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January 2
Creamy Tomato Soup with Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

After the elegance and extravagance of the holidays, January is a good time for getting back to basics, especially in the foods we eat. Here are some comfort food recipes your family is sure to enjoy in the coming weeks. In the first recipe, mini grilled cheese squares float atop a creamy tomato soup like dumplings for a new take on this classic comfort food combo.

10 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, seeds removed
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 28-ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 slices of American cheese
12 slices of white bread
2 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Chopped chives or basil for garnish, optional

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place the plum tomatoes in a large baking dish. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Roast until the tomatoes are soft, 25 to 30 minutes.

In a large stockpot set over medium heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the roasted tomatoes and their juices, the canned tomatoes and their juices, and the stock to the stockpot, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, stir in the cream, and season with salt and pepper. Simmer the soup for 10 minutes; do not bring to boil.

Remove the pot from the heat and use a handheld blender to puree the soup until it’s as smooth or as chunky as you prefer (If you don’t have a handheld blender, you can use a potato masher to break up the tomatoes, or you can crush them against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon.)

Make six sandwiches with 1 slice of cheese between slices of the white bread. Cut off the crusts and cut each sandwich into quarters. Crimp the edges of the bread together with a fork to make little packets that enclose the cheese. You should have 24 cheese dumplings.

In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, melt a tablespoon of the butter. Working in batches and adding more butter as needed, grill the cheese dumplings until they are lightly browned and toasted like little grilled-cheese sandwiches.

Ladle the soup into six bowls and top with four dumplings each. Serve immediately. Garnish with chopped chives or basil, if desired.

January 9
Lettuce Wedges with Blue Cheese Dressing

This wedge salad is a steakhouse classic, but you can serve it up in your home at any time. The recipe below is for 2 heads of iceberg lettuce and 8 servings, but you can use only half the dressing for one head of lettuce and store the remaining dressing for up to a week in your refrigerator.

Juice of 1 large lemon
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
6 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 heads iceberg lettuce
10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 tomatoes, finely diced
Freshly ground pepper

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the lemon juice, mayonnaise, buttermilk, sour cream, garlic powder and onion powder. Whisk the mixture together until smooth. 
Add the cheese and mix just until blended. Chill in an airtight container in the refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving.

Core and quarter each head of lettuce. Serve a generous dollop of dressing over each lettuce wedge and top with the bacon and tomato. Season with pepper.

January 16
Classic Pot Roast

Pot roast usually calls for a lower-cost cut of meat like chuck, which makes this a good value as well a tasty choice for a family dinner. Cooking the meat long and slow in red wine and beef stock, along with lots of vegetables, makes the roast very tender and flavorful. Serve with the horseradish-chive mashed potatoes recipe below.

3 pound boneless beef chuck roast
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
3 tablespoons canola oil
4 tablespoons butter
2 medium red onions, cut into quarters
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
3 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 rutabaga, peeled and cut into 12 to 16 pieces, about a pound
8 cremini mushrooms, halved
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 head garlic, top cut off to expose cloves
3/4 cup tomato paste
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs rosemary
2 cups red wine, preferably cabernet
4 cups beef broth

Preheat oven to 340 degrees. Season meat generously with salt and pepper. On the stove top, heat oil in a large Dutch oven, or other heavy roasting pan with a lid, over medium-high heat. Sear the meat until a dark crust forms, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove meat to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium and add butter to the pan. Melt the butter and add the whole head of garlic and vegetables, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the pot, until the vegetables start to color, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, until it darkens slightly, about 5 minutes.

Add bay leaves, rosemary, and wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to a thick gravy consistency, 5 to 7 minutes. 

Return meat to the pot. Add broth, then cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Let roast sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes. Remove meat to a cutting board to slice. Discard bay leaves and rosemary stems. Squeeze any garlic cloves remaining in their skins into the stew and discard the skins. Serve slices of meat in shallow bowls along with the vegetables and a generous amount of cooking liquid ladled over top.

January 23
Horseradish-Chive Mashed Potatoes

Nothing is more comforting than creamy mashed potatoes, especially if served with a meat dish that has lots of gravy or sauce, like the pot roast recipe above. This recipe adds horseradish and chives to the potatoes for extra layers of flavor.

2 pounds whole russet or Yukon gold potatoes
1/2 to 1 stick butter
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup horseradish
1/3 cup chopped chives

Cover the potatoes with cold salted water; simmer 45 minutes. Drain, peel, and mash with 1/2 to 1 stick butter. Add sour cream, horseradish, chives, and salt and pepper; mash until smooth and fluffy. 

January 30
Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

Everyone loves muffins! They are ideal for breakfast, lunch, or served with your afternoon tea or coffee. Lemon and poppyseed muffins are a classic combo and we offer the recipe below as the final entry in our list of January comfort foods. Enjoy!

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup granulated sugar, plus up to 1 tablespoon for topping the muffins, if desired
2 large eggs, at room temperature
4 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/2 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly brush a 12-cup muffin tin with butter and set aside. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with an electric hand-held mixer in a large bowl, cream the butter, zest, lemon juice, and 2/3 cup sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Stir in the poppy seeds.

Fold the flour in 3 parts into the butter mixture, alternating with the milk in 2 parts, until just combined. Take care not to overmix the batter. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tin and sprinkle the tops with sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cool muffins in the pan on a rack. Serve warm.

February 6
Cheeseball with Pecans

In February we present three recipes that are perfect for a special Valentine’s meal, and also a paczki recipe for Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. Enjoy the last few weeks before Lent with these rich and satisfying dishes! We start with a cheese ball appetizer, which is both classic and decadent — a perfect start to a romantic meal or any party. Enjoy!

4 tablespoons salted butter
1 cup shredded sharp, flavorful cheese, in any combination that might include Gruyère, Cheddar or blue cheese
3 ounces fresh goat cheese
4 ounces cream cheese
2 heaping tablespoons finely chopped scallions
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped, salted roasted pecans
2 heaping tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

Allow the butter and cheeses to come to room temperature. They should sit out of the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Put everything except the pecans and parsley in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. It should take about 4 minutes.

Plop the mixture onto a piece of waxed paper and gently form into a ball. Place in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes or until firm enough to work with.

Mix the pecans and parsley together on a large plate or a cutting board, then roll the cheese ball in the mixture. Cover any surfaces with a sprinkling of the pecan and parsley mixture and pat into the sides until you have an evenly coated ball.

Wrap well in plastic and refrigerate. When ready to serve, let the ball sit out for at least a half hour to soften. Serve with good plain crackers or small toasts.

February 13
Steak Diane for Two

Filet mignon is the perfect dish for Valentine’s Day — for you and your sweetheart. This recipe calls for quick pan-fried steaks topped with a Worcestshire and mustard sauce which makes these steaks so flavorful. They only take a few minutes to make! Serve with the roasted asparagus dish below.

2 6-ounce beef fillets, cut from the tenderloin (filet mignon)
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon minced shallot or onion
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, more to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
Lemon juice to taste, optional
Chopped fresh chives or parsley leaves for garnish

Flatten fillets a bit with the palm of your hand, the back of a skillet or a small mallet; they should be about 1 inch thick. Sprinkle with salt and a lot of pepper. In small skillet, preferably one just large enough to hold fillets, combine oil and tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. When butter foam melts, sear steaks on both sides, just until browned, no more than 2 minutes a side. Remove to platter.

Wipe pan clean with moist towel; add remaining butter over medium heat, with shallot or onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in mustard, Worcestershire, and cream. Add some salt and a fair amount of pepper. Stir once or twice, then taste and adjust seasoning.

Keeping mixture at a steady simmer, return meat and accumulated juices to pan. Cook, turning two or three times, for 1-2 minutes more, until meat is done to your liking (125 degrees internal temperature for medium-rare).

Remove to a plate, and add lemon juice, if using, salt and pepper to the sauce as needed. Spoon sauce over meat, garnish with chives or parsley, and serve along with roasted asparagus (recipe below) and crusty white bread. A zesty red wine (like Pinot Noir) would be perfect with this meal.

February 20
Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan

Roasted asparagus is the perfect accompaniment to steak. This recipe is quick and easy to make — and topping the asparagus with Parmesan cheese gives it an added layer of flavor. Serve with lemon wedges.

1 bunch of fresh asparagus
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 lemon cut in wedges, for serving
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. If the stalks of the asparagus are thick, peel the bottom 1/2 of each. Lay them in a single layer on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and return to the oven for another minute. Serve with lemon wedges.

February 27
Paczki - Polish Jelly Rolls

In Poland, paczki (jelly rolls) are traditionally deep-fried and served during the week leading up to Ash Wednesday. Millions and millions of these light and fluffydelicacies are consumed in Poland in that one week! In the US, you can buy paczki at many bakeries, both Polish and American — usually on Shrove Tuesday or Ash Wednesday — but you can also try making them yourself at home. It takes a while to prepare them, but the effort is certainly worth it!

2 cups whole milk, warmed to a simmer, but not boiling
4 1/2teaspoons active dry yeast (2 packages)
3/4 cup + 1 pinch granulated sugar, divided
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 egg
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Peanut oil, canola oil or lard, for frying
Fruit preserves, for filling (raspberry, strawberry, apricot, or prune)
Powdered and granulated sugars, for coating
Pour warm milk into bowl of a stand mixer. Stir in the yeast and a pinch of granulated sugar. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it has become bubbly.
Add 2 cups of flour to the mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until a smooth batter forms. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm spot for 30 minutes. The mixture should have risen and be very bubbly.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg and egg yolks until pale yellow and frothy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar, vanilla extract and salt, and whisk until combined and smooth.
Attach the dough hook to the mixer, add the egg mixture to the dough and mix on medium-low speed until mostly combined. Add the melted butter and mix to combine.

Gradually add 3 more cups of flour to the mixture and continue to knead until a very soft dough comes together. (It will not clean the sides of the bowl or form a ball; it will be rather slack and a bit sticky.) If necessary, add up to another 1 cup of flour, a spoonful at a time, until the dough forms.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set in a warm spot until it has doubled in size.

Remove the dough from the bowl and turn out onto a floured work surface. With your fingers, push down the dough into an even layer. Sprinkle flour on the dough and roll it out to 1/2-inch thickness. If the dough doesn’t hold its shape and springs back, cover with a damp towel and let rest for a few minutes and try again.
Use a 3-inch biscuit cutter to cut out rounds of dough. Transfer the dough rounds to parchment-lined baking sheets. Gather scraps of dough and again roll out and cut until you have used up all of the dough. Cover the baking sheets loosely with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free spot until almost doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat at least 1½ inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot, Dutch oven, or deep skillet over medium heat to 350 degrees F. Carefully lower about six paczki into the oil at a time (be sure not to over-crowd the pan) and fry until the bottom is golden brown. Carefully turn them over and continue to fry until the other side is golden brown. Use a spider strainer or slotted spoon to remove them to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Allow the oil to come back to temperature, then repeat until all of the paczki have been fried.
Allow the paczki to cool until you are able to handle them easily. Using a filling tip, pipe fruit preserves into the sides of the paczki, then roll in powdered or granulated sugar. The paczki are best the same day they are made, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

March 6
Three-Bean Soup

During Lent, you may consider preparing more meatless dishes for your family. We start off our March recipes with a vegetarian three-bean soup that tastes a lot like chili and is both nutritious and easy to prepare. This is followed by a fish-in-foil recipe, a stuffed pasta shell recipe, and a Polish noodle and apple casserole recipe. Who said that eating meatless can’t taste good?

1 large onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 - 3 teaspoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (16 ounces) fat-free refried beans
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) vegetable or chicken broth
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) stewed tomatoes, cut up
3/4 cup tomato salsa
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
In a large saucepan, saute onion, green pepper, and celery in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Yield: 8 servings.

Serve with these toppings on the side, if desired: shredded cheddar cheese, chopped scallions, sour cream, tortilla chips, and cilantro.

March 13
Pasta Shells Stuffed with Ricotta and Spinach

These pasta shells are stuffed with a tasty and creamy filling of cheese and spinach and then baked in a sweet tomato marinara sauce for 30-40 minutes. Leftovers are easy to reheat and perfect for lunch the next day.
24 jumbo pasta shells
1 15-oz. container ricotta
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 cup shredded Parmesan
1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 26-oz. jar spaghetti sauce

Preheat oven to 375 F. Mist a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Cook pasta shells according to package label directions until just tender; drain and set aside to cool. While pasta cooks, in a large bowl stir together ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, 1/2 cup Parmesan, spinach, egg, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and nutmeg.

Spread 3/4 cup of the spaghetti sauce over bottom of baking dish. Stuff shells with cheese-and-spinach mixture and place in dish. Spoon remaining sauce over shells and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella and 1/2 cup Parmesan.

Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake about 10 minutes longer, until bubbly and cheese begins to brown.

March 20
Lemony Fish Fillets in Foil

These mild and flaky fish fillets only take 30 minutes in the oven. You bake them with onion, spices, parsley, lemon juice, and olive oil in foil packets for a quick, no-mess dinner. Halibut is best, but you can also use cod, salmon, trout, or tilapia fillets. Serve with rice and a green salad.
6 (6 ounce) halibut fillets
2 medium onions, sliced into rounds
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
4 tablespoons fresh parsley or dill, chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
2 -3 tablespoons lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Cut 6 foil squares large enough for each fillet.

Prepare mixture of salt, pepper, and paprika in small container
Place two onion slices in the centers of the foil squares and then place the fish fillets on top. Sprinkle each fillet lightly with one-sixth of the salt, pepper, and paprika mixture; also with one sixth of the chopped parsley or dill and minced garlic. Sprinkle lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil over each fillet then fold foil over fillets to make a pocket and fold the edges to seal. Place sealed packets on a baking sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 30 minutes. Be careful opening packets as the steam inside will be hot.

March 27
Polish Apple and Noodle Casserole

This is bound to become a family favorite at any time of the year! Serve it for breakfast, brunch, or lunch — or as a dessert after dinner. This is one of Eastern Europe’s favorite comfort foods and it is very easy to make — and easy to love.

4 cups thinly sliced McIntosh apples, peeled
1/2 cup raisins, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes (optional)
3 cups cooked noodles
3/4 stick butter
1/2 cup sugar
Cinnamon to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place 1 1/2 cups of the noodles in a greased 1 3/4 quart casserole, then add a layer of apples (2 cups), 1/4 cup of raisins if using, and 1/4 cup sugar on top of the apples and one half of the butter. Then add another layer of noodles and the remainder of the apples and raisins. On top, sprinkle the rest of the sugar and cinnamon to taste. Top with remaining butter. Bake at 350 degrees until apples are done, usually about 45 to 60 minutes.

April 3
Argulua Soup

Polish Easter Brunch, Swieconka, usually starts with a sour soup, followed by many types of salads and relishes that accompany a variety of meat dishes like ham, sausage, pates, and cold roasts. Below you’ll find recipes for an arugula soup served with hardboiled eggs and two spring salads. Also an easy no-bake version of a cheesecake, which is a modern-day take on the classic Polish cheesecake (sernik), traditionally served at Easter.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, sliced
2 leeks, trimmed, halved lengthwise, washed well and sliced
1 garlic clove, sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 1/2 pounds boiling potatoes (about 4 medium), peeled, quartered lengthwise and sliced
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/8teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/3 cup heavy cream or milk
2 bunches coarsely chopped arugula leaves (about 2 1/2 cups) plus more for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
4 hard-boiled eggs, quartered (optional)

Melt two tablespoons of the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium low heat. Add the onions, leeks, garlic and salt, tossing to coat. Cover and cook slowly, tossing occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 20 minutes.

Add the sliced potatoes, broth, ginger, and nutmeg, stirring to combine. Raise the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, skimming off all the froth from the surface. Simmer, partly covered, until the potatoes are tender, 30 to 40 minutes.

Remove half the solids with a slotted spoon and puree until smooth in a food processor or a blender. Return the puree to the soup and add the cream or milk. Bring to a boil, then thin the soup if desired with additional broth. (The soup can be prepared in advance to this point, then returned to a boil at serving time.)

Before serving, scatter the chopped arugula over the surface of the soup and cover the pan. Cook until the arugula has wilted, about two minutes. Stir, add salt and pepper to taste, making sure to season the soup carefully. Swirl in the remaining tablespoon of butter and serve immediately over hardboiled egg quarters, if desired. Garnish with more chopped fresh arugula.

April 10
Couscous Salad

This light salad will go perfectly with your Easter ham and other cold meats. Cooking the couscous according to package instructions only takes a few minutes, and then you add in fresh chopped tomatoes, cucumber, mint leaves, and green onions, dress the salad with olive oil and lemon, for a side dish that is tasty, nutritious, and easy to make, at Easter or any time.

1 cucumber, peeled and diced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 lemon, juiced
2 wide strips lemon rind
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups instant couscous (a 10-ounce box)
2 cups water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch cayenne
1/2 cup torn mint leaves, stems saved
1/2 cup roughly chopped flat leaf parsley, stems saved
3 scallions (white and green), chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts

Toss the tomatoes, cucumbers, and lemon juice in a medium bowl with 2 teaspoons of the salt. Set aside.

Put the couscous into a large bowl. In a pot, bring the water, lemon rind, 3 tablespoons of the oil, the remaining salt, cayenne, and herb stems to a boil over high heat. Pour the liquid over the couscous, stir with fork to separate any clumps. Cover with a lid, plate, or plastic wrap and set aside for 5 minutes. Remove the lemon rind and herb stems and fluff with a fork again.

Add the tomato/cucumber mixture, scallions, mint, parsley, and pine nuts to the couscous. Drizzle the remaining oil over the salad, toss, and serve. (Optional garnishes: crumbled feta cheese and sliced black olives)

April 17
Sweet Potato Salad

This sweet potato salad is tossed with scallions, red pepper, and sweet onion in a light mayonnaise dressing. Let the salad sit in the refrigerator for an hour before serving for the flavors to meld.

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and finely chopped
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Add the sweet potatoes to a large pot of cold salted water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook the potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and let cool in a colander.

Once the potatoes are cool, transfer to a large serving bowl and add the chopped onion, red pepper, and green onions.

In a separate bowl make the dressing with the mayonnaise, orange juice, smoked paprika, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk to combine, pour over the potatoes and gently mix. Refrigerate for one hour before serving for the flavors to meld.

April 24
Fluffy Cheesecake

This easy, no-bake cheesecake is sure to be a hit on your Easter holiday table, or anytime. Serve with fresh strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries or simply with orange or lemon zest grated over the top.

1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
9-inch graham cracker crust, pre-baked

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, on medium-high speed, whip the heavy cream and powdered sugar just until stiff peaks form. Scrape the whipped cream into a clean bowl and refrigerate.

Using the same stand mixer bowl, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth, about 2 minutes on high speed. With the mixer on low, gradually add the granulated sugar and then mix on medium-high speed until smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl then add the sour cream and vanilla and mix until combined.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and take the whipped cream out of the refrigerator. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until fully incorporated and homogenous. Spoon the filling into the prepared graham cracker crust and refrigerate for 4 hours or until set before serving.

May 1
Egg Salad Sandwich

In May we present five recipes for classic American sandwiches, some with a new twist. Everyone loves a delicious sandwich for lunch -- or even for dinner -- if served with a soup and/or salad. This egg salad recipe calls for more yolks than whites so it is extra creamy and extra yellow too! The dill and scallions add a touch of crunch and a touch of green to this popular sandwich.

8 large eggs
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
salt and pepper to taste
4 slices white or whole wheat bread, toasted

Put the eggs in a medium pan and cover them with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Place pan in the sink under cold running water until the eggs are cool.

Peel the eggs. Remove the yolks from 4 of them (save the whites for another use). Chop the 4 yolks with the 4 remaining whole eggs.

In a medium bowl, gently and quickly mix the chopped eggs and mayonnaise. Add the celery, green onions, and dill and mix the egg salad once more, adding salt and pepper if needed, and make into sandwiches by piling salad liberally onto bread slices.

May 8
Chicken Salad Sandwich

Rotisserie chicken purchased at the grocery store is perfect for the preparation of this salad and will take less time than roasting your own chicken. This is definitely a sandwich that you can serve to your family for dinner, along with a soup and/or a cucumber and tomato salad.

1 rotisserie chicken (about 3 lbs)
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup drained capers
1/2 cup plain yogurt
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
salt to taste, if desired
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
3 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
8 to 12 slices rye bread, either freshly toasted or left untoasted
Salad leaves, pickle strips or sliced radishes for garnish

Strip the chicken meat from the bones and cut it into bite-size pieces. Remove skin, if desired. There should be about 3 or 3 1/2 cups. Put the meat into a mixing bowl. Add the celery, scallions, and capers.

Blend together the yogurt, mayonnaise, and vinegar in a small bowl and add to the chicken mixture. Add salt, pepper, parsley and scallions, and toss to blend.

Use the rye bread to make sandwiches, garnished, if desired, with lettuce, pickle strips, or radish slices.

May 15
Classic Tuna Salad Sandwich

Adding celery and red bell peppers to this salad gives it extra crunch, and the capers add another level of salty and briny flavor. Serve on toasted crusty white or whole wheat bread slices, garnished with arugula leaves and tomato slices, if desired.

2 (6-ounce) cans solid, waterpacked tuna
cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup finely diced celery
3 tablespoons finely diced red onion
3 tablespoons finely minced red bell pepper
2 tablespoons drained capers
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Arugula leaves and tomato slices (optional)
Sliced sandwich bread of choice, toasted

In a medium bowl, combine the tuna, mayonnaise, celery, onion, bell pepper, capers, and lemon juice. Mix with a fork until thoroughly combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve on the sandwich bread of your choice. Garnish sandwich with lettuce leaves and tomato slices, if desired.

May 22
Grilled Cheese Sandwich

There is nothing more simple or more satisfying that a grilled cheese sandwich – whether for lunch or dinner or as a midnight snack! The recipe below is for one sandwich, but you can multiply the ingredients to make more. If serving for dinner, than tomato soup is the classic accompaniment for this all-time American favorite.

2 slices bread, either soft sandwich toast slices or larger peasant-style bread slices, not more than 1/2 inch thick
2 ounces grated cheddar (or other cheese),

Heat a heavy pan or skiller over medium-low heat. Thinly spread one side of each bread slice with butter. Spread the other side of each slice with mayonnaise and place the bread, mayonnaise-side-down, in the pan. Divide the cheese evenly on top of the buttered slices. Adjust the heat so the bread sizzles gently.

When the cheese is about halfway melted, use a spatula to flip one slice over on top of the other, and press lightly to melt. Keep turning the sandwich, pressing gently, until the sandwich is compact, both sides are crusty, and the cheese is melted – this will take a few minutes more.

May 29
Hummus, Avocado, and Tomato Sandwich

This sandwich is sure to please – and not only the vegetarians in your family! It’s quick and easy to make and very tasty, as well as healthy, when served on toasted whole wheat slices.

1 cup of hummus
2 large tomatoes
2 ripe avocadoes
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 red onion sliced
1/2 cup arugula leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 slices of toasted whole wheat bread

Slice tomatoes into 16 slices. Halve avocadoes and slice each half into four slices. Sprinkle lime juice over the avocado slices.

Lightly toast the bread and spread four slices generously with the hummus. Top each slice of bread with four tomato slices and four avocado slices, and then garnish with the red onion and a few arugula leaves. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and cover with the four remaining slices of bread. Enjoy!




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