Prepping Early for Passover Plates


Passover recipes that you can make in advance or with little effort to help ease the stress of your Passover planning.

I can’t bring myself to say it. Now that Purim is over it’s time to focus on the “P” holiday prep. OK, Passover! Lots of prep. Every family has their special rituals and customs for Passover and ours is no different.
Around Purim time, my father (a”h) used to get a large sun-tea pitcher and put up his rosl (fermented beets) in anticipation of making his famous Killer Chrayn (horseradish), which was based upon my maternal grandmother’s recipe. It was so strong that we would call the store-bought, extra-strong horseradish, “wimpy chrayn.”
He would also painstakingly look for dirty horseradish roots in the stores —  the dirtier the better, because, according to him, the washed ones weren’t as strong. He would then place the horseradish in glass vases with water where they would take root.
By the time Passover came around, the horseradish roots would have grown green leaves and we would use those tops during the seder. They were pretty potent. One of my kids was once dared to take a big sniff of my dad’s Killer Chrayn straight from the jar. He literally turned red and couldn’t breathe for a few minutes!
Now it’s my turn to make the chrayn. I have the beets fermenting on the counter, and I searched for the dirtiest horseradish I could find. Unlike my Dad, I actually wear safety goggles when grinding the chrayn although I find myself still crying with the memories. The truth is, once the chrayn is done, I feel that everything else will fall into place — with lots of work!
Here are some Passover (and year-round) recipes that you can make in advance or make with little effort. I hope they help take some of the stress away from your Passover planning.
Cranberry-Seasoned Roast
These days you can find Passover substitutions for nearly any ingredients in your local grocery stores. I was able to find variations for all the recipe ingredients without any difficulty at all. This roast freezes well (and may taste even better after freezing) so you can make it well in advance of your Passover meals.
1 can (12 oz.) whole berry cranberry sauce
1 Tbsp. mustard
1⁄4 cup Kosher for Passover ketchup
1⁄4 cup brown sugar
1 roast (3 lb.), chuck or london broil
nonstick vegetable spray or oil to coat pan.
Preheat oven to 350˚ or 325˚ convection roast. Spray a roasting pan with nonstick spray or grease with a little oil. Place the roast in the pan.
Combine the cranberry sauce, mustard, ketchup and brown sugar. Stir until smooth. Spoon over the top of the roast.
If roasting in a conventional oven, cover the roast with foil. If using a convection oven leave the roast uncovered. Roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes or, using a meat thermometer, until the roast reaches an internal temperature of 155.˚
Allow the meat to rest for at least 10-15 minutes before slicing. For easier slicing, place the meat in the refrigerator until completely cold, then slice. May be made in advance and frozen.
Serves 6.
Garlic MatzAh
One of the things I love about this recipe is that it jazzes up the plain old, boring matzah that everyone is super-tired of eating by the second day of Passover. You can also make your own variation of this recipe using rosemary, thyme, minced onion, parsley, cumin, zahtaar or even flavored oils. I found kosher-for-Passover extra virgin olive oil with spicy red peppers perfect for giving your matzah a much needed kick!
3 cubes frozen crushed garlic, defrosted
1⁄3 cup extra virgin olive oil, or more if necessary
7-8 matzahs
1-2 tsps. sea salt (optional)
Preheat oven to 350˚. Line several cookie sheets with aluminum foil.
In a small bowl, combine olive oil and garlic, mixing to thoroughly combine.
Place the matzah on the prepared cookie sheets, working in batches if necessary.
Using a pastry brush or spoon, brush the matzahs with the garlic-infused oil. Sprinkle the matzah with sea salt, if desired.
Bake for 5 to 6 minutes until browned. Break into pieces and serve. The matzah can be stored in an airtight zipper lock bag for 3 to 4 days.
Serves 6.
Machane Yehuda Cabbage Salad
On my last trip to Israel I went to visit one of my favorite spots — the Pereg store in Machane Yehuda. Mordechai (the guy behind the counter) spent nearly an hour having me sample all the fabulous spices and seasonings in the store. One of my favorite mixes was, according to Mordechai, “Good with cabbage.” Here is my version of the salad.
5 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup blanched slivered almonds (you can use halved or sliced instead)
1 cup dried cranberries (can use dried cherries or currants instead)
11⁄2 tsps. dried dill weed
1 Tbsp. oil
1⁄2 tsp. salt or to taste
1⁄4 tsp. black pepper or to taste
1 Tbsp. sugar or to taste
Toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
Chill for 15 to 30 minutes before serving.
Serves 6.
Brown Sugar Meringue “Poofs” 
This is another of our family’s Passover favorites. They are easy to make and can bake while you are doing other Passover prep. I like to make them small so that you can pop them into your mouth. My niece and I call them Brown Sugar “Poofs” because they “poof” in your mouth when you eat them.
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1⁄2 cup light brown sugar
pinch salt
Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 250˚ or 225˚ convection. In a large bowl beat, egg whites until soft peaks form. Beat in brown sugar one tablespoon at a time. Add the salt and beat until meringue is thick and glossy, about 2 minutes longer.
Using a pastry bag and star tip, a large zipper bag with a small hole snipped in a corner or a teaspoon, pipe/spoon the meringue onto the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 1 hour until dry. Turn off oven (and oven light) and leave in the oven for an additional hour. Remove from oven and store in an airtight con­tainer or zipper-lock bag.
Do not refrigerate. This recipe can be doubled.
Makes 75 mini-poofs or 36 very small poofs.
Chicagoan Sharon Matten is a freelance pastry chef, kosher food writer, electrical engineer, wife and mom. Find Sharon at: or email: [email protected].


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