Saturday, November 28, 2015

Stuffed Potato Pancakes

Don't you think one of the best things about a Thanksgiving feast, is the leftovers?  I love them eaten cold for breakfast (as in turkey on roll sandwich or pumpkin pie), rewarmed for lunch or dinner, (as in hot turkey and gravy over roll and mashed potatoes and stuffing), or re-made into new meals. I think I look forward to leftovers more than the actual holiday meal itself; Perhaps because it is a meal already fixed and ready to go.  It is like a present to myself.

With a large abundance of turkey and mashed potatoes after Thanksgiving, these two items are a sure thing to get made over.  At our house, left over mashed potatoes are almost always turned into potato pancakes. Sometimes we fix them plain, and  sometimes we jazz them up with cheese, onion and/or some sort of bacon. They are delicious served with eggs, or even just on their own as a meal in themselves. My Mom often made them for us when were little and I have often made them for our family.  In Russia they take the potato pancake idea a little further and stuff it with delicious fillings, such as sauted mushrooms, or ground meat, and then fry them until golden brown. When we adopted our kids ten years ago, my eyes were opened to the many delicious Russian comfort foods, and have loved trying them to please the kids. Here is my own adaptation of "Zrazy" which is the Russian name for this kind of Stuffed Potato Pancakes.

Put mashed potatoes, eggs and flour into a mixing bowl.

Mix together well.

Set aside until the filling is prepared.

Gather together stuffing ingredients: Chopped chicken or turkey, green onions, mushrooms and grated carrots.

Melt a half of a stick of butter in a frying pan. Stir and saute until vegetables are tender.

Put sauted mixture into a measuring bowl ready to fill the potato pancakes.

Create pancakes with one large spoonful of potato mixture on a floured surface to keep from sticking.  If the mixture is still sticky while working with it, add flour as you form your pancake as needed.

Top pancake with a tablespoon of meat mixture.

Fold pancake in half and pinch edges together. Forming and smoothing into a nice shaped pancake.

Take up prepared pancakes and place on  a plate Set to the side while you heat the oil.
Fry 3-4 minutes over medium high heat until well browned on all sides.
(sorry missed the pictures on this one).

Top with fresh green onions and sprinkle liberally with sea salt.

Stuffed Potato Pancakes

6 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus extra to dust the pancakes with
2 large eggs
2 cups cooked and chopped Chicken or Turkey
5 or 6 mushrooms, minced
1 carrot, grated
1 garlic clove, minced
5 green onions finely chopped and or 2 TB fresh parsley,  minced
1/2 stick butter
Sea Salt or natural salt and pepper to taste
Flour or breadcrumbs to roll pancakes in before frying
Natural Palm Oil for frying

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine mashed potatoes eggs and flour.
  2. Mix well and set to the side while making the filling.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium/high heat.
  4. Add butter, Chicken/Turkey and vegetables
  5. Saute, and stir until the vegetables are tender.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Place in a mixing bowl to have ready for filling the potato pancakes.
  8. Dust a working space with flour.
  9. Using a large serving spoon or ice-cream scoop, take up a spoonful of the potato mixture and place it onto the floured surface.
  10. Work the potato mixture into a flat circle or oblong.
  11. Place a tablespoon of the filling onto the pancake.
  12. Fold pancake in half and pinch the edges together, forming a nicely shaped oblong.
  13. Roll in flour or bread crumbs. Place on a plate.
  14. Repeat until all of the pancakes are made. 
  15. Heat a large fry pan (non-stick ceramic is a good choice) with a little oil to cover the bottom of the pan.
  16. Once the oil is hot, fry the pancakes until golden brown on each side (about 3 or 4 minutes per side).
  17. Place on paper towel covered plate to drain.  Keep warm in a low oven until all is ready.
  18. Delicious served with Sour Cream; we also love them with a little hot sauce.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankful and Joyful

Perhaps this post should be titled "A Wedding, A Trip and A Feast", because that is the recap of my week. But let me first wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. I know I am writing this fairly late, and many of you are having your Thanksgiving reward by now... sleeping peacefully in your beds. But perhaps there are some of you out west, that are still awake.

We celebrated a wonderful Thanksgiving day today, how about you?  What did you do and what did you eat? I always love to hear how you guys celebrate your holidays.  As for us, we enjoyed a special dinner with our son Nathan and his precious family. As I had mentioned in my previous post, we have been away this last week. It was a good trip, filled with constant activity. We got home Tuesday night  just in time to put together our Thanksgiving meal.

We drove to Arizona a week and a half ago, to celebrate our son Russell, as he got married on Saturday. It was a beautiful wedding. We are so happy for Russ.  He and his new bride are a beautiful couple. His happiness is now ours. That makes four for us now; four children married; over half way there. :) Steve and I celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary this week....well, we didn't really celebrate yet... and we didn't remember until we were doing our Thanksgiving shopping a few hours from home... haha.  But it is another fun landmark that we rejoice in.

All week long we enjoyed family and friends, and finished with Russ and Michelle's beautiful wedding and reception. Then home we came; over the river and through the woods.

It snowed today.  My grandchildren have been waiting for that snow and hoping for that snow, and now they will get to enjoy it, with more to come in the morning.

  Here is a small recap of our week in pictures.      

Our son Russ and his new bride, Michelle

And here are Steve and I at the reception.

Nathan and Himilce relaxing.

My brother Dave and His wife Elvia drove down for the wedding;

And my brother Mike and His wife Gloria.

Cutting the Cake.

It has been a wonderful and joyful week for us.  We are very Thankful to God for many things. I have a few fun stories I would love to tell... but I'm thinking they will have to wait.  In the meantime, Blessings to you all and Happy Thanksgiving.

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Side Dish Delight

post signatureAs Thanksgiving draws near, food planning begins to stir in my brain.  I find myself even in the midst of important diverse activities (such as the upcoming wedding of our son Russ) , thinking about and planning side dishes for our Thanksgiving meal.  The side dishes are the best (in my opinion).  It is the one time of year where a full spectrum of side dish favorites come out all at one time, and are fully indulged in and enjoyed even several days after their first presentation.  A little bit of turkey, and a whole plate full of mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean especial, mom's best stuffing, Asian slaw, cranberry sauce, Frog Eye salad, corn or carrot souffle, drizzles of gravy here and there, accompanied with roll and various appetizers still lingering....mmmm.....yum.... Perhaps I am fantasizing a little, as of course we never have them all, but if there are enough of us getting together, sometimes we come close.

I am enjoying a rare peaceful morning in Fountain Hills, Arizona as I write this, only two days away from Russ's wedding. I have been thinking of my Thanksgiving menu as I am waking up with my cup of coffee, as I know once Russell is married, Thanksgiving comes shortly afterwards. I have nothing planned yet, as far as food goes.  We will put our Thanksgiving meal together quickly, with very little time to get much done ahead, so my goal this morning, is to settle on a menu plan.  Here is a list of some of our Thanksgiving side dish favorites; If you are like me, you might be thinking of ideas for your upcoming holiday meal, and if your like me, you might enjoy seeing what other people like to cook and serve.  Enjoy making your plans, and enjoy those loved ones that you spend your holiday with.

Have a wonderful Week Everyone!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Owl Cheese Ball

A cheese ball with a new look, this one is shaped into an owl.  It makes a fun and delicious Fall treat.
Or try a few minor variations and you can create a turkey for Thanksgiving.  Let your imagination go and enjoy this appetizer for the Holidays.  We made up this delicious little owl for a Fall Tea Party last week, and he made us all smile.

Owl Cheese Ball

2  8oz blocks of Cream Cheese.
1/2 cup minced green onions
1 cup chopped Black Olives
1 Package Budding Beef, minced

Ingredients for Decorating:
Cucumber for eyes
Sliced Black Olives for eyes
Sliced cheese for beak and feet
Toasted, sliced almonds for feathers/wings
Toasted, chopped almonds or walnuts for face texture

  1. Mix together cream cheese, green onions, chopped black olives, and minced beef.
  2. Form owl shape on a serving plate.
  3. Decorate with Cucumber and olive for eyes.
  4. Decorate with sliced almonds for wings
  5. Decorate with cheddar cheese for beak and feet
  6. Sprinkle chopped almonds around head.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Pumpkin Scones

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I get to craving Pumpkin Scones this time of year... perhaps because certain coffee establishments promote them, and get them into my head; but also it is that "Pumpkin time of year".  These are a moist, lightly sweet scone, made with half whole wheat flour and half white flour, and are enhanced with the addition of Cinnamon and Clove Essential Oils, which really do give them a wonderful pop of flavor. In addition to tea time, I love them for breakfast, with tea or coffee, served with butter, honey, or apple butter. We made these for our Fall Tea Party: They were a special request from my Grandson Elon, and were greatly enjoyed by all.

Pumpkin Scones

1 cups Organic All Purpose Flour
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (I like to slice it into thin pieces before I add it to the mix.
3/4 cup pumpkin puree (1/2 of a small can).
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
10 drops cinnamon essential oil
4 drops clove essential oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Icing:
11/4 cup organic powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cream or milk
1tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1-2 drops cinnamon essential oil.


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, or line with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.
  4. Cut in the butter, or use your fingers to work the butter into the dry ingredients until well distributed and resembling course crumbs.
  5. In a separate bowl, measure together pumpkin puree, buttermilk, egg. Essential oils, and vanilla. 
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together.
  7. Scoop dough out onto a floured surface and knead lightly with additional flour until dough is is no longer sticky.
  8. Pat into 1 a large round wheel (or two small ones will work fine as well): as pictured above. Slice into 8 triangles, and place onto baking sheet.Place scones.
  9. Place into oven and bake for 13-15 minutes.
  10. To make the icing, combine the powdered sugar and milk, cinnamon, cinnamon essential oils and vanilla extract.
  11. Whisk until smooth. 
  12. When the scones are done, cool for 10 minutes.
  13. Drizzle each scone with the icing.