Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom! This Shabbat is the shortest day of the year as well as the official start of winter. If you’re feeling tired and are looking for some simple, delicious dishes to brighten up your mood, look no further! Everyone will surely come back for ‘second helpings!’

When it comes to easy, tried and true recipes, nothing beats the iconic cookbook, Second Helpings Please! It’s finally back in print and this latest edition marks the 17th printing of this best seller. Nearly 50 years since its inception, it has sold in excess of 175,000 books around the world and raised more than $250,000 for the work of the organization, now known as Act to End Violence Against Women, http://www.acttoendvaw.org/wordpress/.

Second Helpings Please has been used for many years as the ‘go to’ gift for showers and weddings, for young adults moving into their first apartments, and finally, for anyone and everyone setting up a kitchen. It is an invaluable resource, providing its readers with simple recipes of traditional Jewish foods that are beloved from generation to generation. Recipes call for simple, readily-available ingredients, as illustrated in Flanken Supreme (see recipe below), a tried and true family favourite.

Don’t forget your veggies! My recipe for Glazed Carrots with Peppers makes a simple, colourful addition to your Shabbat menu.

When it comes to dessert, you can’t go wrong if you make Daniella Silver’s Flourless Chocolate Mousse Cake from The Silver Platter: Simple to Spectacular (Artscroll/Shaar Press). Once again, a few simple ingredients go a long way, creating a mouth-watering dessert that is great for Shabbat, the winter break…or anytime at all!


Adapted from Second Helpings Please! edited by Norene Gilletz (https://secondhelpingsplease.com)

This flexible, scrumptious recipe may be used for brisket, top rib, shoulder steak, or any cut of meat of your choice. Just adjust cooking time according to the tenderness and weight of the meat. It may be an oldie–but it’s definitely a goodie!

1 pkg dry onion soup mix

5–6 strips flanken

8 oz can (1 cup) tomato sauce

2 Tbsp lemon juice

  1. Cut a 4-foot length of double strength tinfoil and fold over so that it is double the thickness. Sprinkle half of the soup mix in the centre of the foil, equal in area to the meat. Place meat on top.
  2. Sprinkle with remaining soup mix. Add tomato sauce and lemon juice.
  3. Seal tinfoil tightly around meat by rolling edges to double them up. Place on a rimmed baking sheet.
  4. Bake at 350 F for 2 hours. Remove from foil, transfer to a serving platter, and enjoy yourself!

Makes 4 servings. Doubles easily.


Adapted from Healthy Helpings (Whitecap)

This recipe is sure to become a family favourite – it’s quick, easy, healthy and yummy!

2 lbs carrots, peeled and sliced (see Norene’s Note, below)

1 red pepper, diced

1 onion, diced

1/4 cup apricot jam (preferably low-sugar)

2 Tbsp fresh dill, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Slice carrots 1/2 inch thick. Cook in boiling salted water until nearly tender, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  2. Add red pepper and onion and simmer 4 or 5 minutes longer.
  3. Drain well and return to heat. Stir in jam and dill; mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 6 servings

Norene’s Note:

  • Timesaving Tip: Instead of peeling whole carrots, use baby carrots – no peeling required!


Adapted from The Silver Platter: Simple to Spectacular by Daniella Silver and Norene Gilletz (Artscroll/Shaar Press)

Daniella’s friend Chayala Bistricer often makes this beautiful gluten-free cake for Shabbat. For an added garnish, she sprinkles candied nuts around the cake. If you have nut allergies, garnish with berries, mint leaves, or parve whipped cream.

8 oz/250 g semisweet chocolate or chocolate chips

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

8 eggs, separated

1 cup sugar, divided

  1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Coat a 9- or 10-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Combine chocolate, oil, and vanilla in a medium saucepan over low heat. Melt chocolate, stirring often. Cool to lukewarm.
  3. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat egg yolks on high speed for 3-5 minutes. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar; continue beating until light. Add yolk mixture to cooled chocolate; mix well.
  4. Wash and dry beaters and bowl. Fit mixer with whisk attachment. Place egg whites into bowl; beat on medium speed for 3-5 minutes, until frothy. Increase speed to high; gradually add remaining sugar. Beat until stiff.
  5. Fold batter into meringue, just until no traces of white remain.
  6. Pour three-quarters of batter into prepared pan; spread evenly, using a rubber spatula. Cover and refrigerate remaining batter. (See Norene’s Notes, below.) Bake 30-35 minutes, until top of cake is set when touched lightly with your fingertips. Cool completely. The cake will sink somewhat.
  7. Stir refrigerated batter to soften it slightly. Spread evenly over top of cake. Cover pan tightly with foil; freeze.
  8. Before serving, transfer cake to a flat round platter and remove sides of springform pan.

Makes 12 servings

Norene’s Notes:

  • Safety Note: The batter used as a topping contains uncooked eggs. If desired, bake the entire batter, increasing baking time by 10-15 minutes. When cool, cover tightly with foil and freeze until serving time.

Norene Gilletz is the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada. She is the author of twelve cookbooks and divides her time between work as a food writer, food manufacturer, consultant, spokesperson, cooking instructor, lecturer, and cookbook editor. Norene lives in Toronto, Canada and her motto is “Food that’s good for you should taste good!” For more information, visit her website at www.gourmania.com or email her at [email protected]m

Norene Gilletz is the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada. She is a food writer, food manufacturer, consultant, spokesperson, cooking instructor, lecturer, cookbook editor and now a podcaster. Norene lives in Toronto and her motto is “Food that’s good for you should taste good!” For more information, visit her website at gourmania.com..