Thanks to my two fantastic Jewish roomies in LA, when fall rolls around, I get excited for the Jewish holidays and their gift of out of this world food traditions.
Do you think I married a Jewish man by accident?! I think NOT.
Al’s favorite traditional Jewish foods include; matzo ball soup and potato latkes.
Last year I attempted matzo ball soup from scratch and accidentally added so many cloves that it was a bigger culinary bomb than anything I’ve ever attempted. This year I planned to redeem myself, but I’m suffering from a MAJOR case of preggo brain (32 weeks!) and ended up ordering from Manny’s Deli.
HOWEVER- I did re create my famous latkes which are honestly so stupid simple, that anyone can make them. And now I’ll share them with you.
The Wifey’s Shiska Potato Latkes
What You Need/Grocery List:
- a bag of frozen hash browns (they should be left out to thaw before starting your cooking)
- a small yellow onion
- two eggs
- vegetable oil
- salt and pepper
- sour cream/greek yogurt and or apple sauce for dipping
- a strainer
- a slotted spoon
- a large plate and paper towels
What To Do:
- pour your vegetable oil until it’s about a half an inch in a large pan and heat on low/medium. you DONT want it to burn but it needs to pass the sizzle test when ready. (drop a piece of hash brown in there and if it sizzles then it’s ready to go)
- put your thawed bag of hash browns into a strainer, cover with a napkin or paper towel and smash them down till most of the water has drained
- chop your yellow onion into small pieces (you can also buy pre chopped onion)
- dump 3 tablespoons of flour into a bowl
- good job! now add your two eggs, and chopped onion, plus a dash of salt and pepper and stir it all up.
- it should mix pretty well and look like this. now add your hash browns and give them a bath of your egg mix
- now is a GREAT time to check your oil since we’re almost ready to start cooking.
- now is also a great time to get out a large plate and line it with paper towels for blotting.
- oil is perfect? great, use your hands and roll these little bad boys into little balls- about the same size as if you were making cookies. (not huge, but not tiny)
- now, CAREFULLY lower about 3 of the potato balls into the oil at a time. If you drop them, the oil will fly everywhere, ruin your cute outfit and burn like hell…so don’t. then flatten them into “pancakes” with your slotted spoon.
- let them cook for about two mins- please resist the urge to check them every 10 seconds or they will fall apart.
- after your 2 mins are up , then you are allowed to pick them up with your slotted spoon and take a look at the other side- are they golden brown? great- then flip them over. if not- wait another 30 seconds or so and check again.
- depending on how you and your love like them cooked, they should look something like this. if you prefer more well done, let them sit longer (duh).
- let the pancakes sizzle for around two mins on the other side, do a check and if they look ready, ONE AT A TIME- use your slotted spoon to lift them out (let the oil drain thru the spoon) and put them on the plate with paper towel, blot them.
oh hey, aren’t I pretty??
- you’ll want to serve these right away – unless you are cooking for a ton of people and in that case, cover them in foil to keep them warm
- serve them with dipper of your choice and watch everyone fall in love with you as they eat them. MAZEL.
our holiday table for two
Let’s be honest- having people over is stressful…unless:
A: You are a total dude (like my husband) and you think a few bags of doritos and burger patties =’s party central
B: You are a gazillionaire and have party planners, caters, and servers
C: You just don’t give a snake’s rattle and you enjoy things as they come (if this is you, let’s talk…I’ll $$$ for your info on how you do it)
You have The Wifey’s Survival Advice!
I used to attend BBQ’s like a deer in headlights- stunned by my friend’s abilities to put on a culinary show and was terrified to try to follow their efforts.
Then I realized something: people like to eat. And drink. And enjoy themselves. If you serve them enough to fill them up they will be happy.
Also? People love tacos. Which is how I came up with Wifey Fiesta Night- a DIY extravaganza. And now I’m sharing the wealth*.
You ready? Let’s Get Wife’d Up!
What You Need/Grocery List:
- fish/shrimps/meat/chicken of your choice (I like to get pre seasoned shrimp and fish from the counter if they have have it)
- tortillas (I polled the ladies and flour wins every time) – a package of flour tortillas is perfect
- salsa/pico de gallo- it’s your choice (I’d include a mild and medium…if you serve a pico de gallo- you also get your onion serving in there)
- gauc- make your own or buy pre made – *I like to buy pre made
- cheese- Mexican blend cheese ideal
- sour cream/greek yogurt
- hot sauces of choice
- tortilla chips! ( I like to have a low fat/organic option and an old stand by as well)
- put out every hot sauce you own- the more the merrier
- I like to serve a fruit salad as well, for those who don’t feel like Mexican
- cut up a few avocados and serve those – they make everything look a little more fancy
- a tequila drink or Coronas with cut limes
What To Do:
- KNOW YOUR GUEST ARRIVAL TIME- For a fiesta- most things need to happen right before or as guests arrive
- fire up your grill
- put our your guac, hot sauce, salsas, cheese, sour cream/yogut, chips…..
- set out tortillas in tin foil and put to the side ( they will go on the grill for 2 mins per side at the last moment)
- grill ears of corn for about 10 mins on medium, turning every 4 mins or so, season with salt. pepper and a little butter. Cut off ear and serve as a side.
- microwave a bag of instant Spanish rice (90 seconds) and serve in a fancy bowl
- Amy’s brand refried beans (or any brand really), is so simple to make- put the beans in a microwave safe dish, nuke for a min or so and stir, serve in a fancy bowl
- cut some limes up for people to squeeze over the shrimp/fish/meat and beer
- throw your shrimp on the grill, cook for about 2 mins per side or until shrimp isn’t pink or translucent
- toss foil wrapped tortillas on – 2 mins per side- then serve on a plate or in a basket , covered with a napkin
- set everything else out with some pretty plates (paper or not), silverware and napkins and FIESTA!
It’s FINALLY warm enough to grill outside here in Chicago, so this week The Wifey Kitchen took the action upstairs to our roof deck- cause nothing says “summer” like grilling.
The first time I tried this salad, it was my friend Lindsay’s version and I swear I wanted to marry her myself. It’s so light and fresh and is the perfect side piece to any main course.
Heck- you can even serve it as the main course and throw some grilled shrimp on top!
My version of this dish can be modified as you like- add and or omit. And per usual, I don’t get super anal with my measuring … I just use common sense and throw in ingredients as I go. And yes, I made things even easier for myself and hit up the salad bar for cucumber and red onion.
Ready? Let’s get Wife’d Up- in the sun!
The Wifey’s Summertime Grilled Corn Salad
What You Need/Grocery List:
- about 6 ears of corn- pre shucked or DIY
- a package of goat cheese
- a package of grape or cherry tomatoes- cut in half
- half a cucumber- sliced into rounds and then cut into fourths
- a pat of butter
- an avocado- cut into chunks
- a small bit of fresh cilantro or about 1/2 tsp of dried cilantro
- 1/4 cup of red onion- finely diced
- a small lime, cut in half
- a drizzle of olive oil
- salt and pepper
What To Do:
- pre heat your grill to medium/low heat
- butter each ear of corn, sprinkle with salt and pepper
- throw corn on the grill, and turn every 5 mins or so until the corn has deepened in golden color and is charred in some spots
- cut your tomatoes in halves, cucumber into fourths, avocado into chunks (hit the video for tutorial), dice your onion, and your cilantro.
- remove corn from grill, BE CAREFUL when you cut corn off the ear
- dump corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado, onion, cliantro and squeeze the juice from half a lime onto the mix, give it a few good stirs,add a healthy amount of goat cheese, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- drizzle olive oil, stir until desired amount “glosses” the salad.
- serve and get ready to share the recipe!
WATCH THE STEP BY STEP VIDEO HERE:
After a brief hiatus…The Wifey is BACK for Wifey Wednesday.
ANYHOO- let’s talk about how STIR CRAZY we’ve all been about this Winter that seems to never end!
And yet, everywhere we look it’s all about : SPRING! Spring fashion =’s less clothing and > pasty legs and arms.
So I’ve come up with a one pot/wok dinner that’s both satisfying and healthy. Modify as you wish with protein. * add chicken, beef, subtract shrimp- whatever you like.
stir it up… (in Bob Marley voice)
This list may look like a lot, but I promise it’s mostly canned stuff and almost any grocery store in the USA will stock the list.
I really love Trader Joe’s for an excursion of this type, but no matter where you go, it’s cheap and easy.
What You Need/Grocery List:
- a bag/ handful of snap peas (I get mine from Trader Joe’s)
- a can of water chestnuts – sliced
- a can of “stir fry” mushrooms or fresh mushrooms
- a can of bamboo shoots- sliced
- a can of baby corn – *side note..you either love or hate baby corn so omit if you wish
- a handful of mixed peppers, sliced (green, red, yellow… I got mine from the Whole Foods salad bar)
- a small handful of sliced zucchini (I got mine from…the “cheater bar”. If your grocery doesn’t have a salad bar, simply slice up strips of a small zucchini)
- a pinch of shredded carrots from…. (I won’t even insult you at this point)
- a bag of frozen, shelled edamame (you will use about 1/4 a cup)
- a bag of pre cooked and cleaned, frozen shrimp
- a package of instant and microwave friendly rice (I like either brown or sticky white)
- a package of seaweed snacks (you can eat 10 FOR 30 CALORIES!?!?!) *pick them up at Trader Joe’s or in the ethnic isle near Asian foods, I like the Wasabi Flavor
- a small bottle of sesame oil
- a bottle of soy sauce (I like low sodium, regular makes me look like I’ve been crying all night)
- a bottle of teriyaki , or any other kind of Asian stir-fry sauce that floats your boat. *I got mine from Trader Joe’s
What To Do:
- heat about 2 tsp of the sesame oil in a pan or wok on medium high heat
- add all the veggies, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts & baby corn to the wok/pan and with a large spoon/stirring thing- make sure all your veggies are coated
- dump your frozen cooked shrimps into a strainer or bowl and run cold water over them for about 5 mins until they thaw. dump water out, and pat shrimps down with paper towel. * you can also use frozen uncooked shrimp, just cook in a separate pan until they are pink and then add to the mix
- either stir constantly or hold the handle, tilt the pan down and flip the veggies until they begin to brown
- pop the rice in the microwave and cook according to directions. (peel the top off and cook for 1 min)
- when veggies begin to brown a tad, add shrimps to the mix.
- add about 1 tsp of your sauce or just soy sauce to the pan/wok and continue to flip or stir until the entire mix begins to brown. Be sure to give it all your attention here- burning is NO GOOD.
- dump rice into a bowl, pour stir fry over rice.
- serve with seaweed for wrapping into mini burritos or just pretty color.
- bow gracefully and accept praise!
Who’s excited for Super Bowl Sunday?!?
I mean, even if you don’t like the NFL, Katy Perry or the commercials- you have to like the parties, right??
Today’s recipe is perfect to bring to your friend’s house or to make at home for your party- even if it’s just a party of two or one. As always- feel free to modify (subtract the chicken, swap chicken for beef, omit onions) cause it’s YOUR dish.
This bad boy recipe is a keeper and Alex swears it’s even better the next day, so don’t fret if you make a whole pot and it’s just for one- TREAT YOself!
Do i smell CHICKEN?!?!
The Wifey’s SUPER BOWL of Enchilada Pie
WHAT YOU NEED/GROCERY LIST:
not pictured- raw marinating chicken
- a pkg of corn tortillas
- a bag of shredded Mexican blend cheese
- a pkg of Cojita cheese
- a bag or can of enchilada sauce
- a can of refried beans
- a small yellow onion (we’ll be using a half- chopped)
- a bag of instant/ready rice- Spanish blend
- a small can of green chills (located in the taco isle with the beans, mix and sauce)
- a packet of taco mix
- a package of chicken breasts – either already cut into tenders or whole (raw) OR a cooked chicken from the deli
- a bag of tortilla chips (I like Donkey brand)
- a small tub of sour cream or greek yogurt
- a small jalapeño
- a couple tsps of vegetable oil (if you’re cooking your chicken) and a pat of butter
- a croc pot OR baking dish
WHAT TO DO:
- the night before you want to marinate your chicken breasts and store in zip locks or tupperware. I dumped about half cup of jalapeño vodka and half the taco mix packet into a tupperware, added the chicken tender cutlets and shook it up. You can use oil or any spiced marinade you have laying around.
- if you are using your oven- pre heat to 350 degrees
- pour your oil into a large skillet and pat of butter and turn on medium/low heat
- cook the chicken until browned on both sides and SLIGHTLY undercooked. You want to see no or very little pink- but don’t want to overcook since it will be baking as well in the pot or oven.
- while the chicken is cooking combine the: refried beans, 1/2 cup of both cheeses, small can of green chills, a dash of the enchilada sauce, rice and your chopped onions into a bowl.
- when chicken is done, cut into small pieces and add to the mix- give it a stir and add a dash of salt and pepper.
- pour enough enchilada sauce to cover the bottom of the croc pot or baking dish.
- begin to layer: lay a tortilla on top of the sauce, add enough mix to cover the tortilla when spread out, add a sprinkle e of cheese and a drizzle of enchilada sauce. Repeat until your stack is three layers high.
- place a corn tortila on top and cover with cheese and remaining sauce. Add a few thin slices of jalapeño in the middle for color.
- OVEN: bake for about 1 hour, checking to make sure the cheese isn’t burning. CROC POT/SLOWCOOKER- cook on LOW for 2 and a half hours.
- keep slow cooker on “warm” until you’re ready to serve it- but only for a max of two hours.
- Slice into pieces and serve with sour cream/greek yogurt, tortilla chips and assorted hot sauces and enjoy being the night’s MVP!
I served Jordan a slice – he ate the evidence as soon as he finished filming
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT..HERE!
In honor of the NCAA Football Championship game, I decided I’d cook a real “manly” meal for Alex.
So I sent him a list of ideas and OF COURSE he choose: Beef Stew.
What’s wrong with that you ask? Oh, just 1. that it’s his favorite meal from childhood 2. I’d never made it before 3. I don’t eat beef so I can’t try it and season as I go.
BUT in true Wifey fashion- I “manned” up and accepted the challenge.
It was guys. It really was.
In the end- 7 hours later- it was pretty much exactly what Al was dreaming of and he ate two helpings and took the rest to work.
How did it go wrong and then end up right?
Let’s get Wife’ed Up.
Wifey’s What A Croc Beef Stew over rice
What You Need/Grocery List:
- 2 lbs beef stew chunks (I used only 1b and it wasn’t enough) They sell this in the butcher section, I got mine from Whole Foods- organic
- 3 carrots or a bag of frozen sliced carrots
- 1 bag of frozen peas
- 3 large potatoes
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1 box or can of beef gravy – you can also use beef stock, I used gravy for added POW
- 1/2 cup Worstesture sauce
- 2 tbs of tomato paste
- flour- just make sure you have lots on hand
- 2 bay leaves
- salt & pepper
- white rice- instant or not- it’s your jam
- a big ziplock bag
- vegetable or canola oil
- a croc pot or slow cooker
What To Do:
- cut potatoes into large chunks. I halved, then quartered, then cut them so they were all about the same size. Think- you need to use a knife and fork to cut for a bite- drop into pot
- cut onion into slices- drop in pot
- if you’re using fresh carrots- cut into circles or get fancy and slice of each rough side so it looks like a box and cut little squares- dump into pot
i did both- squares and rounds
- NOW- HERE IS WHERE THINGS WENT “WRONG” FOR ME. I MISUNDERSTOOD THE RECIPES I WAS ADAPTING THIS FROM AND DUMPED THE FLOUR INTO THE POT. YOU ARE ACTUALLY SUPPOSED TO USE THE FLOUR FOR SOMETHING ELSE. IT ENDED UP BEING MORE THAN OK, BECAUSE IT WAS TOO WATERY SO THE FLOUR HELPED BUT I WILL EXPLAIN HOW TO DO THIS AT THE END INSTEAD.
- dump about 1/2 cup of frozen peas into the pot. At this point I freaked – hence no photos of the peas.
- heat a pan with a couple tsps of canola or vegetable oil- as you prep the meat
you will get no photos of the next few steps because I was in frantic mode
- take a 1/2 cup of flour, 1 tbsp of salt, 1 tbsp of pepper and the meat and put them into a big ziplock bag- shake and coat so the meat is evenly covered.
- I ALSO BIFFED THIS AND JUST COATED IT ON THE TABLE- IT SURVIVED.
- take the meat in batches and sear each side in the hot pan until the meat is brown. SEAR it- don’t over cook it. Just make sure it hits almost all sides and turns a different color. This happens quick- so I advise to do about three chunks at a time. When they are brown- drop em into the pot
- pour your box or can of gravy over the top of everything
- dump 1/2 cup of Worsteschire on top of everything
- add 2 bay leaves to the mix
- sprinkle 1 tbsp salt and 1 tbsp pepper up in there too
- put your Croc pot on HIGH and set for 6 hours- place the lid on top
- stir every few hours or so (if you can- if not- no biggie) and add a pinch of salt and pepper with each stir
- after about 6 hours your stew should come out pretty BOSS. serve over noodles, rice, with bread- or solo.
HERE IS THERE THINGS WENT VERY WRONG- AGAIN FOR THE WIFEY… PLUS! HOW TO FIX A WATERY STEW
I opened my pot around the 5 hour mark to show Alex and wasn’t greeted by a beautiful thick stew- rather it looked more like soup. There was zero thickness. I silently freaked and went to the internet to search for how other Wifeys fixed their issue.
Here’s what worked for me:
- take out 2-3 cups of stew liquid (try to only get the liquid) and dump into a sauce pot
- add 2-3 tbsp of tomato paste and stir
- add about 1/4 cup of flour and whisk over medium to low heat until there are no lumps in your gravy.
- still not thick enough? slowly add flour while you whisk – a bit at a time- until it’s how you’d like it
- add 1 tsp salt and pepper, stir
- return your now THICK gravy to the pot and stir with the rest of the stuff to combine
- let it continue to cook for the final hour
- serve your perfection with confidence- they never even knew there was an issue! WINK.
Who doesn’t LOVE Mexican food?!? I know we do in our house, especially on chilly days or the day after a late night.
When Alex first told me how much he loved enchiladas – I’ll admit I panicked on the inside- for some reason I always thought they would require mad skill and would be complicated.
Well, maybe they do for some people- but not in this kitchen! These truly live up to their name and ooze greatness.
know what else oozes greatness? this apron!
I’ll mix them up, and add chicken for him and asparagus and artichokes to mine. Really anything goes with these bad boys so feel free to experiment.
EZ Cheezy Wifey Enchiladas
What You Need:
- a baking dish
- a spatula
- a can of enchilada sauce (red or green depending on which way you roll)
- a can of refried beans (I like Amy’s or any vegetarian kind)
- greek yogurt- plain
- shredded Mexican blend cheese
- a can of chopped mild peppers (in the International Isle at the grocery)
- a package of corn or flour tortillas
- *bonus for Cotija Cheese if your market carries it (look near the specialty cheeses)
What To Do:
- pre heat oven to 350
- dump a generous portion of sauce in the bottom of your dish and spread it out evenly
- take a tortilla and spread a spoonful of beans down the middle, add cheeses and a dollop of greek yogurt
- roll the tortilla and lay seam side down (so you can’t see the fold) and cover with more sauce and cheeses
- repeat until your dish is full- I usually do around 4 per dish
- sprinkle a few peppers across the top for color
- bake for about 15-20 mins until the cheese gets melty and the tortilla starts to brown on the end
- serve and feel the love!
Watch The Video:
Bonus: Elotes! Or “Mexican Street Corn” (for two):
- Grill three ears of corn until they are charred in places, but not all black
- melt 1 teaspoon of butter in the microwave :15 seconds or so
- Combine butter with 1/4 cup mayo and brush on the ears as soon as you remove them from the grill
- Mix 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne with a pinch of chili powder and sprinkle evenly on the corn
- Sprinkle 1/4 cotija cheese (grated/crumbled) evenly over the corn
- add a dash of salt and pepper
- Squeeze with juice of half a lime
- Either cut off the cob or serve whole and enjoy!