Cooking Club: Week 24

Happy Love Week! 

Thanks for your feedback over on Instagram in regards to valentines suggestions. Most of you mentioned pasta, and that it's an evening that most of you cook something different or more decadent at home. While we've done a few pasta recipes around here, this mushroom pappardelle is on the richer side for my type of cooking. Hugh said it is one of the best recipes I've ever made SOOO hope you give it a rumble. If that is not your jam, the lava cakes are DREAMY. The scale of just having two is great and they are so chocoately and warm and anything a la mode is my love language. If you make nothing else this week, make those! 

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Have a great week!


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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

Bon Appetit’s feel-better chicken & rice soup mixed mushroom pappardelle winter salad molten chocolate cakes for two


Dry Ingredients


Meat & Dairy

recipe 01: Bon Appetit’s feel-better chicken & rice soup

serves 4

At the start of every year, Bon Appetit puts out a ‘feel good’ collection of recipes. They are vegetable forward, easy, and inspire people to cook at home. No strict diet, just healthier in the general sense of the word. When I looked at the ingredients in this soup, I thought it sounded far too simple to be good, but I was wrong. I changed a few tiny things, but I will make this again whether I’m trying to “feel better” or not. 

I used brown rice, so mine took longer to plump up on the front end. Time differences for white or brown rice are included in the recipe below. 

We enjoyed this as written the first time, but when I reheated it, I chopped a bundle of Swiss chard and added it in to wilt down during the reheat. It bulked up the soup with more green vegetables.


Tips of The Week

Prep Ahead: The entire soup can be made (spare the herbs) three days in advance. Add water to thin if needed. I added broth to loosen it when reheating.

Kid Friendly: Skip the jalapeño, though heat level can vary. Mine made the soup pretty warm, but it was good for us adults. I would skip it for the kids.

Vegetarian Swap: I think some lentils in here would work in place of the chicken. It will be a thinner soup, but that is not a bad thing. I would try about 3/4 cup lentils, any sort will do. Consider using broth in place of water, as you are not getting the depth of flavor from the chicken.


Drizzle of avocado or olive oil
1 lb. chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
1/3 cup jasmine rice (long grain brown works too, add 15 minutes to the first simmer)
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
2 inch piece of ginger, peeled, sliced thin
1/2 a jalapeño, sliced thin
1 tsp. sea salt or kosher salt to taste
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, cut in 1/2” rounds
Fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
fresh ground pepper

bunch of cilantro or parsley, roughly chopped


Heat a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat. Warm a drizzle of avocado or olive oil. Add the chicken thighs, rice, garlic, ginger, jalapeño slices, a big pinch of salt, and 5 cups of water. Bring it to a simmer, leave it uncovered, and cook, stirring occasionally for about 12 minutes, until the rice has swelled and the chicken is firm. If you use brown rice, give it an extra 10 minutes for the rice to swell. As the protein from the chicken forms a white layer on top of the soup, simply skim it off with a spoon. You don’t need to get every last bit.

Add the potatoes to the still uncovered pot. Stir occasionally, until the soup has thickened, and the potatoes and rice are tender (15-20 minutes longer).

Transfer chicken to a bowl, shred with two forks, and then return to the pot. Stir in the juice of one small lemon, tamari/soy sauce, and a few grinds of fresh ground pepper. Taste for seasoning.

Optional, but the soup takes well to a handful of greens, stirred in at the end, to wilt under the soup’s heat. I’m always interested in adding more greens, my kids are not, so leaving this as an option. 

Garnish with lots of fresh herbs. Soup will keep in the fridge for a week, or can also be frozen.

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
  • fat
    19 g
  • carbs
    29 g
  • protein
    22 g

recipe 02: mixed mushroom pappardelle

serves 4

I asked y’all what you had in mind for Valentine’s dinner. So many of you said a special pasta, and many said steak. I am going to help with the former, and point you elsewhere for tips on cooking steak. I had a suggestion from a friend, to rub Dijon mustard all over the outside of the steak before searing, and while not much for red meat myself, Hugh said it makes for a nice crust. I’ll leave the link to this Jamie Oliver article here, if you’re looking to serve a protein with the pasta.

Portion size. It’s pretty rich, so I will say this feeds four with a salad. If you are going in hungry, it will likely feed two with a bit leftover. 

Mushrooms are like little sponges, so it takes some practice to figure out how to work with their water content. Under heat and salt, they’ll release their liquid. After it releases, some will evaporate. Then you reintroduce flavorful liquids like wine, vinegar, and butter, which the mushrooms can reabsorb. 

Here, we’re making delicious mushrooms to start. They can go a few different ways. Pile these on toasted bread, or toss with noodles. You can add in more crème fraiche, and spoon the creamy mushrooms on top of your steak (if you go that route). If you want something lighter, I love the mushrooms with some spaghetti squash as a noodle alternative. 

I find the best selection of mushrooms at farmers markets, but I know those are not always accessible. Whole Foods will be the next best option for a variety, and really, this can use any type of mushrooms. They don’t have to be the fancy ones.

You can serve this with the winter salad if you want a busier salad, but we like arugula with good olive oil, lemon juice, and toasted pine nuts next to a pasta like this.


Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: The crispy breadcrumbs and bacon, if using, can be made in advance.

Use it Twice: Leftovers warm up well with a splash of broth or water

Kid Friendly: My kids aren’t into mushrooms, so I’m fine with them having plain pasta. I make a little extra, and pull them out before adding the rest to the mushroom mixture.

Carnivore Addition: Grill a few Italian sausages to serve on the side. Many of you suggested steak as a special Valentines entree, and that would go great next to this pasta!

Low Carb: I have not tried it, but I feel like zucchini noodles may be a bit too watery here. Spaghetti squash will be a little better, but just serve the creamy mushrooms on top, don’t try to toss it all together.


for the crispy breadcrumbs

half of a day old baguette or loaf
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
pinch of sea salt and pepper
pinch of dried Italian seasonings

for the mushrooms

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
12 oz. mixed mushrooms (a mix of oyster, chanterelle, or king trumpet), ripped into larger pieces
sea salt
1/4 cup chopped shallots

1/4 cup white wine
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 sprigs of thyme
handful of fresh chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
3 garlic cloves, sliced thin

for the pasta

1/2 lb. /8 oz. pappardelle noodles
4 ounces crème fraiche

Optional finish

4 pieces crispy, crumbled bacon


Start with the crispy breadcrumbs (these may be done up to a day in advance). Preheat the oven to 375’. Pulse the bread in a food processor to make tiny crumbs. Toss 1 cup of them in the oil, along with a big pinch of salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings. Spread them on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden. Remove and set aside to cool and crisp up. 

Tip: If you have extra, leftover pulsed bread, save it in
the freezer. We’ll use it for meatballs in a few weeks. 

Bring a bit pot of heavily salted water to a boil for the pasta. 

In a large frying pan, heat the oil until it is pretty hot. Add the mushrooms in a single(ish) layer, and let them sit undisturbed for a few minutes to brown on the bottoms. Give them a stir, add a few pinches of salt, and sauté until they get golden brown on the edges (this will come by way of NOT moving them a lot). About 5 minutes.

Reduce the heat, add the shallots, and sauté for about two minutes. Add the wine, and stir occasionally until it has mostly cooked off. Add the vinegar and broth, and cook another few minutes to reduce. Add the butter, thyme, parsley, and garlic. Stir once or twice, just to coat everything in butter. Turn off the heat and set aside. There should be some jus at the bottom of the pan.

Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Turn the mushrooms back on low heat. Use tongs to transfer the noodles into the mushroom pan (we want a bit of that pasta water to transfer over, so don’t worry about completely draining). Add the crème fraiche and stir everything to coat. Add a few grinds of fresh pepper, a pinch more salt, and transfer to your serving bowls. 

Garnish with bacon crumbles (if using), the crispy breadcrumbs, a sprinkle of grated parmesan, and another handful of fresh parsley. Yum! Enjoy! Save room for lava cake. 

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
  • fat
    35 g
  • carbs
    54 g
  • protein
    16 g

recipe 03: winter salad (member favorite)

serves 4

This makes a pretty generous sized salad. When I suggest salad as an entree, I realize it takes a lot to get full off of green salad. If you think you’ll be adding protein or another component, skip the cabbage or one of the other greens as the volume may be unnecessary. 


Tips of The Week

Prep Ahead: The dressing and roasted potatoes can be made in advance.

Make It Work Twice: I feel like I need to give you the yields for one recipe, but I would never just roast one sweet potato as a component of a green salad. Make twice as much, eat them with eggs or feed them to your kids with ketchup. They’re nice to have on hand.

Kid Friendly: Salads are not popular, but if I pull the potatoes, dates, avocado, nuts and cheese into little sections, they are excited about a snack plate. See note above, consider making extra potatoes.

Carnivore Addition: Shred some chicken into the salad, or serve the salad with a steak or seafood of choice. I feel like it can pretty much go with anything.


for the roasted sweet potatoes

1 medium-sized sweet potato, 1” cubes
2 tsp. avocado or olive oil
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt and pepper

for the salad

5 oz. bag baby kale
5 oz. bag spring mix
1/2 a small head of purple cabbage
1 jalapeño, lower 3/4, sliced super thin
8 dates, pitted and chopped
2/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 avocados, diced
4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

for the SKCC Basic Vinaigrette

2 Tbsp. minced shallot
1 garlic clove, grated
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. maple syrup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Dash of cayenne


Preheat the oven to 400’. Toss the potato cubes in the oil, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes until tender and browned on the edges. Remove to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the baby kale, spring mix, cabbage, jalapeño, dates and almonds. 

Combine all the dressing ingredients together and whisk to combine. This can also be done in a blender, if you prefer a smoother texture. 

Add the potato cubes (and shredded chicken, if using) to the salad, drizzle desired dressing and toss to combine. Add the avocado and goat cheese on top. The goodies may sink to the bottom, so dig deep when plating your portion.

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
  • fat
    51 g
  • carbs
    67 g
  • protein
    15 g

recipe 04: molten chocolate cakes for two

Makes 2 Lava Cakes

It is actually a little scary how easy these are. It is a decadent dessert that potentially takes about 20 minutes, and only a few dirty dishes, especially if you use the microwave option below for melting the chocolate. 

If you have two 6-8 oz. ramekins, you can make two individual lava cakes. If you want one larger one, a smaller 6”-ish cast iron or baking dish will be great, you just need to watch the baking time. It may be hard to invert it from something other than a ramekin, so don’t bother, just pile ice cream on top whilst in its baking dish. I poke the center to test, knowing I am going to pile ice cream on top of the dents I make regardless. 

Tip: if you need room temp eggs quickly, put them
in a glass covered with warm water for 10 minutes.


Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: The batter can be made in advance, and brought to room temperature before baking.

Use it Twice: They can take a quick reheat in a warm oven or microwave.


for the lava cakes

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2.5 oz. Bittersweet chocolate (dark chocolate is fine!), roughly chopped
1/3 cup cane sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour or gluten-free all purpose

for serving

Your favorite ice cream


Preheat the oven to 425’. Grease two ramekins, or small baking dish. 

In a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water, combine the butter and chocolate. Stir until both are melted and combined (this can also be done in the microwave, by warming the butter and chocolate in 30 second increments, stirring between, until the chocolate is melted).

Take the bowl off the heat, stir in the sugar, and let it cool down slightly. Whisk the egg and yolk together. Add the eggs to the chocolate mixture, and whisk well to combine. Stir in the vanilla and flour until just combined. 

Divide the mixture between the ramekins. Place them on a baking sheet and cook for about 10 minutes, until the outer edges are set but the center is soft. Remove to cool for another minute or two, then invert the cake on to a plate.

Serve with a scoop of ice cream (mint chip!).

Best enjoyed soon after baking, but if you only end up only eating one, the second can take a quick reheat in the oven

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
  • fat
    45 g
  • carbs
    81 g
  • protein
    9 g