Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Some freezer meal info

Notes on making freezer meals

* Dried herbs freeze better, impart a more pungent flavor, and will rehydrate when cooking
* If not freezing, fresh minced garlic is best
* If you are cooking food to serve 10-15 minutes later, or more, cover with foil and expect the internal temp to rise 5 degrees per 10 minutes as it rests. If necessary, adjust accordingly.
* You can refreeze meat if it is in a marinade or casserole
* Raw or cooked meat, poultry, or casseroles can be cooked or reheated from the frozen state. It will take approximately one and a half times longer than the usual cooking time for food that has been thawed.
* It is better to undercook, or cook just until tender, all types of rice to be used in freezable dinners. They will finish cooking when dinner is reheated.
* If you plan to freeze cooked pasta dishes, do not fully cook the pasta. It should be a bit chewier than al dente.
* Bottled lemon juice in a freezer recipe is just as good as fresh and easier.
* If you need more pans, line your baking pan with foil, build your casserole, and freeze it. Remove the frozen casserole from the pan, wrap it with another layer of foil, and place it back into the freezer without the pan. When ready to thaw and bake, unwrap the foil, and place the dinner back into the original baking dish.
* It’s a good idea to allow 2-3 days for thawing in the refrigerator and then be sure to cook and consume the meal within the next 3-4 days.
* Cook large batches of chicken at once. Boil a large pot of water and add boneless, skinless chicken breasts with a teaspoon each of garlic powder and lemon pepper. Return the water to a boil and cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Cook more than you need for your recipe and freeze the remainder in resealable freezer bags for later use.
* Cook large batches of rice at the same time. Cool in the refrigerator, uncovered, in a shallow pan and place in freezer bags to freeze. A good rule of thumb is to put 2 parts cold water to 1 part rice in a saucepan over high heat. Cover and bring to a boil. Leave covered and remove from heat. Let it sit, covered, about 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed. The rice will not be quite done- tender, but not completely soft.
* When converting a regular recipe to a freezer recipe, use extra liquid, stock, or milk
* Frozen dishes with larger chunks of veggies taste better reheated than ones with smaller ones.
* Cookies and cakes can be made ahead of time and frozen, baked or unbaked
* Muffin batters can be made and poured into paper-lined muffin tins. When they have frozen, remove the liners and place the frozen ‘muffins’ in a freezer bag. When time to cook, you can cook from frozen by reducing the original cooking temp by 25 and adding about 30 minutes to the original cooking time.
* It is best to double bag frozen meals. This helps prevent freezer burn (which only creates dryness) and will contain any leaks as the meal defrosts.
* Recommended freezing times are for quality, not safety (referring to the freezer meals)
* Always double-wrap baked items when freezing to help ensure freshness and taste.
* You can flash-freeze cookie dough by placing formed cookie balls on cookie sheets in the freezer for 10-20 minutes. Then remove and place in freezer bag. For slice-and-bake cookies, form dough into logs then wrap tightly in plastic wrap (seal ends well) and place in freezer bag.
* When making meals in freezer bags, it is a good idea to lay it flat when freezing so that it stores well. Some recommend placing in a baking dish stacked on each other while they freeze to ensure the shape stays flat and any potential leaks stay contained until frozen.
* Wrap leftover fresh cilantro in plastic wrap and put in a small freezer bag. Add directly to your recipe when needed.
* After squeezing juices from citrus fruits, store and freeze the leftover halved rinds in a freezer bag. You can grate the frozen rind directly when a recipe calls for fresh peel or zest.
Fresh ginger grates easily when frozen and keeps a long time. Wrap it in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag.

Foods that freeze best:
uncooked proteins
fresh carrots, zucchini, onions & celery- do not use fresh potatoes!!!
Starch-based dishes dry out more quickly than protein-based ones when frozen
Butter and yogurt-based spread will freeze but cream cheese will dry out unless blended with other ingredients
Substitute cream cheese or sour cream if a recipe calls for mayonnaise (or heavy cream) as a base for a sauce. They both freeze better.

Comparable Crock Pot cooking times
Conventional recipe in 350 oven -->crockpot on low-->crockpot on high
15-30mins--> 4-6 hrs--> 1 ½-2 hrs
35-45mins--> 6-10 hrs--> 3-4 hrs
50mins-3hrs--> 8-18 hrs--> 4-6 hrs

Keep in mind when making freezer meals that it is an easy and quick way to bless the lives of others. They are great for new moms, single moms who may not have a lot of time to prepare meals, bad days, the elderly, and those dealing with sickness or death. This is why it is particularly nice to make multiples of a recipe, especially if you have the room or a friend to share with.

More freezer meals

From Dream Dinners cookbook (reg quantity/x3)

Corn Bread Muffins
1 c. all purpose flour (3c)
1 c. yellow cornmeal (3c)
2 Tbsp sugar (1/4c. + 2 Tbsp)
2 tsp baking powder (2 Tbsp)
1 tsp baking soda (3 tsp)
1/2 c. nonfat egg substitute (1 1/2 c.)
1 c. low-fat buttermilk (3 c)
3 Tbsp vegetable oil (1/2c + 1 Tbsp)

Mix together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Add in egg substitute, buttermilk, and vegetable oil and stir until just blended. *To freeze- pour into prepared muffin pans and cover entire pan with plastic wrap. Freeze in muffin pan until completely frozen, then remove & place in freezer bag. Cook from frozen by returning to muffin pan and baking for 35-45 min at 350* To bake tonight: bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until toothpick in center is clean and muffins are golden brown.

Chicken in Herbed Mustard Sauce
1/3 c lemon juice (1 c)
1/3 c. white wine (1 c)
1/3 c. dijon mustard (1 c)
1 Tbsp minced garlic (3 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp dried rosemary (3 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp whole black peppercorns (1/4c + 2 tbsp)
1 tsp fennel seeds (1 Tbsp)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (1 1/2 tsp)
1 c. chicken broth (3 c)
1 Tbsp olive oil (3 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp cornstarch (1/4 c. + 2 Tbsp)
6 4-oz boneless skinless chicken breasts (18)

Combine lemon juice, wine, mustard, garlic, rosemary, peppercorns, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes and stir. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine broth, olive oil, and cornstarch and mix until incorporated. Combine wine mixture and cornstarch mixture in freezer bag, add chicken and mix gently. *Freeze* Refrigerate until ready to cook. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and the marinade. Bring the marinade to a boil and cook the chicken for 5 minutes per side, allowing the sauce to thicken.

Chicken Parmesan
1/2 c. nonfat Italian dressing (1 1/2 c.)
6 4-oz boneless skinless chicken breasts (18)
1 c. grated Parmesan cheese (3c)
2/3 c. seasoned bread crumbs (2c)
1 tsp paprika (1 Tbsp)
1 tsp sugar (1 Tbsp)
1 tsp kosher salt (1 Tbsp)
1 tsp black pepper (1 Tbsp)
2 c. store-bought marinara sauce (6 c.)

Marinate chicken in the italian dressing for at least 2 hours. Mix together parmesan, bread crumbs, paprika, sugar, salt, and pepper. Spread marinara sauce in the bottom of sprayed 9x13 pan. Dredge marinated chicken in the crumb mixture. Place in baking dish and sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture. *To freeze: cover with plastic wrap and foil then thaw before continuing* Bake at 350, uncovered, for 1 hour or until chicken is cooked through (internal temp should be 165)

Chicken Stir-Fry
1/4 c sesame oil (3/4 c)
1/2 c honey (1 1/2 c)
1/2 c lite soy sauce (1 1/2 c)
3 tsp minced garlic (1/2 c + 1 Tbsp)
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (3/8 tsp)
6 scallions, chopped (18)
1 green pepper, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces (3)
1 red pepper, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces (3)
1 large carrot, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces (3)
6 4-oz boneless skinless chicken breast halves, sliced into 1-inch thick slices (18)

Make each batch separately. Combine sesame oil, honey, soy sauce, garlic, and red pepper flakes and stir to combine. Pour soy sauce mixture into freezer bag and add chicken. *To freeze: place each batch of veggies in a separate freezer bag and place them with the bag containing the chicken into one larger freezer bag then thaw before continuing* Allow chicken to marinate 4-5 hours. Heat large skillet over high heat. Add chicken and marinade and cook for 5 minutes, just until the chicken loses its color. Remove chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add teh scallions, bell peppers, and carrot to the hot pan and cook for 1 minute. Return chicken to the pan and cook for 4-5 more minutes, until heated through, and serve.
My plan is just to freeze the chicken in the marinade and use a store bought frozen stir fry vegetable mixture.

Chicken and Artichoke Casserole
1 1/2 c uncooked white rice (4 1/2 c)
1 c marinated artichoke hearts, drained (3 c)
3 scallions, chopped (9)
2 c. cooked chicken, in 1-inch pieces (6 c)
1 10-oz can cream of chicken soup (3)
1/2 c. nonfat mayonnaise (1 1/2 c.)
1 Tbsp lemon juice (3 Tbsp)
1/2 tsp black pepper (1 1/2 tsp)
1/2 tsp curry powder (1 1/2 tsp)
2 c. seasoned croutons (6 c.)
1 c. low-fat shredded cheese blend aka colby/jack preferrably (3 c)
1 Tbsp dried parsley (3 Tbsp)

Spray 9x13 pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place rice on bottom of dish. Layer with artichokes, scallions, and chicken (divide equally among the 3 dishes if you're making a triple batch). Set aside. In a bowl, combine the soup, mayonnaise, lemon juice, pepper, and curry powder and stir until incorporated. Spread the soup mixture over the chicken. Top with croutons, cheese, and parsley. *To freeze: cover with plastic wrap and foil and thaw before continuing* Preheat oven to 375. Bake for 1 hour or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

from Donic Panic! Dinner's in the Freezer cookbook- additional multiplications available

Buttermilk Herb Chicken Breasts (reg/x2)
1 c. buttermilk (2c)
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard (2Tbsp)
1 Tbsp honey (2Tbsp)
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped (2Tbsp)
1/2 tsp dried thyme (1 tsp)
1/2 tsp dried sage (1tsp)
1/2 tsp dried marjoram (1 tsp)
1/2 tsp pepper (1tsp)
1 tsp salt (2 tsp)
8 boneless split chicken breasts (16)

Mix buttermilk with mustard, honey and seasonings. Place chicken breasts in freezer bag and pour marinade over top. *freeze* Discard marinade. Grill over medium heat until chicken is tender and juices run clear. Option for kids: after grilling, cut into strips and serve with ranch dressing for dipping

Cheesy Chicken Bundles (reg/x3)
1 c. bread crumbs (3c)
1/2 c grated cheddar cheese (1 1/2c)
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese (1 1/2 c)
1 tsp salt (1 Tbsp)
1/4 tsp pepper (3/4tsp)
6 boneless chicken breasts (18)
1/2 c. butter, melted
* on serving day: 2 Tbsp butter, melted and 1/4 c parmesan cheese

Mix together bread crumbs, cheeses, salt, and pepper. Dip chicken pieces into melted butter then cheese mixture. Tuck sides of chicken breast under to form individual bundles. *To freeze, wrap each bundle in plastic wrap then place in freezer bag then thaw before continuing* Place chicken bundles in large, shallow baking dish. Melt remaining butter and pour over bundles. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 for about 1 hour, until chicken is crispy.

Hawaiian Chicken (reg/x3)
6 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (18lbs)
2- 16 oz cans pineapple slices, drained (6)
1- 15 oz cans mandarin oranges, drained (6)
1/4 c. cornstarch (3/4c)
1/2 c. brown sugar (1 1/2 c)
1/4 c. soy sauce (3/4 c)
1/4 c. lemon juice (1/2 c)
1 tsp salt (1 Tbsp)
1 tsp ground ginger (1 Tbsp)
1/2 tsp ground red pepper (1 1/2 tsp)

Place chicken in freezer bag. Mix together fruit, cornstarch, sugar, soy sauce, lemon juice, salt, ginger, and ground red pepper. Pour over the chicken in a bag. *Freeze then thaw before continuing* Place in crockpot and cook on low 4-5 hours or high 2-3 hours. Add optional green pepper chunks 1 hour before serving. To serve, spoon over steamed rice and top with toasted almonds.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Freezer Meals

In an effort to take advantage of the Smith's caselot (and particularly case of real chicken) and ensure things don't go bad, I thought it a prime opportunity to make some freezer meals. Here are some that I made with things from the caselot and things from my pantry that I'd been meaning to get around to.

From Dream Dinners Cookbook
quantities: regular (x3- separate into 3 for freezing) *regular quantities are designed to serve 6 so keep that in mind when preparing if you have a smaller family*
Recommended freezing time for all recipes: up to 3 months... Thaw before cooking as directed

Tuna Tortellini Gratin
1 & 1/4 lbs (3 & 3/4 lbs) fresh cheese-filled tortellini (cook 1st if frozen)
2 (8) 6oz cans tuna, drained (albacore preferred)
1/2 c (1c) red bell pepper, chopped *I omit
1/2 c (1c) onion, diced *I used dried & eyeballed it
1 (3) 10 1/2 oz jars alfredo sauce
1/2c (1 1/2 c) white wine
1 tsp (1Tbsp) kosher salt
1/2 tsp (1 1/2 tsp) black pepper
1 c (3c) seasoned bread crumbs
3 Tbsp (1/2c + 1 Tbsp) olive oil

Mix all ingredients together except bread crumbs and olive oil. Spread in 9x13 pan. Sprinkle bread crumbs over top and drizzle with olive oil. (*freeze by covering with plastic wrap & aluminum foil- thaw before continuing) Bake at 350 for 45 minutes-1 hour (till bubbly), covered w/ aluminum foil. Remove foil and slide under broiler for 3-4 minutes, until topping is golden brown.

Karlene's Cottage Cheese Pancakes
2 c (6c) pancake mix
1 1/2 c (4 1/2 c) club soda
2 Tbsp (6 Tbsp) lemon juice
1 Tbsp (3 Tbsp) baking soda
2 tsp (2 Tbsp) cinnamon
1/8 tsp (1/2 tsp) nutmeg
2 c (6 c) nonfat cottage cheese
1 tsp (3 tsp) vanilla extract
1 tsp (3 tsp) almond extract

In a bowl, whisk together pancake mix, club soda, and lemon juice. Add remaining ingredients. Stir until just blended (*pour into freezer bag. Thaw in refrigerator before continuing). Cook 1/4 c of batter (per pancake) on 375 degree griddle for 1 min 15 sec per side or until golden brown, turning once.
These smelled so good putting them together that I almost made them right then!

Five Spice Grilled Chicken
6 (18)- 4 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp (6 Tbsp) ground cumin
2 Tbsp (6 Tbsp) chili powder
2 Tbsp (6 Tbsp) packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp (6 Tbsp) curry powder
2 tsp (6 tsp) kosher salt
2 tsp (6 tsp) black pepper

Put the chicken in a freezer bag. Add all ingredients and toss to coat (*freeze). Marinate chicken for at least 1 hr. Grill on medium-high for 5-8 minutes per side. OR Brown in skillet on medium-high for 3 minutes on each side. Reduce to medium heat and cook for 5-8 minutes per side.
This is a favorite of ours. So quick and easy! We love to take it camping and grill it outdoors.

Baked Pesto Ravioli with Chicken
2 lbs (6lbs) cheese-filled ravioli, fresh or frozen
1 lb (3 lbs) cooked chicken breasts in 1-inch slices
2/3 c (2 c) chicken broth
2 c (6 c) zucchini, cut in 1/2 in rounds (I omit)
1/2 c (1 1/2 c) red bell pepper, chopped into 1/2-in pieces (I omit)
1/2 c (1 c) chopped scallions
1/2 c (1 1/2 c) store-bought basil-pesto sauce
1/2 tsp (1 1/2 tsp) kosher salt
1/2 tsp (1 1/2 tsp) black pepper
1 c/4 oz (3c/12oz) grated parmesan cheese

Gently stir all ingredients to combine. (*freeze in freezer bags) Put in 9x13 dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 for 1 hour, or until bubbly.
This one is taaasty!

Spicy Lime Chicken
1/2 c (1 1/2 c) low-sodium canned chicken broth
zest of 1 (zest of 3) lime(s)
1/3 c (2/3 c) lime juice
2 Tbsp (1/4 c + 2 Tbsp) olive oil
2 Tbsp (6 Tbsp) dried parsley
1 tsp (1 Tbsp) minced garlic
1 Tbsp (3 Tbsp) dried onion flakes
1 tsp (1 Tbsp) dried thyme
1 tsp (1 Tbsp) kosher salt
1/4 tsp (3/4 tsp) cayenne pepper
1 tsp (1 Tbsp) black pepper
6 (18) 4 oz boneless skinless chicken breast halves

Combine all ingredients in a freezer bag & add chicken. (*freeze) Heat a skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and liquid to the pan and cook the chicken for 3 minutes on each side. Reduce the heat to medium and cook 5-8 minutes per side.
I imagine this one will be too spicy for my children but I seriously can't wait to make it anyway because it just smelled so good putting it together.

From Don't Panic!-Dinner's in the Freezer cookbook
quantities: regular (x3)- I also have x6 and x9. It's not always just straight multiplication as some acidic ingredients change in larger properties.

Chicken in Raspberry Sauce
1/2 c raspberry preserves (1 1/2 c)
1/2 c frozen pineapple juice concentrate, thawed (1 1/2 c)
1/2 c soy sauce (1 1/2 c)
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar (6 Tbsp)
1/2 tsp chili powder (1 1/2 tsp)
1/2 tsp curry powder (1 1/2 tsp)
1/2 tsp garlic powder (1 1/2 tsp)
1/4 c. fresh raspberries, mashed (3/4 c)
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (18)

Combine ingredients in a bowl then add to chicken in a freezer bag. (*freeze) Place sauce and chicken in large baking dish. Bake uncovered at 350 for 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven, transfer chicken to serving platter, and top with juices. Garnish with fresh raspberries.
- if fresh raspberries are not available, you may substitute frozen ones
This one smelled so good I am cooking it this week and going back to the store for more soy sauce so I can throw more together for later. I'm positive it will be a hit!

Chicken Parisienne (x2 not x3)
1/2 c. white wine (1 c)
1- 10 oz can cream of mushroom soup (2)
1/2 c. mushrooms, sliced (1 c) * I omit
1/4 c. flour (1/2 c)
1 c. sour cream (2c)
6 boned chicken breasts

Mix wine, soup, and mushrooms together. Stir flour into sour cream and add to soup mixture. Place mixture together with chicken in freezer bag to freeze. Cook in crock-pot. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and paprika over top and cook on low 6-8 hours. Serve with pasta or potatoes.
Different but good. My kids really liked it and we had it over pasta.

Chicken Cacciatore (x2, not x3)
2 medium onions, sliced thin (4)- I just eyeballed some dried, minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced (4)- I used the dried equivalent
1- 15oz can diced tomatoes (2)
1- 8oz can tomato sauce (2)
1 tsp salt (2tsp)
1/4 tsp pepper (1/2 tsp)
2 tsp oregano (4tsp)
1/2 tsp basil (1tsp)
1/2 tsp celery seed (1tsp)
1 bay leaf (2)
1/4 c white wine (1/2c)
6 boned chicken breasts

Mix all ingredients together and place in freezer bag to freeze. Cook in crock-pot on low 6-8 hours or high 2 1/2-4 hours. Serve over pasta.

I have more, that's just some of what I've done so far. I also froze some chicken with just italian dressing dumped over it and bbq sauce dumped over another. I'll either grill those or cook them in the crockpot.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Banana Bread with Cauliflower

This banana bread is incredibly moist and one of the best banana breads I have had.
From the cookbook Deceptively Delicious

3/4 c. whole-wheat flour
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1/2 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 c. canola or vegetable oil
2 large egg whites
1 1/2 c. banana puree (just mash)
1/2 c. cauliflower puree
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 and coat a 9×5 loaf pan or two mini pans with cooking spray.
Mix flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside. In large mixing bowl, mix sugar and oil until well combined. Mix in egg whites, banana and cauliflower purees, and vanilla. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Pour batter into pan(s). Bake 55-60 min for large loaf, 25-30 for mini loaves- or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool on rack for 5 minutes then turn bread out of pan to cool before serving.

*To puree banana: Mash with fork (cutting board is better than bowl) then puree in food processor or blender for about 2 minutes
* To puree cauliflower: Cut off florets and discard core. Steam 8-10 minutes. Puree in food processor or blender for about 2 minutes, with a few teaspoons of water if needed for smooth, creamy texture.

Baked Chicken Casserole

Everybody has their own version of chicken & rice it seems. This is by far my favorite. Maybe because it's my mom's =)
From the kitchen of: Pam Alger

1 1/2 c. uncooked rice (I've found she must've meant minute rice)
1 c. grated cheddar cheese + 1/2 c.
6 chicken breasts
salt & pepper
3 c. chicken broth
1/2 pkg Lipton Onion soup mix
1 can cream of chicken soup

Place rice in bottom of large casserole dish. Layer 1 c. cheese over rice. Set chicken breasts on top. Pour chicken broth over the top. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Sprinkle onion soup mix over chicken. Cover with cream of chicken soup. Cook 1 hour at 325 uncovered. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover with foil and bake 1/2 hour longer.

Beef Chimichangas

Sooooo tasty! This is a freezer meal from my "Don't Panic!" cookbook. Original recipe yields 9 chimichangas and is what is featured here):

1 tsp salt
2 lbs lean ground beef
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp oregano, crushed
1/2 c. canned green chiles, chopped
1/2 c. taco sauce (we used Macayo's sauce)
1/2 c. sour cream
1/4 c. cider vinegar (when tripling the batch do not triple this- only do 1/2 c.)

Sprinkle salt in medium skillet. Place over medium heat. Add beef, garlic, and spices. Cook through. Stir in remaining ingredients. Remove from heat and cool. **If you are making it as a freezer meal, place the cooled meat mixture in a freezer bag- will keep for 3 months** For the lower-fat version: Microwave 9 tortillas wrapped in a kitchen towel for 60 seconds to soften. Then fill with mixture, fold in envelope fashion, and brush tops of folded chimis with melted butter (1 c.). Place seam side down in ungreased 11x7 baking dish. Preheat oven to 500. Bake until crispy, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and return for a few seconds. Top as desired: cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, and additional sour cream

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Ovocne Knedliky- also known as Fruit Dumplings

Earlier this year we visited Prague in the Czech Republic. I have a friend who told me I had to have the fruit dumplings and it was raved about in guidebooks as well. Sadly, it has been pushed aside at many more modern restaraunts in favor of more 'modern' food. Not so in the fairytale town of Cesky Krumlov. We went specifically to this one little restaurant/pub because I had read about their fruit dumplings and that they were the best to be found. It was no exaggeration. My husband still laughs at us digging in to it, and then ordering a second dish of them. We had to find them any other place we went after that. As a side note, in the Czech Republic it is an old tradition to eat desserts for a meal on Sundays. That's what our tour guide told us. This is something that is served either as a dessert or a main course and it is listed in both places on most menus it is found.

I found a couple of recipes here and here. The one that follows is my own adaptation of these based on how I remember those first (and best) ones we tried in Cesky Krumlov, and comments on recipes I looked at from Praguers. Billy agreed. It is surprisingly easy to make though it still takes up to an hour just because you have to wait for things to boil.

Ovocne Knedliky

1 c. whole milk
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
2 cups flour, separated
mixed berries (frozen ok) or other fruit
melted butter
dry cottage cheese
powdered sugar

In a large saucepan, bring milk, butter, and salt to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and whisk in egg. Gradually whisk in 1 c. flour. Use remaining 1 c. flour to flour a board or wax paper. Turn out dough onto surface and knead, picking up some of the flour until it makes a nice ball. Roll dough out. Bring large pot of water to boil. If you have a straining basket you can use in the pot it will make things much easier. Rip pieces of dough off to cover about walnut-sized chunks of fruit. Drop dumpling into boiling water and let boil until it rises to the surface, about 10-20 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon to allow water to drain. Place on plate and drizzle generously with melted butter. Follow generously with cinnamon. Sprinkle dry cottage cheese over it. Top off with a generous topping of powdered sugar. Serve hot.

A note on ingredients: You can use berries, apricots, plums, or peaches for the dumplings. Fresh or frozen is fine. I made these with a frozen berry medley. While in Prague I determined the mixed berries were my favorite filling although the only other ones I had were strawberries or raspberries. You may also top with whipped cream as well. Don't be afraid of the sugar and cinnamon.

To make dry cottage cheese: Rinse cottage cheese in a colander until it is just curds and let sit so that remaining water dries off before adding. I think about 3/4 c. would be just about right for this recipe. You can leave this off but in my opinion it is not as good and just not the same. My husband, who hates cottage cheese, disagrees.

**I have pictures to post just as soon as my Google account updates and lets me add photos again**