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Bourbon Peach Meatballs

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

Is it just me or is time just getting away from us this year? Everything seems to be moving so fast – the somber days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are already behind us, and it’s party time!

Succos is one of my favorite holidays. I love the smell of autumn in the air, the sound of ruffling leaves as we sit outside to eat and the cool breeze that blows through our little hut as we gather to celebrate. What I don’t love, is the exorbitant amount of food that seems neverending as we roll from one meal to the next for eight days straight! No matter how much one loves cooking, we all get sick of prepping, and even eating, that much!

So…. here are some tips to help us all manage and get through the cookfest:

1. This seems pretty obvious but DON’T. COOK. SO. MUCH.! Let go of the stereotypical meal of fish with dips and salads + meat and/or chicken with several sides + dessert. Instead, lighten things up with a composed meal that consists of a small plated appetizer – fish, if you’re traditional, or something vegan, if you’re not. Then move onto the main course – a large salad, festive roast or chicken with one starchy side, one vegetable and something kid friendly. For dessert – spruce up some Duncan Hines brownies with some tahini, oreos, frozen cookie dough or whatever you wish and serve with ice cream.
2. Plan themed menus! This keeps things exciting instead of boring and repetitive. I love to do a Mexican, Israeli, or Asian meal over Succos. Check out this post for some ideas!
3. Reinvent leftovers! Instead of throwing out that leftover chicken soup, why not make chicken pot pie? Or repurpose your leftover roast into a Shepherd’s pie. If you think outside the box and try to repurpose your leftovers, you can make a whole new meal without having to cook much at all.
4. Cook once, use twice! When prepping for the first days of the Chag, prepare a double portion of things like pulled beef, grilled chicken or hummus and use them a bunch of different ways.


Here are some suggestions:

Pulled beef: scroll to the bottom of this post for my super easy pulled beef recipe. It freezes great so make a double portion and freeze for later – pull and freeze in the sauce.
Serving suggestions: pulled beef sliders, nachos, tacos, bourekas, Shepherd’s pie, serve over hummus or mashed potatoes.

Grilled chicken: prepare a large portion and wrap smaller portions and freeze.
Serving suggestions: chicken salad, chicken wraps, fried rice, lo mein, ramen bowls, summer rolls, eggrolls.
Recipes:
grilled chicken wedge salad with carrot ginger dressing
grilled chicken fattoush with za’atar ranch
grilled chicken salad with jalapeno honey mustard
grilled chicken shawarma salad
sheet pan chicken fajitas 5 ways
farro grain bowl
sesame linguini with grilled chicken
Asian chicken salad
curried chicken lettuce wraps

Hummus: make a large portion of hummus and repurpose with different toppings.
Serving suggestions: hummus bassar (you can also use baharat, taco seasoning, shawarma spice…), humshuka – hummus with shakshuka on top, hummus with shawarma chicken, hummus with falafel, hummus with chickpeas, hummus with beets, hummus with roasted eggplant and pomegranate seeds, hummus with olives…

Grains or Pasta: make a large batch of pasta or grains of choice like quinoa.
Serving suggestions: pasta salad, pasta bolognese, lo mein, baked ziti or quinoa salad, quinoa patties, quinoa chili, quinoa stuffing.


I hope these ideas helped you manage the cooking frenzy ahead! Wishing you a Chag Sameach!

Related Recipes:

bourbon apricot BBQ chicken
drunken hasselback salami
bourbon honey cake balls
turkey meatballs with red wine cranberry marinara
2 ingredient lazy meatballs

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Zucchini Mechshie with Tamarind & Prunes

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

I’ve talked a lot about mechshie (a Syrian dish of stuffed vegetables) on my blog, especially around the holidays. I decided to keep up the tradition, and for the third year in a row, I’m sharing a stuffed vegetable recipe in honor of Sukkot. The tradition of eating stuffed foods on Succot is symbolic of an abundant harvest season. Since the wheat is harvested in Israel during the fall, we stuff foods to symbolize our desire for an overflowing harvest. This is popularly done with stuffed cabbage, or holipches, which some say are also made to resemble the scrolls of a Torah.


Ever since I married into a Sephardic family, I can’t get enough of my mother-in-laws delicious mechshie dishes! I’m slowly learning to cook different variations, adapting my favorite recipe with the additions of tamarind, pomegranate molasses and different types of vegetables and dried fruit.

When I spotted beautiful globe zucchini in the market, I just knew I had to turn it into some kind of mechshie. The small, round zucchini were perfect for filling, and I decided to work in some tamarind paste, an ingredient essential to Sephardic cooking. It adds a hint of sourness to the sweet dish, a perfect pairing with the plump dried prunes.

So let’s get stuffin’!

More Mechshie Recipes:

stuffed baby eggplant mechshie
zucchini and tomato mechshie “ratatouille”

More “Stuffed” Recipes:

corned beef arancini
Passover stuffed cabbage (replace potatoes with rice)
collard stuffed sweet potatoes
sausage and apple stuffed butternut squash
spinach stuffed mushrooms
stuffed chicken roulade
Israeli stuffed eggplants

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Meat & Rice Stuffed Baby Eggplants

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

As we approach the last days of the holiday of Sukkot, I wanted to share a nontraditional “stuffed” recipe, for those looking for a change from traditional holipches/holishkes (stuffed cabbage). If you’ve always wondered why Hungarian style stuffed cabbage is served up on Sukkot, it’s because we want to celebrate the abundance of the harvest season. Fall is when farmers harvest their wheat in Israel, and stuffing vegetables with filling symbolizes their desire for a year of overflowing harvest. Although it is customary for many to eat stuffed cabbage, any stuffed recipe is well suited to honor this custom. You can stuff grape leaves, zucchini, peppers, or even fruit for dessert!

As I mentioned in this post, I was first introduced to the idea of mechshie when I married into a sephardic family. My mother in law taught me to prepare various dishes of meat & rice filled vegetables – each with it’s own unique flavor. Having grown up with these traditional Syrian dishes, my husband loves when I surprise him by making them. Although my twist on tomato & zucchini mechshie (which I’ve dubbed “mechshie ratatouille”) is my all time favorite, this lighter stuffed eggplant version is a close second.

If you want to go the traditional route, but you’re overwhelmed by the idea of making stuffed cabbage, try my Bubby’s cabbage soup with flanken. It tastes just like stuffed cabbage, without all the work! You can even leave out the flanken and make mini meat & rice balls instead.

Related Recipes:

zucchini and tomato mechshie “ratatouille”
globe zucchini mechshie with tamarind and prunes

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{Mechshie} Meat & Rice Stuffed Vegetables

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Growing up in an ashkenazic home, it just wasn’t succos without my mother’s holishkes (stuffed cabbage). I had never even heard of sephardic dishes like stuffed grape leaves or eggplants until I married into a sephardic family. My mother in law loves to prepare authentic Syrian dishes like mehshie (pronounced mechshie). She stuffs everything from artichokes to onions, each with it’s own unique twist.

After being married for a few years, I finally decided to learn how to prepare some of her signature dishes, so I could make them for my husband. She lovingly shared her family recipes, teaching me how to prepare each and every dish. When two of the recipes seemed similar, I asked her why I couldn’t combine them. I soon learned that the mere thought of combining two types of stuffed vegetables was deemed sacrilegious!

Of all my mother-in-laws mehshi recipes, stuffed zucchini’s is my favorite. It’s simmered along with dried apricots in a sweet tomato broth. The apricots become melt-in-your-mouth soft, and together with the zucchini pulp, create a delicious sweet and tangy sauce. Tomato mehshi is treated in the same way, and being my husband’s favorite, I decided to combine the two in one pot. I also opted out of the dried mint, because in my world, mint and meat just don’t mix. Although this dish is a heresy to my mother-in-laws traditional culinary roots, it is a delicious modern twist on a old world custom of eating stuffed foods on the holiday of Succos. So lets get stuffing!

Watch me make mechshie with TorahCafe here:


Watch on TorahCafé.com!

Related Recipes:

globe zucchini mechshie with tamarind and prunes
savory baby eggplant mechshie

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