Margherita Noodles

Start to finish: 35 minutes
Impresses: 1

Ingredients
2 ounces soba noodles (also known as buckwheat noodles, available in the health aisle of your grocery store)
1 tablespoon pesto
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
¼ cup mozzarella pearls, halved
¼ cup grape tomatoes, halved

Method
Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil and cook soba noodles to 1 minute shy of package directions.

Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together pesto, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add in noodles and toss to coat. Add in mozzarella and tomatoes and toss again. Keep refrigerated until ready to enjoy.

Greek Potato Salad

Start to finish: 35 minutes
Impresses: 4

Ingredients
1 pound baby potatoes, halved
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 ounces feta cheese, cubed
¼ cup kalamata olives
¼ cup green olives
¼ cup fresh dill, chopped
4 cups arugula

Method
Place potatoes and salt into a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender — about 13 minutes.

While potatoes boil, make the dressing by whisking together olive oil, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard and pepper in a large bowl until emulsified.

Drain potatoes completely upon cooking and place immediately into the bowl with dressing. Toss to combine. Store in the bowl overnight or until ready to serve. 

When packing lunches the next morning, toss in feta, olives and dill. Place 1 cup arugula on the bottom of your containers and divide potato salad on top.

Tip: If you’re only making lunch for yourself, still prep four servings and store potato salad, tossed with mix-ins. Add arugula when packing lunch the day of.

Veggie Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Start to finish: 15 minutes
Impresses: 1

Ingredients
For the spring rolls:
2 sheets rice paper (available in the Asian food aisle of most grocery stores)
2 pieces lettuce or ¼ cup spring mix
¼ red bell pepper, thinly sliced
¼ cucumber, cut into narrow spears
¼ cup shredded carrots
¼ cup shredded cabbage
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

For the sauce:
¼ cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons peanut butter
½ lime, juiced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon hoisin sauce


Method
For the spring rolls:
Fill a shallow dish with warm water and set next to your prep area. 

Place a rice paper sheet into the water, fully saturating until the sheet softens and becomes pliable. Don’t soak too long, otherwise the sheet will become too moist to work with.

Remove from the water and lay flat on a cutting board or clean surface.

Begin layering on the vegetables on the bottom third of the sheet. Start with lettuce, place red pepper and cucumber on top of lettuce, then carrots and cabbage, then green onion and cilantro.

To wrap, fold the sides in, on top of the edges of the veggies. Pull the end closest to you over the veggies toward the opposite end of the rice paper. Tuck under the vegetables then tightly roll, just like a burrito. Cut in half crosswise. 

Repeat with the next sheet of rice paper and remaining vegetables. Serve with peanut sauce.

For the sauce:
Whisk all ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl until fully combined. Serve with spring rolls. 

Tip: Buy pre-cut vegetables from the grocery store produce section for even quicker assembly. 

Churro Cheesecake

Start to finish: 1 hour 30 minutes
Impresses: 1 9-inch cheesecake

Ingredients
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
8 tablespoons butter (1 stick), melted
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1¼ cups sugar, divided
4 8-ounce blocks cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup Mexican crema
4 eggs

Method
Heat oven to 325 F.

Mix together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, cinnamon and ¼ cup sugar in a large bowl until combined. 

Press graham mixture into the bottom of the springform pan, using the bottom of a measuring cup to evenly distribute and press into the sides. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together remaining sugar, cream cheese, vanilla and cinnamon on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 4–5 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl and add in crema. Beat to combine. 

With mixer on medium-low speed, add in eggs one at a time until combined.

Pour mixture into pan over crust and bake 50–60 minutes or until top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool completely before topping with raspberries and slicing.

Special tools: 9-inch springform pan

Roasted Cauliflower with Oaxaca Salsa

Start to finish: 45 minutes
Impresses: 4

Ingredients
For the cauliflower:
1 head cauliflower
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon oregano

For the salsa:
½ lime
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon celery salt
4 ounces Oaxaca cheese, diced
½ avocado, diced
½ jalapeño, thinly sliced
¼ small red onion, diced
¼ cup parsley, chopped

Method
For the cauliflower:
Heat oven to 450 F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Set aside.

Slice cauliflower into four 1-inch thick slices, discarding or saving the crumble florets. Lay on parchment-lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.

Mix together spices in a small bowl and sprinkle on top of cauliflower before rubbing in to evenly coat.

Roast for 25–30 minutes, until tops are browned. Remove and top with salsa to serve.

For the salsa:
Juice lime into a medium-sized bowl and whisk in olive oil and celery salt until emulsified.

Add in remaining ingredients and toss to combine.

Place a large spoonful on top of roasted cauliflower to serve.

Snappy Veg Toss

Start to finish: 35 minutes
Impresses: 6

Ingredients
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
¼ cup sugar
4 large carrots
10 radishes
½ red onion
4 ounces queso fresco

Method
In a large measuring cup, stir together vinegar, salt and sugar until dissolved. Set aside.

Peel carrots and slice in half and then down the middle lengthwise before slicing each piece into thirds. Place into a shallow dish.

Slice radishes into thin rounds and onion into ¼-inch thick slices and add to dish with carrots.

Pour vinegar mixture over veggies and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 15–20 minutes, or until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, arrange on a platter and top with crumbled queso fresco. 

Note: If making in advance, you can pickle veggies separately in jars and store in the fridge.

Five Spice Turkey Meatballs

Start to finish: 25 minutes
Impresses: 4

Ingredients
For the meatballs:
1 pound ground turkey
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup 4% milk fat cottage cheese
½ cup plain, whole wheat bread crumbs
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon Chinese five spice

For the sauce:
¼ cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
1 teaspoon chili paste

For serving, optional:
Sesame seeds
Cooked white rice
Steamed green beans

Method
In a blender, combine all ingredients except butter and blend until smooth — about 30 seconds.

Bring a low-sided skillet to medium heat. Melt ½ tablespoon of butter in pan and pour ¼ cup scoopfuls of pancake batter onto skillet — cooking no more than three pancakes per batch. Cook 2 minutes, or until the top has began to bubble and is slightly set, before flipping and cooking a remaining 1–2 minutes.

Repeat process, including melting butter for each batch, until batter is gone. 

Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 F oven. Top with sliced bananas, walnut pieces and additional syrup if desired.

Roasted Red Pepper Gnocchi

Start to finish: 35 minutes
Impresses: 4

Ingredients
8-ounce package gnocchi pasta
2 cups 4% milk fat cottage cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup roasted red peppers
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 sprig rosemary, leaves removed from stem
¼ cup dry red wine
½ cup fresh mozzarella pearls, halved

Method
Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil and cook gnocchi for 1 minute. Drain and set aside.

Heat oven to 400 F and spritz a baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

Add cottage cheese, Parmesan, roasted red peppers, garlic, crushed red pepper, salt, rosemary and red wine to a blender. Pulse to combine before blending on high for 2 minutes, or until smooth. 

Toss cooked gnocchi with 2 cups sauce and pour into prepared baking dish. Pour remaining sauce on top and dot with mozzarella pearls.

Bake 15 minutes or until bubbly and cheese has melted. Let set 5 minutes before serving.

Ginger Cupcake with Matcha Buttercream

Start to finish: 1 hour 30 minutes

Makes: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients
For the cupcakes:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1½ cups brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1½ cups whole milk
3 cups flour
¼ cup crystallized ginger, minced

For the buttercream:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon matcha tea powder

Method
For the cupcakes:
Heat oven to 350 F and fill 2 cupcake pans with paper liners. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Beat in the eggs, yolks and vanilla before scraping down the bowl edges. Add in baking powder, baking soda, salt and ground ginger and beat to combine. Add in the milk and flour in 3 parts, ending with the flour, until fully combined. Stir in crystallized ginger.

Scoop ¼ cup batter into each liner in the prepared pan. Bake 22–24 minutes or until tops are slightly golden and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle.

Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before placing each cupcake on a rack to cool completely before frosting.

For the buttercream:
Add butter and vanilla to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on high until fully combined, about 5 minutes.

Scrape down the bowl and add in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, cream and matcha powder. Beat until fully combined and fluffy — about 1 minute. 

Frost completely cooled cupcakes with a pastry bag or offset spatula. 

Oatmeal Pancakes

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Start to finish: 15 minutes
Impresses: 6

Ingredients
2¼ cups rolled oats
1 cup whole milk
1 cup 2% milk fat cottage cheese
1 egg
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons baking powder
Butter, for greasing pan

For serving, optional:
Sliced bananas
Walnut pieces

Method
In a blender, combine all ingredients except butter and blend until smooth — about 30 seconds.

Bring a low-sided skillet to medium heat. Melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter in pan and pour 1/4 cup scoopfuls of pancake batter onto skillet — cooking no more than three pancakes per batch. Cook 2 minutes, or until the top has began to bubble and is slightly set, before flipping and cooking a remaining 1–2 minutes.

Repeat process, including melting butter for each batch, until batter is gone. 

Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 F oven. Top with sliced bananas, walnut pieces and additional syrup if desired.

California Cobb Chicken Salad

Start to finish: 10 minutes
Impresses: 2

Ingredients
½ avocado
½ cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon ranch seasoning
6 ounces rotisserie chicken, diced
¼ cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup blue cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

Method
In a medium sized bowl, mash avocado until smooth with a fork. Add in yogurt and ranch seasoning and mix to combine. 

Toss in chicken, bacon, sunflower seeds, blue cheese and parsley, and stir to completely mix and coat. Serve with crackers.

Tip: Grab just what you need for this recipe off the salad bar to save time and reduce food waste.