Cooking Club: Week 44

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Hey hey. Happy Friday. My kids are just out of the summer session at their preschool so now it officially feels like summer at our house. It has been June gloom consistently around here, but we are expecting some sunshine next week. That said, trying to point meals here towards less oven time, and more easy breezy stuff.

The nut butter is adding to our pantry staples repetoire and this salad could sit well at a 4th of July bbq this week. Add a protein in there or don’t, but I love a crunchy salad like this on warm days.

Thanks for all your feedback last week regarding the site rebuild. We received a ton of emails and Hugh had to throw in the towel on responding to each one individually. Your feedback confirmed that we’re moving in the right direction with the new site, though. We’re really excited to bring it to you! And thank you so much for all the kind words that came along with those emails as well. For those of you who are using it and becoming more confident in the kitchen or it is pulling you through a really busy time of life with littles, I just love hearing that it’s helping. Anyway, thank you!


1-hr. Prep


Do this.

  1. Preheat oven to 300. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set one aside.

  2. On one sheet, roast nuts/seeds for Recipe 4 + cashews for Recipe 2 for 15 minutes. Allow to cool.

  3. Meanwhile, in a jar, shake up the miso vinaigrette for Recipe 2.

  4. Finish nut butter off in the food processor per instructions in Recipe 4.

  5. Turn oven up to 400’.

  6. Prepare dredging station for crispy chicken and pan-fry per instructions in Recipe 1.

  7. At this point, you could proceed with the rest of Recipe 1 to finish off dinner for the crispy chicken parm w/ arugula salad. Or, you could skip the marinara and cheese step, and pop the chicken in the oven on the parchment lined baking sheet for 5 minutes. Store in an airtight container until you’re ready to use.

  8. While your chicken is finishing in the oven, chop veggies + assemble Greek salsa for Recipe 3.

Get this.

Homemade nut butter
Vinaigrette
Crispy chicken (for dinner!)
Half-way to the greek fries


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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

crispy chicken parmesan w/ lemony arugula salad kale cashew crunchy salad w/ miso vinaigrette loaded greek fries (member favorite) nut + seed butter

Produce

Pantry

Meat + Dairy + Fridge


recipe 01: crispy chicken parmesan w/ lemony arugula salad

serves 4

Remember those crispy chicken tenders we made sometime near the beginning of skcc? This is the same idea, but with chicken breast. We are pounding them thin, dredging them, and crisping them. To save some time, I’m calling for jarred marinara and a simple salad to round the whole thing out. If your kids like chicken fingers, they’ll like these. You can skip the marinara and cheese step if you’d like. 

If you use the carnivore additions, my suggestion would be to make one extra recipe of crispy chicken to add to the miso kale salad. That simple salad can take a number of proteins, but for efficiency sake, since you’re already making crispy chicken, just do one more batch. Don’t mind that it is mildly Italian seasoned, it won’t matter.

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Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: If you have the storage, the plates for dredging may be prepared in advance. You can make the crispy chicken in advance. Then bring it out to room temperature, and continue with the marinara, cheese, oven steps. It will need a little more time in the oven to warm through.

Make It Work Twice: Make a few extra crispy chicken breasts, without the Italian topping, and use them in the kale salad for Recipe #2.

Kid Friendly: We call this “pizza chicken”. I cook it per instructions, slice it into small chunks after it rests, and go easy on the arugula.

Dairy Free: Skip the parm and add a sprinkle of nutritional yeast into the bread crumb mixture if you have it.

Gluten Free: There are gluten-free prepared breadcrumbs or make your own from toasting and pulsing some gf bread slices. Trader Joes just started carrying “rice crumbs” but I haven’t tried them yet.


Ingredients
 

4 small, 4 oz., chicken breasts, pounded 1/2” thick
Salt and pepper

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Dash of cayenne
1/2 tsp. each sea salt and pepper

1 egg

1 cup panko or fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp. dried oregano
Salt and pepper

Avocado oil, for cooking
16 oz. of your favorite marinara sauce
4 oz. ball of mozzarella cheese, torn into small pieces
Sprinkle of parmesan, for garnish

for the ARUGULA SALAD

1 small fennel bulb, shaved thin
5 cups arugula

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Pinch of salt and pepper

Instructions

You’ll need three shallow bowls or rimmed plates for dredging the chicken. In one, put the flour, 1/2 tsp. sea salt and pepper, and dash of cayenne. In the second, whisk up the egg with a tsp. of water. In the third, combine the panko, parmesan, dried oregano and another pinch of salt and pepper. 

Pound your chicken flat between layers of parchment or plastic wrap. Preheat the oven to 400’. Heat a generous drizzle of avocado oil in a large, oven-proof pan over medium heat. 

Dredge the chicken in the flour, shake off excess. Dip in the egg, let the excess drip off. Then coat in the panko mixture. Repeat with all four chicken breasts. It helps if you dedicate one “wet” hand, and one “dry” hand.

Pan fry the chicken breasts, about 4-5 minutes per side until mostly cooked through. If you need to do this in batches, reheat a drizzle of oil in between batches if the pan is dry. Watch the bottoms and adjust the heat accordingly - we want them to get browned, but not burnt. 

After you cook the second side, turn the heat off. Spoon some marinara over the top of each breast (you don’t need to cover it entirely). Rip up the mozzarella ball into small pieces and distribute it over the top. Sprinkle a bit of parmesan over that. Pop the pan on the upper rack of the oven and bake about 5 minutes until the cheese is just browning on top. 

tip:

If you are saving some non-marinara + cheesed chicken, it can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and crisped up in a pan or the oven at 425’ for 5 minutes.

While it’s baking, get your salad together. In the bottom of the bowl, combine the oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the shaved fennel, arugula, and toss to coat. 

Remove the chicken and let it rest a minute or two. Transfer to your plate and serve with a big portion of arugula salad on top. 

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
    619
  • fat i
    32 g
  • carbs i
    41 g
  • protein
    42 g

recipe 02: kale crunchy salad w/ miso vinaigrette

serves 4

Heads Up:

Toast nuts on a sheet pan at 325’ and keep an eye, they burn quickly.

We’ve done a “base salad” in weeks past, and I hope it leaves room for you to add your favorite protein, pack it for lunches, or use as a side. By base salad, I mean it leaves room for add-ins. I put on some shredded carrots, avocado, and a scoop of leftover brown rice for myself, and I make an extra crispy chicken from Recipe #2 for Hugh to add-in. This, on its own, will not qualify as a meal for most, but the dressing is great and I would love to see how you bulk it up. The entire salad can be tossed with 8 oz. soba noodles and now you have an Asian noodle salad - this would be the simplest way to bulk it up. 

My friend told me about this salad from Hillstone restaurants and said I would love it, so I tried to knock it off by reading its very brief, menu description ;) We’re using mint as part of the greens here, not just an accent. You are reading the right, nearly a cup of fresh mint leaves. She orders hers with a side baked potato and thinks it’s the perfect meal - sounds delicious if you’re looking to fill it out as a veg dinner. 

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Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: The dressing and the greens can be prepared up to two days in advance.

Use it Twice: Double the vinaigrette. This dressing works well with an Asian dishes or drizzled over your favorite fish. Any leftovers salad is great mixed in with some quick cooking soba noodles with a little extra dressing.

Kid Friendly: I chopped some up even smaller with a pair of kitchen scissors and tossed it with noodles. You could also use it in a wrap with some brown rice, avocado, and whatever protein you’re using.

Carnivore Addition: Make an extra crispy chicken (above) to add protein to the salad. You could also add salmon, shrimp, rotisserie chicken, or lentils if you want more bulk to it.


Ingredients


MISO VINAIGRETTE

1 Tbsp. miso paste (yellow or white)
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp. avocado oil
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
Juice of one lime
1 tsp. agave nectar
Dash of cayenne or sriracha
Pinch of salt and pepper

1 big bundle of Tuscan/Lacinato kale
1/2 a small head of cabbage (savoy if you can find it!)
1 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup toasted cashews, chopped*
3 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

Optional Add-ins

Shredded chicken
Soba noodles
Avocado
Cooked and cooled brown rice

Instructions

In a jar, shake all of the vinaigrette ingredients together. Make sure the ball of miso gets broken up. 

Stem the kale and chop into thin. Core the cabbage, and slice it thin. Both of these can be done on the slicer blade of a food processor to make quick work of it. 

Into a large bowl, add both greens with that heap of mint. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Add the cashews and sesames and toss again. Add whatever additions you choose and toss again. Taste for salt, spice, more acid? 

Salad will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge. 

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
    268
  • fat i
    19 g
  • carbs i
    21 g
  • protein
    9 g

recipe 03: loaded greek feta fries

serves 4

Remember these?!?! You all loved them. Let’s make em’ again. 

Part salt and vinegar chip, part Greek salad, these are a full meal that can be eaten family style right off of the baking sheet. They are lovely as a vegetarian main, and would be great with crispy chickpeas. Add shredded chicken (tip: from the Shawarma in Week 31) to make these more of a complete meal.

Tomatoes are not their best quite yet, so to intensify their sweetness, you can halve and roast them as shown in the photo (375’, drizzle of oil and salt, for 20 minutes. Cool completely.)

If you are an unapologetic ketchup addict, take the extra step and make a batch of the roasted pepper ketchup. It takes less than five minutes, and is a dippable condiment both adults and littles will love. You could skip the sauces all together, or make the tzatziki from the gyros from week 27 if you want something creamier. 

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Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: The ketchup can be made up to a week in advance. The Greek salsa can be made the night before, and the chicken can be re-purposed from the Chicken Shawarma. Potatoes can be parboiled in advanced and stored in the fridge until you are ready to roast.

Use it Twice: The ketchup can be used up on chicken tenders, or any protein. The Greek salsa will make more than you will need, so turn it into a chopped salad the next day with arugula, cucumbers, vinaigrette, and your protein of choice.

Kid Friendly: Easy on the tomatoes and herbs for my little people but roasted potatoes are an easy sell here.

Carnivore Addition: Add shredded chicken (Week 31 shawarma), or ground turkey cooked up with 1 tsp. dried oregano, 1 tsp. salt, a pinch of chili and ½ tsp. of garlic powder.

Low Carb: You could serve the salsa and feta over roasted cauliflower florets or cauli-steaks. The salsa is also great on top of fish or grilled steak.

Dairy Free: You can skip the feta, the olives and capers should give you the salty-briney flavor.

Extra Credit: Whip up some tzatziki from week 27.


 Ingredients

For the potatoes

1 ½ lb. russet potatoes (2 medium), scrubbed, and cut lengthwise into 1/2” wide sticks
1 cup white vinegar
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. garlic powder

For the red pepper ketchup

1 cup ketchup
½ cup jarred roasted red peppers
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
½ tsp. smoked paprika

For the greek salsa

1 pt. cherry tomatoes, sliced in half*
½ red onion, minced
½ cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
½ cup fresh dill, chopped
Zest of one small lemon
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. sumac (optional)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. capers, drained

Assembly:

6 oz. feta, crumbled
Handful of dill or parsley, chopped
2 cups shredded chicken or crispy chickpeas

instructions

In a blender or food processor, pour in ketchup, jarred peppers, smoked paprika, and red wine vinegar. Puree in 30 second increments, scraping down the sides between intervals. Continue until the mixture is smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Set aside in the fridge. 

Preheat the oven to 425. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large pot, pour in sliced potatoes, white vinegar, salt, and enough water to cover the potatoes. Turn the stove to medium high heat and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, cook for 5 minutes, or until the fries are just barely tender.

Drain the fries very well, and transfer to a paper towel lined plate to ensure all of the water is off of the fries before they hit the oven.

Spread the fries evenly on two rimmed baking sheets. On each sheet, drizzle the fries evenly with olive oil, oregano, salt, and garlic powder. Toss gently to coat, and spread the fries out to ensure there is ample space between them.

Place into the oven and roast for 15 minute before flipping the fries with a spatula. Rotate the sheets in the oven, and roast for another 15 minutes, or until brown and crispy. 

While the fries are roasting, make your Greek salsa. In a medium bowl, toss together tomatoes, olives, capers, onions, lemon zest, red wine vinegar, olive oil, oregano, fresh dill and sumac (if using). Set aside.

Remove the fries from the oven, and turn the broiler on. Top the fries with crumbled feta, the Greek salsa, and chicken (if using). Return to the oven and broil for 2-4 minutes, or until the feta is bubbling and the chicken is warmed through.

Remove from the oven, top with chopped fresh herbs, and serve with smoky pepper ketchup. Eat immediately. 

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
    356
  • fat i
    13 g
  • carbs i
    56 g
  • protein
    6 g

recipe 04: nut + seed butter

serves 4

Another pantry staple! I know some of you have nut allergies, so make your combo accordingly. If the blend sounds annoying to you, just do one nut! I do scoops from a bulk bin at Sprouts or Whole Foods or use the ends of bulk bags I need to work through. The only nut I don’t really care to include is a walnut - love them in salads, not in butter form. Personal pref. 

If you are a bulk bin shopper or stock them, add in a Brazil nut. They are super high in minerals that are difficult to get into your diet otherwise. They are strong tasting, so maybe just add one or two to the tray of toasted nuts. 

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Tips of The Week

Make it Work Twice: On toast! Sandwiches. With apple or celery slices. Use it as a base to a peanut type sauce (see condiment archive). Spoon a dollop into your oatmeal or over vanilla ice cream. Into a smoothie to make it more filling.


Ingredients

1 cup raw almonds
1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup raw peanuts
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 Tbsp chia seeds, optional
1/2 tsp. cinnamon


Instructions

Preheat the oven to 325’. Put all the nuts on a rimmed baking tray and roast for 15 minutes until just fragrant and light brown in color. Remove to cool completely. 

Transfer all of the nuts to a food processor or high-powdered blender. Blend the nuts until smooth, keeeeeeep blending. Scrape down the sides when they get stuck. The longer you blend, the smoother and more spreadable it will get, so keep going! I’ll post an IG story so you can see. I run mine for about 4 minutes. Add the salt, chia and cinnamon and pulse it in at the end to combine. 

Transfer to a container with a lid. It will keep fine at room temperature for a week or two, but if you think you’ll move through it slowly, store it in the fridge. 

Nutrition Information

per serving (2 Tbsp)

  • calories
    184
  • fat i
    15 g
  • carbs i
    8 g
  • protein
    7 g