Happy New Year! A warm welcome to folks who are just joining us. I hope you find that this program both saves you time and inspires you towards enjoying the dinner process. Poke around and let us know if you have any questions. We are working on a few upgrades in the new year.
First up, there is a new Dressings & Sauces Index (woo!) accessible through the main navigation once you’re signed in.
We know that the weekly bookmarking / recipe saving process is a bit annoying (which we are aiming to roll out a new feature for next week), and that the longer you use the program, the harder it will be to remember where your favorite salad dressing was or the taco sauce you want to always have in the fridge, so we’ll start compiling this index of go-to sauces and dressings. Please keep me posted via the Facebook group, Instagram DM, or by sharing photos, so that I can see crowd favorites and add them. Obv, I won’t add every single suace, so pipe up if you think there’s one that should be included.
We’ll be working on new features along with some simple little videos in the coming months. If you have any ideas of what might make Cooking Club more useful, we’d love to hear from you!
So happy you’re here. Thank you and have a great week!
- As hinted at above: a new Your Archives feature is coming! Bookmarking and saving recipes will soon be a thing of the past. Stay tuned!
- Comments, questions or suggestions? Submit your feedback here.
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
MEAT & DAIRY
recipe 01: Breakfast Tacos for Dinner
Super easy family favorite - breakfast or dinner, doesn’t matter. Affordable, quick, no one complains ;)
If you like the avocado taco sauce from the salmon tacos, that would be a great addition here too and that now lives in the Dressing & Sauce Index! Have all the taco fixings ready and then it’s merely assembly once the eggs are scrambled. We usually serve ours vegetarian but breakfast meats are welcome here. If you saved that vegetarian chorizo from Week 16, a scoop of that is delicious here too. If you don’t have refried beans on hand, you can warm up a pot of whole black beans with a splash of water and maybe a tip of taco seasoning and smash them with the back of a fork until you get a rough mash.
Tips of The Week
Prep Ahead: Make the avo sauce in advance if you're going that route. You can whisk and season your eggs, keep them stored in the fridge, and pull them out to room temperature while you get all your other taco bits ready.
Make it Work Twice: You have taco things! Swap out the eggs and use a different main inside your tortilla - all sorts of things can be seasoned with taco seasoning. We love roasted butternut squash or cauliflower as the “meat.”
Kid Friendly: Again with the burrito rec. Our kids are pretty young, but they seem to have a much easier time when the butt is folded up opposed to everything falling out the bottom of a taco.
Dairy Free: Skip the milk in the eggs or use a non-dairy milk. Same goes for the cheese.
Carnivore Addition: Crispy bacon in there for sure.
for the tacos
1/4 cup milk, optional
pinch of sea salt and pepper
Nub of butter, for cooking
8 tortillas, warmed
1 13.5 oz. can refried beans, warmed
Hot sauce or salsa
Whisk all your eggs together well with the milk (if using), salt and pepper. They should look smooth and uniform in color. Heat a pan over medium heat and melt a nub of butter. Swirl it around the pan to coat. Add the eggs and scramble them until the curds hold together. Transfer off the heat.
Warm the tortillas and beans, and have all the taco fixings ready.
Arrange each tortilla with a swipe of beans, a scoop of eggs, a few slices of avocado, cheese (if using), avocado, cilantro and hot sauce. Repeat and enjoy warm.
recipe 02: Roasted Cauliflower Bowls w/ Green Tahini
I make quick work of the sauce in a magic bullet or whatever you use as a go-to blender or food processor. You can stir this together by hand, or shake it up in a jar, just chop your garlic, jalapeño and herbs well and stir everything to mix. If you like spice, leave more seeds of the jalapeño inside, otherwise, remove them. I like dates or pomegranates in here too if you want something sweet.
Tips of The Week
Prep Ahead: the dressing can be made in advance and kept covered in the fridge. The grains may be cooked a few days in advance as well.
Make it Work Twice: The green tahini makes for a great creamy salad dressing. If it looks thick out of the fridge, stir in a little more lemon juice.
Kid Friendly: My kids love roasted cauliflower. I put all these bits inside a pita or lavash wrap for them. Or a rice bowl, with easy greens.
Lower Carb: Skip the grains and add some protein of choice.
Carnivore Addition: Add chicken or a seasoned lamb. Salmon works too.
for the cauliflower
1 large head of cauliflower, broken into small florets (about 3 cups florets)
2-3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. sea salt
fresh ground pepper
for the green tahini
1 large clove of garlic, grated
1/3 cup tahini
3 Tbsp. water
Juice of one juicy lemon
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Handful of fresh parsley
Handful of fresh cilantro
1/2 a jalapeño, seeds partially removed
1/2 tsp. sea salt
for the salad
4 cups greens - arugula, spring mix, baby kale etc.
2 cups grain - quinoa, brown rice, etc.
1 English cucumber, sliced thin
1/4 cup toasted pistachios
feta cheese, optional
Preheat the oven to 400’. Put the florets on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle them with oil, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper and rub it into the cauliflower. It’s messy, just keep rubbing. Spread them in an even layer and roast for 35-40 minutes, stirring halfway through until softened and browned on the edges.
While the cauli roasts, blitz all your green tahini ingredients together in a food processor or blender until smooth.
Arrange your bowls with a generous dollop of sauce, scoop of grain, some greens, cucumber, cauliflower, green sauce and a garnish of pine nuts and feta cheese.
recipe 03: Mushroom & Spinach Rice Gratin
I intended to be so new years-y with the menus in January but I couldn’t help myself. It is cold and cozy and I made this for Christmas dinner and I can’t stop thinking about it. My food ethos doesn’t label ingredients as “bad” but New Years blah blah. This is a riff on a Heidi Swanson casserole. She is a wonderful vegetarian recipe writer and creator of the blog 101cookbooks and subsequent cookbooks.
I chop the mushrooms small and if my kids don’t look too closely, it just looks like cheesy rice and I tell them “they’re mushrooms, they taste like meat” which is not always a lie and it does work so don’t judge me. If tofu is not your deal, one cooked, well shredded chicken breast can stand in its place or the token sausage suggestion is mentioned below.
Tips of The Week
Prep Ahead: The onion, mushrooms and spinach can be sautéed in advance and the rice and egg mixture can all be combined as well. I will make this whole situation and leave it covered in the fridge and pull it out while the oven is preheating to bake off for a quick dinner if I have time to prep earlier in the day.
Make it Work Twice: The leftovers of this reheat well but I can’t imagine a casserole being repurposed into something new.
Lower Carb: It works with cauliflower rice! It’s a little wetter this way, but it works. Sauté the cauliflower rice before all the combining to cook off some of the moisture, about 5-7 minutes and then cool completely.
Carnivore Addition: Add a few cooked, crumbled sausage into the final combining mixture.
Dairy Free: Skip the cheese. There are dairy free alternatives to sour cream. A coconut based plain yogurt would work too. Heidi’s original has olives and pine nuts involved which could substitute in for the salty richness of the cheese and sour cream.
1 Tbsp. avocado or extra virgin olive oil
1/2 a medium onion, small dice
8 ounces mushrooms, well chopped
Sprig of fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, grated
5-6 oz. baby spinach
3 Tbsp. sour cream
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2/3 cup grated pepperjack cheese, divided
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 cups leftover/pre-cooked brown rice (or a mix of brown and wild rice)
4 ounces tofu, crumbled (about half a standard block)
Chopped parsley and/or pine nuts
In a saute pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Once it’s hot, add the onions and a pinch of salt and sauté about 5 minutes until they begin to turn golden. Add the mushrooms, the leaves from the thyme and sauté another few minutes until the mushrooms release their moisture and begin to brown. In the last minute, stir in the grated garlic and spinach. It will look like a lot, but should wilt down to a quarter of it’s volume in a moment. Do this in batches if needed.
Preheat the oven to 350’ and grease a 10” baking dish.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, mustard, half of the cheese and the salt. Add the rice and crumble the tofu in with your hands. Stir in the spinach and the mushroom mixture and transfer it to your baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake for 20 minutes, turn the heat up to 450’ and bake another 10 minutes until the casserole is set but still tender, and the top is toasty.
Garnish with chopped parsley and pine nuts for a little crunch. Hugh eats his with a dollop more sour cream but January! I don’t think it needs it.
recipe 04: Cinnamon Apple Baked Oatmeal
More Heidi Swanson inspiration! She turned a cult following onto her baked oatmeal in one of her cookbooks a few years back. Hers is studded with blueberries and a layer of bananas and comes together with pantry staples. Aside from feeding my children who seem to be bottomless breakfast eaters, this is a great brunch dish. It sits a little lighter than cake, while still tasting like a treat. We don’t usually blaze through a pan full of this in one morning, but the leftovers warm up beautifully with a touch more milk to rehydrate everything. Dairy free? You can use coconut oil to sauté the apples.
Tips of The Week
Prep Ahead: The apples can be sautéed in advance. The wet mixture may all be whisked in advance as well, then do a quick combine and bake everything in the morning.
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter or ghee, divided
2 large apples, cored and chopped small
1 tsp. cinnamon, divided
2 Tbsp. orange juice
2 cups unsweetened almond milk or alternative
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces, plus more for topping
1/2 tsp. baking powder
Warm 1 Tbsp. of the butter or ghee in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped apples, a pinch of salt and sauté a few minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon and the orange juice and sauté another few minutes until just tender. Set aside to cool. This step can be done a day in advance.
Preheat the oven to 375’ and grease an 8” or approximately 2 qt. oven proof dish.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, maple syrup, vanilla, egg, remaining 2 Tbsp. butter (warmed), 1/2 tsp. sea salt and the remaining 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Add the oats, pecans, baking powder and stir to combine. Stir in the sautéed apples, including any juices. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, sprinkle a few extra pecans on top, and bake on the middle rack for 25-28 minutes until the center is mostly set. It will continue to set as it cools. Remove to cool slightly. Serve warm, as is, or in bowls with a little extra almond milk on top.