The Homemade Mom: Happy Hanukkah!!

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This year, Hanukkah began the night of December 2nd and ends December 10th. It’s an 8 day celebration that celebrates the story of oil unexpectedly lasting 8 days a very long time ago. It’s sometimes referred to as the Festival of Lights – 8 candles (plus the addition of a 9th candle which lights the other ones) are lit in a menorah (a candelabrum) and lots of oil-based foods are enjoyed. These are my family favorites! And yes, we’re eating jelly doughnuts for dinner one night!

Monday: Sweet Potato & Carrot Latkes (Potato Pancakes)

Latkes, aka potato pancakes, are a Hanukkah staple. But they are good just about any time of year served alongside a rotisserie chicken or a piece of salmon. They're crispy, fried veggie patties and my favorite way to eat them is with a dollop of apple sauce on top. You can use any kind of potato, or include/exclude any other vegetables as well. And I find shredding potatoes and carrots in the food processor saves your arm from a lot of pain!

Servings=about 24

Time=30-45 minutes



  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and coarsely shredded

  • 3 large carrots, peeled and coarsely shredded

  • 2 scallions, diced small

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 cup vegetable oil


  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Line a large plate with a double layer of paper towels. Set aside.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, carrots scallions, flour, eggs, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined.

  3. Add oil to a skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, spoon in 2 tablespoons of the mixture. Flatten each latke into a circle. Cook until golden on the first side, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook 2 more minutes.

  4. Transfer cooked latkes to the paper towel-lined plate and blot. Keep them warm in the oven. Repeat until mixture is used up. Serve with a dollop or applesauce or sour cream. Enjoy!

Adapted from: a family recipe

Tuesday: Noodle Kugel (Pudding) with Dried Fruit

As a kid, I loved eating sweet cheese with noodles. It tasted like eating dessert for dinner, which noodle kugel kind of is! As an adult, I wanted to taste nostalgia, but with an elevated twist. So this is an adapted version of the one my mom used to make (plus a few extra tidbits from the amazing version at Food & Wine). I added some sweet dried fruit, less sugar, some homemade vanilla, and a whole lot of love.


Time=90 minutes



  • 1 pound egg noodles

  • 1 cup dried fruit (raisins, golden raisins, cherries, etc...), chopped

  • 2 cups whole milk

  • 2 cups cottage cheese

  • 4 large eggs, beaten + 2 large egg yolks

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 1 teaspoon (homemade) vanilla extract

  • 3 cups corn flakes, crushed

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • Kosher salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot, cook the egg noodles according to package directions until al dente. Drain the noodles, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Add the chopped dried fruit to the reserved cooking water and let stand for 5 minutes.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk the milk with the cottage cheese, beaten eggs, egg yolks, 3/4 cup of the sugar and the vanilla. Drain the dried fruit and add them to the bowl. Stir in the noodles. Pour the mixture into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

  3. In another bowl, toss the crushed corn flakes with the melted butter and a pinch of salt. Scatter the cornflake mixture over the noodles and bake in the center of the oven for about 45 minutes, until the noodle kugel is set and the topping is golden. Transfer the kugel to a rack and let cool slightly before serving. Enjoy!

Adapted from: a family recipe +

Wednesday: Mustard Salmon with Brussels Sprouts

I don't know if salmon is specific to Hanukkah, but my family always eats it this time of year. And I know a lot of other families that do too. It honestly could be that my parents just loved salmon so much, so we ate it all year round and just had this special mustardy version this time of year. Either way, I love this recipe! This year, I made it with a Brussels Sprouts salad with an oil dressing because what would Hanukkah be without oil!?!


Time=30 minutes



For the Salmon:

  • 3/4 cups breadcrumbs

  • 2 boneless skinless salmon fillets, about 6 ounces each

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for the salmon

  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard

For the Brussels Sprouts:

  • 1 lb. brussels sprouts, trimmed

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • 1 cup spinach leaves


  1. Preheat the broiler to high and adjust rack to 6 inches below.

  2. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Set aside.

  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon butter and both mustards pinching the mixture together so the butter is incorporated and the mixture sticks together. Season with salt and pepper.

  4. Spread the bottom of each fillet of salmon with a thin layer of butter. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add salmon buttered-side down and cook without moving until a nice crust has formed, about 2 minutes. Pile the crumbs on the salmon, then transfer to the broiler. Broil until the crumbs are crunchy and browned, 4 to 5 minutes.

  5. While the salmon is cooking, make the Brussels sprouts: Thinly shave the Brussels sprouts lengthwise.

  6. In a small fry pan over medium-low heat, toast the walnuts, stirring, until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Let cool.

  7. Put the shaved Brussels sprouts in a bowl and add the walnut oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and gently mix.

  8. Divide the spinach among the plates. Spoon the Brussels sprouts and their juices over the spinach, garnish with the walnuts and serve with salmon immediately. Enjoy!

Adapted from: &

Thursday: Sufganiyot (Jelly Doughnuts)

When I think of doughnuts, I think of going to my local doughnut shop and buying the gooiest, creamiest filled doughnut topped with a glaze and sprinkles. Of course it had to have pink glaze when I was younger. I still love those doughnuts, but pink glaze doesn't scream Hanukkah. So, this year, I decided to make some more 'adult' like doughnuts which are jelly filled with a powdered sugar topping. Pretty much anything fried in oil counts as a Hanukkah dish. So I think I'm going to enjoy these for dinner tonight!


Time=60 minutes + resting overnight



  • 1 tablespoon (1 package) dry yeast

  • 4 tablespoons sugar

  • 3/4 cup lukewarm milk

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 2 eggs, separated

  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, softened

  • Strawberry preserves

  • Powdered sugar

  • Vegetable oil for deep-frying


  1. Mix together the yeast, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and the milk. Let sit to make sure it bubbles. Sift the flour and mix it with the remaining sugar, salt, cinnamon, egg yolks, and the yeast mixture.

  2. Knead the dough until it forms a ball. Add the butter or margarine. Knead some more, until the butter is well absorbed. Cover with a towel and let rise overnight in the refrigerator.

  3. Roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Cut out the dough into 24 rounds with a juice glass, or any object about 2 inches in diameter. Take 1/2 teaspoon of preserves and place in center of 12 rounds. Top with the other 12. Press down at edges, sealing with egg whites. Crimping with the thumb and second finger is best. Let rise for about 30 minutes.

  4. Heat 2 inches of oil to about 375°. Drop the doughnuts into the hot oil, about 5 at a time. Turn to brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.

  5. Roll the doughnuts in powdered sugar and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Adapted from:

Friday: Brisket with Carrots & Onions

Every year during Hanukkah growing up, my parents would get a nice brisket for the entire family that we'd all enjoy. My mom used beer to tenderize and marinate it and over the years, more and more vegetables were added to the mix. I loved the smell of it cooking because it smelled like the holidays to us. This year, I ordered a 6-pound brisket from the butcher around the corner for my little family to eat on Hanukkah. I threw tons of veggies in the mix and I hope my girls enjoy the tradition of making it with us as much as I did with my parents.


Time=4 hours



6 pound beef brisket

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

4 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole

1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks

8 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch chunks

4 yellow onions, peeled and sliced

2 28-oz cans tomato puree


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place the brisket in a heavy roasting pan. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, and garlic. Rub the mixture on the brisket. Pile the carrots, celery and onions on top of the brisket and pour in enough tomato puree to come about 3/4 of the way up the meat and vegetables (if your tomato puree is thick, fill one of the tomato puree cans halfway with water and pour into the roasting pan). Cover the top of the pan with 2 sheets of parchment paper, then aluminum foil.

3. Bake for 3 1/2 hours, or until the meat is tender. Remove the meat from the pan and keep it warm. Place the pan on 2 burners and boil the vegetables and sauce over medium heat for another 30 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened.

4. To serve, slice the meat across the grain. Serve with the vegetables. Enjoy!

Adapted from: a family recipe & Ina Garten @

Julie is a stay-at-home mom of two girls and with a passion for all things food. She loves growing, cooking, and, of course, eating food! She started meal planning years ago to stay organized and eliminate food (and money!) waste and started sharing it on her own blog, Season Generously.