Going Dairy-Delicious for Shavuot


Baked macaroni and cheese, spinach tart and other recipes compiled by an experienced foodie might bring just the right flavors to your Shavuot meals.

Shavuot starts this coming Tuesday night. It’s a festive two-day holiday, commemorating the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. Dairy foods are traditional on Shavuot — and we know what that means: cheesecake, blintzes, ice cream, whipped cream … I could go on and on. But we do want to also produce and serve something substantial to tide us over until dessert!

Here are three options, starting with old fashioned Macaroni and Cheese, moving on to a Spinach Tart, Onion Quiche and Dairy Lasagna. Choose one or more; add a couple of distinctive salads, and then you’ll be ready to enjoy a Purple Cow!
We can only imagine how this old favorite received its name. But you or your parents may have enjoyed it at the local soda fountain. Kids will be delighted at the taste as well as the name, and as treats go, it’s fairly high up on the healthy list, especially if you use the frozen yogurt option.
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
1 lb. uncooked elbow macaroni
cooking spray
1 block (10-oz.) bar mild cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 and 3⁄4 cups; divided)
1⁄4 cup butter or margarine
1⁄2 cup flour, sifted
3 cups low-fat milk
1 container (8 oz.) low-fat sour cream
1 tsp. prepared mustard
3⁄4 tsp. salt
1⁄4 tsp. pepper
1 and 1⁄2 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs 

Cook the macaroni in a large quantity of boiling, salted water, until the al dente stage. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Coat a 4-quart ovenproof casserole dish with cooking spray. Place macaroni in casserole. Toss macaroni with all but one cup shredded cheese.

Preheat oven to 350˚.

In a saucepan melt butter and stir in flour. Gradually whisk in milk and sour cream. Add salt and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens, about 7 minutes. Season with mustard, salt and pepper.

Pour sauce over macaroni and combine thoroughly. Top with remaining cheese and sprinkle with bread crumbs.

Bake, uncovered, for 55 to 65 minutes, or until bubbly and top is golden brown. Serve immediately. 

Serves 8 to 10.

Spinach Tart
2 and 3⁄4 cups self-rising flour
1 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup yogurt or sour cream
1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach
2 large onions, chopped coarsely
2 Tbsps. olive oil
1⁄2 tsp. salt
2 oz. crumbled feta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. granulated garlic

Preheat oven to 375˚. 

Mix the flour and butter together until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the yogurt and knead into ball of dough. Press into a lightly greased 12-inch quiche dish or other round, shallow pan.

Defrost spinach; drain and squeeze as dry as possible. Heat oil in large skillet. Sauté onions 5 to 7 minutes over medium heat. Add spinach and salt and continue to sauté for a few more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Carefully spoon onion-spinach mixture over dough. Sprinkle crumbled feta and mozzarella cheese. Arrange tomatoes in a circle on top. Sprinkle with oregano and garlic.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until crust is lightly browned and cheese is bubbling.

Serves 6 to 8.

Onion Quiche
Crust Ingredients:
2 and 1⁄2 cups corn flakes
1⁄2 butter or margarine, cut up
1⁄4 tsp. salt
1⁄8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Filling Ingredients:
4 cups sliced onions (about 3 large)
1⁄2 tsp. salt
1⁄2 tsp. sugar
1⁄4 tsp. pepper
1 and 1⁄2 Tbsps. olive or canola oil
4 eggs
1⁄2 tsp. salt
1 and 1⁄2 cups sour cream or yogurt
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2-3 oz. grated yellow cheese

Preheat oven to 350˚.

Crush cornflakes in food processor. Pulse in butter, salt and pepper until mixture is the size of peas. Press into a lightly greased 9-inch round ovenproof casserole dish. Bake for 5 minutes. Let cool.

Sauté onions over medium heat with salt, sugar and pepper in oil until soft. Let cool.

Beat together the eggs, salt, and sour cream. Fold in onion and mushrooms. Pour into the pre-baked cornflake crust. Top with grated cheese.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until golden. 

Serves 6 to 8.

Dairy Lasagna
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 package (1 lb.) lasagna noodles
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1⁄2 head cauliflower, chopped (substitute frozen)
2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
1 and 1⁄2 cups grated any yellow cheese
1⁄2 jar (26 oz.) tomato sauce
12 oz. tomato juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1⁄2 tsp. each dried basil, oregano, rosemary or 3 tsps. Italian spice mix

Preheat oven to 350˚.

Spread 1 tablespoon oil on bottom of a 9×12-inch baking pan. Layer one-half package uncooked lasagna noodles on bottom of pan. Top noodles with half the vegetables.

Cover vegetables with 1 cup cottage cheese. Top with half of the yellow cheese and then half of the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with seasonings.

Repeat layers, beginning with noodles.

Pour tomato juice over completed layers, taking care to fill the pan no more than one-half inch from the top.

Bake for 50 minutes and cut into squares. 

Serves 8 to 10.

Purple Cow
1 pint blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup milk
1 cup vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt 
1⁄8 tsp. vanilla 
ice cubes 
soda water (optional) 

If using frozen blueberries, defrost them partially beforehand and reserve a few whole berries to use as a garnish. 

Blend all the ingredients until frothy and purple.

Pour the mixture into tall, ice filled glass.  

Serve with colorful straws and long sundae spoons. 

For a little fizz, add a splash of soda water. Top with the whole berries.

Serves 2.

Rivka Tal is a former Minne­sotan who has lived in Jerusalem for the past 46 years. She is a food writer and translator. Email her at: [email protected]


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