TRADITIONALLY, Passover has been the most food-oriented of Jewish holidays. The sedar plate centers on food, after all -- with such things as lamb shank and herbs symbolic of the Jewish exodus from Egypt.

Consuming leftovers during the week following the seder is tradition by default. But once the haroset and chicken soup run out, the modern cook's dilemma is to integrate Passover customs and convenience. After a hard day at work, it's easy to call chicken-and-matzo sandwiches dinner.

There's a world of food from which to form Passover meals--even steak and potatoes will do (as long as the steak is rib eye). Technically, holiday limitations concern only a few foods--leavened breads being the most obvious restriction. Still, during holidays, it is a challenge to merge the weekday rush with religious ritual.

When the seder leftovers are depleted, a quick trip through the supermarket express lane will supply a few necessities for a traditional-style Passover dinner, provided you have sugar, salt, pepper and margarine in the kitchen at home.

EXPRESS LANE LIST: beef brisket, carrots, onions, garlic, matzos, apples, eggs, raisins. BEEF BRISKET (6 servings) 3 medium onions, coarsely chopped 2 tablespoons pareve margarine 4-pound beef brisket 4 cloves garlic, crushed Salt and pepper to taste 5 carrots, sliced 3/4 cup water

Saute' onions in margarine in a dutch oven until golden. Rub brisket with crushed garlic and season with salt and pepper. Place brisket (with garlic) in dutch oven. Add carrots and water. Cover and simmer 3 1/2 hours, turning meat every hour. Check periodically during cooking to make sure brisket does not stick to bottom of pot; you may need to add more water. Brisket will shrink considerably during cooking.

Remove meat and reserve gravy with carrots and onions. Cool before slicing; otherwise meat will fall apart. If possible, cook the brisket the night before and refrigerate. The next day, skim the fat off the broth, slice the meat and reheat gravy with sliced brisket. MATZO KUGEL (10 to 12 servings) 10 to 12 sheets matzo 6 eggs, well beaten 1 stick pareve margarine, melted 1/2 cup sugar 1 cup raisins 3 apples, peeled and sliced

Break matzos into large chunks. Place in a bowl of room-temperature water to cover for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until matzo is soft. Drain matzos well, squeezing out excess water. Add other ingredients to matzo. Mixture may appear quite loose, but will hold together after baking. Place in a 9-by-13-inch greased baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until light brown.