Children participate in a Passover-themed PJ Library program. Credit: PJ Library.
Children participate in a Passover-themed PJ Library program. Credit: PJ Library.
featureJewish & Israeli Culture

Passover 2023

Kids, get ready to tackle Passover platters

A bit of creativity can make matzah fun for the whole family.

The Jewish calendar is full of holidays with rich food histories, and none is as rich as Passover. With a seder table full of meaningful foods celebrating the Israelites freedom from slavery in ancient Egypt, none is as meaningful as matzah. The crisp, flat, unleavened bread—the simplest of Passover foods made only of flour and water—is baked before the dough has time to rise.

Jennifer Stempel. Courtesy: PJ Library.

While the unleavened bread, which Jews are commanded to eat throughout the holiday, isn’t among the most delectable of Passover foods, a bit of creativity can make it tasty and fun for the whole family.

Matzah Pizza Lasagna and a Matzah Grazing Board are perfect for when the kids are home and need something to do. Additional recipes, including homemade matzah and matzah trail mix, can be found on downloadable PDF cards here.

And as they do every season, PJ Library has refreshed its Passover hub, packed with music, stories, crafts, recipes, games, history and printables. Families can find a 15-minute seder, a step-by-step video playlist where kids can learn or refresh seder skills; the PJ Library Passover River Ride booklet that tells the story of the eight-day holiday in 10 scenes; Passover-Themed Mad Libs; and more.

A free program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, PJ Library sends engaging storybooks and activities that provide ways for families to connect with Jewish life. More than 680,000 books are delivered to families worldwide each month, geared for children up to age 12.

Matzah Pizza Lasagna. Credit: PJ Library.

Matzah Pizza Lasagna (Dairy)

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

4 eggs, lightly beaten

1 (24-oz.) container of small-curd cottage cheese

1-2 tablespoons fresh Italian herbs (oregano, Italian parsley, basil), chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

pinch of salt and pepper

4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 (23-oz.) jar marinara sauce

6 sheets of matzah

favorite pizza toppings

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, combine eggs, cottage cheese, fresh herbs, garlic, salt and pepper, and 1 cup of mozzarella. Set the mixture aside.

Grease a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish and spread a thin layer of the marinara sauce over the bottom.

Lightly dampen the matzah with water (run quickly under a faucet, so as not to completely soak), then place two sheets on top of the layer of marinara. Spread a third of the remaining marinara over the matzah and spoon half of the cottage-cheese mixture on top.

Sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella over the cottage-cheese mixture and add the first layer of pizza toppings.

Continue to layer ingredients, adding another two sheets of matzah, half of the marinara, the remaining cottage-cheese mixture, half of the mozzarella and more toppings.

Add the last two sheets of matzah and the remaining marinara, mozzarella and toppings.

Loosely cover the dish with foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

Then remove the foil and broil the lasagna for 3 to 5 minutes or until the top is browned to taste.

Let the dish rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Matzah Grazing Board. Credit: PJ Library.

Matzah Grazing Board (Pareve or Dairy)

Servings depend on the size of board items

Ingredients:

2 to 3 sheets of matzah, broken into large pieces

jam or preserves

dried fruits

fresh fruits

fresh vegetables

cheeses

nuts (optional, check for allergies and age groups first)

Directions:

Arrange the matzah pieces along the center of a large wooden board (a cutting board, marble pastry board or flat platter will also work well).

Place several small bowls on the board and fill them with jam, fruits and veggies, cheeses and nuts, if using.

Arrange additional ingredients to cover the rest of the board—the more, the better.

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