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Delicious Jewish recipes to serve for Shabbat or a pre-bar mitzvah dinner

My grandma Lila’s recipes

for The Brooklyn Paper

I was lucky enough to have the greatest grandmother for 15 years of my life. Her Scrabble lessons, gam zu le-tovah sayings, paintings, and costume jewelry help to keep her in my thoughts. But one thing about her will live on even after me — her recipes.

And okay. Fine. Everyone claims that their grandmother makes “the best” food. And how can’t they? Everything they make is delicious and comes in large enough portions to last you a month (it’s the gift that keeps on giving). And I make the same claim — my bubbie was ninja in the kitchen.

And as a tribute to my talented and wonderful grandmother, I pass on a few of these recipes to you. Add a challah and some Manischewitz to your table for a wonderful Shabbat or celebratory dinner for a bar or bat mitzvah.

I hope you love these recipes as much as I do — and continue to love them for the week of leftovers afterwards that will surely come as a result. As my grandma Lila would say: “happy cooking and enjoy!”

Stuffed cabbage


• 1 Head cabbage with large leaves

• 2 lb. ground beef

• 2 eggs, slightly beaten

• 1 onion, grated

• ¾ cup of brown rice

• Salt, pepper, and garlic powder

• 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes

• 1 tbsp. of brown sugar

• 1 lemon


• Freeze cabbage in plastic bag. To defrost, put the bag in the fridge for about 2 days or soak it in cold water. This softens the leaves and makes it possible to “stuff” them.

• Mix ground beef, onion, cooked brown rice, salt, pepper, and garlic powder until softened.

• Remove leaf from cabbage.

• Place a scoop of the ground meat on to the “spine” end of the leaf. You decide how big or full you like the rolls. I use approx. ½ cup. I don’t measure anything. Roll once then fold one side of the leaf and continue rolling. When done, push other end of the leaf into the roll. Continue doing this until all the meat is used up. (I usually get about 14 or so rolls.)

• Slice up remaining cabbage into large pot. Add a sliced onion to the cabbage.

• Pour a 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes over this.

• Add light brown sugar and the juice of half of the lemon.

• Place cabbage rolls over this.

• Pour one small can of tomato sauce over the rolls and add a bit more brown sugar and the rest of the lemon juice.

• Cover and simmer two hours.

• You can adjust the flavor by using more or less lemon juice as you like it. Taste the sauce after it’s been simmering a while.

Chocolate chip mandel bread


• 1 cup sugar

• 1 cup oil

• 4 eggs

• 3 cups flour

• 1 tsp. baking powder

• 1 tsp. vanilla

• 8 oz. chopped walnuts

• 12 oz. chocolate chips


• In large bowl mix eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla.

• Add flour and baking powder, mix well.

• Add walnuts and chocolate chips. Mixture should be thick and sticky.

• Refrigerate for several hours or overnight to make it easier to handle.

• Shape into two think logs and place on cookie sheets. (I use parchment paper to line the pan).

•Bake at 350-375 degrees for 35 minutes.

• Remove from oven and cut into slices – ½ to ¾ inches thick.

• Return to oven for about 7-8 minutes.

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