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Easter and Passover Recipes: Mom’s Beef Brisket

13 Mar

You can tell this wasn’t my plate because all of the food is VERY close together and the juices are all running onto each other. Yikes.


Today’s recipe is one I’ve eaten tons of times but never actually made myself. It’s for my mom’s beef brisket. She makes it when she’s having a crowd, or having a holiday or if she wants to make something in advance to freeze. This recipe is good for all of those things and it’s so delicious. One of my friends, Sue, is Jewish and she has used this recipe for her holiday meals for years and years, ever since having it at my parents’ house a while back.

With Easter and Passover coming up this weekend, I thought today would be a good day to post this recipe in case you’re looking for something new and different and of course, delicious, to make for your holiday meal.

I’ve put the recipe below exactly as my mom has typed it up for us, back in 2006. Thanks Mom!


My parents’ beef brisket is tender and delicious! Try it for yourself and see!


This recipe is a family favorite.  It’s easy to prepare and can also be made ahead and easily reheated, either from refrigerator or freezer.  It’s a dish that I’ve often been asked to bring to family gatherings, and it’s one of the first to disappear.  Leftovers, if there ever are any, are also delicious.


4 – 5 lb. (flat cut) fresh beef brisket  (not corned)

2 tsp. salt

1 small onion, sliced thin

1/2 tsp. garlic salt

1/4 tsp. dry mustard

1/4 tsp. rosemary leaves

1/4 tsp. thyme leaves

1 c. ketchup

1/2 c. water

1 bay leaf

1 tbl. brown sugar

Place meat in baking dish (corning ware or pyrex) or pan that is close to same size as meat.  Mix all ingredients and pour over meat.  Cover with heavy duty aluminum foil and bake 3 1/2 to 4 hours at 300 to 325 (until fork pierces easily).  (I usually set oven at 325.)  Remove from baking dish, slice on the diagonal and place sliced beef in clean baking dish (either another one same size or same one washed out).  Strain pan juices, if desired, and if so, use spatula or spoon to push through strainer.  Add 1/3 cup Pale Dry Sherry to pan juices.  Pour over sliced beef, cover * and heat for an additional 30 minutes (or longer if it doesn’t seem tender enough at that point).

* (Can be prepared up to point where beef is sliced and sherry is added to liquid and poured over beef.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Then refrigerate until about an hour before serving time.  Remove from refrigerator and remove plastic wrap.  Cover with foil and heat for about 45 minutes or so at 325 — until pan juices are bubbling and meat is hot.)

NOTE:  Meat is easier to slice if cold.  If you decide to slice cold, then separate meat from juice and chill separately.  Then slice meat, add Sherry wine to juice and pour over meat.  Then either continue to cook or freeze and continue to cook later (when reheating).

This is good if served with either the pan juices or mustard.


A second recipe for Sue’s snack

20 Apr

No matter which recipe you use, this is a delicious treat!

Yesterday I mentioned that I had two different recipes to go along with the snack that Sue makes. This second recipe is one that my friend Pam sent me a while back on a snow day. Here it is as I posted it that February day on Facebook:

Chocolate Crack

1 box graham crackers

2 sticks salted butter

1 cup brown sugar

2 cups semisweet chips (1 twelve ounce package)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line 10×15 cookie sheet with foil, spray with PAM.

Line the pan with graham crackers, using single pieces to fill in the gaps.

Line completely with crackers, breaking to fill in gaps.

Combine butter and brown sugar in saucepan.

Bring to boil over medium heat, boil for exactly five minutes.

Pour over graham crackers as evenly as possible and bake ten minutes.

The chocolate chips will melt upon contact with the hot butter and brown sugar mixture.

Sprinkle chips over the top and spread once they melt.

Refrigerate to chill.

Once solid, break into random sized pieces.

By popular demand: A recipe for another of Sue’s treats

19 Apr

These little bits seem like one small bite, but you can never eat just one!

Last week we had PTO and Book Club. Sure enough, my good friend Sue brought snack for us all. It was one of my faves, a chocolate/caramel/matzo snack that she makes for passover. I was so lucky, she sent some home with me (and no, she hadn’t seen the 4/13  blog post about her snacks yet!)

This photo is from the ones she sent home with me. When we took the photo the camera was accidentally on the wrong setting, so the color is slightly off. However, once we ate the snack there was no retaking the photo!

Since I wrote about Sue and all her yummy desserts, I’ve had several requests for the matzo snack. Sue actually recommended making it ahead and freezing it if you’d like to. She said it stays well.

I actually have two different recipes for it so I’m going to post one today and one tomorrow. One calls for Saltines, one calls for Graham Crackers. One uses salted butter and one uses unsalted. Although they differ slightly, the snack is basically the same overall. You can pick one and sub in the matzo crackers for the Saltines or the Graham Crackers. I have made both.

Here’s the first version for you. This one I posted on Facebook in March 2010 after seeing it in an issue of Country Living Magazine a few years back. Here’s the post:

“Mama’s Sweet and Saltines”

Not my mama this time. I got this recipe out of Country Living magazine and it’s Trisha Yearwood’s mama I guess.

I’d actually had this before, but just found the recipe for it the other day. The only thing I didn’t have on hand was the unsalted butter, which Don promptly bought after seeing the recipe.

40 Saltine Crackers (can use graham crackers for a sweeter taste.
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (about 1 1/2 cups.)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Line a large-rimmed cookie sheet with foil and the forty crackers. Be sure the pan you choose will fit in your freezer and be sure you have space in your freezer for the pan!!!

In a medium saucepan melt butter and brown sugar together and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour over crackers covering them evenly.

Put cookie sheet in oven and watch closely. Bake for about 5 minutes (mine took three) until just bubbly.

Remove from oven and pour chocolate chips over crackers.

When chips begin to melt, spread them over crackers with a knife.

Transfer pan to freezer for 15 to 20 minutes or until completely cold. The chocolate covered crackers will forma solid sheet. Break into pieces and store in airtight container.

Here’s to good friends

13 Apr

This is what happens when you mix cream cheese, Oreos and chocolate all in one recipe. These are perfect "pop one in your mouth and go" desserts, and one of my favorite treats from Sue.

Today’s post is dedicated to, and brought to you by my friend Sue, and until she reads it, she won’t even know that it’s about her!

Seven years ago I went to my very first PTO meeting at my daughter’s elementary school. I was a “newbie,” a kindergarten mom looking to meet people, volunteer my time, and get involved in a school setting. Although I was a new parent at the meeting, I had a long road ahead of me. I was going to be a parent at this elementary school for about twelve years by the time all of my children made their way through.

I got to the meeting, not knowing anyone yet, and I sat down at the table. Before long, the nicest woman came and sat down next to me.

“I know your dad,” she said.

Turns out my dad and her husband worked together. She’d been to my parents’ house, she’d eaten my mom’s Beef Brisket.

She was Sue.

Here’s the thing about Sue. Not only is she the absolute nicest person around, she makes great, great desserts!!!  You know how I know?? It’s because Sue brings dessert to almost ALL our PTO meetings!!

In September, Sue brings apple pie.

Yup, an entire apple pie.

At Passover she brings a chocolate/caramel matzo bread snack that is to-die-for.

Throughout the year she makes dark chocolate brownies that are SO fudgy they melt in your mouth (and she apologizes when they’re not “from scratch”).

Some months she brings pretzels dipped in chocolate and then in sprinkles.

And, if I’m super-lucky, she brings these amazing  “Chocolate Balls,” which are my favorite Sue Dessert ever.

If Sue’s going to miss a meeting, I don’t want to go.

Last fall when my husband underwent surgery on his leg, Sue brought us an entire dinner, but most importantly, she brought dessert. Everyone needs a little chocolate pick-me-up after their husband goes through surgery.

You would’ve thought I was the one on crutches.

At Superbowl time this year, Sue asked if we could trade some of Don’s chili for some of Sue’s desserts. Why yes, I thought that’d be a fabulous idea! Sue would get to have chili, which no one in her family likes but her, and I’d get to have some of her desserts! It was a winning Superbowl Weekend for me.

I don’t even like football.

Last night we had Book Club, Sue brought a snack for us to munch on while we chatted about our book and chose another for next month.

It was at that moment, while I crunched away on our matzo bread/chocolate/caramel snack, trying to show casual restraint so that I didn’t eat the entire tin by myself, that I decided my next post would be dedicated to Sue.

In honor of all the desserts Sue has shared with me, I mean with us, here is Sue’s recipe for the Chocolate Balls, which are pictured above.



1 pkg. Oreos

1 pkg. cream cheese (can use light)

1 box Baker’s Semisweet Chocolate Squares (red box)

PLUS some Ghiradelli 60% chocolate chips (brown)

OR if you don’t have the Ghiradelli, you can use TWO boxes of the Bakers Chocolate Squares.


Crush Oreos in food processor. Put aside 1-2 tablespoons crushed cookies.

Soften cream cheese in microwave (about 2 minutes).

Mix together cream cheese  and crushed Oreos (minus the set aside crumbs).

Roll into balls.

Melt chocolate on stove.

Dip/roll balls in melted chocolate and place on waxed paper or cookie sheets.

Sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons of crushed Oreos.

Put in fridge.

The chocolate balls will harden so that they look the way they do in my photo above. Once they’re done, keep them in the fridge and indulge on them whenever you need a little pick-me-up.

And when you do, think of my friend Sue.

Just in time for Passover: Meringue Cookies

6 Apr

Cookies for Passover!

Good Friday and Passover fall on the same day this year, so I am making sure to post recipes for both. On Wednesday I posted my family’s Easter Sweet Bread recipe and today I am posting a recipe passed along to me by my friend Pam. I tried these out with my “focus group,” aka my three kids, and they all immediately gave them two thumbs up. They were quick and easy. I worked that day and got home about a half hour before the kids did, and the timing was perfect; the cookies were just coming out of the oven.

As I was making them, I questioned whether or not they were in fact a healthy treat since they did not contain egg yolks or flour. However, I figured out as I went along that the chocolate chips and sugar kind of cancelled out any healthiness they might have had.

The kids loved these cookies and are already asking me to make them again. They’re certainly easy enough that I could make them any time.

A few notes:

*The recipe below calls for mini chocolate chips but I only “do” regular chocolate chips, so that’s what I used. It also said that you could use any variety of chocolate chips, but I only had the chocolate variety at the time.

*Pam noted that you could use food coloring to make the cookies fit any desired theme.

*It says to use Parchment Paper on the tray, which I missed and a few of my cookies stuck to the tray, I’m assuming because of it. Next time I’d be sure to use the Parchment Paper.


Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Chocolate chip meringue cookies

makes 2 /12- 3 dozen cookies
2 egg whites
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cream of tarter
1 tsp. vanilla
¾ C sugar
6 oz. mini choc, chips, or any flavor you like or feel free to mix and match
·       in large dry mixing bowl beat egg whites till foamy
·       gradually salt, cream of tarter and vanilla
·       slowly pour in sugar, ¼ C at a time
·       beat until peaks form and will be white and shiny
·       fold in chips
·       drop tsp. worth of batter onto parchment covered cookie sheet
·       bake 300 degrees for 20minutes
·       cool before removing