A hungry family is a grumpy one.
This week, most people are going to be working hard on Passover prep. Cleaning the house, checking hidden places, shopping, and then the biggest and longest piece: cleaning the kitchen. So much work, and so much time!
It can feel overwhelming. I always do lists to help, but there is something else that you can do to help you – and your family – have the easiest time. And that is to feed everyone well.
With the focus on preparing the kitchen, this can be trickier than you think! How do you make your planned pasta when the stovetop is being cleaned, or resting, or already kashered? Resign everyone to cereal and milk?
So part of my planning for Passover now includes the meals around Passover. (Check out the OJH Passover Super Page for more Passover helpers!) Stay tuned for my menu plan up to Passover, but let’s talk general ideas first.
While my kitchen is being turned over (not yet – but just thinking ahead!), I utilize the other work horses in my kitchen: microwave, toaster, rice cooker, oven, crockpot, and freezer. So depending on what part of the process I’m in, I still have other options to get my family meals – one that doesn’t include cold food like sandwiches all day or (expensive!) restaurant pizza or falafel. (And who can sit in those lines for takeout, anyway?) We’ll usually eat outside on the lawn for the last few days, but it’s a family adventure. Since our tummies aren’t starving, everything seems better.
Some guidelines: List what devices you have available (we even use our toaster up to the last morning – waffles, anyone?) Make sure to save a few “good” things for close to the end, and don’t schedule too tightly because schedules always change. When you thought your oven would be available, it might not be, and you’ll have to be flexible. And understand that things will be different from the norm – that’s part of the Passover magic!
- Cold items: cereal, donuts (Shabbat treat here), fruit, yogurt, crackers and cheese, sandwiches (pb, cheese, deli meat, egg salad, tuna…), granola, nuts, veggies and dip, chips and salsa, pasta (can be reheated, but my kids eat it cold, too), string cheese, protein bars, crackers
- Freezer to Oven: Challah, kugels (like spinach/broccoli), chicken, deli roll (pizza dough crust freezes well), roast, whatever you have frozen in a pan…
- Microwave: Burritos, scrambled eggs, quesadillas, reheating things like pasta, frozen french toast casserole, mac and cheese, hot dogs, baked potatoes, mashed potatoes.
- Toaster: bagels, toaster pastries, waffles, toast.
- Crockpot: Lots of good possibilities here, and you can even prep a day – or three – in advance, just put it in, and go! Oatmeal is a good one, too.
- Rice cooker: rice, steamed veggies, and although we’ve never done it, our instructions also say you can steam meat and fish, too!
- Oven: pizza, pizza bagels, roasted chicken and veggies, bread sticks, french toast casserole (use up leftover bread!), and anything you’ve made ahead of time – in a disposable tin is easiest! I know some people who have a toaster oven they use for this, and they cook pretty much all of their meals in tines in their toaster oven while the rest of the kitchen is turned over: lasagna, chicken, casseroles, kugels…whatever you like in a pan!
Do you plan your menus right up to Passover? What do you include?