Plan the Perfect Holiday Menu


While this New Year may look different than years past, and we may not be getting together with extended family, many of us will still prepare and enjoy a holiday meal .  This year, we turned to our community members to help us plan the perfect menu.

Here are some traditional recipes and a few unique adaptations on some classics that will leave your holidays appetizing and your stomachs full. For more recipes and other holiday ideas, go to associated.org/highholidays.

Appetizers

Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Submitted by Linda Elman

Of course, there’s matzah ball soup and gefilte fish, but why not try something a little different? These also make great leftovers for lunch the next day.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground steak
  • 1 lb. ground veal
  • 2 eggs + 1 egg white
  • Jason’s Flavored bread crumbs
  • 5 15-oz cans tomato sauce + 2 cans of water
  • 6 bay leaves
  • ¼ tsp. sour salt approximately
  • 2 cups sugar

Directions:

  1. Place all ground meat into large mixing bowl. Add eggs. Mix well. Add Jason’s flavored bread crumbs until consistency feels like the meatballs would hold together. Be careful not to add too much or your meatballs will be hard.
  1. Pour the sauce and water into a large pot. Add bay leaves. Add sour salt. Turn flame on low. Form walnut-sized meatballs and place gently into sauce. About half-way through adding all meatballs, turn flame up to medium. Add remaining meatballs. Cover pot and bring to low boil, cook 40 minutes.
  1. Add sugar to taste. Add more sour salt to achieve desired sweet-sour flavor, if necessary.

Serve hot over rice.

 

Main Courses

Atlanta Brisket
Submitted by Adam Yosim

A winner everytime. Makes great leftovers, or if your gathering isn’t as big this year, buy a smaller brisket.

Ingredients:

  • 5 lbs fresh beef brisket, trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 bottles (16 ½ oz. each) Coca-Cola (not Diet Coke)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 cups Coca-Cola marinade, reserved from above
  • 1 envelope dry onion soup mix (from a 2-oz. package)
  • 1 can (8 oz.) salt-free tomato sauce
  • ½ cup tomato ketchup
  • 3 large yellow onions, halved lengthwise and each half sliced about 3/8 in. thick
  • 3 large whole bay leaves (preferably fresh)

Directions:

1. Place brisket in large nonreactive roaster with snug-fitting lid (best to use one measuring 15 ½ in. long, 12 in. wide and 4 in. deep). Pour Coca-Cola evenly over brisket, cover and refrigerate 24 hours, turning brisket once or twice in Coca-Cola marinade.

2. When ready to proceed, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lift brisket from roaster and pat dry. Line large fine sieve with coffee filter and set over medium-size bowl. Pour in Coca-Cola marinade and let drip through.

3. Rub brisket well on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat oil in very large (15 in.) heavy skillet about 1 minute over high heat until ripples appear on pan bottom. Add brisket and brown 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Return brisket to roaster, now rinsed and dried.

4. For Gravy: Combine 2 cups filtered Coca-Cola marinade, soup mix, tomato sauce and ketchup and pour over brisket. Scatter sliced onions on top and drop in bay leaves. Note: If you use fresh bay leaves, crinkle them a bit as you drop them into the roaster to release their flavor.

5. Cover roaster, slide into lower third of oven, and braise brisket 4 hours. Check roaster at half time and if liquid seems skimpy add a little more filtered Coca-Cola marinade, or beef broth, or water.

6. Remove roaster from oven and set on trivet on counter. Remove lid and cool brisket at least 30 minutes to allow juices to settle and meat to firm up. Discard bay leaves and remaining Coca-Cola marinade.

7. To serve, lift brisket to cutting board and slice about ¼ in. thick—across the grain and slightly on the bias. Overlap brisket slices on large platter and smother with pan gravy and onions.

 

Apricot Chicken with Almonds
Submitted by Elise Rubenstein

This bright chicken dish is a delightful main attraction to your Rosh Hashanah table.

Ingredients:

  • 4 6-oz skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • ½ tsp. plus 1/8 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper, divided
  • 1/3 cup almonds, sliced
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 Tbsp. whole-grain mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted margarine

Directions:

  1. Put rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a 13 x 9-inch flameproof baking dish (not glass).
  2. Pat chicken dry and sprinkle all  with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, then arrange at least ¼ apart in baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes.
  3. While chicken bakes, toast almonds in small baking pan in oven stirring twice, until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. You can also toast in a frying pan on the stove.
  4. Meanwhile, cook apricot preserves, soy sauce, mustard, margarine and 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until preserves are melted. Pour sauce over chicken and continue to bake until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes more.
  5. Sprinkle the chicken with the almonds, turn on the broiler and broil the chicken for 3 minutes longer. Serve immediately.

 

Noodle Kugel
Submitted by Jessica Bronfein

A holiday staple with this traditional sweet casserole.

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs beaten
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 13-oz can evaporated milk
  • 8-oz cottage cheese
  • 8-oz sour cream
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 8-oz fine noodles, cooked and drained
  • Graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon and sugar to sprinkle on top.

Directions:

  1. Add sugar, evaporated milk, cottage cheese, sour cream and milk to eggs. Pour small amount of liquid mixture into bottom of 13×9 ungreased pan. Add small amount of noodles, stir. Add rest of liquid and noodles and mix around a couple of times.
  2. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 ¼ hours. Half-way through baking period, spoon a combination of graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon and sugar over kugel. Continue baking until done or knife comes out clean.

 

Sides

Roasted Cauliflower & Chickpeas with Mustard and Parsley
Submitted by Wendy Miller

Try this delicious recipe. Perfect for the holidays and any other day of the year.

Ingredients:

  • 1 14-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and dried
  • 1 head of cauliflower, outer leaves removed and discarded, cut into bite-sized florets
  • 3 Tbsp. plus 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. seeded mustard (i.e., grainy mustard)
  • 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and set the rack in the middle.
  2. Toss chickpeas and cauliflower together in a large roasting pan with 3 tablespoons olive oil and a big pinch of salt. Roast, stirring now and then, until everything is dark brown and the cauliflower is quite soft, about 45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together mustards, vinegar and 1/4 cup of olive oil with a big pinch of salt and a few healthy grinds of black pepper. While the chickpeas and cauliflower are warm, toss them with the mustard dressing and the parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Desserts

Taiglach
Submitted by Amy Pollokoff

This Ashkenazi Jewish treat is filled with sweetness for the holiday season.

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • Raisins

Syrup:

  • 3 cups honey
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. ginger
  • 1 cup boiling water (for after the taiglach is finished cooking)

Directions:

  1. Get syrup slowly cooking.
  2. Mix dough in Cuisinart or bread machine.

If you make it in a bread machine you can skip the next step.

  1. Transfer the dough to a floured board. Knead well for 2 minutes. Cover with a damp cloth and let stand for 30 minutes.
  2. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Roll each ball into long sausage about 1.5 cm thick.

Cut pieces the size of a walnut and roll a raisin in the middle.

  1. Set aside on floured parchment paper until all balls are finished. Drop into boiling honey and boil uncovered for 10 minutes. Reduce to a simmer, cover pot and cook for approximately 20 minutes.
  2. Once golden brown remove from heat and add 1 C of boiling water. Pot will bubble. Set aside and cool.

Store in plastic container and turn every few days.

 

Gluten-Free Apple Tart
Submitted by Sarah Rovin

What’s Rosh Hashanah without apples? This is a new twist on an apple tart and is gluten free and easily made vegan/dairy free, too (just use coconut oil instead of butter).

Ingredients:

  • Almond-oat crust
  • 1 cup firmly packed almond flour
  • 1 cup oat flour* (certified gluten-free if necessary)
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup melted butter or coconut oil
  • 3 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • Apple filling
  • 2 large Honeycrisp or 3 medium Granny Smith apples (about 1 ¼ pounds)
  • 3 Tbsp. maple syrup, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon, plus more for dusting if you’d like

Directions:

  1. To prepare the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a 9″ tart pan (even if your pan is non-stick). In a medium mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, oat flour and salt. Stir to combine. Drizzle in the butter and maple syrup. Stir until the mixture is moistened throughout.
  2. Dump the mixture onto the prepared tart pan. Press the mixture evenly across the base, then use the heel of your palm to press it up the sides as well. Use your fingers to try to make the dough along the sides even in height and depth. Prick the base of the crust all over with a fork to prevent it from bubbling up.
  3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until it’s lightly firm to the touch and just starting to turn golden at the edges. Set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare filling: Peel the apples and cut them into slices ⅛ to ¼″ thick. Transfer the slices to a medium mixing bowl and add just 1 Tbsp. of the maple syrup, and the lemon juice and cinnamon. Toss until the mixture is evenly distributed.
  5.  the apple slices across the base however you’d like, overlapping them as much as possible (I tried to arrange mine like a rose and had a few apple slices left over). Reserve the maple syrup/lemon mixture at the bottom of the bowl for brushing the apples later.
  6. Bake the tart for 25 minutes. Pull it out of the oven and gently brush the remaining maple syrup/lemon mixture over the apples (it’s fine if you push some of the slices down in the process).
  7. Return the tart to the oven and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the apples are very tender, and the crust is deeply golden around the edges. While the tart is still hot, gently brush the remaining 2 Tbsp. maple syrup over the apples.
  8. Let the tart cool for at least 15 minutes. If you’d like, sift or sprinkle a little extra cinnamon over the top. If you used a tart pan with a removable bottom, remove the sides. Use a sharp chef’s nice to slice the tart into even wedges and serve.

For more holiday recipes, please visit associated.org/highholidays.

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