Pesach Hacks To Make Your Life Easier!
Pesach is fast approaching and the menu planning frenzy has begun. What will we feed our people? And how will we get it all done in time? Don't worry, it doesn't have to be scary or daunting as long as you remain calm and organized. I've got your back with some of my favorite tips and substitutions to breeze through Pesach prep so you can sip on those four well deserved glasses of wine like the royal highness you are!
- Think beyond breadcrumbs. Instant mashed potato flakes make a delicious Passover coating for chicken cutlets. I especially like the onion flavored variety.
Sliced almonds are also a great option with a nice texture and mild nutty flavor. Crushed, seasoned potato chips are a family favorite, especially among the pickier crowd.
And my personal favorite is unsweetened coconut flakes! They give a hint of tropical flavor without being too overpowering and I absolutely love the texture.
For any of these variations, dredge your chicken or fish filets in potato starch, then beaten egg, then “breading” of your choice and fry or bake.
- Make the most of your crock pot. This slow kitchen appliance has proven itself invaluable time and time again and Pesach is no exception.
Many of my Pesach dishes call for sautéed onions and I usually have too many other things happening on the stove to allow for the low and slow cooking required to achieve the perfect result—Crock pot to the rescue!
Just slice 6-8 large onions, toss with a bit of oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Fill your crock pot with the onions and cook on low for 10 hours or overnight. Wake up to perfectly caramelized onions without any effort.
If that wasn't helpful enough, they also freeze beautifully. Portion and freeze for future use in zip top freezer bags.
- Lists and labels. Keeping lists of the tools and appliances you have saved for Pesach takes out much of the guess work without having to unpack all of your gear. If you have several boxes, attach a list of contents to the outside so you can easily find what you need without rummaging through everything.
Next, keep a list of pre-cooked and frozen foods on the outside of your freezer so you know what's done and ready at a glance. Keep a list of pantry items on the inside of your pantry as well so you don't buy a third canister of potato starch because two were hiding behind the cocoa.
We've all opened a fully stocked refrigerator or freezer in an attempt to find a certain pan of chicken or kugel only to have to open each pan until we find the lucky winner. And we've all sent a family member to do the same only to have them come back claiming it's not in there. No more detective work! Write the contents on a label and stick it to the exposed side of the pan so you can easily see what's in each pan. No labels? No problem. Use a permanent marker to do the same. As long as everything is clearly marked, your treasure hunts will be much shorter and everyone much calmer.
- Use your zoodle. Zoodles are all the rage these days and they're perfect for Pesach! They're simply strands of zucchini that resemble pasta and can be purchased or easily made with a spiralizer or julienne peeler.
While they don't quite taste like pasta no matter how good your imagination might be, they are incredibly satisfying topped with warm meatballs or just simply seasoned and briefly sautéed. I enjoy them with a bit of a bite so I make sure not to sauté for more than two minutes or so. Or if I'm topping them with a warm sauce, I don't cook them at all and let the residual heat from the sauce soften them just a bit.
You can also use your spiralizer to make strands out of beets, apples, butternut squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes and more!
Spaghetti squash is another wonderful pasta alternative. Pierce a few holes in the squash and bake on 350°F for about 45 minutes or until you can easily make an indentation with your finger. Let cool, halve, scoop out seeds and scrape up the spaghetti-like strands with a fork—done! Check out my video showing how to make a spaghetti squashuka!
- Make friends with quinoa and cauliflower. With gluten free needs on the rise, come excellent gluten free recipes and substitutions for many family favorites.
Quinoa is a berry, not a grain, and a wonderful substitute for rice. It makes a great side dish when you've had more than your fill of potatoes, it’s incredibly healthy too! I cook up a large batch of quinoa nearly every week, all year long and toss it with some with roasted vegetables to serve warm or fresh diced peppers and herbs to serve cold as a salad.
Riced cauliflower is very popular, too, as a stand-in for rice. It freezes beautifully and cooks up in just a few minutes. It's a great way to sneak more vegetable servings into your loved one's diets. You can even use quinoa or cauliflower to make Kosher for Pesach pizza crust!
Wishing you a beautiful, peaceful and restful Pesach!