Category Archives: Food

Jewish Holiday Kitchen Opens at Disney World

A Jewish Holiday kitchen has opened at Disney World, part of this year’s Epcot International Festival of the Holidays. Called “L’Chaim,” it will feature popular Jewish foods like pastrami on rye, potato knishes, chicken and matzo ball soup, and black and white cookies. The menu looks delicious to me, with reasonable prices. 

While I applaud Disney for making an effort, and I am so pleased that the Jewish community is represented, there are two things that confuse me: The food is not Kosher and nothing is offered for Hanukkah, even though it’s a holiday celebration. 

I understand that space and cost restrictions come into play, but surely they could have latkes and jelly donuts available. As for the Kashrut issue, third-party vendors do provide kosher meals for the park, so it would be possible to have them come in and assist as well. 

Like anything else, it’s never perfect the first time. Hopefully, next year, if it’s repeated, they can tweak the menu and make it fully Kosher so everyone, no matter how observant, can participate. 

I give Disney 5 stars for effort and 3 stars for results. Even so, this is a wonderful step forward. We have to focus on the intent and not be overly critical. Is it flawless? No. Is it heartwarming and awesome? YES!

Slow Cooker Chicken & White Bean Soup

Snow, ice, wind, freezing drizzle, and gray days—yes, winter is here. When it’s bone-chillingly cold, there is nothing better than a hot bowl of soup for lunch or dinner. 

I love to make soup in the slow cooker because it’s a convenient, hands-off way to create meals. This particular recipe, made with chicken and white beans, is truly goof proof, with a short list of pantry-stable ingredients.

To make Chicken and White Bean Soup, combine these items in a 3-qt or larger slow cooker:

  • 1-lb. dried white beans  (Cannellini or Great Northern work well)
  • 1-lb. raw chicken breast  (Approximately 2)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 Tbs. chili powder
  • 3 bouillon cubes

Cover everything with water, then cook on high for 2 hours. Shred the chicken with 2 large forks or tongs, and make sure water level is sufficient. Cook for an additional 2 hours. If the beans are soft and creamy, you’re good to go. If not, another hour may be needed. 

While this is the most basic version, feel free to add anything else you have on hand:

  • sliced onions
  • chopped garlic
  • diced tomatoes
  • diced peppers
  • corn  (frozen is fine)
  • shredded cabbage
  • lime juice

Normally, it yields 4 good-sized bowls. For larger families, it will easily double. Because the chicken is shredded, rather than sliced, it appears to be a lot of meat and is very filling. Even bean haters will eat it, due to the smooth texture and mild taste.

Whether you make the basic version or the jazzed up one, it’s delicious either way and pairs well with rolls, Challah, or corn bread and a green salad for a complete meal.

 

Do you have a good soup recipe? Please share.

How to Make The Best Thanksgiving Turkey

No Thanksgiving table would be complete without a perfectly browned turkey in the center. Even folks that don’t love the taste of turkey expect to have some on this special day, and will eat it without complaint, not expecting anything great.

Most of us have memories of dry, bland birds from Thanksgiving past. Some have never even sampled a good one! (Sad indeed.) Far from being tasteless and boring, a turkey can be delicious and moist—not to mention very affordable. 

I’ve been cooking Thanksgiving dinner since I was 15-years-old. (I am now 36, so that’s a lot of practice.) Over the years, I’ve experimented quite a bit. There are a few things that truly make a world of difference and don’t require a ton of effort, which I’ve blogged about before.

My preferred method is to use a roasting bag, which eliminates the need for basting. (Basting is bad because you have to constantly open the oven door, causing temperature fluctuations that will extend the cooking time.) 

Another way is to brine the bird. It produces excellent results, though it does require additional steps. My best friends always cooks her turkey this way—she is the one who actually taught me about it—and the result is fantastic. 

Whether you brine or use a roasting bag, we both agree on one thing: stuffing. As in, do not use bread stuffing inside the bird. Instead, use one apple, one onion, and one orange. This is the best combination! Just quarter everything, toss it inside the cavity, and throw away after it’s cooked. 

As for the pop-up timer, don’t rely on that. They are notoriously inaccurate, resulting in over cooked food, every single time. It’s much better to buy a meat thermometer ($10 or less at Walmart).

Turkey can be intimidating, especially the first time, but it does get easier. With a little effort, you can make something “blah” into something super.

 

If you have any turkey tips, I’d love to hear about them.

3 Apple Recipes in 1 Day: Rings, Roast, and Muffins

Having a bushel of apples on hand put me in a creative mood. Would you believe I’ve devoted the day to tinkering with apple recipes? It’s true and it was so much fun. 

First up was Fried Caramel Apple Rings for breakfast. Definitely a sugar overload, with both caramel and powdered sugar, but very tasty. 

For lunch, I made an Apple-Glazed Roasted Chicken that turned out perfectly—no surprise since it was a Better Homes & Gardens recipes. Everything they make is always good. 

After such a big breakfast and a filling lunch, I left the house to do some errands, and then it was right back to the kitchen, to mix up some Apple Muffins, which will be for packed lunches and possibly tomorrow’s breakfast, too. I did adjust these slightly, by adding chopped walnuts and extra cinnamon. They came out moist and the kitchen smells heavenly.

And that, my friends, was my day—3 new-to-me apple recipes that I would definitely make again. 

 

Have you done any baking lately?