Some of the simplest and quickest recipes ever. These easy dishes will get your cooking done in a flash and give you time to enjoy in the sukkah. My family likes soup in the sukkah so I start almost every meal with a flavorful soup like one of these. I serve extra special meats like lamb or ribs, that are super soft from slow cooking and rustic home-style desserts that are best served warm or topped with pareve or regular ice cream. Chag Sameach!

Spiced Pumpkin Soup

Serves 5, can be doubled

Feel free to use cubed butternut squash or sweet potatoes in this recipe too. It's luscious and smooth with a hint of spice from the ginger and red chili.

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 small red chile, seeded and finely chopped, or ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper. optional
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (28 ounce) can pumpkin
  • 2 ½ cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • Garnish: optional, pareve cream or tofutti sour cream

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for about 4 minutes, until slightly softened. Add the ginger, chile, cilantro, bay leaf, and pumpkin and cook for another 3 minutes.

Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Add pumpkin, and simmer for 15 minutes (if using butternut squash, add about 3 cups cubes of squash and cook for 25 minutes). Remove from the heat and take out the bay leaf, and let cool slightly.

With an immersion blender, process until smooth. Return the mixture to the pan and season to taste with salt and pepper. Reheat gently, stirring. Remove from the heat and pour into warmed soup bowls. Garnish each one with a swirl of pareve cream or pareve tofutti sour cream.

Super Simple Healthy Zucchini Soup

Photo by the Cozy Cook

Serves 6 - 8

I make this all winter and usually for the second night of Yom tov when we all need a lighter meal. It has a nice green color and wonderful flavor.

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
  • 6 zucchinis, chopped in chunks
  • 1 large potato, peeled and chopped
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon dill
  • 1 ½ teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat oil in large sauté pan. Add onions, garlic, zucchinis, and potato and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add stock, dill, red wine vinegar and cornstarch dissolved in water and simmer for 30 minutes. When cool, use an immersion blender or a food processor to blend until smooth. Add wine, salt and pepper, bring to a boil and cook gently for 4 more minutes. Serve warm. Doubles and freezes well.

Fall off the Bone Lamb

Serves 6 - 8

Lamb is decadent and special for Yom Tov. This one is easy and divine.

  • 1 (4 – 6 lb) boneless lamb (I use the breast or shoulder)
  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle white wine
  • 2 heads of garlic, broken apart but not peeled
  • 15 large sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 15 large sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 bay leaves

Preheat the oven to 300° F.

Rub the lamb all over with olive oil and season all over with salt and pepper. Heat a very large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it's hot. Add the lamb and sear on all sides for about 12 minutes, until it's browned all over. Remove the lamb to a plate.

Add the wine and 2 cups of water to the pan and cook for a minute or two, scraping up all the brown bits in the bottom. Add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves and the lamb on top. Place the lid on the pot and bake in the oven for 4 hours, basting occasionally. (If you don't have a lid, you can cover it tightly with 2 layers of aluminum foil.)

Remove the lamb to a plate, cover it tightly with foil and allow it to rest. Strain the sauce into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes to reduce. The lamb will be too tender to slice, scoop it and serve with pan juices.

Super Simple Semi-Homemade Succulent Ribs

Serves 6

Yes, store bought sauces help in this recipe! I know it's cheating and basically against everything I teach, but sometimes….sometimes, it's okay to get some extra help. I make these ahead of time and freeze them, and that helps soften the meat too.

  • 4 lbs. beef ribs on the bone
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 jar Mikee brand rib sauce
  • 1 Jar Mikee brand Garlic stir fry sauce

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

In a large roasting pan pour the rib sauce on the bottom of the pan. Put the ribs on top of the sauce, then the onions on top of the ribs. Sprinkle with the garlic powder, then the brown sugar. Pour the garlic stir-fry on top. Cover tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 2 ½ hours. Cool and then freeze (at least overnight). Before defrosting, remove fat layer. Reheat and serve.

** These are softer and more delicious after freezing so make them ahead of time. Also, the fat is much easier to remove by freezing them.

Honey, Fig and Shallot Chicken

Photo and food Stylist: Randy Mon

  • Honey, shallots, and melted garlic, need I say more?
  • Serves 4, can be doubled
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 chicken, cut in 1/8’s
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large shallots, sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 10 figs, stems trimmed, halved

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a small bowl, whisk ¼ cup water, vinegar, and cornstarch. Whisk in honey and set aside. Sprinkle chicken on both sides with ¾ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.

In a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat. Brown chicken, skin side down for about 8 minutes. Turnover and brown on the other side for 3 more minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.

Discard all but 2 tablespoons fat from the pan and return it to moderate heat. Add shallots and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add cornstarch mixture, oregano, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook until mixture bubbles, about 2 minutes and is slightly thickened. Return chicken to pan, skin side up and add figs to pan too. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, until figs are soft and chicken is cooked through.

Serve chicken with sauce, figs and a sprinkle of fresh oregano or parsley.

Mississippi Mud Cake

Serves 10

Rich chocolate and gooey marshmallows make this popular with kids and adults alike.

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound unsalted margarine
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup pareve milk plus 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 ounces mini marshmallows

For the frosting:

  • 1/4 pound unsalted margarine
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup pareve milk plus 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 (16 ounce) box confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts, such as pecans or walnuts, lightly toasted

Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 9 by 13-inch cake pan.

Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt into a medium mixing bowl.

Place the margarine in a small saucepan and when melted, add the cocoa and water and bring to a boil. Add the boiling cocoa mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Add the pareve milk and white vinegar, eggs, and vanilla and stir until smooth. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Sprinkle the marshmallows over the cooled cake.

For the frosting: Melt margarine in a medium saucepan, add the cocoa powder and pareve milk and white vinegar, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt and stir until very smooth. Pour the hot icing over the marshmallows on the hot cake and sprinkle with the nuts. Let cool to lukewarm before serving. Cake is best served warm or at room temperature.

Cast Iron Skillet Brookie

Photo by Chay Berger

Serves 8 - 12

Rustic, scoopable, fun, and totally decadent, this dessert will make a fantastic ending to any meal. Kids and adults will enjoy finding their favorite part; the crunchy, crispy crust, or the rich, gooey, chocolatey center. Serve this warm, even right out of the oven with ice cream dolloped in the center.

  • ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 7 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, plus additional for greasing skillet
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 8 chunks of store-bought frozen cookie dough, slightly defrosted
  • Vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl and set aside. Heat a medium saucepan over low heat. Add chocolate, butter, and oil and cook until melted and smooth, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool slightly, then add eggs, brown sugar, sugar, and vanilla. Stir until smooth and incorporated. Add flour and stir until just combined.

Grease a 10-inch cast iron skillet with a little melted butter. Pour batter into skillet and spread evenly. Gently press cookie dough pieces into brownie batter, leaving space between cookies.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until sides are set and lightly toasted but the center seems moist. A tester should have moist crumbs but not wet batter. Cool slightly so the cast iron can be handled. Scoop and serve with ice cream dolloped into center.

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