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After-School Snacks to Make Ahead: Sweet Poached Pears with Raspberry Chocolate Sauce

Ahhh, the perfect pair. Oops, I mean pear. Chocolate might make anything better, but the power of a ripe pear certainly does pack a hearty punch. Your kids will DEVOUR these, so be sure to make a second set for you and your honey. Don’t Worry, Eat Happy!

Chocolate Pears

POACHED PEAR WITH RASPBERRY CHOCOLATE SAUCE

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe but still firm pears (Anjou work well but any sweet pear will do)
  • 1 cup white wine (optional)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 orange zested
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • Water, to cover
  • For the Raspberry Chocolate Sauce:
  • 2 oz dark bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup Confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • Finely ground hazelnuts, mint sprigs or vanilla bean gelato for garnish

Instructions

  1. To help fruit stand upright, cut a thin slice from the bottom of each pear so that it stands firmly.
  2. Peel and core the pears, leaving the stems intact. Place the pears upright in a small saucepan that will gently fit them without resting up against each other. Add the wine, sugar, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, lemon zest and juice.
  3. Fill the pot with water to just cover the pears. Bring to a gentle simmer and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, or until tender. A knife should be able to easily penetrate the pear.
  4. Remove the pears with a slotted spoon and allow to cool.
  5. For the chocolate sauce:
  6. In a double-boiler (or glass bowl over a small saucepan filled with two inches of water) bring water to a simmer. Place the dark chocolate pieces in the top double-boiler or glass bowl. Add the sugar and heavy cream and melt slowly over low heat.
  7. While chocolate is melting, firmly press the fresh raspberries through a sieve with the back of a spoon, removing and discarding the seeds. Remove the melted chocolate from the heat, add the butter and vanilla, briskly stirring to combine. Add the raspberry puree, and stir thoroughly.
  8. Plate the pears and drizzle chocolate sauce on top. Garnish with a sprinkle of finely chopped hazelnuts or fresh mint leaves.
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After-School Snacks to Make Ahead: Fall Flatbreads with Fresh Veggies

Kids will forever love pizza. And pizza will forever be the saving grace when cooking seems an impossible task after a long day. For healthier and more cost-effective options, you can’t disappoint with flatbreads made from Greek yogurt. Have the kids raid the fridge for ingredients they love, then have them make their own dinner! Here’s my latest super easy flatbread recipe where yellow squash headlines. Don’t Worry, Eat Happy! Fall Flatbread

YOGURT FLATBREAD

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1/2 tsp superfine sugar
  • 2 Tbs lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup natural Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbs Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp Sea salt

Instructions

  1. Take the yeast, sugar and water in a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes or until bubbles start to appear on the surface. Place the yogurt and oil in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Place the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the yeast and yogurt mixtures and mix until a dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Divide dough into 2 even pieces and roll each out on a lightly floured surface to 30cm x 15cm.
  3. Heat a char-grill pan or barbecue over medium heat. Brush the pizza bases with oil and cook for 3 minutes. Flip with tongs.

Notes

Prepared in 10 minutes plus 1 hour to rise.

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Fall Flatbreads with Fresh Veggies

Ingredients

  • Yogurt dough pizza flatbread (see recipe) or 8 ounce store-bought prepared dough
  • 1 green zucchini or yellow squash, peeled and "shredded" into spaghetti using spiral slicer gadget
  • 1 Tbs Extra-Virgin olive oil
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, using little leaves off stems
  • 1/2 cup frozen organic corn kernels, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 oz fresh Mozzarella, sliced into discs
  • 2 oz fontina cheese, shredded
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • Flat-leaf parsley, chopped for garnish

Instructions

  1. Over medium heat in a skillet, sauté spaghetti squash with olive oil, salt, pepper, stock and fresh thyme until softened. Transfer sautéed spaghetti squash onto prepared flatbread. Top with corn and cheeses. Broil for 2 minutes or until golden browned. Drizzle olive oil atop flatbread and garnish with chopped flat-leaf parsley and chives. Let cool for 1 minute. Cut into pieces. Serve immediately. (Option for parents: add sliced Jalapeno peppers to your pieces for extra kick and crunch.)
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After-School Snacks to Make Ahead: Date Bar Bites

You’ll have to try and not eat these tasty date bars before the kids get home from school. Dates, full of dietary fiber and antioxidants such as B-Carotene, are a super source for energy. Add chocolate chips to the batter and you might just fall in love. Make extra and freeze them. Don’t Worry, Eat Happy!

Date Bars

Date Bars

Yield: 16

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pitted dates
  • 1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup or 1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, diced and at room temperature

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter 8×8-inch metal baking pan or tarte pan. Bring 1-1/2cups water to simmer in medium saucepan. Add dates; simmer until very soft and thick, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Stir in vanilla.
  3. Combine flour, chopped pecans, sugar, oats, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in large bowl; stir to blend. Add diced butter.
  4. Using fingertips, gently rub in until moist clumps form.
  5. Press half of oat mixture evenly over bottom of prepared pan. Spread date mixture over.
  6. Sprinkle with remaining oat mixture while pressing down gently.
  7. Bake until brown at edge and golden brown and set in center, approximately 35- 40 minutes.
  8. Cool completely in pan on rack. Cut into bars and serve. (Option to add 1 cup dark chocolate chips to dry mixture for a Dirty Date.) Garnish with dusting of Confectioners' sugar.
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Trick or Treat: Halloween Recipes for the Kids (and You Too)

There is a chill in the air. The kids are back to school and the leaves are falling off of the trees. What does that mean??? Halloween night is right around the corner. It gets me in the mood to celebrate one of my favorite holidays where you get to dress up and eat sweets – who doesn’t love that?

Halloween night is a magical time for the kiddos (and some adults, too). Dressing up like a superhero, a bedtime story character or whatever else you feel like being that night is fun and exciting. Halloween night brings back childhood memories of running door to door holding an empty pillow case bag and yelling “Trick or Treat!”

Do you know what else I love about fall? All of its colors and decadent flavors. One of my favorite fall flavor combinations is Caramel and Apples! What better time to mix these two than at Halloween? These caramel apple skull cupcakes using a re-invented  grocery store boxed cake recipe are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth, plus your little ghouls and goblins will love these! Top them with skulls, candy corn or pumpkins. Let the kiddos use their imagination.

Happy Halloween!

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CARAMEL APPLE CUPCAKES

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 24

Ingredients

  • 1 box French vanilla or yellow cake mix
  • Substitute water with buttermilk, according to the boxed recipe
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature in place of the boxed instructions
  • 1 tsp Caramel extract instead of vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Apple pie spice, (I like King Arthur Flour's Apple Pie Spice)
  • Store bought vanilla frosting, (option to color with a few drops of food dye)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line a 24 muffin cup pan with Halloween-themed or brown paper liners.
  3. Follow boxed instructions and make substitutions from above recipe list. Beat with electric mixer until batter is moistened.
  4. Increase speed to high. Beat until thick, approximately 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with spatula.
  5. Using an ice cream scooper, scoop batter into each muffin liner. Bake, according to boxed instructions, until golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean from cupcakes' center. Remove from baking pans and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.Frost and adorn with skulls or Halloween candy of choice.
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Chicken Dinner Recipes: BRAISED SAFFRON CHICKEN WITH PRESERVED LEMON, GREEN OLIVES AND ONIONS

Succulent, flavorful and moist, this one-pot wonder chicken dinner recipe is a hands-down winner!

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BRAISED SAFFRON CHICKEN WITH PRESERVED LEMON, GREEN OLIVES AND ONIONS

Yield: 6-8

Ingredients

  • Recipe from Jayne Cohen's book Jewish Holiday Cooking
  • For the preserved lemon:
  • (Prepare one week ahead and once sealed, they’ll last up to a year refrigerated!)
  • 6 medium lemons, rinsed and stickers removed
  • 1/2 cup coarse kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large dry wide-mouth container with plastic lid for sealing
  • For the marinade:
  • Several saffron threads
  • 2 Tbs boiling hot water in a cup
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 5 Tbs Extra Virgin oil (divided into 2 Tbs and 3 Tbs)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 to 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sweet or smoked paprika
  • For the chicken:
  • 5 lbs skinless chicken thighs and legs, fat and gristle removed
  • 4 yellow onions, peeled, quartered and grated in a food processor (yields 2 cups)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup brined and pitted green olives, chopped (I like organic Greek olives)
  • 3 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh chopped flat-leafy parsley and cilantro for garnish

Instructions

  1. Sprinkle bottom of glass container with 2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt.
  2. Cut lemons by first snipping off ends. Quarter lemons lengthwise but don’t cut through so they remain attached at one end.
  3. Spread each prepared lemon with salt both inside and out. Slather each one well until covered. Close up lemons before packing them tightly into the container. Push down on them with a wooden spoon to help release juices. Add lemon juice to cover the salted lemons completely. Shake jar. Add 2 more tablespoons salt and close. Store in cool, dark and dry place for a week. Turn jar once a day for one week to redistribute the salted lemon juice.
  4. The rind of the lemons should be soft and ready for use. Gently pour some olive oil atop mixture then seal and store in refrigerator until use.
  5. Crumble saffron thread into cup of hot water. Steep for 10 minutes.
  6. Combine garlic, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika and ground cumin into a food processor. Pulse until combined. Pour in saffron threads with hot water. Process until a loose paste is formed.
  7. Place chicken in a large bowl then pour marinade on top. Using fingers, spread mixture all over each piece of chicken until well-coated. Place in large freezer bags and store in refrigerator lying flat for at least 4-6 hours, preferably overnight.
  8. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  9. Remove chicken from refrigerator and bring to room temperature.
  10. Scrape marinade off chicken and set aside for use later.
  11. Brown chicken in a Dutch oven over medium high heat with remaining olive oil.
  12. Saute until each side of chicken is golden brown. Remove chicken and place on a platter. Set aside.
  13. Add grated onions and chicken broth to Dutch oven pan. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Be sure to stir in all the yummy brown bits with a wooden spoon while cooking.
  14. Stir in reserved marinade and turn heat to low or simmer. Return chicken to Dutch oven.
  15. Seal the Dutch oven with foil then place its lid on top.
  16. Place Dutch oven in heated oven and cook for 45 minutes to 60 minutes, braising with pan juices and flipping chicken a few times during the cooking process.
  17. Remove chicken from Dutch oven and set aside. Boil juices atop stove until liquids reduce to 1½ cups. Add peel of 2 preserved lemons (if too salty, rinse lemons before adding) to Dutch oven with juice and onions. Add chopped green olives. Stir. Cook a few minutes then add 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and fresh chopped herbs. Spoon sauce over chicken on a platter. Garnish with extra whole olives, lemon wedges and chopped herbs.
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Fall Produce to Buy RIGHT NOW!

BOOKMARK THIS! PIN THIS! Whatever you do know and enjoy the wonderful flavors and colors of Fall produce.

Pinterst_fall ingredients

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Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot Recipes: Salads, Sides and One Super Cool Dessert!

Jewish holidays are times for family, worship, and, of course food!  Generational recipes passed down from bubbes and close friends play an integral role on all the upcoming High Holidays’ menus. With Rosh Hashanah nearly here ushering in the Jewish New Year 5775, followed by the ten days known as the Days of Awe and concluding with solemn Yom Kippur, levity rekindles four days later with the joyous festival of Sukkot.

In case you need help or a dash of inspiration in reconnecting with your culinary roots as summer fades into autumn, these holiday recipes promise to deliver.  Check out your local farmers’ market before they close shop and remember to pick up some key essentials: corn and Swiss chard! To celebrate Rosh Hashanah and the autumnal equinox, I’ve created the smoothest Creamy Corn Pudding that combines savory, sweet and heat with jalapeños in the mix. Symbolic foods like pomegranate, dates, honey, and leeks heavily feature in my holiday repertoire. Ensuring the 5775 will be a sweet New Year, learn how to make my Sweet and Savory Pomegranate and Mandarin Orange Salad.

What’s Yom Kippur without Kugel? This classic dish is dressed up three different ways that will make mouths water with anticipation. Savory lovers will relish in both the classic Potato Kugel recipe and elegant Savory Caramelized Onions and Cheese Kugel. Those with a sweet tooth will rejoice with my mom’s version of Sweet Raisin Kugel.

Although Sukkot is known as a time to rejoice that doesn’t mean you should neglect to eat your greens! After all, green is the new black with these formidable and delicious brisket side dishes: Swiss Chard and Harvest Mushroom Gratin or for a simpler, and super healthy dish, try Roasted Asparagus with Shallots and Cranberries.

Last, but not least, what would any holiday be without a special sweet treat? Try my famous “Make a Hot Date” Bars loaded with yummy and super nutritious dates, pecans and oatmeal!

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CREAMY WHITE CORN PUDDING

Serving Size: Serves 6-8.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh white corn kernels
  • 3 scallions, ends trimmed and minced
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1 Tbs yellow cornmeal
  • 5 large eggs, well-beaten and frothy
  • 1 Tbs granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tsp salt and ground white pepper to taste
  • 1 cup half-n-half
  • 1 cup grated Sharp cheddar cheese
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter sides and bottom of deep casserole dish, approximately 3 quart size.
  3. Combine defrosted corn, scallions, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, jalapeno, cornmeal, sugar, basil, salt and ground white pepper in a large bowl. Stir until well-incorporated.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk frothy eggs with half-n-half. Add grated cheese. Stir.
  5. Gently mix egg mixture into corn mixture. Stir to combine.
  6. Pour mixture into prepared casserole dish.
  7. Bake one hour or until top is light golden brown and moist in the center.
  8. Remove from oven. Allow to rest and cool for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with a few fresh Basil leaves.
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SWEET AND SAVORY POMEGRANATE AND MANDARIN ORANGE SALAD

Serving Size: Serves 4-6.

Ingredients

  • 1 head romaine, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 red onion, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds or hazelnuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 avocado, pit removed and diced
  • 1 small can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1/3 cup of pomegranate seeds
  • For the dressing:
  • 1 cup Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbs vinegar
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • Fresh ground pepper and salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Place all salad ingredients into a large bowl. Whisk together dressing ingredients or blend on high in a food processor. Gently pour dressing atop salad and toss with tongs until well incorporated.
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SWEET RAISIN KUGEL

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1 16 oz package medium egg noodles
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbs cinnamon
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 2 cups cottage cheese, small curds
  • 1 small can evaporated milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Prepare noodles according to package directions only to al dente, drain and return to the pot.
  3. Add the two sticks of butter to the hot noodles. Stir with large cooking spatula until butter is melted. Stir in sugar and cinnamon. Taste for sweetness. Stir in raisins. Stir in cottage cheese. In a blender, beat eggs and baking powder until frothy.
  4. Pour over noodle mixture and stir until incorporated. Pour into generously greased 13 x 9 inch pan. (Glass preferred). Pour can of evaporated milk over mixture. Bake in middle of the oven for about 1 hour or until top is browned and center is almost firm to touch. Cool on rack.
  5. Cut into serving pieces or serve whole and let guests serve themselves. Can be served room temperature or reheated (cover with foil) in warm even. Serves 10-12.
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SAVORY CARAMELIZED ONION AND CHEESE KUGEL

Serving Size: 10-12

Ingredients

  • 4 yellow onions, peeled and diced
  • 3 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 16 oz bag wide egg noodles
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 Tbs poppy seeds
  • 5 eggs, whisked until frothy
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Gilboa or Manchego cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat.
  3. Add the onions and season with salt, pepper and granulated sugar.
  4. Sauté over medium heat for about 20-25 minutes, until onions are golden and caramelized.
  5. While onions are cooking, boil wide egg noodles in slightly salted water according to package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  6. Gently add sautéed onions to the cooked egg noodles. Toss with tongs.
  7. Add the sour cream, nutmeg, cottage cheese, poppy seeds, eggs, sharp cheddar, Manchego and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  8. Season with salt and pepper and pour the mixture into a greased 9x13 inch baking dish.
  9. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the savory kugel is golden and set to the touch.
  10. Cut into serving pieces or serve whole and let guests serve themselves. Can be served room temperature or reheated (cover with foil) in warm even.
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POTATO KUGEL

Serving Size: 10-12

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs Russet baking potatoes
  • 1 dozen eggs, room temperature
  • 2 yellow onions, peeled and diced
  • 2/3 cup matzoh meal
  • 1 Tbs garlic powder
  • 1 Tbs salt
  • 1 Tbs fresh ground pepper
  • 3 Tbs rendered chicken fat (Schmaltz) or substitute vegetable oil
  • Fresh chopped chives for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Peel Russet potatoes. Cut into chunks. Place potato chunks in a bowl filled with ice cold water.
  3. Beat eggs in a large bowl until frothy.
  4. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse onions until finely chopped. With a spatula, transfer onions into the bowl with prepared eggs. Stir until well incorporated.
  5. Stir in matzoh meal.
  6. Drain potato chunks. Add one-third of the potato chunks to food processor (it's ok to have onion residue inside). Pulse until they are finely chopped, approximately the size of a grain of basmati rice. Scrape chopped potatoes over a sieve atop a bowl. Using the back of a spoon, press out the moisture. Add strained potatoes to egg mixture. Repeat process until all potato chunks are chopped, strained and added to egg mixture. Discard potato starch water.
  7. Season egg-potato mixture with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir until combined.
  8. Pour oil or Schmaltz into a 13x9 inch glass baking dish. Evenly spread oil throughout pan and its sides.
  9. Pour potato egg mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  10. Gently press down the corners with a spatula to evenly fill the baking dish before cooking. Drizzle remaining oil or liquid Schmaltz for added crispiness.
  11. Bake for 75 minutes or until top is lightly browned.
  12. Remove from oven and allow to rest 15-20 minutes before serving.
  13. Garnish with fresh chopped chives.
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ROASTED ASPARAGUS WITH SHALLOTS AND CRANBERRIES

Serving Size: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs fresh asparagus, ends trimmed
  • Safflower spray for grill pan
  • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin olive oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 1/2 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 8-10 small shallots, peeled and halved
  • Fresh chopped chives and fresh chopped mint for garnish
  • For the dressing:
  • 1.2 cup Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
  • 3 Tbs good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries steeped in 1 cup hot water with lemon peels for 10 minutes, drain (cranberries will be plump)
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbs fresh chopped chives

Instructions

  1. Don't Worry, Eat Happy Tip: Trim ends of all types of asparagus and peel thicker asparagus with a vegetable peeler or paring knife to remove tough outer layers for a perfect bite.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  3. Prepare cranberry dressing. Pour into a glass jar or shaker. Set aside.
  4. Spray grill pan with safflower oil.
  5. Whisk in a small bowl, the oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  6. Gently toss prepared asparagus with half of the lemon flavored oil mixture inside a large bowl.
  7. Gently toss shallots with remaining flavored oil mixture in a medium sized bowl.
  8. Evenly spread shallots inside a 9x13 baking dish. Roast inside preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until tender and browned around the edges. Remove and set aside.
  9. Grill asparagus for 5-7 minutes until tender and crisp while shallots roast.
  10. While asparagus are grilling, prepare dressing. Combine juice, balsamic and garlic in a bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil until incorporated. Add chives and plump cranberries. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to serve.
  11. On a large serving platter, arrange grilled asparagus into a nice mound. Top with roasted shallots. Shake cranberry dressing then drizzle on top of platter. Garnish with chopped chives and fresh mint. Serves 4.
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SWISS CHARD AND HARVEST MUSHROOM GRATIN

Serving Size: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 medium shallots, peeled and minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 Tbs fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • 2 lbs (2 bunches) Swiss chard, cut leaves from stems, discard stems
  • 2 Tbs Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced (approximately 1/2 lbs)
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 2 large Yukon potatoes,peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch discs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/4 cub breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup dried oregano
  • Chopped chives for garnish

Instructions

  1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter over a medium stockpot on medium-low heat.
  2. Add shallots, garlic and fresh sage. Cook, while stirring with a wooden spin, until shallots are translucent, approximately 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add all but 1/3 cup cream to shallots. Add nutmeg. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer, stirring occasionally, approximately 18-20 minutes.
  4. Bring a large pot of slightly salted water to boil. Drop prepared Swiss chard into water and blanch for 20 seconds or until bright green in color.
  5. Drain Swiss chard then place in bowl filled with ice water to stop cooking process and retain its vibrant color.
  6. Squeeze excess water from blanched Swiss chard. Add chard to cream mixture. Remove from heat. Set aside.
  7. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  8. For the potatoes:
  9. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  10. Saute mushrooms in batches to evenly cook, approximately 2 minutes each side. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Season generously with salt and ground pepper. Set aside.
  11. Place potato discs into a pot. Add water to just cover potato discs. Season with 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until fork-tender. Drain.
  12. Place drained potato discs into a mixing bowl. Add remaining 1/3 cup of heavy cream. Season generously with salt and ground pepper. Gently toss to coat with cream.
  13. Arrange in a round baking dish sprayed with nonstick oil, potato slices. Next arrange a layer of sauteed mushrooms on top.
  14. Sprinkle with grated cheese and breadcrumbs.
  15. Top with spoonfuls of creamed Swiss chard. Repeat layers until baking dish is full. Top with grated cheese and breadcrumbs. Sprinkle dried oregano on top. Drizzle with olive oil.
  16. Back in hot oven until top is golden brown and ingredients and bubbling and heat through, approximately 18-22 minutes. Remove from oven and garnish with chopped chives.
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Date Bars

Yield: 16

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pitted dates
  • 1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup or 1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, diced and at room temperature

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter 8×8-inch metal baking pan or tarte pan. Bring 1-1/2cups water to simmer in medium saucepan. Add dates; simmer until very soft and thick, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Stir in vanilla.
  3. Combine flour, chopped pecans, sugar, oats, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in large bowl; stir to blend. Add diced butter.
  4. Using fingertips, gently rub in until moist clumps form.
  5. Press half of oat mixture evenly over bottom of prepared pan. Spread date mixture over.
  6. Sprinkle with remaining oat mixture while pressing down gently.
  7. Bake until brown at edge and golden brown and set in center, approximately 35- 40 minutes.
  8. Cool completely in pan on rack. Cut into bars and serve. (Option to add 1 cup dark chocolate chips to dry mixture for a Dirty Date.) Garnish with dusting of Confectioners' sugar.
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Soup Recipes with the Best of Fall Ingredients

PinterestDWEH-2soups700X1050

Feel that crisp breeze? It’s Autumn. Savor the flavors and colors of Fall in these delicious hearty soups.

CREAMY SWEET POTATO AND APPLE SOUP WITH PUMPKIN SEEDS

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped Vidalia onion
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp fresh ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 4 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds for garnish
  • Preparation

Instructions

  1. Over medium high heat in a large stockpot add the butter and olive oil.
  2. Add the celery, onion, and thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir while cooking until the onions and celery are tender and translucent.
  3. Add the garlic, ground cinnamon, allspice, and cumin. Stir and cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the sweet potatoes and apples stirring to coat. Add vegetable stock and apple cider and then cover. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender.
  5. In batches, carefully puree the contents of the pot in a blender or food processor. Taste and season with salt. Serve warm or chilled. Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds or crispy shallots. *Soup can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Notes

Safety Tip: When blending hot liquids remember to remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

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TOMATO SOUP WITH BASIL

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 3 oz prosciutto finely chopped, optional
  • 3/4 cup chopped yellow onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 3/4 tsp fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 Tbs all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chopped, peeled, seeded tomatoes
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • Chopped chives and flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the prosciutto, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, and bay leaf and cook.
  2. Stir mixture until the onions are soft and fragrant, approximately 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes. Stir in the flour, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes and stir well. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 18-20 minutes. Add the cream and cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaf.
  5. Puree the tomato soup. Season, to taste, with salt and white pepper. Add juice of lemon. Stir until combined.
  6. To serve, carefully pour the soup into Chinese spoons. Garnish with fresh chopped herbs. Serve immediately.
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More Flavor: More Herbs Less Salt Day

Tomorrow is National More Herbs, Less Salt Day (August 29) and my favorite herbs include chives, cilantro, parsley and rosemary. You will always find these herbs (plus mint)  in my kitchen, and you will also taste a variety of herbs in my food. It doesn’t take much to grow your own herbs, and their value– to your food, to your overall health– is worth so much more than the time it will take to make them flourish.

HerbsHanging700X400

In a few simple steps, these recipes, using my must-have herbs, help re-align and balance your daily meals:

Cilantro

Parsley

STUFFED VEGETABLES WITH RICE, PINE NUTS, BULGUR AND CURRANTS

Yield: Serves 6-8.

Over the summer, stuffed veggies are super popular. I just love using the local farmers' market produce as the actual bowl...an edible bowl at that! Bell peppers, tomatoes or zucchini work best...just make sure the peppers and tomatoes are about the same size as a baseball or tennis ball. Bulgur adds nice texture plus protein and fiber to make this an ideal and hearty dish during the final weeks of summer.

Ingredients

  • 6 medium beefsteak tomatoes, tops cut off for lids and seeds removed
  • 6 Bell peppers, roasted
  • 1 Bell pepper, uncooked and finely chopped
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 mint tea bags, steeped in 1 cup hot water with fresh lemon slices and 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 cup bulgur wheat (option to substitute with lentils)
  • 3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup dried currants
  • 2½ cups red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup Basmati or long-grain rice
  • 5 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 cup grated Manouri cheese, (a Greek semi-soft, fresh white whey cheese made from goat or sheep milk as a by-product following the production of feta)
  • ½ cup pine nuts, slightly toasted
  • 2 Tbs fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 Tbs fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbs fresh dill, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Using a sharp knife, gently cut lids off tomatoes and peppers. Carefully remove seeds and scoop out reserved flesh into a separate bowl, leaving in-tact vegetable bowls (shells). Season the interiors with salt and ground pepper to taste. Gently flip tomatoes upside down atop a baking sheet layered with paper towels to drain. Chop reserved tomato flesh-pulp. Discard bell pepper seeds and white membranes. Set aside.
  3. Trim ends of zucchini crosswise into 3 equal pieces, approximately 3½-inches long. Next, cut each piece in half lengthwise. Remove interior reserved flesh, leaving an in-tact vegetable shell or long bowl. Chop reserved zucchini flesh. Set aside.
  4. Drain prepared herb tea into a medium saucepan, discarding garlic, tea bags and lemon slices. Bring to a simmer. Add bulgur plus a drizzle of olive oil, approximately one tablespoon, and a dash of salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower to simmer and cook 3-5 minutes or until bulgur grains absorb the liquid. Remove from heat and keep covered for 12-15 minutes. Fluff with fork. Set aside.
  5. Place dried currants in medium glass bowl. Cover with hot boiling water and steep for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  6. Pour 3 tablespoons olive oil into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add red onion and pinch of salt. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic. Cook 1 more minute. Add reserved zucchini flesh, cover and cook another 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Uncover and add one finely diced bell pepper.Cover and cook 1-2 minutes. Uncover and add reserved tomato flesh-pulp. Stir frequently for 1-2 minutes. Add rice and stir to incorporate all ingredients. Add 1½ cups vegetable stock. Add Bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer, cover and cook for 12-15 minutes or until rice absorbed liquid but remains al dente.
  7. Transfer rice to a large mixing bowl. Discard Bay leaf. Add bulgur. Add prepared currants. Add cheese and pine nuts. Add fresh herbs. Season generously with salt and ground pepper. Blend well.
  8. Drizzle olive oil inside prepared vegetable bowls. Gently spoon rice mixture into each vegetable bowl, making small mounds. For tomatoes and peppers, place lids back on top of each stuffed bowl.
  9. Place stuffed vegetables including zucchini into a baking dish stuffed side-up. Pour remaining vegetable stock over all vegetable bowls. Drizzle with more olive oil. Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Place in hot oven.
  10. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until rice stuffing is hot.
  11. Remove from oven. Uncover, cool slightly.
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Rosemary

Chives

P.S. I’m a big fan of basil too!

2014-07-19 10.56.05

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Don’t Worry, Eat Happy: End of Summer Juice Cleanse Recipes

I’m a big fan of juicing because it’s yet another way for me to “Eat the Rainbow” and enjoy fruits and veggies while satisfying my thirst and hunger. It’s also a great way to detox after a little too much indulging this summer. Ice cream or wine, anyone?

If you’re not big into fruits and vegetables, juicing is a sure-fire way to incorporate them into your diet; but, you’re still lacking the fiber you need. Be careful to watch the calories when using a lot of fruit in juicing recipes. Vegetable juices tend to be lower in calorie. You can also cut juices with proteins like almond milk and flax seed.

Here are some tips on choosing a juicer:

  • Find juicer with a stainless steel blade.
  • Look for a wide feed tube and a cup large enough for 18 oz of liquid.
  • Types include masticating; centrifugal and press.

Here are your end of summer juice cleanse recipes:

JuiceCleansing700X400

WATERMELLOW GINGER JUICE

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs fresh watermelon piece, seeds removed, discard rind
  • 6 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped

Instructions

  1. Juice the watermelon. In a blender puree the juice with mint and fresh ginger. Pour into a tall chilled glass. Serves 1.
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TOMATO TUMMY TONIC JUICE

Ingredients

  • 4 tomatoes, stalks and core removed
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 4 – 6 fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • 1 Tbs agave honey
  • 3 ice cubes, crushed

Instructions

  1. Juice the tomatoes, garlic and chopped sage. Gently stir in agave honey. Pour this sweet, hot and spicy juice over crushed ice in a tumbler glass. Garnish with celery stick, fresh sage leaf or basil. Serves 1.
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JUST BEET IT JUICE

Ingredients

  • 1beetroot,leaves intact
  • 1 medium carrot, rinsed and top removed
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped

Instructions

  1. Juice all ingredients. Stir. Pour into a chilled tumbler. Serves 1.
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CLEAN AND GREEN JUICE

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 1 green apple, cored and chopped
  • 4 - 6 fresh mint leaves

Instructions

  1. In a juicer, combine all ingredients. Stir. Pour into chilled highball glass. Garnish with cucumber disc. This creamy cleanser with bright minty freshness helps improve skin, nails and hair, too! Serves 1.
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PEAR AND PINE NUT JUICE

Ingredients

  • 2 slightly under-ripe pears, cored and halved (skins intact)
  • 1 Tbs toasted pine nuts

Instructions

  1. In a hot pan over medium heat, gently toast pine nuts to help release their oils and aromas. Set aside to cool. Juice pears. Puree juice in a blender with toasted nuts. Pour into a tall chilled glass. Serves 1.
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For lifestyle and entertaining expert Mindy Kobrin, cooking, wellness and celebrating are a family affair. Her lifestyle philosophy can be distilled to a single, luscious concept: Don't Worry, Eat Happy. Fusing culinary know-how and health initiatives, Mindy aims to create nothing short of a movement: to arm people with information on the value and culture of food and the importance of quality time around the table. Her mission is to teach the foundation of mindful eating and how to use seasonal ingredients to create nutritious, delicious and satisfying meals. It’s also her heartfelt goal to be a change agent, spreading the message of quality food and spirited cooking for children to carry into adulthood and pass on to the next generation. See more.
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