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Recipes for the Nine Days

July 21, 2011 | by Sharon Matten

Stir fry, lasagna rolls, fettuccine and more.

During the nine days before Tisha B’Av, the day that the Beit Hamikdash was destroyed (among other tragic events throughout Jewish history) there is a custom not to eat meat as a sign of mourning, so we eat dairy foods. Dairy foods can be high in fat, calories and cholesterol. The key to making dairy meals healthier is to use lower fat cheeses and milk, lots of fresh vegetables, fish, and whole grains. What I love about the following dairy recipes is that they can easily be made low fat without any loss in taste. Most of the recipes can even be made Gluten-Free for the GFE (Gluten Free Eater) without a change in flavor.

A good meal can be a real form of consolation. I hope that these flavorful and healthy dishes with be a source of comfort during the sad time of the Nine Days. May we know no more sorrow and may the Beit Hamikdash be quickly built in our lifetime.

(lower fat) – makes 18 rolls

This easy to make recipe gives you pre-cut individual servings of the family favorite lasagna. You can substitute gluten-free lasagna noodles for the standard ones without any change in texture or flavor!

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or sea salt
  • 1 pound lasagna noodles
  • 2 pounds ricotta Cheese, lowfat
  • 8 ounces part skim mozzarella or pizza cheese
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 26 ounces pasta sauce
  • non-stick vegetable spray
  • paper towels
  • additional mozzarella or pizza cheese (optional)

In a large stock pot, add olive oil and salt to 5 quarts of water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Add lasagna noodles, do not press into the water. Let cook for a minute until the bottoms of the noodles are soft, then press into the water. Return water to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and cook noodles until just tender – 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Do not drain. Place pot in the sink and add cold water to the hot water until water in the pot is cool.

Combine the ricotta cheese, mozzarella, parmesan, and eggs in a large bowl. Mix until thoroughly blended.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick vegetable spray.

Layer three paper towels on a flat surface. Remove one of the cooked lasagna noodles from the pot and place on the paper towels. Dry the noodle with another paper towel. Place approximately 3 tablespoons of cheese mixture on the noodle. Spread with a spatula or knife until the cheese covers the entire noodle, leaving around 2 inches at the bottom. Roll the noodle from the top, ending with the cheeseless portion of the noodle. Place roll in pan, seam side down. Repeat with remaining noodles.

Pour sauce over lasagna rolls, making sure to cover all the rolls with sauce. Bake covered for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and top the rolls with additional cheese. Return to oven and bake uncovered, for an additional 15 minutes. Serve hot.


Tofu is a chameleon food – it takes on the flavor of whatever sauce you use! I always use toasted sesame oil rather than the untoasted variety. The toasted variety has a stronger, richer flavor that allows you to use a small amount with lots of flavor! To make this dish gluten-free use certified gluten free teriyaki and soy sauce.

  • 16 ounces super firm cubed tofu (2 8oz packages)
  • ½ cup teriyaki sauce
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 pounds frozen oriental stir fry vegetables, defrosted
  • 14 ounces instant brown rice (I prefer Uncle Ben’s brand)


  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup cold water
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Drain the tofu on paper towels. Place in a large zipper bag with the teriyaki sauce. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. Prepare brown rice according to package directions. Set aside.

Heat the toasted sesame oil in a large wok or skillet. Remove the tofu from the marinade, reserving the remaining marinade, and stir fry it in the hot oil until browned on all sides. Add the oriental stir fry vegetables to the wok and toss until heated through.

In a small saucepan, combine the soy sauce, water, corn starch, olive oil and remaining marinade sauce. Stir with a whisk or fork until all the starch is dissolved. Cook over medium heat until the sauce is thickened. Pour over tofu and vegetables, and continue to toss with the vegetables until they are completely coated with sauce.

Serve over brown rice to your hungry family!


What makes normal alfredo sauce so high in fat and calories are the sticks of butter and cups of whole milk cream that are normally used to make it. Delicious- but really, really, really bad for you! The trick to making the sauce light is to use a small amount of butter for flavor, lowfat cream cheese, and skim milk. The sauce is thickened by the cream cheese and a small amount of flour. By adding fragrant spices and smoked salmon you get a lot of flavor punch with fewer calories. To make this recipe gluten free use corn or potato starch instead of the flour and store bought gluten-free pasta. For more information about this recipe go to

    • ½ cup onion, finely diced (1 small)
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
    • 8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese
    • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
    • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
    • ¼ teaspoon black pepper (optional)
    • 3 ounces smoked salmon, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup skim milk

In a medium 2 ½ quart saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Increase heat to medium, add onion, and sauté until clear, around 2 minutes. Add crushed red pepper and sauté for another minute to bring out the flavor of the pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and blend in cream cheese and stir until mixture is smooth. Stir in salmon, parsley, black pepper and nutmeg until combined. Whisk in flour until completely absorbed. Slowly add milk and whisk over medium heat until the sauce thickens, 3-5 minutes.


    • 16 ounces frozen spinach, defrosted
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 tablespoon canola oil
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 4 ½ quarts water
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Squeeze spinach until no liquid remains. There should be approximately 8 ounces of dry spinach remaining. In a food processor, combine spinach, eggs, and oil. Process spinach mixture until completely smooth, around 30 seconds. Add flour and salt and process until a rough dough ball is formed. Remove dough from processor bowl to a lightly floured surface. Knead dough until smooth and elastic, approximately 5 minutes. Let dough stand for 10 minutes.

Divide dough into 4 parts. If using a rolling pin, roll dough until very thin – approximately ?th of an inch thick. Cut into ¼ inch strips using a sharp knife, fluted cutter, or pizza cutter. If using a pasta machine, roll dough according to machine instructions. Cut into fettuccini using the pasta machine or by hand.

Dry fettuccini noodles on a towel for approximately 30 minutes.

Bring the 4 ½ quarts of water, salt, and olive oil to a rolling boil. Add noodles and stir to separate. Cook 5 minutes until pasta is tender. Drain. Serve hot with alfredo sauce and garnish with additional parsley sprigs! Enjoy!


We all know that fish is good for you, and tilapia is really popular! Here is an easy recipe that uses a little bit of grated parmesan for great taste, and some colorful and flavorful paprika for that eye catching appetizing appeal!

  • 6 tilapia fillets
  • ¼ cup lowfat mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • non-stick vegetable spray

Preheat the oven to medium broil.

Line a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil, then spray with non-stick vegetable spray. Place the tilapia fillets on the sheet leaving at least 1 inch between the fillets. Using a pastry brush or spatula, brush the fillets with mayonnaise. Evenly sprinkle the parmesan over the fillets, then dust with paprika. Broil for 20 minutes, until fillets are browned and completely cooked through. Serve with a crusty garlic bread and soup for a hearty meal!








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