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Alayne's Noodle Kugel Recipe

My grown son is now in his own condo and this collection of recipes I called, Dearest Michael were written when he was younger as you will see by my references, as a gift to him for this very moment. 

Whether you read them for the story or the recipe, know that they were written as a tribute to the many people who have influenced my kitchen, my cooking and my notion of family.

STORY



Dearest Michael,

When friends think of Jewish Holidays at our house, they often think of three distinct meals.
Chicken Soup w Matzo Balls, Isabelle’s Chicken, and Noodle Kugel. There are just some foods that you wait for others to make for you because they symbolize the time spent with them.


Food is connection, and the holidays, whatever ones we celebrate, are a reminder to slow down, prepare the feast and break bread together.


There are some recipes that are easy to duplicate, like Isabelle’s Chicken. I have given this recipe out to most of my friends and they have made this a staple recipe in their own families. Kugel, though, a much loved dish made especailly during Hanukkah, Rosh Hashanah and the breaking of the fast after Yom Kipppur is a recipe I don’t get asked for too much. I think it is that type of recipe that our friends love to have when they come to our home for these special occasions.


Despite this, Kugel is delicious and easy to make and in sharing recipes, this particular one has been a family staple since I started making it in my kitchen when I was newly married. In my world, Noodle Kugel has always been sweet, filled with dairy and carbohydrates, I poked around to find out some of the history of kugel and found this quote from this article  on the history of Kugel that summed it up perfectly -


“Kugel is like the friend you invite for a Shabbos meal at the last second.”


I always make too much kugel. It is like the sweet Jewish version of my macaroni and cheese. Over the years, I have learned to make much less because if people don’t take it home with them, I find myself eating kugel for the next week. It can be eaten right out of the pan cold from the fridge the next day, but it is best out of the oven, warm and fragrant as a side pudding sort of addition with all of the other delights on a Jewish Holiday. 


When Kugel is cooking in the oven, the smell is memorable. Jewish food is often symbolic and I like to think of kugel as a reminder of the sweetness and gratitude of life, but also to stay humble inside of it all, otherwise you can have a weighted bloat by being too full of yourself. If you eat too much Kugel, you will know exactly what I mean.


This is the beauty of a recipe not made too often though, that feeling like it may be the last time you get to indulge in it so you pack it in savoring the blend of yumminess on your tastebuds and ultimately sealing a permanent place in your heart.


If you plan on attempting this, please don’t try to make this low-fat, my motto, for Kugel anyway is, Go big or go home. Enjoy life. If I have learned something over the last year especially, it is to enjoy my food, stop getting on the scale and lean in. And believe me, if you eat even the smallest portion of kugel, do yourself a big favor and stay away from the scale for at least a few days. Your mental babble will thank me.


Kugel is not for the feint hearted. It has the Jewish Eastern European basic food groups- noodles, cream cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese, eggs, butter and sugar. Not high on the list of food recommendations for heart disease or diabetes, but as our Grandparents always said, Everything in Moderation.
I Love You. Love Mom


*Because I make some product recommendations in my blogs, I may get a small commission as an affiliate and or an Amazon affiliate. Anything I recommend I personally use. I want to make it easier to shop for items you may not have, need to replace-- or if you are a lover of all things kitchen like me, just want to add to your collection.


Alayne's Noodle Kugel


This is the casserole dish I use for well over 20 years. Irrepleaceable. It was my Great Grandmother, Mimi's, Isabelle's Mother.  I like a deeper dish for kugel because it holds the creaminess so it doesn’t get dry because a dry kugel is a crappy kugel.



green and beige caseerole dish with pottery top

WHAT YOU WILL NEED


Noodles

  • 1 12 oz package of extra broad egg noodles cooked and drained (I use Pennsylvania Dutch brand) 
  • Cook for three minutes less than the package says as they will cook more in the oven and you don’t want a mush fest.
  • Drain and set aside.

The Main Ingredients

  • 1 16 oz container cottage cheese (I use Breakstones)
  • 1 16 oz container sour cream (I use Breakstones)
  • 1 8oz tub of whipped cream cheese
  • 5 eggs beaten
  • 1/4 cup half and half (or whole milk is fine too)
  • 1 stick of melted salted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • A few good shakes of cinnamon
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 2 apples (I usually use Honey Crisp or Macintosh) peeled and chopped 
  • Raisins- optional. (Most people don’t like the raisins, but I like 1/2 cup just for some extra color and texture and picking them out slows people down from inhaling it too fast:)

Topping

  • 3/4 cup cornflakes crushed
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

WHAT TO COOK WITH



LARGE PAN to boil noodles

STRAINER to drain cooked noodles

3 1/2 - 4 QUART CASSEROLE dish with some depth

MIXER (or a strong spoon to mix with if you don't feel like washing extra pots pans and beaters)

LARGE MIXING BOWL that stands strong on your counter and gives you pleasure when you look at it.

SMALL BUTTER MELTING PAN or a sturdy measuring cup to melt it in the microwave.

HOW TO CREATE THE MAGIC



Preheat oven to 350.

Generously butter the inside bottom and insides of your casserole dish.

  1. Combine first 9 ingredients, beginning with cottage cheese, in a large mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment until well blended. Blend lightly with a mixer for 1-2 minutes on low speed just to break up the chunks of everything.

  2. Fold together cooked, drained noodles and cheese mixture and place in a big buttered casserole dish.

  3. Spread the top of the Kugel with the Cornflake Topping.

  4. Bake uncovered until set about 40 minutes. (if making ahead of time, bake for less time, cover and put back in oven for about 20 minutes or until set and slightly golden before serving.)

SHOPPING IDEAS




This 6 in Loge Cast Iron pan is one of those pans that have become like family. Scrambled eggs, melting butter, heating up a small cup of soup, I use it so much I just leave it out on top of  my stove all the time now.



6 INCH lOGE CAST IRON FRYING PAN RECOMMENDED TO MELT BUTTER

I have an old school corning ware with the signature blue cornflower, too that I use if I make a smaller Kugel, but they don't make those anymore. This 4 quart oval casserole dish with a lid was the closest I could find but it gives you a little wiggle room. You can never go wrong with Corning Ware.



oval shaped cassserole dish with glass lid

I covet this Turquoise Kitchen Aid Mixer, but I have a pink one so I can't justify having two... yet.




Some of the great joys I have the privilege of owning are my Great Grandparent's serving pieces. There is something magical about using a beautiful piece to serve a special meal with.  I found this beauty from Arte Italica, though you may have everything you need, this makes for a gorgeous wedding gift or a special hand me down to another generation later.



serving spatula tied on a linen napkin

Mixing Bowls from Kitchen Aid. I love my ceramic ones too, but these are so useful. All this recipe and product recommendations is so fun and is making my kitchen brimming with new toys.

2 bags of pennsylvania dutch noodles

TIP AND SIDE NOTES



This should slice nicely into squares or rectangles, moist, but not mushy, cuttable but not dry. The texture, before putting into oven, should lean on the moist side. 

I serve with unsweetened applesauce on the side, too