Healthy and Kosher Recipes for Back-to-School Season – Tricks and Tips

Healthy and Kosher Recipes for Back-to-School Season

This time of year is filled with possibility and activity.

One way to make the hectic fall easier is with yummy and easy comfort foods, and some family togetherness to boot.

“This time of year brings so many different emotions,” Danny Corsun, founder of the Culinary Judaics Academy online learning platform, told the Journal. “The sadness of saying goodbye to the summer is mixed with the excitement of the new school year. The [fall] also brings with it the many Jewish holidays on the horizon, and the family and friends we get to joyfully (and solemnly) celebrate and eat great food with.”

Whatever the season, Corsun’s recipe for one-pot pasta is a great and super easy weekday meal that does not make a huge mess. 

CJA’s One Pot Pasta

12 ounces pasta (your choice –
linguine works great)
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes,
with juice
3 cups quartered cherry tomatoes
1 large sweet onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
3 large sprigs basil, chopped
4 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
(plus a bit for garnish)

  • In a large stock pot, over medium-high heat, add in olive oil and then saute onions, cherry tomatoes, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper for 3 to 4 minutes. Add in garlic and saute for an additional minute. Then add the can of diced tomatoes and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Once the stock is boiling, add pasta, stirring until submerged.
  • Cover pot and reduce to medium-low heat; it should be a simmer. Keep the pot covered and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every two minutes or so. Cook until the liquid has reduced by 3/4 and created its own sauce.
  • Season as necessary with additional salt and pepper, stirring pasta several times to distribute the liquid in the bottom of the pot. Add parmesan cheese and stir to thicken remaining liquid. Serve garnished with roughly chopped basil, additional parmesan cheese and some crusty garlic bread.

“Great flavors come together in just one pot for a delicious meal that young and old alike will love,” Corsun said. “Enjoy!”

“When my kids were growing up, I would always put out plates of cut-up vegetables, such as cucumbers, carrots, celery and peppers with hummus dip, while they were waiting for dinner,” Sarah Zulauf, founder of Sarah’s Organic Gourmet, told the Journal. “Having the table set when the kids walk in is a big part of the calm. This is an anti-hangry kid tactic that works like a charm.”
Zulauf, whose products are produced and packaged out of Bibi’s Bakery & Cafe, specializes in clean and pure, organic, kosher, vegan and gluten-free ingredients. Her recipe for gluten and dairy-free lasagna can be made ahead of time and reheated just 15 minutes before dinner.

Gluten and Dairy Free Lasagna / Sarah Zulauf

“You Would Never Know” Gluten Free & Dairy Free Lasagna 

For the Tofu Ricotta
1 package silken tofu
1 package firm tofu
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
2 teaspoon dried basil
2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup dairy-free milk of your choice

For the Lasagna
1 recipe tofu ricotta
1 to 2 pounds fresh spinach
8-ounces no-boil gluten-free lasagna
7 cups pasta sauce (your favorite)
2 bags dairy-free shredded cheese
1/2 cup dairy-free Parmesan

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • For the ricotta, combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until fairly smooth. Place into a large bowl, and set aside.
  • To make the spinach, steam it for a minute or two until slightly wilted. Drain well. Then either mix the spinach into the ricotta or add when assembling the lasagna.
  • To assemble the lasagna, spread 1 cup of pasta sauce over the bottom of a baking dish. (I use a glass dish and put parchment paper down first for easy clean up. Parchment paper is also great to use in tins.)
  • Cover the sauce with a layer of noodles. Make sure the sauce is touching every inch of the no-boil noodles. Next, spread the ricotta; be sure to cover the noodles. Add half a bag of dairy-free cheese. Then, add the spinach, if you did not already combine it into your ricotta.
  • Repeat the process until you have 3 to 4 layers. The last 2 layers should be the non-dairy shredded cheese and then the Parmesan. Cover with parchment paper and then foil. Bake for 60 minutes. Remove foil and parchment paper for the last 15 minutes of baking.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes before cutting. This recipe may be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated. Reheat for 15 minutes before meal time.

“This recipe can also be used with dairy and gluten lasagna noodles if preferred,” Zulauf said.

Culinary and nutrition educator Yael Friedman believes the best way to get your kids eating their lunches is by having them involved in making them.

“I love recipes that are simple, healthy and easy enough for a kid to assemble,” Friedman, founder of Kitch’N Giggles meal kits, told the Journal. “This veggie wrap is one way you can increase the vegetables in your lunch box.”

Veggie Wrap / Kitch’N Giggles

Veggie Wrap

1 whole wheat wrap
2 teaspoons hummus
1/2 Persian cucumber
1/4 cup baby spinach
2 Tablespoons shredded carrots

  • Place the tortilla on a plate and spread the hummus over the entire thing.
  • Slice (or have your kid slice) the cucumber into 6-8 rounds
  • Place the spinach and cucumbers in the center of the tortilla and cover with shredded carrot and a pinch of salt.
  • Starting from the side closest to you, roll the tortilla into a cylinder.

“Fall always means back to hectic mornings and busy evenings,” Friedman said. “But it’s also a time to refresh our daily routines, so there’s a feeling of optimism and excitement.”