Three-Cheese Rollatini Rose Pie

Written by chanie on May 26th, 2016

Ever since I was little, my mom’s been making the same Shavuot menu each year. It includes her amazing lasagna, homemade potato and cheese blintzes, French onion soup and an array of store-bought cheesecakes. For the second day meal, she switches up the lasagna for eggplant rollatini, or what she likes to call, rollantini.

I probably pack on about 10 lbs. in those two days, but it’s always worth every bite. Until the weather gets hotter, my skirts are a tad too tight around the middle, and I’m cursing out that creamy slice of cheesecake.

Which is why, when I started cooking up my own Shavuot meals, I decided to come up with healthier variations of some of my favorites. That’s when my spaghetti squash baked ziti, cheesy stuffed mini peppers and pasta-free spinach manicotti were born.

Some time later, I added my cheesy zoodle marinara, broccoli parmesan poppers, portobello pizza and roasted eggplant parmesan. I barely even miss the pasta anymore (ok, maybe just this).

I skip the heavy French onion soup, and go for a lighter chilled strawberry rhubarb soup and simple sides like summer tomato feta salad, pesto baked salmon, and eggplant chips with whipped feta. I might have a small bite of cheesecake, but my skirts still fit after the meal and everyone’s happy!

Which is why THIS happened! I may be expecting baby #5 this summer, but I’ve been packing on the pounds like I’m about to go into hibernation! I’ve got to ease up on my carb intake, so, I did what I always do when I’m looking for pasta alternatives, I go for zucchini. If I’m not eating cheesy zoodle marinara (an absolute staple in my kitchen), I go for a riff on my spinach lasagna roll-ups, made with zucchini strips. This time, I decided to turn those rolls upside down, and add in yellow squash and eggplant, for a pretty rose garden look. Shavuot, after all, is known as “the feast of the roses”, so how very apropos.

Vegetable ribbon pies and rose spiral apple desserts are all the rage right now, so I was more than happy to follow the trend with a savory holiday-worthy version.

Of course there are lots of variations that you can do with this dish – from adding spinach to the filling, using carrots for rolling, or baking it all into a pie crust. But I just love that this is gluten free and no-carb, so why mess with perfection, am I right?

With all my lighter spins on heavy pasta dishes, I’ve come to realize that a lot of what we eat is all in our heads. When I started subbing zoodles in for my spaghetti, a funny thing happened. I didn’t miss anything! I was full, satiated and most importantly, I felt like I had actually eaten pasta! It made me realize that we really have the ability to trick our brains into thinking we are eating something else – if only we can create the same taste, similar texture and mouthfeel, you barely notice the difference. The scale however, definitely does.

So, I’m hoping I’ve inspired you to lighten up your holiday meals, even if only with one dish. If I were you, I’d make it this one!

Do you have any other tricks to lightening up your favorite pasta dishes? I’d love to hear! Share them with me in the comments below!



This post was sponsored by Natural & Kosher Cheese. Follow them on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, or via their Blog

Related Recipes:

spinach lasagna roll-ups
cheesy zoodle (zucchini noodle) marinara
roasted eggplant parmesan
cheesy stuffed mini peppers
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Please NOTE: This post contains affiliate links which means that a small percentage of every purchase made through the links above goes to help support the BIB blog!

 

Spinach Matzo Ball Minestrone Soup

Written by chanie on May 19th, 2016

I’ve been making the most incredible spinach matza balls since forever. It’s always been my little secret for taking traditional chicken soup from classic to over-the-top and with the holiday of Shavuot approaching, I wanted to put a festive spin on another classic recipe – minestrone.

I’m a huge fan of classic minestrone soup because I feel like it has something for everyone. And when you’ve got picky kids, you need a soup like that! It’s got potatoes for my daughter who won’t eat colored vegetables, pasta for my son who’s a pasta-holic, beans for my husband who loves protein-filled legumes, and plenty of basil and oregano for a pizza-style flavor that everyone loves!

I’m always switching up my minestrone soup to make it more fun – like that time I lightened things up by omitting the potatoes and added zoodles instead of pasta. I’ve also added shredded mozzarella and alphabet pasta along with the zoodles because I’m the best. mommy. ever. But this time, this time I’m going festive and sophisticated for the upcoming holiday with an Italian twist on the classic – chicken noodle matzo ball soup.

Nothing screams holiday more than matzo balls, and I have to admit, that while I’m normally a do-it-yourselfer, made-from-scratch kind of girl, I have a weakness for matzo ball mix. I don’t need any seltzer tricks and I don’t have to worry about sinkers vs. floaters because Lipton’s kosher matzo ball mix comes out fluffy every time! Now of course I have to give it the do-it-yourselfer-touch, so I add in the spinach because it’s so beautiful, so festive, and so irresistibly delicious!

Julienning the veggies adds another layer of finesse, and using a julienne peeler, one of my all-time-favorite kitchen utensils, makes it a cinch! With these simple changes, hearty minestrone is elevated to a sophisticated holiday-worthy creation that’s great for kids and adults alike. Just ask my daughter – she had three bowls for dinner (and she hates spinach!)!

It’s hard to believe that Shavuot is just 24 days away, and with Pesach Sheini this weekend, there’s no better way to celebrate than with a fun twist on a matza ball recipe.

But Passover IS in fact behind us, and with the holiday of cheesecakes and roses coming up soon, lets brush up on some favorites. Shall we?

Shavuot recipes abound here on BIB, so you can get your menu started by browsing through my Shavuot category or skim through the recipes in my index. It’s so hard to pick favorites (can you have a favorite child?!) but I can never get enough of harissa, feta & zaa’tar, I’m obsessed with this salad dressing (I make it all summer long!), these make the best gluten-free no-guilt appetizers, and this is the most elegant seasonal dessert you’ve ever seen. Oh, and lets not forget this insane recipe that went all-out viral when I made them back in 2013.

I think we’re off to a good start my friends. And I’ve got even more amazing things coming. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, happy matzo ballin’!

This post was sponsored by Lipton Kosher. All opinions are my own. 

Related Recipes:

roasted tomato soup with muenster breadsticks
spinach white bean minestrone with zoodles
classic minestrone soup
cabbage soup with matzo meatballs

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Please NOTE: This post contains affiliate links which means that a small percentage of every purchase made through the links above goes to help support the BIB blog!

 

Sweet Chili Salmon with Wasabi Crust

Written by chanie on May 12th, 2016

It’s just one of those days. I got the kids out of the house on time for a change, and I was hoping to sit down early this morning to get a head start on work. But it was not to be. After making my rounds to the girls’ school, boys’ school and daycare for the little one, I was finally on my way back home when my daughter called me to say she had left her lunch. Oh, Mommyhood.

As a blogger, recipe developer, food photographer and full time mom, it’s hard to set a schedule for myself because kids are just so unpredictable. On the one hand, I’m SO thankful to have a job where I can make my own hours and work around my Mommy duties, but on the other hand, there’s so much to do and so little time. My husband is always telling me to hire help but I’m literally the worst delegator on earth. You know how they say if you want something done, do it yourself?  Well that’s kind of my M.O. I’m a perfectionist, and rather than dealing with someone doing something that is not up to par with my standards, I’d rather just do it myself. Can any of you relate?

I’m the same way in the kitchen. If I’m having lots of guests or prepping for big holiday meals or a cooking demonstration, the reasonable thing to do would be to have someone help me. But stubborn me just does it all myself because God forbid someone will slice something the wrong way. (Insert hands-over-eyes emoji) I know I’ve gotta learn to let go and be more flexible, I’m just not sure how. Ideas, anyone?

In the meantime, I’m going to go wake myself up with a big handful of spicy wasabi peas. It’s one of those snacks that I used to eat with abandon, and then suddenly one day, I found that I couldn’t look at them anymore. It’s been a while, but they’re back on my addictive snack list – I even put them on my salmon for an amazing spicy crunch!

This salmon recipe is super quick and easy – perfect for a weeknight dinner with some rice, and pretty enough for company with a side of sushi salad. Chop sticks optional.

Related Recipes:

spicy roasted edamame
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Tahini Puppy Chow + Sesame Chex® Party Mix

Written by chanie on May 4th, 2016

So we survived Passover. Eight days of gluten free, minimally processed food with no legumes, beans, seeds or bread! But most importantly, NO CEREAL.

I don’t know if the no cereal thing is harder on me or my kids. I’m a huge cereal fan – not really as a breakfast thing, but more of a “I don’t feel like eating dinner” afterthought. My kids are definitely into the cereal breakfast thing, and that was probably the hardest part about the holiday. So much so, that instead of a post Passover pizza party, we skip the lines and head to a large grocery to stock up on all sorts of cereal. Then, we go at it, one bowl after another of crunchy sweet goodness in ice cold milk. Really, is there anything better?

Well now that you ask, there kinda is. And that’s cereal coated in chocolate, butter and powdered sugar – also known as – MUDDY BUDDIES or PUPPY CHOW! Puppy chow is a seriously addictive treat, and I love to make it using one of my all time favorite cereals, corn Chex®.

The problem with making classic muddy buddies is that my son is allergic to peanut butter, and keeping sugar coated anything away from a toddler is pretty impossible. So, I opted for the next best thing – tahini! Tahini makes an amazing substitute for peanut butter, and in it’s purest form (which you can get a taste of at Tahini King in the Machane Yehudah shuk), it kinda tastes like it too. Case in point: I made this batch and my tahini-hating kids gobbled it up! But my tahini-loving sister totally got the sesame notes, and when I told her there was tahini inside, my 9 year old perked up with, “What??? This has tahini???!!!”

So yeah – this ones a crowd pleaser – kids and adults alike. Tahini lovers and haters. Plus all the gluten free and vegan people too. In a word: ALLERGY FRIENDLY party food, yayyyyyyy!


Now you can’t make puppy chow without at least thinking about party mix – that classic, fun worcestershire-laced finger snack filled with Chex® cereal, pretzels, nuts and bagel chips. Of course I never manage to make the stuff, but now that I had the tahini puppy chow on hand, I couldn’t resist putting together a sesame mix!

So, what do you add to a tahini-coated cereal mix filled with sesame? Well round sesame pretzels of course. And then those addictive cracker-coated peanuts with sesame, called kabukim. And if we’re talking sesame, you can’t leave out the most classic sesame snack – halva! Put them all together and you’ll be in sesame heaven!

Party on my friends, party on.


Related Recipes:

speculoos puppy chow
halva krembos
sweet tahini dip
halva and ricotta stuffed figs

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Nutella Crepes with Sweet Plantain Tortillas

Written by chanie on April 20th, 2016

In continuation from yesterday’s post for savory plantain tortillas, I bring you some sweet ones! You can read the previous post on more about what plantains are, and to see more step by step pics of the tortilla making process!

These sweet tortilla crepes are made with plantains, and the addition of coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla. They’re great for breakfast or dessert, and best of all, they’re egg-free!

If you’re eating these over Passover, chances are, you’ve had eggs for breakfast, or you plan to have it for lunch or dinner. So having an egg-free meal option is a must-have! Of course you can make these a tad healthier by filling with nut butter and fresh fruit, but homemade nutella is nut butter too. It’s just chocolate hazelnut nut butter ;)

If you’re not into the tortilla crepe idea, use your own potato starch + egg variation, but you must try my homemade nutella and other fillings, especially the maple candied pecans. Happy Passover!


Related Recipes:

sweet nut omelette
nutella banana ice cream
chocolate ganache tart with macaroon crust
fish tacos with savory plantain tortillas

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Fish Tacos with Savory Plantain Tortillas

Written by chanie on April 19th, 2016

Last year was my first time venturing into the world of plantains. It’s definitely a lesser known fruit, so I’m here to tell you more about it!

Plantains are a tropical fruit, and are best known for their use in tostones – a twice fried chip. You’ll find them on the menu in many Latin restaurants, like 26 Sushi & Tapas, in Miami, Florida. I love them topped with ceviche and avocado!

A plantain looks like a banana, but it’s slightly larger with angular sides. It’s taste and texture are determined by it’s stage of ripeness – firm and starchy when it’s green, and softer and sweeter when it’s yellow to black. Plantains cannot be eaten raw, but they make great (baked or fried!) chips when firm, delicious mash when ripe and great egg-free tortillas at any stage. Plantains are a resistant starch, which means that they pass through the digestive system sort of like soluble fiber and don’t spike blood sugar, making them popular among Paleo enthusiasts.

My interest in plantain tortillas was purely a Passover thing, since most kosher for Passover crepes are made using potato starch and eggs. I’m not a big fan of potato starch, and since my son is allergic to eggs, I was looking for an egg-free alternative.

I created two versions of the tortilla – a savory one, made with avocado oil, lime juice and a bit of chili powder, and a sweet one, made with coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla (recipe coming tomorrow!). Plantains don’t have much flavor on their own, so adding these ingredients was essential. I was pleasantly surprised that the tortillas were soft and pliable and really make a great substitute for Passover crepes and wraps. It’s great to have a recipe that doesn’t call for potato starch and eggs for a change, am I right?!

Now for the fillings! I’m a big fan of fish tacos so I definitely went that route with coconut crusted fish fillets which you can bake or fry (if you’re not a fan of coconut, I would recommend frying). Mango salsa is the perfect accompaniment to this tropical dish and curried mayo, one of my favorite condiments, rounds it out. This makes a great lunch or light dinner after all the heavy meat and potato dishes that we’re used to!

Looking for other potato alternatives for Pesach? Check out this article that I put together for OU kosher. It’s got lots of amazing recipes, suggestions and ideas for replacing the spud. You can thank me later!


Related Recipes:

plantain nachos
fish tacos with broccoli slaw
tropical guacamole
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Charoset London Broil

Written by chanie on April 14th, 2016

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I recently spent a couple of days in Miami. Aside from my (almost) daily breakfast at Zak the Baker, I made sure to head to Sarah’s Tent, a kosher grocery in Aventura. Sarah’s Tent is a well stocked market with a great deli, but that’s not what I went for. I went for the Israeli imports, specifically, kosher Lotus Biscoff spread, also known as speculoos or cookie butter.

If you fly Delta, you may notice that they give out individually wrapped biscuit cookies made by Lotus, but sadly, I always pass on them and go for the kosher pretzels. El Al, however, offers up the Israeli-manufactured version of the biscuit, which is, in fact, kosher. I went through my kosher speculoos phase a little while back when my local kosher supermarket carried the biscuits (which I turned into these buns, these pancakes and this party mix), but I’ve since moved on to the spread – which is the most decadent cookie butter of your dreams – and is pretty hard to get your hands on with a kosher certification. I once made my husband travel all around Jerusalem to bring me home a prized jar, and I savored that butter like no ones business, one spoon at a time!

BUT – back to the recipe at hand. As I was strolling through the aisles of Sarah’s Tent, I noticed a jar of Israeli-made charoset and I was intrigued. As an Ashkenazi, I had never tasted the “real” stuff, made with dates, apples, walnuts and wine. I brought home a jar and sadly, I was quite disappointed with the flavor. It was sitting in my fridge last week as I rummaged through, looking for ingredients to make my london broil – and then it hit me. Why not marinate my meat in it, with some red wine, and make a Charoset london broil. Alas, the beef came out of the oven smelling divine, but I did not like the flavor. Putting a condiment that I did not like on it’s own on beef, only made the beef taste like the jarred stuff – and well, it was just off. But the idea was a strike of genius! I had posted a photo of the meat on Instagram (if you don’t follow my Friday food fests, you must!), and requests for the recipe started pouring in! So, I decided to come up with a homemade variation on the Charoset London Broil idea, and the results couldn’t have been better!

The meat marinates in a mixture of traditional charoset ingredients of red wine, walnut oil (in place of walnuts), silan or date honey (in place of dates), some grated apple and a pinch of cinnamon. After I cook up the meat perfectly medium-rare, the marinade gets cooked up thickened and tastes just like – you guessed it – charoset! This delicious Passover dish is a must, whether your Sephardic or Ashkenazi (like me!). Give it a try!

Related Recipes:

“everything” london broil with red wine reduction
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Apple Crisp with Gluten-Free Marzipan Crumble

Written by chanie on April 6th, 2016

This right here has been on my mind since forever. An apple crisp with marzipan just seems like the perfect combo, so I finally decided to make it gluten free!

The smell of marzipan transports me to the kosher-for-Passover bakery aisle, with rainbow cake, leaf cookies and all sorts of gluten-free treats that smell of almond extract. The truth is, I used to hate the stuff, but like many foods, it’s grown on me over the years and now I actually like it! My husband is a huge fan (hence this birthday cake!) and my kids have hopped on the marzipan train too (which is why I came up with these).

I’ve got a huge stash of marzipan inspired recipes on my to-do list, but I have to admit, it’s not one of those ingredients that everyone loves, which is why I don’t like to blog about it too much. It’s really one of those love it or hate it ingredients (like halva!), and I kinda like my recipes to appeal to everyone. But since marzipan, for me, is so reminiscent of Passover, I figured I’d just bite the bullet, or, er, the marzipan.

Making your own marzipan is a breeze, by the way, and since all the ingredients are kosher for Passover, you can whip up a double batch and use it in so many ways! My only caveat here is that I used pure almond extract to test the recipe and I’m not 100% sure that it’s available kosher for Passover. I know the imitation stuff is, so you can use that. Just take caution since it might have a stronger flavor.

The absolute best part about this recipe, is that the crumble can be made on it’s own, and it makes the most fantastic Kosher-for-Passover non-gebroks topping for ice cream, yogurt and fruit. It’s even great on it’s own as a brittle-style snack!

Related Recipes:

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Parmesan Roasted Almonds

Written by chanie on March 30th, 2016

Somebody pinch me. Is Pesach really in less than a month? Ahhhhhhhhh

That’s not to say I’m making Pesach this year, because I plan to avoid that catastrophic monster of a gluten free cookfest for as long as I can. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind helping in the kitchen at all, in fact, I enjoy coming up with original dishes as a result of our strict Passover restrictions. But the thought of actually hosting meal after meal for eight days straight is not exactly appealing to me.


So, I’ll be helping out in my mom’s kitchen this year. And I plan to do a lot of spiralizing. We’ll be eating plenty of zoodles and sweet potato rice – a healthier alternative to the overused spud.

Meals are not that much of an issue – we always have my mom’s Passover gefilte fish, mason jars filled with pickled cucumber salad, beet “vinaigrette”, ratatouille and mock chopped liver. There are also the traditional Pesach dishes like scrambled hard boiled eggs, orange chicken and sweet nut omelettes. But snacks? other than bananas and the occasional piece of dark chocolate, we’re out of options.

Last year, I made these sugared almonds, but as my palate has taken a turn for the savory, I came up with an even tastier version, minus the sugar. Parmesan roasted almonds are completely addictive, and they make the most amazing croutons over lettuce! If you make your own mayo, a Passover Caesar salad can now be on the menu, without losing out on the crunchy crouton goodness.

Making these croutons the other day was an admission that Pesach is coming, whether we like it or not. But it was also a realization that it can be oh. so. delicious.

More fun and innovative Passover recipes recipes are coming your way soon, so stay tuned!



This post was sponsored by Natural & Kosher Cheese. Follow them on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, or via their Blog

Related Recipes:

gluten free broccoli parmesan poppers
gluten free roasted eggplant parmesan
gluten free pesto zucchini fries
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Healthy Thumbprint Hamantaschen (Egg Free!)

Written by chanie on March 21st, 2016

I thought I was done with hamantaschen baking this year. My corndog hamantaschen were a huge hit and that was good enough for me! Except every time I bought classic hamantaschen for the kids, my allergic toddler would watch his older siblings enviously and each time I promised myself to make an egg-free version.

I thought about making classic hamantaschen using aquafaba, that slimy juice at the bottom of a can of chickpeas. It’s said to be a great alternative for eggs in vegan baking, and I’ve used it before in muffins. Of course I got busy and my aquafaba-infused hamantaschen experiments went to the wayside.

But then this week, I had a business meeting in my ‘hood, and Chaya brought me a much needed cup of coffee with a side of crunchy thumbprint cookies. The cookies were delicious, so, like any good food blogger, I asked for the recipe. When I heard that the cookies were egg free with few ingredients, I knew I had to whip them up for my son.

I drove home dreaming about the cookies and it hit me – I wanted to make egg-free hamantaschen, so why not make egg-free thumbprint hamantaschen cookies! They had jam anyway, right?


So I got right to work on the 5-ingredient dough, which took less than 5 minutes to make, and I ransacked my fridge for all the jam I could find. I’m kind of a jam hoarder, so I wasn’t surprised to find an assortment of flavors in the back of the fridge, including, blueberry, strawberry rhubarb, apricot, fig and plum (told you I was a jam hoarder! my favorite place to buy them is Homegoods!).

Would  you check out that beautiful jam filling?

The cookies taste like a crisp granola cookie, only mildly sweet, so I couldn’t help but finish them off with some melted chocolate. Chocolate makes everything better.

The true test was giving these to my son, who is prone to scraping the chocolate off anything and everything, instead of biting into it. I’m always reminding him, “Bite, don’t lick!”, but he always goes back to his chocolate (or cheese!) licking when I’m not looking.


I handed him a hamantasch and he held it in his hand and studied it for a minute or two. I thought he was going to start scraping off the chocolate, but to my surprise, he actually took a bite! He continued to eat his way through, enjoying every morsel. Success!

Purim is just two days away, so we’ll call these “last licks!” (pun intended!). If you’ve been looking for that healthy hamantaschen recipe, you’ve got it. And just in time.


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