Russian/Ukrainian recipes

Potato & Squash Steamed Dumplings (Monti)

IMG_0396These vegan steamed dumplings (or Monti, as European’s refer to them) are super delicious! Easy and fast to make and very simple ingredients. I was happy to come up with a good, meat-less recipe for steamed dumplings which are usually made with meat. To be honest with you, I liked these even more then the meat filled, steamed dumplings! I made a big batch of the potatoe, onion, and squash filling so that I can steam another fresh batch of these the next day as they do taste best steamed fresh! You can even make the filling 1 day in advance if you season it and add the olive oil to it. I made a big batch so we had these for dinner yesterday, and I have enough filling for another fresh batch of these for dinner again tonight!

Potato & Squash Steamed Dumplings (Monti) {Yields 38 Dumplings 6-8 Servings}

Ingredients:

  • 3.5 LB Yukon Gold Potatoes, Finely cubed
  • 1/2 Lareg Squash, Finely cubed
  • 2 Onions, finely chopped
  • 2 Packs of “Nasoya” Brand Egg Roll dough sheets (1 pack makes 19, which is how much I use for one batch. 2 packs will yield 38 dumplings total)
  • 3 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp Mrs.Dash or another, Salt-Free seasoning
  • 3 TBS Olive Oil, for filling
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil, to spread on each steam pot layer & to dip each dumpling with

IMG_0398Directions:

1) Do the prep work first. Peel the potatoes, cut them into small cubes, put into a bowl of cold water. Then rinse and change the water. When ready to use, drain out all the water. *This is just to keep your potatoes from turning brown. Cut the squash in half. Wash and peel that half. Then cut it also into small cubes (same size  as your diced potatoes) and set aside in seperate plate. Peel and finely dice the onions and set aside in separate plate.

IMG_0399

2) Put all the filling ingredients in a big bowl. Drained potatoes, squash, and onions. Add 3 tsp Salt, 1/2 tsp Pepper. 1 tsp Mrs. Dash or another Salt-free seasoning. Add 3 TBS Olive Oil and mix thoroughly!

IMG_0404

3) Set up a dumpling making station. I do this by setting up a sheet of foil, the egg roll sheets, a small cup with water and a brush.

IMG_0405

4) Add 2 heaping TBS of filling to each egg roll sheet. Using the brush, wet the outlines of each egg roll dough sheet with water.

IMG_0400

5) Bring the opposite corners together and stick them together in the middle. Repeat with the other opposite corners. Seal together tightly!

IMG_0401

6) Using another brush, brush olive oil onto each pot layer. I used 2 steampot layers and fit 10 dumplings on one steam pot layer, 9 dumplings on the other. *1 egg roll dough pack makes 19 dumplings. I made 19 at a time for dinner and it was enough for 3-4 servings.

 

7) Dip the bottom of each dumpling into a plate of olive oil and put them into the steam pot layers. *Don’t put them too close to each other or the dough will stick together.

IMG_0402

8) Bring the bottom pot, filled 1/2 way with water to a boil. When it comes to a boil, put the steam pot layers with dumplings onto the pot. Reduce heat to Medium-High, cover with the lid on top, and cook for 30 minutes.

IMG_0403

9) After 30 minutes, turn heat off, and let them steam for another 5 minutes. These are best served hot, fresh off the steam pot! However leftovers can be microwaved.

*I covered the rest of the filling with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge so I could make a fresh batch of 19 more the next day for dinner. But if you have a bigger crowd then make all of them. Trust me!

IMG_0397

IMG_0396

Advertisements

Chicken, Veggie, and Buckwheat Soup

IMG_0352This chicken, veggie, and buckwheat soup is a new favorite recipe in our home. I have been making it every week for the past few weeks. It is a nice twist on the traditional chicken soup recipe. The sautéed blend of veggies give it a wonderful flavor and substituting buckwheat for the noodles makes it so different and refreshing, yet so filling and satisfying! I make a big pot to last us 2 days and we enjoy every spoon full. I think this is the only soup that I could never get tired of eating lol. I originally got the recipe idea for this soup from my sister in law, Liliya. However I adapted it and created my own version of her recipe. My picky 5 1/2 year old says this is his new favorite soup, so that says a lot. The best part about this soup is how super easy it is to make, probably the easiest soup recipe ever! I hope you guys enjoy it as much as my family does!

Chicken, Veggie, and Buckwheat Soup {Yields 1 big pot, Serves 12-14}

Ingredients:

  • 4 Chicken Thighs (Bone in, Skin off before cooking) Organic is best
  • 1 1/4 Cups Buckwheat (Washed)
  • 5 Celery Ribs (diced small)
  • 4-5 Carrots (1 big carrot shredded, 3-4 carrots diced into thin circles)
  • 1 Large onion (diced small)
  • 1 pack Mushrooms (sliced thin)
  • 1 bunch Dill (chopped small)
  • 3 Garlic Cloves (minced or through garlic)
  • 1 TBS Salt
  • 2 TBS “Better then Bouillon Chicken” paste
  • 1 tsp Mrs.Dash or other Salt Free seasoning
  • 18 Cups Water
  • 2 TBS Olive Oil (for sauté)
  • 1 cube chicken bouillon

*I use all ORGANIC veggies for this soup, tastes so great!!!*

IMG_0347Directions:

1) Do the prep work first. Take the skin off ( discard it) wash the chicken thighs, and set aside. Wash all the veggies and cut them, set them all aside into a bowl or plate.

IMG_0348

2) Set a large pot with 18 Cups water on High heat. When it comes to a boil, turn down to Medium heat, add 1 TBS Salt and 2 TBS of the “Better Then Bouillon Chicken” paste. Add the 4 chicken thighs to the pot. Cover and cook for 30 Minutes. *Meanwhile move on to step 3.

3) Set a pan with Olive Oil on Medium heat. Add the diced veggies; the diced onion, diced celery, carrots both shredded and diced, and sliced mushrooms. Sauté, mixing for about 8-10 minutes until veggies are soft and cooked through. Wash the buckwheat.

4) When the chicken thighs have cooked through (after 30 minutes) Take them out of the pot and set aside in a plate to cool down. Add the washed buckwheat to the soup pot. 5 minutes later, add the sautéed veggies into the pot. Add the 1 tsp Mrs.Dash or other salt free seasoning, and add 1 chicken bouillon cube. Let it cook for about 15 minutes, until the buckwheat is soft. *When buckwheat is soft and ready, that means the soup is done!

5) When soup is done, add 1 bunch chopped dill (no stems) and add 3 minced or pressed garlic cloves. Cover the soup with lid, turn burner off, and let soup stand for at least 10 minutes for the flavors to blend.

IMG_0349

6) To reheat, pour soup into smaller pots, as much as you will eat, and heat up on medium heat. This soup tastes just as great on the 2nd or 3rd day!

IMG_0352

Braised Potatoes with Chicken

IMG_0266These braised potatoes are a classic European dish that I grew up eating. It can be compared to a stew because it is hearty with the tender potatoes, carrots and onion, and chicken and has a very tasty gravy. It’s a simple, one pot meal that can feed a big crowd. I like to make a big batch and eat the leftovers for lunch for a few days afterwards, but you can definitely make half the recipe. I do have this recipe posted as one of my very first recipes on the blog but I recreated that same recipe with chicken thighs, as my husband and I do not like to eat much pork meat. You can really use whatever meat you prefer, however keep in mind that beef needs much more cook time to get tender for this recipe. I came up with this recipe myself in an attempt to replicate a classic childhood favorite dish. Enjoy! 🙂

Braised Potatoes with Chicken {Yields a big pot, Serves 10-14}

Ingredients:

  • 5 LB Idaho Potatoes
  • 2.5 LB Chicken Thighs (Skinless/Boneless)
  • 3 Carrots
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter (Unsalted)
  • 1 Bunch Parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh or Dry Dill
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 3-4 Cloves Garlic
  • 4 Tablespoons Ketchup (Organic is best)
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mrs.Dash (or 21 Seasonings)

Directions:

1) Do the prep work first. Wash and peel the potatoes, cut them into about 1 inch cubes and put ina a big bowl of water. Wash and peel the carrots and shredd them, set aside in container. Finely dice the onion. Wash the chicken thighs and cut into about 1 inch pieces.

2) On Medium-High heat ( I did 7) heat 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil in a big pot or Dutch oven. I used a big Dutch oven that my dad gifted me from his recent trip to Europe! Throw in the cut chicken thighs, add salt/pepper and cook, stir every few minutes until meat is cooked through.

IMG_0272

3) Add 2 Tablespoons butter to the pot with chicken. Fill a tea kettle with water and bring to a boil, It should be about 2 Litters water, or you can use another pot.

4) Add the carrots and onion to the pot. Add the paprika, garlic powder, and Mrs. Dash seasonings. Add some more salt and pepper to the pot. Mix very well.

IMG_0273

5) When the carrots and onion become soft and cooked through, add the 4 Tablespoons ketchup. Mix very thoroughly.

IMG_0270

6) Add the potatoes into the pan but keep them on top! Do not mix with the meat mixture! This is important because you want to keep your potatoes steam cooking on top afterwards, not mushy and all mashed up. Add the 2 Litter boiled hot water to the pot. Just enough water to cover the potatoes. Add more water if needed. Cover the pot with a lid.

IMG_0271

IMG_02687) When the water in the pot comes to a boil, lower the heat to a low setting. ( I did 3). Keep covered with lid and cook for 25 to 35 minutes. Until the potatoes have cooked through and are tender. Meanwhile wash and finely chop the dill and parsley.

IMG_0267

8) In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add the chopped parsley and minced garlic cloves into the pot. Then in the last few minutes of cooking, add the chopped dill. When potatoes have cooked through and are tender, turn the heat off. Gently mix the potatoes and meat mixture, and enjoy! *Refrigerate leftovers in the pot (once the pot has cooled down) and to eat, heat up necessary portions in a small pot on the stovetop.*

IMG_0269

 

Vegetarian Ukrainian Borsht Soup

unnamed-1Borscht is a popular Ukrainian soup that I grew up eating. It seems that every family has adapted their own favorite recipes of this soup. I have the classic Borscht soup recipe posted earlier but this vegetarian version is a new recipe I got from my friend Lidiya. This is our new favorite recipe for this soup just because it’s so much lighter tasting with no meat and the veggies are finely chopped not shredded so they provide so much more flavor. I made a pig pot of this soup to last us a few days and it was so delicious and perfect healthy comfort food for this cold weather. Feel free to adapt this recipe to your preferences and add or omit anything you like. I enjoy hearing your feedback and ideas!

Vegetarian Ukrainian Borscht Soup {Yields big pot serves 10-12}:

Ingredients: 

  • 3-4 Beets
  • 4 Potatoes
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 2-3 Carrots
  • 1 Onion
  • 1/2 Head of Cabbage
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • Dill 1/2 bunch
  • 1 teaspoon Mrs.Dash Seasoning
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Dry Parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 5 Tablespoons Ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons Oil (For Saute)
  • 10 Cups Water
  • 6 cups Chicken Broth (Reduced Sodium) or 2 TBS Better then Bullion paste with 6 additional Cups water *That’s what I used

dscn4344Directions:

1) Do all the prep work first. Peel and cut the carrots thin. Peel and cut the beets into thin matchstick size. Cut the bell pepper into thin matchstick size. Finely dice the onion. Cut the cabbage into thin strips. Peel and cut the potatoes into cubes. Set all cut veggies aside. I put everything in one plate/container except the potatoes ( I set those aside in a bowl of water until ready to drain and use).

2) Boil the water in a big pot on High heat, and add the bullion paste (or broth). Then add the diced potatoes, turn heat down to Medium (6.5) and cook 15 to 20 minutes until potatoes are tender. Meanwhile start step 3.

3) In a large frying pan, heat 2 TBS oil. Add all the cut veggies except the cabbage. The carrots, onion, beets, red bell pepper. Mix and cook on Med-High heat (7.5) mixing, until veggies are cooked through and soft. Then add 5 TBS of ketchup. Mix and let it simmer for a few minutes.

4) Add the cooked veggies to the pot of soup. Mix well. Add the cut cabbage. Add 2 bay leaves, lemon juice, dry parsley, Mrs.Dash Spice, 1 teaspoon salt, sprinkle pepper. In 5 minutes add the finely chopped dill and garlic through garlic press. Turn heat off and cover the soup, for about 10 minutes and let the flavors blend. Enjoy!

dscn4377unnamed-1

Pan Fried Potatoes And Bacon (One Pan Meal)

DSCN3931

These Pan Fried Potatoes And Bacon are a yummy, one pan meal. I make this dish on super busy week nights because it is fast, easy, and super delicious. It is actually one of my husband’s most favorite dinners. It pairs well with a fresh salad, or canned tomatoes or dill pickles. I had the awesome idea of adding bacon to this already great dish, and it takes the flavor to a whole notha’ level. As I am typing this recipe and uploading the pictures, I am practically drooling over the keyboard. Lol, jk. But seriously, this stuff is delicious and you absolutely have to try this recipe!

Pan Fried Potatoes And Bacon {Serves 4-5}

Ingredients:

  • 4 LB Russet Potatoes
  • 1 Pack, 1 LB Bacon (Of your choice. I used thick cut.)
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Tablespoon Canola or Vegetable Oil (For frying.)
  • Garlic, 1 clove, minced (Optional)
  • Fresh Dill (To top, optional.)
  • Salt/Pepper

Directions: 

1) Peel the potatoes and place them in a big bowl with enough water to cover the top of potatoes. Then cut the potatoes in half and into thin pieces (about 1/4 in. thick), putting the cut pieces back into the water. Once you cut all the potatoes, drain the water from the bowl and fill with new water, repeat again. I do this to get all the extra starch out of the potatoes. Then set aside in a colander to drain out all the water.

DSCN3889     DSCN3894

2) Cut the bacon into about 1 inch pieces. Set a big pan on Med.- High heat, I did 7.0 and add the cut pieces of bacon. Cook until the bacon is well done.

DSCN3901      DSCN3904

3) Add the potatoes to the pan. Using a slotted spatula, mix about every 5 minutes. Meanwhile cut the onion into half rings. If there is not enough oil from the bacon, add about 1 Tablespoon of Canola oil to the potatoes and mix. After 15 minutes, add the cut onion to the pan. Don’t forget to keep mixing the potatoes about every 5 minutes, but mix gently, so the potatoes do not all fall apart. Meanwhile wash and chop some dill.

DSCN3907

4) The potatoes usually take about 20-30 minutes to cook. When the potatoes are all done, add some salt/pepper, the minced garlic clove (optional) and mix again, very gently. Sprinkle each plate individually with fresh dill (optional).

DSCN3921

DSCN3931        DSCN3924

Ukrainian Borscht Soup (Red Beet Soup)

DSCN3878

This is my recipe for the Ukrainian Borscht Soup. When I just got married, I was very intimidated to try this recipe. It looked so complicated that it scared me. But looking back now it sounds silly because it is so simple to prepare. Borscht is a very classic soup that most Russian and Ukrainian people grew up eating. I remember in my childhood my mother made it like every other week, it was a staple at our house. There are many great recipes for this soup, and I have tried a lot, but this is the best Borscht recipe, tried and tested by my family. Feel free to play around with it, add or change anything that you would like, and make it your signature family recipe. I’d love to hear anything different that you do with this recipe. My husband and son love to eat it with a dab of Sour Cream although I prefer it plain. Enjoy!

Ukrainian Borscht Recipe {Makes a big pot, 10-12 Serving}

Ingredients: 

  • 1.5 to 2 LB Beef (With a little bit of bone and fat)
  • 3 Medium Beets
  • 3 Medium Russet Potatoes
  • 2-3 Carrots
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 1 (6 oz.) Can Tomato Paste
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
  • 1/2-3/4 Small head Cabbage
  • 1 (8 oz.) Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 teaspoon White Sugar
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • Mrs.Dash Seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon
  • Vegeta Seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon (or seasonings of choice)
  • 1/2 Bunch Parsley
  • 1/4 to 1/4 Bunch Dill (Optional but recommended)
  • Sour Cream (For topping)

DSCN3853

Directions:

1) Do the prep work first. That way, you get all the hard work out of the way. Wash the Beef and set aside in a plate. Wash, Peel, and Shred the beets. Wash peel, and dice the potatoes into 1/2 inch. cubes. Wash, peel and shred the carrots. Wash and cut the cabbage into very thin, long, strips. Set everything aside in separate plates.

2) Put the Beef into a big pot, fill a little over half way with water. Bring to a boil on High heat. Lower the heat setting to an 8. Add some salt to the water. Skim off any foam and impurities that rise to the top, into a bowl nearby.

DSCN3857

3) When the beef cooks through, about 15 to 20 minutes, take it out and set it aside to cool down in a plate. Add the shredded beets. Cook until beats loose their color, about 5 minutes. Then add shredded carrots. In about 10 minutes add the diced potatoes. DSCN3858      DSCN3861

4) In 15 minutes add the cabbage. Then drain out the water from the can of diced tomatoes, and add the diced tomatoes into the pot. Once the beef has cooled off, cut it into 1/2 in. cubes, cutting out and getting rid of fat or bones. Then add the pieces of beef back into the soup pot.

DSCN3872     DSCN3872 (2)

5) Heat a skillet on Med. heat (I did 5) with 1 Tablespoon of Canola Oil. Add the diced onion to the skillet and mix often so it does not burn. When the onion gets tender, add the can of tomato paste and mix. Then add 1 Cup of water to the skillet and mix everything again well. It should now look like a tomato sauce. Add 1 teaspoon of white sugar and mix to incorporate it.

DSCN3864     DSCN3870

6) Turn the Soup down to a lower heat setting, I did 4. Add the tomato paste and onion mixture from the skillet into the pot. Add 3 garlic cloves, pressed. Then add some more salt, pepper, and spices of choice. I added 1/2 teaspoon of Vegeta Seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon of Mrs.Dash Seasoning. Lastly, add the chopped parsley and dill into the soup pot. Mix the soup very well, turn off the stove, close the lid and let the soup stand for at least 15 minutes. Enjoy plain or with a dab of Sour Cream on top.

DSCN3878

 

Tortilla Crab Roulette Rolls

DSCN2617

These tortilla crab roulette rolls are super delicious and so simple to prepare! It is one of my hubby’s most favorite appetizers that I make and he requests it for any big dinner event and of course every big Holiday event! It has become a tradition to make these for Christmas every single year and if I don’t, it feels like there is something missing on the table. My favorite part about this appetizer is that it can be made a day ahead of time and stays good in the fridge for up to a week, although in our house it does not last that long! Lol. So it is great for a big dinner or party if you have guests coming over and are overwhelmed with a lot to cook, this dish can be crossed off your list the day before. I have been making this appetizer for years now, just never had a chance to post it yet, it has been tried by several friends and relatives and everyone always loves it. So, if you are having a hard time choosing an appetizer to make for an important event, this recipe will not fail you! 🙂

Tortilla Crab Roulette Rolls {Serves 14-18} 

Ingredients:

  • Imitation Crab Meat, Flak Style 24 oz (Usually 3 packs of 8 oz)
  • 5 Flour Tortillas (Big Burrito Size)
  • 3 1/2 cups Mexican Blend Cheese (Shredded)
  • 8-9 Hard Boiled Eggs
  • 1 Cup Mayonnaise (I use Hellman’s Brand)
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic

Directions:

1) Cook your eggs to make them hard boiled. Meanwhile, cut all the imitation crab meat into small pieces and set it aside in a big bowl. Once the eggs are done, cool them off, peel them and cut them also into small pieces. Put the shredded Mexican blend cheese into a separate big bowl.

DSCN2517

DSCN2520

2) In a separate bowl or measuring cup, put the 1 cup of Mayonnaise. Peel the garlic cloves and add them into the Mayonnaise using a garlic press. Mix very well to distribute the garlic evenly.

3) Take a big piece of parchment paper or foil and lay it down on the table (This is not necessary but makes cleaning much easier afterwards.) Put the tortilla on the parchment paper and using a butter knife, spread a thin, even layer of the Mayonnaise mix on it. It should be about 3 heaping Tablespoons of Mayo mix per each tortilla.

DSCN2525

4) Then using your hands, evenly sprinkle the Mexican blend cheese over the mayo.

DSCN2527

5) Then evenly sprinkle the hard boiled eggs over the layer of cheese.

DSCN2530

6) Then evenly sprinkle the imitation crab meat over the layer of eggs.

DSCN2531

7) Then roll up the tortilla into a roulette, or burrito looking roll. Then put the roll in foil and tighten the foil around the roll so it does not loose its shape and stays like a roulette roll.

DSCN2538

DSCN2542

 

8) Refrigerate over night or at least 8 hours. Then when you are ready to serve it, just carefully take it out of the foil and cut it into pin wheels. *Make sure to cut it into thick (About 3/4 inch thick) pin wheels, if you cut it too thin it will fall apart and loose it’s shape! Cut the ends off, because they do not look pretty with the way the tortilla just hangs off the sides, so I do not put it in the serving plate I either eat it or discard it. I have my husband help me with this step, he cuts and I hold them so they don’t fall and break apart, then neatly transfer them to a serving plate. *Best served cold, right out of the fridge, so cut right before serving them.

DSCN2617

DSCN2609

Korean Carrot Salad (Markovcha)

DSCN2590

This is probably my most favorite salad ever, and I do not throw the word “favorite” around. It is the classic Russian carrot salad (Markovcha) Although it is actually an authentic Korean dish that has been adapted by Russians/Ukrainians.  I am sure most Russian/Ukrainian people have tried this salad at one point or another and can agree with me that it has become a traditional favorite. I have this salad on the table at all the special occasions, fancy dinners, and especially Holiday dinners, and it is always the first dish gone! I always make a double or sometimes even triple batch of it to enjoy for the next few days. This salad is common at almost all Russian/Ukrainian weddings and for good reason! This is my version of the salad, I got this recipe from my mother in law Tamara, but of course have added a few of my own changes to it. You should have seen that coming. 😉 I have yet to try a Korean carrot salad that tastes better then this one. I hope you all enjoy it just as much as my family does.

Korean Carrot Salad {Makes about 2.2 pounds. Serves 12-14}

Ingredients:

  • 1 Kilogram Carrots (About 2.2 LB)
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 4 Tablespoons Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 2 cloves of Garlic
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 packs of Korean Carrot Salad Seasoning (Found in most Russian, European, Polish stores.)
  • *IMPORTANT TOOLS*: Mandolin Slicer (My dad bought me one at an Asian store.)

DSCN2556

(I did not take a picture of the ingredients as they are very basic ingredients, But for those that need it, here is a picture of the Korean Carrot Salad Seasoning. It usually cost .65 or .75 cents and can be found at most Russian, European, and Polish stores. I got mine at the Polish store.)

1) Wash and peel all the carrots then set them aside in a big bowl.

2) Take a large bowl and using the mandolin slicer, slice the carrots into thin, matchstick like, neat strips. (I used a big pot because this was for a party and I made 3X as much and it only fit into a big pot lol.)

DSCN2543

DSCN2544

3) In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil, vinegar, salt, sugar, pressed garlic, pepper, and Korean carrot salad seasoning packets. Mix it very well.

DSCN2550

 

4) Add it to the large bowl (Or pot in my case lol) with carrots, pour it on top. Then mix the carrots very well until well blended with the sauce and seasonings.

DSCN2559

 

5)Cover and refrigerate over night or at least 10 hours. It is then ready to be enjoyed. Just make sure to mix it very well before putting it into the serving bowls!

DSCN2590

DSCN2596

(And a close up, so you can see the texture, and detail.)

 

Stuffed Bell Peppers

DSCN2433

A delicious bell pepper, stuffed with meat, rice, herbs and spices, cooked in a satisfying sauce consisting of freshly pureed tomatoes cooked with onion, carrots, spices, dry herbs, and cilantro until they reach perfection and are soft, served hot in a bowl with the sauce and a dollop of organic sour cream on top… Okay is your mouth watering yet? Lol. If I could, if I only could, I would probably eat this dish every single day, and never get tired of it! It is one of my most favorite things to eat, especially during fall and winter when it gets cold outside and I crave a warm homemade comfort food. I came up with this recipe all on my own. I knew what stuffed peppers consisted of, but I added my own zing to it and completely changed the entire recipe until I came up with this wonderfulness. This has got to be hands dowwwwwn the best recipe for stuffed bell peppers that you will ever try. I just made a big pot of these last week which we ate for 2 days in a row and now my husband is asking for me to make them again. Even my 2 1/2 year old son loved them, he calls it bell pepper soup lol. Well you have seen the pictures yourself, so do I really need to say more? That’s what I thought! 🙂

Stuffed Bell Peppers {Serves 4-6} 

Ingredients:

  • 1 LB Ground Beef
  • 1 LB Ground Pork
  • 7 Bell Peppers, medium sized (Any colors. I like to mix different colors for a pretty looking variety.)
  • 1/2 Cup (Raw) Rice
  • 5 Large Tomatoes
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 2 Large Carrots, or 3 Smaller ones
  • 4-5 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of Vegeta seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Mrs. Dash seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dry basil
  • 3 Chicken Bullion Cubes
  • Garlic Powder to taste
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • 2-3 Bay Leaves
  • 1/2 Bunch of Cilantro
  • Fresh or Dry Dill
  • 2 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil (For Frying)

Directions:

1) Do the prep work first, this will make it a lot easier for you later on. Cook the 1/2 cup of rice, according to the instructions. Finely dice the onion and set it aside. Shred the carrots and set them aside. When the rice cooks, let it cool down a bit.

2) Put the ground beef and ground pork into a large bowl. Add the cooled rice to the bowl. Add the vegeta seasoning and Mrs.dash seasoning (or seasonings of your choice), add the dry basil, and garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Set the bowl aside.

DSCN2405                 DSCN2407

3)  In a large pan, heat 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil on medium heat. Add the onion, then carrots. Cook until the onion and carrots are soft. Meanwhile, wash your tomatoes and put them all in a blender. Cut them into pieces so that they all fit in the blender. Blend them to a puree.

DSCN2409                  DSCN2406

4) When the onions and carrots in the pan are soft, add the pureed tomatoes into the pan. Simmer for about 5 to 7 minutes then set aside on the stove. It turns from a pinkish red to a rich red color when it cooks (like pictured below).

DSCN2411                      DSCN2412

5) When the tomato mixture is cooked, add 3/4 of a cup into the bowl with meat and spices. Mix the meat mixture well. Set the rest of the pan with the tomato mixture aside.

DSCN2416                       DSCN2417

6) Cut out a hole in the middle of each bell pepper using a knife. Wash the peppers well inside and outside. Boil 2 Liters of filtered water in a tea kettle.

DSCN2403                       DSCN2401

7) Then you can stuff each bell pepper with the meat mix. Stuff each bell pepper until it is full of meat. When you are done stuffing each bell pepper and have some meat mix left over you can add it to the top of each pepper, over stuffing it a little bit but not too much. Put the peppers in a large pot.

DSCN2423

8) Pour the rest of the tomato mixture into the pot, on top of the bell peppers.

DSCN2424

9) Pour the boiled water from the tea kettle into the soup. Covering almost all of the bell peppers. Cook the peppers on medium-high heat (I did a 7.5) until the peppers are cooked through, for about 40-45 Minutes. After 20 Minutes add in your bay leaves, then cut the chicken bullion cubes into small pieces and throw it into the pot, then finely cut the cilantro and add it to the pot. Mix well and in the last 10 minutes of cooking add the garlic either minced or through a garlic press, then add finely chopped dill and salt/pepper, vegeta, any other spices according to your taste preferences.  *Sorry I forgot to take an after picture of how the bell peppers look in the pot when they are done!*

DSCN2428

*Serve each stuffed pepper hot, in a soup bowl with the bullion from the pot . Don’t forget to serve with fresh sour cream on the side!*

DSCN2433                      DSCN2435

“Hey Mr.Photographer, I think I’m ready for my close up! 😉 ”

DSCN2438

Chebureki (Tortillas w/ Meat filling)

DSCN2376

These Chebureki are amazing! They are great for a tea party or an appetizer for dinner (in which case I cut them in halves and serve them like that on a plate). You can make them ahead of time and just heat them up in the oven before serving, and they taste just as good. They are perfect for a party or guests because this recipe yields a lot of them. I once made them for my friends birthday party, a whole batch, and cut them in halves since it was for a big group of people and would be an appetizer… Everyone loved them and everyone asked me for the recipe. They were gone with just crumbs left and I wished I had made more! If you are vegetarian, you can make these with mashed potatoes inside instead of the meat filling. I have not tried it that way myself, but have heard that it is also delicious and plan to try those soon. Chebureki look and taste so good but surprisingly are really fast to cook, that’s probably my favorite thing about them as I do not like cooking time consuming meals especially on week nights. So next time you are looking for a perfect chebureki recipe that is quick to make, this recipe is for you!  😉

Chebureki (Tortillas w/ Meat Filling)  { Yields 18}

Ingredients:

  • 1 LB Ground Beef
  • 1 LB Ground Pork
  • 4 Tablespoons Milk
  • 1 bunch of Scallions
  • 1/2 a bunch of Parsley
  • 1/2 a bunch of Cilantro
  • Ground Black Pepper to taste
  • 1 and 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Vegeta (or other Seasoning of your choice) Optional
  • 18 RAW Tortillas (You can buy them already done, raw and ready to be cooked. I bought mine at Costco.)
  • 3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 Cup of filtered water

DSCN2351                  DSCN2449

1) Do the prep work first. Put the ground beef and ground pork in a big bowl. Cut your scallions and add them into the bowl w/meat. Finely chop the parsley and cilantro, and add it into the big bowl w/meat. Add the salt, pepper, seasoning and milk into the bowl as well. Mix very well.

DSCN2356                     DSCN2357

2) Put about 3 Tablespoons of vegetable oil into a big pan. Heat it on Medium heat (I did 6.0). While the oil heats up start making the chebureki. Spread a large piece of aluminum foil on the counter (this makes cleaning easy!). Place one tortilla at a time on the aluminum foil. Using a spoon, add about 2 Tablespoons to the tortilla, spread it around and mash it a bit using a fork.

DSCN2360

3)Take a cooking brush, dab it in a cup with filtered water, using the brush, spread a little bit of water all around the edges of the tortilla, not a lot, just enough to make it a little wet. Then close it, so it looks like a half circle, sticking the wet sides together, hold the edges down until they stick together and press down around the edges with another clean fork to make it stick well and have a cute little design going around.

DSCN2361                          DSCN2364

4) When the oil has heated up, lower the heat to 5 or 5.5, put the cheburek into the pan, you can add 2 at a time. When it gets cooked, or golden on one side, flip it over to the other side.

DSCN2371

Repeat the steps for all the chebureki. Line a big plate with paper towels or napkins and put each cooked cheburek into the plate in between a paper towel layer, letting it cool down and drip any extra oil onto the paper towel. *Best served hot, so preheat them in the oven if you need to. However do not preheat in the microwave because it will not taste as good!*

DSCN2384

 

DSCN2376