This week I am having several at my table for Shabbat so have decided to serve Pasta with Marinara Sauce and veggie meatballs. I arrived at this decision for practical reasons: I already had all the ingredients and did not want to spend any additional money as this week I purchased lamb and brisket for Passover - so my budget was sorely stretched. But pasta can be an elegant, satisfying meal. I will also serve a simple romaine salad with croutons and goat cheese. The grand finale (by special request of my pregnant daughter) is Strawberries and Cream Trifle. Since the meal is somewhat easy and doesn't require a lot of preparation, I am also making the best cinnamon rolls I ever ate. The recipe can be found at Ree Drummond's website. What is great about this recipe besides the flavor and lusciousness of the cinnamon rolls, is that it makes a lot so is a great recipe for my large family. I know there won't be any complaints at the breakfast table Shabbat morning - only groans of enjoyment.
If you've never tried veggie meatballs I urge you to consider them. I actually prefer them over real meat meatballs. I think they do have yeast so must be used up before Passover. My husband and I started using a lot of the soy products as a substitute for meat when we began eating strict kosher - not only is kosher meat hard to come by in my small town, it is very expensive. And as we are getting older and more concerned about cholesterol levels, the veggie/soy products are a great alternative.
I have used the veggie meatballs in other recipes besides typical tomato sauce. They are great with a garlic/butter sauce over spaghetti squash and also make great, quick, meatball subs. You don't need to add them to your sauce until just before you are going to serve. The soy meat substitute products can lose their substance with over-cooking.
A new soy meat product that I recently discovered are the italian sausages. I have also used these with the spaghetti squash and have used them as well in pizza, subs, or for breakfast.
The strawberry and cream trifle is a recipe I first found at the EagleBrand website but have made a few modifcations. For my version I initially used sugar free instant pudding because it was all I could find in the white chocolate flavor. No one even knew - it was so good. The amount of milk can be adjusted by the amount of pudding. The original recipe called for one small box of pudding mix to 1 1/2 cups water. You want a thick pudding mixture but not so thick that you can't move a spoon around. The presentation is glorious but those watching their weight will appreciate its lightness.
1 angel food cake
4 to 6 cups sliced or quartered strawberries
2 boxes instant white chocolate pudding mix (sugar free is good)
2 cups milk
8 oz. cool whip, thawed
1 cup strawberry preserves
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Mix strawberries with strawberry preserves. Spoon about 2 cups in bottom of trifle dish or large punch bowl. Set aside. Combine milk, pudding mix, and sweetened condensed milk. Chill about 20 minutes. Fold in cool whip. Break up angel food cake and layer about 1/3 to 1/2 over preserves mixture in punch bowl. Spread pudding mixture over berries and repeat layers ending with pudding. Garnish top of trifle with sliced berries and almonds. For an added garnish, grate white chocolate or almond bark over all.
Chill, covered tightly with plastic wrap about 4 to 6 hours.