Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom! If you’re looking for easy and delicious ways to use up your chametz, check out my previous post for some tried and true dishes that are perfect for your Shabbat table.
Pesach is quickly approaching, you’re feeling overwhelmed, and you don’t have a Pesach kitchen. A recipe for disaster? Not if you use Julie Hauser’s methods, from the author’s newly released book Pesach While You Sleep: The Easy Way to Cook Ahead for Yom Tov…No Pesach Kitchen Necessary!
Pesach While You Sleep (Israel Book Shop) is the ideal book for you. No Pesach kitchen necessary! Having made plenty a Pesach in a pinch, Julie devised an ingenious, economical, Pesach cook-ahead system, with just the use of a folding table at counter height, a few slow-cookers, and some basic supplies and ingredients.
Julie says: “I literally cook for Passover with my eyes closed…while I sleep! My secret? Three slow-cookers and a folding table in my basement equals my ‘Pesach kitchen.’”
Julie keeps a cutting board, knives, peelers, and a few gadgets (e.g., an immersion blender) nearby. She cooks the majority of her Pesach food and freezes it weeks before Pesach. Using simple kosher-for-Passover ingredients, Julies often run out of real estate in the freezer storing her precooked Passover food before many begin stocking their Pesach pantries.
Whether you are making Pesach for the first time, and own barely a utensil, or just don’t want to stand in your deluxe Pesach kitchen all day, try Julie Hauser’s system and you will get ahead of yourself, with delicious aromas of large quantities of food ready to be frozen.
- Julie sets up a foil-lined 4-foot, folding table (an adjustable height one works best) in a corner of her laundry area.
- You’ll need 1 extra-large box of heavy-duty aluminum foil (to cover the table and also to help with packaging the food containers).
- Two or three Passover slow-cookers, each at least 5-quart, but preferably 7-8 quart, attached to an extension cord and/or power strip.
- Basic Equipment: Pareve cutting board, pareve knives (serrated and non-serrated), 1 or 2 peelers, immersion blender, can opener, 2 or 3 large spoons/ladles, including a large slotted spoon. You’ll need a fridge/freezer with lots of space.
- Water bottles: If you don’t have a laundry room sink nearby, you’ll need a lot of these, for use in recipes and for rinsing chickens/vegetables/utensils.
- About 5 boxes Reynolds slow-cooker liners, 1 box disposable gloves, parchment paper, and containers and pans in which to freeze everything. You’ll need Sharpie permanent markers for labeling everything. You’ll also need a huge garbage bin and garbage bags.
- Keep all non-perishable spices on a Lazy Susan nearby. Keep all other ingredients (perishable and non-perishable) alike, in the fridge, so they are all together in one spot.
Cooking basically non-stop in night shifts and day shifts, the slow-cookers will produce multiple soups, meats, chickens, vegetable side dishes, even meat balls, matzah balls, and applesauce, etc. over a course of 4 to 5 days.
Julie spends approximately 10-20 minutes each night and morning, getting the recipes set, and packaging what is finished to go into the freezer. Once Passover gets closer, there are very few foods that need preparation, such as fresh salads and the Seder plate items.
Julie Hauser is not a trained professional chef and Pesach While You Sleep is not meant to be a glamorous gourmet cookbook. Her efficient way of cooking gets addictive, with its ease and its amazing smells (and it’s also so forgiving for those who are not exacting in their measurements).
These simple, delicious dishes will also be perfect for your Shabbat table – enjoy!
The recipe for Julie’s slow-cooker chicken soup to serve with her Matzah Balls can be found in Pesach While You Sleep.
JULIE HAUSER’S SLOW-COOKER MATZAH BALLS (GEBROKTS)
Julie usually doubles this recipe (everything besides the salted water – that does not need to be doubled), and it still fits in one slow-cooker. This is one of the only recipes she doesn’t cook through the night.
Yields about 15 medium balls
4 Tbsp oil
4 Tbsp ice water
1 cup matzah meal
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
8 cups water
Put 8 cups of water with 1 tsp salt in the slow-cooker. Leave on high for 1 hour. In the meantime, in a separate bowl, mix together the rest of the ingredients. Form into balls. After the water in the slow-cooker has cooked for an hour, add matzah balls to it. Cook for approximately 3 hours on low. Allow to cool, then freeze on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, for about an hour. (This helps the matzah balls not stick to each other when frozen together.) You can then transfer matzah balls to small loaf pans/containers/ Ziploc bags to freeze by portions.
MEATBALLS FOR A CROWD
Julie writes: “I make this recipe in 2 slow-cookers, which gives me a very large quantity. But however much the recipe makes, there’s usually none left over.”
Yields approximately 40 meatballs
3 lbs ground meat (1.5 lbs per slow-cooker)
1/2 Vidalia onion, chopped and divided
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 15-oz can jellied cranberry sauce
3/4 can water (use empty tomato/cranberry sauce can)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs (or 1/4 cup apricot jam (I came up with this substitution for a family member who was allergic to eggs)
Onion powder, black pepper (optional), oregano
Mix together 1/4 chopped onion, tomato sauce, cranberry sauce, and water. Divide sauce between two slow-cookers. In a separate bowl, mix the ground meat with the rest of the chopped onion, spices, brown sugar, and eggs/apricot jam. Form meat mixture into balls and place half in each slow-cooker. Leave slow-cookers on low overnight.
In the morning, turn off the slow-cookers. Allow meatballs to cool, then freeze on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, for about an hour. (This helps them not stick to each other when frozen together.) You can then transfer meatballs to small loaf pans/containers/Ziploc bags to freeze by portions. Freeze some of the meat sauce with the meatballs, as well.
Norene Gilletz is the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada. She is the author of twelve cookbooks and divides her time between work as a food writer, food manufacturer, consultant, spokesperson, cooking instructor, lecturer, and cookbook editor. Norene lives in Toronto, Canada and her motto is “Food that’s good for you.gourmania.com should taste good!” For more information, visit her website at www or email her at [email protected].