Each season, I rotate through a bunch of recipes in my kitchen. Some are my own and are often original formulas for fresh produce created on-the-fly. I tend to cook more intuitively and take notes if a dish works out well (or promptly forget the measurements if I stumble on a failure).
Other times, the recipes are inspired by other cook’s recipes and even by the cookbooks written by some of my friends or maybe someday friends — because if I like your recipe, I’m the crazy Aquarian who imagines there’s perhaps a budding friendship between us.
That’s just how I roll.
There are weeks when I cook entirely new dishes every day, but it’s more likely that I’m riffing on some versatile recipes that either make meals more assembly-like in nature (also known as = way easy) or that prove versatile enough to use whatever produce is in the fridge, whatever is readily available in the pantry.
A few weeks back, I shared my new way of eating and how I lost mucho weight. (See part 1 here) I also shared the contents of my pantry, fridge, and freezer. (See part 2 here). Today, I wanted to provide a bit of a blueprint for how to use some of those ingredients.
These are the recipes I find myself riffing on quite frequently.
I’ve also included the ones that I can’t wait to make pronto, as soon as I turn in this cookbook manuscript. I’ve mentioned the manuscript a few times but that’s because it literally is my life. It’s my second cookbook (see my first cookbook here) and every single word matters to me. When I was a wee little kid, I dreamed about writing books and I don’t take this opportunity for granted, not one bit. I’m so sorry if it’s taken over my life! Just a wee bit longer…
With each of the recipes listed below, I add my special notes like how I adjust the dish to what I eat or ways in which I have altered or improved the dish (imho). I’ll also share what parts to meal prep in advance because I’ve heard it’s those sort of tips that you find super helpful. Leave any questions in the comments, okay? Okay.
Morrocan-ish Sweet Potato Hummus (photo featured above, taken by Renee Byrd): This recipe looks wonderful but you can totally simplify it by leaving out all the spices, including the ginger. I’ll spread this in a pita with leftover vegetables or plop a bit into a bowl with yogurt and any cooked grains. It can easily be made on Sunday for a few days worth of meals.
Jammy Soft Boiled Eggs: I prefer to make four or six eggs at a time using this method. I store them in the fridge and eat them over a few days. Sometimes, I pack up two of these eggs in a container with a tiny bag of sea salt and stuff it into my husband’s backpack before he leaves for work.
Mint Chocolate Power Bars: I eat these around breakfast time, as a special treat, but they stand in nicely as a great snack, too.
Cashew Milk: Here’s my everyday recipe for homemade Cashew Milk. I make this every week. For an even creamier milk (similar to light cream), reduce the water to 3 cups.
Eggs in Tomato Sauce (photo featured above, taken by Ola O Smit for the Guardian): Whenever I have leftover tomato sauce, I let eggs simmer in a pan of the hot bubbling stuff. Don’t forget a slice of toast for dipping.
Four Bananaless Smoothies: I tend to make the carrot version most frequently, often using a mix of fresh carrots and cooked butternut squash. The combo is so filling, really, it’s like a full meal.
Rohan Anderson’s Chard, Sourdough with Boiled Eggs: I eat my version of this on the regular, minus the feta. I typically add a splash of apple cider vinegar to the chard and add a jammy soft-boiled egg (see recipe up above).
Sesame Chai Latte: On mornings when I need to slow down, just a bit, I make a tea- or coffee-based latte. This is a great recipe to try but know you really just need to infuse some unsweetened plain plant milk with your chosen flavor (black tea, turmeric + ginger, vanilla + cinnamon) and add a bit of something sweet (maple syrup, maybe). If I’m feeling coffee (which I typically don’t drink every day), I’ll add an espresso shot (decaf) to the glass.
Adventure Bread: This is a winning recipe for hearty, seedy bread that will fill you for hours. I’m riffing on one that’s even more finely ground with a little finer crumb, but it’s just delicious as it is, too. Follow Alaina on Instagram for feel-good food inspiration.
Vegetarian Instant Pot Pinto Beans (photo featured above, taken by Amanda Paa): If I’m short on time, I’ll pop open a can or beans. But as I tend to go for flavor, I make a pot of beans every single week during the winter. This recipe is a good primer if you have an Instant Pot. You can also make dried beans right on the stove. Just soak them for 8 hours/overnight, drain, and rinse. Simmer the beans in a fresh pot of water that covers them by 2 inches, with garlic cloves and bay leaves for flavor, until the beans are tender. Add lots of sea salt before serving.
Iceberg Salad with Italian Dressing: Gosh, this is the salad of my childhood. It’s what we ate alongside most pizzas slices. It’s this clean, refreshing flavor that I crave most today alongside richer dishes. And I toss it on homemade pizza, too.
Mushroom-Spinach Soup: I’ve made Melissa’s Clark recipe five or six times now, to glorious results. It’s a very good food gift – just sayin – and gets better after a day.
Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tostadas (photo featured above, taken by GOOP staff): I’ve only rediscovered tostadas recently, but now and again, there such a nice change from a taco. Prep the sweet potato and pot of beans on the weekend then this dish will come together fast.
Rice Noodles with Cashew Sauce and Crunchy Veg: Put noodles and crunchy veg in a bowl and I’ll eat it everyday for lunch. This sauce is lovely and can be made in advance.
Sweet Potato Noodle Salad with Creamy Chipotle Miso Sauce: Really good, fresh, and simple. I typically buy the spiralized noodles at the grocery store though I wouldn’t mind if someone shipped me this stat, lol.
Ramen Noodles with Fresh Greens and Chili Miso (photo featured above, taken by Emma Lee for the Guardian): I am constantly riffing on a good bowl of faux ramen during the winter. Anna Jones’ paste that makes up this version is lovely – though I tend to double the chili, ginger, and garlic since I like a stronger flavor. If I have instant brown rice vermicelli noodles, that’s what I use. Sometimes I get pre-packaged ramen at the Asian grocer, toss the flavor packs away (because homemade is better), and use the noodles in my homemade soup.
Mara’s Tofu with Mixed Grains: This dish is a stunner because it’s so very simple. It’s also the surest way I’ve ever made super crispy, golden tofu squares. You can do the mixed grains in an Instant Pot set on high for 8 minutes, easy.
One Skillet Steak and Spring Veg with Spicy Mustard: This is once in a blue moon (or a super moon!) food for me. There’s just something about a steak shared between friends or lovers that feels very special.
Pressure-Cooker Porcini Risotto: This recipe is on the list as it will make great use of my Instant Pot and any leftover vegetables. Sure, mushrooms are great, but how about fennel and saffron or peas and lemon?
Shrimp Scampi: Every month or so, I’ll make my take on a scampi, only replace the butter used here with good olive oil. Sometimes, I’ll toss in a little cooked pasta or just set it as is between my partner and I with some bread and wine.
Chickpea Pasta with Basil Pea Pesto (photo featured above, taken by Sarah Britton): While I’ll wait on the pesto a bit, Sarah’s chickpea pasta has been on my mind. As soon as I finish this cookbook, I’ll spend an afternoon kneading, rolling, and trimming this pasta to life.
Instant Pot Mushroom Stroganoff: This new recipe from Heidi Swanson is on the Instant Pot agenda. Feels like pure comfort food.
Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas): I make Rachel Roddy’s recipe at least monthly, if not more frequently, during the winter. I’ll use any shape of pasta, even broken up lasagne sheets or a mix of leftover tiny pasta shapes from the back of the pantry. It’s super filling but also quite refined with a drizzle of green olive oil.
Vegan Fried Rice (lead photo): This is my classic recipe from a few years back. I still make it every few weeks with whatever vegetables are around and leftover brown or white rice. I’ve been thinking of adding in Mara’s crispy tofu (see recipe above) asap.
I hope this style of recipe round-up is helpful to you. If you like it, I’ll do it on the regular or each season, let me know down below. Happy cooking. xo
Eat Boutique is an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista. After hosting pop-up markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie is now focused on opening her first permanent Eat Boutique–a food-retail concept space with a new way to the very best food. Her second cookbook, A New Way to Food: Recipes That Revamped My Pantry & Made Me Love Me, At Last, will be published by Roost Books/Penguin Random House in 2019. Her first cookbook, Food Gift Love, features more than 100 food gift recipes to make, wrap, and share and is available wherever you find favorite cookbooks.