Tifteli

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I know that Christmas just passed but we can still celebrate! I love the holiday season. Especially all the delicious food to eat! I thought my two thanksgiving dinners were amazing but I think my Christmas dinners were even better. I am so blessed! I am looking forward to sharing some of the recipes of the dishes I got to enjoy. Unfortunately I was so busy cooking and eating I didn’t take the time to photograph everything. But that’s okay because that just means I’m going to cook and eat again, and this time I’ll share with you. Stay tuned!

This Christmas my mother made goluptsi (stuffed cabage rolls) and tifteli for our Christmas dinner. I think she makes the best! I am very picky about goluptsi and I can only eat my mothers or my own. I just think that it’s something special and needs to be perfect. Goluptsi are stuffed cabbage rolls. In this case boiled cabbage leaves are stuffed with a mixture of rice, meat, carrot, onion, and seasoning. Tifteli are balls of that “stuffing” cooked either separately or together with goluptsi. I did a little research on tifteli and found that not all Ukrainians or Russians even know what they are. Online I found different recipes as well. I will share with you my moms recipe. When I was little and my mom would make them, I always felt sad for my mom because I thought she had no more cabbage left and she had to make these little balls of the filling and called them tifteli. I asked my mom about it and she said that wasn’t always the case. When I told my sister this she said that she thought that my mom made tifteli especially for her because she didn’t like the cabbage. Oh the things we think about when we’re little.

Here’s what you need!

Ingredients:

1 Cup Uncooked white rice

1 lb of Ground meat. Completely your choice. I used ground turkey. You can used ground chicken, pork, or beef or any combination of them.

3 Tsp salt or to taste

1 Tsp Pepper

1/4 Tsp Chili Powder (Optional. I like to add just a tiny bit because of that little kick of spicy you feel on your tongue)

1/4 Cup finely chopped fresh parsley

2 Small onions ( 1 roughly chopped, 1 grated)

3 Carrots Grated

4 Tbsp Ketchup

1- 15oz  Petite diced tomatoes

2 Tbsp oil

1 Tbsp butter

 

Directions:

Cook the rice according to package directions. It is important not to overcook the rice because it will keep cooking with the rest of the ingredients. It is okay to have the rice slightly undercooked.

In a large bowl mix the rice, ground meat, salt, pepper, chili powder, parsley 1 grated onion, 2 grated carrots, and 2 tbsp ketchup.

In a large skillet heat the oil and butter on medium high heat.

Make 2 inch balls out of the meat/rice mixture and add to the skillet. Slightly brown the ball all over by turning it so it doesn’t burn. Add oil if needed.

Once browned, move the tifteli to a small dutch oven or a 4 quart pot. Cover with the remaining onion, carrots and ketchup. Layer the tifteli, one on top of the other. Add a few tablespoons of water to the bottom of the pot, cover, lower heat to low and let cook for about an hour. Instead of the water you can add a can of petite diced tomatoes. The tomatoes will add to the flavor and the tifteli will be moist and cooked wonderfully. Sooo good! Enjoy!

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Pechivo Troyandiy (Ukrainian Rose Cookies)

These cookies look beautiful and taste delicious. I loved it when my mom made them when I was little and I love it when my mother in law makes them now. Of course I have two different recipes for these cookies! The authentic Ukrainian recipe calls for “tvorog” (found in Russian stores), but I didn’t have a chance to get tvorog so I used my mother in laws recipe that uses cream cheese. Still taste amazing!

Ingredients:

Dough

8 oz Cream Cheese softened

2 Sticks Butter softened

2 Eggs

2 Cups Flour, more for sprinkling

1/4 tsp baking soda

 

Cream filling

2 Eggs whites

1 Cup sugar

1 Tsp vanilla

1/4 Tsp almond extract (optional, I love almond extract and use it whenever I can)

 

Directions:

Mix together all of the dough ingredients in a large bowl. Roll into a ball. Cover and refrigerate 2-3 hours.

Dough might be sticky just like the photo above shows. That’s okay.

Beat egg whites, sugar, vanilla and almond extract with a blender until soft peaks form and cream looks glossy. Cover and refrigerate until the dough is ready to be removed from refrigerator.

Remove dough and place on a floured surface. Add a little flour to the dough if it’s too sticky. Divide dough in two. Roll 1/2 of dough into rectangle, about 1/8-1/4  inch thick.

Take half of the egg/sugar cream mixture and spread evenly over the dough.

Roll dough into a log, long side. Cut the roll into 1/2 inch thick slices and place on a cookie sheet.

Repeat the same with the other half of the dough and cream.

Here I had some trouble because the cream started melting and did not want to stay in the roll. It looks like a bit of a mess on my cookie sheet. This was my first time ever making them and I know that with practice they will be perfect. Don’t be discouraged if yours are not perfect. They will still taste great. If you have tips on making these look a little better please let me know. (I think my problem was I used too much of the cream.)

Bake in a preheated oven at 350*F. The cookies will turn slightly golden and the cream will be a pinkish color.

Oh they are sooo good. Try them! Enjoy!

 

Slow-Cooker Lasagna

Ok, I know it’s not a Russian or Ukrainian dish. I just had to share this one with you. I love this recipe for lasagna. I think everyone should make it. It is easy to make with few ingredients but it taste amazing.

When I got married my mom gave me a box full or recipes. The recipes are part of a collection called “Grandma’s Kitchen”. I used many of the recipes for my family meals and this lasagna recipe is one of my absolute favorites.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (29-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 8 ounces lasagna noodles
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  • Combine ground beef, onion and garlic in a large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until ground beef is browned and crumbly, about 8 minutes; drain.

  • Add tomato sauce, water, tomato paste, salt and oregano and mix well.

  • Spoon one-fourth of the ground beef mixture into a 5-quart slow cooker. Layer one-third of the noodles over the ground beef mixture, breaking the noodles as needed.
  • Combine mozzarella, cottage cheese and Parmesan in a medium bowl and mix well.

  • Layer one-third of the mozzarella mixture over the noodle layer. Repeat noodle and mozzarella layers twice. Top with the remaining ground beef mixture. Cook, covered, on LOW until the noodles are tender, about 4 to 5 hours.

After 4 to 5 hours the lasagna will be done and because it’s in a slow cooker it will be a little difficult to get it out and very messy. I recommend to just let the lasagna sit for a little while. Very messy but sooo good!

Yumy holiday cookies!

I absolutely loooove cookies. I am always on the lookout for easy to make delicious cookies. I saw Martha Stewart recently on a morning show,  making Cranberry Coins cookies. They only required a few ingredients and are so easy to make. Here is the link to the original recipe. http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/cranberry-coins.

The first time that I made the cookies I thought they were great. But I wanted to put my own twist on them. I decided to add a little lemon flavor to make them more tangy. When adding the vanilla extract I also added 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract. When adding the cranberries I also added the lemon zest of one small lemon.

Here are a couple of tips when making the cookies. Make sure the butter is softened but not to the point that it’s almost melted. The cookie mixture is going to be a dough that you should be able to work with using your hands. If it’s too melted you will not be able to form the logs. I recommend refrigerating the dough for more than 30 minutes, up to overnight even. When the dough is stiffer it is easier to cut and the “coins” stay in their perfect circular shape.

These cookies are sooo good and make a great gift!