Refreshing and Easy Chol Hamoed Ideas
By Tamar Ansh
Question: The meals on Pesach are non stop, Baruch Hashem, but I’m so tired of potatoes or roasted chicken…do you have any ideas that can be put up in a jiffy and are non gebrochs? Thanks so much
Answer: I think this is the most universal FAQ on the Jewish planet at this time of year. And yes, you can “whip up” a healthy and relatively simple meal in a very short time with just a bit of preplanning. All you have to do is make sure you have the ingredients in the house prior. And since all these ideas include foods that nearly everyone uses, this should pose no problem…
How’s this for an easy Chol Hamoed meal?
Zippy Chicken Cutlets
8 chicken cutlets
1/4 cup apricot jam or honey
2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice, freshly squeezed
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped, optional
3-4 tablespoons olive oil (on the baking sheet)
4 tablespoons coarsely ground almonds
Preheat your oven or broiler to 400° F/ 200° C. If the cutlets are very thick slice each one in half so they are each thinner (don’t cut them in half down the center, rather through the middle).
Mix together the jam or honey, juice, garlic and olive oil. Lay the cutlets on a lined baking tray and smear them with the jam spread very generously. Sprinkle on some ground almonds for a nice crunch. Bake them for 15 minutes or until it tests done in its center. Remove from heat immediately so it won’t dry out and enjoy.
Roasted Beet and Sweet Potato Mix
A really simple and satisfying, healthy side dish that can be a light lunch on it’s own served with cheeses and salad or a side to any main meal whether it be fish or chicken. I catered all the meals for a small, unique overnight seminar last week and this simple dish was the hit of the dinner menu! This also smells amazing while it’s baking and the colors are so refreshing…
2 large onions, chunked
4 sweet potatoes, scrubbed and chunked
4 beets, peeled and cut into cubes
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons parsley flakes
2 teaspoons each garlic powder and onion powder
4 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400°F/ 200°C.
Place all the vegetables into a large bowl. Sprinkle the spices that you are able to use according to your family’s minhagim over the vegetables; add in the oil and mix with a spoon until the vegetables are coated.
Line a large cookie sheet or baking tray with parchment paper; pour the vegetables onto the tray and spread them out so they are a basically even layer. Slide the tray into the oven and bake them for 40-45 minutes. They will shrink somewhat in the oven. Serve hot. If there happen to be any leftovers, they serve great the next day too straight from the refrigerator or at room temperature.
This last idea is great for any age but especially if you have a bunch of young ones at your table. I’ve taken this one directly out of my cookbook Let My Children Cook! as a bit of an extra here for you to enjoy…
One of our favorite side dishes …serves 4
What you will need:
2 raw chicken cutlets
1 red pepper
1 small sweet potato
Seasoned Oil Sauce ingredients:
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/ 8 teaspoon pepper
Place the skewers in front of you on the counter or your work surface. Cut each chicken cutlet into about 12 bite-sized pieces. (Tip: raw cutlets slice best while they are still partially frozen.) Cut off the skin and the first layer of the onion. Rinse it off and cut it into small-size chunks. Wash the zucchini and pepper and cut into chunks. Scrub the sweet potato and cut into very small chunks. (Smaller-sized chunks of any kind of potato will roast faster.) Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Thread the different pieces onto the skewers. Make a pattern of chicken chunks, a piece of onion, pepper, more chicken, sweet potato, zucchini, onion, more chicken and so on until all the skewers are loaded with many chunks.
Line a 9×13-inch roasting or disposable baking pan with parchment paper. Place the skewers into the roasting pan. Using a brush, brush all your shishkabobs with the seasoned oil sauce you made.Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Roast the skewers for 10–15 minutes until the chicken pieces are cooked through.
Have a great Pesach and enjoy!