Easy Bar-B-Q Pulled Pork

I know this is not Russian or Ukrainian. But it’s a great dinner idea and it’s super easy to make! And it tastes great too! Andrey actually told me that he could eat this all day.

Here’s what you need:

1 Bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce

1-2lb Port chops, pork loin or pork roast (cut into smaller pieces)

Slow cooker!

Put the pork into your slow cooker. I have just a little simple one that was gifted to me for my wedding 7 years ago. Still works!

Pour the entire bottle of barbecue sauce on top of the meat.

One of Andrey's favorite BBQ sauces and very inexpensive

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. The longer it cooks the softer the meat and the easier it is to pull apart.

When the meat is done cooking I take 2 forks and start pulling apart the meat. The picture above is the result.

To stay somewhat on the healthy side I chose whole wheat hamburger buns and toasted them. I topped them with the pulled pork (about 2-3 tablespoons). I like my sandwich with tomato.

For the side I decided on sweet potato fries that I baked in the oven following Martha Stewart’s recipe.

So easy…soooo good!

Enjoy!

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Crab Salad

This is a super easy version of a crab salad. It’s not exactly like the one you can find in your grocery stores deli but its easy to make and very delicious. It’s great for dinner for a small family or for a party. This is a favorite at parties for my relatives.

Here is what you need:

1/4 Head of cauliflower chopped into bite size bits

1 lb Imitation crab meat chopped or torn into desired size

2 Small carrots chopped

3/4 Cup chopped onion (or less if you don’t like the taste of onion)

1/2 cup mayonnaise

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together and enjoy. Or refrigerate for about 30 minutes or more and it tastes even better!

Want different variations? My mom likes to add corn kernels and peas. They add more color and taste great. When making this salad for a very large crowd (80 people) my friend added cooked white rice. It added volume, couldn’t be seen and didn’t alter the taste very much at all. The store-bought crab salad has celery in it, also a great addition. Make your own!

Rice Noodles with Pork

Warning!! This is not a Russian or Ukrainian dish. It is made by my mother who is Ukrainian so it made it to my blog. My husband and I enjoy this dish very much and we would like you to enjoy it as well. My mother uses bean noodles instead of rice noodles and it tastes amazing. This is a pretty easy dish and you can add whatever veggies you have on hand to create your own rice noodles with pork.

Ingredients:

1/2 -1lb pork (depends on how much meat you want on your plate)

1 cup chopped white mushrooms

2 cups shredded cabbage

1 cup chopped bell pepper

1/4 cup green onion chopped

2 garlic cloves grated

1/4 cup vinegar (plus more depending on your taste)

salt and pepper

3 tbsp oil

What to do:

Heat oil in a large skillet and add pork. Cook pork until completely done. Add mushrooms, garlic, and cabbage. Cook on medium high heat until the veggies are soft and cooked down.

Cook the rice noodles or bean noodles according to package directions. If directions are not in English just place noodles in boiling water and cook until done, about 10 minutes. Do not overcook the noodles because they will get too soft and fall apart.

When the cabbage has cooked down add the bell peppers. Stir fry for a couple minutes until the bell pepper is slightly softened. Add salt and pepper to taste.

When the rice noodles or bean noodles are done cooking add to the pork and vegetable skillet. Add the green onions and vinegar. Softly stir everything together.

Place on a plate and enjoy!

Sooo good!

Goluptchiki (Stuffed Cabbage Rolls)

A few weeks ago I posted tifteli and I promised that I would post Goluptsi. In my family we always called them Goluptchiki. The way my mom made goluptchiki, is the tifteli ingredients are what the stuffing for the cabbage is for goluptchiki. I would have to say that goluptsi is one of my favorite Russian/ Ukrainian foods. Right next to Borscht and Oliviye. Goluptsi just like borcht is made completely different by different people and I’m picky about whose I will eat. I absolutely love the way my mom makes them. She makes them very flavorful, very moist and super tiny, bite size even. I know that some people make them super large, meal size and my mother in law makes stuffed grape leaves. I am posting the recipe that my mom gave me and I attempted to make them just like hers. She has many more years experience making them, and I have made them maybe three times in my life. My dad got to try them and according to him they taste just like my moms! He’s so sweet.

This is a very time consuming recipe so you need to have plenty of time to make these. Also one head of cabbage will make a huge pot full of goluptsi. They make great next day leftovers (just reheat in the microwave). Or freeze them and enjoy some other day.

Ingredients:

-1 large head of cabbage

-1 1/4 cup white rice

-2 lb Ground meat of choice (I used 1lb ground turkey and 1lb lean ground beef)

-2 Small onions (1 roughly chopped, 1 grated)

-3 Medium carrots grated

-Salt (4 tsp or to taste. It may seem like a lot of salt but remember that there are 2 lb of meat that needs to be salted)

-Pepper (1 tsp or to taste)

-1/4 Tsp Chili powder

-4 Tbsp ketchup

-Water

-1 Can petite diced tomatoes

Note: If you read my tifteli recipe you will notice that it requires only 1 lb of ground meat. I increased the amount for goluptsi to 2 lb and increased the rice and spices accordingly. You can still use the exact recipe for tifteli for the goluptsi stuffing but will have to use a small head of lettuce or half of a large one.)

What to do:

Cook rice according to package directions. Make sure to keep the rice a little undercooked. Set aside and let cool.

Use a large pot. Fill with water and heat until boiling. Add a few pinches of salt.

Take the cabbage and remove the stem with a knife. Peel away the first couple leaves of the cabbage on the outside. Place the cabbage into the water and let it simmer. Keep an eye on the cabbage. You will notice the outside leaves getting softer. Start peeling them off. When the cabbage leaves are soft enough that you can roll them remove them, place on a platter and let them cool. Continue doing the same thing with the rest of the cabbage.

Cabbage leaves cooling

While the cabbage leaves cool, combine the cooled rice, ground meat, grated onion, 2 grated carrots, salt, pepper, chili powder, and 2 tbs ketchup. Make sure to fold in all the ingredients gently.

Cut the large cabbage leaves in half removing the thick stem. My cabbage was so large I was able to cut the large leaves into three. Of course I was making super tiny golupchiki. You can even use the entire cabbage leave whole just make sure to “shave” down or cut down the stem so that it is easier to roll.

Take the cabbage leave in your hand. Place the desired amount of meat/ rice stuffing. In my case it was about 2-3 tbs.

Take one end and roll it to the other end. Make a fist while gently holding the golupchik in your hand and stuff the loose ends inside.

Continue until all the stuffing is gone or all the cabbage leaves have been stuffed. Keep a few leaves to line the cooking pot. When using the little cabbage leaves just cut down the stem and use the entire leaf. If you have stuffing left over just roll it up into a ball and cook it with the goluptsi, it’s a tiftel now.

Line a large pot with the cabbage leaves you set aside. This is to keep the bottom goluptsi from burning. This is just a precaution and you don’t have to do it if you want to use all the leaves for golupchiki.

Place the golupchiki in one layer. Sprinkle with some grated carrots and onions. Continue with second layer of golupchiki, carrots and onion. When all the golupchiki are in the pot cover with the rest of the ketchup and can of diced tomatoes. Here you can use whatever amount of ketchup and diced tomatoes you would like. It will all cook down and create a nice sauce. Pour enough water into the pot to almost cover the goluptsi.

Heat on high to reach a boil. Turn heat down to medium. Cover and cook for 1 hour. After an hour check on the golutsi. The meat should be completely cooked and the cabbage is easily and effortlessly sliced through. Everyone has a different pot and different stove top so cooking time will vary. It could take up to two hours.

They are so delicious! I enjoy them as a main dish with a side of salad and my husband covers them in sour cream. You can do whatever you like!

Enjoy!

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!

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!

A Ukrainian/Russian Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving! I love thanksgiving! And with all the difficulties we may be facing, so much to be thankful for. What a great excuse to throw a party. I was fortunate enough  to attend TWO Thanksgiving get-togethers! We had turkey for lunch with my in-laws and turkey for dinner with my dad’s family. It was so great to see all my loved ones together. And the food was amazing!

We all know the traditional thanksgiving food, turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin or apple pie, cranberry sauce…etc. When my family celebrates thanksgiving it seems to me they go all out with a Russian wedding menu! I know some of you know exactly what I am talking about and those of you who don’t, one day I will have to blog about the Sacramento area Russian wedding menu. For now you will have just a glimpse of it.

My Thanksgiving Lunch at my in-laws:

Turkey of course!

Vinaigrette salad.

Layered garden salad.

Smoked salmon with olives.

For desert pechenye rozachki (Rose cookies). They are amazing! I have the recipe and soon so will you.

Store bought baklava.

Of course I brought along my pumpkin cheesecake.

It was so wonderful to spend lunchtime with family and enjoy all this food.

Then there was dinner with my dad’s family. There were almost 30 people at my parents home and it was a potluck style meal. I have to warn you. Viewing of the food may cause hunger pains and the urge to cook, bake or eat thanksgiving leftovers.

Goluptsi or golupchiki.

Cabage wraps.

Recipe coming soon.

 

Oliviye.

My favorite!

 

 

Lightly marinated fresh cucumbers.

 

 

 

Red beet salad

 

 

 

The very popular, found at every Russian party

Shuba. A complex, many layered side dish.  It may

take some time before I try to tackle this one.

 

Mashed potatoes with podliva.

 

 

 

Other appatizers and side dishes


Two small hens and a turkey! We eat so much meat!

 

And my favorite part…the desert! I think I ate more desert than the actual meal.

The ultra popular “Vafly”. They are these super light thin wafers with cooked condensed milk (caramel) in-between to create layers. I love to eat these.

This is my mothers creation. Perog. It has the dough of piroshki with cheesecake filling and fruit preserves all layered and baked. It is amazing! I can’t wait to make it and post the recipe.

My aunt Alla’s piroshki. She makes the best. All different fillings and sooo yumy!

My aunt Lyuba’s Fried dough and cheese fritters. I need to get my hands on this recipe!

 

The deserts were enjoyed with a large cup of tea of course. We love out tea!

We even had blooming tea!

 

Food was great and so was the company. So much to be thankful for.

 

 

 



 

 

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