Now that Succot is right around the corner and we’re all gearing up for many days of family, friends and guests, let’s do some menu planning together. These recipes can be used for any of the main or intermediary day meals – it can go together as one whole meal plan or it can be split up and used as you need it. Any way you choose, it will provide you and your family with some great warm dishes for your Succot enjoyment!
Savory Vegetable ‘n Meat Sauce
I made up this recipe a while ago, because I got tired of the usual tomato sauce based meat or meatball recipes that abound all over the place. I wanted something saucy, not too spicy but also not too bland, and that could be spread over a unique shaped pasta or any rice I would choose. This really did do the trick, and I had almost no leftovers…
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 4 medium sized carrots, peeled and shredded
- 1 lb. (500 g) ground chicken
- 1 lb. (500 g) ground meat
- 1 small can whole mushrooms, optional
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 Tablespoon parsley flakes
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- ½ cup semi-dry white wine
- 3 Tablespoons any kind of mustard, but NOT honey flavored mustard
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 1 bag any shape pasta (about 1 lb. / 400-500 grams)
- Take out a large, deep skillet or frying pan with a lid. Pour in the olive oil, and add the onion, garlic and celery. Begin to sauté them on a medium flame
- When they are just beginning to turn brown, add in the shredded carrots
- Cover the pan, reduce the heat somewhat and allow it to cook together for five minutes, watching that it does not burn. Covering the pan allows the steam and natural juices to stay in, thereby keeping the vegetables moist
- Remove ¾ of this vegetable mixture to a bowl and reserve for later use.
- Open the pan and add in the meats to whatever is left in the pan
- With a fork, mash the ground meats down and separate them as much as possible while they are browning, so that you won’t have one hardened mass of meat. This way, you will have small meat chunks and pieces in your sauce. Keep doing this for about 10 minutes or so, until the meat looks browned and is in pieces all over the pan. Keep the flame lowered. Add in the mushrooms and spices now and stir to incorporate.
- Mix the flour with a bit of the wine in a small bowl so it is not lumpy. Add in, together with the rest of the wine. Add in the reserved mixture that you set aside before; stir to incorporate. Add in the mustard and ketchup and allow to simmer together for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Choose your pasta and boil it for 2 minutes less than what is written on the package. Drain. Directly before serving, mix the pasta together with the meat sauce, allow it to heat together for 3 minutes and serve.
This goes great with any shape of pasta, any grain, such as spelt, rice pasta or whole wheat – or even just ordinary white pasta. I used a new shape and it gave it a very nice look.
Veggie ‘n Meat Stuffed Squash
Another superb and really different idea is to serve this meat and veggie sauce with a hollowed out acorn, butternut or spaghetti squash.
Prepare the above sauce. The meat is ready for stuffing after it is all put together, before the simmering for 45 minutes. Obviously, you don’t need the pasta for this one.
To prepare the squashes: (This amount of meat sauce makes enough for 2 squashes, or four halves.)
- Clean off the outside of the squash with soap, water and a scrubby sponge
- Slice each one in half lengthwise (i.e., the LONG way), and scoop out any seeds.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F / 180°C.
- Take out a baking pan, and add about 1 inch of water to the bottom of the pan
- On the bottom of the pan, arrange each squash half, the hollowed side facing up
- Spoon lots of meat sauce into each hollowed out squash
- Arrange the leftover meat sauce all over the top of the squashes, and you can put the rest into the bottom of the pan as well…or just save it to use over pasta as the top recipe suggests!
- Cover the veggies with baking parchment paper and then with aluminum foil (this way the foil won’t be in direct contact with the food) and bake for 45 minutes, until the squashes are soft
Serve immediately. This is a whole meal and goes great accompanied by a slice of challah and a fresh salad
And now, onto a nice healthy and nutritious soup to warm you up on a cold Succot night…
Pumpkin Lentil Soup
8 to 10 servings
- Large 12 to 14 quart pot with lid
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 onions, finely diced
- 2 medium zucchinis, unpeeled, washed well, and chunked
- 1 lb. (½ kilo) fresh pumpkin (only! It won’t work with canned), peeled and cubed
- 1 large white potato, cubed
- 1 cup dried red lentils (they appear orange in the bag)
- 2 to 3 scallions, diced
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 1/3 teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon dried mustard powder
- 8 cups water
- Saute the diced onion in the olive oil until clear
- Add the chunked zucchini on top of it and continue to saute for 2 more minutes
- Add all 8 cups of water, and while it is coming to a boil, add in the rest of the ingredients. (If you do not have mustard powder, you can use one heaping Tablespoon of regular mustard in its place; it won’t be exactly the same but will still be quite good).
- After the soup has started boiling, turn down the flame and simmer for 2½ hours. Freezes well, just make sure to reheat completely before serving.
I’ll throw in one last recipe, for a quick, easy and really beautiful dessert. I have made this cake countless times. It is simple and very fancy looking. Needs no embellishments once it comes out of the oven and I never have any leftover. It’s different looking too, plus it comes out moist and fluffy. You can most certainly make it in advance and freeze it. All you have to do to serve is cut it into squares, place in paper holders and put on a platter. That is, if no one stole into your freezer and helped themselves to it before Yom Tov began!
Peanut Butter Chip Crumb Cake
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- 2¼ cups flour
- 2 cups dark brown sugar
- 1 cup Peanut butter
- ½ cup margarine
Blend together until it resembles a crumbly mixture. Remove 1½ cups of this mixture for topping later.
Add to the rest in the bowl:
- 1 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 cup pareve milk OR water
- 1 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups pareve chocolate chips
- Pour this batter into a lined 9×13-inch pan
- Sprinkle generously with any size chocolate chips
- Then sprinkle reserved crumb mixture all over the chips and bake until a knife inserted into its center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes depending on your oven. The first time you bake this cake, test it after 25 minutes to see if the cake tester or knife inserted in middle comes out clean
- As soon as it’s done, remove from the oven to cool on the counter. Best baked when you are alone in the house if you intend to have any to put away for later!
Enjoy and have a very simcha-dik yom tov! All the best, Tamar Ansh
This material is copyrighted by Tamar Ansh, as it will be added to future books of hers. No recipe may be reproduced anywhere without written permission from the author, and even then, only with full credits given.
Tamar Ansh is an author, freelance recipe developer, and food columnist. Her food articles have appeared in Jewish publications worldwide. She has published 4 books so far which include: Splitting the Sea (Targum Press); Let’s Say Amen!, an illustrated children’s book (Feldheim Publishers); her first cookbook, which is both gluten free and kosher for Passover, A Taste of Tradition (Feldheim Publishers). Her most recent book is called A Taste of Challah (Feldheim Publishers, 2007). It is a photographic guide to baking and shaping beautiful challahs, and includes many other healthy and interesting bread types as well. Visit www.TasteofChallah.com to see all her books online, as well as lots of fun tips, forums and other recipes. She lives in Jerusalem with her family.
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.