Israeli Couscous with Apples, Cranberries and Herbs

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Hello friends! We hope everyone had a scrumptious holiday season and a happy new year. After taking a little bit of a hiatus we are back and armed with delicious recipes, some even life changing, that we cannot wait to share with you. A percentage of these are family recipes, others we have discovered online or through word of mouth, and a few are a result of experimenting in our own kitchens.

So without further ado, let’s get cookin’ :).

Served at room temperature, this Israeli couscous recipe is the perfect side dish for a potluck or get together with friends. It also makes for great leftovers. Add some grilled chicken to it and,  voila!, you have a delicious and healthy lunch. A Giada de Laurentiis recipe with a few tweaks, I’ve made this dish several times for friends and have only received rave reviews.

NOTE: Giada says the dish serves between 4 to 6 people but I find it really serves up to 20 as a side dish. Unless you are cooking for an army, there is no need to double this recipe.

Ingredients

Couscous:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups Israeli couscous (Do not substitute regular couscous for Israeli couscous. Trader Joes  sells Israeli couscous and most grocery stores sell it in their kosher or international section. If you cannot find Israeli couscous you can use barley or orzo.)
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 medium green apple, diced
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds slices

Vinaigrette:

  • 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

For the couscous: In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the couscous and cook, stirring occasionally until slightly browned and aromatic, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated. Transfer the cooked couscous to a large bowl and set aside to cool. Once cooled, add the parsley, rosemary, thyme, apple, dried cranberries, and almonds.

For the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, maple syrup, honey, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until smooth. Pour the vinaigrette over the couscous and toss to coat evenly. Let sit for at least 1 hour before serving.

Apple Pancake Family Recipe

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Even though it is in the 90s today in Washington DC and Virginia, fall is upon us and that means it is apple season. We love apple season as it gives us an excuse to not only bake apple pies and apple crisp but also apple pancakes.

When the Savory Sisters were growing up, we frequently would wake up on weekend mornings to the sweet smell of cinnamon and butter.  The minute we smelled it we could not bring ourselves to go back asleep as the smell wafted throughout the house.  Instead, we would go downstairs and wait with salivating mouths for our mom’s special apple pancake to come out of the oven. Oh the torture but so worth the wait.

A sort of breakfast apple pie, apple pancake is a baked breakfast dish made up of apples, cinnamon and butter mixed into a slightly sweet batter.  Our family recipe is derived from a somewhat sweeter version created by the Walker Brothers Restaurant located a couple of miles from our mom’s hometown outside of Chicago.

Apple Pancake

The recipe is as follows:

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup flour

3 eggs beaten

pinch of salt

vanilla

1-2 apples, peeled and sliced.

Saute the apples with a tablespoon of butter until soft but not soggy.  Mix the rest of the ingredients together and add the apples.  Pour into greased 9 x 13 pan or a pan of similar size.  Bake at 500 degrees for 15 minutes.  Dot with sugar and butter and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Place back into the oven for another 5 minutes.  Drizzle with maple syrup and you have delicious breakfast treat! Enjoy!

Bringing Sushi to Your Kitchen

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Who ever said you need to go to an expensive Japanese restaurant for sushi?  As long as you can find some fresh fish it’s super easy to bring those same flavors to your kitchen.  Here is my recipe for a deconstructed tuna-avocado roll…

Tada!

1. First marinate fresh sushi-grade tuna for an hour in…

1 tsp of grated fresh ginger

1/2 cup of orange juice

3 tbsp of soy sauce

1/3 cup sweet chili sauce

2.  Remove tuna from marinade and coat both sides with sesame seeds

3.  Heat canola or vegetable oil in a saute pan and cook the tuna for about 2 minutes on one side and a minute on the other

4.  Slice tuna at about 1 cm wide slices and serve with avocado, white rice (I use Jasmine since it’s easier to find than sushi rice) and sliced ginger.  Drizzle with any soy-based sauce such as teriyaki or gyoza dipping sauce.

Deconstructed Sushi

Guilt-Free Creamy Cheesy Mushroom Rigatoni Bake

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I have a love-hate relationship with creamy cheesy pasta sauces. They are absolutely delicious but I hate the guilt that comes with eating thousands of calories and tons of fat is a single pasta dish. Therefore, I was ecstatic when I came across the low calorie/low fat creamy cheesy Mushroom Rigatoni Bake recipe from Cooking Lite. The dish is packed with flavor with a thick asiago sherry thyme sauce that is rich yet guilt-free. I often make this dish for guests as it can be made ahead of time and I can clean up the kitchen while it is baking in the oven. Therefore, when my guests arrive I can simply sit back, relax with a glass of wine and enjoy their company.

I’ve adjusted the Cooking Lite recipe slightly, using a little more cheese and sherry than called for (because you can never have too much cheese and wine) but I also use skim milk instead of 2%. The Cooking Lite recipe also calls for a variety of mushrooms but I just use baby bella. So the next time you are craving creamy cheesy deliciousness without the guilt try out my revised Cooking Lite Mushroom Rigatoni Bake recipe below:

Mushroom Rigatoni Bake (Serves 4)

Mushroom Rigatoni Bake

Ingredients:

8 ounces rigatoni

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup sliced shallots

1 package sliced baby bella mushrooms (or any mushroom of your preference)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup dry sherry

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups skim milk (or whatever you have on hand)

1 to 2 cups (depends how dangerous you feel that day) grated Asiago cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 375. Cook pasta al dente, drain well, set aside.

Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots, saute 3 min or until slightly carmelized. Add mushrooms, thyme, salt, pepper, and garlic. Saute 8 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Add sherry, cook 1 minute, stirring frequently, remove from heat.

Place flour in a dutch oven or small sauce pot (whatever you have on hand) over medium-high heat. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly with a whisk. Bring to a boil, cook 1 min or until slightly thick. Remove from heat, add half of the cheese, stirring until melted.

Mix pasta, mushroom mixture and cheese sauce together. Spoon pasta mixture into a greased 8-inch square baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with remainder of cheese. Bake at 375 for 30 min or until cheese melts and begins to brown. Garnish with thyme sprigs if desired.




Finnish Pancake Family Recipe

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Finnish Pancake

In the market for a new breakfast dish? This past weekend the Savory Sisters made Finnish pancake for breakfast for friends and since then have received many requests for the recipe. A cross between an omelet and a pancake and served warm with maple syrup, a Finnish pancake is a moist dish with the perfect amount of sweetness and heartiness.

Us Savory Sisters first discovered the deliciousness of Finnish pancakes when we were little girls at the Big E, which is basically a state fair except it covers all of New England. Ever since then our family has been baking Finnish pancakes for breakfast or brunch whenever we can. It is very easy to make and most likely you already have all the ingredients in your kitchen. So the next time you can’t decide whether you want eggs or pancakes or you simply want to try something new that is amazingly delicious for breakfast/brunch, check out our Finnish pancake family recipe below:

Finnish Pancake (serves 4)

Ingredients:

4 eggs
2 tbsp. sugar
2 cups milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 stick butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup flour

Preheat oven to 450. Mix all ingredients together except the butter. Melt butter in a 13×9 inch pan in the oven. Once melted pour mixture on top. Bake for about 30 min or until lightly golden brown. Serve immediately with maple syrup.

Savory Sisters Entertaining Recipes – Baby Shower Edition

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This past weekend us Savory Sisters had an absolute blast hosting a baby shower for our older sister Rachel in beautiful Hampden, Massachusetts. For us, there is almost nothing better than hanging out with friends and family while eating delicious food and watching our sister open up the most adorable baby gifts. We received a lot of compliments on the food at the shower so we decided to share some of the recipes here on our blog. While we made these dishes for a baby shower you really can make them for almost any sort of get together or party:

Overnight French Toast

Overnight French Toast

(Moist and delicious, this is the perfect dish for a breakfast or brunch for a large group. Serves 15.)

Ingredients:

2 Loaves of Challah or Brioche Bread (no crust)

12 Eggs

2 Cups Whole Milk or Half & Half

1/2 Cup Maple Syrup

Sugar

Cinnamon

8 oz Cream Cheese

2 to 3 Apples OR 2 Cups of Blueberries

Night before:

In greased 9 by 13 glass or ceramic dish, fill with cubes of either Challah or Brioche.

Whisk eggs, whole milk or half-half & maple syrup.

Pour mixture over bread, and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

Dot with cream cheese

Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Morning:

Preheat oven to 375F.

Slice thin 2 – 3 apples and spread on top with cinnamon (we used blueberries at the shower since they were in season)

Bake 30 to 40 minutes til puffy and not loose. Serve with maple syrup.

Summer Orzo Salad

Summer Orzo Salad

(Light, colorful, flavorful and fresh, this is a great dish for a lunch or BBQ. Can be made the day before and transports well. Serves up to 20.)

Ingredients:

1 Box Orzo Pasta

1 Small Red Onion, Chopped

1 Small Jar Sun-Dried Tomatoes or Fresh Cherry Tomatoes

1 Package Tomato Basil Feta Cheese

1/2 Cup Toasted Pine Nuts

1 Package Baby Spinach Leaves

1 Cup Girard’s Champagne Dressing (or make your own homemade champagne dressing with honey, olive oil, Dijon mustard and champagne vinegar or apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper to taste).

1 Bag of Shrimp (defrost, remove tails, toss in lemon juice and salt)

Cook Orzo according to box, rinse with cold water, drain for 30 minutes.

Put Orzo in Ziploc bag and toss with Champagne Dressing. Leave in fridge for 1 hour or more.

Mix in remaining ingredients.

Raspberry Mint Lemonade

Raspberry Mint Lemonade

(A refreshing summer drink, we made this as a mocktail so w/o alcohol but feel free to add a liquor of your choice such as rum or vodka. Serves about 12.)

Ingredients:

8 Cups (2 quarts) Ginger Ale

1/4 Cup Powdered Lemonade Mix

4 Cups Frozen Raspberries

1 Cup Fresh Mint Leaves

1 Zest of a Lemon & Juice of the Lemon

4 Cups of Ice

Mix all ingredients together and serve!

The Savory Sisters are always looking for new recipes to check out. If you have any you think we would enjoy please let us know :).