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Passover - what I can make ahead or freeze?

This year the first Seder falls on a Monday night, the second on a Tuesday and I work full time. Any tips/recipes for items I can make ahead or freeze? I am planning to make my chicken soup and matzo balls on Sunday as well as brisket, but looking for baked goods, kugels, vegetables, etc. that can be made ahead or frozen. Planning a brisket for one night and a turkey for the second. Thanks!

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  1. Glad to see the brisket is on the list for the freezer. I mde a mistake several years ago the result of which made for the most tender brisket I ever made. It has been repeated every year and is now Standard Operating Procedure.

    I usually braise for 3.5-4 hours in total. My mistake one year was that i removed from the oven too soon and started to slice. This was not good. As I stared at the meat I decided to continu slicing place back in the juices and then back in the oven. So my SOP since then is to remove/slice/return one hour before the totla time.

    Then I place the slices and juices in freezer bags (now i use the Foodsaver) and into the freezer. Upon defrosting and reheating the meat is stick your tongue through it tender.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jfood

      Thanks! I love my FoodSaver too. I make 4 doz matzo balls at a time, freeze them individually on cookie sheets and pop into FoodSaver bags to freeze. The great thing is you can access the ones you want and re-seal the bag and pop back in freezer. Anyone know if you can freeze Passover noodles? My mother taught me to make these using potato starch, eggs, and water, fry like blintzes or crepes and slice into noodles. We serve these with beef soup.

    2. I think an apple crisp would freeze ok- it's basically a cobbler. Also, cheesecake would probably do ok, but I've never done it. As for cookies, make the dough & freeze in balls, then just bake them during dinner. As for veggies, I would just steam some nothing fancy, as they're always best fresh.

      oh, and tzimmes could be made ahead. Also matzah toffee & mandle bread work well.

      1. Potato kugel freezes well, as does the standard passover sponge cake. And my new favorite, matzo crunch, is fine made a day or two ahead.

        2 Replies
        1. re: vicarious

          Cheesecake usually freezes fine--just thaw in the refrigerator. I'm always on the look-out for something new--what is 'matzo crunch'?

          1. re: medford

            Here's the link for the matzo crunch recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...
            It was discussed on this board last year.

        2. These Martha Stewart macaroons are unbelieveably easy and they freeze well. Just take them out of the freezer on the morning of the seder and they will be in great shape.

          They have become a staple in my house for our seders.


          1. Haroset will freeze well. Gefilte fish too. Any nut torte will freeze.

            1. I just tried making homemade macaroons last year, and I'll never go back - they can be frozen.

              My trick is asking people to bring the simple things like a veggie, fruit, salad - that way I can focus on the big stuff that can mostly be done ahead of time. Let them worry about the fresh stuff!! :)

              1. Diane,

                In another post you said you had a great brisket recipe that used beer...can you share that recipe with me? This is the first brisket I will be making and sadly, I don't have my father's recipe (he recently passed away) to go by since he knew it by heart and never wrote it down for me.


                2 Replies
                1. re: careri

                  Sure, this is an adaptation of the Joan Nathan brisket recipe. She has demonstrated this on TV in various cooking shows. We don't keep kosher, but eliminate the beer for Passover as this ingredient is definitely not kosher for Passover and you would not want to offend anyone. I buy my brisket at Sam's Club or Costco and go for a "first cut brisket". I allow 3/4 lb. per person, because of the shrinkage, and this always gives some leftovers too.

                  4-6 lb. first cut brisket
                  2 large onions, chopped
                  3-4 celery ribs, most especially inner leaves chopped
                  1 12 oz. beer, dark is better, if you have regular, that's OK
                  1 jar Bennett's chili sauce
                  1/4 cup red wine vinegar
                  1/3 cup brown sugar
                  salt, pepper, garlic to taste

                  I use large turkey roast, line with heavy duty alum foil for easy clean up and plenty hanging on sides. Layer half of onions and celery on bottom. Lay down brisk on top, fat side up. Season heavily with salt (Lawry's), pepper and plenty of chopped garlic. In quart glass measuring cup, add chili sauce, bottle from sauce rinsed out with water, beer, sugar and vinegar. Microwave for 2-3 minutes to dissolve everything, stirring well. Pour mixture over brisket and tightly seal aluminum foil. Place in 300F oven for 1 hr/lb (4 lb. roast = 4 hours). When finished cooking, open foil and let cool. Refrigerate, preferably overnight. The next day, remove congealed fat, trim fat off brisket. This is important - slice very thinly, I use electric knife, against grain. I often make this for 3 people, use FoodSaver to make freezer bags. If you do this, you can boil/heat packages in hot water, microwave or re-heat in oven. We like our sauce "straight" and chunky, but I suppose you could puree and make smooth sauce. Enjoy!

                2. Chicken soup with matza balls also freezes well -

                  1. I buy the A and B frozen sweet gefilte fish. A friend of mine several years ago from the Orthodox community suggest that I try and have been cooking it every since. The Lubavitch commiunity has a beautiful cook book for Passover, The receipes are simply and very good. You might be able to find other simple and tasty receipes some of the Jewish sites. They usually have traditional foods for each holiday.

                    1. My Tante Roshi always made gefilte chicken for me at Passover. Alas, she has been gone for several years and I never got her recipe. Anyone know how to make this? Essentially, it was the same as gefilte fish but more like chicken quennelles.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Diane in Bexley

                        Diane, perhaps try posting that request on the Kosher board, someone who checks there might have heard of it. (although I guess you'd have to ask about it, rather than the recipe at first or the question will probably be moved to this board)

                      2. what do you think about those gefilte fish logs

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: karins

                          If you mean the frozen gefilte fish logs, I've tried them and they are significantly better than anything in a jar, but not quite as good as home made. They come regular and sweetened, depending on your family's favorites. Oddly, our family usually like the regular, but prefer the sweetened gefilte fish in the logs.

                          1. re: chicgail

                            do you have a recipe for homemade gefilte fish that you can share

                            1. re: karins

                              Karins, I make Faye Levy's recipe but at work now and do not have the book. Here is the one I found - sound a bit long but probably very similar.



                            2. re: chicgail

                              I've always made gefilte fish from scratch, but unfortunately this year I was not able to get the fish - something about a fish shortage? I've purchased two frozen fish logs (Raskin's) and read the recipe. It also says that I can shape into balls and cook. Have you ever shaped into the ball? Any good hints?

                          2. I don't make homemade gefilte fish, but what I do make is a homemade loaf type dish out of gefilte fish & it is really good. I actually don't like gefilte fish from the jar as is, but really like the loaf dish, go figure!

                            The Kosher Palette has a recipe for the Ultimate Handmade Gefilte Fish

                            1. Any great GLUTEN-FREE freezable dessert for Passover recipe? Thanks for any help!

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: sjsm

                                This is not freezeable, you could make it Sunday and refrigerate. I have a recipe for a flourless chocolate cake that is basically melted butter (margarine), eggs and 1 lb of good chocolate. If you are interested, I can post the recipe tonight when I am home.

                                1. re: sjsm

                                  I've never frozen a flourless chocolate cake, but I think it'd be fine. Chocolate mousse isn't freezable, but keeps well in the fridge for several days. There are many ground-almond-based dessert recipes out there, most of which are freezable and Passover-friendly; my favorite is an Italian almond cookie, ricciarelli di Siena, which keeps very well in the freezer.

                                  Ricciarelli di Siena:

                                  2 egg whites
                                  dash salt
                                  1 + 1/4 c. granulated sugar, divided
                                  freshly grated rind of 1 orange
                                  1 tsp almond extract
                                  1 tsp vanilla extract
                                  10 oz finely chopped blanched almonds (I use ground almonds instead)
                                  1/4 c. flour (not on Passover), matzoh cake meal (not gluten-free), or potato starch (GF)
                                  confectioner's sugar (optional)

                                  Beat egg whites with salt until stiff & dry. Gradually
                                  add 1 cup sugar and beat to marshmallow consistency.
                                  Add orange rind and extracts. Last, add almonds. Mix
                                  until mixture is a fairly hard paste.

                                  Combine flour/cake meal/potato starch with 1/4 cup sugar. Generously grease a
                                  baking sheet and sprinkle with flour
                                  and sugar mixture. Divide almond paste into 24 equal
                                  parts and shape each into a diamond. Place 2" apart
                                  and bake at 350F for 12-13 minutes.

                                  Remove from oven and (optional) sprinkle with
                                  confectioner's sugar while still hot.

                                  1. re: sjsm

                                    I have a gluten free Passover cookie recipe posted on recipezaar

                                    I haven't tried freezing them, but that would probably work. They keep several days in an airtight plastic storage bag.

                                    I make these almost every year. They are similar to macaroons, but quicker since you don't beat the egg whites. Have a great chewy texture. You can leave out the chocolate chips if you want, but as a chocoholic, I advise against that.

                                    I assume you're looking for gluten free for diet reasons, but, trust me, when it comes to Passover desserts, you aren't missing much. I find most of the stuff made with matzo cake meal pretty awful.

                                    1. re: sjsm

                                      I just finished baking the cake part of this and as soon as it's cool, I'll make the cream filling and freeze. This is my family's absolute favourite Passover dessert which, for reasons I cannot reveal in polite company, we call Ferret Roll. I always make a double recipe of it on a large sheet pan. It freezes and defrosts - fully cream-filled - absolutely perfectly. If you don't want to use dairy, you can sub non-dairy whipped stuff for the cream.

                                      Passover Banana Cream Roll (aka Ferret Roll)

                                      6 eggs, separated
                                      1 large banana, mashed
                                      1/2 cup finely ground walnuts
                                      1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
                                      1 cup whipping cream
                                      2 tbsp. icing sugar
                                      1 tbsp. instant coffee powder

                                      Preheat the oven to 325o F. Line a 10 x 15 x 1-inch jelly roll pan with baking parchment, and grease it lightly.

                                      In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer beat the egg whites until foamy. Gradually beat in half of the sugar, and continue beating until it forms stiff, glossy peaks.

                                      In another mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with the remaining half of the sugar until thickened and light yellow in colour – about 5 minutes. Beat in the mashed banana and the ground walnuts until the mixture is combined. Now very gently fold in the stiffly-beaten egg whites, mixing just until most of the egg whites have been incorporated. Don't over-mix or you will deflate the batter – it's better to leave a few white streaks if you're not sure. This cake is, essentially, just a big flat souffle.

                                      Spread batter evenly in the prepared baking pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until the cake is set but not dry. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Meanwhile, spread a clean dish towel out on a flat surface and sprinkle lightly with a bit of granulated sugar. Carefully invert the cake onto the towel, loosening the edges so that it falls out of the pan. Peel off the paper, then gently roll the cake up – in the towel – and leave it to cool completely. (If you want the cake to have a neat edge, trim off the baked edges of the cake before rolling - it’ll roll easier and look nicer.)

                                      In a bowl with an electric mixer, whip the cream with the icing sugar and the instant coffee until thick. Unroll the cooled cake, spread evenly with the whipped cream, and re-roll it (without the towel this time!). At this point, you can wrap it tightly in saran or foil and freeze.

                                      A couple of hours before serving, remove from the freezer and let the roll defrost (still wrapped – this keeps moisture from condensing on the cake surface) at room temperature.

                                      Unwrap, place on a serving plate and dust the top lightly with icing sugar just before serving.

                                      Makes about 10 servings.

                                    2. The week before Passover we make our chicken soup early, refrigerate the broth and defat it, and then freeze it. We use whole chickens, cut into parts to make the broth. The breasts are shredded and frozen separate from the broth and we eat the dark meat parts. Matzah balls are made separately, frozen on cookie sheets, bagged and stored in the freezer til used. The day before the seder we defrost the broth and shredded chicken breasts, cook the veggies (onions, carrots, parsnips, celery, parsley) in the broth, put the shredded chicken in after the veggies are fully cooked and refrigerate. before the seder we reheat the soup with the defrosted matzah balls matzah balls and serve. If you cook the veggies in the soup before freezing they get mushy. The shredded chicken gets tough if recooked as long as the veggies take to cook.

                                      8 Replies
                                      1. re: Burt

                                        Thanks Burt! I have been making my own chicken soup for years. I buy whole chicken and cut up myself. The soup gets backs, wings, and pulkes, I save the thighs and breasts in plastic bags for another purpose. I use veggies like parsley, parsnips (great secret ingredient!), fresh dill, onions, carrots and celery and discard after cooking 4-6 hours. I cook up separate fresh veggies if I am serving as soup (not using as stock for another purpose). We don't like pieces of chicken in our soup, so after such long cooking, there isn't much left but bones and they get strained out as well.

                                        My favorite matzo balls also have chopped dill as a secret ingredient and some club soda or seltzer water to give them a bit of a lift. Planning to make 4 dozen this coming Sunday.

                                        1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                          Hi Diane,

                                          What is your recipe for matzo balls? Thanks

                                          1. re: texfeline

                                            T, I just made 2 dozen this past weekend and froze them individually on cookie sheets and then stuck them in big plastic bag:

                                            8 eggs

                                            1/2 cup oil (not olive)

                                            1/2 cup seltzer or club soda

                                            2 cups matzo meal

                                            1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp white pepper

                                            2 T chopped dill (dried is fine, fresh tastes better)

                                            Whip eggs, oil, water, and seasonings & dill. Mix in matzo meal with wooden spoon, stir well to remove any lumps. Refrigerate bowl for 1 hour. Bring large 8 quart soup pot filled 3/4 with water to boil and add 1 T salt. Drop in matzo balls by rounded tablesoons (I get about 25-30).

                                            Simmer matzo balls covered about 30 minutes, turning them over after about 15 minutes. If you freeze them, only cook about 20-25 min. Test one with wooden toothpick, it should come out clean when fully cooked.

                                            1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                              Do you think I can freeze zucchini kugel ahead of time? I use this recipe:

                                              5 zucchini
                                              1 onion
                                              6 eggs
                                              1 cup potato starch
                                              1 tbsp. sugar
                                              1 tsp. salt
                                              1/3 cup oil
                                              3 tsp. baking powder

                                              Preheat oil (pour into roasting pan and put in oven as it preheats).

                                              Grate squash and onions. Add remaining ingredients.

                                              Add hot oil to batter. Bake at 350°F for 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 hours.

                                              Maybe if I cook half way, leave out the oil and freeze; defrost a day before, and then pour oil on top and cook through? Any thoughts? Just too much to do if I don;t do anything ahead of time...

                                              oh, I use matzah meal instead of potato starch, if that matters when considering freezing it and BTW, this recipe is sooooooooo delicious!!!!!!! It comes from Source: Rabbi Blumenkrantz's, z'l, Pesach Guide and Serves: 6.


                                              1. re: Jeb123

                                                I have tried freezing zucchini kugel and it gets watery.

                                                  1. re: 4greatkds

                                                    oh no! Thanks for the heads up. Do you think a cheese and noodel kugel would freeze well?

                                                1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                                  Does anyone have a GF version of matzo ball recipe?