Cooking Club: Week 40

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I love so many things from this week. This carrot pasta salad is so good. We’re just heading into picnic season here, where I like to pack up an easy dinner and take it down to the beach or a park and eat outside. It’s so much easier to enjoy the warm weather and a slower dinner when the kids can run free and it’s easy to invite friends last minute so no one needs to clean up or stress. It’s also the time of year to have herb sauces always available, so we have a chimichurri that gets used twice on this menu. Maybe even double it if you’re a saucy person. And because our family can polish off a tray of muffins in two days noooooo problem, we’re doing a blueberry-almond meal version this week - unfussy and not too sweet.

Hope you all have had a great week!


1-hr. Prep

- Blitz up the chimichurri (Recipe #1)
- Spice rub/marinate your chicken (Recipe #1)
- Prepare the cauliflower mash in (Recipe #1)
- Make the muffins (Recipe #4)
- Pickle the vegetables for #2


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groceries

I am assuming you have sea salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil and a higher heat oil, such as avocado oil or coconut oil. Check your stock on these before you head to the market, and check off any other items you may already have. As you continue to use these recipes, you will see repetition of my favorite ingredients. For example, while real maple and pine nuts are pricey pantry staples, they won’t sit in the pantry, you’ll use them in upcoming weeks. Use bulk bins at your local health food store to buy in smaller quantities if you prefer.

Your List i

spice rubbed chicken & roasted carrots, cauli mash & chimmichurri thai turkey burgers w/ pickled vegetables & spicy mayo herby penne w/ roasted carrots & arugula blueberry muffins

Produce

Pantry

Meat & Dairy


recipe 01: spice rubbed chicken & roasted carrots, cauli mash & chimmichurri

serves 6

Heads up:

Overnight marinade recommended!

Make this meal on a Sunday (marinate the chicken on saturday!) and you’ll get dinner done, plus prep work on the roasted carrots and chimichurri you can repurpose in Recipe 3 later in the week. While there are a number of components, if you follow the timeline, the chicken and carrots roast together, giving you time to blend up the cauli puree and the chimichurri. Plus, you’ll be halfway done with another meal later in the week.

This spice rub is great if you double or triple it and keep it in a jar for all your grilling needs.

I suggest spatchcocking the chicken so it cooks faster and gets extra crispy skin. Have your butcher do it if you’re freaked out by the endeavor. You can skip it all together and just use bone-in breast, thigh and drumstick pieces.

How to:

spatchcock a chicken: Place the chicken breast side down on a cutting board. Using your “peace fingers,” feel along the backbone of the chicken to get an idea of where to cut. Using a pair of sharp kitchen shears, or a butcher’s knife, begin to cut along the right side of the backbone starting from the leg end of the bird. Repeat on the other side and discard the backbone. To help it lay flat, smash the breastbone with the heel of your hands.

For grilling: Heat your grill to medium and grease the grates with olive oil. Remove the chicken from the marinade, and pat dry with a paper towel. Season entire chicken with a bit of extra salt and pepper, don’t be shy. Place the chicken breast side up on the grill with the legs facing the grill’s hottest area. Cover and cook until the chicken registers about 160, about 40 minutes. Flip the chicken over, skin side down, and char the skin for about 5 minutes. Temp the chicken thigh again, avoiding the bone, and make sure it registers to 165. Remove from the grill and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. Season with charred lemons.

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Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: The chicken can marinate a day in advance of roasting. Half of the carrots and chimichurri base will be used up in recipe three and can stay fresh in the fridge for about 4 days. The cauli puree can be made in advance and stay fresh three days. To reheat, a quick toast of the carrots in a hot cast iron or toaster oven will help them re-crisp.

Use it Twice: Carrots and chimichurri base can be re-worked later in the week into a pasta dish. The extra chicken can be used in the pasta too, or served over greens with the chimichurri, leftover roasted veggies, and some avocado.

Kid Friendly: I like the chimichurri with the roasted jalapeño, but depending how spicy yours is, you may want to skip it for the kids. I shred up the chicken and cut the carrots into smaller pieces for the kids, but overall, I find this to be family-friendly.

Vegetarian Option: Use the same spice rub on tofu or tempeh, and pan sear or grill to crisp it up. portobello mushrooms would also fare well in this marinade.


Ingredients
 

FOR THE CHICKEN

2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. cumin
¼ - ½ tsp. chipotle powder
2 tsp. sea salt
Zest + juice of one large lemon
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 3-4 lb. chicken, backbone removed (spatchcocked or broken down)

FOR THE CARROTS

2 lb. rainbow carrots, scrubbed, quartered + halved lengthwise
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. sea salt

FOR THE CAULI-MASH

1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 cloves garlic
1 qt. chicken stock 
2 Tbsp. ghee or butter
¼ cup heavy cream or coconut milk
½ tsp. dried thyme
1/2-1 tsp. sea salt
black pepper, freshly ground

FOR THE CHIMICHURRI

1 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 cup cilantro, chopped
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 small shallot, minced
1 roasted jalapeño, optional*
Zest + juice of 1 large lemon (1/4 cup)
½ tsp. salt
½ cup olive oil

2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. capers, drained + chopped
Pinch of aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes

Instructions

In a small bowl, whisk together paprika, garlic, powder, thyme, coriander, cumin, chipotle, salt, lemon juice (about 1/4 cup), zest, and olive oil until smooth. Place the butterflied chicken in a gallon sized zip-bag, pour over the marinade, zip the bag up, and rub the marinade all over the bird, making sure you get all the crevasses. Marinade overnight, or for at least 2 hours, in the fridge. Prior to cooking, allow to come to room temperature on the counter for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400’. See headnote if grilling.

Remove the chicken from the marinade, pat dry, and season with salt and pepper. Place in the middle of a large rimmed baking sheet or 12” cast-iron skillet. Spread 1 lb. of carrots around the chicken. Drizzle carrots with ½ tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon coriander, a ½ teaspoon of thyme, and season with salt and pepper.

On a separate baking sheet, spread the remaining pound of carrots, season with the remaining olive oil, and season with the rest of the coriander, thyme, salt, and pepper. Allow space in between so they get crisp instead of steam.

Place the sheet of carrots in the lower third of the oven, and the pan with the chicken near the middle rack. Roast for 45-50 minutes or until the chicken registers 165 at the thickest part of the thigh and the juices run clear. Allow the chicken to rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.

If your sheet pan of carrots gets crispy before then, remove them from the oven, we don’t want mush carrots! Allow them to cool, and store in an airtight container until you’re ready to make recipe 3.

While the chicken and carrots roast, make your chimichurri. I roast my jalapeño just over the flame of my stove top - let it cool then peel off the skin. In the bowl of a food processor, add in shallot, roasted jalapeño, garlic, basil, cilantro, lemon juice, zest, salt, and pepper. Pulse for 30 seconds or until just combined. You want to be able to see herby bits in the sauce. Pulse in the olive oil. Season to taste. 

Remove half of the mixture, and store in an airtight container in the fridge for the pasta sauce in Recipe 3.  

With the remaining chimichurri base, pulse in the capers, white wine vinegar, a pinch of pepper flakes. Season to taste and set aside. Give your food processor a quick rinse.

To make the cauli mash, in a large stockpot, add in cauliflower florets and garlic. Pour over just enough chicken stock to cover. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender. Remove from the heat and strain. Reserve about 1/3 cup of stock to loosen up the puree. 

Transfer the florets and garlic to the food processor. Add in ghee/butter, cream or coconut milk, thyme, salt, and pepper. Puree in 30 second increments, scraping down the sides intermittently, until you have reached your desired consistency. Season to taste.

Cut the chicken, starting by removing the thighs and wings. With a sharp knife, cut along the breastbone and remove the breasts. Slice or shred how you please. Drizzle with pan juices and finish with a squeeze of lemon.

To serve, dollop a few healthy spoonfuls of the cauli mash onto your plate, top with the spears of charred carrots, chicken, and a generous drizzle of the chimichurri. 

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
    857
  • fat i
    66 g
  • carbs i
    32 g
  • protein
    38 g

recipe 02: thai turkey burgers w/ pickled vegetables & spicy mayo

serves 4

Heads up:

Plan to chill the burger mixture for 30 minutes if possible.

I know avocado IN your burger instead of on top sounds weird. Trust me, it keeps the turkey from drying out and shrinking on the grill. Serve these as a lettuce wrap, or as a burger bowl or in a soft bun with all the toppings. The burger mixture is much easier to form if you chill the meat for 30 minutes to an hour after you mix in all the seasonings. 

If you don’t care for fish sauce, skip it and double the tamari. 

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Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: The burger mix can be made ahead and kept in the fridge for three days. You can also double the batch and freeze half of the patties raw and pull them out to thaw a bit when you’re short on time. Both the mayo and the pickled veg will last in your fridge for 1-2 weeks.

Use it Twice: The mayo can be mixed into leftover roasted chicken and topped with pickled veggies for a Thai take on chicken salad.

Kid Friendly: I put avo, lettuce and the meat inside an English muffin for them. These can be messy and skipping the pickled veg for them helped keep it all together.

Vegetarian Friendly: Marinate tofu in sesame oil, lime juice, tamari, and red pepper flakes. Grill it for 4 minutes on each side.


Ingredients

FOR THE BURGERS

½ avocado, mashed 
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, grated
2 green onions, white + green parts, sliced thin
2 tsp. lemongrass, outer part removed, smashed + minced
1 tsp. lime zest
2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. coconut aminos or tamari
1 lb. ground turkey

FOR THE PICKLED VEGGIES

3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. honey 
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup carrots, julienned or shredded
1/4 red onion, sliced thin
5 radishes, sliced thin
½ jalapeno, sliced very thin, optional

FOR THE SWEET + SPICY MAYO

½ cup mayonnaise, or yogurt
2 tbsp. lime juice
Zest of one lime
1 tsp. honey
2 tsp. Sriracha 

FOR SERVING

1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated into cups
1 English cucumber, sliced thin
1 avocado, sliced, optional
Buns, optional

Instructions

For the burgers, in a medium bowl mash up avocado until smooth. Add in garlic, green onions, lemongrass, lime zest, ginger, cilantro, fish sauce, coconut aminos/tamari, and salt. Mix together with a fork until smooth. Add in the ground turkey and mix with two forks or your hands until just combined. Cover, and allow to chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes while you prepare the rest.

Meanwhile, pickle your veggies. In a small saucepan, bring vinegar, water, honey, and salt to a boil. This can also be done in the microwave. Place carrots, onions, radishes, and jalapeño slices in a large mason jar. Once the honey is dissolved, turn off the heat, and pour the pickling liquid over the veggies. Screw on the top and shake them up. Pop in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

In a small bowl, mix together mayo, lime juice, zest, honey and siracha. Season to taste. Need more spice? Add a few more dashes of siracha until you have reached your desired spice level. Return to the fridge. You’ll have extra mayo that can save for 1-2 weeks.

Preheat your grill on medium high heat. Grease the grates with oil. 

Remove burger mix from the fridge and divide evenly into four patties. Press into patty shapes and make them a bit thick. This will help them from falling apart on the grill. Transfer the burgers to the grill and allow to cook undisturbed for 6-8 minutes. Flip them over and continue to cook on the other side for an additional 7. Check to make sure they are done in the middle, meaning the juices run clear. If they are charred but the middle isn’t done, move them to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking.

To serve, spread a bit of mayo on the bottom of a butter lettuce leaf. Add the burger patty, a bit more mayo, pickled veggies, cucumber, and extra avocado. Or put everything in a bun.

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
    481
  • fat i
    37 g
  • carbs i
    14 g
  • protein
    24 g

recipe 03: herby penne w/ roasted carrots & arugula

serves 4

This was inspired by a recipe the Smitten Kitchen posted on her Instagram a few weeks back, and just so happens to use both the leftover carrots and chimichurri base from Recipe 1 to make this come together quickly.

I like my pasta dishes extra salady, and you can add as much or little arugula as you choose. Consider this a formula for other summer pasta variations when you are needing extra help throwing together a weeknight meal. Pasta + herby sauce + roasted veg + greens + crunchy bits is always a win. Sub out the carrots for roasted tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, broccoli, etc. and top it with a toasted nut and a few grates of parm? Dinner!

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Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: The sauce and carrots can be made up to three days in advance. Just warm the carrots a bit before tossing in the pasta. The completed pasta stays well in the fridge for 3 days and can even be enjoyed cold. Leave the arugula out if you know you’ll have leftovers and add it in just before serving.

Use it Twice: See Recipe 01!

Kid Friendly: I like my pasta to resemble a salad, my kids would rather it just resemble pasta. I chopped up some greens and stirred them into their, then added another big handful for the adult portions.

Dairy Free: I made ours without the parm and it was great!

Carnivore Addition: Grilled or sautéed chicken sausages would be great here. Italian or Spinach flavor would both be great. Grilled shrimp would also work well with the flavors.

Gluten-free: Try a rice or bean-based noodle.


 Ingredients

¾  lb. dried penne or other short pasta 
Kosher salt

½ of the Chimichurri Base (Recipe 1)
⅓ cup sunflower seeds, toasted
2 Tbsp. parmesan, freshly grated, optional
½ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Splash of water

FOR ASSEMBLY

1 lb. rainbow carrots, pre-roasted from Recipe 1
Zest of one lemon
¼ cup sunflower seeds, toasted
2 large handfuls arugula
2-3 oz. feta, crumbled, optional
2/3 cup green olives, pitted and halved
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley chopped

Instructions

Fill a large saucepot with water, salt generously, bring to a boil, and cook the pasta according to the package instructions, about 1-2 minutes shy of the recommended cooking time.

While the pasta is cooking, finish off your herb sauce. Give the sunflower seeds a rough chop. Into the chimichurri base, stir in sunflower seeds, parm, salt, and pepper. If it looks thick, add a splash of water to thin it out a bit, or lemon juice if you taste it and want it brighter. 

Chop pre-roasted carrots diagonally in ½ inch pieces. You should have about 2 cups chopped carrots total.

When the pasta is finished. Drain, and reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta back to the pot, a few generous dollops of the herb sauce, and a small splash of pasta water to help it coat. Add in carrots, lemon zest, sunflower seeds, and a few big handfuls of arugula. Stir to mix and for the greens to wilt a bit. Stir in feta and olives if using. 

Garnish each serving with a little more feta, fresh pepper and parsley. 

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
    410
  • fat i
    11 g
  • carbs i
    63 g
  • protein
    15 g

recipe 04: Blueberry muffins

Makes 10

These are light and studded with probably too many blueberries. The recipe makes 10, which is perfect for a smaller crowd with not many leftovers.

We’re calling for butter here to keep it simple, but I find that half butter, half oil, keeps them moist, longer. Both ways taste great. 

They are written gluten free, but you can use AP flour in place of the gluten free blend, just use one egg instead of two. A store-bought gluten free blend can also be subbed for the blend below, Cup 4 Cup is the most reliable in my experience.

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Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: Muffins don’t last on the counter long, but you can double the batch, freeze the cooked muffins, and pop them in a toaster oven on busy mornings.

Use it Twice: The same recipe would work in an 8x8 lined baking pan and served as a snack cake, cut into squares or alongside vanilla ice cream.

Kid Friendly: It’s a muffin!

Dairy Free: Substitute the butter with ¼ cup of vegan butter (Mykonos is best in my experience) and ¼ cup of a neutral oil like avocado oil. In place of the yogurt sub for a thicker, unsweetened coconut or almond milk yogurt.


Ingredients

½ cup butter, or 1 stick, melted
½ cup cane sugar
Zest of one lemon
1/2 cup whole milk yogurt, or unsweetened DF yogurt
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
½ cup almond flour
½ cup oat flour
½ cup brown rice flour
2 Tbsp. flaxmeal

1 ¼ cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1- 2 Tbsp. raw turbinado sugar. for topping


Instructions

Preheat oven to 360°F.’ Line a muffin tin with 10 liners or grease each cup well with nonstick spray. 

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together butter, eggs, sugar, lemon zest, yogurt, and vanilla. Mix in baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg until combined. Begin to fold in almond flour, oat flour, and brown rice flour until barely combined. Plop in your berries and just barely fold them into the mix. Your batter should be thick, think somewhere near a cake batter. 

Divide the mixture evenly among the 10 lined muffin cups. Sprinkle each muffin with ½ teaspoon – 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar. This helps them get brown and crackly. Bake on the middle rack for 20-25 minutes until the tops are crunchy and golden, and a toothpick comes out clean when testing in the middle.

If you can, let them cool for at least 15 minutes before trying to remove them from the pan. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Nutrition Information

per muffin

  • calories
    242
  • fat i
    15 g
  • carbs i
    25 g
  • protein
    5 g