Ukrainian Pyrohi (Pieroghi) & Pyrohi with a Twist

There are some foods that hold special memories, that take you back to a certain time or place. Pyrohi are one of those for me. I remember devouring them at my grandparent's house as a child. I learned to ride my bike (sans training wheels) by having my parents tempt me by saying "Olga's Pieroghi!" as they ran ahead of me and I tried to catch up. Engrossed by the thoughts of buttery, cheese and potato filled pockets, I completely forgot about my unbalanced self and raced to two wheels in no time. The smell of onions sauteing in butter on the stove top still reminds me of home and Olga's (my grandmother) kitchen.

Since I grew up, I've tried several varieties: the can't be topped pyrohi made by little old ladies in church basements, the store bought kind from your grocer's freezer, and some bought at specialty markets with unique added flavors. There is also a "poor man's" version that my dad makes, which is basically the same ingredients deconstructed in a mixture of noodles as opposed to pinched into dough rounds. It's equally delicious and I'll have to share it with you sometime.

I wanted to give homemade pyrohi a try, not only because I imagine that they will taste more like the little old lady variety, but also because they are a great weeknight dish since they freeze so well. Once they are individually frozen onto sheet pans (don't forget the parchment paper), I put a few into zip top bags and placed them in the freezer. On busy weeknights, it's so easy to boil a pot of water and throw in some frozen pyrohi, saute some butter/olive oil and onions and sit down to a nice, home cooked meal 15 minutes later.

This leads me to my current undertaking: making homemade pyrohi.  The recipe below is what I received from my Aunt Stephanie (a young church basement pyrohi pincher) at my bridal shower. I had to have some tweaks (for my allergy), but I've mostly followed this exactly (the items I've changed will not be in italics).

Ukrainian Pyrohi
(yield: approx. 3 to 3 1/2 doz)


1 egg
2 c. flour
1/2 c. water
1 tbsp. margarine (for which I subbed plain ol' butter)
1 tsp. salt

Mix together and knead for about 5 minutes. You can also let your mixer and dough hook do the work. Let dough rest on a floured board for about 1/2 hour. 


Cook 5 or 6 potatoes (pared and cubed). Mash, add salt and pepper to taste (do not add milk); add 3 or 4 slices of cheddar, American or your choice of cheese (I used Manchego* here). Mix well until cheese is melted. I like to saute butter (I used olive oil) and onions (1/2 yellow) and put some into the potato mixture. Scoop potatoes into 1" balls and let cool.

Making and Filling Pyrohi

Roll out dough about 1/8" thick and cut in 3" rounds (use a donut cutter). Put 1 tbsp. potatoes on a round and pinch them shut. Use a little flour on your fingers if the dough is sticky or if it doesn't seal right away. No need to put water on the edges before sealing. I worked in batches so that the dough wouldn't dry out. 



Put completed pyrohi on a lightly floured surface until ready to cook. If not cooking for a while, cover the pyrohi with a dish towel until ready to cook so that they don't dry out.


Cook in a large pot of boiling water, stirring gently until pyrohi come to the top of the water and then let simmer for 3 or 4 minutes; drain, serve with sauteed butter (again, I used olive oil) and onions. ENJOY!

The other option is to fry them. I caramelized some yellow onions in some olive oil and once they were done, added a bit more olive oil and sauteed the pyrohi until they were cooked through.

To kick these up a notch, mix the pyrohi filling (as directed above) and add one roasted, peeled and diced jalapeno pepper.  The spiciness goes well with the caramelized onions and it really is an great twist on the traditional version (although I can't say enough about the original).

*Manchego is a sheep's milk cheese that has goes really well with potatoes and melts well. There are also sheep and goat's milk cheddars available, but our nearest specialty cheese store is an hour away.

Warm Caprese Salad

I threw together this quick and easy side one night when we were running a little late with the rest of dinner. I needed a side dish to curb our hunger while we got the rest of dinner ready. Nick loves caprese salad (I mean, who doesn't?), but we had cherry tomatoes that were starting to go so I wanted something that could use them up.

To start, heat up some olive oil in a pan on medium low heat. While the pan is heating, mince one clove of garlic and finely dice a shallot. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and shallot and saute until the shallot is cooked through and turns clear. Then, add one pint of halved tomatoes and cook until they are warmed through.

While the tomatoes are cooking, slice off two pieces of chevre (mozzarella would work also) about 1/3" thick and place on plates. Top with the cooked tomato mixture. Sprinkle with basil leaves (we used purple basil just because it needed a trim) that have been chiffonade cut. Drizzle balsamic vinegar and serve.

This recipe was adapted from this recipe.

The Saucy Kitchen Gets a Makeover!

We’ve been doing a lot of reorganizing in our lives lately. Getting married does that to you I guess. With all our ducks in a row at home, I started to think about some other things that needed sprucing and this blog was definitely one of them. I’ve been wanting to update the design for quite some time, but hadn’t had the time or the energy to devote to such an undertaking.

And an undertaking it was. Bless Nick for his patience in trying to teach me HTML and for giving his honest options on header options and fonts and other things I’m sure he doesn’t give a hoot about. After some late nights on my part, here it is.

In addition to a new layout and design, you'll also notice a few new features, including a Print Friendly button below each post. This will allow you to print out each blog post individually, with or without photographs, making it easier to print and store recipes. You can also now contact me via email at I hope you enjoy!

Potato Salad

Just like mom makes it. Really. It's her hit recipe. She always carries a bowl to picnics and summer gatherings. It's a staple at the summer holidays and with my dad and I, five pounds never lasts more than a few days.

The first time I made it for Nick and I, I cut back the recipe, thinking five pounds would be way too much. But a short two days later, I was making another batch since Nick had devoured it. (Note: make more than you think you should!)

Ingredients (for 5 lb of potatoes. Use more or less of each depending on your tastes):

5 lb red potatoes
2-3 large stalks of celery, diced
4-5 green onion/scallions, sliced thin
1/4 - 1/3c Italian Dressing
2 eggs, hard boiled and diced
1 c. mayonnaise (more or less depending on your tastes, start with a half cup and work your way up to desired consistency)

To begin, rinse and cut the potatoes. Cut them into bite sized cubes - about 1 potato per bite is how large I cut them. The larger the potatoes, the less mushy and more firm the salad will be in the final product. Boil the potatoes in salted water until just soft - you want them to stay firm enough to hold their shape while tossed, but soft enough to eat. No mashed potato consistency here though - you'll end up with a mayonnaise and potato mush.When ready, drain the potatoes and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

While the potatoes are still hot, drizzle the dressing over the potatoes. The trick is to pour just enough for the potatoes to absorb, but not to make them greasy or leave a puddle on the bottom. Start with a smaller amount and work your way up, tossing when needed to coat. Once fully coated, cover and place in the fridge overnight.

The next day, add the celery, scallions, and egg to the potatoes. Also mix in the mayonnaise. There should be just enough to coat the potatoes. Place in the fridge, covered, for a few hours or as longs as you can stand it to let the flavors mingle.

Basil & Goat Cheese Ravioli

I'm sure you are totally sick of me posting about goat cheese ravioli. Really, how many different variations can one have on the matter? Apparently, to date, three.

1. Goat Cheese & Spinach Ravioli
2. Goat Cheese & Beet Green Ravioli

My first two recipes were delicious, but I didn't have any greens on hand, but had a free afternoon and a pound of goat cheese and really wanted to make some ravioli for a quick and easy weeknight dinner later. What to do? Head outside to the patio and trim a few basil stems from a plant that had been growing out of control.

I used the same base recipe as the previous versions and the pasta recipe I used here.

The filling:

1/2 lb chevre (I needed a bit more than the last versions since there weren't a ton of greens to bulk it up)
1/4 c pecorino romano, grated
salt and pepper
pinch of nutmeg
handful of fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

Mix all the filling ingredients together, letting the cheese come to room temperature to make it easier to control the amount in each ravioli. The filled ravioli can be frozen and tossed into boiling water straight from the freezer for a very quick and painless dinner on those nights when you just can't be bothered.

Unlike the other goat cheese raviolis, we served this version with a red (marinara) sauce. I'm looking forward to the cooler weather (and therefore cold weather squash varieties) so I can try my hand at pumpkin ravioli.

Storage Solutions - Mini Pot Rack

We live in an apartment. Apartments have notoriously small kitchens, something I find ironic since when buying a house most people tend to look at kitchens (size, updates, storage) as an important feature. It seems that, as an apartment dweller, I should also be living on a diet of take out and microwave dinners. On the bright side, I think our kitchen is a decent size for an apartment, but still, we needed some creative storage solutions to make everything we have fit while still having it be a warm and inviting space.

One of our priorities while organizing was to have everything accessible. It doesn't matter if everything has a place if that place is in the cabinet above the refrigerator or behind four other appliances. Counter space was also a priority because well, it's limited. Our five drawers (yes, five!) were all used up (3 for spices, 2 for silverware), but we still had cooking utensils and we still had spices. So, we looked to the walls.


Nick had already built a pot rack for our pots and pans, our favorite cookbooks, and other odds and ends that we wanted to have in easy reach.

He came up with the idea to build a smaller one to hold our most used spices as well as measuring cups and spoons. It was a great idea. He built it in a weekend and it really did help to solve some of our organizational problems.

Now, the spices I reach for the most are out and within reach of the cutting board and prep stations, just a step away from the stove. The measuring cups and spoons are easily accessed individually, without sifting though a drawer or cabinet and free of the metal chain that typically holds them all together (when you only ever need one at a time).

I'll be sharing some of our pantry and freezer organizational tools in the near future. In the meantime, what kitchen tool/method helps to keep you organized?

Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

Sometimes, it's nice to come home to a warm dinner ready and waiting. No fuss, just great food with little effort. I love slow cooker recipes for just that reason. This recipe is delicious, fast to prepare, and great as leftovers (the next day or frozen for later).

The list of ingredients is plenty long, but don't be discouraged. Most of them are common household spices and pantry items, not fancy expensive ingredients. The only ingredients we bought for this recipe were two cans of beans and the sweet potato. So, pretty inexpensive.


2 lb ground chicken, coarsely ground preferred
3 tbsp chili powder, plus 2 tsp
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed
2 (28-ounce) cans diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and shredded
2 cups chicken stock (ours was homemade and contained no salt - vary your salt accordingly)
1/4 cup instant tapioca
1 to 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce with seeds, chopped
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp onion powder
2 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
a pinch ground cloves
1/2 to 3/4 cup lager-style beer (I used Beck's Octoberfest - I'm a sucker for all Octoberfest beers, especially Sam Adams)
1 avocado (per two servings), optional
1 bunch cilantro (stems removed), optional
Cheese, grated (we used Rustico Red Pepper), optional

Start with the ground chicken. Nick recently got a meat grinder, so we ground some chicken we had stored in the freezer. It used up most of the legs and thighs we had stored and we were happy to gain the freezer space.

When you are ready (about 6-8 hours before you want to eat), add all the ingredients to the crock pot except 2 tsp of chili powder and the beer. If you have a slow cooker with a removable pot, you can do this the night before and store overnight, covered, in the fridge (our preferred method).

Turn the slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours. Just before serving, stir in the beer and remaining chili powder. Spoon into serving bowls.

I like to serve with grated cheese, cubed avocado, cilantro leaves and crusty bread.

This recipe is adapted from this recipe, by Food Network.

Rosemary Pork Chops with Fig Chutney

Before yesterday, I had never had a fig, but Nick has been eying figs for a few weeks now at the supermarket. This weekend I decided to indulge him and buy one package - until I found out a the checkout that they were Buy One - Get One. So now I have figs coming out of my ears and need to think up some other fig recipes (so share if you have any!).

My first recipe (and my reason for initially purchasing figs) was to try fig chutney. And now I am a fig loving convert. This spiced, but still sweet, chutney was delicious and paired really well with the pork. You could also use it on chicken, I imagine, but the pork was amazing. What was even more fantastic was that it was so easy to prepare.

Ingredients (for chutney):

1/2 c red wine vinegar
1/2 c pomegranate infused vinegar
1/4 lb light brown sugar
1/2 onion, chopped
1/8 c. ginger, grated
1/4 tsp. mustard powder
1 orange, zested
2 slices of dried orange, optional
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp ground allspice
a pinch of ground cloves
a pinch of red chili flakes
1/2 - 3/4 lb figs, quartered

To make the chutney, place the vinegars, sugar, onion, ginger, mustard powder, orange zest, dried orange, cinnamon stick, salt, allspice, chili flakes and cloves in a saucepan over medium - medium low heat. Bring it to a simmer, but not a boil, and let the ingredients reduce by about half to two-thirds.

Add in the figs and let the sauce thicken (the water will simmer out of the figs, and the sugars will help the reduction thicken). Once it has a syrup-like consistency, remove from heat. Pour over meat and serve. 

To make the pork chops, simply add salt, pepper and minced fresh rosemary to either side of the pork chop. Place in a hot (medium), skillet and cooked, flipping when needed, until the internal temperature* reaches 165*F. Once cooked, remove from heat and place on a plate. Cover with aluminum foil and let rest for about 10 minutes to let the juices reabsorb into the meat.

I served this meal with broiled asparagus and garlic bread. 

* I've found the using a thermometer when cooking meat helps to keep the meat (especially poultry and pork) tender and juicy.