By Chanie Apfelbaum @busyinbrooklyn
I have to be honest: I’ve never quite made my own Pesach yet! Maybe it’s the memories of having to clean the refrigerator with q-tips when I was growing up, or the lack of variety that stems from the Pesach stringencies in our Lubavitch home, but I’ve been running away from Pesach duties ever since I got married! I’ll go to whoever will have me, and I’m happy to lend a hand in the kitchen. So long as I don’t have to scrub down my house and eat chicken and potatoes for every meal.
I may not have made Pesach yet, but I’m definitely accustomed to having to make use of leftovers from my cupboards. Who doesn’t have bottom-of-the-bag cereals, crackers and chips? That’s what half of every mom’s pantry is made of!
One of my favorite things to do in the kitchen is turn leftovers into do-overs, pantry excess included. So here are ten things you can make to get rid of your chometz!
CEREAL BARS: Use up leftover cereal by making loaded cereal bar treats! Make sure you put the kids to work Pesach cleaning when their energy spikes from all that sugar 😉
GRANOLA BARS: Got healthy cereals on hand? Lightly crush and mix with your leftover nuts and oats for energy-boosting granola bars. Cereals like Bran Flakes, Rice Krispies, Cheerios and Shredded Wheat make great additions.
SHNITZEL: Make bottom-of-the-bag shnitzel with a mix of leftover crushed pretzels, tortilla chips and bissli. Your kids will be begging for them all year long. Set up a dredging station with flour, eggs and mixed bottom-of-the-bag crumbs each in it’s own shallow bowl. Dredge the chicken in flour, shake off excess, then dip into beaten eggs, and finally into the crumbs. Fry in oil or oven-fry on a greased baking sheet (spray the shnitzel with olive oil spray).
BREAD CRUMBS/CROUTONS: Use leftover frozen bread to make homemade bread crumbs (they make the BEST meatballs) or croutons. Pulse the bread in the food processor to make course crumbs or dice for croutons. I love to make large “torn” croutons by tearing the bread into big pieces. Just drizzle with olive oil and your favorite spices and bake at 400 degrees (Fahrenheit) until crispy.
CHALLAH KUGEL OR BREAD PUDDING: Use leftover challah for bread pudding or challah kugel. I say OR because calling challah kugel “bread pudding” is a huge pet peeve of mine. They are not actually the same thing! Bread pudding calls for soaking the challah in custard and baking it (kind of like french toast) while authentic challah kugel has you soak the challah in water and then squeeze it out. The result is a doughy texture that is not wet and mushy. Thanks to my Bubby for teaching me how to make the real deal!
“CRACK”ER BARK: Use leftover saltines or graham crackers for addictive toffee cracker bark. There are lots of variations out there, but I’m partial to my smores version!
KISHKE: Kishe is just one of those recipes that is easily adaptable and can work with so many different fillers. Try using leftover corn flakes, snackers or crackers for a delicious and sweet twist.
BISCOTTI: One of the things I love about biscotti is how easy it is to make with whatever you have on hand. You don’t need a mixer and you can throw in any combination of nuts, dried fruits and even cereal! Kim Kushner‘s crunchy biscotti with olive oil, chocolate, pecans, coconut and Grape Nuts cereal totally changed the way I think of the cookie! It’s my all-time favorite recipe, and I always make sure to have some in the freezer for unexpected guests.
BREAKFAST FOR DINNER: If all else fails, throw a giant chometz party with homemade waffles, pancakes and french toast for dinner! Let the kids go to town with all the leftover ice cream and sprinkles. You can even make it a yearly tradition!
Bubby’s Challah Kugel
1 large leftover challah
1/4 cup oil
1/3 cup applesauce
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. vanilla sugar (optional)
1/3 cup golden raisins (optional)
Peel or thinly slice the crust off the challah and tear into pieces. Add to a large bowl, cover with water, and soak for several minutes. Remove the challah from the water and squeeze it out thoroughly. Mash the dough and add remaining ingredients. Pour into a greased dish and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until browned around the edges.