Editor’s Note: This week, many of us will be getting the house ready for Passover and shopping for chametz-free ingredients for the holiday. Take a look at the suggestions below for items to add to your grocery list!
There are lots of sederiffic Passover recipes online, but it’s not seder that’s hard about Passover for those that observe the dietary rules: it’s the rest of the week. Two things I’m always short of are ideas for lunchboxes and ideas for midweek dinners.
Here are a few of the solutions that have gotten my family fed:
My lunchbox: Romaine lettuce with tuna and hard cooked eggs, drizzled with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt. This actually gets better if it sits at room temperature for a few hours before eating. Olives, tomatoes, carrots, cold boiled potato cubes, etc. also very good mixed in.
If I have a microwave at work, I like to take a bowl of raw broccoli and cauliflower florets and baby carrots and microwave it until they are just tender, and then add a slice of cheese and wait until the heat of the veggies melts the cheese, mix and eat.
Kids lunchboxes are much harder. Virtually everything my kids typically take for lunch during the regular year is chametz (prohibited during the holiday). Apple slices and carrot sticks are the exception. I wind up packing a lot of yogurts and farfel granola. Cheese sandwiches made on matzo inevitably wind up as farfel in the backpack anyhow.
Their favorite lunches during Passover, though, are the leftovers from dinner the night before. And one of the best is Passover Spaetzl.
1 TBS oil
¼ cup chicken soup (if meal is fleishig) or milk (if meal is dairy)
1 cup Passover cake meal
¼ cup potato starch
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 TBS sugar
½ tsp baking powder
Big pot of boiling water
Some kind of sauce or soup or gravy
Mix the wet stuff until blended smooth. Add the dry ingredients and mix until smooth, adding extra soup or water if needed to get to pudding-like consistency. Let sit 15 minutes, then check to see how firm it is and add additional liquid if necessary.
Scoop up a spoonful and drop into boiling water. Simmer three minutes and remove from water with slotted spoon. Taste test and adjust batter if needed (salt? sugar? too thick? too thin?).
If the batter is thin like pancake batter, you will get long thin squiggles of spaetzl. If the batter is thick like pudding, you get gnocchi-like little dumplings. If it is thick like hummus, you get something close to matzo balls.
When you have it the way you like it, drop spoonfuls into the water and simmer until they all float (about three minutes). Do not crowd the pot. Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and put them into the warm sauce while you do the next batch.
If you do not have good sauce, you can use any kind of leftover gravy or soup or just sauteed mushrooms and onions in wine.
If you’re having a dairy meal, use water or milk instead of the chicken broth, and serve it with marinara, butter & parmesan, melted cheese sauce or anything else you enjoy on pasta.
Here’s my favorite (fleishig) sauce recipe:
In a hot skillet, brown some ground meat. When it is browned, push the meat out to the edges of the pan. Add 1 can tomato paste in the center of the pan, and spread it to a thin layer. Leave it sit there until it just starts to caramelize (turn brown) a little. Add a splash of sweet wine, then stir and scrape until all the meat is mixed into it and nothing is stuck to the pan. Add ½ cup water and stir a bit more. Season to taste.
Give me a few good ideas: What gets your family through the holiday in a festive mood?