Easy Cooking

It’s been a while since I posted new recipes. Passover cooking and general languishing (that’s the stage between flourishing and depression, according to my daughter) got the better of me. Then the dishwasher died.

Dinners have been very simple- ad hoc stir fries with lots of vegetables, baked fish or chicken, salads and soup and lots of things from the freezer.

But spring has arrived, bringing renewed energy along with the beautiful pansies and sunshine. We’ll be out on the deck; some of us will be barbecuing.

The following recipes are simple, but tasty and can be easily tweaked and great for days when you don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

But first- Shavuot is right around the corner. Dairy is a must. Here’s a repeat of a simple, versatile classic dairy dish which is a lot easier than cheesecake and probably better for you.

5 14 noodles
Noodles and cottage cheese
serves 6-8


1 small onion diced (optional)

butter for sauteeing (optional)

1 (16 oz.) package pasta (penne, bow ties, egg noodles, etc.)

1 (16 oz.) container small curd cottage cheese

3-4 Tbsp sour cream (optional)

Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta according to the package instructions.
  2. Once cooked, drain the pasta well and add it back to the hot pot.
  3. (Optional) While the pasta cooks, sauté the onion in the butter until softened.
  4. Add the onions (if using) and cottage cheese to the pasta and stir until all of the noodles are well coated and saucy.
  5. Add sour cream, if using. Season with salt and lots of pepper to taste. Stir until well combined.
  6. Serve hot, and if desired garnish the dish with fried onions, parmesan cheese, and/or chopped parsley.

NOTES: For a sweeter dish, eliminate the savory toppings and onions and add about 3 T of sugar or to taste. Mix in some cinnamon, too. You can also use farmer cheese.

5 14 Noodle Romanoffimages
If you want to get a little fancier and put in a little more effort try Noodles Romanoff: https://www.food.com/recipe/noodles-romanoff-47261

The following recipe is a variant of my friend Lois’s chicken breast slathered with mayonnaise. I know it sounds awful but the mayo provides the fat for cooking. And it’s quick to prepare.

5 14 ginger lime chicken
Ginger-Lime Chicken
serves 4


1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breast

Kosher salt

Black pepper

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon lime zest (about 2 limes)

Lime wedges

1-2 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger (from a 3” piece of ginger)


  1. Pat the chicken dry and season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, lime zest, ginger, salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Put the chicken into the marinade, covering it well with marinade and let sit up to eight hours in fridge. Bring to room temperature before cooking.
  4. TO GRILL: Grill on medium high about 5 minutes per side for thighs or 4 minutes per side for breasts or until the juices run clear.
  5. TO PAN COOK: Heat a large skillet or grill pan over medium high. Cook chicken about 5 minutes per side for thighs or 4 minutes per side for breasts until the juices run clear.
  6. Serve with lime wedges.

NOTES: If the chicken breast are very thick, cut them in half though the middle. The thinner pieces will cook more quickly. Add some chile-lime seasoning (available at Trader Joe’s) to the marinade. Garnish with cilantro or parsley. Serve with brown rice.

This marinade would also be good on fish. Try substituting lemon for lime juice.

For a pop of color, serve carrots as a vegetable. Try this recipe with very thin whole rainbow carrots or cut larger carrots in to halves or quarters as the recipe directs.

5 14 Charred carrots
Charred Carrots with Orange and Balsamic
serves 4-6


1 1/2 pounds rainbow (or orange) carrots

3 tablespoons good olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves

Kosher salt

Black pepper

1/2 an orange , zested and juiced

1 Tablespoon syrupy, aged balsamic vinegar

Fleur de sel or sea salt

Put an oven rack 4 inches away from broiler.

  1. Heat broiler.
  2. Cut carrots crosswise into 4 inch lengths. Cut the larger pieces in half or quarters lengthwise so they are about 1/2 inch wide. If the carrots are very thin, don’t cut the carrots for a more dramatic presentation.
  3. Preheat a baking sheet to encourage charring.
  4. Put carrots in a bowl with the olive oil, thyme, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Toss until coat.
  5. Place the carrots on a preheated sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with thyme,     1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Toss until coated.
  6. Spread the carrots every on the baking sheet and broil for about 10 minutes, tossing occasionally until they are tender and slightly charred.
  7. Top with orange zest, orange juice and vinegar. Sprinkle with flour de sel and toss to coat.
  8. Check seasonings. Serve warm or at room temperature.

NOTES: The type of salt you use makes a difference. Table salt is different from kosher salt because of volume. Use lemon instead of orange, if desired. Add a little brown sugar tor maple syrup to seasoning mixture. Carrots could also be roasted in a hot oven until done. Put under the broiler for a couple of minutes to char.

A simple main course deserves a simple dessert. Who doesn’t like lemon bars? How about a 3-ingredient lemon bar- even better.


5 14 lemon bars

3-Ingredient Lemon Crumble Bars
serves 12


1 box yellow cake mix

1 stick salted butter or margarine, softened to room temperature

1 (22 oz.) can lemon pie filling

DIRECTIONS (look at notes first for some hints)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Try Baker’s Joy which has some flour in it.
  3. In a bowl, combine softened butter or margarine with dry cake mix.
  4. Mix until crumbly.
  5. Set aside about 1/2 cup of mixture for topping
  6. Press rest of mixture evenly into the baking pan, packing it down with your hands. * (see notes)
  7. Spoon lemon pie filling over the crust and evenly sprinkle with reserved crust mixture
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes until the crumbs on top turn a very light brown.
  9. When cool, sift powdered sugar on top, if desired.

NOTES: *Bake the crust for about 10 minutes before adding topping. Then proceed with the recipe.

Add some lemon zest to both batter and pie filling. Add lemon juice to pie filling to make it less sweet. Substitute lemon cake for yellow cake. Use blueberry pie filling. Bake the crust for about 10 minutes before adding topping. Proceed with rest of recipe. It may need to bake a few extra minutes. For thicker bars, use an 8 or 9 inch cake pan. Adjust cook time for thicker crust. Cool thoroughly, then refrigerate. These will freeze.


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Aileen Grossberg

Aileen Grossberg

Aileen Grossberg, a professional librarian, is a long-time congregant and serves as volunteer librarian for Shomrei's Lampert Library. The library, one of the best-kept secrets at Shomrei is used by the Rabbi, congregants, students and teachers of the JLC (Hebrew School) and Preschool. It's a tremendous resource completely supported by your donations and gifts. Aileen also heads the Shomrei Caterers, the in-house food preparation group. Can there be any better combination…good food and good books!
Aileen Grossberg

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