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No-Bake Nutella Cheesecake

An easy and completely heavenly No-Bake Nutella Cheesecake! This recipe comes together so quickly and is a huge crowd pleaser.

No-Bake Nutella Cheesecake- An easy and completely heavenly No-Bake Nutella Cheesecake! This recipe comes together so quickly and is a huge crowd pleaser. passthechallah.com

We are just a couple weeks away from Shavuot!  Shavuot is a Jewish holiday (yes, another one) that is  seven weeks after Passover.  And the signature dish of Shavuot is– CHEESECAKE! Good choice right?  Who doesn’t love an excuse to eat tons and tons of cheesecake?

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Crunchy Asian Rice Salad + A Giveaway

This crunchy asian rice salad recipe is a true crowd pleaser! It’s full of chow mein noodles, Craisins, pine nuts, and an addictive soy garlic dressing.

Crunchy Asian Rice Salad- This crunchy asian rice salad recipe is a true crowd pleaser! It's full of chow mein noodles, craisins, pine nuts, and an addictive soy garlic dressing. passthechallah.com

This is one of those recipes that you’re going to be giving out to your friends.  A lot.  It has everything that is addictive and irresistible about a dish—It’s crispy from lots of chow mein noodles.  But it’s also sweet from the Craisins.  It has a touch of richness from pine nuts (and more crunch, which can never hurt).  It’s savory and mouth-watering from shallots, and has a totally incredible soy sauce garlic dressing that I now put on anything and everything I can.  Like I said, this crunchy asian rice salad recipe is a true crowd-pleaser and a true keeper.

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11 Post-Passover Recipes Loaded with Carbs!

11 post-Passover recipes full of all the carbs you’ve been dreaming about!

http://overtimecook.com/2015/08/31/ultimate-whole-wheat-challah/

The week of Passover ended Saturday night, and it’s always bittersweet.  On the one hand, it’s hard to say goodbye to all the fun times with family and friends, Seder traditions, festive meals, vacation time, and overall joyous feeling that Passover brings.  On the other hand, CARBS! I can eat carbs again! I thought I’d never see the day when I could bite into a fluffy, pillowy, airy piece of bread, or brownie, or slice of pizza.  Yes, these are the things you dream about when you eat the flattest, blandest, crunchiest cracker called matzoh for 8 days straight.

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Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

A simple recipe for perfect gluten free cookies! These almond butter chocolate chip cookies are so delicious, nobody will guess there’s no flour or butter.

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies- A simple recipe for the perfect gluten free cookie! These almond butter chocolate chip cookies are so delicious, nobody will guess there's no flour or oil. passthechallah.com

Did you try my homemade almond butter last week?!  You are going to be so happy if it’s sitting in your refrigerator right now, because boy do I have THE cookie recipe for you!  It’s made with (you guessed it) almond butter!

These cookies are truly miraculous, and truly delicious.  They have no flour, no oil, no butter, and no gluten at all!  They’re made with just almond butter, egg, baking soda, vanilla, brown sugar, and of course chocolate chips.  Isn’t that wild?!  It’s still crazy to me that these ingredients somehow actually turn into a perfectly chewy and completely addictive cookie that could totally pass as “normal.”

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Homemade Almond Butter

Did you know that making homemade almond butter is extremely easy?! And it requires just one ingredient—ALMONDS!  That’s it!

Homemade Almond Butter- Did you know that making homemade almond butter is extremely easy?! And it requires just one ingredient—ALMONDS! That’s it! Check out the super simple recipe at passthechallah.com

I had no idea that making almond butter is as simple as dumping almonds in a food processor and turning it on.  The thought of making homemade butters sounds complicated and too fussy for me.  Don’t get me wrong, I make lots of things homemade.  But there’s just something about homemade almond butter that’s too homemade.  Do you know what I mean?  Am I just making this up?

Anyways, I started looking into how to make homemade almond butter as I was thinking about Passover recipes.  That’s right, Passover is just two weeks away!  Can you believe it?  So I got the idea of almond butter for Passover, and it sounds just perfect!  It’s great on matzoh, on carrots, on apples, in yogurt, in desserts (recipe coming soon!), and it’s also a great substitute for the peanut butter we can’t eat on Passover.  Yes, I enjoy peanut butter a little bit too much and definitely need a peanut butter substitute during Passover.

Since almond butter is hard to find for Passover (and is also quite expensive even if you can find it), I decided to make my own!  And what I said before is the truth—you literally just put almonds in a food processor and turn it on.  That’s it!  No kidding!  Who knew?!

Homemade Almond Butter- Did you know that making homemade almond butter is extremely easy?! And it requires just one ingredient—ALMONDS! That’s it! Check out the super simple recipe at passthechallah.com

The only catch is—it takes a while in your food processor.  Like 10 minutes.  Which really isn’t long at all, considering many recipes require an hour of cooking time, like cakes, casseroles, and chicken.  And we cook brisket and roasts for 7 or 8 hours!  But there’s something about 10 minutes in a food processor that feels like forever.  Probably because we are used to using our food processor for 10 seconds at a time, or a max of 1 minute at a time.  And we are used to standing at the food processor and watching as we use it.

All of a sudden standing at your food processor for 10 minutes watching whole almonds turn into almond butter seems totally crazy.  And it is!  So treat the almond butter like you would treat cookies—set your timer for 10 minutes and walk away.  You have to!  Otherwise it’s going to feel like it took 10 years, and you’re also going to get worried that it’s never going to work.

The almonds go through stages, starting at LOUD, to crumbled, to more crumbled, to more more crumbled, to semi-liquid, to finally magically smooth and creamy almond butter.  But if you stand there watching it like I did the first time, you’re gonna watch and worry that it’s not working.  And one minute goes by and it’s still not working.  And another minute goes by and it’s still not working.  And now every minute feels like it’s going by even slower because you’re worried that it’s still not working!  Trust me, you must walk away from the food processor.

If you follow the walk away strategy, you’ll save yourself what feels like 40 minutes of worrying about your almond butter, and soon you’ll have perfectly creamy, totally delicious almond butter!  You’re going to love this stuff.  I would highly recommend making a double batch from the beginning, because it’s zero extra work, and after you taste it you’re gonna want tons more.  Enjoy!

Homemade Almond Butter- Did you know that making homemade almond butter is extremely easy?! And it requires just one ingredient—ALMONDS! That’s it! Check out the super simple recipe at passthechallah.com

5.0 from 1 reviews
Homemade Almond Butter
 
Serves: 1½ cups almond butter
Ingredients
  • 3 cups almonds (raw, whole)
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt (optional, more to taste)
Instructions
  1. Preaheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Arrange the almonds on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 10-15 minutes, until almonds are fragrant and slightly toasted. You also could start with dry-roasted almonds and skip this step.
  3. Pour almonds and salt into the bowl of a food processor and blend on medium for 10 minutes, or until creamy. Be patient and don’t worry, it will work! Some food processors may take 15 minutes.

 

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Sweet and Spicy Chicken Marinade

This sweet and spicy chicken marinade is so easy and bursting with flavor! Chipotle peppers, brown sugar, whisky, BBQ sauce, and lime are a perfect combo.

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Marinade- This sweet and spicy chicken marinade is so easy and bursting with flavor! Chipotles, brown sugar, whisky, garlic, BBQ sauce, and lime are a perfect combo. passthechallah.comHello!  I feel like I haven’t talked to you in so long!  With all the Purim prep last week, I barely had a chance to tie my own shoes, let alone share this new and addicting chicken recipe with you.  (BTW- everybody loved the chocolate covered strawberry hamantaschen in their mishloach manot!  I also included a real chocolate covered strawberry and a fancy brownie.  Check them out here!).

So now that I’ve had a few nights of real sleep, I can finally debut my Sweet and Spicy Chicken Marinade!  But before I jump into the recipe, let’s talk about spice:

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Kosher Tex Mex That Tastes Like the Real Deal

GUYS. I have been dying to share this with you! For the last several weeks, I worked on a feature for Joy of Kosher (umm somebody pinch me)! It has been so much fun recreating my “Tex Mex” favorites, but it felt so strange not sharing these mouth-watering recipes with you!  It’s like I was cheating on this blog or something.

Kosher Tex Mex

But now my feature has been shared on Joy of Kosher and I can FINALLY share it with you!  Check it out here!  I talk all about my memories growing up in Texas and feasting on the best, most authentic Tex Mex you could ever imagine.  Think hot and fresh tortilla chips with salsa, guacamole, and queso, cheesy enchiladas with rice and beans, and sizzling plates of fajitas with homemade tortillas.

Now that I keep kosher, I can’t really go to those hole-in-the-wall Tex Mex restaurants that Texas is known for, but you bet I’m gonna recreate the amazing flavors in my own kitchen!  Trust me, I have a very well trained Mexican palette.  And these dishes totally hit the spot.  Here are the recipes:

Cheese Enchiladas

Cheese Enchiladas

Mexican Mashed Potatoes

Mexican Mashed Potatoes

Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars

Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars

But really, you just need to read my whole story here.  Enjoy!

 

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Chocolate Covered Strawberry Hamantaschen

Chocolate covered strawberry hamantaschen are sure to impress! A great way to jazz up your favorite hamantaschen recipe while also hiding the imperfections.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Hamantaschen- Chocolate covered strawberry hamantaschen are sure to impress! A great way to jazz up your favorite hamantaschen recipe while also hiding the imperfections. passthechallah.com

 

It’s hamantaschen time!  With Purim less than a month away, it’s time to start thinking about what type of hamantaschen to include in your shalach manot this year.

(For those of you reading this and thinking that I’m speaking a bunch of gibberish: Purim is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the saving of the Jewish people from an evil man named Haman, who plotted to kill the Jews in Ancient Persia.  On Purim, we deliver gift baskets called shalach manot to friends, family, and neighbors.  And these gift baskets often include hamantaschen, the traditional dessert of the holiday!  Does that clear things up?)

Now back to the hamataschen.  They are a totally delicious triangular-shaped cookie, traditionally made with a sugar cookie dough and filled with sweet and fruity jams.  What could ever be wrong with that?  Yum.  Hamantaschen always taste amazing.  But making them is another story.

Hamantaschen are complicated.  And tedious.  And bound to fail from the start.  First, you have to find the perfect dough that both tastes amazing and will hold its triangular shape.  The first batch I made had a great shape coming out of the oven, but the cookie was too crunchy.  The second batch had a delicious, soft dough, but most lost their shape after baking.

Second, you have to form them perfectly.  If you don’t pinch the sides together well, they will open up while baking (the epitome of a hamantaschen nightmare).  But if you pinch them too much, they won’t have that beautiful, classic shape.

Third, you have to find a filling that isn’t too thin and runny, because it will bubble out of the center.  But if the filling is too thick, it will dry out while baking.  And if you add too much, it will also bubble out or cause the sides to open up.  Making hamantaschen is pretty much like walking through a minefield.

And to make matters worse, the hamantaschen from the bakery or grocery store always look perfect.  I mean PERFECT.  Now they don’t always taste great (in fact, the mass-produced hamantaschen are often quite awful), but they look spot-on. Perfect size, perfect shape, perfect amount of filling.  How do they do it?  And why do they have to be so perfect?!  Don’t they know that they set the bar way too high for little home cooks like me? I just can’t live up to these standards!  I don’t know why I even try…

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Hamantaschen- Chocolate covered strawberry hamantaschen are sure to impress! A great way to jazz up your favorite hamantaschen recipe while also hiding the imperfections. passthechallah.com

 

And now that I’m thinking about it, other Jewish holidays have difficult foods too!  For example, sufganiyot (jelly-filled donuts) on Chanukah. You make the dough, let it rise, shape it, fry it, fill it.  That’s way too overwhelming.  I won’t even attempt to make them (which is why I made my Chanukah Gelt Cookie Cake instead).    There’s also the time-consuming latkes on Hanukkah, kreplach (meat-filled dumplings served in soup) on Yom Kippur, and stuffed cabbage on Sukkot (hence my Unstuffed Cabbage recipe).  GUYS.  What the heck are we doing to ourselves?!  Make the madness stop!

Anyways.  Enough of my ranting.  What I am trying to say is that hamantaschen are hard to make and often don’t come out perfectly.  But I have come up with the perfect solution!  The perfect way to fix your not-so-perfect hamantaschen.  Chocolate covered strawberry hamantaschen!  Here’s the secret—the chocolate dipping hides the imperfections.  Find the corner you like the least, dip it in chocolate, add some white chocolate drizzles, and all is well with the world.  MIND BLOWN.  Your imperfect hamantaschen are given some leeway, and they come out looking super fancy and impressive!  That’s a win-win if I ever did see one.

And if you really want to make a win-win situation for yourself, you could even dip store-bought hamanaschen.  Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.

Happy hamantaschen making (if that exists).  Enjoy!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Hamantaschen
 
Recipe type: Parve
Serves: 40
Ingredients
  • 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 teaspoons water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup strawberry preserves (I like Bonne Maman brand)
  • 4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. To make the hamantaschen: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the margarine and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix until combined.
  4. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in small batches, alternating with the water. Mix until a smooth batter forms.
  5. Form the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
  6. To roll out the dough, sprinkle a large, clean surface with flour. Roll out dough with a floured rolling pin, until the dough is ⅛ inch thick. Using a cookie cutter or the rim of a drinking glass, cut dough into 3-inch circles. Gather scraps and re-roll until all the dough is cut.
  7. Fill each circle with 1 teaspoon of strawberry preserves. Pull up the sides and pinch together, to form a triangle. To seal the edges, rub a small amount of cold water on each dough seam.
  8. Place hamantaschen on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until the edges are just golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. To dip the hamantaschen: line a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper and set aside.
  10. Add semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to a microwave-safe bowl (you want a bowl that is narrow and deep, so you have enough room to dip the hamantaschen in the chocolate without hitting the bottom of the bowl).
  11. Microwave for 60 seconds on 50% power. Stir chocolate and return to microwave.
  12. Microwave for 30 seconds on 50% power. Stir and return to microwave.
  13. Repeat step 12 until chocolate is smooth and just melted.
  14. Dip one corner of room-temperature hamantaschen in the chocolate. Lay on wax paper. Repeat with remaining hamantaschen.
  15. To melt the white chocolate and 2 teaspoons of coconut oil, follow steps 10-13.
  16. Pour melted white chocolate into a small Ziploc bag. Cut off a tiny tip of the Ziploc bag and move white chocolate towards the corner with the tip cut off.
  17. Drizzle white chocolate over the chocolate-dipped hamantaschen (as pictured above). Let the hamantaschen cool in the fridge until the chocolate has hardened. Enjoy!
Notes
Feel free to substitute your favorite hamantaschen recipe.
They freeze beautifully!

 

 

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Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Tender meatballs, juicy chicken wings, and the classic sweet and sour sauce make this sweet and sour meatballs recipe totally irresistible.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs- Tender meatballs, juicy chicken wings, and the classic sweet and sour sauce make this sweet and sour meatballs recipe totally irresistible. passthechallah.com

Today is a great day.  Because today I’m sharing a recipe that is super near and dear to my heart.  It’s my grandma’s sweet and sour meatballs recipe.  Every Jewish household has a version of sweet and sour meatballs– it’s the epitome of a Jewish classic.

While the sweet and sour sauce ingredients can vary family to family, they all have the same flavor profile– a tomato-based sauce that’s slightly sweet and slightly tangy.  Our recipe accomplishes this using the perfect balance of tomato sauce, onion, garlic, sugar, and lemon juice.  And this heaven of a sauce doesn’t just show up on meatballs.  It’s also used when making stuffed cabbage (check out my easier unstuffed cabbage version) and brisket.  Any other recipes I’m forgetting, fellow Jewish readers?  Needless to say, sweet and sour sauce is required in every family’s recipe box.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs- Tender meatballs, juicy chicken wings, and the classic sweet and sour sauce make this sweet and sour meatballs recipe totally irresistible. passthechallah.com

I feel so lucky to have shared my family’s recipe on The Nosher this week!  Such an honor!  Our sweet and sour meatballs include moist, cloud-tender meatballs and chicken wings.  That’s right, we throw chicken wings in with the meatballs!  They get so irresistibly juicy.  You just have to try it.  And we always serve those perfect meatballs and chicken wings over a big bowl of wide egg noodles, with a ladle of extra sauce.  Get the full recipe on The Nosher (plus the story of how we finally got this recipe written down, instead of trapped in my grandma’s head).  Enjoy!

How does this compare to your family’s sweet and sour meatballs recipe?  I’m dying to know!

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White Wine Cake

An unexpected combination of white wine and cinnamon makes this white wine cake totally addictive. It’s beautiful, ultra-moist, and so easy!

White Wine Cake

One night last week, I was scrolling through Yummly and Pinterest as I was about to fall asleep.  I think it was around 1 or 2AM, which is when I typically do the bulk of my recipe browsing.  Around that time of night I should probably be sleeping because I do have a full time job and therefore need to wake up at a reasonable hour in the morning.  But I just can’t help myself.  I have to recipe browse.  And what am I doing up until 1 or 2 in the morning to begin with?  Cooking, of course.  Because I always come across recipes that I just HAVE to try.  And since I sit in an office all day, when else can I try these recipes besides during the hours of 9 PM and 1 AM?

And why do I come across these recipes?  Because I’m recipe browsing on Pinterest and Yummly.  Hmm, I think I’ve pinpointed the problem here…  It probably would help the cause if I didn’t scroll through Yummly and Pinterest before going to sleep, so then I wouldn’t see all these recipes that I must try.  But where’s the fun in that?  Recipe browsing is a full-on hobby for me.

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