Tag Archives: kosher for passover

Simple and Good Braised Chicken

Simple and Good Braised Chicken

This is such a simple chicken recipe, that it risked being called “Chicken With No Name.” It is endlessly adaptable, depending on available ingredients, personal preferences, time and circumstances. I have made it several times over the past few weeks, and it is always a hit.


1 chicken cut in parts, skinned

Optional: leave skin on and sear the chicken pieces until browned for added flavor

2 -3 carrots, sliced

2 onions, sliced

2 celery stalks with leaves, cut in 1″ pieces

Optional: 1-2 parsnips, or other vegetables. Don’t add too many vegetables, or else the chicken will be overwhelmed. The more simple, the better the outcome.

Salt, to taste. Add the salt sparingly after it is cooked. Kosher chicken tends to be salty, and too much salt ruins the flavor.

1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Optional: paprika adds a nice flavor and color

2 bay leaves (I love bay leaves, so I like to add more)

1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed, near the end

1/2 cup water Optional: use chicken broth, or wine

Optional: 1 can crushed tomatoes or tomato paste for a thicker broth

Optional: 3-4 potatoes, peeled and cut in quarters

Optional: Thicken broth with 1-2 tablespoons of flour or starch. I usually dissolve the starch in a small amount of broth, and then add it to the dish and simmer until thickened.

Optional: If you REALLY want to be fancy, brown the starch or flour in fat, and then gradually add the liquid and stir or whisk until desired thickness. This takes a bit of time and skill, so I don’t recommend it if you are time challenged. It is something I do only for special occasions and for the right audience. My family does not like thicken sauce, and I find that it makes the leftovers “gloppy.”


Place carrots, onions, and celery in the bottom of the pot. If you have the time, you could saute the vegetables until browned, however, I did not. Add the chicken pieces on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with pepper, garlic powder, and if using, paprika or other desired spices. Then add the liquid, and, the (optional) tomato puree or paste.

I place the chicken on top of the vegetables so that the stock almost steams or roasts the chicken.

The secret is to cook the chicken with only a minimal amount of liquid or stock. And, only add a minimal amount of salt after it is cooked. Too much salt, or liquid, and the taste is altered. I also only add crushed fresh garlic at the end. In general, less is more with this chicken recipe. The beauty is in its simplicity.

Stove top: bring to boil and let simmer until done. Add crushed garlic, salt and adjust seasonings to taste.

Crockpot. Cook on low until done. Add crushed garlic, salt and adjust seasonings to taste.

In pressure cooker: 7 minutes to pressure and then use the quick release method by running cold water over the lid when done. Add crushed garlic, salt and adjust seasonings to taste.

This week, I made it in the crockpot overnight. I adjusted the seasonings when I got up this morning before going to work. I forgot to take a picture of it in the crockpot. So, I only have pictures when I made it on the stove top.

Here are the pictures:

Layered in the pot before cooking. I see I added parsnips too.

The first time around, my husband ate straight from the pot!

Another live action shot of Jay eating from the pot.

Everyone was soooooo happy! Raizel said, “I am obsessed with this chicken. It is scary good!”  My husband said, “This chicken is killer!” It is one of the few times that there were actually no leftovers.

It is fast, easy, all natural and simple — cooking for the time challenged at its best.



In A Hurry Nut Drop Cookies

This is another recipe from my mother. While we were visiting, my mother had one of her various meetings. This recipe was her contribution.

My mother said that this is her go-to cookie recipe when she is short on time and wants to serve something simple and yet spectacular.

These cookies have an added panache, as you can adapt the flavor with different spices. And, they are also kosher for Passover!



1 lbs nuts or seeds. My mother said that “peanuts are the best, but any combination will work.”

1 egg

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

Optional: coriander and cardamom


Beat egg with sugar and spices. Add nuts. Shape into cookies, drop on parchment line pan.

Bake in 325*F oven until set.

Optional, sprinkle with icing sugar when done, but my mother thinks they are sweet enough.

To give as a gift, place gently into a glass mason jar. Cover and decorate with a nice ribbon or bow.

Mixed and ready to drop.

Mixed and ready to drop.

Drop with a spoon onto parchment paper.


Ready to bake!

Ready to bake!

In a jar to give as a gift.

Fast, easy, sophisticated and yum!


Baked Mashed Potatoes 

This is a variation of the mashed potato kugel that I posted earlier. I realize that I may be repeating myself with this post, but, it was such a hit that I wanted to share it with everyone.

Over Passover, I had alot of leftover potatoes. So, I decided to mash them with sautéed onions and then bake them in the oven. 

This is a great way to use up leftovers and no eggs!

The recipe is very flexible and depends on the amount of potatoes that you have available.



Onions, sliced

Salt and pepper to taste.



Water as needed to desired consistency 


Boil potatoes. I cooked them in the pressure cooker, 7 minutes to pressure, using quick release method.

Sauté onions in oil until nicely browned. Add potatoes and water to the pan. Mash the potatoes and onions together with enough water to reach the desired texture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place mashed potato mixture into a pan. Lightly oil the top, so that the mixture will brown when baked. Sprinkle paprika on top.

Bake in 350* oven until done.

Here are the potatoes in the pressure cooker:

potatoes in pressure cooker

saute onions until browned

mash the potatoes &sauted onions

the final product — yum!

This was such a hit that I could barely take a picture of it after Shabbat. A ringing endorsement.


Passover Mandelbread  or Drop Cookies With Chocolate Chips

Although Passover is over, I still want to share some of the recipes that I made over the holiday. This way, I can keep track for next year.

This year, for the very first time, I experimented with making kosher for Passover mandelbread with chocolate chips. I also used the dough to make drop cookies as well. 

Mandelbread is a very traditional Jewish cookie similar to biscotti that I make during the year.

As I have shared, one of the culinary challenges of Passover is baking desserts without sacrificing taste and texture.

I usually try to stick to recipes that are specifically designed to be kosher for Passover. Especially when baking, I find that it is difficult to adapt recipes to be suitable for the holiday.

For many reasons, I also avoid cooking and baking with matzah meal. I find that matzah meal makes the texture dry and tastes unpleasant. 

So, I wanted to make mandelbread which is non-gebrokts (without matzah meal) and also gluten free. However, I couldn’t find a recipe to accommodate my specifications.

So, I broke some of my personal baking rules. I took my regular mandelbread recipe and adapted it for Passover. 

Instead of regular flour, I used almond flour and tapioca starch. I was not planning on initially adding the tapioca starch. But, the dough was too sticky and did not hold its shape without it.

Below is the recipe of how I made the cookies this year, together with my recommendations for how to improve the recipe for next year.


1 orange

2 eggs

3/4 cups sugar

Recommendation: Can also make with only 1/2 cup sugar. 

1/2 cup oil

Next time, I might use 1/4 cup of oil as nuts have a higher fat content.

4 cups almond flour 

1/2 – 1 cup  tapioca starch (approximately to make the dough less sticky and able to be shaped)

With less oil, tapioca starch may not be necessary.

2 teaspoons baking power

1 cup chopped nuts (approximately, to make the dough less sticky and able to be shaped)

9 oz. chocolate chips


Using a food processor, pulse the whole orange until finely chopped. 

Add the sugar, eggs and oil and mix until smooth. 

Then add almond flour and baking powder and pulse until blended.

I found that the dough was too sticky, so I added the tapioca starch and chopped almonds.

Stir in 9 oz. of chocolate chips.

Bake in 350*F oven until lightly browned and firm to touch. 

Raizel loves “dot” cookies, which I rarely make. 

So, most of the batter was made as drop cookies. 

A much smaller amount was baked in a log like mandelbread. 

When cooked, I sliced the dough and baked them again in a 250*F oven until toasted.

Here are the pictures:

The cookie dough when fully mixed

Dough shaped as drop cookies

Drop cookies final product

The final product baked like mandelbread/biscotti

It actually turned out to be less time consuming to make drop cookies instead of mandelbread. And, I think the texture was better too.

It may be that with almond flour, the dough is less resilient? I also think that the texture might be better if the dough is chilled prior to baking.

Overall, the cookies were a hit. Raizel declared, “this is killer!” 

And, they are even being eaten after Passover!


Zucchini Mushroom Soup 

Like many Jewish women, I spend my whole week planning for Shabbat. And, I spend my whole year planning for Passover, which is 3 weeks away. 

Cooking and Shabbat are closely connected in our house. 

It is to the point that if I am cooking, the first thing Yaffa says is “it is Shabbat yet?  Mommy is cooking for Shabbat!”


It’s very cute, because there is also a children’s story,  Is It Shabbas Yet?  that I used to read to the girls when they were little.  Yaffa has almost memorized it. An incredible feat when you consider that she is significantly hearing impaired in addition to her cognitive challenges. Cute gets you very far! 

Raizel also found a number of YouTube videos about the book, that Yaffa loves to watch. 

If anyone is interested, this is one of the multiple versions available online:

The constant repetition has enabled Yaffa to learn the story. 

Friday morning is usually my marathon cooking time.  I prepare all the food on Thursday. Then, I get up at dawn and do the cooking before going to work.

One of my new favorite things to make Zucchini Mushroom Soup.  This is an extremely flexible recipe. Sometimes I make it with the mushrooms, and sometimes I make it just with zucchini. I usually add an onion, but, the amounts vary.


1 onion, quartered

1-2 zucchinis, cut in large chunks

8 oz. mushrooms, sliced

Water to cover

Salt and if desired pepper to taste


Add all the ingredients to the crockpot.

The secret to making the soup this way is to use a small crockpot, and slightly overfill it. I tend to add more water than necessary, (about half way up the crockpot) as I leave it in the crockpot for more than 8 hours. With more liquid, it is less likely to over cook.

Then, once I come home, I remove some of the liquid, and using an immersion blender, puree the vegetables, and adjust the seasoning.  The soup should be slightly thick.

It can also be made on the stove or in a pressure cooker, 2 minutes to pressure.

Here are the pictures:

Here, all the vegetables are in the pot. I also cut them into large pieces, to prevent over cooking.

Here is what it looks like once it is cooked. Before I puree it, I remove most of the liquid, so that it will not be too thin.

Voila! Here is the final product:

Yaffa loves zucchini, and this is one of her favorites!



If anyone is interested in the book that Yaffa and Raizel like, here is the link for that too:




Roasted Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup

For the Sheva Brachot, I made 2 soups. 

 This soup was a hit! 

Below are the basic amounts, but, this recipe is very flexible. 

I made enough to serve 28 people, so I adjusted the recipe accordingly.


2 butternut squashes, peeled and roasted in 425* oven

2 onion, sliced

2-3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut

Alternative: my sister adds cooked chickpeas instead of sweet potatoes.

4 carrots, peeled and roasted

Optional: 2 parsnips or parsley roots, peeled and roasted. I used a small amount 

Optional:1 bay leaf

Salt, pepper, fresh garlic

Optional: my mother makes this soup with ginger and cumin.

Water to cover

Optional: chopped fresh cilantro or parsley to garnish


Roast squash, carrots, and parsnips in 425* oven.

Sauté onions in the pot until caramelized. Add roasted vegetables, sweet potatoes, and spices.  

My sister says that sautéing the onions is what gives it a great flavor. 

Add water and then bring to a boil, cover and simmer until done.  

Adjust seasoning to taste.

Puree with an immersion blender and adjust liquid to personal taste. 

I recommend not cooking with too much water and then adjusting the thickness of the soup after it is cooked. It is important to not make it too thick or too thin. 

My mother said that it is important to maintain the colour of the soup, so she does not recommend using white potatoes.

This can be made in a regular soup pot, a crock pot or a pressure cooker.

In a crockpot, cook on high or low until done. This is not my preferred method, as it makes the soup too dark.

In the pressure cooker: cook 3-5 minutes to pressure, quick release method, depending on how small you cut the sweet potatoes.

Adding fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro give it a beautiful fresh flavor and a dash of color.

Here are the pictures:



I guess I was a little time challenged, so I didn’t take pictures of the whole process.

As you can see, this is a very flexible recipe and easily adapted to individual preferences. Since I did not know the people who were coming, I opted for simple and basic. Some people can back for seconds, so this was a culinary success!


Sheva Brachot Cranberry Ice

I feel like I can’t let the week pass without posting at least 1 recipe.  

So, I thought I would post what I served for dessert first. Sometimes, last is best.

For the Sheva Brachot I served cranberry ice, with sugar cookies and fresh green and red grapes for dessert.

The sugar cookies recipe was already posted much earlier. I will try to include a link later.

This recipe is very fast and easy and also very economical.


1 16 oz. can cranberry sauce 

1 cup ginger ale, or lemon lime soda

Optional: garnish with mint leaves 


Blend cranberry sauce in food processor until puréed. 

Fold in ginger ale or lemon lime soda.

Freeze in ice cube trays. 

After it is frozen, remove from freezer and defrost slightly. 

Blend again in food processor and refreeze. 

Defrost for 1/2 hour before serving. If not using cookies, garnish with fresh mint leaves.

Since we had 28 guests, I used 3 cans of cranberry sauce and 3 cups of soda.

I think this recipe is very flexible and easily adapts to other canned fruits and liquids. In the future, I may try it with canned pineapple and coconut milk. Raizel suggested canned cherries. 

Raizel has become my culinary consultant and she has many good ideas. I guess this blog has been helpful for her too in many ways!

Here are the pictures. I didn’t use ice cube trays, and after I puréed the cranberry sauce, I used a tin pan:

Here I folded in the ginger ale.


After I puréed everything for the second time, this is how it looked:


The Cranberry Ginger Ice was a big hit! This is all that is left:

Raizel said, “the texture is perfect and this is yummy!”