Once again just as we stop to relax on Shushan Purim and pull apart all of yesterdays Shalach Manos we start getting the emails about Pessach!
Last year Pessach for me was a dream. Every year B”H I have been lucky enough to go away with my family for Pessach but last year a few families I am close with decided to rent a house in Miami and I decided to join. While discussing the food situation I decided to offer to cook… In my head I thought it was brilliant, we were just about to finish up my cookbook “Breezy’s Mix & Match“ and why not test my recipes on everyone! So I did a huge food shopping, loaded my car to the max and had it driven down to Miami. When I got their everyone thought I was crazy. They told me to just buy take out or packaged food, but I was stubborn and refused. And my stubbornness paid off…
I was cooking for 4 grown men, all of whom requested MEAT! Then their where the woman, every single on that was trying to eat “healthy”, which is code for diet. To top it off their was 1 adorable little princess, appropriately named Malka who I had to make sure had something to eat. I came up with the most delicious and delectable menu of Non-Gebruchts food, that got devoured every night. The men where stuffed, the woman didn’t gain weight and the only thing leftover after Pessach was the few frozen pre-made meals I bought as backup! Here are some of the sample menus I made for Pessach with a few tips and tricks:
LUNCH: Erev Pessach is always the hardest with no matzo to eat until the Sedder, so I made my delicious and healthy Spaghetti Squash (p.117 ) which became a go to meal for all of Chol Hamoed. Its healthy, non gebruchts and very versatile. Some times I left off the cheese and added fresh sauteed onions and garlic and a bit of freshly chopped basil.
DINNER: Somehow no matter what time you get up to eating at the Sedder it could be cardboard and everyone would devour it. We ended up with a few surprise visitors at our Sedder which thrilled me because I love more people to eat my food! I made a batch of my new favorite go to Pessach food, Quinoa! I am more than obsessed with it, it looks like rice but is actually part of the beet family, which makes it a vegetable! A starchy one, like potatoes, but has the texture and consistency of farfel and cooks like rice! I made my famous Ketchup chicken and substituted the rice for quinoa (p.89). I made garlic green beans (p.125), brisket which I poured an entire packet of onion soup mix on top of, around it I put potatoes and carrots and added a cup of water and covered and cooked for a few hours (depends on size). I made gefilta fish for an appetizer (p.49) and chicken soup (p.69 ) but I did use the potato matzoh balls from the packet. Dessert was always store bought, I have a secret love of the Pessach almond macaroons that come in the package and of the jelly fruit (green/lime is my crazy addiction!).
BREAKFAST: was always a fend for yourself situation. I eat matza brie year round, and even though the people with me didn’t eat gebruchts, I bought a special pan and made myself a batch. It’s my families favorite go to food to break all of our fast’s!
LUNCH: A huge turkey salad, I made 4 batches and it was devoured (p.67)… We had a little bit of leftover from the night before and I had started making my Thyme chicken (p.105) for dinner, well I ended up having to make a second batch because Miri almost single-handily devoured the whole tray! I now call this “Miri Chicken” in my house!
DINNER: I made salsa gefilta fish (p.51) and served the rest of the sweet gefilta fish from the night before. (Over the entire Pessach I went thru 10+ rolls of the family size gefilta fish). Thyme Chicken (p.105), Spare Ribs (p.99 ), Quinoa (p.121 ) and fresh salad!
LUNCH: Coleslaw (us the dressing from the broccoli salad on a bag of shredded cabbage), Potato salad (p.65) Broccoli Salad (p.59) and whatever leftovers we found!
Chol Hamoed Food and Snacks:
- Quinoa Pizzas: Cook your quinoa (2 cups water and 1 cup quinoa) with fresh basil and oregano. After it is cooked add 2 eggs and form them into pizza shapes (I used a cupcake pan or cheese cake pan.) Cover it with tomato sauce, fresh mazorella, basil and any other delicious toppings. Cook until the edges are crispy (30-50 minutes depending on pan you are baking it in and oven)at 350 deg and serve when it cools down a bit.
- Guacamole (p.33)
- Alfredo sauce on spaghetti squash (p.137 and 117)
- Cauliflower pizza (p.47 )
- Honey Mustard Veal (p.95), to make the gravy I used potato starch.
- Wine Roast (p.97) I LOVE this recipe for Pessach because after the first 2 nights there is always so many half opened bottles of wine left lying around and they make me crazy! So its the prefect solutions for all the leftover!
- My grandmothers meatloaf (p.93) Perfect for the last day of pessach when everyone eats Gebruchts.
I must say that my new favorite food is quinoa! I make it almost every shabbos for my kids. A great trick to adding some flavor, since it is a bit bland, is to only put in 1 1/2 cups of water and for the additional 1/2 cup of liquid I use the sauce of whatever meat I am serving or left over soup. I have added duck sauce, onion soup, chicken soup, bbq sauce and wine! And Pessach I found there are always tons of open bottles of wine with just a drop left in them!
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