Help with easy Hanukkah dairy dinner ideas

lpinkmountainDecember 7, 2012

Having dear friends over for first night of Hanukkah. He's Jewish, she's not and they come over every year so he can get his Ashkenazi food trip! I'm recovering from the flu so this has to be mostly store bought and easy. So far the menu is as follows, but I sort of want to make a fish dish that is not salmon. I'm thinking haddock. I guess I should just fry it along with the latkes. Kind of overly fried food heavy then though. Any other ideas? I see a lot of menus with meat which means no cheese and crackers and sour cream if I want to be traditional. But maybe I should just do some baked chicken and forget the nod to being kosher since none of us are religious or kosher. I dunno, at my house we never had meat with latkes, but we didn't have fish either, unless you count herring salad which I dislike and I also don't do gefilte fish. Usually I do a more substantial soup like borscht full of veggies but that isn't going to happen this year. My friend likes the matzoh balls which I just make in store bought vegetable bouillon as an appetizer.

So far this is what I have planned. I would appreciate some ideas about maybe doing the chicken or some kind of fish to go along.

Mulled wine and cheese and crackers with crudites and store bought hummus

Vegetable soup with matzoh balls

Homeade applesauce
Sour cream
Coleslaw or spinach salad

Store bought rugelah or some kind of bundt cake or I might spring for a strudel

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I'm having a group over - includes a vegetarian and no milk/meat kosher profile. So it will be latkes, applesauce, regular and jezebel cranberry sauce, salad, simple side veggie (probably steamed broccoli but I'm craving a sweet/sour red cabbage dish), and the main course will be easy peasy blintz casserole (with store bought blintzes).

For dessert - jelly filled donuts aka 'sufganiyot', from the local donut shop!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 8:10PM
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This is affordable, easy and you can assemble it ahead of time.
I decrease the scallops and shrimp - or use the frozen Seafood Blend from Trader Joe's.
Click on the link below - this did not copy & paste easily - sorry.
Hope you feel better!

Nick's Stuffed hake Fillets
Serves 4




Hake fillets or portions, 6 ounces each

Heat a skillet and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the minced carrot, kosher salt and pepper and sauté on medium heat for approximately 5 minutes. Add the clam juice (or fish stock) and cook until the liquid has been reduced by about one fourth. Add the scallions, scallops, and shrimp and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese and allow stuffing mixture to cool.
Pour half of the remaining olive oil into a baking dish to coat the bottom of the dish. Place the 4 fish fillets or portions in the baking dish. Spread the stuffing mixture evenly over the surface of each of the four fillets. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the stuffed fillets. Bake in a preheated over at 400úF for 15 to 20 minutes or until the fish just turns opaque and begins to flake.

1 pound

Sea scallops,chopped

1 pound

Shrimp, chopped

1/2 cup

Olive oil, virgin

1 tsp.

Salt (kosher if available)

1/2 tsp.



Carrot, medium, finely minced

1 cup

Scallions, minced

1/2 cup

Clam juice or fish stock

2 cups

Bread crumbs

1/4 cup

Parmesan cheese, grated

Here is a link that might be useful: Nick's Stuffed Hake Fillets

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 8:18PM
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Well I found a recipe in the Moosewood Low Fat Favorites Cookbook for haddock with garlic dill breadcrumb topping which I think will work with the Eastern European theme of the meal. Baked fish will be easy because I will be busy on top of the stove making the latkes. Not sure if I am even going to be up to making applesauce, I may have to go store bought which I usually dislike. I might have to use up the can of cranberry sauce I bought instead!

So glad I live only 3 blocks from the farm market. I can even buy latkes premade but that is taking it one step too far I think!!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 8:33PM
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Why not have meat? Nothing is kosher and nobody is kosher, so have your cheese and chicken or meat.

Or, I know you said no to salmon, but what about canned salmon salad. Mayo, celery, nuts, hard boiled eggs, etc. You will be frying latkes and that is so time and attention demanding, that I don't see how anyone could pay attention to baked fish or any other attention demanding main.

I am having, hopefully, roast (first seared on the Weber) tenderloin($6.49 a pound today at GFS), latkes made with Simply Potatoes Hash Browns, store bought apple sauce, homemade artisan bread, broccoli steamed and salad. Simply Potatoes is a brand of refrigerated, fresh, hash brown potatoes or other potato styles, ready to cook. We love these latkes.

Dessert will be store bought banana nut bread, pineapple coconut bread and leftover lemon squares.

'Simply Potatoes' Latkes

from Chicago Tribune

1 lb. (I use pkg of 12. oz.)Simply Potatoes hash brown potatoes

1 med. onion, finely diced
2 large eggs
1/3 c flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 t salt, optional
5 T canola oil, or as needed

Mix all ingredients except oil in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Heat oil in a large skillet til hot. Working in batches, drop large spoonfuls of potato mixture into the oil; fry, turning once, until golden brown on both sides. Serve warm with apple sauce or sour cream.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 1:54AM
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Westsider thanks for the tip on the latkes. I just may do them that way! And I was thinking about some kind of fish salad but I really don't have many recipes for stuff like that. We'll see what they have at the market, maybe I can get something already made up.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 11:04AM
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Sometimes we do tuna salad. Tonight, I'm planning on making cholo tikki (like a latke but with Indian spices and garbanzo beans added to the potatoes) in addition to the traditional latkas because my son prefers them and they turn it more into a full meal.

You could make a Quajado, a Sephardic cheese and vegetable casserole, which would take care of adding vegetables as well as providing a protein dish.


For a 9" square, or 8 by 13" baking dish or two 9" round pie plates (I prefer the latter because I think it tastes better with more browned surface).

About 2 pounds of diced or chopped vegetables which should include some leeks or onions

2 tbsp olive oil

About 8 ounces cheese - I like it with crumbled feta, but one can use others chedder, Gouda, Parmesean, kashkavak or a mix.

5 eggs lightly beaten

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cayenne or some black pepper

Optional - 1/4 cup chopped dill

Preheat oven to 350 C and oil the baking dish

Saute the onions/leeks in the oil. Add in the rest of the vegetables and cook a bit. (You could probably microwave them instead - the recipe in Olive Trees and Honey says to add a cup of water, simmer 15 minutes and then drain, but we don't find that step necessary - it hasn't made a difference in the final result.

Combine the vegetables with the rest of the ingredient and put in the baking dish(es).

Bake about 50 minutes until set and golden.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Often I put in some chopped potatoes in addition to the other vegetables, but with potato latkas, I'd skip that. Carrots don't work well in this, IMO - they are a bit too sweet to be right - but most other vegetables can be used.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 6:04PM
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Thanks for the tips. I will be saving this for future Hanukkah dinners! I always do a vegetarian dinner since that's what we mostly are. Last night's dinner party was fairly lame as far as the cooking went, since I had a relapse. Store bought applesauce, (which was good, I found a chunky kind) and they had frozen breaded sole fillets on sale at the store so I took that as a sign and got those. Glad I did because just doing what I ended up doing wiped me out. At least the latkes were homeade, since I could not find the premade hash browns at the store and they were having a special on bagged potatoes. My wonderful gentile BF made the latkes (his first time) so I could focus on our guests. A shout out thank you to Johnlui for gifting me with an industrial sized Cuisinart, making the latke batter using that was a snap! Yay JohnL!

BF insisted we buy some good haddock fillets anyway, so they are in the freezer waiting for me to recover and try one of these recipes someday! I actually liked having fish with the meal but also think that something vegetarian like Cloudswift posted would be delicious, or even a lentil nut loaf. Saving this for next year when hopefully I will not be sick!!

My friends hubby was most happy with the matzoh ball soup! They brought store bought chocolate cheesecake for dessert which was delicious so no hardship there. Also could not get to the wine store, so had mulled cider with my homeade apricot liqueur which was a hit. I made the liqueur two years ago so it was nice to have a laurel to rest on.

Good friends and good company so it was all good! Happy Hanukkah to all!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 2:39PM
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Laurie, that's wonderful. Sounds so delicious and fun. There must be something about making latkes because my Chinese dil (from Shanghai area no less) put them together and spent lots of time frying them, as did my cousin. Two big frying pans going. my dear dil was so wiped out that she fell asleep on the couch.

And my cousin was happy to learn of Simply Potatoes because she has spent a gazillion years grating potatoes in the food processor.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 11:34PM
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