Use up those Passover leftovers!
Matzo Brei

By Tina Wasserman

The Seders are over and all the brisket is eaten. Now it’s time to find some other ways to use up the matzo (if you didn’t share your 5-box package with a few friends), matzo farfel, all that soup chicken and some other mixes that are not really enough to save. Well, I’m here to help. You don’t need another recipe for matzo lasagna and you certainly can combine those leftover veggies with some eggs to make a frittata. Instead, I offer an easy potato muffin and variations on matzo brei along with some other ideas, including chicken salad. My pet peeve is restaurants that simmer boneless chicken breasts in salt water and then think the salad will be flavorful. This is the real deal and is great shmeared over some of that leftover matzo as well as on a plate. So, try something new this year before you run out for pizza at the end of the holiday!

Matzo Brei

Any way you look at it, matzo brei is “French toast.” But I refuse to tell you that this is THE right way to make it. Family traditions should not be trampled. A single slice or frittata style like this one is your choice but the technique is the same for all. Enjoy!

  • 3 to 4 egg matzos or plain matzos
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  1. Break each matzo into 5 or 6 large pieces.
  • Place the matzos in a bowl containing enough warm tap water to cover all the pieces. Soak until soft.
  • Combine the eggs, milk and seasonings in a medium bowl.
  • Drain the matzos very well, lightly pressing on the matzos to remove a lot of the water. Don’t crush.
  • Add the matzos to the egg mixture and coat well.
  • Heat the butter in a 10-inch frying pan (preferably nonstick).
  • Add the matzo mixture and fry on both sides until brown on outside and firm but not dry on the inside.
  • Serve with maple syrup or cinnamon and sugar.

Serves 2 to 3 people.

Tina’s Tidbits:

  • In order to make matzo pliable it must be soaked. Warm water is more effective for this than cold.
  • Using slightly more milk will make the mixture more layered and less solid.
  • For a savory matzo brei, sautéed mushrooms and peppers may be added to the milk mixture and served with a tomato salsa. Omit the vanilla and cinnamon for this version.

Geshmirta Matzo

What a funny-sounding name! Geshmirta Matzo. Funny-sounding but oh so delicious! Geshmirta is actually a Yiddish word which means to shmear or spread something on top of something else. Yiddish was spoken by most Jews living in Eastern Europe and Western Russia, people who were Ashkenazic Jews. Many of these Jews immigrated to South Africa and this dish is very popular in Cape Town. I first heard about it from a friend of mine but recently a Union for Reform Judaism member wrote me to help her recreate a special food memory for her. I did. She loved it. Here’s the recipe!

  • 3 to 4 sheets of matzo
  • 8-ounce container of whipped cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream, cream or Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar mixed with ½ teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a jellyroll pan with foil, dull side facing you. Fit the matzo to line the entire bottom of the pan. Set aside.
  1. Using a rubber spatula, mix the cream cheese, egg, vanilla, first 2 tablespoons of sugar and sour cream or cream in a 2-quart bowl until smooth and well combined.
  1. Spread mixture evenly over the matzos (if you have one, a small angled spatula would be perfect for younger children) and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar.
  1. Bake for 15-20 minutes until mixture is slightly golden and matzo is crisp. Cut into squares and eat within an hour to preserve crispiness.

Serves 6 to 8 people.

Tina’s Tidbits:

  • Regular cream cheese may be used if at room temperature. Children will find it easier to blend ingredients by hand if using whipped.
  • Using softened ingredients at room temperature often eliminates the need for an electric mixer, making the recipe easier to make and even toddler-friendly.

Masa Tiganitas

Adapted from “The Sephardic Kitchen” by Rabbi Robert Sternberg

Masa tiganitas is the Greek version of matzo brei. Tiganitas means pancake and is also related to the word for fried. Italians often eat this dish, as well, during Passover. Unlike Eastern European matzo brei, these are fluffier and more closely resemble French toast. Top with maple syrup or cinnamon and sugar but the Greeks generally top it with honey and slightly chopped toasted walnuts.

  • 4 squares of plain matzo
  • 1 cup milk (or more, as needed for soaking the matzo)
  • 4 large eggs, beaten with a fork
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt, plain (although not traditional, vanilla yogurt could be used)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (or more as needed)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or mild olive oil (or more as needed)
  • Honey, maple syrup or cinnamon and sugar (optional)
  • Walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped
  1. Place matzo squares in an 8-inch-square baking pan and cover with the milk. Gently press down to make sure all matzo is covered.
  2. When matzo is soft but not falling apart, remove from the milk and cut each one into 4 squares. They can be stacked.
  3. Beat the eggs, pinch of salt and yogurt in a 2-quart mixing bowl or a wide, flat soup bowl.
  4. Crumple some paper towels onto a cookie sheet. Set aside.
  5. Heat a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over high heat for 10 seconds. Add the butter and oil. Reduce the heat to medium and melt the butter.
  6. Taking one square at a time, dip the matzo into the egg mixture. Hold up to slightly drain and then place in the hot butter mixture. Proceed quickly, dipping a few more squares to coat and place in the frying pan. Do not crowd.
  7. When golden on one side, flip the squares over and continue frying until the underside is golden as well.
  8. Remove cooked tiganitas to the paper towels to drain and then serve immediately or place in a warming drawer or 150-degree oven until all squares are cooked.
  9. Serve with any of the toppings listed.

Serves 3 to 4 people.

Mr. Wechsler’s Memory Muffins — revised

When I was writing my column for Reform Judaism Magazine, Mr. Wechsler wrote me and asked if I could help recreate his aunt’s potato muffins. If you have my first book you will see that I created a recipe with mashed potatoes, etc. I sent a sample to Mr. Wechsler and he thanked me but said they weren’t what he remembered. Years later I was going through my papers and found the Manischewitz insert that was in a 1971 magazine. I saw this recipe and realized that this must have been Mr. Wechsler’s muffins! The ingredients are the same; the directions are spelled out in more detail. Enjoy!

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup oil or chicken fat
  • ¼ cup matzo meal
  • 6-ounce package potato pancake mix (or 2-3 ounce boxes of mix)
  1. In a 2-quart bowl, beat eggs with a whisk or fork until yolks are broken down.
  2. Add water and oil or chicken fat and whisk until combined.
  3. Using your whisk or a fork, add the matzo meal and potato pancake mix and stir until all dry ingredients are incorporated and moist.
  4. Set mixture aside for 5 minutes while you prepare the pan.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  6. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan heavily with oil or oil spray.
  7. Fill muffin cups with the potato mixture.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes until muffins are crispy and golden brown on the outside.
  9. Loosen with a knife and turn each muffin on its side in the cups to cool and prevent the bottoms from getting soggy.
  10. Serve with horseradish, if desired (Mr. Wechsler does!).

Yield: 12 muffins

Tina’s Tidbits:

  • If you don’t have or don’t like chicken fat, I find that using olive oil, especially if there are sautéed onions involved, mimics the flavor of chicken fat. Of course, any oil will do.
  • Even though there is onion added to the mix, adding some sautéed onion or mushrooms would enhance the flavor.
  • This mixture could be baked in mini-muffin cups. If you do so, reduce the temperature to 375 degrees and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crispy on the outside and still soft on the inside.

Not So Basic Chicken Salad

There is absolutely nothing better for chicken salad than the cooked chicken from your pot of soup. It is soft, flavorful and the perfect consistency. The addition of carrots adds a natural sweetness as well as beautiful color and it is easy to eat on matzo!

  • 1 cut-up whole chicken, cooked (preferably stewed for soup)
  • 1¼ cups finely diced celery
  • 3 or more carrots
  • 2 tablespoons grated onion or to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ to 1 cup of mayonnaise or to taste
  • 1 can jellied cranberry sauce (optional)

  1. Skin the chicken and pull the meat off the bones while the chicken is warm.
  • Shred the chicken with your fingers and place in a 4-quart bowl.
  • Finely dice the celery and add it to the chicken.
  • Peel the carrots, trim both ends and grate on the larger grating holes into the bowl with the chicken and the celery.
  • Add the onion, seasonings and mayonnaise and mix until well blended and moistened. If necessary, add more mayonnaise.
  • For a decorative presentation, line a 2-quart bowl with plastic wrap and spoon the chicken mixture into it. Press down firmly on the chicken so that it will mold. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Slice the cranberry sauce into ½-inch slices. Using a decorative cutter or sharp knife, cut designs out of the sauce.
  • TO SERVE: Turn bowl with chicken salad upside down onto a serving plate. Remove bowl and wrap and coat the chicken salad with a thin layer of mayonnaise. Garnish with the cranberry sauce cutouts and serve with matzo or crackers.

Tina’s Tidbits:

  • I learned to use grated carrots in the salad from my mother-in-law. Not only do the carrots make the chicken salad look pretty, but the moisture from the carrots makes the salad moister, using less mayonnaise too and it is a great way to get more Vitamin A into your kids!
  • Kosher for Passover mayonnaise is more than acceptable in this recipe. It is not Hellmann’s or Duke’s, but it definitely is not Miracle Whip.
  • NEVER use low-fat mayonnaise in this or any salad; the cellulose that is used to create the thick texture in the jar will absorb moisture from your salad ingredients and create a dry, pasty product.

Leave a Reply