it as much as my family did (and will again!) The filling is sweet, with a middle eastern flavor, and the pomegranate glaze gives the chicken a glorious color and tangy-ness.   Serve the chicken on a bed of baby arugula and decorate with pomegranate arils and cut figs.  It makes for a spectacular, yom-tov worthy dish!

Leek and Date filled Chicken Roulade, with Pomegranate Glaze

6-8 chicken cutlets

Pomegranate glaze (ingredients below)

Leek and date filling (ingredients below)

5 oz. baby arugula

1/2 Cup pomegranate arils

4 fresh figs, quartered (optional)

1/3 Cup chopped mint

Preheat oven to 400.

Prepare filling first:

3 Tablespoons olive oil

4 medium leeks, white and light green parts, cleaned well, halved and sliced into rings

1 Tablespoon ginger, minced (from a one-inch piece)

1 Tablespoon garlic, minced

2 Cups chopped dates (about 18 dates)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1 Tablespoon honey

1 Tablepoon balsamic vinegar

1 Tablespoon pomegranate molasses

1/3 Cup chopped parsley


In a large skillet, heat oil and add the leeks.  Saute about 4-5 minutes, until softened, then add the ginger and garlic, and saute another minute.


Add the dates, and stir to combine, then sprinkle with the salt, cumin and coriander.


Add the honey, venegar and molasses.  Continue to cook until the dates break apart, and the entire mixture becomes jam-like.


Stir in the parsley, remove from heat, and set aside.

Prepare the Pomegranate Glaze:

1/2 Cup pomegranate molasses

1/4 Cup balsamic vinegar

1 Tablespoon honey

Combine the glaze ingredients and bring to a boil in a small saucepan.  Boil for about a minute or two.  Set aside.


Assemble the Chicken Roulade:

Butterfly open the chicken cutlets, and pound to even thickness.  Place 2-4 tablespoons of filling on chicken (depending on size of chicken) and spread evenly.  You want to have a thin layer of filling.


Carefully roll up chicken, jelly-roll style, along the long edge and place seam-side down in a 9 x 13 dish.  Continue with the remaining cutlets.


Divide the glaze, so you save some for serving. Brush the chicken with the glaze.  Place pan of chicken in the oven, and after 10 minutes, brush again with the glaze.  Bake for about 25 minutes total, and check if done, by slicing into one of the roulades.  You don’t want to overcook and dry out the chicken!  Depending on how thick your chicken is, you might need another few minutes.  After you remove the chicken from the oven, brush again with the glaze.  Allow the roulade to cool, or refrigerate overnight to facilitate easier slicing.


To Serve:

Slice the chicken into half inch “coins”.  On a large platter, arrange a nice bed of arugula, and place the chicken pieces decoratively on top.  Sprinkle liberally with pomegranate arils, mint and decorate plate with fresh figs.  Drizzle with reserved glaze and serve at room temperature (or cold).  Enjoy!


Vegetarian Enchilada Bake

Enchilada Bake

Meatless Thursdays is a Thing

Growing up, Thursday night dinner was always macaroni and cheese. It was a staple that could be counted on to please everyone and I looked forward to it as a favorite meal. I’m not talking about Wacky Mac, and I’m not talking about melting a slice of cheese over some noodles. I didn’t know it at the time, but a béchamel sauce was made and then cheese melted in to produce a creamy, cheesy white sauce to combine with overcooked macaroni. Sometimes there was even a sautéed onion in there. So fancy, and yet the noodles knew not of al dente. They just cooked until we were ready for dinner. I guess this is the reason I find it so hard to make a meat meal for dinner Thursday nights (and the reason I time my pasta cooking.)  Meat just doesn’t feel right. For some, Thursday night is pizza night, I assume, because it’s quick and easy so Shabbat preparations can proceed with little interference. Or it’s just what the kids really want to eat anyway, so why fight it.  Of course I know there are die-hard meat eaters who would never let a dairy dinner pass their lips.  That’s okay too.  Just not okay for me.  At this point my kids don’t care, it could be dairy, meat, whatever, they just want food!

As my kids got older, the Thursday night dinner of Mac and cheese wasn’t cutting it. While everyone liked it, it just wasn’t filling enough, and truthfully, it wasn’t too nutritionally sound. I started going back to serving a meat meal, however sacrilegious that felt. I was consoled a bit after a friend said to me “why wouldn’t you make meat, you are already cooking meat for Shabbat!”  That made sense too.

Of course, there is no end to the availability of meatless, dairy or vegetarian, filling mains that can be made, and I happened to come across a recipe for a vegetarian “enchilada bake”. It sounded similar to my vegetarian chili, and there wasn’t too much prep involved.  I decided to try it and it was a hit and it made a nice big panful to boot!  So thankfully, I now have another dairy, healthier dish to add to my Thursday night dinner rotation.  The mixture can also be stuffed into a taco or burrito too, for another serving option.  I actually ate the leftovers for three lunches and it was still great.   Try it for yourselves!

Vegetarian Enchilada Bake (adapted from

1 C. uncooked quinoa, rinsed

2 C. water

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 small onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced (I used frozen cubes)

1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, diced

1 red pepper, seeds removed, diced

1 orange pepper, seeds removed, diced

1 C. frozen corn kernels

Juice of 1 small lime

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 Tbsp. chili powder

1/3 C. chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed

2 C. red enchilada sauce (I couldn’t find a kosher one, so I substituted crushed tomatoes and added an additional tablespoon of chili powder and ¼ teaspoon cumin)

2 cups shredded Mexican cheese

Optional Toppings: Sliced green onions, avocado slices, sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Add rinsed quinoa and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Cover quinoa and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the peppers and corn. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add the lime juice, cumin, chili powder, and cilantro. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the cooked quinoa and black beans to the vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Pour in the enchilada sauce and stir. Add in 1/2 cup shredded cheese.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and edges are bubbling. Remove from the oven, and let cool for 10 minutes. Garnish with toppings, if desired. Serve warm.

Citrus Chicken Breasts with Rice

citrus chicken breast 5

Having trouble deciding what’s for for dinner? Of course you are! That’s the biggest hurdle to overcome. So just choose these juicy chicken breasts, bursting with a bright citrus flavor.  The chicken breasts are quickly browned in a pan then placed over a bed of raw rice to finish in the oven for a quick and easy one pan main and side dish.  Then use the leftovers to make a whole new meal tomorrow night too! Win – win!

Citrus Chicken Breasts with Rice

2 C. long grain rice, rinsed in cool water and drained

2.5 lbs. (about 6-8) cutlets

2 medium onions, halved and sliced

Juice and zest of 1 orange

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 tsp. kosher salt

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

1-2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 C. boiling water (or broth)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9×13 glass dish with oil, and spread the rice out in an even layer.  Heat a greased skillet over a medium high flame.  Place chicken cutlets in hot pan for about 2 minutes per side, just until they get a little color.  They will finish cooking in the oven.  Remove the cutlets and arrange over the raw rice.  In the same skillet add a tablespoon of oil, and the sliced onions.  Sauté onions until translucent and soft.

citrus chicken breast 3

Combine the juice and zest, salt, pepper oil and garlic in a small dish, and carefully spoon over the chicken.

citrus chicken breast 2

Spoon the onions over the chicken.  Carefully pour the hot water around the cutlets onto the rice.  (Don’t pour on top of the cutlets or you will wash off the juice mixture.)  Cover with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes.  You will have a delicious, tangy and moist chicken breast with a built in rice side dish to enjoy for dinner!

Citrus chicken breast

Shred leftover chicken and combine with cooked pasta, shredded cabbage and carrots for a delicious meal tomorrow!

citrus chicken redone 7



Vegetable Barley Soup

vegetable barley soup 5

After a damp, dreary morning spent in a hockey rink, trying to watch my son play, where the glass was so fogged up I just stood there, hoping he would know I was watching even though I couldn’t see a thing, all I wanted was a hot bowl of soup!

So when we got home, I rummaged through the refrigerator and figured I could just throw together some basics without a recipe and it would be good enough.

Vegetable barley soup 1

Although it seemed like I was making chicken soup without the chicken, it came out pretty darn good, and is worthy to stand on its own.

Vegetable barley soup 4

The soup got better as it stood on the stove over a few hours, but I can’t tell you anything more than that, because it was all gone before I could save any for tomorrow!

Vegetable Barley Soup

4 Tbsp. olive oil

3 stalks celery, diced

4 carrots, peeled and diced

1 medium onion, diced

3 small leeks, white and light green part, washed well and diced

1 small bunch parsley, chopped

1 C. barley, rinsed and drained

1/2 tsp. turmeric

1 Tbsp. tomato paste

2 Tbsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

12 C. water or broth (if using broth, reduce salt to taste)

Heat oil in a 6 quart pot.  Add all the vegetables (except parsley) and saute for about 4-5 minutes, until onions are softened.  Add parsley, tomato paste and spices and stir another minute.  Add barley and combine with vegetables.  Add water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer for about an hour.  Give a stir every once in a while.  I left it simmering even after the hour was up, and it thickened and was delicious.

You can also add simple free-form dumplings before serving, by bringing soup back to a boil. Combine 1 egg, 1 tablespoon oil and 3-4 tablespoons of flour in a bowl, until a batter forms.  Lift some of the dough by forkful and hold over the pot of soup and using another fork, scrape dough in a ribbon (or clump) into the soup.  Continue until all the batter is used up. Allow the dumplings to cook for a minute or two.  That’s it!

vegetable barley soup 7


Baked Quinoa Burgers


My kids love these quinoa burgers.  I love that they are easy to assemble and there is no frying involved.  Try them for dinner tonight. There are lots of shortcuts you can take, as I’ve indicated, and the measurements don’t have to be exact!  If there are any leftovers, you can take them for lunch the next day, but I usually don’t have any.  Serve the burgers with a drizzle of spicy mayo, (mayo with hot sauce, and a little water to thin out) and serve extra on the side for dipping too!

Baked Quinoa Burgers

6 C. cooked quinoa (12 oz. dry)

1 medium onion, chopped and sauteed

2 cloves garlic, chopped (you can use frozen)

1/3 C. chopped fresh herbs (I used parsley and basil. You can substitute 1 Tbsp. dried)

a few shakes of hot sauce

4 eggs

1/3 C. grated parmesan

1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Combine all ingredients.  Form into patties with damp hands (Use 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup of the quinoa mixture, depending on how big you like the burgers.)  Place on a greased cookie sheet and spray or brush the tops of the burgers with oil.  Bake in the upper third of the oven for about 20-30 minutes, then flip the burgers and bake for another 10 minutes.  You want the burgers to be browned and crispy!  Serve with a salad on the side, or in a bun!

Pomegranate Orange Chicken

pomegranate chicken 6

Between all the holidays, and all the guests and entertaining, it’s hard to keep coming up with new and exciting meals.  Even though the guests are new and haven’t had the brisket I’ve made three times already, it’s my family that is bored and I have to keep happy by continuously coming up with something new.

So this time of year is perfect to try pomegranate chicken.  Although it would be delicious year round, the pomegranate has a symbolic relevance to the Jewish new year.  We hope that our merits will multiply like the seeds of a pomegranate.

I found multiple recipes online for chicken with pomegranate.  They all utilize the reduced sweet juice of the pomegranate called pomegranate syrup or molasses.  It does not have added sugar and can be quite tart.  But combined with a little honey, (also symbolic this time of year) and some other flavors, it produces an appetizing dark red tender chicken.  I’ve combined two different recipes to come up with this one.  I hope you like it.  Have a wonderful happy and healthy sweet new year!

Pomegranate Orange Chicken (Serves 8)

2 whole chickens, cut in 1/4s

1/4 C. orange juice

1/4 C. olive oil

1 tsp. orange zest

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp. rosemary, crushed lightly

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. sumac

1 tsp. salt

2 medium yellow onions, sliced thinly

3/4 C. pomegranate molasses

2 Tbsp. honey

Pomegranate seeds and orange slices for garnish (optional)

Clean and trim chicken pieces of excess skin and fat.  Place in a 2 gallon ziploc bag, or a large plastic container.  Add the juice, oil, zest, garlic, rosemary, paprika, sumac and salt.  Seal the bag, and turn over and over until all chicken pieces are coated.

pomegranate chicken 2

Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.  Continue to turn the bag around whenever you can so all pieces can marinate.  There will not be a lot of marinade, but it is enough.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Place the sliced onions in the bottom of a large roasting pan.

pomegranate chicken 1

Remove the chicken from marinade and place on top of the onions.

pomegranate chicken 3

Discard remaining marinade.  In a small bowl, combine the pomegranate molasses and honey, and brush 1/3 of  mixture on the chicken, getting under the skin where you can.  Roast the chicken for 20 minutes and then re-apply more molasses.  Roast another 20 minutes and brush on remaining molasses.  Roast for another 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken pieces, or check if chicken is done by piercing the thigh and seeing if the juice runs clear.


Garnish with the pomegranate seeds and orange slices.  For even more color, sprinkle with chopped parsley too!  Enjoy!