The calm after the food storm

After hours spent in the kitchen during the holidays, it’s time for some simple recipes that will leave time to enjoy the Fall weather.

The calm after the food storm (photo credit: Courtesy)
The calm after the food storm
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The High Holy Days are over and yes, we’re back in the kitchen. It’s important to be creative to keep ourselves motivated. Here are some unique offerings that don’t require too much extra effort.
Alphabet Soup with Meatballs
This is an easy weeknight soup that pleases both hungry adults and hungry kids alike. If the family is a little older, use any type of pasta– the smaller ones being preferable.
1 egg ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic¼ teaspoon oregano ¼ teaspoon basil 1/8 teaspoon pepper 1 pound lean ground beef 1 onion, chopped 2 stalks celery, chopped 2 carrots, chopped 2 potatoes, chopped 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 teaspoon minced garlic 2 (900 g.) boxes parve or regular chicken broth 1 (820 g.) can whole tomatoes 1 (170 g.) can tomato paste 1 cup uncooked alphabet pasta
Combine first five ingredients and shape into small balls. Brown in a small frying pan over medium heat. Set aside.
In a large Dutch oven or stockpot, sauté the onion, celery, carrots and potatoes in the oil for about five minutes. Add garlic and sauté for one minute more. Add the broth, tomatoes and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook for about five minutes. Drop in meatballs and reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Cheese Tortellini with Spinach and Portobello Mushrooms
This is obviously not for the same meal as the alphabet soup! It’s also an easy (and yummy) weeknight dinner.
2 packages cheese tortellini, cooked and drained 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 red onion, chopped 2 teaspoons minced garlic 2 Portobello mushrooms, sliced 2 packages fresh spinach 2 (740 g.) jars marinara sauce Heat oil over a medium heat.
Add onion and garlic and sauté until aroma fills the kitchen. Add mushrooms and continue. Add spinach and cook until moisture is eliminated. Stir in marinara sauce and simmer briefly. Mix cheese tortellini into sauce and serve.Berry Trifle
People go crazy over this dessert every time I make it and everyone wants the recipe. It should be assembled on the same day it is to be served and as close to serving time as possible. The next day it turns to mush.
For Custard: ¾ cup sugar ½ cup flour Dash salt 5 beaten egg yolks 2 cups scalded non dairy creamer 1 tablespoon margarine 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
For Trifle: 1 whole angel food or sponge cake 1 large package frozen strawberries in sugar, thawed 1 package frozen blueberries or raspberries 2 bananas, sliced thinly1 cup walnut pieces2 cups parve whip, beaten to stiff peaks
For Custard: In the top of a double boiler, stir together sugar, flour, salt and beaten egg yolks.
Beating constantly to keep mixture smooth, very gradually pour in the scalded nondairy creamer, making sure to incorporate each addition before adding the next. (This is important in order to avoid lumpy custard).
Pour hot water into the bottom part of the double boiler, making sure that the water will not touch the top pot with the egg mixture. Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer gently. Put the top pan of the double boiler in place over the simmering water. Stir mixture vigorously and continuously with a wire whisk until it boils and thickens. Immediately remove the top pot from the boiler and stir in vanilla and margarine. Allow to cool thoroughly before using. (Can be made a day or 2 in advance and stored in the fridge).For Trifle: Slice cake horizontally into 1 inch layers. Press into the bottom of a glass trifle bowl so that the entire bottom is covered with a 1 inch layer of cake. It’s fine to cut the cake up into whatever shape is needed in order to do this.
Spoon 1/3 of the custard over the cake layer then top with 1/3 of the berries, banana slices and walnuts. Repeat layers until contents come to just below the rim of the trifle bowl (leave ¼ inch at the top).
Just before serving, spoon whipping cream over the entire trifle. If you like, you can decorate the top with whole strawberries or walnut pieces.
Other nuts and fruits can be used in place of the ones above, but don’t leave off the strawberries in sugar syrup.
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