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Zoodle Bolognese + Spaghetti Sloppy Joes
and How I Mastered Dinner

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

This might seem hard to believe considering that I run a food blog, give cooking class, develop recipes for brands and raise my brood of five, but the truth is, I’m pretty unorganized. Especially when it comes to dinner. I don’t have a monthly eating plan, let alone a weekly one. I pretty much look into the fridge and freezer in the morning and decide what to make. If there aren’t really options, I go to the store. And that happens more often than I’d like to admit. Until recently.

I might not be the type of person to plan my menus in advance, but I finally realized that just because I don’t plan exactly what I’m making, it doesn’t mean that I can’t create a framework to help me narrow down the choices. A lot of mom’s get overwhelmed by the thought of making dinner, but that’s because there are a gazillion things you can make, so it’s just so hard to choose. Should you make meat or chicken? What type of meat or chicken? What about side dishes? And picky kids? I get it, believe me I do. And I FINALLY figured it out.

For starters, I created a basic guideline for the week, and it goes something like this:

Leftover Sunday: leftovers! If there are none, BBQ or eat out.
Meatless Monday: vegan or vegetarian dishes.
Beef (Taco) Tuesday: easy beef tacos or any beef recipe.
Chicken Wednesday: any recipe using boneless or bone-in chicken.
Dairy Thursday: the kids favorite day of the week!
Friday: Shabbat Dinner (always changing but I repeat a few basic staples)
Sandwich Saturday: kids choice of sandwiches or wraps

This general guideline helped me narrow down the choices so that instead of there being a gazillion ideas to choose from, I stick to a specific structure for each day. Of course nothing is set in stone, so if we decide to take the kids out to eat on Sunday, we’ll have leftovers on Monday, or if I make a vegetarian taco skillet (we love Trader Joes soy beef crumbles) on Monday, I’ll switch up chicken Wednesdays with taco Tuesdays. The point is to balance out the days so you have enough variety without being overwhelmed with options.

To narrow things down further, here are some options for each day to give you some ideas. Obviously this is based on what my kids like (they are not big on vegetables!), but I always try to serve a protein, carb and veggie. Many times that veggie is Israeli salad, because that’s their favorite, but I always put some veggies on the table, even if it’s just my hubby and I who end up eating it.

As a food blogger and recipe developer, I’m constantly working on new recipes which I feed to my family. You can follow my stories on Instagram for lots of exciting ideas.

MEATLESS MONDAYS:

Make your own sushi, sushi rice bowls, sushi burritos or sushi salad. Baked salmon, seared tuna or ceviche on the side.
fish tacos
fried fish sandwiches
tuna pasta salad or salmon pasta salad and fruit smoothies
vegan taco skillet
falafel with all the fixings
soup and salad
tofu stir fry with pasta
lentil sloppy joes
chickpea curry
vegetarian chili with cornbread

BEEF (TACO) TUESDAYS:

beef tacos (with Ortega seasoning packet or my homemade mix)
beef fajitas
beef noodle stir fry
pepper steak in plum sauce
Mongolian beef (recipe coming soon)
meaty soup with fresh pita or baguettes (Bubby’s cabbage soup, smoked turkey split pea, fire roasted tomato rice stoup, crockpot mushroom barley soup)
london broil and mashed potatoes
meatballs and rice
spaghetti sloppy joes and zoodle bolognese for adults
kofta kebabs
pulled beef tacos or sandwiches

CHICKEN WEDNESDAYS:

pineapple chicken and rice
spicy garlic chicken and rice vermicelli
breaded honey chicken with Israeli couscous
grilled chicken shawarma bar
Pad Thai
chicken fajitas
pargiot bowls
shnitzel salad or sandwiches
bundt pan rotisserie chicken with roasted potatoes
Asian chicken soup with ramen

DAIRY THURSDAYS: (usually served with fruit smoothies and/or Caesar salad)

lasagna
baked ziti
breakfast for dinner (pancakes, french toast or waffles with yogurt, granola and fruit)
ravioli in pink sauce
cheesy minestrone
stuffed shells
cheesy pull apart buns
pita pizza

FRIDAY NIGHT STAPLES (SHABBAT DINNER):
Shabbat dinner changes weekly, depending on guests etc., but here are some weekly staples

baked gefilte fish with breadcrumbs or fried patties
Israeli salad
hummus and tahini
chicken soup (or spinach matza ball minestrone, or Asian chicken soup)
bundt pan rotisserie chicken (our favorite basic, but we often change this up)
deli roll

SANDWICH SATURDAYS:

tuna sandwiches
peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
turkey sandwiches
hummus sandwiches
mayo and tomato sandwiches
cream cheese sandwiches
grilled cheese sandwiches
quesadillas

I hope this basic guideline helps you manage your dinner schedule, and I plan to fill in the links that are missing as I post them! Feel free to write up your own favorite options for each day of the week, to make things easier for you. If you have any kid-friendly recipes that are a staple in your family, please share in the comments so we can add it our rotation too!

This bolognese recipe is a staple in my house, because I can serve the kids their kid-friendly version with spaghetti sloppy joes, and serve my husband the lightened up version with zoodles. I eat a bit of both! ;) The zoodle version makes the perfect Chol Hamoed dinner for Pesach, so make sure to add it to your menu!

#eatingfortheinsta!

Related Recipes:

stuffed cabbage bolognese
veal marsala bolognese with turnip noodles
spaghetti squash bolognese 
cheesy zoodle marinara
zoodle shakshuka

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Charoset London Broil

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I recently spent a couple of days in Miami. Aside from my (almost) daily breakfast at Zak the Baker, I made sure to head to Sarah’s Tent, a kosher grocery in Aventura. Sarah’s Tent is a well stocked market with a great deli, but that’s not what I went for. I went for the Israeli imports, specifically, kosher Lotus Biscoff spread, also known as speculoos or cookie butter.

If you fly Delta, you may notice that they give out individually wrapped biscuit cookies made by Lotus, but sadly, I always pass on them and go for the kosher pretzels. El Al, however, offers up the Israeli-manufactured version of the biscuit, which is, in fact, kosher. I went through my kosher speculoos phase a little while back when my local kosher supermarket carried the biscuits (which I turned into these buns, these pancakes and this party mix), but I’ve since moved on to the spread – which is the most decadent cookie butter of your dreams – and is pretty hard to get your hands on with a kosher certification. I once made my husband travel all around Jerusalem to bring me home a prized jar, and I savored that butter like no ones business, one spoon at a time!

BUT – back to the recipe at hand. As I was strolling through the aisles of Sarah’s Tent, I noticed a jar of Israeli-made charoset and I was intrigued. As an Ashkenazi, I had never tasted the “real” stuff, made with dates, apples, walnuts and wine. I brought home a jar and sadly, I was quite disappointed with the flavor. It was sitting in my fridge last week as I rummaged through, looking for ingredients to make my london broil – and then it hit me. Why not marinate my meat in it, with some red wine, and make a Charoset london broil. Alas, the beef came out of the oven smelling divine, but I did not like the flavor. Putting a condiment that I did not like on it’s own on beef, only made the beef taste like the jarred stuff – and well, it was just off. But the idea was a strike of genius! I had posted a photo of the meat on Instagram (if you don’t follow my Friday food fests, you must!), and requests for the recipe started pouring in! So, I decided to come up with a homemade variation on the Charoset London Broil idea, and the results couldn’t have been better!

The meat marinates in a mixture of traditional charoset ingredients of red wine, walnut oil (in place of walnuts), silan or date honey (in place of dates), some grated apple and a pinch of cinnamon. After I cook up the meat perfectly medium-rare, the marinade gets cooked up thickened and tastes just like – you guessed it – charoset! This delicious Passover dish is a must, whether your Sephardic or Ashkenazi (like me!). Give it a try!

Related Recipes:

“everything” london broil with red wine reduction
French roast with dried fruit
Kosher meat guide: cuts and cooking methods

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Apple Crisp with Gluten-Free Marzipan Crumble

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

This right here has been on my mind since forever. An apple crisp with marzipan just seems like the perfect combo, so I finally decided to make it gluten free!

The smell of marzipan transports me to the kosher-for-Passover bakery aisle, with rainbow cake, leaf cookies and all sorts of gluten-free treats that smell of almond extract. The truth is, I used to hate the stuff, but like many foods, it’s grown on me over the years and now I actually like it! My husband is a huge fan (hence this birthday cake!) and my kids have hopped on the marzipan train too (which is why I came up with these).

I’ve got a huge stash of marzipan inspired recipes on my to-do list, but I have to admit, it’s not one of those ingredients that everyone loves, which is why I don’t like to blog about it too much. It’s really one of those love it or hate it ingredients (like halva!), and I kinda like my recipes to appeal to everyone. But since marzipan, for me, is so reminiscent of Passover, I figured I’d just bite the bullet, or, er, the marzipan.

Making your own marzipan is a breeze, by the way, and since all the ingredients are kosher for Passover, you can whip up a double batch and use it in so many ways! My only caveat here is that I used pure almond extract to test the recipe and I’m not 100% sure that it’s available kosher for Passover. I know the imitation stuff is, so you can use that. Just take caution since it might have a stronger flavor.

The absolute best part about this recipe, is that the crumble can be made on it’s own, and it makes the most fantastic Kosher-for-Passover non-gebroks topping for ice cream, yogurt and fruit. It’s even great on it’s own as a brittle-style snack!

Related Recipes:

3-layer rainbow cookie cake
gluten-free date and almond hamantaschen
Passover sugared almonds

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Parmesan Roasted Almonds

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Somebody pinch me. Is Pesach really in less than a month? Ahhhhhhhhh

That’s not to say I’m making Pesach this year, because I plan to avoid that catastrophic monster of a gluten free cookfest for as long as I can. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind helping in the kitchen at all, in fact, I enjoy coming up with original dishes as a result of our strict Passover restrictions. But the thought of actually hosting meal after meal for eight days straight is not exactly appealing to me.


So, I’ll be helping out in my mom’s kitchen this year. And I plan to do a lot of spiralizing. We’ll be eating plenty of zoodles and sweet potato rice – a healthier alternative to the overused spud.

Meals are not that much of an issue – we always have my mom’s Passover gefilte fish, mason jars filled with pickled cucumber salad, beet “vinaigrette”, ratatouille and mock chopped liver. There are also the traditional Pesach dishes like scrambled hard boiled eggs, orange chicken and sweet nut omelettes. But snacks? other than bananas and the occasional piece of dark chocolate, we’re out of options.

Last year, I made these sugared almonds, but as my palate has taken a turn for the savory, I came up with an even tastier version, minus the sugar. Parmesan roasted almonds are completely addictive, and they make the most amazing croutons over lettuce! If you make your own mayo, a Passover Caesar salad can now be on the menu, without losing out on the crunchy crouton goodness.

Making these croutons the other day was an admission that Pesach is coming, whether we like it or not. But it was also a realization that it can be oh. so. delicious.

More fun and innovative Passover recipes recipes are coming your way soon, so stay tuned!



This post was sponsored by Natural & Kosher Cheese. Follow them on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, or via their Blog

Related Recipes:

gluten free broccoli parmesan poppers
gluten free roasted eggplant parmesan
gluten free pesto zucchini fries
pesto baked salmon

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Chocolate Ganache Tart with Macaroon Crust

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

I don’t know about you, but chocolate is about the only way I make it through this holiday. Growing up, my family was pretty strict with our Passover customs so we didn’t eat many processed foods. There was some dairy and OJ for the kids, a stash of lady fingers, and chocolate. Lots and lots of Shmerling chocolate.

We didn’t have it that bad. I had friends who couldn’t use oil, just shmaltz (yes, I know it’s delicious, but not when you’re trying to dress a salad!), who swore off dairy and processed food, and who couldn’t eat chocolate. Even Paleo people (who swear off dairy and processed foods, and who load up on shmaltz) eat chocolate. Me? We ate lots of eggs, chicken and potatoes, and any veggies that could be peeled, like eggplants, cucumbers and beets. We used only kosher salt for seasoning (no spices!) and liquid sugar for sweetening (no homemade Pesach cookies!). Still, my mom made the most delicious Pesach food, and we survived 8-days of gluten free eating. Largely in part due to chocolate.

Nowadays, I don’t think 8 days of gluten free eating is that difficult. Maybe it’s because I’m used to eating Paleo and zoodles are one of my favorite foods. I definitely miss the spices though, and the natural sweeteners like maple syrup. But back to the chocolate. It’s what got me through Passover when I was a kid, and it’s what gets me through it now. And now that California Gourmet has come out with kosher for Passover chocolate chips, my Passover’s are complete. I’ve got homemade nutella, nutella banana ice cream, and now THIS.


And by this I mean the most decadent, indulgent, GUILT-FREE chocolate ganache tart with a macaroon crust. The recipe is so good that it’s actually PRINTED ON THE BACK OF THE BAG. That’s right, my first back of the bag recipe!! It’s hard to believe that such few ingredients could turn out such a delicious treat, but I tested this recipe on a few people who swear off coconut and they were licking. their. fingers. If there was ever a vegan, gluten free, nut free, raw, Paleo recipe that you should try – it’s this. Trust me. Your Passover’s will never be the same again.

Thanks to California Gourmet for allowing me to share this back-of-the-bag recipe!

This post is sponsored by California Gourmet Chocolate Chips. Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.   View the list of stores that carry the brand here).

Related KFP Recipes:

raw date and almond hamantaschen
gingerbread date truffles

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Passover Nachos with Homemade Plantain Chips

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Ever since I jumped on the Paleo train, plantains have become a regular part of my diet. I frequently buy Trader Joes roasted plantain chips to eat with guacamole or even tuna salad. I eat them on taco night while my kids enjoy crunchy corn tacos, and I top ’em with nut butter for a delicious treat.


It took me a while to start making my own plantain chips, but once I did, I never turned back. Once you get past the peeling part (which is really ridiculously easy), there’s not much to it.

I prefer to use a mandoline for slicing my plantains because it ensures that all my chips are equal in size so that they cook evenly. Sadly, I don’t have a dairy one (yet!), so I just used a sharp knife. If you’re careful about keeping your chips even, they’ll all bake up nice and crisp at the time same time, and if they don’t, you can just remove the ones that are ready and let the thicker ones finish in the oven.

It’s really that easy! You can bake them savory or sweet – but chili powder and kosher salt are my fave. Of course some gooey melted cheddar doesn’t hurt either.

Can you believe these crunchy cheese smothered chips are kosher for Passover?! Forget the greasy potato chips, and the boring old Passover brownies, THIS is a snack that will make you forget you’ve gone gluten free for 8 days. Yes, it’s as good as it looks, and you know you want it. Now.

Forget Passover, these nachos are great for year-round guilt-free nacho-eating. When you’re eating low-fat oven-baked chips that are made out of a fruit and topped with vegetables, can you even call them nachos? You’re basically just doing your best to get your fill of fruits and veggies, right? RIGHT?

Welcome to my world of deguiltifying comfort food. It’s what I do best.

Now that I’ve got you covered with homemade nutella, nutella banana ice cream, pure-bliss Passover nachos and endless other out-of-the-box kosher for Passover recipes, you can say goodbye to the chicken and potatoes you’ve been making for ages and try some fun dishes instead. Although, if you like the “same old” , I’ve got you covered with that too.

Related Recipes: cauliflower nachos with harissa cheddar sauce

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Nutella Banana Ice Cream

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Now that I’ve made my homemade nutella, I’ve got to find uses for it, right? As if eating it off a spoon isn’t good enough for me…

The truth is, I am in love with banana ice cream, and I really wanted to share it with you in time for Passover! I made it for the holidays last year, and I’ve been making variations ever since.

There’s not too much to banana ice cream, and that’s precisely why I love it so much. You can say goodbye to the dozen-egg-homemade-passover-ice-cream and say hello to this no-machine, easy, healthy and no-guilt variety that’s tastes just like soft serve.

All you have to do is just slice up some ripe bananas and freeze them until a solid, just a couple of hours. Then, you pulse the bananas in the food processor until they’re very finely chopped. Keep going until the bananas are creamy and add in your flavors of choice! I love adding nut butters – like my homemade nutella – for Passover. During the year, my favorite combo is banana, peanut butter, cinnamon and maple syrup. It’s so so good.

I mean would you just look at that creamy consistency? Don’t you just want to grab a spoon and dive right in?

The best part about banana soft serve is the possibilities. Blend with strawberries, top with coconut whipped cream, stir in some chopped macaroons, or add in your favorite candied nuts!


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Passover Stuffed Cabbage

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Stuffed cabbage is just one of those foods that is synonymous with tradition. The smell and taste of the meaty cabbage rolls in a sweet tomato broth evoke a feeling of nostalgia and memories of Bubby’s kitchen. Well, at least my Bubby’s kitchen.

Bubby always made the best stuffed cabbage, and still does. When I want a taste of bubby’s holipches, I whip up a batch of her cabbage soup with flanken. It’s got all the flavor of stuffed cabbage, without the stuffing.

Although if you want to go ahead with the stuffing, I’ve got you covered. Once you’ve stuffed your cabbage rolls with meaty filling, you’ve got to simmer it in a sweet tomato sauce with a few of Bubby’s secret ingredients. Don’t worry, I’ll fill you in later.

Now when people think of Kosher for Passover stuffed cabbage, they assume it’s a dish eaten by Sephardim because it contains rice. No Siree! I’ve adapted my grandmother’s recipe so that Ashkenazim everywhere can enjoy the sweet taste of stuffed cabbage without the rice!

The secret to my Kosher for Passover stuffed cabbage is mashed potatoes. We always have leftover mashed potatoes in the fridge over Pesach, and what better way to use them than to bind and soften the meat mixture for the stuffed cabbage filling!

Truth be told, my favorite part of holipches is the cabbage. In fact, when my mom’s stuffed cabbage rolls would fall apart in the pot (don’ t worry, I’ll teach you how to avoid that!), I’d fish out all the cabbage and leave the meatballs for everyone else!

Well, now that I’ve teased you with all this has going, head on over to my guest post on The Nosher for the recipe! 

Related Posts:

How to stuff cabbage video tutorial
How to stuff cabbage
Bubby’s cabbage soup with flanken

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Rainbow Pommes Anna

Thursday, March 28th, 2013


The more I’ve been reading through Passover recipe books and surfing through recipes online, I realize just how strict my family’s customs are. On Pesach, we are truly down to the bare basics, using only vegetables that can be peeled and seasoning them simply with oil and salt. We don’t use herbs, spices or any processed ingredients like Kosher for Passover ketchup, brown sugar or sauces. My mom even makes simple syrup to use in place of sugar to sweeten dishes. Matza meal, of course, is out of the question, as we do no eat Gebroks (matza that has absorbed liquid).

Due to our stringent dietary restrictions on Pesach, we tend to make simpler, wholesome dishes that don’t require a lot of ingredients. Basics like mock chopped liver, chremslach, beet salad and orange chicken are staples in our home. When I thought about classic dishes I could reinvent for Passover, I took inspiration from Pommes Anna (also called Anna potatoes), a French dish of sliced, layered potatoes that are minimally seasoned with salt and pepper and brushed liberally with butter. Using traditional Passover ingredients of beets, sweet potatoes and russet potatoes creates a stunning rainbow effect and lends a touch of sweetness to the potato cake.

1 year ago: sweet pepper burgers
2 years ago: quick & easy shakshuka

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Chicken Pot Pie Passover Croquettes

Thursday, March 21st, 2013


Growing up, my mom would often prepare chremslach on Passover whenever there were leftover mashed potatoes. Some people refer to chremslach as matza fritters, but in our house, mashed potatoes were the ingredient of choice. They were held together with some egg, dipped in potato starch and fried. Nothing fancy, just another use for potatoes and a simple side for yet another meal.

I decided to spruce up my mom’s basic recipe with some leftover chicken, carrots and onions, for a take on chicken pot pie. If you eat kitniyot, peas would be the perfect addition! The patties are dredged in ground nuts for a crunchy Passover coating. Serve with a side of homemade ketchup, marinara or garlic aioli.

1 year ago: homemade raspberry sorbet
2 years ago: roasted beet & orange salad

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