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10 Delicious and Family-Friendly Rosh Hashanah Recipes

10 Delicious and Family-Friendly Rosh Hashanah Recipes

These Rosh Hashanah foods are the perfect way to celebrate the Jewish New Year.

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“Head of a fish” shortbread cookies for Rosh Hashanah!

One of the more ‘out there’ symbolic foods for Rosh Hashanah has to be the head of a fish. Placed on the festive table (although rarely eaten!) it symbolises our desire to be “the head and not the tail” – leaders rather than followers, or maybe thoughtful and considered rather than blindly thrashing about.

In previous years, we’ve bought (kosher) Haribo clown fish and then snipped the tails off with scissors. It’s a fun treat for everyone, and the one time a year that Kipper gets to eat Haribo! I’m sure she will grow up associating jelly sweets with the High Holidays…

This year, I decided to up our game. Our fish heads are still a sweet treat, but it’s a homemade one! And it’s a treat that not only lends itself to teatime snacking, but would also make a fun Rosh Hashanah gift to a friend with a suitable sense of humour! Enter, the “head of a fish” shortbread cookie!

Made from a basic shortbread recipe, these cookies are crisp, flaky, buttery and delicious. The shape is simply a heart, turned sideways – neat, eh? I used a fluted round cutter and the wide end of a piping tip to impress patterns on the cookies before baking, then dusted with edible metallic lustre to highlight their scales after baking. A dab of chocolate for the eyes and the fishes were ready to go!

I’m sure Kipper and her friends are going to love these on Rosh Hashanah!

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Eat Like the Chosen People

The Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest days of the year, lacks the cheap Champagne and confetti of the secular Dec. 31 celebration. But there are actually some similarities. Rosh Hashanah is a time to look back on the past year, reflect on mistakes, and make resolutions for the new year. Then we celebrate with a big meal and lots of wine. Sound familiar?

Since the holiday revolves around the lunar calendar, the dates are slightly different each year. This year, Rosh Hashanah began at sundown on Sept. 4, ushering in the year 5774, and will be celebrated through Sept. 6. Instead of just one day, Rosh Hashanah is the start of the 10-day period known as the High Holy Days, which ends with Yom Kippur, the day of repentance &ndash sort of like Catholic confession, but condensed into one day per year. Jews fast on Yom Kippur as a way to repent for their sins, and then end the day with a traditional feast, which in my East Coast Ashkenazi family included bagels, lox, and kugel, a sweet noodle casserole. You are also required to right the offenses you have committed in the past 12 months by apologizing to and reconciling with the people affected by any wrongdoings. Rosh Hashanah allows everyone to have a second chance &ndash or 10th &ndash and start the year with a clean slate.

Like most Jewish holidays, Rosh Hashanah centers around plenty of food (and wine). The only thing Jews love more than food (and, yep, wine) is symbolism, and Rosh Hashanah has them both. Jews eat apples dipped in honey to signify a sweet new year. There is challah, a rich, braided egg bread, but on Rosh Hashanah the bread is baked in a circle instead of the traditional braid to symbolize the circle of life. The round loaves are also usually sweetened with honey, raisins, or fruit for the holiday. Besides these commonly known symbols, there are other popular foods Jews are encouraged to eat which signify success and health. These items are chosen based on puns for the Aramaic words for the food:

Pomegranates: This tart fruit is traditionally thought to have 613 seeds, the same number of good deeds (mitzvoth) mentioned in the Torah. They are also considered a "new fruit" for the season, so even the food you are eating is "new."

Dates and beets: Besides being sweet, they also represent spiritual roadblocks that should be removed.

Leeks: They signify the hope that enemies will not follow us into the new year.

Gourds: This relative to the squash denotes hearing the good deeds and destroying the bad deeds of the past year. They can be used in cooking or decorative.

Fenugreek: These bittersweet seeds signify an increase in luck.

Fish: Fish symbolize fertility in the new year. Some families serve a fish head to show that each person at the meal is at the "head" of their goals for next year. Gefilte fish is also popular, and slightly more appealing.

The fun comes in creating recipes using these ingredients. From traditional fried leek patties to modern pomegranate braised brisket, Jews incorporate symbolism all over the Rosh Hashanah meal. One of the most traditional items is honey cake, which is sort of the Jewish equivalent to fruitcake. Unless made well, the cake can be dry and unappealing &ndash but it's a Rosh Hashanah essential. Brisket, kugel, sweet side dishes, and apple cake are also very popular.

Rosh Hashanah is about forgiveness, new beginnings, and connecting with your community. Many Jews donate time or money to charity and perform good deeds as a positive start to the year. It is a time to reflect on the past and strengthen relationships for the future. Whether or not you celebrate, these are positive encouragements anyone can follow. L'shanah tovah!

Cinnamon Apple Stuffed Challah

Prep time: 4 hours, 30 min. Includes fermenting (rising) time.

½ cup warm water (100 degrees)

2 eggs for the dough and 1 egg for an egg wash

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided

¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided

2 apples, washed, peeled, and diced into ½ inch pieces (I used Golden Delicious)

1) Whisk yeast and ½ cup of flour with warm water (100 degrees) into a slurry. Let it sit for 10 minutes until puffy.

2) Mix in two eggs, oil, vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ cup sugar, and salt into the yeast until all mixed.

3) Then add the rest of the flour, and mix with your hands into a shaggy ball.

4) Knead dough for about 10 minutes until smooth add more water if it is tough or flour if it is sticky.

5) Put the dough in a clean and warm bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it ferment (rise) in a warm place for one hour until puffy.

6) Peel and dice your apples into ½ inch pieces and mix with 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon sugar.

7) Once dough is ready, divide into three sections and roll each one out into a flat piece on parchment paper. Sprinkle some apples at one end and roll up the long way making sure to avoid air bubbles.

8) Repeat with other dough balls.

9) Braid up the strands starting in the middle, and put your challah on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

10) Cover with plastic wrap and ferment (rise) another hour and a half until it has tripled in size.

12) Make an egg wash with the last egg, use pastry brush to brush it on the loaf, and bake for 35 minutes until golden brown.

Individual Sweet Potato Kugels

2 pounds sweet potatoes, washed and peeled

¼ cup butter, melted and cooled, or margarine

5 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or matzo meal for Passover)

¼ cup scallions, minced, plus more for topping

Greek yogurt or sour cream (optional)

1) Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Prep a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.

2) Using a hand grater or food processor, grate the sweet potatoes and onion. Squeeze out excess water from onions and sweet potatoes using a paper towel and transfer to a bowl.

3) In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, melted butter, flour, salt, pepper, and scallions until mixed well.

4) Add in potato mixture and combine. The mixture should be moist but not soggy.

5) Fill the cupcake liners evenly with the potato mixture.

6) Bake in preheated oven for 45-60 minutes until lightly browned on top and cooked through.

7. Top with Greek yogurt and more scallions!

Amy Kritzer is an Austin-based food writer and recipe developer whose recipes have been featured on Bon Appétit, Daily Candy, The Today Show blog, and more. She challenges herself to put a spin on her Bubbe's traditional Jewish recipes and blogs about her endeavors at What Jew Wanna Eat.


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Instant Pot Tomato Tortellini Soup is the perfect cool weather comfort food. A dump and push recipe, it’s full of flavor and deliciously creamy. The most versatile soup you will ever make!

Pressure Cooker Italian Drip Beef French Dip

Pressure Cooker Italian Drip Beef French Dip is wonderful for large parties, as the meat can be made in advance.


Pair this with Beef Brisket with Wild Mushrooms or Jewish Brisket for a lovely Friday night or Rosh Hashana dinner (not a kosher meal, though! I hasten to add…). Or even Hanukah, though that’s not necessarily a traditional kugel holiday. You could start with Favorite Crispy Potato Pancakes (Latkes).

Other Recipes for the Jewish Holidays:

Like this recipe? Pin it to your favorite board on Pinterest.

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Family Friendly Summer Recipes

  • Watermelon is a summer favorite – we eat it nearly every day, all summer long! I was thrilled to find this low-mess way to cube watermelon! We still slice it into wedges sometimes, because that is fun also, but this way I can buy a watermelon, cube it all at once, and have it ready as a healthy snack whenever we want it. are always popular with my kids – and a great way to sneak in a few ingredients that might be a little tougher to get kids to eat in other formats. These smoothie recipes don’t need any sugar, and they include protein to help keep kids’ blood sugar balanced. takes some advanced planning, but it cooks faster than dried pasta (releasing less heat into your home), and is infinitely more delicious. My four-year-old has discovered that she adores helping with this meal! is another summer treat that my kids love to help make – and very refreshing on hot summer days!

I love getting together with friends for barbecues in the summer, and we often offer to bring treats. Here are a few delicious favorites:

  • This two-ingredient chocolate sauce comes together very quickly, and is absolutely delicious! It is perfect for making hot fudge sundaes, or chocolate dipped treats!
  • If you love chocolate and mousse-type deserts, you will want to try this dessert for chocoholics. It comes together quickly, and is consistently popular at parties.
  • Last but certainly not least, these lemon cookies are the one recipe that my readers are the most enthusiastic about – and my family adores them as well. If you love lemons, this is a must-try recipe!

What are your favorite family-friendly summer recipes?

You can also read other multicultural meal plans in this series and follow our Multicultural Cooking board on Pinterest.

MaryAnne was raised in the United States, Guatemala, France, Bolivia, and Austria. Her first daughter was born in Scotland, and she now lives with her husband and their four children in Silicon Valley, California. You can find MaryAnne writing about creativity, learning, and play at Mama Smiles – Joyful Parenting.


11 Leisurely Weekend Breakfast Recipes My Family of 6 Loves

Skip the cold cereal on weekends and take your time making these hearty, comforting breakfasts instead.

Weekend mornings are my favorite now. With my oldest in fourth grade and my youngest turning five this spring, our kids sleep in. Sort of. (When I say “sleep in,” every parent knows what I mean: they spring into action around 7 a.m., which as any parent also knows, is HUGE! Because for most of their lives, my crew has been committed to a 5:30 a.m. wakeup call. So. #progress.) Plus, there’s less rush in general. Without the fear of being late to school, things slow down. We amble.

In fact, this mama is so relaxed these days that I stay in pajamas through breakfast. I used to jump up and get dressed first thing. Wrestling four little kids into their clothes was an all-hands-on-deck affair, and I always felt like I needed that head start. (Plus, see 5:30 a.m. above.) But about a year ago, my oldest daughter witnessed the breakthrough. “Wow, I didn’t know mommies had pa-jammies too!” Believe it, sister.

So, with more relaxed timing, big weekend breakfasts have become a favorite part of our routine.

Sometimes I take lots of time for a masterpiece like Classic Cinnamon Rolls , a Lattice Bacon Breakfast Pie or my own favorite weekend breakfast from childhood, a Dutch Baby Giant Pancake. My kids love it every bit as much as I did.

But most of the time I’m a cook who loves her shortcuts. Even on weekends.

There are Strawberry Hand Pies that start with a simple store-bought pie crust. Or my Cheater’s Shortcut Pastry Ring that only calls for three ingredients (and you’ll never guess where the pastry comes from!)


Family-Friendly, Brain Healthy!

During the High Holidays, we all have the tendency to overindulge, promising ourselves that tomorrow will be the start of a healthier eating routine. The following dishes from my new book, The Brain Boosting Diet, co-authored with Edward Wein, PhD, are not only family-friendly, they’re also brain-healthy—just what the doctor ordered! They’re perfect for the yamim tovim and are ideal to serve in the sukkah. L’Shanah Tovah U’metukah—wishing you and your family a sweet, healthy, delicious New Year!

Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls

Adapted from The Brain Boosting Diet: Feed Your Memory, by Norene Gilletz and Edward Wein, PhD (Whitecap)

My friend Lela Kornberg used to make stuffed cabbage rolls, but her kids always unrolled the leaves and only ate the meat! This updated version solves that problem. If you use coleslaw mix, it almost disappears in the sauce when cooked. Perfect for fussy eaters.

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic (about 2 teaspoons), minced

1 package (16 oz) coleslaw mix (or 6–8 cups thinly sliced cabbage)

5 cups tomato sauce (preferably low-sodium or no-salt-added)

1/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend

2 tablespoons lemon juice or white vinegar

2 lb lean ground turkey (or lean ground beef, chicken or veal)

1 large egg + 2 egg whites (or 2 large eggs)

1/3 cup uncooked quinoa (see Norene’s Notes)

1/4 cup tomato sauce (preferably low-sodium or no-salt-added)

1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup rolled oats or matzah meal (gluten-free or whole wheat)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a large casserole with nonstick cooking spray.

Layer half the vegetables in the prepared casserole reserve the remaining vegetables.

Combine tomato sauce, Splenda and lemon juice in a medium bowl mix well.

In a large bowl, combine all meatball ingredients and mix lightly. Wet your hands and shape mixture into 40 meatballs, about 1 1/2 inch in diameter, then add to the casserole. Top with the remaining vegetables and bay leaves. Pour sauce over and cover the pan tightly with foil.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Uncover and bake 1/2 hour longer to thicken the sauce. Discard bay leaves before serving.

Norene’s Notes:

Leftover Quinoa? Instead of uncooked quinoa, use 1 cup leftover cooked quinoa in the meatball mixture.

Variation: Substitute rice for quinoa in the meatball mixture.

Just the Meatballs: Omit vegetables. Prepare sauce and meatballs and cook as directed above. Kid-friendly!

Slow Cooker Method: Layer ingredients in the sprayed insert of a 6-quart slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours.

Low & Slow Brisket

Adapted from The Brain Boosting Diet: Feed Your Memory, by Norene Gilletz and Edward Wein, PhD (Whitecap)

Assemble all the ingredients in your slow cooker, plug it in and walk away! There’s usually no need to add water because the onions and meat juices create lots of gravy. Perfect for Shabbat, the major Jewish holidays or any other special occasion.

1 beef brisket (4 lb) (see Norene’s Notes)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 teaspoons minced garlic

1/4 cup apricot preserves (reduced-sugar or all-fruit)

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, wine

Spray a slow cooker insert with nonstick cooking spray. Scatter onions in the bottom of the insert and place brisket on top of the onions.

Season brisket on both sides with salt, pepper and garlic. Smear tomato paste and apricot preserves on both sides and drizzle vinegar over top. Tuck in carrots around the brisket. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Cook brisket on low until tender, about 8–10 hours, depending on your slow cooker. (If you put the brisket into the slow cooker just before going to bed, your house will smell amazing in the morning!) Let cool in pan gravy for 1–2 hours.

Transfer brisket to a cutting board and slice across the grain into 1/4-inch slices (an electric knife works well). Return sliced brisket to the slow cooker insert.

Cook, covered, for about 1 hour on low, until fork-tender. (If you plan to serve this the next day, refrigerate overnight, discard congealed fat, then reheat on low for 1–2 hours.)

Norene’s Notes:

Flat or Fat, Double or Single? Beef brisket is divided into 2 sections. The flat cut has less fat and is usually more expensive than a point brisket, which is much fattier as well as more flavorful. A double brisket (second cut) has a thick layer of fat between the two sections. Ask your butcher to trim the meat, leaving a thin layer of fat.

Fat-Saving Tip: Cook brisket a day in advance and refrigerate. Discard congealed fat before slicing and reheating.

Time-Saving Tip: If your brisket is very large (8–10 lbs), cut it crosswise, creating two smaller briskets (4–5 lbs each). Cook, tightly covered in a large roasting pan, for 3–4 hours, until fork-tender.

Overnight Oven Method: No slow cooker? Cook brisket, tightly covered, in a large roasting pan in a 250°F preheated oven for 8 hours or overnight.

Variation: Instead of apricot preserves, use duck sauce or cranberry sauce.

Black Cod With Tiny Roasted Tomatoes Courtesy of Whitecap

Black Cod With Tiny Roasted Tomatoes

Adapted from The Brain Boosting Diet: Feed Your Memory, by Norene Gilletz and Edward Wein, PhD (Whitecap)

One oven, two pans—this easy and elegant meal is excellent for entertaining. You won’t have to fish for compliments!

Tiny Roasted Tomatoes:

4 cups (about 2 pints) cherry or grape tomatoes

2 cloves garlic (about 1 teaspoon, minced)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 black cod fillets (5 oz each)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cloves garlic (about 1 teaspoon minced)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil + extra for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and a second rack in the middle of the oven.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Add tomatoes and sprinkle with garlic, salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and, using your hands, mix well, coating tomatoes on all sides. Spread out evenly and roast, uncovered, in the lower third of the oven for 6–8 minutes.

Meanwhile, coat a 9×13 inch glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place fish in the prepared dish and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Top with garlic and basil.

Place fish on the middle rack of the oven and bake, along with the tomatoes, for an additional 10–12 minutes. When done, fish will flake when gently pressed with a fork and tomatoes will be tender.

Spoon roasted tomatoes over fish and garnish with additional basil. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Norene’s Notes:

Black Cod, also known as sablefish, has a delicate, silky texture and a rich, buttery flavor, which is why it is sometimes called butterfish. It’s delicious poached, baked or grilled, and goes well with Asian flavors.

Halibut with Tiny Roasted Tomatoes: For a different twist, use halibut fillets instead of black cod. Chilean sea bass also makes a scrumptious substitution.

Meal Deal: For a delicious, nutritious dinner, serve with steamed cauliflower or broccoli florets.

Roasted Rainbow Carrots Courtesy of Whitecap

Roasted Rainbow Carrots

Adapted from The Brain Boosting Diet: Feed Your Memory, by Norene Gilletz and Edward Wein, PhD (Whitecap)

These multihued roasted carrots are a show-stopper at any meal! Heirloom carrots range in color from orange to yellow to red, and even purple. If you can’t find them, feel free to use the standard orange ones. For maximum flavor, choose fresh bunched carrots.

3 bunches heirloom carrots (about 18)

2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup

2 teaspoons dried thyme or rosemary

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Trim tops and ends of carrots, leaving some green. Scrub, rinse well and pat dry with paper towels. Cut carrots lengthwise in halves or quarters, depending on their size.

Spread carrots in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and honey. Sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper toss with your hands to coat.

Roast, uncovered, for 40–45 minutes, or until carrots are tender and caramelized, stirring occasionally. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Norene’s Notes:

Garlic-Roasted Carrots: Instead of thyme, add 3–4 teaspoons minced fresh garlic. If desired, add 1 large red onion, halved and sliced.

Sweet and Tangy Carrots: Add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar or lemon juice. Use dill instead of thyme.

Size Counts: Small-to-medium carrots are best. Large carrots have tough, tasteless, woody cores, and are less sweet.

Norene Gilletz, the author of thirteen kosher cookbooks, is also a food writer, food manufacturer, consultant, spokesperson, cooking instructor, lecturer, cookbook editor and podcaster. Norene lives in Montreal, Canada.


New Recipes for Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah starts Wednesday, September 20th.

Holiday memories for me are redolent with fragrances and flavors that take me back to special moments across the years.

So imagine my reaction when I read the first few lines of “Top 10 Recipes for a Fresh Delicious Year,” written by Merav Levkowitz and Paul Entis.

“Here’s to the haters. The haters of gefilte fish, cloyingly sweet noodle kugel, dry brisket and tzimmes that sits in your stomach from Rosh Hashanah all the way through Yom Kippur.”

Oy. I LOVE gefilte fish. So do our grands. What beats a good noodle kugel? And the brisket my husband makes is never dry.

That said, I acknowledge that some of our recipes are a bit heavy.

So I plowed forward – and was delighted to discover newer versions of the classics that kept much of what I had loved.

The Roasted Carrot and Sweet Potato Tzimmes from Amelia Saltsman, for example, sounds delightful! The meat was never my favorite part. Oranges, lemon, carrots, sweet potatoes, shallots, pitted prunes . . . yum!

Then there’s the Sweet and Spicy Roast Chicken with Carrots, Dates and Pistachios, adapted from a recipe by Melissa Clark. In addition to the ingredients in the name, you’ve got lemon zest and juice, orange zest and juice, mustard, honey, garlic, thyme, and scallions. My favorite part? You whisk most of the ingredients together to make a marinade, add the chicken, let it sit for at least 6 hours, then bake it. At the end, sprinkle on the parsley, scallions, and pistachios.

Of the 10 they suggest, these two will likely be on our menu this year. But check out the others for yourself. From Spinach Ricotta Kugel to Lamb Meatballs with Quinoa and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce to That Rye Nectar, a concoction of fresh lime juice, local honey, rye (of course), orange juice, and orange blossom water.

What are your fave dishes to serve for Rosh Hashanah?

For me, the critical part, regardless of what else we serve, is to set each place with an individual small bowl of honey. Pass the apples and challah. Dunk and enjoy!

For more Rosh Hashanah ideas, see our Rosh Hashanah Pinterest Board.

Looking for a game that is fun for all ages (2 and up) and that teaches about the holiday? Our Rosh Hashanah Bingo is the perfect family-friendly game that teaches all about the symbols of the holiday, while enabling even toddlers to have a fair shot at winning. Available at Amazon free shipping with Prime membership.


Watch the video: Rosh Hashanah 5779 Rabbi Amy Bernstein Sermon (December 2021).