Cooking With Joy: Winter Citrus Salad and Avocado...


September 18th 2014

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Both of these salads are super simple to prepare and really delicious! I find these type of salads are really great to have on hand for a three day Yom Tov or a long summer Shabbos when shalosh seudos needs to be hearty. Just keep the raw ingredients in the fridge and put them together right before the meal.

Winter Citrus Salad page 96
DRESS IT UP Winter Citrus Brûlée 

The citrus salad was really easy to prep (if you don’t mind getting sticky). The recipe calls to prepare this as a layered salad. I made a bed of shaved radicchio and put the sliced fruit and mint on top. Then I drizzled the vinaigrette over the plate. I really enjoyed the vinaigrette with the citrus fruit, the sharpness of the white wine vinegar with the sweetness of the olive oil made for a really great dressing. The radicchio however, could be a great stand in on Pesach for marror instead of Romaine lettuce, I found it to be incredibly bitter! Also, I think the mint could have blended a little better with the salad had it been marinated in the vinaigrette before being put on the salad. For me the mint was kind of just there and didn’t really make sense.

Avocado Salad with Butter Lettuce and Lemon Dressing page 116
DRESS IT UP Mock Crab Salad in Avocados

The lemon dressing of the avocado salad will really waken up your taste buds! The zesty flavors of the Dijon, lemon and pepper really are superb mixed with the different textures of this salad.

As I have mentioned about 100 times by now, I am a “dress it down” kind of gal. I put the lettuce, basil, radishes and avocado in a bowl and tossed with the dressing to coat. Hubs and I really liked this salad and will probably make it many more times!


5 Date Recipes for your Seudah


September 17th 2014

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The word for date in hebrew is tamri, similar to the word sheyitamu “may they be consumed”, the accompanying blessing that many people make on Rosh Hashanah asks that our enemies be consumed.  This summer I was in Israel where I felt firsthand the devastation that comes from the baseless hatred of the enemies of the Jewish people.  In truth, the enemy of the Jews is a threat to all peoples because in each generation we fight more than a group of oppressors; we are truly fighting against the blindness and darkness that comes from a lack of light and truth in the world.  Here at Joy of Kosher we have thousands of recipes which, yes, taste amazing, but more importantly are part a mission to be hiddur l’mitzvah, to beautify the mitzvah of kosher.  We hope that the holiday and year-round kosher recipes we share bring simcha (happiness) to your homes and helps you to beautify the incredible joy, and responsibility, that is keeping kosher.  Shanah Tovah U’Mesukah!



Orange Date Challah finds a balance between the bright and the savory when it comes to a perfect challah.  The two flavors play well together, but if you prefer skip the orange and instead ad caramelized onions for a very unique challah.


Date and Honey Glazed Chicken Thighs

Date and Honey Glazed Chicken Thighs or Date Glazed Roast Chicken are two easy ways to incorporate dates into the main course.  The recipe calls for honey, by which we mean date (silan) honey.  When we call Israel the land of milk and honey, it’s referring to date honey.  Bulgur with Carrots, Nut and Dates would be a great side to serve with either chicken, if you don’t eat nuts on Rosh Hashanah then substitute them with roasted squash seeds or pumpkin seeds.


Roasted Apples with Date Honey are a quick and healthy dessert to serve after your seudah and would also be great as dessert during holiday lunches.  The Cranberry Date Bars are also a great option for dessert, serve them warm with a side of pareve vanilla ice cream and watch them disappear!


Check out more Rosh Hashanah ideas here!




Joy of Israel 6 – City of David With Israeli...


September 17th 2014

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This here is part 1 of the amazing 2-part cooking show we produced with beloved Israeli Master Chef Tom Franz!!!!! (I know that’s lots of exclamation points but I am super-duper excited!!!! Can you tell?!??!?!) In the heart of Biblical Jerusalem, in the gorgeous City of David courtyard, under the shade of olive trees, in front of a live audience, we prepared (as in Tom cooked and I helped) 3 recipes featuring the 7 Super Foods of the Bible aka the Sheva Minim: wheat, barley, figs, dates, pomegranates, grapes (wine), and olives (oil).

Recipe Links:
Moroccan Frena Bread
Salmon Waldorf Salad with Yogurt Silan Dressing

On to part two, I know you can’t wait for dessert, a divinely sweet end to a spectacular day.

Recipe Link:
Yogurt Silan Pancakes with Whipped White Chocolate Ganache and Sheva Minim Fruit Salad

Special thanks to The City of David Foundation and my knowledgeable, inspiring, and kind tour guide Ze’ev Orenstein. Ze’ev just lives and breathes this stuff, his passion made my visit unforgettable. Click here to watch Joy of Israel 5 – City of David Tour.

Book your visit to the City of David now

And a super duper special thank you to Beverly Jacobson and the Beverly Catering team for all the behind the scenes food prep for the show and deliciously exquisite tastings for our audience. She is a master at what she does and oh so much more than just a caterer. Do book Beverly for your next event in Israel by emailing her at: [email protected]

And last but not least the warmest thank you to Tom Franz and his wife Dana who graciously shared their story and food with us.

For more from Tom, see the amazing recipes he has contributed to our site –

Oops I fibbed a little. Just one more thank you to all of YOU for continuing to support our Joy of Israel series produced together with 12 Tribe Films.

Tell me did you like this episode? Want to see more like this? Have an idea for a future episode? Know a sponsor? Want to sponsor? Lay it all down for me in the comments.

To donate even $18 for the Joy of Israel series go to


All The Wonderful Things You Can Do With Broth ...


September 16th 2014

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One of my absolute most favorite go-to kitchen staples for quick cooking meals in minutes is broth – especially around the holidays, when I don’t want to feel like I am cooking around the clock (even if I am!). I always have about a case of Manischewitz All-Natural Chicken, Vegetable and Beef Broth in my kitchen cupboard. Yes, a case, of each. I kinda love to stock up on the things that I love.

Another thing I just love for the holidays and especially Rosh Hashanah is cooking with simanim. It’s so totally my jam, my signature, my high holiday Jewish New Year thing. Simanim – literally signs or indicators – are meant to point the way to improved circumstances. The most famous siman – an apple dipped in honey indicates wishes for a sweet new year, while the seeds of a pomegranate suggest our desire to maximize our “merits” and a bite (or more) of fish reveals our aspiration to maximize and build our Jewish families (we want to be fruitful and multiply like fish ). Other simanim include beets, black eyed peas, cabbage, carrots, dates, gourds, leeks, spinach, a sheep’s head (OMG – yes I just said a sheep’s head!) and more.

These recipes are simanim inspired but quick to prep thanks to my handy dandy sous chef, aka Mani Broth. For the sheep’s head though, you’re on your own folks!

First, a list of my favorite Manischewitz products for Rosh Hashanah 2014 all of which you can use to recreate some of my most favorite Rosh Hashanah Recipes pictured below:  WIN THESE PRODUCTS AND MORE!!

Broths, I love them all, Chicken, Reduced Sodium Chicken, Vegetable, Beef – you name it.

Now for the food!

apple challah

Individual Apple-Stuffed Challah

Start things off right with a sweet bite of Apple and Honey Stuffed Challah Rolls. Challahs should be round this time of year symbolizing the continuity of creation.

Carrot, Quinoa & Spinach Soup

Carrot, Quiona & Spinach Soup

Serve up a steaming bowl of Creamy Coconut Carrot Soup or Carrot, Quinoa and Spinach Soup coupled with a wish for more merits and mitzvos (carrots).


Apple and Parsnip Soup

Or try my Apple and Parsnip Soup to revive our memory of Biblical blessings (apples). According to the Vilna Gaon (an 18th century famed rabbinic scholar and one of the most influential Jewish leaders in modern history), Yitzchak/Isaac blessed Yaakov/Jacob on Rosh Hashanah. We eat apples (tons of them) because we too want those holy blessings.

Date and Honey Glazed Chicken Thighs

Date and Honey Glazed Chicken Thighs

Present a platter of Date and Honey Glazed Chicken Thighs alongside Whole Wheat Stuffing with Leeks coupled with a plea to rid ourselves of our enemies.

Chicken with Apples and Fennel

Or swap out the Date and Honey Glazed Chicken Thighs for Chicken with Sautéed Apples and Fennel

Roasted Apple Brisket

Roasted Apple Brisket

My Best Briskets for the Holidays are:
Roasted Apple Brisket
Garlic Honey Brisket
Pomegranate Braised Brisket

Spinach Noodle Kugel

My favorite simanim inspired Rosh Hashanah sides and salads include:
Black Eyed Peas with Green Beans
Pomegranate Glazed Carrots
Roasted Beets and Sweets (totally YUM with deboned Orange Chicken Thighs!)
Spinach Noodle Kugel
Simanim Salad with Pomegranate Balsamic Dressing
Wild Rice with Carrots and Beets
Spicy Sautéed Leeks and Spinach
Sweet Noodle Kugel with Dried Fruit

Apple Cardamom Tart

By now I am sure you are ready for dessert. In the apple family I recommend:
Apple and Cardamom Tart
Deconstructed Apple Pie
Applesauce Cake
Or try a Cute Carrot Cupcake
Or make it really easy on yourself (after all this you deserve it) with Chocolate Cake and Pomegranate Swirl Ice Cream.

Best Wishes for a HAPPY SWEET NEW YEAR and a K’TIVA V’CHATIMA TOVA: May you be inscribed and sealed (in the Book of Life) for a good year!


Win a selection of our favorite Manischewitz products, 3 Chicken Broths, 3 Vegetable Broths, 3 Packs of Noodles, 1 Honey, 2 Four Bean Soup Mixes, 1 Apple Butter, 1 Gluten Free Matzo Crackers!!!  Let us know how you like to use broth in the comments below and then enter with rafflecopter.

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The Curious Case of Pomegranate Wine


September 15th 2014

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My first memory of the sweet and tart pomegranate was on Rosh Hashanah, when every year my parents would bring a small bag of these crimson spheres into the house for us to enjoy as our new fruit.  My dad would cut a hole in the bottom and roll the fruit around the table to help get the juices flowing.  My siblings and I would then fight over who gets the pleasure of sucking out the juice of the pomegranate.  Of course, this was long before POM and all the other brands of pomegranate juice available just about everywhere, but nothing tastes as good as that memory.

Nowadays, not only is the juice readily available, so are the fruits.  They can be found all year long and, at least for our family, they are no longer our new fruit.  However, they are still a wonderful symbol of the holiday and I love any excuse to enjoy pomegranates.

A new favorite for pomegranate lovers is the crisp and refreshing pomegranate wine from Morad Winery in Israel.  The wine is best served chilled and captures the essence of the pomegranate with just the right tartness. I found that in addition to enjoying it as I would any warm weather wine, I couldn’t stop thinking of ways to shake things up by mixing it into some easy to prepare cocktails.

For this Pomegranate Cosmo, the wine was a far superior replacement to cranberry juice, and still kept the perfect balance of sweet and tart.  The pom seeds for garnish are fun, too.


I was inspired to make this Strawberry Pomegranate Daiquiri one night when I wanted to add something tart to my daiquiri and realized with the Morad Pomegranate Wine I would get the tart and sweet I was looking for and it worked perfectly.

I also cook with this Pomegranate wine.  This recipe will produce the easiest poached pears you will ever make.  I love healthy, easy recipes that can be enjoyed any time, but look nice enough to serve to company on Shabbat or the holidays.

Here’s to a Happy (Sweet and Tart) New Year!

Right now for a limited time get 15% off Morad wines online at

This post is part of an ongoing partnership with Morad winery, all opinions are my own.


A Simanim Inspired Rosh Hashanah Menu


September 12th 2014

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Simanim are so my thing. Now of course I know that on Rosh Hashanah they are everyone’s thing, but in addition to holding a Rosh Hashanah Seder where all the simanim make an appearance (even that fish head!)

I let them inspire my menu. This fish course features no less than 9 simanim (fish, honey, spinach, carrots, cabbage, pomegranate, apples, leeks and dates). I am nothing if not efficient. And all recipes are kissed with honey… well more than kissed. I call for generous measurements because why shouldn’t our cup runneth over with sweetness this new year?!

This entire course serves 6 to 8 and can easily be doubled and tripled should your table runneth over with company.

HONEY-SESAME SIDE OF SALMON with Honey Mustard and Dill Dipping Sauce

I tested this recipe on my family the night my mom arrived from Philly for her annual Israel summer visit. Two ladies and five kids ka”h polished off this 2 pound side of salmon in a blink. Any recipe that has my kids eating and loving heart-healthy fish is a year- round winner.

SPINACH SALAD with Sweet Pomegranate Dressing


It’s incredible how simanim-inspired cooking can also be healthful. This salad is loaded with green leafy spinach, carrots and cabbage and topped with whole wheat croutons. Just trying to keep your “new year’s resolutions” on track from day one.


Since lots of Ashkenazi folks have the custom to refrain from nuts during the High Holiday season I have omitted them from this recipe. But year-round consider adding 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup chopped walnuts.


As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine

Summer 2013

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Kosher Wine for Rosh Hashanah


September 11th 2014

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According to our tradition, Rosh Hashanah is the anniversary of the first day of creation of humankind.  We celebrate this holy day with a festive meal and of course, a special wine (or two).  On Rosh Hashanah we like to share a new wine for the New Year, appreciating the amazing diversity and creativity of kosher winemakers around the world.  It’s the perfect time to try something new.  Here are a few of the bottles we will be pouring at our table over the next week or two.

2012 1848 2nd Generation Cabernet Sauvignon (Israel); $23.
Aged in European oak barrels for 10 months, this wine has a purple color with bright burgundy tones.  An aroma of ripe red fruit, blackberries, mint, vanilla and tobacco in the background. The wine is full-bodied and complex, and gives a very balance, long and pleasant finish.

2013 Twin Suns Cabernet Sauvignon (California); $14.
A dark, full bodied character with a balanced acidity and alcohol content and tannins that grip, yet are soft and sweet. Very aromatic, displaying perfumey, floral notes along with scorched earth and red fruit including cherry, cranberry and fresh plums. On the palate look for flavors of blueberry jam, vanilla, toast, cinnamon, mocha and bitter cocoa.

2013 Dalton Single Vineyard Semillon (Israel); $29.
Elkosh is the youngest of Dalton’s vineyards where a combination of chalky soil and a cool microclimate in Northern Israel help to produce outstanding Semillon.

2013 Carmel Selected Cabernet Sauvignon (Israel); $12.
Carmel Selected Cabernet Sauvignon carries pleasant amounts of blackcurrant and berry fruit with a remarkable mouth filling flavor.

2013 Barkan Classic Malbec (Israel); $10.
This wine features intense purple color, structure and plumlike aromas that pairs well with grilled meats, pasta and rich sauces.

2012 Capcanes Peraj Petita (Spain);  $17.
The winery selects the best grapes from their indigenous varieties – Garnacha, Samso and Ull de Llebre – which are harvested from ancient vines up in the mountains, reflecting the terroir of Spain.

2013 Borgo Reale Primitivo (Italy); $16.
This dark cherry red wine with a purple rim shows an intense bouquet, with rich fruitness hinting at blackberries and boysenberries followed by smooth vanilla. Eight months in oak results in a big flavorful wine with a lingering red fruit aftertaste.  Works well with grilled or roast meats.


Cooking With Joy: Eat Your Veggies


September 11th 2014

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Eat your veggies! Isn’t that what your parents always said? Well Thank G-d that is one problem that we do not have here. We have successfully gotten our kids to eat broccoli, spinach, asparagus and even the forbidden brussel sprout!

We make variations of these recipes pretty often; just now we have official measurements to follow. Since these veggies sides are so easy to make, the kids could even get in on the action. You know what they say? Kids who help cook, are less likely to be picky eaters. You may even get your kids to try these green delicacies!

Wilted Spinach with Crispy Garlic Chips page 124
DRESS IT DOWN Garlic Wilted Spinach 

It’s the easiest thing to open a bag of spinach and empty it into a sauté pan. It never ceases to amaze me how the spinach shrinks from “over flowing” the pan, to barely a few portions. Slicing the garlic into chips is definitely more time consuming than dicing it, but the final product is really pretty, and the chips add a nice crunch.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Herb “Butter” page 122
DRESS IT DOWN Garlic and Thyme Brussels Sprouts

The dress it down version of the brussel sprouts is another super simple recipe (just the way we like it). Hubs actually prepared this recipe, since I was working late that day (I knew there was no way he could mess it up) Again, we opted to leave out the thyme.
One thing that we love about brussel sprouts is how they crisp up when roasted. The crispy leaves are a great way to get people to try it.


10 All-Time Favorite, Healthy, and Fancy Kugel...


September 10th 2014

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Kugel seems like a minhag, a tradition, for many families, although it’s not actually compulsory for the holiday celebration!  This is because kugels are such a treat 1) to eat  and 2) to make in advance and freeze.  If you haven’t yet experimented with making some of kugels below, now is a great time to experiment before the height of holiday cooking season is underway.  Below are just a few of the many  kugel recipes on the site (we have almost 100!); for more great ideas check out all of the great new recipes in the latest issue of Joy of Kosher Magazine.  What’s your favorite kugel recipe to serve at the holidays? Please share below!



Two Jews, three opinions is how the saying goes, even more so when it comes to food.  Some crowd-pleasing kugels include the classic Challah Kugel,  Salt and Pepper Noodle Kugel and the Broccoli Kugel.  These are a cinch to prepare and bonus points to the balesbusta who makes extras to keep in the freezer.  The Healthier Potato Kugel is a healthy modification on the addictive potato kugel.  But if you’re a traditionalist, check out Jamie’s video for tips on making a stellar potato kugel.



Call them fancy or call them healthy (depending on your definition of healthy!), either way these out of the ordinary kugels hit the ball out of the park when it comes to taste and presentation.  The Butternut Squash Kugel is very reminiscent to a soufflé and has an lightness that you don’t normally expect from a kugel.  The Layered Mushroom Kugel is an easy way to dazzle a crowd, while the Spaghetti Squash Pineapple Kugel is a healthy and exotic spin on the traditional noodle kugel.



These kugel bites make for great side dishes because they allow guests to try a bit of everything without feeling the pressure to eat a huge piece.  Plus, they are an easy way to dress up this classic side.  These three bites are elegant both in presentation and ingredients.  There’s the Leek Onion Noodle Cups, the Cauliflower Kugel Bites and the Mini Spinach and Artichoke Kugels.  (I know, I know…it’s too tough to pick just one these! Check out more kugel ideas here!




Private Chefs – The New Way To Eat Out ...


September 10th 2014

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As the kosher consumer’s palate and demands are increasing in sophistication, it is a no-brainer that the popular private chef service has expanded to provide an array of chefs ready to service the kosher population to create an experience dreams are made of.

An anniversary dinner prepared in the comfort of your own home, a birthday party cooking lesson where you and a group of friends get to taste everything (while learning trade secrets), a Shabbat meal, a sheva brachot; all with a variety of pricing options.

To launch the kosher KitchenSurfing concept, a kosher supper club was planned. Supper clubs, underground restaurants of sorts, are a growing trend among foodies worldwide. The idea is to bring restaurant-quality food in a more social and intimate gathering. About 30 foodies and journalists came together at Yudah Schloss’ (head of the kosher division of Brooklyn loft to taste a spectacular 7-course tasting menu by two chefs (about 14 dishes). Those in attendance all agreed that having a taste of what the chefs can produce truly was the best way to introduce this modern dining experience.

Most talked about dishes included the lamb chops with rhubarb agrodolce (Italian sweet and sour sauce) and the beef filet with a wine reduction.

Inspired by our experience, we decided to try the process for ourselves, having you, the magazine reader, in mind.

We wanted to provide a cooking lesson, taught by a talented kosher chef. We visited the site and emailed our specifications to the kosher KitchenSurfing team.

The theme: Jewish holiday classics with a modern spin. Recipes, that you can make for years to come, which celebrate classic dishes we all grew up with.

Chef Subar squeezed us into his busy schedule and took the red-eye flight to come cook for us. We loved how easy it was to design the menu and how flexible the chef was. Chef Sruli showed up at 10 a.m. with all the ingredients that he procured from local shops. (The chefs will buy meat/fish/or any products to your specific request and kosher or dietary needs.) By 4 p.m. the kitchen was cleaned spotless and we were all left completely blown away and impressed.

The Menu:

Summer Peach and Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

Sea Bass Gefilte


Warm Kale Tongue Salad

Leek Fondue

Beer Braised Brisket with Sausage Gravy and Parsnip Puree

Lemon Sponge Cake with Vanilla Bean Zabaglione

You can get all the recipes for the above dishes when you order our magazine – they are all in the Fall 2014 issue – Subscribe Now.

Q & A with Chef Subar

1. Culinary background:

I started cooking when I was 16, working in a large catering company in NYC/NJ. My passion and curiosity for food and cooking encouraged me to study food. I also own my own company, called S. Subar & Co. (www.subarandco. com), doing high-profile dinner parties.

2. Favorite comfort food:

My mother’s grilled chicken drumsticks with BBQ sauce she made for Shabbos with a Swedish-style squash ratatouille.

3. Favorite ingredients:

Syrah wine, pasta, rustic French baguette, quality cheese.

Now’s your chance to WIN a spot at our next Supper Club – this time with the entire Joy of Kosher team – Jamie, Tamar, Shifra and Shlomo.  The dinner will be in Brooklyn on Sept. 18th at 7pm.    Enter for your chance to WIN now!!



As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine

Summer 2013

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Joy of Israel 5 – City of David Tour


September 10th 2014

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I had lots of trouble writing this intro because my experience at the City of David, Biblical Jerusalem was so extraordinary, so moving, so breathtaking, so meaningful and so emotional. So… instead of continuing to try and put it into words I figured I would just show you. Watch this.

Special thanks to The City of David Foundation and my knowledgeable, inspiring, and kind tour guide Ze’ev Orenstein. Ze’ev just lives and breathes this stuff, his passion made my visit unforgettable.

Book your visit to the City of David now

And thanks to all of YOU for continuing to support our Joy of Israel series produced together with 12 Tribe Films.

To see the food part of the City of David videos with Master Chef Tom Franz, click here.

Tell me did you like this episode? Want to see more like this? Have an idea for a future episode? Know a sponsor? Want to sponsor? Lay it all down for me in the comments.

To donate even $18 for the Joy of Israel series click here.


10 Recipes That Want To Celebrate Rosh Hashanah...


September 9th 2014

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We have compiled these 10 High Holiday recipes that will dress up your table.  Manischewitz products will help make them all tastier and easier.

Apple Tarragon Slaw

The flavors of apples and tarragon go together beautifully.  This slaw is perfect for a last minute extra, no cooking necessary.  Here is the recipe.


Apple and Parsnip Soup

Rosh Hashanah is late this year and Fall will be in full swing.  A warm Apple and Parsnip Soup is just the trick comfort and warm your bellies.

Carrot, Quinoa & Spinach Soup

Carrot, Quiona & Spinach Soup

This soup is really a one pot meal if you so desire.  Perfect for vegetarians and the rest of us, would be a nice light lunch during the holidays with tons of veggies and tons of flavor.

Slow Roasted Lamb With Pomegranate and Reduced Wine

Rosh Hashanah is the perfect time to bring out the show stopper.  This Slow Roasted Lamb will dress up your table like nothing else.  Flavored with pomegranate and wine it is perfect for the season.

Chicken with Prunes in Apple Butter Wine Sauce

A little apple butter goes a long way to keep this holiday chicken dish moist and flavorful.  Everyone always wants a new chicken recipe.  This Chicken with Prunes and Apple Butter will not disappoint.

Chicken Thighs with Roasted Winter Fruit

Chicken Thighs with Roasted Winter Fruit

One more chicken recipe featuring the full apple and other winter fruits can be a one skillet dinner.  Use a nice pot so you can cook and serve from one.  Rice or potatoes could be added as well as greens if you want to make it more festive.

Leek Noodle Cups

These Leek Noodle Cups otherwise known as kugel, is the most delicious way to use the simian of leeks.  Can be made ahead and looks beautiful to serve.

Vegetable Chow Fun

Gluten Free S'mores Bars

These are not your usual Rosh Hashanah dessert bars, but we all have our Apple Crsips and Pies already planned.  Sometimes you just need a little chocolate.  Get the recipe for these S’mores Bars.

Chicken Apple Sausage Cholent

This fall flavored cholent can be made vegetarian with vegetarian sausage.  It is simple and a lighter at a time when there are oh so many meals.  It can be made in the oven too, so it is perfect as a one pot meal for Shabbat lunch.

Disclaimer: This post is part of an ongoing partnership with Manischewitz.


9 Tips for How to Be Your Own Sous Chef *Giveaway*


September 9th 2014

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Getting ready for holidays doesn’t have to be stressful. Follow my 9 tips for preparing and planning ahead and you will be cool as a cucumber.

Starting with Rosh Hashanah and prepping for a months’ worth of holiday meals for the masses can be  mentally and emotionally overwhelming even before you step foot  into the kitchen.  I find the best way I can help myself is to be my own sous chef.

In the culinary world the sous chef serves just below the executive or head chef and has a vital role in making sure the kitchen runs smoothly.  The sous chef does lots of the grunt work, prep work and actual cooking and while never receives the same glory (or pay) as the chef de cuisine, is essential to the success of the food that emerges from the kitchen.

In a perfect world we would hire ourselves a sous chef (or an executive chef while we’re dreaming!) for the holiday season.  In an almost perfect world our husband and/or oldest kid (presumably someone who can drive, wield a knife and handle the heat of the kitchen) would volunteer their services.  But in the real world you can actually be your own sous chef.

You know when you watch a cooking show and you see everything precut, pre measured and laid out prettier than a holiday table? All the ingredients in little bowls, everything in its place, all set up and ready to go.  The official terms for that is mise en place a French phrase which literally means “putting in place” meaning, set up.  It really makes life so easy for the cook, I know because I have been on set with everything in its place.  When I was on the TODAY Show I made Chicken Soup, Matzah Balls and Brisket in 5 minutes (thanks to the 3-Woman team who laid out the mise en place!).

In my own kitchen, year round, but especially this time of year I put on my sous chef hat and do a version of mise en place all of which keep me from going cuckoo for cocoa puffs.

You too can be a sane and happy cook this holiday if you follow these 9 simple tips.

9 Holiday Prep Tips To Keep You Sane


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Holiday Prep Tip #9 – Always Have Dressings,...


September 9th 2014

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On any given day my fridge is filled with no less than 3 homemade dressings like this Carrot Ginger Dressing or this Caesar Dressing or this Asian Cabbage Salad Dressing or a Mustard Green Bean Dressing.   I make triple and quadruple batches of dressing, store in sealable containers so I am ready to toss at a moment’s notice.  Similarly there is always a bag of Homemade Whole Wheat Croutons (made from my leftover challah) and sliced sundried tomatoes in the fridge alongside sliced scallions and chopped herbs plus all manner of cut up veg (see #5) to ensure an exciting salad is always a possibility.  Also, my favorite spice rubs like this MSG Free Homemade Onion Soup Mix makes making chicken as easy as pie. (Which really is not as easy as making chicken, but you know what I mean.)

Phew OK so these were my top #9 tips for helping yourself with holiday cooking.  Now it’s your turn.  Share the love and post at least 1 tip with all of us in the comments below.


Holiday Prep Tip #8 – Time and Place For Day...


September 9th 2014

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With all these prep ahead tips there are still dishes or elements of dishes that should be made day of.  Point here is to pre-prep the patchke stuff and leave the last minute cooking for dishes best served fresh and finishing touches.  I like to think of the day of work as assembly day.  I grab a my already cleaned and cut chicken, already in the baking dish, from the fridge, add a handful of already sliced onions, and rub with my ready-to go homemade rub (see tip #9).

Being organized like this including the essential step of having prepped your veg (ever notice how much longer a beautiful salad takes than a Brisket!) will save you from making each visit to the kitchen epic.