YEAR OF 2017
MARCH 2018
APRIL 2018
MAY 2018
JUNE 2018
JULY 2018



January 1
Black-eyed Peas

This dish is served in many areas of the South on New Year’s Day and is said to bring good luck and prosperity. It is typically served with greens and cornbread. The black-eyed peas signify coins, the greens represent dollar bills, and the corn bread represents gold. So cook up plenty if you want to have a prosperous New Year!

1 pound dried black-eyed peas
1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 pound kielbasa in one piece
2 quarts chicken stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the peas in a pot and cover with cold water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and let them soak for 1 hour. (Or cover the peas with cold water and let them soak overnight.) Meanwhile, drain the tomatoes and reserve the liquid. Hand crush the tomatoes into a saucepan and add the sugar and 1/2 cup of the stock or water. Cook over medium low heat, being careful not to let it burn, until the liquid has evaporated and the tomatoes are thick, about 30 minutes.

In a large pot over medium heat add the olive oil, onion, celery, and garlic. Cook until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the soaked peas, the kielbasa, and the remaining stock and cook, covered, until the peas are tender, about 20 minutes. Add some water if you need more liquid. Take out kielbasa and chop roughly into cubes and then add back to pot. Fold in the tomato sauce and mix well. Taste, season with salt and pepper, reheat if needed, and serve with cornbread or cornbread muffins and with sautéed greens like spinach or kale.

Or you can serve this hearty dish with a green salad on the side for some freshness.
Best wishes for a very prosperous New Year to all our readers!

January 8
Bigos - Hunters Stew

Bigos is a traditional Polish dish made with a variety of meats that have been cut into bite-sized pieces and stewed with sauerkraut, cabbage, and mushrooms. Also called “Hunter’s Stew,” this delicious and hearty one-pot meal can be made with just about any sort of meat you have handy, including pork, poultry, beef, or game. There are many recipes for bigos – and you really can use any ingredients you have on hand. Bigos is served all year-long, but especially in the winter time and in the weeks following Christmas. And it only gets better the longer it sits. Make a huge pot for your family and serve it over a few days. It freezes well, so any leftovers can be saved for another time. Serve with rye bread, dill pickles, and roasted potatoes on the side, if desired.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound pork stew meat or pork butt, diced
1 pound kielbasa, quartered (it gets sliced at the end of the cooking process)
1/4 pound thick cut bacon, cut into half inch strips
3 cups yellow onion, diced
2 cups carrots, cut into half circle slices
1 pound baby bella mushrooms, sliced
4 tablespoons fresh garlic, chopped
6 cups shredded cabbage (about one small head)
1 1/2 cups red wine, such as burgundy or merlot
3 cans sauerkraut, drained (14 oz cans)
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 quart beef broth
1 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon dry marjoram
1 teaspoon allspice
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons paprika
1/8 teaspoon teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup pitted prunes, quartered

In a large 5 - 6 quart dutch oven, heat oil over high. Pat the pork stew meat dry and sauté half to sear both sides, about 4-5 minutes, remove to bowl, then repeat with second half. Remove second batch to a bowl and reduce temperature of pot to medium high.

Add the four kielbasa quarters to dutch oven and brown all sides, for about five minutes total. Remove to the bowl with stew meat.

Add bacon and onions to the dutch oven and sauté for three minutes. Add carrots and sauté for two minutes.

Add mushrooms and garlic and sauté for two to three minutes. Add the cabbage and cook two minutes more.

Add the wine and scrape up brown bits from the bottom, if any; let cook for a few minutes for the wine to reduce. Then add the drained sauerkraut, canned tomatoes, beef broth, thyme, marjoram, allspice, bay leaf, paprika and cayenne pepper to the Dutch oven.

.In a mortar and pestle, place caraway seeds with the salt and pepper and crush until the seeds are fine, then add to the dutch oven. Also add the seared pork and kielbasa.

Raise the heat to high and once the pot is bubbling, reduce to low and cook partially covered for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally; add more water or beef broth as needed.

Remove and discard bay leaf. Remove four whole pieces of Kielbasa to your cutting board. Add the prunes and simmer ten minutes. Slice the kielbasa into bite sized slices and add back to pot and serve in bowls with rye bread and pickles.



January 15
Mustard-Roasted Potatoes

This potato dish is easy to make -- and it is delicious! You can serve it as an accompaniment to the bigos recipe above, the chicken stew recipe below, or with any fish or meat dish you prepare for your family. Everyone is sure to love it!

2 1/2 pounds small red potatoes or small Yukon Gold potatoes
2 yellow onions
3 tablespoons good olive oil
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the potatoes in halves or quarters, depending on their size, and place them on a sheet pan. Remove the ends of the onions, peel them, and cut them in half. Slice them crosswise in 1/4-inch-thick slices to make half-rounds. Toss the onions and potatoes together on the sheet pan. Add the olive oil, mustard, 2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper and toss them together. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the potatoes are lightly browned on the outside and tender on the inside. Toss the potatoes from time to time with a metal spatula so they brown evenly.

Serve hot, sprinkled with red pepper flakes, chopped parsley, and a little extra salt.


January 22
Chicken Stew

This hearty one-pot chicken stew practically cooks itself! It’s made all in one pot, with tender chunks of chicken and lots of savory veggies. Enjoy it with crusty bread for an ultimate quick-and-easy cold weather meal!

1 1/2 lbs. chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, cut into bite size pieces
1 Tbsp. canola oil
3 medium carrots, sliced diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium sweet onion, cut into 12 wedges
6 garlic cloves, chopped
5 cups chicken stock, divided
1/2 cup white wine
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 dried bay leaf
12 oz. baby white potatoes, quartered
1 cup frozen peas (or edamame)
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Season the chicken with salt and pepper, to taste.

Heat oil in a dutch oven over high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown on all sides, about 6 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.

Add carrots and onion to the dutch oven and cook, stirring often, until onions begin to soften, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring nonstop. Add ½ cup chicken stock and ½ cup white wine while stirring and scraping to loosen browned bits from the bottom of the dutch oven; let reduce by half.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour and ½ cup broth; add to the dutch oven. Stir in chicken and remaining broth. Add bay leaf and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes, partially covered.

Add potatoes and cook uncovered until potatoes are tender, about 15-18 minutes. The liquid will slightly reduce even further. Stir in peas 5 minutes before serving; add parsley and discard bay leaf just before plating. Serve with crusty white bread to sop the juices, and with a green salad on the side to add some balance and freshness to the meal. Smacznego!


January 29
Game Day Nachos

Super Bowl is next Sunday, February 4th. Here is a tasty nacho recipe you can make for your family and friends to enjoy while watching TV during the biggest sports Sunday of the year! Even if you are not a football fan, you will enjoy snacking on this Game Day treat!

1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 large bag tortilla chips
2 plum tomatoes (diced)
6 green onions (thinly sliced)
1/2 cup black olives, pitted and thinly sliced
Jalapeno pepper rings (or diced jalapeno peppers)
4 cups shredded cheddar and monterey jack cheese blend
Sour cream, cilantro, avocado for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Brown the ground beef and onions in a skillet or sauté pan over medium heat until beef is no longer pink and onions are softened, about 7-8 minutes. Drain off any extra fat. Add green bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, refried beans, and tomato sauce to skillet. Simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed.

Spread some of the beef and bean mixture on each tortilla chip and arrange the chips in a single layer on large baking sheets or in glass baking pans. Sprinkle the tortillas with a little of the diced tomato, sliced green onions, olives, and jalapeno peppers, and then cover each chip with the cheese mixture.

Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve immediately, with sour cream, avocado slices, and chopped cilantro on the side, if desired.

February 5
Cabbage and Potato Gratin

Like slow-cooked onions, slow-cooked cabbage takes on color and flavor as it bakes and caramelizes -- and becomes ever more tender and meltingly sweet. A family favorite for sure! Because of the bulk of the potatoes, this gratin makes a satisfying vegetarian main dish on its own, although it also works perfectly as a side dish, served alongside roast beef -- or roast pork (see recipe below).

1 large savoy or green cabbage (about 2 pounds), quartered
1 pound baking potatoes, such as russets, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups milk
1/2 cup creme fraiche
Ground black pepper
4 ounces Gruyere, grated (1 cup, tightly packed)
1 ounce Parmesan, grated (1/4 cup)
2 teaspoons finely chopped or slivered fresh sage

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously, and add quartered cabbage and potato slices. Reduce heat to medium-high and boil gently for 5 minutes.

Drain and use tongs to transfer cabbage quarters to a colander set over a bowl or in the sink. Allow cabbage to cool in colander until you can handle the wedges. Core the wedges, then cut them in half lengthwise. Finally, slice crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide ribbons. Return to colander and drain for another 5 minutes. Place in a large bowl with the potatoes.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart baking dish or gratin. Cut one of the garlic cloves in half and rub the dish with the cut surface. Then slice up all the garlic and toss with cabbage and potatoes.

In a bowl, whisk together milk, crème fraîche, about 1 teaspoon salt, and the pepper. Pour into bowl with cabbage and potatoes, add cheeses and sage, and gently toss together. Scrape into baking dish.

Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes, until top is golden brown. During the first 45 minutes, press the vegetables down into the liquid in the baking dish every 10 to 15 minutes, using the back of a large spoon. The gratin will still be bubbling when you remove it from the oven, and you will see liquid in the baking dish. Wait 10 to 15 minutes before serving, until liquid is reabsorbed. If liquid remains in dish, serve with a slotted spoon.


February 12
Garlic and Rosemary Roast Pork Tenderloin

This pork roast is quick and easy to make — it will be perfectly cooked in about 40 minutes with no fuss and no mess! Simply rub with garlic and rosemary and place in roasting pan and watch it cook slowly to perfection, all on its own!

2 and a 1/2-pound boneless pork loin roast, well trimmed
4 large garlic cloves, pressed
4 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Fresh rosemary sprigs (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 13 x 9 x 2-inch roasting pan with foil. Mix garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper in bowl, then rub the garlic mixture all over pork. Place pork, fat side down, in prepared roasting pan. Roast pork for 20 minutes. Then turn roast fat side up. Roast for another 20 minutes or longer, until thermometer inserted into the center of pork registers 155°F. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes. Pour any juices from roasting pan into small saucepan; set over low heat to keep warm. Cut pork crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Arrange pork slices on platter. Pour pan juices over. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, if desired.

February 19
Creamy Cucumber Salad

This refreshing cucumber salad is a great accompaniment to the pork roast and cabbage dish recipes listed above. The salad adds freshness and crunchiness to an otherwise traditional and heavy dish for a perfect balance. Enjoy!

1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt
1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 - 3 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
1 English cucumber, washed and thinly sliced (about 2 cups sliced)
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 garlic clove, minced

In a medium bowl, whisk together sour cream (or yogurt), mustard, vinegar, milk, salt, pepper, and dill until combined. Add sliced cucumbers, onions, and garlic, and gently stir to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.


February 26
Flourless Chocolate Cake

A perfect ending to any meal, this easy-to-make flourless chocolate cake will delight you and your family and guests! Enjoy it tonight as a dessert — or save it for tomorrow and invite some special friends over to share it with you!

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the pan
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for the pan
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
5 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
1/4 cup confectioners sugar, plus more for dusting

Heat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and dust with cocoa powder.

In a medium saucepan, heat the butter with 1/4 cup of the heavy cream over medium-low heat until the butter is melted. Add the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth; remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, and cocoa powder. Whisk in the chocolate mixture.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until puffed and set, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan for
1 hour. Run a knife around the edge of the cake before unmolding. Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.

March 5
Quick Kale, Tomato and Bean Soup

This vegetarian soup is perfect for Lent: tasty, nutritious -- and meatless. And easy to make too since it uses canned tomatoes and canned beans. You will only need to buy fresh kale and some fresh herbs for the bouquet garni. Served with warm crusty bread, this soup can be a meal until itself.

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped (optional)
Salt to taste
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with juice
6 cups water
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon oregano
1 medium Yukon gold potato (about 6 ounces), diced
A bouquet garni made with a bay leaf, a couple of sprigs each parsley and thyme, and a Parmesan rind (optional - but it does add flavor; use what you have for this)
1/2 pound kale, stemmed, washed thoroughly, and chopped or cut in slivers (4 cups chopped)
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
Freshly ground pepper
Grated parmesan for serving

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot and add the onion, carrot, and celery and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes and juice from the can, add another pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, for 5 to 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have cooked down slightly.

Add the water, tomato paste, oregano, potato, and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, add the bouquet garni, cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are just about tender.

Add the kale and simmer another 10 minutes, until the kale and potatoes are tender and the soup is fragrant. Taste, adjust salt, and add pepper. Stir in the beans and heat through for 5 minutes. Serve, sprinkling some Parmesan over each bowl.


March 12
Easy Eggplant Parmesan

Another vegetarian dish your family is sure to enjoy -- during Lent or anytime! This is one of the easiest recipes for eggplant parmesan that we have found. Have your children help you make it, slicing the eggplant and cooking it, grating the cheese, and chopping the parsley or basil. Serve with a green salad and garlic bread.

olive oil as needed
2 1/2 lbs eggplant, preferably small ones, unpeeled but trimmed
salt and pepper
1 large onion, chopped
2 pounds fresh plum tomatoes or one 28-ounce can, chopped
1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese, more for serving
2 Tbs chopped parsley or fresh basil for garnish

Put 1/8 inch of oil in your largest skillet (the bigger the skillet, the faster you can get through sauteeing the eggplant) and turn the heat to medium. Start trimming and slicing eggplant into 3/8 to 1/2-inch slices, When the oil shimmers, add the eggplant; you can crowd them as long as they don't overlap. Season with salt and pepper and cook, turning as necessary, until nicely tender and browned on both sides; drain on paper towels. Add more oil when necessary. Repeat until all slices are done.

Cook the onion in the remaining oil; when it's tender, add the tomatoes and some salt and pepper; cook at a lively simmer for 10 or 15 minutes until thickened. Heat the oven to 400.

Use a large oval gratin dish or a 9 x 13 baking dish. Start with a layer of eggplant, then add tomato sauce and cheese; then repeat with a second layer of eggplant, tomato sauce, and cheese. If you have enough, you can
go ahead and make a third layer, but be sure to end with a layer of cheese.

Bake until the cheese is melted and the whole thing is bubbly, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve hot or at room temperature. Serve extra parmesan cheese on the side.


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