If you’ve been hanging out with me for any length of time, you know we stink at holiday traditions. However, one Lenten season tradition that we’ve managed to keep up is celebrating a Seder meal together. Sometimes we can barely pull together just our family, and sometimes it’s quite the affair. This year we had 3 families join us. It was the most kid-heavy crew we’ve ever gathered for a Seder (7 adults and 13 kids), and our kiddos begged us to re-think our traditional 3.5 hour pre-meal ritual. It was a wise request. I was able to re-work what we normally do to be more interactive and pare it down to about a third of the time.
The result? Kid-approved by each of our 3 who were here, and one of the sweetest community times we’ve shared in a long while.
I hesitated to even publish this post this year because there just aren’t that many days until Easter. But if you’re a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants family like us, then you have plenty of time to pull off a Seder. You could even make this your Easter dinner!
What exactly is a Seder?
In short, a Jewish ritual service and ceremonial dinner for the first night or first two nights of Passover. Because we don’t follow the Jewish calendar in our family…and life…we just celebrate it on a night sometime leading up to Easter.
What will I need?
Everything you need can be found at your local grocery store. I don’t worry about getting true Kosher items.
- Hard-boiled eggs (1 per person)
- Lamb shank (or chicken bone in a pinch)
- Charoset (I used this recipe and subbed some honey for the brown sugar)
- Wine or grape juice
- Romaine lettuce.
- Small bowl of salt water for each table.
- Large bowl of water for hand washing at each table.
- Simple meal. I make a simple roasted potatoes, carrots, and chicken. Recipe below.
- Haggadah. This is basically the script for the night. Download the one we use here. Print 1 per person.
- 10 Plagues Masks (Seriously, we found these at our local Wegmans. You can also Amazon Prime them here. But really, as much fun as they are, you can pull off a last minute Seder without them.)
- A simple prize. This is for the child who finds the Afikoman. Wegmans struck again, and we were able to pick up a Passover Bag of Plague Toys as our prize about 30 minutes before our Seder. But, seriously, anything goes here.
Lastly, if you have really little kids, we gave them a cup of crayons and this coloring page to keep them engaged as we went through the ceremony.
- Set a date and gather all the materials.
- (Optional) Invite others.
- Print a Haggadah for each person.
- Set each place at the table with a plate that includes a sprig of parsley, a hard-boiled egg, a dollop of horseradish, and a leaf of lettuce.
- Each table should have a hand washing bowl, a bowl of salt water, a tray of Matzoh, and a bowl of Charoset.
- Get the dinner roasting (recipe below).
Simple Dinner Recipe
Okay, I used the word “recipe” loosely. This isn’t really the type of meal where you need exact quantities. It’s really forgiving.
You’ll need enough red potatoes, chicken pieces (we used drumsticks and boneless thighs), and baby carrots for everyone.
Brine the chicken for a couple hours. I used diluted pickle juice, but you can just use salt water. I also like to add about 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide. It helps to tenderize the meat.
Chop the potatoes.
Rinse the chicken and pat dry.
Toss the chicken, baby carrots, and chopped potatoes in a roasting pan with enough olive oil to coat it all. Generously sprinkle with your choice of spice blend and salt and pepper to taste. I had a Safeway Selects Mediterranean Roast Rub in my spice cabinet that worked really well, but any rub or blend would work. Your spice aisle in your grocery store will probably have some great options.
Roast uncovered at 375 F for about an hour or until the chicken reaches 160 F and the potatoes are tender. This can totally be roasting while you do the ceremonial part of the meal and then just pull it out when it’s time to serve.
The Actual Seder
- Gather the people.
- Use the Haggadah as your guide and enjoy!