| Treeo Feature |

Fire It Up, Round 2

Finalists had to create a savory and cozy Melaveh Malkah dish, plus a Melaveh Malkah drink with surprise ingredients

Round 2 Requirements:

Finalists were required to create a savory and cozey Melaveh Malkah dish using the ingredients provided in the mystery box / bags delivered to their door (they could choose between the red peppers and the tomatoes). The main dish had to include a protein and either a dairy component or a dairy substitute. Alongside the main course, a drink with any chosen ingredients had to be created, designed to complement the dish. The entire task had a time limit of one hour, starting from when the participants opened their mystery box or bags.


Which finalist would you like to fire it up for?
Email or text in your vote by february 13, 2024


Finalist 1
Pasta Bake with Sea Salt Caramel Hot Chocolate

By D. Rose, England

This pasta bake with fried, breaded eggplant, finished with a giant cup of sea salt caramel hot chocolate is perfect for any Motzaei Shabbos. The pasta is in a tomato sauce with fresh grilled peppers and mushrooms, mixed and topped with a cheesy roux sauce, and garnished with parsley flakes. The eggplant is breaded with pretzel crumbs and shallow fried. Thank you to all those who made this competition happen. I really enjoyed this opportunity and I look forward to many more competitions from the best teen magazine evaaaaaaa!!!!

1 box penne pasta

1 bottle Tuscanini Crushed Tomatoes

1 container fresh mushrooms, sliced, or 1 can Gefen Mushrooms

1 red pepper, diced

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp flour

1 cup milk

2 cups grated cheese

1 eggplant, cubed

½ cup flour

2 eggs

1 cup Gefen Pretzel Crumbs

oil, for frying

salt and pepper, to taste

1 tsp parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Pour into a greased 9x13-inch dish. To make the sauce: In about a tablespoon of oil, sauté the mushrooms and pepper until softened. Season them with salt and pepper. Add Tuscanini tomatoes and season again. Cook for 5 minutes. Combine with pasta in the baking dish. To make the cheese sauce: Melt the butter in a saucepan and whisk in the flour. While whisking, add in the milk until all combined. Season with salt and pepper and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the cheese until fully melted. Pour over the pasta and garnish with parsley. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly. For the eggplant: Salt the eggplant cubes until water is released. Heat oil for shallow frying in a large skillet. Pat eggplant cubes dry, then dredge in flour, then egg, and then Gefen Pretzel Crumbs. Fry on each side.

12 oz milk

2 oz sea salt caramel


2 Tbsp chocolate liqueur

2 Tbsp chocolate sauce

marshmallows, for garnish

wafer rolls, for garnish

Combine milk, sea salted caramel, chocolate, and chocolate liqueur and heat in a microwave or in a small saucepan. Pour into glass of choice and drizzle with chocolate sauce. Top with marshmallows and wafer rolls.

Finalist 2
Stuffed Squash Balls with Chocolate Oreo Milkshake

By Yitty Roth, Brooklyn, NY

1 onion, diced

1 container mushrooms, diced, or 1 can Gefen mushrooms

¼ cup Tuscanini Crushed Tomatoes

½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

2 large green zucchini

½ cup flour

2 eggs

1 cup Gefen Pretzel Crumbs

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

oil, for frying

Spray a large pan with oil and sauté onion and mushrooms until browned and liquid is cooked out, about 15–20 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and stir. Cook until the liquid is cooked out, about 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add 2–3 inches of oil into a large pot. Heat until approximately 350°F. Peel the squash, and then using the peeler, peel long ribbons of squash. Lay out 4 zucchini ribbons, each crossing over in through the center so it resembles a star. Place about a tablespoon of filling in the center, then roll up and tuck in the sides so it looks like a little squash bundle. Carefully dip into flour, then egg, and then pretzel crumbs. Fry in oil until cooked through, about 2–3 minutes per side.

2 scoops vanilla ice cream

1 cup milk

2 La-Hit chocolate bars

4 Oreo cookies

whipped cream, for garnish

chocolate syrup, for garnish

Blend ice cream, milk, 1 La-Hit bar, and 3 cookies. Pour chocolate syrup against the walls of a glass to form the design you like and pour in the milkshake. Garnish with remaining chocolate bar, Oreos, and whipped cream.


Finalist 3
Shakshuka with Mozzarella Sticks and Limonana

By Ettya Rosenberg, Ramat Givat Zeev, Israel

When I moved from NY to Israel three years ago, I thought it would be extremely difficult to integrate. But I was shocked to learn that despite the language barrier, I’ve never felt more at home in my life. My dish that I prepared is a very popular and beloved dish by my fellow Israelis — shakshuka and limonana. And of course, to add a bit of my own favorites to add a little special spark, I made mozzarella sticks using the crushed pretzels and used the shakshuka as a sort of dipping sauce. It’s bursting with flavor and completely irresistible. My only regret is that you’re not here to try some!

1 Tbsp oil, plus more for frying

1 jar Tuscanini Crushed Tomatoes

2 fresh tomatoes, diced

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 can Gefen Mushrooms

2 scallions, sliced

1 egg

salt and pepper

6 cheese sticks

½ cup flour

2 eggs

1 cup Gefen Pretzel Crumbs

In a medium skillet, heat oil. Sauté onion until translucent, then add mushrooms and diced tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, then cook 5–10 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and cook until the sauce is thickened, about 10 more minutes. Carefully crack egg into the skillet, then cover and cook until the top is set, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately. For the mozzarella sticks, heat oil in a large pot. Double dredge the cheese: first in flour, then egg, then flour again and egg again, and finally into the pretzel crumbs. Fry until golden, about 1–2 minutes.


For best results, freeze the breaded cheese sticks for at least one hour before frying.

1 pot tea

handful fresh mint

1 lemon, sliced

Steep tea with mint and lemon.


Finalist 4
Loaded Fries in Dairy Cream Sauce with Blood Orange Passion Fruit Palate Cleanser

By Fraidy and Devoiry Weiss, Monsey, NY

We wanted to challenge ourselves and do this prior to the weekly grocery restock. We opened the bags to find pretzel crumbs (mmm), mushrooms, crushed tomatos, and sweet jarred peppers. We had the timer ticking — this was tight. The allure of encrusted fries seemed original to us. Who would have thunk to bread fries? We couldn’t remember seeing a recipe ever do so. We got oil heating up while we cut potatoes into fries. Coating went quick. While we waited for the fries to fry, we prepared the top. We used cheese in heated milk to create a rich and protein-filled dairy cream sauce. What about the sweet peppers and tomato condiment? We quickly blended some of it along with yogurt for a dipping sauce. We needed a drink that would work as a palate cleanser for this rich dish. We love the Tuscanni Blood Orange Soda and use it whenever possible. We combined it with other ingredients to create the perfect palate cleanser to complement this dish.

We managed to complete the plating and photos in 8 minutes to the timer going off and even had a fun tasting party to end this spectacular experience. Thank you!

2 Yukon gold potatoes

½ cup flour

2 eggs

1 cup Gefen Pretzel Crumbs

avocado oil, for frying

1 tsp salt, divided

1 tsp hot paprika, divided

1 tsp garlic powder, divided

1 container mushrooms or 1 can Gefen Mushrooms

1 onion, sliced into rings


For the cheese sauce:

1 cup milk

1½ cups shredded cheese

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp salt

½ tsp white pepper

heaping Tbsp flour


For the dip:

½ cup Tuscanini Crushed Tomatoes

¼ cup Gefen Roasted Red Pepper Strips

¼ cup Greek yogurt

Heat the oil in a large pot. Peel the potatoes and cut them into ¼–½-inch fries. Beat the eggs with the salt and spices. Dredge the potato wedges in the flour then in the eggs, and finally in the salted and spiced pretzel crumbs (with hot paprika and garlic). Fry until well browned. Remove from oil and drain well on a couple of paper towels.

In a medium skillet, heat a tablespoon of oil and sauté the onion and mushrooms until softened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

To make the cheese sauce, heat milk in a small saucepan until small bubbles form around the edges (be careful that it doesn’t boil over). Add in cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper. Whisk to

combine until smooth.

For the dipping sauce, blend all dip ingredients together. To serve, top the fries with the mushrooms, then with the cheese sauce. Serve alongside the tomato dip.

2 cups Tuscanini Blood Orange Soda

2 cups passion fruit drink

¼ cup passion fruit pulp (2–3 frozen Beleaves cubes)

¼ cup fresh or frozen cranberries

passion fruit sorbet

Combine all ingredients besides sorbet. Pour into glasses and top each serving with a scoop of sorbet.


Finalist 5
Broccoli and Mushrooms with Halloumi Cheese and Lemon-infused Ginger Ale

By Necha’la Landau, Brooklyn, NY

Pan-seared broccoli florets in sesame oil, accompanied by mushrooms, sautéed in a white wine reduction, and topped with pretzel-crusted Halloumi cubes. This warm, savory salad has been paired with homemade lemon-infused fresh ginger ale.

12 oz frozen broccoli, defrosted, or 12 oz greenhouse grown broccoli, blanched

1 Tbsp sesame oil

1 Tbsp neutral oil

1 container mushrooms, sliced

1 red onion

1 jar Gefen Red Pepper Strips

½ cup white wine

1 tsp salt

14 oz Halloumi cheese, cubed

½ cup flour

2 eggs

1 cup Gefen Pretzel Crumbs

oil, for frying

Preheat a frying pan with 2–3 inches of oil. Dredge the cheese in flour, egg, and crumbs. Frya until golden, about 2 minutes per side. In a large skillet, heat the sesame oil. Sauté the broccoli until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Remove from pan. Add neutral oil. Sauté the onion until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until the liquid has evaporated, about another 7–10 minutes. Add the pepper strips and stir. Season with salt and pepper, then add the white wine and cook until the liquid is almost completely evaporated, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Toss with broccoli and top with warm Halloumi.

2 cups peeled, grated ginger (by hand or food processor)

3 cups water

2 cups sugar

1 cup lemon juice


Place grated ginger into a mesh cooking bag. Combine water, sugar, ginger, and lemon juice and cook on low flame for about 15 minutes. Discard mesh bag. Add approximately 2 tablespoons liquid to each 8-oz cup of seltzer, adjusting for taste.


Finalist 6
Spinach and Cheese Ravioli with Salmon and Hazelnut Hot Cocoa

By Shevy R. Brooklyn, NY

Spinach and cheese ravioli with a crushed tomato sauce with onions and mushrooms, topped with pretzel crumb-coated teriyaki salmon cubes.

For the drink, hot cocoa with hazelnut spread with whipped cream and cookie crumbs, and a hazelnut and chocolate spoon. Everyone loved both dishes. Some said the drink can be from a cafe. I wish I could send some over email… Thank you so much for such a fun contest!!

1 10-oz pkg spinach and cheese ravioli

2 cups Tuscanini Crushed Tomatoes

1 Tbsp oil

1 large onion, diced

1 can Gefen mushrooms or 1 container Mushrooms, sliced

salt and pepper

1 lb salmon, cubed

½ cup Gefen Mayonnaise

2 Tbsp sesame teriyaki sauce

1 cup Gefen Pretzel Crumbs

cooking spray

Cook ravioli according to package directions and drain. In a small skillet, heat oil. Cook onions and mushrooms until the onions are translucent and the liquid has cooked out. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the crushed tomatoes and season again. Cook until the flavors come together, and the sauce is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Add in the ravioli and cook for an additional 2 minutes.


Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking dish with parchment paper. Combine the mayo and teriyaki sauce and brush onto the salmon. Dip into pretzel crumbs until fully coated. Place on a baking sheet. Spray the salmon cubes with cooking spray, then bake for 15 minutes.

1 serving hot cocoa mix

12 oz milk or water

2 Tbsp hazelnut spread

2 Tbsp cookie crumbs

whipped cream, for garnish


For the chocolate spoon:

½ cup chocolate chips

2 Tbsp hazelnut spread

2 Tbsp crushed cookies

spoon molds

Melt chocolate chips and hazelnut spread together. In the spoon mold, place crushed cookies and pour chocolate on top. Let it harden. Prepare the hot cocoa with milk or water according to mix instructions. Spread the hazelnut spread around the edge of your glass. Roll in cookie crumbs. Carefully pour the cocoa into the glass. Top with whipped cream and cookie crumbs. Serve with a chocolate spoon.


(Originally featured in Cozey, Issue 997)

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