Chicken and Spaghetti

Chicken and spaghetti was always a Friday night staple in our home. Though Poopa Dweck’s book states that it’s a Syrian custom to not eat this dish for Shabbat dinner because it’s a sign of bad luck, my family’s been eating it for years, and I don’t think we’re any less lucky than other people out there. So If you’re superstitious, make it on a weeknight. It’s a good meal with just a small side salad or vegetable. If you’re not superstitious, or just want to make a main course that consists of a carb and a protein (does the tomato sauce count as a vegetable?), then make this for Shabbat dinner. Your guests and family will fight over the crispy burnt edges.

When my mother makes this, she always leaves the chicken pieces whole. This way, it’s easier to eat just the spaghetti, which I often like to do (especially when there’s chili on the table – chicken and spaghetti chopped with some chili is awesome). I sometimes shred the chicken into the spaghetti, so that every bite has a little bit of chicken and a little bit of spaghetti. I find that the chicken also stays more moist this way and soaks up the flavor of the sauce more. Try it both ways and let me know which you prefer. Remember if you’re shredding to be careful to remove all the bones and stuff. No one wants a mouthful of spaghetti and chicken bones!

And Spaghetti!

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 chicken, cut into eighths (bone in, skin on)
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Kosher salt


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Place chicken on baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 35 – 45 minutes, until cooked. Then let cool and shred, cut, or leave whole. Save the chickeny oil and juice!

3. While chicken is roasting, boil spaghetti in very salty water for one minute less than stated on the package.

4. Drain the spaghetti.

5. Place spaghetti in roasting pan and add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, spices, salt, and some pepper. Mix well.

— Now you have what we like to call “And Spaghetti” which is the BEST Friday afternoon snack ever.

6. Add the chicken (pieces, shreds, whatever you decided) and the chicken juice and mix well.

7. Cover and roast in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour, until the edges are crusty and the middle is soft.

Keftes, or Syrian Meatballs

These little Syrian meatballs are totally different from the ones we eat on top of spaghetti. Keftes tend to be smaller and are cooked in a sweet and sour tomato-based sauce and are eaten over rice. They’re one of my favorite Syrian dishes, and though they’re usually served as part of a whole spread of meats, salads and vegetables (sometimes they’re not even the only serve-over-rice dish), I like to make them the main event on a weeknight!

Keftes, or Syrian Meatballs


For the keftes:

  • 1 lb chopped meat
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons matzah meal
  • salt and pepper

For the sauce:

  • 2 (14 oz.) cans tomato sauce
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoons sugar
  • salt to taste


  1. Mix all of the ingredients for the keftes together and form into balls, about 2 tablespoons in size.
  2. Brown the meatballs in a little bit of olive oil in a pot.
  3. Add all of the sauce ingredients, mix well and bring to a boil.
  4. Lower the fire, cover and let simmer for 40 minutes to an hour, making sure the keftes are cooked through.
  5. Serve over rice.

Oh, and happy birthday Rebekah!

2nd Avenue Deli Brisket


When the 2nd Avenue Deli closed, I immediately bought the cookbook on Amazon so I could recreate the delicious flavors I grew up with. I didn’t know that it would reopen even closer to where I lived.  The first thing we made from the cookbook was the health salad. It wasn’t the same, but it definitely resembled the real thing. The next thing I made was the delicious brisket. It’s easy and is definitely worth the time put into it. Now that I have a dutch oven, it’s even easier than it ever was. Continue reading



After many years of finding challah recipes from books, cookbooks, and online, I finally found the best recipe. My cousin Sally gave it to me a while ago, but I was skeptical to use a recipe that used an entire 5-pound bag of flour. It was worth it; everyone at the shabbat table loved it, and there were no leftovers.

Continue reading