Sometimes I think the overwhelming preparation for Passover gives those of us who keep kosher the impression that we can’t use any of the recipes we use during the year. Nothing can be further from the truth.
The blogs are full of new and interesting ideas and yes I try some of them because I am always interested in new ideas. I might try a new desert, so I have something new at the Seder table. But when I am under stress to prepare large quantities, the truth is, most of us prefer the tried and true comfort foods we are used to, that we know our family likes and that don’t require so much thought.
While I can’t cook with pasta or bread, how often do I do that anyway? When I think about Passover dinners, I realize that most of my meals have three to four courses – a salad, a main dish with protein, a carbohydrate (usually a potato, pasta or rice dish), and a vegetable. A few times a week I make soups as well. These are nutrition basics for providing a balanced meal. So during Passover, I can avoid the pasta. I am Syrian so I will make rice dishes but these can also be avoided by using quinoa instead of rice in the same recipes.
Salad – really no limits here. There are dozens of ideas in the Sarina’s Sephardic Cuisine app for salads and most can be used for Passover. Ashkenazic Jews will need to leave out the beans in our recipes.
Protein – if you stick to basics, your main meal can be simple grilled or baked fish, steak or chicken. But other cool ideas are often used recipes . Meat options include Chicken with apricots, roasts, meat loaf, Shepherd’s Pie (Irish but delish!), pepper steak, hot dogs, stir fried veggies with a protein. On the dairy side, salmon with dill sauce, or really any type of baked or grilled fish. Those quiches you make during the year? Make them without the shell in a Pyrex and bake! I make my Spanach Eb Gibin (Spinach with eggs and cheese) and the kids love it! Instead of the Pyrex, try making them in muffin pans. Use the paper liners and they are a great pick me up food!
Carbs – there are many rice dishes in the app but also many potato ideas. These include mashed potatoes, smashed potatoes, and breakfast potatoes. I generally use many red potatoes on this holiday. I find they are great in potato salad and in my cooked potato dishes.
Soups – Soups are a great go to comfort food. Chicken soup with matzo balls remains the top favorite and the recipe I have modified from my mother is very popular. I make a huge pot and there is rarely anything left over. Making matzo balls from a mix is fine – no need to go over the deep edge with homemade! During the week I usually make a few other soups. My Minestrone is made from fresh veggies and has virtually no calories. Of course I leave out the pasta but it still is delish and very hardy! I also like to make Tomato Basil Soup (Parve) and Chicken Shulbah (Tomato Rice Soup with Chicken).
Vegetables – again, there are endless opportunities with veggies. My family is very happy with simply boiling broccoli or cauliflower. To take veggies to another level, sometimes we top them with some olive oil and herbs and roast them in the oven for 20-30 minutes. These are the most efficient methods and take the least amount of time.
If you have read this far, you are wondering about dessert and licking the plate! LOL - Another blog!