Tuna Burgers! Out of this world- go on, try them!

Tonight was one of those nights when I was in the mood to cook, in the mood to eat, and had time for both. I was in the mood for the kind of thing my parents would serve- a full meal with a protein, a carb, and a veggie. Since being married, weeknight meals tend to be of the one bowl variety- soup, chili, salad, not so much the more rounded, 3 dish meal.

When I graduated college last year, I had a large sum of money left on my cafeteria-card, and I spent around 70 dollars buying cans of tuna. What have become ubiquitous cans of tuna still abound in our pantry, along with the stores of kashi cereal that I hope will never run out. Early on in our marriage I had made tuna-burgers that had come out awfully since I had never learned that when you substitute dried herbs for fresh herbs, you must half the amount- rookie mistake. As usual my husband ate them, while I found something else to eat. But underneath the overwhelming tastes of garlic and parsley, I suspected I had found a gem. About 5 months later I have finally tried the recipe again, and tonight, with some variations to the original recipe, I have made my perfect tuna burger (I say my, because I can’t objectively state they’re perfect. I would consider entering them in a tuna burger contest though, if anything that absurd exists). I served the tuna burgers tonight with sauteed-onion-and-mushroom brown rice, and twice-baked pecan buttercup squash, and my only regret is that I’m too full to eat anymore!

For all of you burger lovers who are looking for something lighter, and tuna sandwich lovers who are looking for something more exciting- you’ve come to the right place.


(adapted from http://www.canyoustayfordinner.com/2011/03/25/lemon-garlic-tuna-burgers/)


-two cans of albacore chunk light tuna, packed in water

-1/4 cup chopped yellow onion

-2 garlic cloves, minced

-1/2 cup breadcrumbs (use any kind you’d like. I mixed cornflake and panko)

-1-1.5 tablespoons lemon juice (if you like the lemony kick, use more)

-3 tablespoons of non-fat, plain greek yogurt (Indeed, these burgers pack a protein punch)

-1 heaping tablespoon of dried parsley

-1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper

-1 egg

-dried parmesan cheese (optional)

photo 1

–>Preheat oven to 400 degrees. thoroughly mix all of the ingredients together and form into 4 patties. Place on a greased tray and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, depending on how crispy you want them.

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-While I served with rice and squash, the burgers would also be delicious as an actual burger, with bun and tomato and the works! This is truly an inexpensive, delicious dinner for the tuna lovers out there who are sick of the usual cold tuna salad! Enjoy!

photo 4

Tastes better than it looks- money back guarantee.

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“Courabiet”- My mother-in-law’s most delicious nut cookies! (Melt in your mouth- I swear)

Hi Ema! And hello melt-in-your-mouth-nutty goodness!


These cookies, which I tried a month or so while at my in-laws for the weekend, were unlike any cookie I had ever tried! My mother-in-law tells me that they are nut cookies with Greek/Turkish origins (a nod to her Greek ancestry), whose addition of peanut-butter is a wonderful American adaptation. Doing some research, I found them defined as a Greek celebratory cookie. They do not have the overly sweet, buttery consistency of most nut cookies- I would say that they are the mature version of the cookie- not too sweet, with the perfect smooth consistency that melts in your mouth (not in your hand)- the cookie all other cookies should aspire to be.

The ingredients are simple and do not include any butter, margarine, or eggs (if you choose to omit glazing the top with an egg wash) and they are so incredibly easy to eat (wow, I actually wrote eat, meant to write make. Shows you where my head is…). Yes- they are full of fat- but being that it comes from walnuts and peanuts as opposed to butter, it seems that these cookies have no downside!

These are the instructions, thanks to my ma-in-law:


3/8 C chopped walnuts
1 C peanut butter (I use natural unsweetened)
1 C sugar
1/2 C oil (I use safflower)
2 1/4 C flour

Shape into rounds about the size of a walnut.  They will flatten a little during baking. (If batter is too crumbly so that they won’t hold together when you try to shape them, add about 1 T soymilk or water.) Brush with 1 egg, beaten to give them a little sheen.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes until lightly browned.  As with all cookies, best not to overbake.

–>I did not have unsweetened peanut butter when I made the cookies, so I used regular peanut butter and reduced the added sugar to half-a-cup. Additionally, I used vegetable oil.

I made the Courabiet when we were at my parents this past weekend, and they pleased everyone; My parents who dislike overly sweet desserts, my husband who loves sweet desserts, my brother, who will only eat peanut butter desserts, and not gonna lie, I also think they were pretty darn good. But I attribute that to the easy recipe. Woohoooo!

Try them and let me know what you think!

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Phyllo-Dough Ratatouille Triangles!

Being that I am currently in finals period, it obviously makes sense that I would spend most of time cooking and baking. Just kidding…kind of. Truthfully though, spending my time cooking is a much more productive and enjoyable break-time pursuit than Facebook is. So today, every hour or two of biblical-Hebrew studying earned me a few hours of cooking.

We are having people over for Saturday lunch, and while we would usually have cholent, turns out our crock-put automatically turns off after 14 hours, so that’s a bust. To compensate with something exciting, I decided I wanted to do a fancy (in my eyes) appetizer. We had been at friends a month ago for lunch and she had made a pastry-dough turkey appetizer, which looked gourmet, so I decided to do something along those lines. As it turns out, a different friend, in culinary school, had made delicious deli-roll using phyllo-dough instead of the usual pastry dough, and had explained to me that it is significantly healthier. With these two models in mind I proceeded to make ratatouille  (for the first time) and use it to fill up phyllo-dough (never having used phyllo-dough before). Luckily, with some help from my culinary school friend and some tips online- it came out delicious! (For the celiac and carb-averse, the ratatouille alone is soo incredible).


1 red pepper

1 green pepper

1 large eggplant

1 large yellow onion

1 package of cut up mushrooms

–>Begin by cutting up the eggplant, salting it, and placing it -covered by foil- under some heavy objects (in order to extract its bitterness). While it is sitting for the next 30 minutes, cut up the rest of the vegetables. In the mean time, remove the phyllo-dough from the freezer.


–>Saute all of the vegetables in a large sauce pan with a significant amount of olive oil (eyeball it), add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to tase. Let it cook for about 30 minutes, until the eggplant chunks really begin to get soft. You may need to add more oil a few minutes in.

–>Add .5-1 cup of tomato sauce to the pot, and cover, let cook for an hour or more, until the vegetables have shrunken and the eggplant is succulent (love eggplant). STOP HERE IF YOU JUST WANT RATATOUILLE (it would be delicious over rice or quinoa).


–>Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wait until your ratatouille cools down, and remove the phyllo-dough from its packaging. . Spread out a sheet of phyllo-dough, brush it with olive oil, and cover it with another sheet of dough, cover it with oil, and place one more sheet of phyllo-dough on top. You will have a total of 3 sheets of phyllo-dough in a stack. Then cut the phyllo dough in half lengthwise, so you have two long rectangles of phyllo-dough. Place a spoonful of ratouille at the corner of one and fold it into a triangle- then cut it out and place on prepared baking sheet. Alternatively, you can cut the phyllo-dough into squares of any size and top with ratatouille, after which you fold it into a triangle.


–>Place prepared triangles into the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the phyllo-dough begins to brown.


YUM!!!!!!! How good would this be with cheese!??!

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Fandango Salad- Awful Name, Awesome Salad!

I usually look to recipe titles to describe some component of the recipe. For example- Olive Chicken tends to have olives; Strawberry-Mango salad tends to have strawberries and mangoes in it. Pretty logical I think. So when I came across Fandango Salad in Kosher By Design (p. 90), I was stumped. In my mind, Fandango sounds vaguely like fiesta, so we’re talking party salad? Either way, a quick look at the ingredients did in fact get me excited. You see- I absolutely HATE making salads, especially salad dressings- I would rather bake a cake any day. Beside for the frustrating task of checking the lettuce which ends up with me on the floor of my living room spreading out wet leaves of lettuce over towels (see ridiculous picture below),



I just find dressings so hard to get right. That is why I was so thankful that my husband turned me on to Kosher by Design’s Purple Cabbage Salad, that has become my go to salad (see my previous post- https://elianna119.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/to-begin-with-a-few-successes-the-repeat-offenders/). But when asked by our Shabbos hosts to make a salad (as I invariably am. It’s like my name screams out “I want to make salads.”), I decided to try something new, and Fandango Salad turned out great!

To clear up the mystery- Fandango Salad is a romaine-lettuce salad that calls for walnuts and mandarin oranges (and cheese if you are making it dairy) that has a delicious raspberry dressing that involves food-processing (or blending, as I did) thawed-raspberries, red onion, mustard powder, red wine vinegar, oil, sugar and salt. The dressing is delicious and makes enough to dress a few salads!

When I served this salad on Shabbos, I decided to toast the walnuts and add an avocado to make it a bit more exciting and add to the fiesta (let’s just call it Fiesta Salad from now on). We then went to our friends’ Sunday night to break the fast and watch the Ravens game, and I made the salad again, again toasting the walnuts and adding avocado, in addition to craisins and feta cheese.



It was a delicious accompaniment to the break-fast meal of lasagna and garlic bread and we still have a little dressing left… looks like I better go break out the towels…

Makes it all worth it!

Makes it all worth it!

Enjoy! And never settle for bottled raspberry vinaigrette again!

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Fast-Day Super-Fast Chocolate-Crinkle Cookies!

So I hate to post about food on a fast-day, but these cookies are so delicious and ready so quickly that they are perfect for fast-day baking. Take whatever tiny bit of energy you have (and a tiny bit is really all you need for these cookies) and get started a half an hour before the fast is over tonight. Even so, they’ll likely be ready a few minutes early, the better to get your stomach rumbling.



I actually discovered this recipe from the Williams-Sonoma website this past Friday morning. We woke up at 5 something because of the insanely loud rain and wind (which managed to die down by the time we would have been up, funnily enough) and being too early to daven and in somewhat of a daze, I decided to look online for an easy dessert to make for Shabbos.

I found these cookies and they are so easy, with simple ingredients that you already have in your pantry- check out the recipe:


My changes:

-To make these pareve I used margarine instead of butter

-While the recipe tells you to roll the dough into balls with your hands and then roll them in confectioners sugar, that is just not possible. The dough is incredibly sticky, and as such, I simply took a spoonful of dough, dropped it into the confectioner sugar, and then proceeded to roll it around into a ball. I highly recommend you forget attempting to roll it in your hands- I ended up with half of the batter stuck in my ring and on my hands- wasted.

-Next time, I would definitely listen to to some of the recipe’s reviews and add mini-choco chips. The texture of the cookie is perfectly moist on the inside and crunchy on top, but it could use a little more of a chocolate-kick.


And don’t forget to lick the batter once you’re done, or give it to your husband to finish…


When the batter’s good, you know the cookie’s gotta be good!

Please God we won’t have to fast next year, and will be able to enjoy these cookies anytime. But in the meantime, make these cookies, learn some Torah while they’re baking (and then a little longer, since they only bake for approx. 10 minutes), and bask in your ability to make cookies that look quite fancy!

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Original and Delicious: Banana-Honey-Almond Oatmeal!

Tuesday is generally my exercise-class day. Each Tuesday at 9:15 begins my mini vacation; for an hour I get to indulge in some sweat-inducing hard cardio and strength training, usually (hopefully) to an awesome soundtrack (recently the teacher has been very into Michael Jackson, specifically “Thriller-”, not the best for working out, but anyway…).

What lasts for much more than an hour is the hunger I experience following intense exercise. The hunger is never immediate, but creeps up on me beginning a few hours after the class, and tends to rear its carb-loading head all that night and the next day. Well this past Tuesday I decided to nip that monster in the bud and actually give myself a filling and nutritious lunch. And so began my fight to fend off what would otherwise be the inevitable hunger of the following day and a half.

I looked around the kitchen, in the mood for carbs, knowing I should have some protein, and seeing a banana that was calling my name, and I was inspired- time for some OATMEAL! I proceeded to make the most delicious oatmeal I have ever had (minus the oatmeal at Village Green in Jerusalem- their oatmeal is damn good).


The finished product- check out all of those delicious components!

I call this my fiber, healthy-fat filled, delicious banana-honey oatmeal.


½ cup quick cooking oatmeal

½ cup water + ½ cup milk (I used skim. I would imagine that the delicious-ness of the oatmeal probably increases exponentionally with each increased fat-percentage of milk)

Cinnamon- to taste

Prunes and/or raisins- to taste

One banana

Honey- to taste

Slivered almonds- to taste

All bran- to taste (but I swear you won’t taste it. Its magic fiber will blend tastelessly into your oatmeal. Woohoo!)

–>Follow the directions on the oatmeal and bring the milk, water, cinnamon, and half of your banana and a few raisins/cut up prunes to a boil in a small sauce pan. Cook until oatmeal is ready. (Adding the fruit at this point helps infuse the oatmeal with its sweet flavor!)

–>Then add in honey to your liking, and cut up the rest of the banana into the oatmeal. NOW HERE IS THE SECRET- To get the creamiest, most banana-delicious oatmeal ever, microwave your bowl of oatmeal with the banana on top for approximately 40 seconds. This will break the banana down and enable you to mix it into your oatmeal for a creamy and delicious consistency.

–>After microwaving, add almonds and all-bran if desired, and eat up!

All-Bran and Raisins!

All-Bran and Raisins!

With almonds and a drizzle of honey! (The banana, raisins, and All-bran are hidden underneath!)

With almonds and a drizzle of honey! (The banana, raisins, and All-bran are hidden underneath!)

Enjoy, and don’t forget to thank yourself for a delicious and healthy meal that will keep you full for hours!

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Dinner Tonight- Scalloped Potatoes!

Scalloped Potatoes (Courtesy of Kosher by Design, p. 206)

There I was (5 or so hours ago)-  free to do whatever I wanted. You see, we have a fridge full of leftovers from my parents (both of whom are wonderful cooks, yet less recipe-oriented people, which makes emulation of their delicious-nesss somewhat difficult), so there was no dinner to be made! Yet on the other hand, there I was, staring at 4 Idaho potatoes I had bought last week, that had to be used before they continued to sprout little baby bulbs. My intentions in buying them last week had been good- I was going to make latkes for Hanukkah. But then our Menorah caught fire (I know, is that even possible), the fire alarm went off, the apartment was awash with a pungent water and burnt oil mixture, and suddenly I wasn’t as excited to spend an hour in the kitchen frying potatoes. We had ice cream instead, and played some blackjack and poker (carrying on the Hanukkah traditons of my family).

So while that night ended well -on a sugar-high- a week later, and I still had these potatoes. I figured I would make something with them to augment the leftovers from my parents. I began looking for highly rated roast-potato recipes online when I realized exactly what I was going to make. My husband, for some reason, has this thing about Scalloped Potatoes. Has he ever eaten scalloped potatoes? No. Does he particularly like potatoes in general? No, in fact he tends to steer clear of them. But for some reason, scalloped potatoes have tickled his fancy, and I had noticed a recipe for pareve scalloped potatoes in Kosher by Design a few months ago.

And so the night began. And let me tell you, scalloped potatoes aint no joke. They are creamy and delicious, and comforting as hell. Dare I say scalloped potatoes are the new potato kugel??

I followed the recipe in Kosher by Design, with only the following change- I substituted vegetable oil for half of the margarine, and vegetable broth for chicken broth. You begin by making a delicious and creamy sauce of margarine, flour, broth, chopped onion, and mayonnaise, which you then cover the bottom of your baking dish with. You then alternate between layers of potatoes and layers of sauce, and finish with a layer of sauce on top on which you generously sprinkle pepper and paprika.Image

(The sauce smells absolutely divine!)

My one critique is that the recipe definitely needs some additional spice. Next time I would add more spice to the sauce- increasing the salt called for by the recipe and adding in some garlic powder, as well as including paprika and pepper into the sauce, and not just on the top layer.

This recipe comes out of the oven browned and slightly crunchy on top, and creamy and savory in the middle!



And so we begin…



Doesn’t that look spectacularly milchig? Yum!

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