Back to cooking. Plan your menus in advance so that you can maximize your efforts. If three different recipes call for sautéed onions, then make one giant pan of onions and divide it up into three portions instead of sautéing onions three different times. Double recipes whenever you can – make extra soup or two potato kugels instead of one. It doesn’t take that much longer to make twice as much and stash the extra in your freezer to use on the second days of Pesach so you don’t have to start again from scratch.
As much as I am all for economical meals, Pesach is definitely the time of year when I find myself making more roasts. Think about it. If you are having ten people for a meal, you easily need two or three pans worth of chicken, which not only takes up most of the available oven space but also needs to be cleaned and trimmed, which is messy and time consuming. Serving a roast to those same ten people involves nothing more than unwrapping your meat, rinsing it, seasoning it and tossing it in the oven. Yes, it does cost more than chicken, but there is no mess and no work, which makes it perfect for Pesach.
Foil pans, foil pans, foil pans. I can’t say this enough. If you can make something in a foil pan instead of a pot or a regular pan, go for it. They don’t cost that much and you will save hours of time by not having to wash all those pans.
Take advantage of foods that can make your life easier. Stock up on those frozen cubes of herbs, including dill, basil, garlic and parsley which offer maximum flavor with zero effort. Canned fruits and vegetables can be a quick shortcut that can save you both prep and cooking time and their frozen counterparts can be used in endless ways, either thawed, lightly steamed, or in your favorite recipes. Buy extra canned or frozen fruit to use in smoothies, a very welcome Chol HaMoed treat. Splurge on pre-cut greens and your salads will be ready in just minutes and don’t even think about buying pre-made coleslaw when you can make it in minutes for a fraction of the price using pre-shredded cabbage and a few pantry staples.
By no means am I encouraging you to spend blindly in order to make your life easier. But don’t be penny wise and pound-foolish. If you are going to have to spend an extra hour on something, be it food, clothing or anything else – make sure to factor in the extra time as part of the inherent cost of the item. Above all, choose to spend your time and money wisely so that you can make your Pesach as enjoyable as possible!