Pascale's Kitchen: Happy in the kitchen

I have provided three recipes this week for dishes that taste great, are nourishing, but are super quick and easy to make.

 Green beans and ginger tofu stir fry (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Green beans and ginger tofu stir fry
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

This week, I decided to bring you three easy recipes that are perfect for people who don’t enjoy spending time in the kitchen, are not interested in learning new cooking or baking techniques, and yet still want to provide their families with tasty and nutritious meals. 

Considering the variety of cooking shows on TV and social media, it would seem that everyone is spending hours upon hours in their kitchens. But that is not the case, and plenty of people want to limit the amount of time they spend preparing meals to the absolute minimum. 

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To that end, I have provided three recipes this week for dishes that taste great, are nourishing, but are super quick and easy to make. The one thing that is common to all three recipes is that they all have a yellowish-green color, which in my mind is a gentle sign that it’s time to set out on a new path. 

The first recipe is for green bean and ginger tofu stir-fry. This recipe is great, since it doesn’t require much work. All you need to do is cut up the vegetables, heat a frying pan or wok, and sauté the vegetables. This dish is what I call the game of tastes and textures. In just 20 minutes, you have an excellent vegan dish, and all you need to do to have a complete meal is add a side dish to serve with the tofu stir-fry. 

The second recipe is for chicken and vegetable stew. I used to make this dish often when my children were in school and I wanted to quickly put something together to feed them when they would arrive home for lunch. I would grab the chicken breast I had in the fridge and cut it up into chunks. Then, I would chop up cabbage, bell pepper and onion into strips, cut the carrots into rings, and then add some seasoning. All that’s left to do is stir the pot every once in a while, and 35-40 minutes later, a rich and appetizing lunch was ready. This dish is great served with rice or ptitim.  

 Pesto bread (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) Pesto bread (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

The third recipe is for pesto bread. Although this recipe might look complicated at first glance, it really isn’t. Despite the fact that it comes out gorgeous, preparing the dough is actually super easy and quick. You do, though, need to prepare the dough the night before and put it in the fridge overnight. Before you put it in the fridge, the dough will look watery, which might make you think that you did something wrong, but this is normal. The dough will set overnight. Then, all you have to do is spread the contents of a store-bought jar of pesto on the dough, and sprinkle pine nuts or ground walnuts on top and cook it in a wonder pot. Best served hot. 

Green beans and ginger tofu stir-fry

Makes 6 servings.

  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced thinly into rings
  • ½ package (400 gr.) thin French green beans
  • ½ package (400 gr.) Brussels sprouts
  • 6 cloves of garlic, crushed or sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • 1 package of tofu
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. honey or silan (unsweetened)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. soy or pomegranate sauce
  • ½ tsp. grated ginger
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Topping: (optional)

  • 2 Tbsp. roasted sesame seeds

Heat the oil in a large wok or frying pan, then add the onions. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until the onions brown. Add the green beans and Brussels sprouts and stir continuously.

Add the garlic and 2 tablespoons of water and continue sautéing the vegetables for a few minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl. 

Cut the tofu into medium-size cubes and rinse well. Dry the tofu pieces. 

Heat the wok again and add the sesame oil and the tofu. Sauté for a few minutes until the tofu browns. Add the silan or honey, soy and ginger and continue stirring. 

Pour the cooked vegetables back into the wok and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve hot with white rice. 

Level of difficulty: EasyTime: 20 minutesStatus: Parve 

 Chicken and vegetable stew (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) Chicken and vegetable stew (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

Chicken and vegetable stew

Makes 4-6 servings.

  • 2 onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 bell peppers
  • ½ head of cabbage
  • 3 Tbsp. oil
  • 500 gr. chicken breast, cut into medium chunks
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red or green chili pepper (if you like it spicy)
  • 1 heaping Tbsp. chicken soup powder (no MSG)
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Around 2 cups of water

Peel the onions and carrots. Cut out the pith and seeds of the peppers. Chop the onions. Cut the carrots into rings or cubes. Cut the peppers into small pieces. Cut the cabbage into strips or small pieces. Transfer all the cut vegetables to a bowl. 

Heat the oil in a large, flat pan. Add the chicken pieces and sauté until they have browned, then transfer to a separate bowl. Add more oil if necessary, then add the onion to the pan and sauté. Sauté the carrots and peppers for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic, spicy pepper and cabbage, and continue sautéing. 

Add the chicken back to the pan, and add seasonings. Mix well, then add water and bring to a boil. (The water should cover all the ingredients.) Cover the pot and lower the heat. Cook for 30 minutes until the vegetables have softened completely. Serve hot with your favorite side dish. 

Level of difficulty: EasyTime: 40 minutesStatus: Meat 

Pesto bread

Cooked in a wonder pot.

  • 230 gr. butter or margarine
  • ½ cup milk or water
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 50 gr. fresh yeast
  • ¼ cup lukewarm water
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 jar of store-bought pesto sauce

Egg wash and toppings: 

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 100 gr. pine nuts or ground walnuts

Place the butter (or margarine) and milk (or water) in a pot and heat over medium heat. Cook until butter has melted. Remove from heat, stir and let cool. 

Sift 2.5 cups of flour into a large bowl. Add the sugar and mix. Sprinkle the yeast on top and mix. Add the water and egg yolks, and stir. 

Add the milk mixture to the bowl and mix with a wooden spoon, knead with your hands or use an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. While mixing, gradually add the rest of the flour. Just before you’ve finished kneading the dough, add the salt. 

Transfer the dough to a greased bowl. Sprinkle a little flour on top. Cover with a towel and place the bowl in the fridge to sit overnight. 

The next day, take the bowl out of the fridge and allow the dough to reach room temperature. 

Separate the dough into 2 pieces. Roll out each section on a floured work surface into a rectangle that is 30 cm. x 50cm. 

Spread the pesto sauce on the square, then roll up the dough from the side closest to you. Place the dough log on your work surface, with the open part facing down. Slice the log into pieces that are 1.5 cm. thick and arrange them in a wonder pot (or other pot) on their side. 

Beat the egg yolk with the water and brush on top of the dough pieces. Sprinkle the pine nuts on top, then cover with a towel and let the dough rise in a warm spot for 2 hours. 

Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 180°, until the bread has turned golden brown. 

Level of difficulty: EasyTime: 1 hourStatus: Dairy (or parve if you used margarine and water)

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Translated by Hannah Hochner.