Oktoberfest Pumpkin Chili

We love experimenting with pumpkin recipes in the fall, and surprisingly have ended up liking the renditions of savory dishes more than the sweet ones! We have been making versions of this pumpkin chili for years now, and this latest is our favorite yet. We have combined all things “October” in this hearty chili- Oktoberfest beer, a can of pumpkin, and lots of warming spices. The beer gives the chili a little punch and helps give it a rich taste. The pumpkin is a great way to add creaminess but keep everything healthy. We suggest buying an Oktoberfest beer versus a pumpkin beer, as sometimes pumpkin beers can be ultra sweet which doesn’t mix well with the rest of the recipe. Serve with any and all of your favorite chili toppings for an ultra-fall cozy night in!

Octoberfest Pumpkin Chili

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients for the Chili

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and stem removed, minced
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can white beans, drained
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 12 oz Octoberfest beer (we used a Bavarian lager)
  • salt, to taste

Optional Chili Toppings and Accompaniments:

  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/3 cup packed cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and stems removed, minced
  • Mexican cheese blend
  • roasted and salted pumpkin seeds
  • tortilla chips

Directions:

  1. Heat a large cast iron pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, onion, and garlic to the pan. Sauté 4-5 minutes, or until the onions start to become translucent.
  2. Add the jalapeno, paprika, cumin, and red chili flakes to the pot. Toast the spices in the pan for about 3 minutes before adding the tomato paste. Mix in the tomato paste and let everything cook for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the both cans of beans and the pumpkin to the chili. Add the beer and stir well to combine, but not so rough that you start to break up the beans. Season the chili with salt. Bring the chili to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes uncovered, and then cover and cook another 20-30 minutes. If the chili seems too thick before you are ready to serve, you can add water or stock to bring it to the consistency of your liking. Season again with salt to taste.
  4. Serve the chili hot out of the pan with any of your favorite chili toppings.

Hawaiian Fried Rice

One of our good friends just welcomed her first baby boy last week! Due to COVID, we couldn’t have a large baby shower as we were hoping, and instead opted to have a small gathering with a few good friends a few weeks ago. We chose a tropical theme to shower Baby K and the menu matched accordingly. Along with Hawaiian meatballs, grilled steak skewers and halibut, we served this Hawaiian Fried Rice. This recipe uses sambal oelek and soy sauce to help flavor the rice making it sticky, salty and just a touch spicy.

Hawaiian Fried Rice

Makes: 8 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups uncooked jasmine rice
  • 2 tbs canola oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs ginger, minced
  • 4 oz cubed pancetta
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 tbs sambal oelek
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups pineapple, diced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, minced

Directions:

  1. Cook the rice according to package directions. Drain any excess water and set aside.
  2. In a deep pot – at least 4 inches – saute the pancetta in the canola oil for 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and bell pepper and saute another 3-4 minutes until the bell pepper starts to soften.
  3. Add the sambal, soy sauce and rice and stir everything together until the rice is fully coated in the sauce and everything is well incorporated.
  4. Crack the two eggs into a small bowl and whisk well.
  5. Push the rice to one side of the pot so that you have an empty space at the bottom of the pot. Add the eggs and cook in the pot until the eggs are cooked through. Mix the eggs into the rice until they are distributed evenly throughout.
  6. Remove the rice from the heat and add additional soy sauce or sambal depending on your salty/spicy preference.*
  7. Stir in the pineapple and top with cilantro. Serve immediately.

*Stop here if you want to make this recipe in advance and reheat. You can reheat over the stove-top by adding a bit of oil or in the microwave. Just leave the pineapple and cilantro out until everything is heated and you are ready to serve.


Jewish Deli Brunch Board

We aren’t sure if our Yom Kippur “break-the-fast” dinner is one of our favorite meals because it is breakfast-for-dinner on steroids, or if it’s one of our favorite dinners because we have spent the previous 24 hours abstaining from food. In normal (non-Covid) years, our mom hosts a huge Break-The-Fast with a bunch of our family friends. Everyone contributes to the menu and we usually have everything from Baked French Toast, to our Green Chili Egg Bake, to coffeecake and cookies. The star of the show, however, is the giant buffet of Jewish deli bagels and accompaniments. Today we are giving you a quick rundown of our favorite must-haves, and how to present them to wow your starving Yom Kippur guests or anyone coming over for a fun weekend brunch. As with any of our board recipes, you can make as much of the board ingredients as you like from scratch, but can easily cut back on time and effort by purchasing the items pre-made.

Break-The-Fast Jewish Deli Board

Makes: 8 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes if you buy everything pre-made

Ingredients:

  • 8 assorted bagels, sliced
  • 16 oz whipped cream cheese
  • 16 oz smoked white fish
  • 16 oz egg salad
  • 1 lb lox (smoked salmon)
  • 2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
  • 8 oz cherry tomatoes, halved if they are large
  • 1 cucumber, sliced on a bias
  • 2 avocados, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 boiled eggs, cut in half
  • 8 oz mixed olives (we used kalamata and castelvetrano)
  • Mixed herbs (dill, parsley, chives) for garnish, optional

Directions:

  1. Put the dips (cream cheese, white fish and egg salad) into small ramekins for serving on the board. Top each with appropriate garnishes and place on the board. We like to top the white fish with dill sprigs, the egg salad with chives, and the cream cheese with Everything Bagel Seasoning. Place each of the ramekins on the board, along with the smoked salmon.
  2. Add to the board with slices of tomato, cucumber, red onion, and avocado in various places, alternating with different vegetables in different spaces to distribute colors and ingredients to all sides of the board.
  3. Fill in the board with cherry tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, and mixed olives. Serve with sliced bagels and utensils for each of the spreads.

Vegan(ish) Mexican Sweet Potato Grain Bowls

We are back with another fun vegan(ish) recipe! We say vegan(ish) because we did add cheese to this recipe, but it can easily be omitted or substituted with a vegan alternative. One of the keys to eating vegan is attempting to reject the traditional concept that a meal needs to be “a protein, carb, and veggie”. It’s easy to feel stuck trying to fit that mold. Instead, we try to focus on changing the terminology to eating “plant-based”, where a meal can be made up of a bunch of different vegetables. This recipe has a bunch of different veggies and proteins that we bring together with a kick-ass, cilantro lime vinaigrette. These bowls are filling and really tasty; so much so that we promise that when you eat it you won’t be missing the meat.

Vegan(ish) Mexican Sweet Potato Grain Bowls

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients for the Bowls:

  • 2 medium-large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed grains (we used brown rice and farro but use what you have)*
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained, patted try with paper towel
  • 1 tbs chili-lime seasoning (Tajin), divided
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 1 avocado, quartered
  • 1/2 cup cotija cheese (you can leave this off if you want the recipe totally vegan)
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for the Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • juice of two limes
  • 1/2 cup packed cilantro
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Lay the sweet potatoes on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with 2 tbs olive oil and 2 tbs of the chili-lime seasoning. Toss to coat. Lay in a single layer and bake in the oven until tender, about 30 minutes.
  3. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, cook the grains. Heat 3 cups of water to a boil and add the grains you are using with a pinch of salt. Cook until tender, about 30 minutes.
  4. Prepare the chickpeas by laying them on a second cookie sheet. Drizzle 1 tbs olive oil and the remaining 1 tsp chili-lime seasoning over top. Toss to coat and lay them back in a single layer. When the sweet potatoes have cooked for about 20 minutes, add the chickpeas to the oven. Cook for the remaining 10 minutes with the sweet potatoes.
  5. While the chickpeas are cooking, prepare the dressing. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a small blender. Blend until smooth and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. When the grains, sweet potatoes, and chickpeas have finished cooking, prepare the bowls for serving. Layer 1 cup arugula, 2/3 cup of the mixed grains, and 1/4 of the sweet potatoes in each of four bowls. Top each bowl with approximately 1/4 cup chickpeas, 1/4 of an avocado, a few slices of red onion, and 2 tbs of crumbled Cotija. Divide the dressing among the bowls and serve immediately.

**You can buy frozen, pre-cooked brown rice or quinoa and save a step by just reheating to serve.


Marinated Flank Steak Tacos

Flank steak is one of those cuts of meat that we want to love, but seem to have a hard time preparing correctly. We tend to buy it in a pinch when we don’t want something as decadent as a ribeye. It’s thin like a strip steak but is still a tough cut of meat- it really tastes best after it has been marinated for a few hours, or ideally overnight. After a few attempts at marinating, we finally feel like we have a much better approach to flank steak.

What we love about this recipe is how vinegary the marinade is. The vinegar helps break down the steak and makes it much more tender than cooking it straight away. We have used the steak for tacos in this recipe, but it is versatile enough that you can eat it as is with grilled vegetables or with a drizzle of chimichurri

Marinated Flank Steak Tacos 
Makes: 4 servings 
Prep Time: 24 hours    Total Time: 25 hours 

Ingredients For The Steak: 

  • 1.5 – 2 lbs flank steak 
  • 3/4 cup olive oil 
  • 2/3 cup red wine vinegar 
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed 
  • salt and pepper  

Ingredients For The Tacos: 

  • 8-12 tortillas, warmed 
  • 3/4 cup cotija cheese, crumbled 
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced 
  • tomatillo salsa 
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges 

Directions: 

  1. Combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, and smashed garlic in a gallon ziplock bag or a pyrex baking dish. Pat the flank steak dry with paper towel and season it well on both sides with salt and pepper. Add the flank steak to the marinade and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 15-20 minutes before you want to cook the steak to bring it back up to room temperature. 
  2. When it is time to cook the steak, heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Let the pan get very hot, letting it get warm for a few minutes, before adding the steak. Cook the steak for 3-4 minutes per side, depending on how close to medium-rare you want the steak prepared. Remove the steak from the pan and let it rest for 8-10 minutes before slicing. 
  3. Serve the steak sliced in tacos with the taco ingredients listed above, or any preferred taco accompaniments. Slice the steak and serve immediately. 

Nana’s Dill Pickles

We posted an Instagram a video of us making pickles with Nana a few weeks ago, and a lot of you loved seeing the Queen of the Kitchen at work. We have been making pickles with her every August since we can remember and it was so special to capture the process on camera and share it with you! We eat these pickles year round, but especially during the Jewish holidays. You will never find our Rosh Hashanah dinner table without a platter olives and homemade pickles. 

There are some materials required in order to preserve the pickles, so be sure you get your shopping list covered before pickle making day! The pickles can be eaten as soon as 10 days after they are jarred but are eaten ideally two to three weeks later; be sure to make this recipe well in advance of when you want to eat your pickles. 

Nana’s Dill Pickles 
Makes: 8 mason jars (roughly 50 pickles) 
Prep Time: 30 minutes + 24 hour overnight soak to clean cucumbers
Total Time: 11 days (at a minimum for pickling, up to 21 days)

Items Required**:

  • 8 large mason jars
  • 8 NEW mason jar lids (this is extremely important in making sure the cucumbers pickle properly and are preserved well)

Ingredients:

  • 50-60 pickling cucumbers – Ideally, you will want to get as many SMALL cucumbers that you can find so that you can fit more in the jars.
  • 8 tbs kosher salt
  • 24 garlic cloves, sliced 
  • 8 tsp pickling spice
  • 16 whole, dried red chili peppers 
  • 4 large bunches of dill weed 

Directions:

  1. Clean the cucumbers by letting them soak overnight in cold water. Using a light brush, scrub off any dirt but be sure not to puncture the cucumber.
  2. Place the mason jar lids in boiling water and set aside.
  3. Put a rounded tablespoon of kosher salt, 3 sliced garlic cloves,1 tsp of pickling salt and 2 dried chili peppers in the bottom of each mason jar. If you want spicy pickles you can use up to 3 chili peppers per jar. 
  4. Fill the bottom of each mason jar with as many cucumbers as you can fit. You will want to put your largest cucumbers in this layer. Make sure the cucumbers are compact but not forced in the jar.
  5. Take a half bunch of dill and place in each mason jar.
  6. Using the smaller cucumbers, add as many as you can to fill up the remainder of the jar. Once full, fill each jar to the top with cold water. Seal each jar as tight as you can. 
  7. Place the jars in a cool area upside down so that they are standing on their lids. We typically put a paper towel underneath the jars so that we can tell if any of the lids are leaking. Leave upside down for 24 hours. 
  8. Flip the jars back over after 24 hours and re-tighten the lids. Store the jars in a cool place in your house for at least two weeks. As long as the jars are sealed and kept in a cool, dry location, you can keep them for up to 6 months. Refrigerate the pickle jars once they are opened. 

** Nana insists that if a woman is on her period while making this recipe, the pickles will be completely ruined. So if it is that time of the month, no pickle making for you! 


Semi-Homemade Vegan Burrito Bowls

Tuck’s dad watched the documentary “Game Changers” on Netflix a few weeks ago and has been trying to eat vegan as much as possible since. Inspired by our usual Chipotle order, we made these tofu burrito bowls. We love the taste and texture of the tofu – it is loaded with spices and crumbled to resemble taco meat.This recipe falls into the semi-homemade category because we have purchased a majority of the burrito bowl toppings pre-made at the grocery store. We have included a recipe for the black bean and corn salsa, but you can purchase a similar product at the grocery store if you want to skip that step as well. Thanks to these grocery store helpers, this recipe comes together in under 30 minutes and is a healthy, filling recipe for a weeknight dinner. 

Semi-Homemade Vegan Burrito Bowls 
Makes: 4 servings 
Prep Time: 30 minutes    Total Time: 30 minutes 

Ingredients for the Burrito Bowls: 

  • 1 box firm tofu
  • 1 packet taco seasoning 
  • 1 package cilantro lime Right Rice (can sub pre-cooked brown rice) 
  • pico de gallo 
  • guacamole (you can use our recipe or buy it pre-made from the store!)

Ingredients for the Corn & Black Bean Salsa 

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained 
  • 1 large ear of corn, kernels removed 
  • juice of 2 limes 
  • 1/4 red onion, diced 
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro 
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil 
  • 2 tsp cumin 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Remove the tofu from its packaging and drain any excess water. Use paper towel or a kitchen towel to press the tofu and remove as much liquid from it as you can. Crumble the tofu and put it onto a cookie sheet, sprayed with cooking spray. Season the tofu well with taco seasoning, using your hands to coat well. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until it is crispy but not dry. 
  3. While the tofu is cooking, cook the Right Rice according to package directions. It will take about 12 minutes to cook once you bring the water to a boil. 
  4. While the Right Rice is cooking, make the black bean and corn salsa. Gently mix all of the ingredients in the salsa (black beans – cumin) together in a large mixing bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  
  5. Assemble the burrito bowls. Divide the Right Rice, tofu, and black bean salsa evenly amongst four bowls. Top with guacamole, pico de gallo, and any of your other favorite taco bowl ingredients. 

Edamame Rice Salad

We weren’t exactly sure what to name this dish… is it a carb? Is it a salad? Is it a vegetarian entree? It’s a little bit of everything, thanks to an abundance of veggies in this dish. Cooking at home for nearly every meal since March has given us a chance to experiment with recipes that go the extra distance and last for more than one meal. Zhuzhing up leftovers feels like a much easier task than cooking new recipes for every darn meal of the week. This Edamame Rice Salad fulfills that task perfectly. Leftovers hold up really well for a few days in the refrigerator. We can add grilled chicken, shrimp, or avocado to give leftovers a new look. Best of all, it’s a quick and easy recipe that keeps us eating healthy all week long. 

Asian Veggie Rice 
Makes: 6+ servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes   Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients For The Salad:

  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 2 cups lightly packed chopped purple cabbage 
  • 2 cups frozen edamame beans, no shells 
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 bell peppers, diced 
  • 4 scallions, diced 
  • 2/3 cup cilantro, chopped 
  • 1/2 cup sliced, toasted almonds 
  • 1 tbs sesame seeds 

Ingredients for the Dressing*: 

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup sesame oil
  • 4 tbs rice vinegar
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 2 tbs minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp chili paste
  • salt to taste

Directions: 

  1. Heat 4 cups of water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the brown rice and reduce the pot to a simmer. Cook according to package directions, about 30 minutes. 
  2. While the rice is cooking, chop the other vegetables and make the dressing. Whisk the dressing ingredients (vegetable oil – chili paste) in a medium bowl until they are combined. Season to taste with salt, set aside.
  3. When the rice has finished cooking, fluff it with a fork to release some of the steam. Add the frozen edamame to the rice, give it a quick stir, and cover for 5 minutes. This will help thaw the edamame and bring the temperature of the rice down, closer to room temperature. 
  4. Make the salad by combining the brown rice- bell peppers in a large bowl. Add half of the cilantro and scallions and half of the dressing; toss to coat. Top with the remaining cilantro, scallions, dressing, sliced almonds, and sesame seeds to serve. 

*If making the dressing from scratch isn’t in your plans, substitute with any of your favorite Asian salad dressings from the grocery store. 


Ratatouille Tart

As you may have seen yesterday on our Instagram, we harvested our garden veggies before the snow came in Colorado and wanted a dish that we could really use up a good bulk of our produce. This Ratatouille Tart is gorgeous, garden veggie heaven. It comes together by slicing zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant and layering them in a pie shell. If you want this dish to be a visual stunner, spend the time to alternate all of the vegetables as you layer them into the pie crust. Don’t make this for dinner on a weeknight when everyone is already starving. We have saved some time by purchasing a pre-made pie crust and marinara sauce, but if you really want to over-achieve, go ahead either from scratch, as well! 

Ratatouille Tart 
Makes: 1 pie; 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes        Total Time: 3 hours 

Ingredients for the Tart: 

  • 1- whole wheat pie shell, thawed if frozen (we love the Whole Foods frozen version!) 
  • 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 1 cup marinara sauce 
  • 2 zucchini 
  • 2 yellow squash
  • 1/2 of 1 large eggplant 
  • salt 

Ingredients for the Herb Oil: 

  • 2/3 cup olive oil 
  • 1 tsp dried oregano 
  • 1 tsp dried basil 
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes 
  • 1 large clove garlic, mined 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 

Directions: 

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Thinly slice the zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant. You want the eggplant to be roughly the same size as the squashes, so depending on the size, you may want to cut it into quarters lengthwise before slicing. Lay all of the sliced vegetables onto kitchen towels. Season well on both sides with salt and let the vegetables sit for 30 minutes to purge most of their liquid. You will be rinsing the vegetables later, so really season them well to make sure enough liquid gets removed during this stage. 
  3. While the vegetables are purging, par-bake the crust. Use a fork to poke the bottom layer of the pie crust. Layer with the 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Par-baking the crust and using a layer of Parmesan helps keep the pie bottom from becoming soggy later on. After 10 minutes, remove from the oven and set aside until it is back to room temperature. 
  4. While the pie crust is in the oven, reduce the marinara sauce. Heat a small sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add the marinara sauce to the pot and let it simmer and reduce. You want to reduce it by about 25%, so that it is thicker and more of a tomato paste than a tomato sauce. When it has reduced accordingly, remove from the heat. 
  5. The final step before assembling the tart is to make the herb oil. Combine the herb oil ingredients (olive oil – salt) in a small mixing bowl. Set aside until you are ready to use. 
  6. We are finally ready to assemble the tart! Put all of the vegetables into a colander and rinse well with water to get rid of the excess salt. Pat the vegetables dry with a kitchen towel. 
  7. Add the marinara sauce to the bottom of the pie shell in an even layer. 
  8. Starting with the outside edge, layer the eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash in alternating patterns around the outside of the pie crust. To give the tart a nice visual texture, try to layer the vegetables as vertically as possible. Continue to layer the vegetables in the tart shell until it is completely full to the center. 
  9. Use a pastry brush to brush the tops of the vegetables with the herb oil. Be generous with this, but you might have some oil leftover. 
  10. Use thin strips of foil to cover the outside edges of the pie crust. You want to make sure you take the time to do this well before the tart goes in the oven so that the crust does not burn. Put the tart in the oven and bake for 50 minutes – 1 hour. The tart is done with the vegetables are cooked through and fork-tender. 
  11. Remove the tart from the oven and finish by topping with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Let it sit and rest for about 10 minutes (you can lightly cover with foil) before slicing. 

Almond Butter & Berry Smoothie

We are still on the smoothie train and love having a little something sweet to look forward to in the morning when it’s time for breakfast. This Almond Butter & Berry Smoothie is one of our favorites. We blend a mix of chia seeds and flax seeds into the smoothie which makes it thick and gives it the smoothie a great texture. It is packed with antioxidants, protein, and fiber- the perfect way to start the morning!

Almond Butter Berry Smoothie 
Makes: 1 serving
Prep Time: 5 minutes    Total Time: 5 minutes 

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup frozen mixed berries 
  • 1 tbs flax seeds
  • 1 tbs chia seeds  
  • 1 heaping tbs almond butter (peanut butter is fine too) 
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder 
  • 1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice) 
  • granola, for topping (optional) 

Directions: 

  1. Place all of the smoothie ingredients (frozen berries – almond milk) in a blender and blend until smooth. Top with a few spoonfuls of granola, if you wish, for serving. Enjoy immediately.