Healthy and Sane

Entries Tagged as 'Russian'

Silly gadgets and Russian hash browns (kugelis)

December 2nd, 2011 · 47 Comments · breakfast, Russian, side dishes

Thank you all for your sweet comments on my previous post on weight fluctuations. It was eye opening for me and I’m happy I shared the pictures here on the blog. Even more inspiration!

So let’s get back to food, shall we? Actually I sort of wanted to talk about kitchen gadgets. Gimmicky kitchen gadgets. Do you own any? I’m talking about silly things like Slap Chops (I own one! It’s collecting dust.), avocado slicersmango splitters and the like. Basically anything that a good ol’ knife would do FASTER. And then there is a whole new level of ridiculousness with the likes of egg poacher + english muffin toaster combo, andmarinade express tabletop unit(it’s $300!!). The good news is that some gadgets are AWESOME… even if you can in fact use something simpler to get the job done.


You are going to laugh at me but I love my strawberry stem remover. Yes, I can use a knife but it’s honestly so much fun using that little guy (and no, I will not be buying the strawberry slicerthat Amazon recommends with it… I do have my limits). And I recently purchased this cupcake corer. It looks gimmicky but I hate doing the job with a pairing knife. I’ll let you know how it goes. Smile

Why am I even talking about kitchen gadgets anyway? Because the shredder attachment to my food processor rocked my world the other day. I sort of want to shred every single food item in the house now just to watch this beast process it into perfect little strips. Three pounds of potatoes processed in less than 1 minute. Box graters are so last year! Winking smile


The recipe I used my favorite new gadget for was for kugelis, which is a Lithuanian potato dish reminiscent of a large hash brown cake. It took a little work (I wish those potatoes peeled themselves!) but the end result was a beautiful potato bake with a golden crust on the outside and tender potato on the inside. Adam and I both enjoyed it for our “restaurant meal in” (our new thing since our going out budget is tighter… there are no tvs, no computers, just the two of us enjoying a more indulgent meal together – catching up on random stories from the week)… but this would be a great dish to serve for brunch as well. I hope you make it and let me know how it goes! Open-mouthed smile

Kugelis – serves 6-8 (recipe is largely based on the Please to the Table cookbook)


  • 3 lbs potatoes
  • 4 oz bacon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup milk (if you want a richer dish, use all cream)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper, to taste



1. Preheat oven to 375*.

2. Fry bacon in an oven safe 10” skillet. Pour out most of the bacon grease, leaving enough to coat the pan. Blot bacon on paper towels then crumble.

Russian-hash-browns-kugelis-2 Russian-hash-browns-kugelis-3

3. Peel potatoes, coarsely grate.


This is where the food processor is your friend!


4. Wash grated potatoes in several changes of cold water, then place in a kitchen towel to squeeze water out.


Nice and dry! Smile Watery potatoes are no good.


5. Combine potatoes, bacon, milk, cream, and eggs. Add salt and pepper to taste.




6. Transfer back to the pan and dot with butter.


6. Bake at 375* for about 1 hour, until the top is golden brown.



Crusty on the inside…


…soft and buttery on the inside:


These potatoes were definitely the star of our steak dinner. I also used these Green Giant green beans for a super quick side veg (*Disclaimer: I received a coupon for a free Green Giant product through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program).

Quick steam:


Then a 2 minute sautee with some EVOO and garlic.


Perfect Smile


What are your favorite kitchen gadgets?

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Dinner party for 6 (finally!)

February 14th, 2011 · 16 Comments · Cooking Light, dessert, entertaining, favorite recipes, Italian, Russian, side dishes

Having a day off (I’m off this whole week!) apparently does not mean that you will have plenty of time for things like blogging. Sorry for the delay of today’s post. I wanted to make sure to share last night’s meal with you though. I always say “better late than never!”… maybe ‘cause I’m always late. lol

SO, if you’ve seen my post on Russian Bites, or my facebook/twitter you may have known that I had my parents and parents in law over for dinner last night. It’s been long overdue and I’m really excited that we finally had a change to do it. It was really fun! So fun, in fact, that I totally forgot to take pictures of all the food (namely the appetizers) so I’ll you’ll have to use your imagination if you’d like to pretend you were at the Healthy and Sane household last night.

This was the smoothest and least stressful dinner party I’ve ever had. Here is why!

  • I took shortcuts! Pre-dinner nibbles included green olives marinated with lemons and garlic (purchased from the Whole Foods deli department), aged gouda (just cut up), mozzarella/grape tomato skewers (super simple – Adam assembled them!) and hummus with baby carrots and crackers (hummus was the only thing I made from scratch for the apps).
  • I made dessert the night before (I had to given the recipe, but I just LOVED not worrying about that course at all the day of the dinner).
  • Despite my overambitious self, I stuck to “just” one main course (which I’ve made before <- I knew what to expect!!). I did make a side of greens, although I accepted help (my mom washed the escarole and helped me with dessert the night prior; Adam made the mozzarella/tomato skewers). Thanks guys!
  • I invited guests a few hours prior to dinner being served. This gave everyone time to chat, drink and munch… and gave me more time to prep (I always stress about having everything ready when people arrive! No need this time!!).

With all the wine our guests brought in and additional desserts (see below), we certainly had no shortage of food and drinks. So here we go, last night’s (pictured) eats!


My father in law LOVES Italian and happens to be the pickiest eater of the bunch (although I think my mom sometimes tries to give him a run for his money 😆 ) so choosing an Italian main entrée was the easy choice. I decided that spinach, artichoke and feta stuffed shells was a fun and impressive enough dish for a family dinner. It fed a crowd too! I made 1.5 times the recipe and it made two large pans (we hardly finished one of them so there were plenty of leftovers… not complaining here Winking smile ).


This was carby, cheesy and comforting. A simple side dish of escarole and pine nuts (doubled) nicely broke out the richness of the main course.


There was also garlic bread which apparently broils within seconds (ok, more like 2 minutes… but still) – hey, fire and smoke with the price of admission 😆


My mom saved the day (scrapes them off and I reapplied the garlic/EVOO paste – crisis averted!).


See, all good!


I think I can safely say everyone really enjoyed the main course!! Open-mouthed smile

I left plenty of room for DESSERT!

My mom brought granny smith apples wrapped in puff pastry dough (like a lazy apple pie) – yum!


Jane, my mother in law, made chocolate covered strawberries. Just in time for Valentine’s day! Smile


And I, with the help of my mom, made my very first gorka cake!!!! Check out Russian Bites for the recipe. You’ve been asking me for it for years, so now it’s your turn to make it. SOOOOOO good.



Happy bellies = happy guests… and a happy hostess. Open-mouthed smile

Do you have any dinner party tricks? I’m really happy with how smoothly everything went last night. And now, if you excuse me, I have gorka leftovers to devour (ok, that’s a joke… I already had some after breakfast Winking smile )

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Come visit me

February 10th, 2011 · 5 Comments · Russian, salad

Hi bloggies! I don’t have much to share with you today (when does that ever happen??) so I’d love it if you went to visit me on this Russian food blog I write. Winking smile It gets a bit lonely over there (but I still love it – it’s my baby blog).

My latest post is for vinegret which is a pretty healthy yet hearty salad. I bet you’d like it!!


[The whole recipe was 18 points plus… I ate half for 9 which is an awesome deal!]

Oh and my weigh-in is later today… this is the first week ever that I actually followed the program to the T and stayed within my points allowance (no $20 penalty… wheee). Hope the scale is my friend! Smile

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