It's always a little weird that there's so much cooking involved in a Fast Day. And yet there is So Much Cooking to do. And it always makes me nervous - make chicken soup and everyone might wind up extra thirsty the next day. Boil some chicken and no one wants to eat it.
So this year, I moved away from the very traditional Jewish foods, just to see what would happen. We haven't eaten yet, but so far, it's been the simplest erev Yom Kippur meal I've ever made. You can prep the entire meal in way less than an hour. No photos today, we're cooking in a rush. Don't worry, we'll all just use our imaginations.
I'll show you:
Crockpot Vegetable-Lentil Soup
Baked Chicken and Brown Rice
Sauteed mushrooms and onions
Let's start at the beginning: challah. I pulled that out of the freezer. If you happen to not have any challah in the freezer, I'd go pick some up at the store. Today's not the day to start pulling out the kitchen-aid. Today's the day to figure out what you're going to do with the kids all day tomorrow. (Good idea: visit that secret closet in the attic and take a look at what hidden toys you can pull out for the day.)
Next, set up the vegetable soup in the crockpot. I just put mine up at about 8am. Cooked on high for 5 hours, it should be ready around 1pm, a great time to start the serious erev Yom Kippur snacking - and while stuffing your face with handfuls of chocolate chips from the pantry sounds amazing, it's probably not the best way to start off a fast. A bowl of fiber-full soup is probably a better idea. You can have the chocolate chips after that bowl of soup.
Here's the how-to:
5 small onions, 3 of them chopped and 2 of them sliced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 cup lentils
3 red potatoes, washed and cubed
1 zucchini, washed and sliced
2 parsnips, peeled and diced
8 ounces mushrooms, pre-sliced
5 cups water
a few shakes of Mrs. Dash's salt-free soup mix or you can use whatever favorite spices you have on hand.
Put all the ingredients into the crockpot - EXCEPT for the two onions you sliced . Cover and set it on high. Come back five hours later and have soup. The whole soup doesn't take more than 10 minutes to put together - these are all easy chop vegetables.
Baked Chicken and Brown Rice
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Pour 1 cup of instant brown rice into the bottom of a 9x13 pan.
Open the package of chicken - I used a chicken already cut into 1/8ths.
Rinse the chicken and remove the skin from the chicken pieces. A handy little tip: If you hold a paper towel in each hand and grip the chicken with one paper-toweled hand and pull the skin off with the other paper-toweled hand, it comes off quite easily. (And just an aside, I totally threw up in my mouth a little while typing that. If you know me at all, you know that touching, looking at and/or smelling raw chicken makes me gag, but I do it anyway. Mommies do so much for their families. Go us.)
Place the chicken on top of the rice. Wash your hands super-well. Pour a small amount of olive oil onto a (new) paper towel and rub it over the chicken. Sprinkle some garlic powder on top of the chicken. Next, pour enough cold water over the rice so that the water is visible through the rice. It might seem like a lot of water, but the rice will absorb it all.
Cover the pan with foil and place into the oven for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, uncover the pan and let the chicken cook for another 15 minutes or until it's slightly browned and done on the inside.
Minutes 20-26 (includes some standing around)
Sauteed onions and mushrooms
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan and add in the sliced onions - remember when you sliced those two extra onions before? Now is when you save time because you prepped all your onions at once.
Saute the onions for two minutes or until they start to get soft. Add in 2 containers of already sliced mushrooms (timesaver!). Saute the mushrooms and onions until everything in the pan is browned and soft and much of the liquid has evaporated. Normally, I would add in some frozen spinach, but many of the people who live in my house don't like spinach and I'm not in the mood to fight today.
The best part of these muffins - they're clean. I mean, except for the challah, so far all these recipes have been clean, but I feel like it's easy to make clean chicken and vegetables. Muffins, of any kind, are different.
The original recipe for these came from the back of the Indian Head brand cornmeal container.
Here's the new one.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees (and lookee, the chicken is already in the oven on 400 degrees!)
In a large bowl, combine the following:
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup honey
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup oil
2/3 cup pareve milk - I used unsweetened almond milk. You can also use soy milk or rice milk.
Mix all by hand - remember, no kitchen aid today.
Pour into a greased 12-cup muffin tin. You can also use paper muffin liners if you don't want to have to work so hard cleaning the muffin tin later.
Bake for 18 minutes - I checked them after 16 minutes and they were just about done then but my oven is a little weird.
These can also be made in a mini-muffin pan.
A fruit salad in three minutes? Yup.
Wash some green grapes.
Wash some purple grapes.
Mix them up in a bowl and look at how pretty they are together.
Wash one container of strawberries.
Cut the stems off of the strawberries, slice them in half and mix them in with the grapes.
Warning: these are not clean eating brownies, but we'll all be okay.
Open box of Duncan Hines.
Follow the directions and bake.
Lick the spoon when no one is looking.
Clean up the kitchen, wash the dishes and drink a large glass of water. You haven't been drinking for the past hour, you're probably dehydrated. Finish your glass of water and have another - don't forget, you're prepping yourself for a fast.
Take five minutes for yourself. Sit down in your now clean kitchen which smells awesome from all the yummy food cooking in the oven and the crockpot and think. Just sit and think about how your year went, and send up a big Thank You for all the goodness in your life.
Wishing you and your families a Gmar Chatima Tovah, and all the health and happiness and good things that life has to offer. Fast well!
Are you a Mom?
Of course you are,
your shirt is dirty :)