Each week, as an intro to your meal plan, I'll offer a bit of focus and reflection, spotlighting a certain seasonal ingredient or a lesson from my Building Blocks page. And remind you that these recipes offer weekly structure, health, and direction, but also a lot of room for play. Use the recipes that appeal to you and your timetable. Happy Eating!


Recipes & Market Lists

Red Lentil, Chickpea and Sweet Potato Soup
Stir Fry Pork with Green Cabbage
Greens, Beans, & Cheddar Quesadillas
Scratch Pizza, with Red Sauce
Everyday Salad & Vinaigrette

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Red Lentil, Chickpea
and Sweet Potato Soup

Serves 4

 
 

Red lentils cook up rather speedily, and their creaminess is addictive. Buy red lentils in bulk at your market, if you can, and don’t be shy to try out the myriad of variations on this soup listed at the bottom. Even my young daughter, who is generally persnickety about soup, gave this one a thumbs up. Encouraging!

Laying the Groundwork

Finely chop one yellow onion, mince or press one garlic clove, mince or press a peeled thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, and finely chop one tablespoon of cilantro stem ends, from a clean bunch of cilantro. Put a medium-sized soup pot over medium heat, and add two tablespoons of a preferred fat (such as butter, coconut oil, or vegetable oil). Once it’s quite warm, add all of the ingredients from above. Toss and partially cover your pot, and allow your ingredients to sweat (or breakdown). You may need to turn your heat down if they are beginning to brown or burn.

Second Layer

Meanwhile, rinse 1 ½ cups red lentils in a fine-mesh colander with cold, clean water, and set aside. Peel and fine-chop 1 large or 2 small-medium sized sweet potatoes, and set aside. Once your vegetables have softened in the pot, add your rinsed red lentils to them and toss well, but do not clean your colander yet. Add a pinch of kosher salt, and toss again. Have ready 4 cups of chicken stock (or vegetable stock, water, or in combination). Add your sweet potato to the red lentils and vegetables, toss well, and then add in your stock (and/or water). Bring to a high simmer, stirring regularly, and then turn down to a low simmer. (Red lentils enjoy absorbing liquid, and so you may need to add more liquid from time to time to your desired consistency.)

The House is Beginning to Smell Delicious

Now, rinse in the colander one 14 oz. can chickpeas (or if you’ve made your own, measure out about 1-2 cups). Add another good pinch of kosher salt to your soup, and continue stirring. Taste after 15 minutes, and if your red lentils and sweet potato have not softened yet, give them a few more minutes. Once they’ve softened add your drained chickpeas. Chop finely a small palmful of cilantro leaves and add to your soup. Add a good splash of red vinegar, and taste for salt. Stir well and serve.

NOTES & VARIATIONS

  • Add some spice if you like, such as a teaspoon of ground cumin, turmeric, or curry powder to the onion as it cooks.
  • Add some greens such as cleaned, chopped spinach or Swiss chard for the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  • Replace the sweet potato with winter or summer squashes, yellow potato, even chopped cauliflower.
  • This soup can be made vegetarian and vegan, by choosing vegetable stock, or water, and a preferred fat.
  • Replace the red vinegar with a good squeeze of lemon or lime.

MARKET LIST

One yellow onion
One garlic clove
Thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger
Cilantro
Preferred fat: butter, coconut oil, vegetable oil
1 ½ cup red lentils
1 large or 2 small-medium sized sweet potatoes
Kosher or sea salt
4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock, or water, or in combination)
14 oz. can of chickpeas (or 1-2 cups of homemade)
Red vinegar
Refer to any notes and variations

 


Stir Fry Pork with Green Cabbage

Serves 4-6

 
 

Stir fries are wonderfully versatile, and are flexible with the seasons. They require, however, that you have all of your ingredients mostly ready to go before you even turn on your flame. Once you’ve done all of your prep work, the actual cooking happens within minutes.

Pork Marinating

In a small bowl mix together, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, or tamari, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, or arrowroot, 1 tablespoon mirin or sugar, and 1 tablespoon sherry or white wine (optional). Add to the mix 1 pound pork tenderloin, or boneless pork loin, sliced as thinly as you can, against the grain. Set aside. In another small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, good pinch of kosher or sea salt, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, or tamari, and 1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional). Set aside. In a third small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons water, and 2 teaspoons cornstarch, or arrowroot. Set aside.

Readying Your Stir Fry

Quarter, core, and slice 1 medium head of green cabbage, and rinse well in a colander. Finely grate or finely chop 2 large garlic cloves and 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled. Chop a small handful of cilantro and finely slice 1 tablespoon clean cilantro stems (optional).  Set all of that aside. Optional extras to have at the ready are sliced scallions, ½ a lemon or lime, and red pepper flakes.

Let’s Cook

Heat 1 tablespoon of a neutral oil in a large (non-stick or seasoned pan) or wok over medium-high heat. Add the pork to the hot pan, and spread it out into a single layer as quickly as possible. Cook undisturbed until it begins to brown, about 1-2 minutes. Shake the pan and continue to cook for 1 minute more, until most of the pink has vanished. (The pork will finish cooking toward the end of the dish; don’t fret.)Transfer the pork and any juices to a plate, and cover.  Do not clean out your pan!

Heat another 1 tablespoon of neutral oil and return the pan to a medium-high heat, then add your garlic and ginger (and your cilantro stem, scallions, and red pepper flakes, if you’re using them). Stir for a moment, then add the cabbage, along with any water clinging to its leaves.  Cook until it’s nearly wilted, but still has a bit of bite. Add the soy sauce mixture and cook until it has fully wilted. Add the pork and its juices, and bring to a simmer. Stir the cornstarch and water mixture well and add it, stirring until it has just begun to thicken, about 1 minute. Season with kosher or sea salt if it needs a lift, add your chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lemon or lime, if you like. Serve over rice.

NOTES & VARIATIONS

  • Make this stir fry gluten-free by replacing the cornstarch with arrowroot and tamari for soy sauce

MARKET LIST

Soy sauce or Tamari
Cornstarch or Arrowroot
Mirin or sugar
Sherry or white wine, optional
1 pound pork tenderloin, or boneless pork loin
Sesame oil, optional
Rice or white wine vinegar
Kosher or sea salt
1 medium head green cabbage, such as Napa or Savoy
Neutral oil
2 large garlic cloves
1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger
Cilantro
Scallions, optional
Red pepper flakes, optional
1 lemon or lime, optional
Refer to any notes and variations


Greens, Beans, & Cheddar Quesadillas

Serves 2 (easily doubled)

 
 

We eat a lot of quesadillas in our house, and this recipe is my favorite, except when I’m grumpy and will stand only for a plain, cheese quesadilla. This recipe is like riding a bicycle: you’ll make it once and remember it, and you will make it again and again, since it is simple and nourishing. Serve with your favorite salsa and homemade guacamole.

Greens A-simmering

Ready a medium bunch of greens of choice, such as spinach, chard, kale, or collards by chopping, if appropriate, and rinsing well in a colander. Set aside. Slice 1-2 garlic cloves, and with your bunch of cilantro, slice a tablespoon of cilantro stems, if you like. In a wide skillet over medium heat, add a 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, and add the garlic and cilantro stem, if you are using. Add a dash of red pepper flakes, if you like, and cook only for a minute, or just before the garlic begins to brown. Add in your greens with the water clinging to their leaves, stir and lift the heat to medium-high. Cover with a lid. (Check on your greens in a moment to see if they need a dash of water to keep it all moist, and to keep it from burning.)

Kids Love Shredding Cheese, Put Them to Work Here

While your greens are cooking down, shred 1-2 cups of sharp cheddar, or your favorite melty cheese. Have ready 4 whole wheat (or your favorite type of) tortillas1 cup of cooked white beans, either from a can or homemade, rinsed and drained, a half lemon or lime (optional), and a small handful of chopped cilantro. Check your greens for moisture, add a dash of kosher or sea salt, and stir. When your greens are nearly as tender as you like, add the white beans and stir. Cook for another minute, taste for salt and black pepper, and add a squeeze a bit of lemon or lime juice, if you like. Set aside.

Assemble and Build

Lay one tortilla on your cutting board, spoon a layer of greens and beans, add a layer of shredded cheese, and toss on some chopped cilantro. Cover with another tortilla. Put as many pans on the stovetop as you have quesadillas (or as many as your stovetop can handle), over medium-heat. While those are heating, build your other quesadilla(s) in the same fashion.  Add one quesadilla to each dry pan, and cook for a couple minutes, until the bottom is starting to crisp and brown, turn over and do the same to the other side. Voila!

NOTES & VARIATIONS

  • For a picky or grumpy eater, leave out the greens and beans, and you simply have a cheese quesadilla
  • To make dairy-free, simply leave out the cheese
  • To perk up the greens, if you like, you can toss in a little red vinegar and soy sauce, while they cook.
  • Any leftover greens and beans, add them to tomorrow’s lunch, particularly if you have any rice about

MARKET LIST

Whole wheat (or your favorite type of) tortillas
1-2 garlic cloves
Red pepper flakes, optional
Bunch Cilantro
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Medium bunch greens (such as spinach, chard, kale, or collards)
1 cup white beans (either canned, or homemade)
1-2 cups sharp cheddar, or favorite melty cheese
1 lemon or lime, optional
Refer to any notes and variations

 


Scratch Pizza, with Red Sauce

Makes 6 medium-sized pizzas
(leftover dough can be frozen)

One of the most economical and far-reaching recipes, this really does make six proper pizzas. A great opportunity for families and friends to pitch in together to make. Once the dough and sauce are made, this is quick to get to the table. Two tips: check the expiration date of your yeast ahead, and if you can source semolina flour, it does add quite a bit of gritty character to the dough.

Here We Go

In a one-quart measuring cup, add 1 envelope (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast1 tablespoon sugar, and 2 ½ cups lukewarm water, and stir briefly to combine. Let that sit, and eventually foam and froth, for five minutes. In the largest, widest bowl you own combine 7 cups (1 ¾ pounds, if you have a scale) white bread flour1 ½ cups fine ground semolina flour (or, simply 1 ½ cups more white bread flour to replace), and 1 level tablespoon kosher salt. Make a well in the center of the bowl, stir your water and yeast mixture once more, and add most of it to the well of the bowl. With a clean hand wide-spread mix in a circular motion, moving slowly and completely from the inside out to combine into a dough that comes together, but is neither too wet or too dry. (If it is too dry, simply add a little more of your liquid, and extra water if need be to bring it together. If it is too wet—a more unusual outcome at this point—add a little more flour to bring together.) Please do not fret over perfection, or overthink this step. 

Knead Me

Onto a floured cutting board or clean countertop, tilt your dough. Clean your hands, and consider whether or not to knead the dough by hand, or allow your Kitchen Aid mixer with a dough hook to do the work for you. By hand: using only as much flour as you need, knead the dough for at least ten minutes by stretching it out long and rolling it back up, over and again, and/or using the palms of your hands to knead into it, turning it over and around, until you have a rather smooth, springy dough. By mixer: click in your dough hook and add your dough mix into the bowl, and mix at a low-medium speed, for 5-10 minutes, adding a little flour (or water) if it is too wet or dry, until you have a rather smooth, springy dough. When your kneading is done, flour the top of your dough, and cover with plastic wrap or a towel, and allow it to relax for at least 15 minutes.

Meantime Tomato Sauce

Place a small-medium sized saucepan on a burner at medium heat. Slice finely a single garlic clove, add a liberal splash of extra virgin olive oil to your pan, and add the garlic, and a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional). Allow that to sweat, but not brown or burn, and slowly tip in a 28 oz. can of tomato puree. Stir and bring to a gentle simmer, adding in a good pinch of kosher salt and black pepper, and a splash of red vinegar, for about 10 minutes. Taste for salt and vinegar. Set aside.

Dough, Nearly Done

Now, punch down the dough a bit with your fists for a minute, bring together, and divide into 6 roughly equal balls of dough. Wrap the ones you will not be using right away individually with plastic wrap and place in a Ziplock-style bag, and seal well. Label and freeze what you will not be using right away. Your frozen dough balls will thaw easily and quickly on the counter after an hour or two.

Let’s Make Pizza

When you’re ready to bake your pizza, preheat your oven well (and pizza stone, if using) to 475°F. Ready all of your toppingsincluding sauce, shredded cheeses, toppings such as chopped vegetables, sliced meat, herbs and sea salt. Dust a clean, wide surface with flour and roll out your dough, which may be a bit resistant at times, into a rough circle about ¼ inch thick. (Remember to roll from the center out, turning and keeping the surface floured to prevent sticking. And, if the dough is very resistant, allow it to rest for a few minutes before working again.) Now flour your pizza peel or baking sheet and transfer your dough circle. Apply your sauce, toppings, cheese and herbs, a bit of salt and pepper, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, if you like. Once the oven is piping hot either place the baking sheet in the oven or transfer your pizza from the peel to the oven stone by slowly jerking the pizza onto it. Allow 7-10 minutes or until the pizza is golden and bubbly.

NOTES & VARIATIONS

  • I highly recommend you freeze some/most of the dough for later use. Thaw later by storing in the fridge overnight or during the day, or on the counter for an hour or two.
  • The sauce is also good for storage, up to a week in the fridge, or frozen in single serving containers. Don’t forget to label.
  • Do I really need to give you ideas for pizza toppings? You know what you love. Branch out though and try some other cheeses besides mozzarella and Parmesan.
  • Pizza toppings are endless, and it won’t surprise you to hear me suggesting you use what odd bits you might have hanging about in the fridge, such as elderly ends of cheeses, and various vegetables.

MARKET LIST

 1 envelope (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
Sugar
7 cups (1 ¾ pounds) white bread flour
1 ½ cup fine ground semolina flour (or further bread flour)
Kosher or sea salt and black pepper
1 garlic clove
Extra virgin olive oil
Red pepper flakes (optional)
28 oz. can tomato puree
Your toppings: cheese(s) of choice, vegetables, herbs, sliced meats, etc.


Everyday Salad & Vinaigrette

Serves 2-4

 
 

What can I say? This recipe looks long but it is the epitome of a Goosefoot recipe: simple, educational, and democratic, as an improvisational salad should be. You may only need to read this one once and you’ll forever be off to salad making on your own.

Good Greens

Chop a medium-size head of foundational greens, such as romaine or butter lettuce or spinach, and add to a colander. Add other greens if you like such as chard, kale or mustard greens, chop or slice them and add to the colander. Rinse well under cool water and set aside to drain. (I like to pile all of my washed greens into the middle of a clean tea towel or dish towel, fold up it its edges, and allow the greens to dry while I’m preparing my other ingredients.)

Get Personal with Your Additions

What might you already have on hand? Forgotten (but edible) vegetables in the fridge, nuts, dried fruit, hard-boiled eggs, cured meat or aged cheese? Make a note of those. Otherwise, there are few things in the produce section or at the farmers market that don’t go well in a salad. Most vegetables can be sliced into coins or into matchsticks, even raw beets, summer squashes, and some root vegetables. Think of color and variety, for the sake of the salad’s character and appeal. Choose a few, chop or slice or julienne, and set aside.

Vinaigrette

This recipe makes about ¼ cup, but can be doubled or tripled easily. Add to a small bowl: 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, a pinch of kosher or sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Use a fork or small whisk to beat in, a little at a time: 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Taste until you’re satisfied with flavor and consistency. (Note: you can also easily add all of your ingredients into a jam jar, and shake well to combine.)

There is a rule of thumb on vinaigrettes and that is 1: 4, 1 part vinegar (or acid, such as lemon juice) to 4 parts oil. Some variations on the vinaigrette include adding a little pressed garlic and/or diced shallot to the vinegar, using white wine vinegar or lemon juice to replace the red wine vinegar, adding a teaspoon of honey to the vinegar, beating a little Dijon mustard into the vinegar, replacing some of the olive oil with a nut oil such as walnut or hazelnut, replacing buttermilk, yogurt or crème fraiche for some of the olive oil, or adding fresh herbs to the finished vinaigrette.

Now, either toss your greens, additions, and dressing together in a large bowl, or plate the greens and additions together and allow each eater to drizzle on their own dressing.

MARKET LIST

Medium-size head of foundational greens, such as romaine or butter lettuce or spinach
Other greens, if you wish, such as chard, kale, or mustard greens
Personalized salad additions (refer to recipe)
Red Vinegar
Kosher or sea salt and black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Any variations to vinaigrette (refer to recipe)


What’s On Hand Already?

Consider using any extra ingredients from your fridge, pantry, or garden

 

 

 

 

 Which Recipes Are You Shopping For?

Maybe you’re only shopping for 1-2 of the above recipes, or doubling or dividing one

 

 

 

 

 Notes

Use this area to make one, comprehensive market list that reflects your shopping trip, if you like