Each year before Passover arrives, the annual scramble to creatively rid my kitchen of hametz (leavened products such as bread, cereal, etc.) begins. These three recipes will wow your friends with carb-laden pre-Passover goodies, but they're good enough to make year round.

Below, find recipes for chocolate-chocolate bread pudding, savory sausage stuffing, and cereal-coated fish bites or chicken fingers.

Chocolate-Chocolate Bread Pudding

My favorite kind of bread to use in bread pudding is leftover challah, but you can use any bread you have lying around. Whole wheat bread or French bread will be fine. I grew up eating my mom's bread pudding made with the ends of white bread that we wouldn't eat.

Ingredients:

4-5 cups leftover bread cut or broken into chunks
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk or half and half
3/4 cup chocolate chips
4 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup sugar
Butter, margarine, or oil to grease pan (you may also use PAM spray)

Grease a 9x13 pan and fill it with the chunks of bread.

In a saucepan over medium low heat, whisk together milk or half and half, heavy cream, and cocoa powder. Slowly add chocolate chips until smooth and melted.

In a bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolk, and sugar.

After the chocolate mixture has cooled to room temperature, slowly fold it into the eggs and sugar with a spatula.

Pour this combined mixture over the bread in the pan, and set aside for 1-2 hours; you can cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.

Bake bread pudding at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Savory Sausage Stuffing 

This is always a crowd pleaser at my Shabbat table and on Thanksgiving. To make this recipe vegetarian, simply replace meat sausage with veggie breakfast sausage patties.

Ingredients:

4-5 cups leftover bread, cut or broken into chunks
4 celery ribs
1 yellow onion
2-3 garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon fresh or dried sage leaves
Olive oil
2 cups beef sausage (or vegetarian sausage)
1-2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 egg
Salt and pepper to taste

Chop celery and onion into small to medium pieces depending on your taste; chop garlic into small pieces. Set aside.

Take sausage out of casings, and break into pieces. Sautee sausage in frying pan with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil until browned. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Sautee celery, onion, and garlic in the leftover oil until translucent. Add sage leaves during the last 1-2 minutes of cooking.

Grease a 9x13 baking pan, pyrex, or aluminum pan on all sides. Put bread pieces in pan. Add sausage and cooked celery and onion mixture, and toss together.

Add chicken or vegetable stock and mix together; add egg and mix together. (The mixture will be a little slimy, but that's good--it will mean a moist stuffing)

Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes.

chicken fingers with mustard sauceCereal Coated Fish Bites or Chicken Fingers

This recipe can be used with cornflakes, bran flakes, Chex, Rice Krispies--whatever your heart desires though I would probably steer away from Fruity Pebbles or Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Alternatively, you can use potato chips or vegetable chips.

Ingredients:

2 white fish filets such as flounder, tilapia, or cod cut in pieces (you can also use 2-3 chicken breasts cut in pieces)
2-3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2-3 eggs
2 cups cereal of your choice, crushed
Oil

Cut fish or chicken into strips and set aside. Place cereal in a sealable plastic bag, and pound until broken up. You can use a pot, heavy bottle, or rolling pin for pounding.

In a shallow baking dish spread 2 cups of flour mixed with the pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper. In another bowl, crack eggs and beat lightly with a fork.

Take a strip of fish or chicken and dip it first in the flour mixture, then dip it in the egg, and finally dip it in the crushed cereal. Repeat until all strips are coated. This process is called dredging.

Coat a frying pan with oil and place on medium heat. When the oil is warm (but not so hot it is sizzling or smoking), place coated strips of fish or chicken in the pan and cook on each side. The cooking time is approximately 2-3 minutes per side, but it will vary depending on whether you are using fish or chicken and how large each strip is.

Serve with condiment of your choice.
 

Shannon Sarna is the baketress behind Sweeney Sweets: Traditional Challah with a Modern Twist. A lover of all things food, she spends her spare time glued to The Food Network, and baking at her favorite kitchen in Englewood, NJ. In her professional life, she serves as External Relations Coordinator for The Samuel Bronfman Foundation in NYC.