Time. Money. Sanity. Everybody wants to preserve what they have of these three things. In the crunch between Purim and Pesach, we could all use some help in balancing this act so we are not spending time on the wrong things, spending too much money where it could be saved, and losing bits of sanity little by little! Pesach does not equal panic.
Let’s pretend this is a hike in the mountains. What do you pack for the trip? What do you leave behind? The answers to these questions make a difference both in how difficult the hike will be and in how much you will enjoy it. Too much in your bag? Brought the wrong things? It will be more difficult and heavier than necessary. Brought the right tools? Wearing the right clothing for the weather? The hike will be easier and you will enjoy the view, instead of watching your every step because you are wearing the wrong shoes!
In this article, I will attempt to share some of my own survival tips for the hike between Purim and Pesach (at least the cooking part).
In my book Pesach While You Sleep: the easy way to cook ahead for Yom Tov…no Pesach kitchen necessary, I recommend cooking ahead in a small space using slow cookers to cook and freeze basic foods. Using this method, you will make the climb and enjoy the view along the way, whether or not you have a Pesach kitchen.
First of all, clear freezer space. It does not have to be an entire freezer. Do what you can. Work top to bottom. If you can clear one or two of the top shelves, that’s a great start. Next, secure a small table covered with foil in a safe-from-chometz zone. Find (or purchase) your Pesachdike slow cooker (more than one is even better), peeler, serrated knife, and cutting board for Pesach. Prepare a garbage bin. It’s a good time to find a helper, too!
Chop 10 onions. (For a real time-saver, use the pre-chopped onions from the freezer section of the store.) Using a slow cooker liner inside your Pesach slow cooker, cook the onions all in one slow cooker overnight with 2 tablespoons olive oil (or any oil you wish to use that is kosher for Pesach). In the morning, package the cooked onions into 10 snack-sized ziploc bags and freeze for use later in all of your cooking.
If you are equipped to start soups, chickens, meats, or some of the other recipes in my book, go ahead. Now is the time. I have included recipes here that are simple and easy to prepare and will help you get ahead before the pre-Pesach rush.
In the meantime, when someone outside your home asks you what you are up to in your Pesach cleaning, don’t fret. She is really just looking for validation and chizuk. No one is really competing. It doesn’t matter where you are up to vs. where she is up to, and she knows it. We all know what we need to do, and we will each iy”H be sitting at a seder in a few weeks, no matter what route we took. Just turn the subject back to her. Just bless her.
Don’t look in other people’s grocery carts. Bless them. Bless them that they will have all the koach to do whatever they need to do to prepare for the yom tov. Bless them that Hashem will provide them all the money they need to buy the clothing, food, etc. that each of their family members needs this season. This is not a race. This is a hike, and every person is going at their own pace. The view will be beautiful for each one of us.
As R’ Simcha Wasserman said, “Don’t worry what people think of you; worry what you think of other people.”
Take it step by step, prepare your bags properly, hydrate yourself, hold hands with your fellow hikers, and bless Hashem for the view!
Apricot-White Wine Chicken
8 pc. chicken legs
3 frozen garlic cubes
½ sweet onion, chopped
2-3 tsp olive oil
½ cup apricot preserves
1 cup white wine
10 shakes ginger powder
¾-1 tsp salt
3 shakes pepper, generous
Optional: ½ cup dried apricots, chopped (or even dates)
Place chicken into slow cooker. Rub ingredients over chicken. Cook on low overnight in the slow cooker.
Creamy Broccoli Soup
Makes 6-8 servings
1 lb. frozen broccoli, no need to defrost
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 yellow squash, peeled and chunked
1 zucchini, peeled and chunked
2 TBS olive oil
½ small golden potato
¼ cup almond milk
6 garlic frozen cubes or 6 cloves of garlic
½ TBS onion powder
1 ¾ tsp salt
¼ – ½ tsp white pepper
1 bay leaf
½ cup water
Put all ingredients in a slow cooker. Leave it on low 6-8 hours. Remove bay leaf and then blend with an immersion blender. Return the bay leaf, and cook on low an additional 30 minutes to an hour after that. Remove bay leaf before serving. If you make this in a pareve slow cooker, you could add cheese when serving at a dairy meal.
Before and After Chicken Legs
Makes 8-10 servings
8 chicken legs
5 garlic cubes
3 onions, chopped
2-3 TBS duck sauce
4 shakes each of paprika and garlic powder
Black pepper, to taste
Line slow cooker with slow cooker liner (for simple clean-up). Put chicken legs into slow cooker. Mix other ingredients together and rub all over the chicken, wearing vinyl gloves. Cook on low overnight 7-10 hours. Package and freeze with liquid. Reheat covered.
The laundry needs folding
The socks need their pairs.
Shlomo’s cleaning the closet,
Miriam’s doing the chairs.
Chana has an appointment,
Yet I didn’t serve lunch.
Eli wants a ride to Mincha,
It’s the pre-Pesach crunch.
The Pesach to-do list
Is never done.
But one task is crossed off—
It was number one!
Thanks to our pop-up Pesach kitchen
Pesach food cooked like a breeze;
Without “turning over” weeks early,
Making everyone “freeze.”
(Tonight we’re still eating mac ‘n’ cheese.)
Pesach food was slow-cooked,
Frozen, and stashed away.
We’ll make salads and brownies
After kitchen turn-over day.
We can prepare for the seder;
Study emunah, belief,
Since the main food’s all cooked,
What a big relief.
Vacuum the car,
Clear backpacks, dust bookcases
(Plus a trip to the ortho
to fix broken braces.)
Those jobs are still on the list;
No, we are not quite done,
But with food cooked and frozen,
Pesach prep is more fun!
Julie Hauser is the author of, ; , and . Julie Hauser’s books are all on Amazon: . She lives with her husband and children in Detroit, Michigan, and happens to be an occupational therapist by profession.