Menu Samples

QUICKIES: These offer recipes that are ideal for weekday menus. Each dish is quick to prepare.


30 Minute Meals: Basics

This class is being offered due to popular demand.  Whether you have kids, a career, both, or are just lazy, here are options so that you can make dinner fast. These are a selection of Meal and a Spiel's most delicious and quick recipes.


30 Minute Meals: Part II

30 Minute Meals is quickly becoming Meal and a Spiel's most popular class.  Walk in the door, open the fridge and have dinner on the table in a half hour. There is not reason this can't happen. No need to have taken the first menu to enjoy this one!


A Quick Six: Hot Mediterranean Menu

A tried and true menu that will transport you to the hot-blooded flavors of the southern Mediterranean. (Note, the food is not spicy, just good.) The Quick Six has become one of the signature classes of Meal and a Spiel. Come learn six fast, easy, healthy and delicious recipes that will make you popular amongst your circle of friends. This class is ideal for novices and cooks with more experience and will provide you with a 4 1/2 course dinner party menu (should you decide to accept the challenge), smaller dinner party menus and "quick fixes" just for you.


Easy Entrees

They say cooking is like sex, so for those who like to get right to it- here's an entree class! We will also show you how any of these main dishes can easily be turned into appetizers! So this is a two for one class- for those who like foreplay.


Hot Tuscan Nights

The warm windy Italian countryside sets a perfect tone for a romantic dinner amongst lovers and friends. Best, would be to actually be in Tuscany. Second best is to learn how to simply create and recreate a night of excellent food with the dolce vita carefree attitude of the nobleman's countryside.


Indian Food Made Easy

The best parts about Indian food are its unique blend of spices and its healthy potential. The worst part is that we usually have to go to restaurants to eat it. That means it's not fresh. And even if we go all the way to India, we still have to be careful not to get sick from the food. Where does that leave us?  One of the most wonderful cuisines in the world is now going to be made in your home! Come to class to learn how to do it. I can’t wait to share all the special secrets I learned on my recent trip to India. PS: Everyone will go home with a special spice blend that we will create in class.


Italian Country Table

I can teach anyone to be a superstar with this menu. It can all be done and ready before your guests even arrive, giving you time to get your hair done, take a nap and be a beautiful and relaxed hostess. For the male cooks, this will give you time to get a workout and then sit on the couch and watch sports before you shower in 5 minutes to ready yourself for your guests!


Italian Countryside Dinner

I have spent much time in the Italian countryside- in Tuscany in particular. It is a second home to me. This meal transports me there. I NEED to cook in such a way that I am transported there regularly. It's really just. That. Simple. Join me for a night of warm Tuscan winds, tall cypress trees, endlessly expansive vineyards and the ubiquitous aromas of lavender and wood-burning ovens.


Italian Seaside Dinner

Italy has a lot of coastline...from North to South, from the Mediterranean to the Adriatic. The eggplant involtini transport me to Sicily where light eggplant dishes with mozzarella are present at every meal. The branzino with lemon and olives is originally a recipe from a Piedmontese friend's many summers on the riviera. The potato sticks add a finger-food casualty that I experienced on many beach days outside of Rome and the sgroppino takes me to the  warmly intoxicated nights that Italy uniquely offers.


Last Minute Dinner Throw Togethers: Trader Joe’s To The Rescue

This class has come by request of my students who want to cook after work but want it to be SUPER fast. Well guess what folks? That is the way I tend to eat most nights of the week. After cooking for others, I want my personal kitchen prep to be immediate. And obviously, I make sure that it tastes superb for me. Let me share some last minute throw together secrets with you. And to make it even easier, I will give you a week’s Shopping List so you can pick up all ingredients at Trader Joe’s as a one stop shop.


Pasta Level One: "Aglio, Olio, Peperoncino"

This class has been changing the culinary lives of students and their families. Don't miss out! Learn the basics of whipping up an authentic Italian pasta "from nothing" as they do in Italian homes every night of the week. This class will teach you to be comfortable with the three staple ingredients - garlic, olive oil and red pepper flakes - which are the foundation of 90% of Italian pasta dishes prepared in the home. You will be a master of "al dente" and will be able to impress guests, lovers and yourself without taking extra trips to the market. Gluten-free brown rice pasta will be used along with "regular" semolina pasta to provide a healthier option for all.


Pasta and Some Wine Level Two

For those who are looking to go beyond the Italian basics and delve into more elaborate and more prized sauces. Open only to those that have taken Pasta Level One: Aglio, Olio, Peperoncino.


The Fast Fab Five

Need new recipes? Here are 5 that will surely become a regular in your repertoire.This class offers FIVE FABULOUS recipes that can easily provide you with quick go-to's for a family dinner or a fabulous menu for a dinner party. All the recipes are easy, delicious, health conscious and exemplify the best of Mediterranean Cooking. This is food that your loved ones will thank you for.


The Original

The original MEAL that started the SPIEL. Six delicious, healthy and fast recipes including Elana's Famous Guilt-free Cobbler. You will be amazed at how easy it is to make good food and increase your popularity in your circle of friends!! This class is ideal for novices and cooks with more experience and will provide you with a 4 1/2 course dinner party menu (should you decide to accept the challenge), smaller dinner party menus and "quick fixes" just for you.



HOLIDAY WORTHY: These menus take a little more in preparation or time in the oven, but are worth every second. The process of the recipes is doable for any level of cook. Be ready to totally wow everyone.


Fall Feast

Fall and winter on the east coast can still feel and taste like Italy. This is home cooking at its finest. Perfect for a family meal and ideal for entertaining too.

or

Roasted Leg of Lamb with Tangerine and Thyme


Holiday Hosting

Have any great plans for New Years? Have some friends coming in town for the holidays? Create the best party in town with this menu. Cozy comfort meets sensual Tuscany in this food. By cooking your heart out for others NOW you will set the intention to create a love-filled, successful 2016. Though much of this meal can be prepared in advance, we will also talk about how to get your dinner party guests involved in the kitchen so you can have a party that everyone feels a part of and you can relax.


Hot Sicilian Nights

When it's hot in Sicily, it's hot in Sicily! I can't replicate the Mediterranean coastline, but I can teach you how to replicate the food and create and enjoy a dolce vita dinner party lifestyle.


Jewish Food 1: The American Classics Revamped and Simple

These aren’t your grandmother’s recipes, but trust me, your bubbe will not only approve, she will rise from the dead to pinch your cheeks. Imagine a kugel that is actually healthy and tastes better than any other, a brisket cooked in Chianti and deliciously heartwarming chicken soup that cures the common fear of cooking. Jews, non-Jews, experienced cooks and relative beginners are all welcome to take on mastery of one of the most famous cuisines in our country.


Jewish Food 2: Mamma Middle East

The food of the Middle Eastern Mammas oozes with love. These recipes inspired by southern Mediterranean flavors will warm the hearts of your children, your friends and potential lovers. This is the kind of food that adds immediate social comfort to the dinner table and sends everyone home/to bed a changed person (read: nicer). Come and experience the beauty of the tagine, the crunch and tang of the perfect Israeli salad and a dessert that will have you rolling on the floor shouting “mamma!”


Jewish Food 3: The Italian Jewish Table

Come and learn the history of one of the oldest European Jewish communities and understand why these foods are considered to be Jewish in Italy. Hint: Eggplant was brought to Sicily (once populated by over 100,000 Jews!) by Jewish merchants and it was not relished by the rest of the peninsula for centuries. The history will excite our minds and prepare us for the incredible journey of our tastebuds.


Jewish Food: A Magical Multicultural Sukkot AKA: Sukkot for Goyim with Italian-Jewish Specialties

Everyone is welcome to sit and eat in our gorgeous sukkah, a "desert hut" covered in palm leaves and decorated with fruit to celebrate the fall harvest. Of course we do it Beverly Hills style, but it is a soulful experience nonetheless! Come and learn the history one of the oldest European Jewish communities and understand why the foods we will make and eat are considered to be Jewish in Italy. Hint: Eggplant was brought to Sicily (once populated by over 100,000 Jews!) by Jewish merchants and it was not relished by the rest of peninsula for centuries. The history will excite our minds and prepare us for the incredible journey of our tastebuds. This is a truly unique class as Italian Jewish History was the subject of Elana’s undergraduate and Master's academic work. This is a passion all of its own!


Jewish Food: Deck the Challah

Jewish food gets a bad rep.  People think it is fattening, heavy, and bland.  This may have been true in the past but not since Meal and a Spiel came to town.  Be prepared for not only a clean-up of our traditional recipes, but also a touch of what Elana learned in Italy… an elevation of the senses.


Jewish Food: Hanukkah

Hanukkah is coming and whether you were raised to spin the dreidel or you simply love a good latke, this class will delight you with dishes that are emblematic of the Hanukkah miracle. Go home and make this dinner for the holiday, on any shabbat (perhaps minus the latkes), or any time you want to have company over. The chicken and couscous are perfect “make-ahead dinner party” recipes.


Jewish Food: Not-Too-Shabby Shabbat!

What I love about my Jewish Food is that it doesn’t taste like any of the bland, heavy, sugar-filled, processed-ingredient-laden Jewish Food I ate as a child. This food is fresh. It is light. It is inspired. You will reuse these recipes over and over.


Jewish Food: Passover Prep

These aren’t your grandmother’s recipes, but trust me, your bubbewill not only approve, she will descend from heaven to pinch your cheeks. Imagine a brisket cooked in Chianti, a deliciously heartwarming chicken soup that cures the common fear of cooking, a haroset to redefine haroset and a warm cake that will have you rolling around in pleasure in an imagined Tuscan field of flowers- it’s that good. Jews, non-Jews, experienced cooks and relative beginners are all welcome to take on mastery of one of the most famous cuisines in our country.


Make-Ahead Dinner Party: The Eggplant Parmigiana

Have fun learning to make one of Elana's most prized recipes (named after TV's Weeds Writer/Producer Roberto Benabib) and enjoy a delicious dinner in the process. Also nice to know, Roberto's Eggplant Parmigiana will teach you to make a simple, yet "better than a restaurant," tomato basil sauce that can be used all the time for pasta or vegetables.


Monday Night Soup Class

Soup IS good food. And when made from scratch, with good ingredients, soup is love. Serve soup to those you care about, including yourself. Let me show you how. Spreading soup love makes the planet a better place. And at the very least, your friends and family and your own belly will melt in happiness.


Monday Night Soup Menu Two

After much success from the Original Soup Class, I have decided to expand upon the soup menu. Here are four more soups that will have you, your friends and family rolling on the floor shouting "mammmmmma." That is, afterall, my ultimate definition of good food. Remember: love is in the soup!


Thanksgiving Made Easy: Everything but the Turkey 

Let me help you make Thanksgiving easy. Inspired by the unspeakable homemade quality of food that I ate while staying for several months in a friend's country villa outside of Siena, Italy, this menu adds a rustic Tuscan touch to America's most famous dinner. Once you learn these recipes, you will use them year after year and will most likely not limit them only to Thanksgiving. A very special class. This class can be made vegetarian, or even vegan.


Thanksgiving Made Easy: The Turkey and Desserts

Get ready to master the turkey! I’m going to make it so easy. And for desserts, well, you could have guessed that after a marathon of eating, I am not going to suggest you have heavy desserts. The desserts are light and easy to make from fresh ingredients with no refined sugar.


Sexy Persian 

I am very proud of this delicious food. It is sultry, full of flavors that will surprise and intoxicate you and includes incredibly romantic ingredients like rose petals, sticky sweet honey, thick yogurts, and pomegranate molasses. You will be in for a treat.


The Sunday Soup Class 

Soup IS good food. And when made from scratch, with good ingredients, soup is love. Serve soup to those you care about, including yourself. Let me show you how. Spreading soup love makes the planet a better place. My california students have raved and raved about this class.


Valentine’s Date Night

The vineyard painted Italian countryside sets a perfect tone for a romantic dinner amongst lovers and friends. Best, would be to actually be in Tuscany. Second best is to learn how to create and recreate a night of excellent food with the dolce vita carefree attitude of the nobleman's countryside. After preparing a gorgeous meal, you will sit down to wine and dine in a candlelit garden at a long table that has been gorgeously decorated by the women of our group in a rustic Tuscan fashion. The men on the other hand will be in charge of making sure the steak is grilled to perfection.


Winter Dinner Party Prep

Create the best party in town with this menu. Cozy comfort meets sensual Tuscany in this food. Though much of this meal can be prepared in advance, we will also talk about how to get your dinner party guests involved in the kitchen so you can have a party that everyone feels a part of and you can relax.



CLEAN EATING:


Clean California Cooking

This is the menu that I have been making with our UCLA Cardiovascular Center Cooking Classes. Sounds fun, right? They are. Each time we stop to eat the meal I say the same thing to myself: " I could eat this food everyday!" This is the type of food Californians love to eat and love to go out and pay for. And do you know what? There isn't a restaurant in town that can make food this good and this fresh! It's easy. I will show you how to perfect your new favorite meal!


Clean Eating: Everyday Maintenance

Easy. Quick. Convenient. Delicious. Nutritious. Go-to's to feed your body's needs and a killer sundae for those moments you gotta splurge.


Clean Eating: Introduction to Clean Eating

This class has been the rave of Meal and a Spiel-ers! Learn the basics of your body's holistic needs and how to keep it running well.  These recipes are made over and over again by students and many have reported that they easily kicked the coffee habit after this class. This isn't chick food, dudes love it too.


Clean Eating Mexican

Most know I lived in Italy, but many don't know that I spent entire summers in Mexico doing volunteer work and traveling. Mexico is part of my blood. As a native to Los Angeles, it is only natural that I add my own flair of Cali-Mex to some of my favorite dishes. This menu is intended to give you tools to throw a fiesta and/or a basic weeknight dinner that friends/families will love. Nothing is complicated and it doesn't require any fancy ingredients. I have had many seriously swoon over the Tlayudas, so don't miss out!


Clean Eating Thai

I spent a month in Thailand and ate my way through paradise. This class will reveal all the cooking secrets I encountered...and of course I used them to develop super healthy recipes whose taste transports me back to the magical Thai beachscape.


Crazy Clean Delicious Eating

In this class we don’t diet, we eat! But we also learn the basic principles of eating healthy from a holistic perspective so we can make choices our bodies like. No one will go home hungry and in fact, these dishes have become some of my students’ all time favorites that they eat regularly and feed to friends and family. This is NOT chick-food...Men love it too!


Do It Yourself Snacks: No Dairy, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, and Vegan!                         

I think I like to snack as much as I like to spiel.This class was developed upon request from moms in class who thought their tween daughters would benefit. (Yes. I remember that I needed to eat a lot and often as a teenager and Lord knows I didn't snack healthy!) However, other students chimed in that they would also love to know about healthy snacks on the go and ideas for what to bring to work. I have spent endless hours in healthy supermarkets. I have tested everything. And inventions are my favorite part of life. Here are my concoctions that let me have a delicious healthy nosh - sweet or salty - any time of day.


Healthy Girls Night Out

(BOYS WELCOME) Don't consider this class to be some sort of call to action- I'm not vegan! But the truth is plant-based foods are really good for us and should be a majority of what we eat. Just ask your body how it feels after eating a bowl of quinoa with fresh herbs. It feels good. This is going to be a healthy eating party and I'm mixing cocktails!


Healthiest Class Ever

From late August - Early September I spent two weeks in the desert doing a rather intensive detox program, which I found in the past to be very helpful for allergies. People go to We Care Spa to get healthy, gain energy, and/or lose weight, but most importantly to experience the goodness of the Mind-Body-Spirit  triumvirate. There are cooking classes at We Care and I am so excited to teach you all of the incredibly easy, incredibly healthy, incredibly delicious ways to treat your body right. I'm hungry just writing about it. You choose!


I Can’t Believe It’s Not Pasta!

Eating "non-pasta pasta" is all the rage right now. Lucky for you, with my allergies and food sensitivities, I've been eating like this for over a decade! I know what's good and what's not. Obviously in this class we will stick only with the totally delicious. Come and learn how to get your fill of nutritious,  yummy, fork-twirling pasta without any empty calories, without any white flour, without any gluten...you know, without any guilt!


Italian Garden Vegetables

Everyone needs to have an arsenal of side dish recipes that you can whip up to go with your main courses. This class will teach specific recipes and also inspire you to make variations that will expand your repertoire even further.


Mediterranean Salads

Salads are an art form, albeit a simple artform. Salads are one of my favorite foods so I kind of make them well! Crunch, crunch, that's why I love 'em. This class is being offered upon the request of my students. Viva l'insalata!


Summer Clean Eating

Perfect summer foods that will keep you energized and beautiful all summer long. Don't Miss Sally's Summer Nectarine Tart! To. Die. For. Oh, and the Watermelon and Rose Granita, with no sugar, yes you will die for that too. Don't deprive your tastebuds. Indulgence is a priority in life. Healthy eating for your body is fun.


Super Sexy Salads

You won't need to go to Chin Chin anymore for Chinese Chicken Salad. You won't need to spend 40 dollar on the Grilled Vegetable Salad at the Ivy either. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me for this class, well...yeah, you know.


The Health-ier Nut

Dial up the day with healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and midnight snack meals that will enliven your palate and your day.


Vegan Girls Night Out

Don't consider this class to be some sort of call to action- I'm not vegan! But the truth is plant-based foods are really good for us and should be a majority of what we eat. Just ask your body how it feels after eating a bowl of quinoa with fresh herbs. It feels good. It’s a healthy eating party and I'm mixing cocktails!


Vegetarian Entrees

Vegetarian food has a really bad rap. That's because it usually sucks. There is no acceptable reason for this. Let me show you how delicious vegetarian can be. Think lunch, brunch, buffet, and sides. Vegetarian entrees for any occasion.


Vegetarian Starters and Sides                                 

Vegetarian food has a really bad rap. That's because it usually sucks. There is no acceptable reason for this. Think quick fixes, think buffet, think side dishes, think brunch, think appetizers, think throw-together lunch...these recipes will go far and will earn lots of love even from people who would never hug a tree.

COMFORT FOOD:


Comfort Food: Risotto

Let me demystify two false presumptions about risotto. 1) It's complicated to make. No, it’s not. 2) It uses cream. No it does not. Risotto uses olive oil and butter (if desired) yet its creaminess comes from the rice itself. Come learn the technique to achieve delicious comforting risottos that will impress your most important guest: you! We will then take our risottos, once cooled, and turn them into fabulous baked-not-fried arancini (risotto croquettes), the traditionally fried appetizer that has taken trendy Los Angeles by storm. That's right, you will make to-die-for arancini from leftovers that can be frozen and taken out for company. Yes!


Comfort Food: The Turkey Meatball

My definition of good food is that it makes you want to roll around on the floor shouting MAMMMA!!!!! Here are recipes that exemplify the best of the Italian mammas without the unnecessary sinful ingredients that could make you look like a fat Sicilian widow in a black muumuu. Please, Meal and a Spiel aspires only to the highest of aesthetic principles.  


Dude Food

NOTE: KIDS LIKE THIS FOOD TOO. (surprise surprise). Dude Food needs to be filling and good, but it doesn't need to be unhealthy and fattening. Here are recipes that will satiate the REAL MEN out there. Each could serve as a main course or as a snack during a football game.  


Gluten-Free Desserts

Not only are these desserts gluten-free, they are also mostly guilt free. They use only the minimal amounts of sugar, if at all, and in most cases prefers raw honey or agave. As someone who watches sugar intake, these recipe were developed with me in mind! Any allergy sufferers can benefit from gluten-free foods. Come and find out how to make 4 easy desserts that will leave you, your family and friends light on your feet after the meal and without any guilt to keep you from the beach this summer.  


Kugel That Won’t Kill You And Other Gluten-Free, No Refined Sugar Desserts

Change your world. Let yourself have dessert. Why does dessert have to be bad for us? Why do we have to feel guilty for eating it? We don't! Not if we make dessert using almonds instead of white flour, yogurt instead of cream, healthy fats instead of processed ones and a touch of raw honey instead of loads of sugar. Make these desserts for guests - they'll all be thrilled to have a healthy option - and bring them to potlucks so you can enjoy the party. These recipes are all super easy, and that's a promise.


Some Like It Slow: Mastering The Art Of Slow Cooking

There are several essential reasons to become a master of slow cooking:                        1. Because of the longer cooking process, exact measuring isn't necessary. In other words, it's almost impossible to F this up!                                                        2. You can't really overcook slow cooked foods...they are always juicy because of the juices and cooking process. Another reason you can't F this up!                                3. Slow cooked foods last all week in the fridge and reheat easily. They are sometimes better the next day.                                                                                        4. There is nothing that tastes more like love than foods that have been cooked slowly over time. This is the kind of food that will make you, your friends and family roll over on the floor and shout "mammmmma!"


LIFESAVERS:


Family Friendly Foods

I have many students with picky kids. But I have just as many students with picky husbands! I can't solve pickiness, but I can offer you family favorite recipes that will be staples in your house for years to come. My turkey meatballs are famous in some circles, as are my oven fries (I mean,  I even make them for fancy dinner parties when I cater). Of note is also my perfect tomato and basil sauce, which I have just made even better by adding extra carrot goodness to it. The sauteed bananas with cinnamon a la mode? Yeah, you're just going to have to come see for yourself!


Hors d'Oeuvres and Bubbly (choose 4 that you like)

Having guests over for a few appetizers is a party in and of itself. This class will offer you both simple and more extensive options, all incredibly doable and all sure to wow your most snobbish of guests.


Make-Ahead Appetizers

Entertaining doesn't mean that everyone else but you has fun. The joy of the host dictates the joy of the guests! With no more than some casual last minute oven warming up on two recipes, all of these appetizers can be done in advance....so you can take your sweet time to clean up the house, nap and dress sexy. All huge successes in cocktail parties I have catered, I know what kind of smashing party you can create with these foods. And who even needs to throw a party...a couple appetizers, salad and a glass of wine is dinner on any night of the week!


Monday Night Chicken Class

Chicken Again? That’s what I said almost every night of the week at my family dinner table. But let’s face it, chicken is good, healthy and is the perfect happy medium between fish and meat. It does NOT need to be boring. Or dry! This class is being given upon the request of my dermatologist who claims she needs more chicken recipes. Ok, here we go!


Monday Night Chicken Part Deux

Fueled by the monotony of the chicken dinners I suffered as a child, I’ve create a second Chicken Menu that will send you home with enthusiasm. Maria Torrini is my mentor/hero - the woman I learned to cook from in Tuscany - and I included this dish that she made for me on a recent trip to Florence. Angie is my parent's housekeeper of 25 years and her chicken is so juicy I just have to share her recipe and tricks. And then you'll get my takes on chicken too. Needless to say, a lot of women have collaborated to bring you a class that will change "chicken again?" to "Chicken Again!!"


Monday Night Fish Class

We will do nothing fancy that you can’t replicate at home. (That means no deboning, no using fish that you will only find at a specialty fishmongers, etc.) On the contrary, you will become comfortable with a few different kinds of fish and with the best and easiest processes for making them. Note: Special attention will be given to fish that are low on the mercury scale.


Monday Night Fish Part Deux

So often we eat fish in restaurants because we are intimidated to make it at home. Let’s stop that trend! We can save money and make it even better! And it's easy...you know I don’t do anything fancy! Five recipes perfect for any night of the week or a fabulous dinner party. All recipes are easy to make for one or for many.


Monday Night Carnivore Class

The benefit to eating meat at home, as opposed to at a restaurant, is that you can buy yourself organic, grass fed meat and be sure that you are eating only the best. The next thing is to know what to do with it. This class will show you how. This class explores recipes that are good for last minute dinners and recipes that work for make ahead dinner party preparation.


Prosecco Brunch Class

Being invited for a gourmet brunch is a real treat. None of these recipes are difficult but will most definitely fool your guests. Best part: much of it can be prepared in advance so you can sleep in. We will then sit down for a glass of bubbly and enjoy our creation.

Roasted Asparagus Frittata with Goat Cheese


Summer Appetizers

Important thing about having people for appetizers, particularly on a summer eve when you just want to chill...serve food that can be prepared in advance. And serve appetizers that will bring a taste of the mediterranean to your sun-kissed guests, transporting them to that hot blooded sea whether they have been there or not. Here are recipes for a good time!


Summer Entertaining

This seasonal menu showcases the best summer produce Southern California has to offer. I'll make sure you know how to make summer entertaining easy, delicious and oh so chic!


Summer Soiree

It's hot. You want to be in the pool and enjoying the part as much as your guests. Will you go to the market and buy a party platter. Oh god, I hope not. Prepared foods are so last century. The party is only as amazing as the food is delicious. And that means fresh. Plus it's summer. No one wants to overeat when in bathing suits. And yet the fresh air and water makes everyone hungry. What do you do?