Cooking Club: Week 39


Happy weekend! There was such a positive response to the Prep Hour we started last week, we’ll keep that going. I included the make-ahead tips for each recipe, but I understand it is easier to have them all in one place, so, onward. We have Melissa’s Tinga Tacos as a repeat member favorite this week and the breakfast cookies my kids have been inhaling after school. We’re going on a quick camping trip this weekend and I’m about to make another batch. There has been chatter about meals that are easy to deliver to friends in need, or to prepare and freeze for yourself with a new baby coming or for busy nights and this Enchilada Casserole is perfect for that. Maybe we’ll make it together on IG this week.
As always, don’t hesitate with questions! Love being involved with your dinner process. xo

In one-ish hour you’ll have:

Vegetables prepped (Recipe 1)
Lentils and quinoa cooked and ready to go (Recipes 1 and 3)
Chicken shredded (Recipe 2)
Nicoise dressing made (Recipe 1)
Dinner! You can finish off the Nicoise Salad or the Enchillada Bake.

Tip of The Week

Use your cooking method or equipment wisely. If you’re blanching or boiling, do multiple batches, and just rinse in between swapping what you’re cooking. If you’re using your food processor and know you’ll need it later in the week, rinse er’ out and do it all at once.

  1. Trim hericot verts and quarter potatoes (Recipe 1).

  2. Blanch hericot verts and boil potatoes, about 15 minutes, in salty water (Recipe 1). Drain and transfer to airtight containers. Pop them into the fridge. 

  3. In the same pots you boiled and blanched the veggies in, cook quinoa (Recipe 3) and lentils according to package instructions, about 25 minutes for quinoa and 20-30 for lentils. Tip: Trader Joe’s sells pre-cooked French lentils in the produce section if you want to save more time. 

  4. Dice onion. Mince jalapeño. Transfer to an airtight container. Set aside until ready to sauté. You could make the red sauce in its entirety if you have time. (Recipe 3)

  5. Shake Vinaigrette up in a jar. Set aside. (Recipe 1).

  6. Shred up your rotisserie chicken, transfer to an airtight container (Recipe 2).

  7. When the grains are finished, allow them to cool completely and then transfer to containers. Set aside in the fridge for (Recipe 1) and (Recipe 3).

  8. You can either finish off the Salad or continue on with the Enchilada Bake for dinner.


- In case you missed it last week, we released a little food photography guide, which you can view here.

- We updated the Sauces & Dressings page, and renamed it as the Condiment Index, with a few new non-dressing & sauce requests, including the quick pickled onions, spicy maple pepitas, and the green tahini sauce.

- 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

nicoise salad platter melissa’s tinga tacos enchilada quinoa casserole breakfast cookies



Meat & Dairy

recipe 01: Nicoise salad platter

serves 4

I am not writing in the protein here, and I’ll let you pick. Traditionally, it’s made with tuna - seared if you can find it, or if you’re short on time, a good quality canned albacore. You could use grilled chicken or another seafood you like or even skip it to leave it vegetarian. 

The haricot vert here are blanched, which means they end up cold on the platter. My kids won’t eat them cold, but like them warm with a bit of oil, salt and pepper, so while I’ll make the salad platter for Hugh and I, I will throw some potatoes and green beans into the oven to warm up for the kids. This way I am not reinventing a meal for them, just rethinking it. 


Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: See headnotes. Shake the vinaigrette ingredients together in advance. Blanch the green beans and boil your potatoes.

Use it Twice: Double or triple the vinaigrette for green salads this week.

Kid Friendly: I make a little composed plate, no olives or tomatoes because I know those won’t go over well. Toss the lentils in some vinaigrette, heat up the green beans and potatoes and not much needs to be reinvented.



1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. minced shallot
1 tsp. maple syrup
Big pinch of salt and pepper
Juice of half a lemon
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of fresh or dried thyme

3/4 lb. haricot verts, trimmed
1 lb. baby potatoes, halved and quartered
2 heads of butter or little gem lettuce, chopped
1 cup baby tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup your favorite olives
1 cup cooked lentils     

Protein options

2 cans of albacore tuna, ideally in olive oil, drained
Grilled chicken
Fresh seared albacore (1 minute on each side in a hot pan)
Slow-roasted salmon

Toasted pinenuts, optional
Fresh dill, for garnish
Fresh chives, for garnish


Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake it all up. Set aside. 

Blanch the haricot vert, shock them in ice water to stop the cooking. Drain completely. Boil the potatoes in salty water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain completely, then toss them in a spoonful of vinaigrette and fresh ground pepper. 

Toss the salad greens in a little bit of vinaigrette and arrange it on a platter. Top it with piles of the green beans, potatoes, lentils, tomatoes, olives, and whatever protein you choose. Drizzle the rest of the vinaigrette over the top. Garnish with toasted pine nuts, fresh dill, and parsley. 

Nutrition Information

per serving (w/ tuna)

  • calories
  • fat i
    21 g
  • carbs i
    41 g
  • protein
    26 g

recipe 02: melissa’s chicken tinga tacos

serves 4

This recipe is from Melissa Coleman, of the blog The Fauxmartha and book, The Minimalist Kitchen. A crowd favorite from her book are these tacos. You make an easy, almost enchilada-type blender sauce, and stir it in with the shredded chicken. The rest is just assembly.


Tips of The Week

Prep Ahead: The entire sauce and chicken mixture can be made in advance. Warm it with a splash more broth or water to loosen it.

Make it Work Twice: more tacos? Burrito bowls? Enchiladas?

Kid Friendly: I used one chipotle and it was plenty mild for my kids.

Vegetarian: I don’t really like using faux meats, but suppose those options would work here. If you are going for more of a ground beef-style taco filling, I like sautéed onions, mushrooms, and lentils that you could then stir into the above Tinga sauce. The Cauliflower “chorizo” from week 20 would also be an alternative, though it may get pretty spicy with the second round of chipotles, so tread lightly.


1 Tbsp. avocado or olive oil
1 cup roughly chopped yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. cumin
3/4 cup canned, crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
1/4 cup stock - vegetable or chicken
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt or 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
3 cups shredded chicken (rotisserie chicken is great)

For serving

Corn tortillas
2-3 avocados
Cilantro, chopped
Diced red onion
Crumbled cotija cheese
Lime wedges


In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Stir in the chipotle peppers, oregano, cumin, and toast another minute. Add in the tomatoes, stock, and salt. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 7 minutes. Allow it to cool.

In a high-speed blender, or with an immersion blender, blend the tomato mixture until smooth. Return the blended sauce to the pan over low heat.

Add the shredded chicken and cook for about 5 minutes to warm through. Taste and salt if necessary.

Warm your tortillas over the stove. Smash some avocado on the bottom, add a spoonful of the chicken mixture, cilantro, red onion, and a sprinkle of cotija. Squeeze the lime wedges over the top.

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
  • fat i
    36 g
  • carbs i
    35 g
  • protein
    26 g

recipe 03: quinoa enchilada casserole

serves 4

There have been some member chats about meals to make ahead for when a new baby is coming or just to have a meal ready to go in the freezer - I feel like this is that meal. It can be customized so many ways - add shredded chicken or use leftover rice instead or even a tomatillo salsa in place of the red enchilada sauce. I delivered this to a girlfriend who just had a baby knowing that it would reheat well, she could eat it again for breakfast with a fried egg on top etc.

Reports from my household recipe taster: he wanted it to be richer. A few big spoonfuls of sour cream mixed into the mixture when you add the enchilada sauce will help make it feel more…luxurious ;)


Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: You can actually make the entire casserole in advance and it can sit in the fridge ready to bake for up to three days. It can also be frozen. Otherwise, chop all your vegetables, sauté them if you have time, and have your quinoa cooked and cooled.

Kid Friendly: The heat level of enchilada sauce varies. We have found that the Trader Joes brand or the Hatch brand are mild enough for the kids, especially with cheese and or sour cream mixed in to calm it down.

Carnivore Addition: You could add shredded chicken into the mix when you stir in the enchilada sauce. Because you will be increasing the overall volume, you’ll likely need to use a bigger dish.

Low Carb: Replace the quinoa with cauliflower rice.

Extra Credit: Make an extra one and freeze it!


1 Tbsp. avocado oil
1 small yellow onion, small dice
1 jalapeño, mostly seeded, minced
1 bell pepper, small dice
Sea salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 cup corn kernels - fresh or frozen

2 big handfuls chopped spinach or kale
1 1/2 cups (13.5 oz. can) of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp. ground cumin

2 cups prepared quinoa
1 1/2 cups (15 oz.) red enchilada sauce
2 cups grated goat’s milk cheddar or Mexican blend cheese


Sour cream, optional


Heat the avocado oil in a large skillet. Add the diced onion, jalapeño, bell pepper and a pinch of salt and pepper to the skillet. Sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, corn and sauté again. Add the green, black beans, cumin and stir everything together to combine. 

In a large mixing bowl (or your skillet if it’s large), combine the vegetables, quinoa and enchilada sauce and stir to mix. If you are going to add some shredded chicken, add it in here. Add 1 cup of the cheese, stir again. 

Preheat the oven to 375’. Grease a 9” baking dish. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish and top with the remaining cup of cheese. Loosely cover the dish with foil and bake for 10 minutes, uncover and bake another 10-15 until the cheese on top is brown and bubbling.

Garnish with cilantro, sour cream, avocado, etc. 

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
  • fat i
    33 g
  • carbs i
    62 g
  • protein
    28 g

recipe 04: breakfast cookies

Makes 20

I strongly dislike this recipe title, but I don’t know how else one describes a cookie that is more than just a treat. These are delicate on their own, but can handle the addition of an egg if you want them to be a little sturdier for a lunch box or to eat on-the-go. 

We don’t stock quick-cooking oats, but they act more like a flour than the old-fashioned kind. If that is what you have too, pulse them in the food processor a few times to break them down. I’ve also pulsed Seven Sundays muesli (at Target and Costco) in the food processor until it was coarse flecks. 

No eggs, dairy or gluten for those that need it, and still delicious for those who don’t. 


Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: The dough can be made the night before.

Kid Friendly: If you need them to be nut free, I believe a sunflower butter would work!


1 medium, extra ripe banana, mashed
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon 
1/4 cup coconut oil, warmed
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup smooth nut butter (almond, cashew, peanut)
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats (or old-fashioned oats you’ve blitzed in the food processor a few times to get smaller bits)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3 Tbsp. flaxmeal
1/2 cup raisins (chop if they’re jumbo), or mini chocolate chips


In a large mixing bowl, combine the mashed banana with salt, vanilla, cinnamon, coconut oil and stir to combine. Add the maple, nut butter, chia seeds and stir again until smooth. Let the chia seeds absorb for a moment. 

Stir in the oats, baking powder, flaxmeal, raisins and let the mixture chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350’ and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. 

Roll the dough into balls of about 2 Tbsp. worth of dough. Arrange them on the baking sheet with a little space between, they don’t spread much. 

Bake on the middle rack for 12-13 minutes. Remove to cool completely - they’ll hold together better once cooled. 

Store in an airtight container. Cookies will keep for three days. 

Nutrition Information

per cookie

  • calories
  • fat i
    7 g
  • carbs i
    16 g
  • protein
    3 g