When I was a kid and used to visit my maternal grandparents, Ami used to make cinnamon-raisin toast with cottage cheese.  I have no idea if this was something she used to have in Latvia or Russia, if this was something she picked up when she came to America, or if it was an American food that was reminiscent of her past.  Decades later, whenever I have cottage cheese in the house I buy some cinnamon-raisin bread to recreate a piece of my childhood.

CR Toast With Cottage Cheese

Whenever my boyfriend sees me eating this, he gives me a weird look, like I just beamed in from another planet.  And honestly, it’s not anything that I would normally eat.  I only buy cottage cheese a few times a year, and it’s just to make one specific recipe that requires one cup of cottage cheese (so I have one cup left over in the container).

In case you’re curious, here’s that recipe that I photocopied out of an old church cookbook years ago, with a few notes of my own:

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RICH CHICKEN NOODLE CASSEROLE

Tabasco lends a special touch to this creamy invention.

3 cups uncooked medium egg noodles

1 cup cottage cheese

1 cup sour cream

6 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1/4 cup sliced pitted ripe olives

2 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken

Cook noodles according to package directions.  Combine cottage cheese, sour cream, 4 tablespoons Parmesan, salt, and Tabasco.  Stir in olives, noodles and chicken.  Turn into greased 2-quart casserole and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese.  Cover and refrigerate.  One hour before serving, place in 350 degree oven and bake, covered, for 35 minutes.  Uncover and bake for 25 minutes longer.  Serves 6.

Woodmont United Church of Christ, Milford, Connecticut

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NOTES:

I love lines from old cookbooks about how much flavor is infused by their special ingredient, and then you look at the ingredient list and see that they only use a quarter teaspoon of the frigging thing!  Anyway, I add one teaspoon of Tabasco, and even then the dish is so rich that I can barely taste it.  It does add a “special touch,” though.

I make this recipe as easily as possible — I buy a roasted/rotisserie chicken and cut up about half of it for this recipe, and I use a small can of sliced olives, drained and rinsed.

I consider this recipe to be “brutti ma buoni” (“ugly but good”).  This is not a recipe to make when fancy visitors are coming over for dinner, because it doesn’t LOOK impressive.  But it’s very warm and tasty comfort food to share with your family on a cold winter night.

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