Time for a food post! 
And since Shabbos/Shabbat is coming, here’s the long-ago promised Shabbos dinner menu
and recipes.  For those of you that are
regular readers, you already know I’m not a foodie, so my recipes are somewhat
laissez-faire.  That’s my one and only

My Shabbos menu is a merger of tradition and what we love –
that’s what I think Shabbos should be, in general.  We maintain the “traditional” feel  by sticking to a generally similar menu
structure, and then there are places I experiment and have fun.  So here goes.


  • Challah with spreads
  • Gefilte fish with horseradish and salads (occasionally
    salmon too if I’m feeling fancy or we’re having company)

  • Chicken soup – usually with matza balls
  • Main course is where I have fun.  My default-mode is baked chicken of all varieties,
    a grain such as couscous or rice, and usually the ever-traditional and favored
    potato kugel.  However, often we have
    meatballs (my husband’s favorite) or chicken cutlets.  The salads from the first course round out
    the main.
  • Dessert consists of pastries from the bakery – again, this
    is my husband’s favorite no matter what we make at home!  My daughters love to bake (where’d they get
    that from?) so sometimes it’s homemade treats too, or sorbet, or sometimes my
    guests bring dessert.
  • I usually make the challah, but sometimes I get lazy and
    buy it instead.  Also, my family loves “water
    challah” – eggless challah from the bakery.
  • “Spreads”: my husband loves mayo on his challah, and many of
    our guests have learned of this unfortunate trick.  We also add chummus to the offerings.  On a good week I’ve been known to make
    jalapeno dip, olive dip, and… um, that’s all.
  • Fish:  People seem
    flabbergasted that my gefilte fish is not Mrs. Adler’s in jelled broth.  But I don’t quite make it from scratch
    either, although when I lived in Israel I sure did that.  I buy a frozen loaf, unwrap it, spray it with
    a bit of olive oil cooking spray, sprinkle the top with lemon pepper, and bake
    for like an hour.   It’s so good, it
    almost doesn’t last till dinner.  Someone
    keeps coming over to cut off slivers and before you know it, half is gone.  Okay, so that someone is usually me.
  • Soup: I never called it “matza ball soup” growing up.  Firstly, I was raised calling matza balls “kneidlach”
    (the Yiddish name) and sometimes we had them; sometimes we didn’t.  The main attraction was the chicken soup,
    loaded with veggies and completely heavenly (shout out to my amazing mother
    here).  However I’ve learned that your
    average Jew calls it matza ball soup and the main attraction is by far the
    actual matza ball.  Everything else is “broth”
    – a word I never used in my childhood.
  • Challah
1 (5 lb) bag flour (regular, whole wheat, or a combination)
1 ½ c sugar
½ c honey
3 eggs
3 tablespoons dry yeast
4 c warm water
2 tablespoons salt
1 c oil
This yields 5 or 6 medium-sized loaves.  Sorry for the huge amounts but I never make
less.  You can halve this recipe
easily.  Throw it all in a mixer or mix
by hand.  Allow to rise.  There’s a special mitzvah to separate a small
piece with a special blessing and prayer (beyond the scope of this post).  Shape, braid, rise again, brush with egg
wash, sprinkle with sesame/poppy and bake for 45 min on 325.  Hide from children till Shabbos.  The challah, not yourself.   Although
that sometimes works too.
  • Potato kugel
7 potatoes (white, sweet, or combo thereof)
1 onion
¼ c oil
Salt and pepper to taste
3 eggs
Shred the potatoes and onion in a food processor.  Dump out, then put the bottom blade into the food processor and
dump everything in.  Process just till
blended.  Bake on 350 for forever.  Okay, so more like 2 hours.  Taste for a while until you’re sure it came
out good.
  • Jalapeno dip
5 fresh jalapeno peppers
1 large can of tomato sauce (whatever you think large is)
5 cloves of garlic minced – now, I never mince garlic.  That is too much work for this
non-foodie.  I buy the frozen garlic
cubes at Trader Joe’s that come from Israel. 
Each cube = one clove.
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut off tops of peppers and process in food processor (that’s
the hardest part).  Sautee in oil with
the garlic.  Add tomato sauce and salt
and pepper and simmer for anywhere from 20 min to an hour.  This keeps in the fridge for weeks, by the way (not that you’ll have any left over).
  • Chicken Soup
However much chicken you want – I put it in a net bag for
easy removal – place in large pot
Carrots, celery, parsnip, sweet potato, onion, squash –
however many you want
Water till the top
Seasonings: garlic powder, dill, rosemary, salt, pepper
Bring to a boil and simmer for a couple of hours.  Irresistible.
  • My favorite salad
Romaine lettuce
Lightly sautéed steak-sliced mushroom
Cherry tomatoes
Purple onion, sliced thinly
Hearts of palm
A generous squirt of ketchup.  Okay, two.
A little olive oil, or more if you don’t care about calories
Same amount of vinegar as ketchup
A little sugar, or more if you don’t care about calories
Paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, dry mustard.
Whisk and taste.  Add
sugar if not sweet enough or vinegar if too sweet.
Add croutons if you’re so inclined or some other crunchy
like slivered almonds.
Enjoy and Shabbat Shalom!
What are your
favorite Shabbos dishes?  Do you go more
traditional or more with your personal favorites?
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