Sunday, July 31, 2011

Broccoli & Mushroom Cheese Pie

Cheesy, yummy, healthy, and
SO easy to make!!
I spent a lot of time this week contemplating what to write in this week’s blog.  I wanted to write something that would capture the essence of the mood of the Nine Days, and actually found it very challenging.  I generally use this blog as an outlet to find the humor and quirky joy in everyday life.  The Nine Days are the period of time historically tragic for the Jewish people – not very joyous or funny.  It is a time to reflect on what we have, and what we have lost as a Jewish Nation and as individuals.  As a result of the mourning of the time, we have a custom to only eat dairy foods – no meat.  I decided that I would give you a simple, no frills, easy to make, but really delicious dairy recipe that you can make during the Nine Days (and afterwards too!) – Broccoli & Mushroom Cheese Pie.  This pie is really one of my family’s favorites. Made with ready to use ingredients that you have in your freezer and pantry, it’s a super easy to make recipe.  It’s also an incredibly flexible recipe, you can add more eggs to make it more “quichelike”, or can add more chopped broccoli, less mushrooms, another of your favorite frozen vegetables (or even fresh), and you’re good to go.

You might say “It’s easy as Pie”!  Now the distracted part of me that wasn’t trying to think of how to write a Nine Days article, was contemplating what exactly does the phrase “Easy as Pie” really mean?  Pie’s generally are not necessarily easy to make…it takes a skilled hand to make and roll the crust.  Not always so easy.  And the filling…if you don’t have the right ratio of ingredients in a fruit pie it can be a huge disaster!  Could they be talking about π - 3.14159265…?  I can tell you from my days as a Math Major in College, some of the formulas and equations that had π in them were definitely not easy at all!  Then upon further reflection, I decided that the phrase must be referring to the Broccoli & Mushroom Cheese Pie recipe – because it really is “Easy as Pie”!

I would also like to share with you the article that I wrote for for the Nine Days – Recipes for the Nine Days.  It has some of my favorite dairy and pareve recipes to help you plan for your Nine Days menus.  As I wrote in that article, a good meal can be a real form of consolation.  I hope that these flavorful and healthy dishes with be a source of comfort during the sad time of the Nine Days. May we know no more sorrow and may the Beit Hamikdash be quickly built in our lifetimes.

Makes 2 pies…one for now, one for later! 
24        ounces frozen    chopped broccoli, or broccoli florets – partially defrosted
16        ounces              part skim shredded mozzarella cheese
16        ounces              canned mushrooms, drained
2          tablespoons      dried minced onion
                                    salt and pepper to taste
4          large                 eggs
2                                  deep dish frozen pie crusts (I like Mrs. Smiths)

Preheat oven to 375° F.  Line a large dairy cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine broccoli, mushrooms and cheese.  Add dried onion, salt, and pepper.  Mix until thoroughly combined.  Add the eggs and mix until all the ingredients are thoroughly coated with egg.

Evenly spoon broccoli mixture into the two pie crusts.  Place pies on the prepared cookie sheet.  Bake for 45 minutes until crust and pie are lightly browned.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Note:  You can add 2-4 additional eggs to make the recipe more “quichelike”.  You can also substitute your own favorite vegetables to personalize this great recipe!

All the ingredients...
and you didn't have to work
at all to prep them!
(Ok, so you had to open the can,
and bags & crack the eggs...)
Broccoli & mushrooms...
you could add your favorites!
Add the cheese, onions, and eggs -
SO easy!!
Put the mixture into the ready
made crusts and into the oven they go...
Pull them out of the oven when 
they are golden brown - YUM!!
So delicious, ready to eat!
It really is...
Easy as Pie!

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These recipes are for sole, personal use of visitors to Sharon Matten -Edible Experience Kosher Everyday. Edible Experience Kosher Everyday recipes are for your enjoyment but are not to be posted or reprinted without express permission from Sharon Matten. Thank you!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

David's Grilled Meatballs & Crunchy Summer Salad with Pareve Sour Cream and Onion Crackers

I know I have been talking a lot about grilling lately – it’s just that with summer comes more grilling!  It just can’t be helped.  We don’t want to heat up the kitchen by turning on the oven, and the weather is usually so nice it's great to be outside (with the exception of rain and 100°+ temperatures)!  I was talking to my dear cousin Tziporah this week and she was telling me about a recipe that her husband David came up with – GRILLED MEATBALLS! Basically, you make really flavorful meatballs, and instead of cooking them in an oven, browning them in a skillet, or just cooking them in the sauce, you actually grill the meatballs first - before putting them in the sauce.  Can you imagine how amazing the flavor of DAVID’S GRILLED MEATBALLS is?  You get the moist and smoky grilled beef, plus the infused flavor of your favorite sauce.  In addition, you can put a lot of meatballs on the grill at a time, a huge time saver.  Incredible…David you are a genius!!  Theoretically, you could even grill the meatballs, let them cool without sauce, put them in an airtight container and save them for a rainy weekend that you can’t grill…grilled food all the time – a concept right?

I am officially dedicating this blog to my cousin Tziporah who lives in Teaneck, NJ.  I love Tziporah – she views the world through the same glasses as I do (scary, but true).  Tziporah and I spend a lot of time sharing recipes, and she (and her Mom and Dad) were the ones that convinced me to finally go to Kosherfest with them last year.  When Tziporah and I were at Kosherfest, she literally pulled me to a display of crackers (yes, crackers!).  These were not just any crackers, they were pareve Sour Cream and Onion crackers!  The samples were incredible!  Tziporah told me that she had an amazing salad recipe that used those crackers.  Wow!  Tziporah is an excellent cook, and I was very excited to try out the salad recipe she gave me.  I ran some recipe modifications by Tziporah, tweaking the recipe a little by reducing the oil, adding more shredded cabbage, and changing the sugar to Splenda – and when it was done, it was one of the best salads I had!  The dressing and crackers gave this incredibly healthy salad a great flavor and crunch!  I’m sharing this recipe with you because I figure, after all the grilled meat recipes, I should probably include a healthy salad to offset all the beef!!

If any of you happen to run into Tziporah, please say hi for me and give her a big hug!! I’m so excited…already bought my airplane tickets for this year’s Kosherfest in NY!  Can’t wait to see you Tziporah!!  I really miss you!!

2          pounds             lean ground beef
1          large                 onion, chopped
2          cloves               garlic, crushed – or 2 cubes frozen crushed garlic
1          cup                   bread crumbs
2          large                 eggs
2          tablespoons      olive oil
2          jars                   favorite pasta sauce

Preheat grill to medium heat.
In a large skillet, sauté the onions and garlic over medium high heat until slightly browned.  Set aside and allow to cool. 

Cover a large cookie sheet with waxed paper.  Set aside.

Place the ground beef in a large bowl.  Add the onions, and remaining ingredients.  Mix well. 

Using a scoop, scoop ground beef mixture, then roll into meatballs.  Place meatballs on prepared cookie sheet.  When all the meatballs are formed, place them on the grill.  Grill for 10 minutes, rotating halfway through and meatballs are nearly cooked through.

Pour pasta sauce into a large stockpot.  Add ½ jar of water to each empty sauce jar, swirling to get the remaining sauce out of the jar.  Add the water to the sauce in the pot.  Place the grilled meatballs in the pot, and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes.  Serve hot.

  • You can freeze half the meatballs, and use a single jar of sauce instead of two.
  • Serve the finished meatballs over a bed of your favorite rice for an elegant appetizer.

For the salad:
2          heads               romaine lettuce, thoroughly washed and cut into bite size pieces
4          large                 scallions, thinly sliced diagonally
1          bag                   shredded cabbage or cole slaw mix
1          pint                   grape tomatoes, halved
1          large                 cucumber, quartered and thinly sliced (optional)
2          cups                 sour cream and onion crackers, plus additional for garnish

For the dressing:
¼         cup                   canola oil
3          tablespoons      light mayonnaise
¼         cup                   Splenda
1          teaspoon          salt
1 ½      teaspoons         yellow mustard
¼         teaspoon          ground black pepper
1          tablespoon        soy sauce

In a large salad bowl, combine all the salad ingredients except the crackers.  Toss to evenly distribute the vegetables.

In a small mixing bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients.  Mix until completely blended.  Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to completely coat the vegetables.  Allow the salad to sit for 10 minutes (in the refrigerator if possible) to blend the flavors.  Add the crackers and toss until evenly distributed.   Garnish with additional crackers and serve to your happy guests and family!!

All the ingredients...
Sauté the onions until nice and brown!  
Add all the ingredients to
the ground beef... 
It'sa tima to maka the meata-balls!
Toss 'em on the grill...YUM!!
SO saucy!
These are the BEST meatballs
I ever had!!  Thanks David!!

All the ingredients...
(except the tomatoes which I forgot
in the refrigerator!)
 All the salad ingredients tossed
together...except the crackers,
tomatoes, and dressing...
They get added on Shabbat right
before serving to our special guests!

Look for additional information about Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at,,

 or on Facebook at Edible Experience by Sharon Matten.

These recipes are for sole, personal use of visitors to Sharon Matten -Edible Experience Kosher Everyday. Edible Experience Kosher Everyday recipes are for your enjoyment but are not to be posted or reprinted without express permission from Sharon Matten. Thank you!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Grilled Lamb Kebobs

"New" Grilled Lamb Kebobs...
Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum!!

For many years, our dear friends Rabbi Zev S. and Mrs. Andy S. used to come with their family to our house for the second day of Sukkot.  They came every year until Rabbi S. got a job as the Rabbi of a neighborhood Shul, and Rabbinical responsibilities kept them from our long standing Sukkot lunch.  Then when Rabbi S. finally left that job, the family made Aliya and it was too far to walk…

In order to “keep it interesting” and to avoid the S. family saying “She made that again!! We just had that last year!!!” I used to prepare the food of a different nationality every year.  That meant lot’s of different culinary themes to explore, and never the same meal twice!  It was a lot of fun going to the library and searching for cookbooks of each nationality, and then finding the traditional dishes from each country.  I also searched online, but there’s something about picking up a cookbook and getting a feel for the nuances of the culture through the collection of recipes and photographs of the food – all in one book.  We had Italian, French (yes I did make fries that year), American, Chinese, Mexican, and even Greek food one year – plus a few others, but it was so long ago I can’t even remember which ones they were! 

I have been thinking about those lunches a lot lately because I have had a huge craving for one of the dishes I made the “Greek” year – GRILLED LAMB KEBABS.  My subconscious has been stuck on that dish!  At least that’s what I thought it was stuck on.  Working from my recollection of the recipe, I went to the store and bought ground lamb.  When I went to go look for the actual kebob recipe in my computer recipe database, all I found was a recipe for Greek Lamb Kebabs – made with chunks of lamb…not ground lamb.  I was thoroughly confused – it wasn’t the recipe I remembered!  I then went to my recipe binder and continued to search for the recipe that was causing the mix-up.  I finally found the one I was looking for – except it was a recipe for ground chicken kebabs!  In my overworked brain I had somehow merged together two recipes and come up with a third alternative!!  They say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade…well, I had ground lamb – I was making ground lamb kebobs!!  I did my best to take the flavors from the Greek Kebobs I remembered so fondly and merge it with the properties of the chicken ones I had retrieved from my internal brain database.  I also remembered to soak the skewers so they didn’t go up in flames on the grill (I only needed to make that mistake once!).  They smelled great while grilling!  I can’t wait to satisfy that craving!!!  I’m sure once you try them, you’ll be craving more too!!

We miss you Rabbi Zev & Mrs. Andy S.!!

2          pounds             ground lamb
2          cloves               garlic, crushed
¼         teaspoon          black pepper
½         teaspoon          ground cumin
½         teaspoon          oregano
1          teaspoon          crushed red pepper
1          tablespoon        parsley, finely chopped
1          large                 egg
16                                shish kebob skewers
                                    olive oil

Preheat the grill to medium heat.  If using wooden skewers, soak the skewers in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling.

In a large bowl, combine the ground lamb and spices.  Mix until spices are evenly distributed.  Mix in the egg until thoroughly combined.

Shape the lamb into a large log.  Divide the meat into 8 slices, then cut each slice in half, making 16 sections.  Roll each of the 16 sections into a “sausage” shape.   Take a soaked skewer and brush olive oil on the top half.  Slide the lamb “sausage” over the skewer.  Flatten slightly, and lightly coat with oil.  Set aside and repeat with remaining lamb “sausages”.

Place kebabs on the grill, and cook for 10 minutes.  Brush the kebobs with additional oil and flip. Grill for an additional 5 minutes until cooked through.  Serve warm.

 All the ingredients - 
don't forget to soak the skewers!
 After mixing the ingredients,
form them into a log.
 Cut the log into 16 pieces then
form them into sausages...
 Put them on skewers then flatten.'s grilling time!!!
 Grilled Lamb Kebobs - almost
like they have in Greece!!
(sort of...)

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 or on Facebook at Edible Experience by Sharon Matten.

These recipes are for sole, personal use of visitors to Sharon Matten -Edible Experience Kosher Everyday. Edible Experience Kosher Everyday recipes are for your enjoyment but are not to be posted or reprinted without express permission from Sharon Matten. Thank you!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

"Camp" Corn Bread Muffins

Hot and delicious right out of the
oven...just like at camp!! 

This Sunday we are going up to Wisconsin to visit my daughter at camp for visitors’ day – the same camp that I went to for 10 summers!  So, when my daughter decided that she wanted to go to the same sleep away camp I went to, I was pretty happy.  We actually went to visit the camp for a day last summer (my first time back in a long time) and it was literally a trip down memory lane.  Some of the landmarks have significantly changed (Leech Lake doesn’t have leeches anymore for one), but as much as things change they stay the same.  The Melechet Yad (art room), Beit Kneset (shul), and Marp (infirmary) are all in the same spots they were in when I was there for so many summers.  The Chadar Ochel (lunchroom) is exactly the same, and being there brought back a lot of memories of “bug juice”, some of the worst meals I ever had, and some of the best! My love of grilling and barbecue dates all the way back to my days as a camper and camp counselor.  I was one of the few that actually paid attention when they taught us how to build a “cooking fire”, and by the time I was a counselor my group was one of the lucky ones that had properly cooked meals on overnighters!  One of my favorite camp foods was Corn Bread.  The camp version was a little sweeter than most of the recipes that you find today.  It was served to us warm and in large squares with sticks of butter on the table to spread quickly before it melted.  In honor of going back to camp this Sunday I am sharing with you my recipe for “CAMP” CORN BREAD MUFFINS.  A little sweeter like the ones I remember from camp, you can serve them warm with large pats of sweet butter just like my old camp days. 

We really miss our daughter and can’t wait to see her (and are looking forward to her coming home in a few weeks too)!  I wonder if they’ll serve Corn Bread on visitors’ day…

Makes 24 muffins
2          cups                 ground corn meal
2          cups                 all purpose flour
½         cup                   sugar
8          teaspoons         baking powder
1          teaspoon          salt
2          cups                 soy milk
2          large                 eggs
½         cup                   canola oil

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Place 24 muffin tins with paper baking cups.  Set aside

In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients.  Add the soy milk, eggs, and canola oil and stir until combined.  Using a large scoop evenly distribute the batter in the 24 cups.  Place in oven and bake for 18 minutes until lightly browned.  These are best served warm with butter.

Note: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.  Warm for 15 seconds in the microwave for fresh out of the oven tasting muffins.

 So simple to make...
combine dry ingredients in
a large bowl...
 add the wet ingredients...
then mix until combined.
 Evenly distribute in the pan...
 Take out of the oven when browned!
 Hot and yummy!!
Don't forget to eat them warm
with sweet butter....YUM!!!!

Look for additional information about Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at,,
 or on Facebook at Edible Experience by Sharon Matten.

These recipes are for sole, personal use of visitors to Sharon Matten -Edible Experience Kosher Everyday. Edible Experience Kosher Everyday recipes are for your enjoyment but are not to be posted or reprinted without express permission from Sharon Matten. Thank you!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hot Dog Kabobs & Patriotic Chocolate Chip Cookies!

It's Hot Dogs...and
it's grilled!!!
I love hot dogs!!  If you ask my kids what their mom’s favorite food is, they will probably roll their eyes with the ”Everyone knows the answer to that” look and tell you “Easy - hot dogs”.  I love every kind of hot dog – especially grilled!!!  Sadly, there is a down side to my love of a good dog, I can’t eat too many of them.  They are really high in fat and calories.  Unfortunately if I eat more than one or maybe two…you don’t want to know…really, you don’t.  Anyway, I usually end up buying the much healthier chicken hot dogs (better tasting than the turkey ones I think) and then grilling those.  I try to find the ones with the least amount of fat and sodium so that I can eat more than one!

We have the good fortune of having the place that makes the absolute best hot dogs in the world (really, in the world!) right here in Chicago – Romanian Kosher!  When my cousins come in from NY one of the “must-go-to” places is Romanian. We like to tease them a lot about that – what…no butchers in NEW YORK??  Well, Romanian is that good!!  I was in Romanian the other day getting hot dogs for our upcoming barbecue and was very excited that they had not only their classic, outstanding hot dogs but the big fat garlic ones as well…YUM!! We also have a great all kosher store called Hungarian Kosher which gets in a lot of different types of hot dogs and sausages which they carry in their freezer section, so fun!  I also got a few assorted packages of those as well. 

Now when I was at Kosherfest last year, I had the opportunity to sample a lot of different types of sausages and hot dogs.  The key word here is sample.  Since I have a pretty good selection of hot dogs and sausages for our barbecue this weekend, and I really, really, really want to eat them all without getting too ill – the thought came to me: What if instead of eating a whole dog of each variety, I ate a sample of each one like at Kosherfest?  So, the lightbulb moment occurred, and the concept of HOT DOG KABOBS was born!  With a Hot Dog Kabob, you could put different varieties of hot dogs and sausages together, get a taste of each one, and not have dog overload.  Dog gone it - what a great idea!  I also figured that you could do some more exotic type kabobs – I even made one with apple sausages and pineapple chunks!  The only regret I had was not soaking the skewers before grilling the kabobs…did you know that wood burns when exposed to fire?  Not one of my better moments – but easily rectified the next time…

Wave your flag and eat some
 Patriotic Chocolate Chip Cookies!
I also wanted to make an easy, but patriotic dessert for our 4th of July barbecue.  Something simple - but with red, white and blue colors.  I had some great chocolate chip cookies in the freezer and had an epiphany!  Chocolate chip cookies are an excellent dessert, but chocolate chip cookies half dipped in chocolate are way better!  What if I took my frozen chocolate chip cookies and dipped them in red, white and blue chocolate – like the American Flag?!!  And so...PATRIOTIC CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES came into existence.  Since the cookies are already frozen, it will expedite the setting of the chocolate between colors, shortening the prep time.  I also took some of the cookies and chocolate and simply drizzled the remaining colored chocolate over them for an additional decorated dessert…so deliciously patriotic!!  They came out great – and it was so easy to do!  You could even do it with store bought cookies (gasp!)  but I like my cookies the best J.

I’m really excited for our barbecue this weekend!  I’m also thrilled to be able to share some more 4th of July recipes in my latest article A July 4th Barbecue.  Hope you have a great 4th too

Get your hot dogs here!
Slice them into 1/4 inch disks and
soak skewers in warm water for
30 minutes so they don't burn!
Place the hot dog disks 
on the pre-soaked skewers.
Mix and match the flavors
for your own Hot Dog Sampler!!
One word...YUM!!!!

Frozen Chocolate Chip Cookies,
& melted red, white and blue's all good!
First dip in blue chocolate,
then refrigerate until set.
Then dip in white chocolate leaving
a blue stripe.  Refrigerate again...
Dip one more time in red chocolate,
refrigerate again....
Drizzle remaining cookies with 
leftover chocolate!
Happy Birthday America...
we made you some cookies!

Look for additional information about Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at,,
 or on Facebook at Edible Experience by Sharon Matten.

These recipes are for sole, personal use of visitors to Sharon Matten -Edible Experience Kosher Everyday. Edible Experience Kosher Everyday recipes are for your enjoyment but are not to be posted or reprinted without express permission from Sharon Matten. Thank you!!