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Forum -> Yom Tov / Holidays -> Rosh Hashana-Yom Kippur
S/o the REAL making yt easier thread, share your tips!



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amother
OP


 

Post Wed, Sep 13 2023, 8:53 am
I loved the other thread, thank you for starting it. I really needed that laugh.

Now can we have the serious edition of making yt easier? Please share any and all tips.

Thank you!
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amother
Pistachio


 

Post Wed, Sep 13 2023, 9:02 am
I was wondering if I should start a thread posting this, but I didnt want to seem like im bragging. But then you started it lol so im taking it as a sign. My heart is literally breaking at some of the things im reading.
YT is not hard for me at all BH. Im serious. And I work 40 hours a week with no cleaning help. So its not like I have any free time during the day.
My secret? Cook every single thing beginning a few weeks in advance. I promise it all tastes fresh, you just need to know how to rewarm it properly.
Then on yomtov itself all you need to do is follow your menu and pop pans into the oven and on the blech.
Right now im all cooked for rosh hashana and sukkos.
The only things left are the things I need to do the day or 2 before, like making fish and prepping salad dressing.
On yomtov itself I dont have pressure. We set the table together, real dishes only until dishwasher is full, then everything else is disposable. No washing dishes at all besides maybe a pot here and there (mostly not, its all 9x13s directly in the oven)
I go to shul,relax or read books, whatever. But the only food im busy with on yomtov itself is chopping/assembling a salad.
Yes, the few weeks before sounds excessive, but the cooking is spread out in a lazy fashion that I do at night and like this I have more than enough time to get it all done.
Im so sorry that yomtov is so stressful for people. Please, do what you can to get it to change.
I grew up in a stressful home and yomtov was nightmarish from all the stress. Its a nes im still frum.
But there is a way! I promise. I LOVE yomtov (im one of the kooks on here who always posts that she loves 3 day yomtovs and wishes they were longer lol)
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emzod42




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Sep 13 2023, 9:07 am
When you cook something freezer-friendly, double it for future chagim.

I made a chart in Google docs with 3 columns -- menu for each meal, make, and buy (shopping list) so I know what I need and can plan my cooking time. Then I wrote out what I'm planning to make or get done each day before chag, even things like defrost chicken.
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amother
Jetblack


 

Post Wed, Sep 13 2023, 9:14 am
amother Pistachio wrote:
I was wondering if I should start a thread posting this, but I didnt want to seem like im bragging. But then you started it lol so im taking it as a sign. My heart is literally breaking at some of the things im reading.
YT is not hard for me at all BH. Im serious. And I work 40 hours a week with no cleaning help. So its not like I have any free time during the day.
My secret? Cook every single thing beginning a few weeks in advance. I promise it all tastes fresh, you just need to know how to rewarm it properly.
Then on yomtov itself all you need to do is follow your menu and pop pans into the oven and on the blech.
Right now im all cooked for rosh hashana and sukkos.
The only things left are the things I need to do the day or 2 before, like making fish and prepping salad dressing.
On yomtov itself I dont have pressure. We set the table together, real dishes only until dishwasher is full, then everything else is disposable. No washing dishes at all besides maybe a pot here and there (mostly not, its all 9x13s directly in the oven)
I go to shul,relax or read books, whatever. But the only food im busy with on yomtov itself is chopping/assembling a salad.
Yes, the few weeks before sounds excessive, but the cooking is spread out in a lazy fashion that I do at night and like this I have more than enough time to get it all done.
Im so sorry that yomtov is so stressful for people. Please, do what you can to get it to change.
I grew up in a stressful home and yomtov was nightmarish from all the stress. Its a nes im still frum.
But there is a way! I promise. I LOVE yomtov (im one of the kooks on here who always posts that she loves 3 day yomtovs and wishes they were longer lol)


I do this as well.
Soups, challah, sides, dessert went into freezer over the past few weeks. At this point I'm left with fish. I work. Bunch of little kids....
It's the only way
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NotInNJMommy




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Sep 13 2023, 9:15 am
Our stomachs only hold so much....2 days in a row of seudos don't need to be as big as we sometimes think.

ie. each meal doesn't need 2 mains, 5 sides, a soup, a fish (or 2-3), 5 salads and dips, challah....and a heavy dessert.
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amother
Topaz


 

Post Wed, Sep 13 2023, 9:21 am
Here's a sample RH menu- you don't have to make things so hard for yourself! And if you think my menu is overwhelming , cut corners or store buy!


5 lb challah with 1/2 batch of struesel topping from Jamie Geller website

Simanim:
Apple and honey
Salmon and/or gefilte fish
Candy fish heads
Canned beets
Baby carrots
Pumpkin muffins
Cabbage…?
Rimon
Dates
Shehecheyanu fruit

First night (Shabbos)
In addition to simanim:
Chicken soup and kneidlach
Meat
Broccoli
Potato kugel
Apple peach kugel

First day (Shabbos)
Honeydew, cantaloupe, pineapple, kiwi appetizer OR fruit soup (strawberry, canned pineapple, sugar)
Fish
Cholent

Second night
In addition to shehecheyanu fruit and simanim:
Fancy meatballs
Couscous/baked small potatoes
Baked mini peppers

Second day
Nish nosh salad
Avocado salad
Fish
No one is interested in eating more than that at this point Smile
But there are leftovers!
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amother
Indigo


 

Post Wed, Sep 13 2023, 9:23 am
Can we get specific freezing tips? How do you freeze and defrost each food?
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BH Yom Yom




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Sep 13 2023, 9:23 am
Wait—CANDY fish heads can be used for simanim??????

OK that would totally be a game changer because I would love to not have to deal with an actual fish head!
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NotInNJMommy




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Sep 13 2023, 9:25 am
Oh, also no one ever liked the cooked fish head I'd get....so I just started getting a whole smoked whitefish with its head on....
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BH Yom Yom




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Sep 13 2023, 9:30 am
NotInNJMommy wrote:
Oh, also no one ever liked the cooked fish head I'd get....so I just started getting a whole smoked whitefish with its head on....


We did that one year but we’re a pretty small family right now, so the whitefish basically sat on the fridge until I told DH that either he needed to finish eating it or it needed to go in the garbage. *holds nose*
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amother
OP


 

Post Wed, Sep 13 2023, 9:36 am
amother Pistachio wrote:
I was wondering if I should start a thread posting this, but I didnt want to seem like im bragging. But then you started it lol so im taking it as a sign. My heart is literally breaking at some of the things im reading.
YT is not hard for me at all BH. Im serious. And I work 40 hours a week with no cleaning help. So its not like I have any free time during the day.
My secret? Cook every single thing beginning a few weeks in advance. I promise it all tastes fresh, you just need to know how to rewarm it properly.
Then on yomtov itself all you need to do is follow your menu and pop pans into the oven and on the blech.
Right now im all cooked for rosh hashana and sukkos.
The only things left are the things I need to do the day or 2 before, like making fish and prepping salad dressing.
On yomtov itself I dont have pressure. We set the table together, real dishes only until dishwasher is full, then everything else is disposable. No washing dishes at all besides maybe a pot here and there (mostly not, its all 9x13s directly in the oven)
I go to shul,relax or read books, whatever. But the only food im busy with on yomtov itself is chopping/assembling a salad.
Yes, the few weeks before sounds excessive, but the cooking is spread out in a lazy fashion that I do at night and like this I have more than enough time to get it all done.
Im so sorry that yomtov is so stressful for people. Please, do what you can to get it to change.
I grew up in a stressful home and yomtov was nightmarish from all the stress. Its a nes im still frum.
But there is a way! I promise. I LOVE yomtov (im one of the kooks on here who always posts that she loves 3 day yomtovs and wishes they were longer lol)

Some people, like myself, are just barely holding it together on a regular day. Adding extra cooking into that, even just one thing a day, can really put someone like me over the edge. Just to explain why people are dreading yt. I'm sure there can be dozens of reasons why people find life hard, mental health issues, caring for an ill family member (like me), challenging children, difficult pregnancy, or many other reasons.
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amother
Pistachio


 

Post Wed, Sep 13 2023, 9:37 am
amother Indigo wrote:
Can we get specific freezing tips? How do you freeze and defrost each food?


Ok all challah, cakes, muffins, cookies etc can just come out of the freezer. Straight in fridge or on counter, makes no difference. Same with soups, compotes, meats and chicken in liquid dishes such as sesame chicken.

Fruit cobblers and kugels such as apple/peach/blueberry kugel or cobbler usually also is easy and can defrost straight from freezer to fridge or counter. But if you feel its too soggy or watery (not likely with fruit based ones) then put it in the oven uncovered for a bit and monitor it.

And now for the vegetable kugels, such as broccoli/cauliflower/spinach and YES also potato kugel-very important do NOT put in the fridge to defrost. This will make them slowly sit in defrosting veggie juice snd make it gross. Preheat oven to 400 and then put them all directly in the oven straight from the freezer, UNcovered. The idea is you want to blast all the juice in them straight out. A lower temp would let it sit, you want it evaporating out immediately. IMPORTANT- most people mess up here because they think its done as soon as its soft and hot, then they taste it and it tastes soggy ad freezerish and they think "well this cant be frozen". NO. Its not done just because its soft and hot. Keep it in the oven and keep the center with a fork- it is ready when the center is soft and hot AND no longer has juice-it should feel dry and taste just as dry and fresh as if it was freshly made. Keep testing, only remove when it tastes fresh.
You can do this the night before yomtov or the day of.

Mashed potatos- same method as above kugels, but you can put in fridge for a bit if you want, it wont hurt it. Yes, they taste fresh if you follow above method.

Butternut squash kugel-depends on your recipe- some are more watery and need veg kugel method, others can just go straight to fridge and sit.

Deli roll and fried shnitzle-just defrost plain, no special method. Rewarm in yomtov in oven or on blech uncovered.

Pasta dishes like lomein- easy peasy, just defrost plain in fridge

My husband used to say he ONLY likes fresh. But he acknowledged that all my yomtov food cooked and prepped this way truly does taste fresh and he cant tell the difference.
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amother
Junglegreen


 

Post Wed, Sep 13 2023, 9:38 am
Cook ahead if you can and if you have freezer space. If not try to get invited out. Or buy things to make it easier on you.

I might not be able to afford ready made food so I'll buy prechecked lettuce or preshredded cabbage or something that makes it easy to put together a salad quickly.
A pkg of chicken thighs instead of chicken legs makes it really easy to stick chicken in the oven. Add rice to the pan for a one pan meal. Lately we like to mix BBQ sauce with hot and spicy duck sauce, pour over chicken. Or duck sauce + teriyaki sauce.
I've made little platters of olives pickles baby corn hot peppers instead of a salad. Kids go for that.
Cheater dessert: melt a container of ice cream, pour into graham cracker crust, add nutty chews or frozen strawberries or rice krispies. Freeze.
Frozen puff pastry is so versatile. You can fill it with anything.
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amother
Pistachio


 

Post Wed, Sep 13 2023, 9:40 am
amother OP wrote:
Some people, like myself, are just barely holding it together on a regular day. Adding extra cooking into that, even just one thing a day, can really put someone like me over the edge. Just to explain why people are dreading yt. I'm sure there can be dozens of reasons why people find life hard, mental health issues, caring for an ill family member (like me), challenging children, difficult pregnancy, or many other reasons.


Of course, I understand! Believe me, I get it.
In some cases, there is no answer or solution.
Telling someone how to cook when they have no hands or feet doesnt help them, I know.
My suggestions really only help when life is more or less functional and its just yomtov thats sending everything crazy.
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Hashem_Yaazor




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Sep 13 2023, 10:06 am
I take a huge roaster pan and put a few meats in at once with the same sauce. After cooling, it's sliced and divided up for multiple meals.

Plan a meal of leftovers. I'm only making 3 mains for 4 meals...
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amother
Gray


 

Post Wed, Sep 13 2023, 10:24 am
We (my husband and I together - we both cook) make a google chart with the following listed for each meal:
challah, appetizer, main, kugel, veggie side, salad, dessert

I then assign names and (for myself) cooking dates and write two shopping lists - the advance list (meat/chicken/ingredients for advance cooking) and the week-of list (eg. salad ingredients, simanim).

Potchke-ish/experimental dishes are ONLY made well in advance (>1 week before yuntif) and only 1-2 per yuntif. Everything else is ruthlessly simplified to familiar and easy-to-make items. When you are working FT and hosting a crowd it's not the time to make complicated new dishes, at least for me.

The few days before yuntif I am only cooking the things that don't freeze well or are too cumbersome to freeze (huge pot of soup).
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