Cooking Through It: A (Very Flexible) 10-Day Meal Plan for Our Current Cooking Moment

David Tamarkin, Joe Sevier
Epicurious

Note: Round Three of Cooking Through It will begin April 27th. See the full meal plan below.

There are no upsides to a global pandemic, but there are side effects. Right now, our hands are cleaner than ever. We’re getting lots (lots) of quality time with our partners, roommates, and kids. And we’re cooking more. And by more, I mean constantly.

As somebody who believes that cooking is triply-beneficial—good for the body, mind, and wallet—I think all of this cooking is a good thing. But even I’ve found myself staring into my refrigerator, void of inspiration and unexcited about another bowl of beans. And I know I’m not the only one. Now more than ever, I know that when I’m in the kitchen, entire cities—entire countries—are also in the kitchen. We’re isolated, but we’re all cooking, and experiencing all the things that come with it.

“Cooking together” is a comforting term no matter what the context, but for me it has the most positive connotations when it comes to cooking with a large community. Five years ago I started COOK90, an annual event that encourages the world to cook every meal together for the entire month of January. When I created COOK90 (and wrote the book) out of my own desire to recalibrate my cooking by standing at the stove for 31 days straight, I obviously had no sense of prescience. But now that we’re here, it’s déjà vu. All of the tricks and tools I lean on to get through COOK90 are coming into play now. And that includes leaning on a virtual community of cooks (aka scrolling, scrolling, scrolling through Instagram to see what everybody else is eating for dinner). (And lunch.) (And breakfast.)

In fact, it’s the COOK90 community that inspired Epi’s new initiative, Cooking Through It. It’s a 10-day program that provides inspiration and recipes, and gives us a way to cook together, just like COOK90 does.

It's a meal plan, but different. We know that a plan that calls for a strict and specific grocery list doesn’t make sense for right now, when we’re all trying to grocery shop as infrequently as possible (and don’t know what we’ll find when we actually get to the store).

Cooking Through It is less of a plan and more of a framework for what and how to cook.

So Cooking Through It is less of a plan and more of a framework for what and how to cook. It’s a guide to cooking with what you have, and inspiration for people who don’t know what to cook next. And it’s a community to cook with. We call it Cooking Through It because that’s what all of us are doing. It’s all we can do, really.

Here’s how it works: Below you’ll find a 10-day plan of very flexible recipes. (Experts now recommend that we shop for at least 10 days at a time, to decrease the frequency of our trips to the grocery store, which in effect should decrease grocery store crowding.) For each day there’s an easy “master recipe” to follow, followed by all the ways you can change that recipe to suit what’s in your pantry and fridge.

Of course, a very flexible meal plan calls for a very flexible grocery list, and we have a list for Round 1 here, a list for Round 2 here, and a list for Round 3 here.

This collection of cooking ideas is here for you to use however you like. You can use it as a meal plan and put it on repeat, cooking these ten dishes over again and again for however long this new reality lasts. Or you can cherry-pick whatever you want out of it. But to encourage a little community, the Epicurious editors and I started cooking from this plan on Wednesday, April 1st; we'll start round three of Cooking Through It (see the plan below) on Monday, April 27th. We’ll be showing our cooking on Instagram, at @epicurious and also our individual feeds: @davidtamarkin, @acstockwell, @pithzester, @emnanjohnson, @spena, @tiffyhop, @lejosef, @kendrakendrakendra, @travis.rainey, etc. We’re all sequestered in our individual homes, some of us with our partners, some of us with our cats, some of us with our friends, some of us on our own. But for ten days, at least, we’ll be cooking through this weird, anxious, difficult time. Together.

Here’s what we’ll cook:

ROUND 3:

<h1 class="title">Pork Ragù Over Creamy Polenta</h1> <div class="caption"> Pork Ragù Over Creamy Polenta </div> <cite class="credit">Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott</cite>

Pork Ragù Over Creamy Polenta

Pork Ragù Over Creamy Polenta
Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott

Day 1: A Batch of Polenta and a Sauce

Master recipes: Big-Batch Parmesan Polenta and 15-Minute Meat Sauce

This week-and-a-half starts with a big bowl of comfort: a batch of creamy Parmesan-laced polenta topped with an umami-rich tomato sauce of your choice. Go quick with a 15-minute ground meat sauce, take it slow with a three-hour pork braise, or keep it veg-forward with a savory mushroom ragout. The polenta recipe makes a big batch and that’s on purpose. Eat half with sauce tonight, and pour the other half into a rectangular storage container and stash in the fridge to make into crispy-edged “croutons” on Day 4.

Swap the polenta… for grits; or make risotto and spoon ragu over that instead. Of course, you can also toss your sauce with pasta if you prefer.

Swap the Parmesan… for any hard cheese such as Romano, Asiago, or Cotija. You can also use a semi-firm cheese, such as Gruyère or Gouda.

Swap the onion, celery, and carrot… for any aromatic vegetables you have in the crisper. Great choices include parsnips, fennel, and turnips. A small amount of winter squash or sweet potato also works great if you don’t have carrots, since they add a similar touch of natural sweetness.

Swap the ground meat… The quick-version meat sauce—which we’ve included in the grocery list—calls for both pork and beef, but any ground meat will work here. Use chicken, turkey, lamb, Italian sausage, or any combination you have on hand. Or, if you want to get started a little earlier in the day, opt for slow-braised pork shoulder.

Swap the oregano… for dried rosemary, marjoram, or thyme. Alternatively, you can use any of these herbs fresh—just toss a few whole stems into the pan and fish them out when you’re ready to serve.

Swap the red wine… for white wine, vermouth, Sherry, stock, or—don’t be shocked—pickle juice (especially if you have some pickled peppers). What you want is something with a little sweetness, a little acidity, and a lot of flavor. One note: if you go for pickle juice, go light on the salt, then taste and adjust seasoning at the end.

Swap the tomato sauce… for any canned tomato product, including crushed, chopped or whole tomatoes that you mash up with a wooden spoon. You can also use a jar of pre-made marinara; we won’t tell anybody.

Make it vegetarian... by swapping the meat sauce for mushroom ragout.

<h1 class="title">Springy Cod Chowder</h1> <cite class="credit">Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Prop Styling by Beatrice Chastka, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell</cite>

Springy Cod Chowder

Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Prop Styling by Beatrice Chastka, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell

Day 2: A Potato and Some Seafood

Master recipe: Spring Pea Fish Chowder

We’re all staying home, but spring is still happening outside. Bring the season indoors with this lighter take on seafood chowder. Anna Stockwell’s secret ingredient here is Bar Harbor Clam Juice, which you can buy online. If you can’t get it, though, don’t sweat. There are plenty of other ways to make this soup delish.

Swap the leeks… for white, yellow, or sweet onions, scallions, spring onions, green garlic, ramps, or shallots. Avoid red onions if you can, since they’d turn the broth pink.

Swap the potatoes… Okay, it’s not technically chowder without the potatoes, but if you don’t have them, zucchini or yellow squash would be great here. You can also use sweet potatoes, diced winter squash, cauliflower, or a can of rinsed and drained chickpeas.

Swap the clam juice… for fish stock, the liquid from a can of seafood packed in water, vegetable or chicken stock, water with a splash of fish sauce or anchovy salt, or a combination of ¼ cup dry Sherry (not vinegar) and ¾ cup water.

Swap the bay leaf… for a few sprigs of fresh oregano or thyme, a cinnamon leaf, or just leave it out.

Swap the cod… for any fish or shellfish you like. Skinless fillets are ideal, but hey, a non-crisp fish skin won’t kill you. Shrimp, scallops, mussels, and clams also work in this dish.

Swap the cream… for half-and-half, milk, or any plant-based dairy alternative (cashew milk would be especially good here).

Swap the frozen peas… for green beans (frozen or fresh), frozen corn kernels, or broccoli florets.

Swap the lemon juice… for Sherry vinegar, white wine vinegar, a vinegar-based hot sauce, or about half the amount of cider vinegar or plain white vinegar. You could also use the same amount of dry Sherry, white wine, or vermouth.

Swap the pea shoots and basil… for any tender herbs (tarragon, parsley, etc.), a handful of arugula or baby spinach, or just leave them out.

Make it vegetarian… Sauté some mushrooms along with the leeks or onions, then swap the clam juice for veg stock or use water and a dash of miso to make the broth super flavorful.

<h1 class="title">Poached Chicken</h1> <cite class="credit">Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell</cite>

Poached Chicken

Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell

Day 3: Some Chicken and Vegetables

Master recipe: Poached Chicken Breast With Squash and Leeks

This simple six-ingredient soup has plenty of hearty vegetables, and it takes very little active time to assemble. In fact, it’s so easy that we’re going to poach more chicken than we actually need, so that we can use the cooked meat on Day 5 to make that dinner even easier. Add a pound to the total so you’re ready to nextover like a pro.

Swap the chicken breasts… for boneless, skinless chicken thighs, or drumsticks with the skin removed. Or skip the chicken and use a boneless turkey breast, duck breast, or skinless fish fillets. Pork chops are another great option—you’ll want to slice them thinly after poaching since they won’t really shred. You can also go with pork tenderloin, but instead of poaching it whole, freeze it for 30 to 60 minutes before you plan to eat, then slice into paper-thin rounds and drop them into the hot broth and let them cook for about 5 minutes before serving. Whatever you choose, poach 1½ to 2 pounds more than the recipe calls for and store the extra shredded or sliced protein for Day 6.

Swap the leeks… for any allium: thinly-sliced shallots; red, yellow, or sweet onions; or scallions (toss the white parts into the poaching liquid and garnish with the thinly-sliced green tops).

Swap the kabocha… with any hard squash, such as butternut or delicata, or use sliced cauliflower, or thick carrot or parsnip coins. This recipe only uses half the kabocha, so save the remainder of the uncooked squash (wrapped, in the fridge) until Day 7.

Add ons… If you’re one of the millions making sourdough right now, this broth is ideal for dunking. You could also make a big batch of oven grilled cheese to serve on the side.

Make it vegetarian… First, use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. Then add cubes of tofu to this in place of the chicken, or take the opportunity to have some fun with eggs. Use the method described here to marble the broth with wispy beaten eggs, like egg-drop soup, after removing the squash and leeks.

<h1 class="title">Panzanella with polenta cubes - RECIPE</h1> <cite class="credit">Photo and Food Styling by Anna Stockwell</cite>

Panzanella with polenta cubes - RECIPE

Photo and Food Styling by Anna Stockwell

Day 4: Pantry Salad

Master recipe: Pantry Salad With Polenta Croutons

Remember that polenta you stashed on Day 2? Grab it, cut it into cubes (it should be a solid block by now), coat the cubes with grated Parmesan, and then sear them into crispy-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the-inside golden nuggets to toss through your weekly dose of something fresh and green.

Swap the vinegar… for any vinegar or fresh citrus juice you have on hand. Pickle juice works here, too.

Swap the Dijon… for any other mustard. Or go a little softer with mayonnaise, tahini, almond butter, miso, tomato paste, or Greek yogurt. You’re just looking for something flavorful that will help emulsify the dressing.

Swap the honey… for agave syrup, molasses, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, pomegranate or date molasses, saba, marmalade, or any kind of jam or jelly (apricot, plum, or fig would be ideal; strawberry would be...a little weird, but probably okay).

Swap the polenta… Okay, so the polenta was so good you finished it days ago? Grab some of that sourdough you’ve been making (or any other bread) and turn it into classic croutons. Or add crunch another way with butter-toasted nuts, crispy white beans, or crispy lentils.

Swap the Parmesan… for any hard cheese such as Romano, Asiago, aged Gouda, or Cotija.

Swap the vegetables… for any crisp veg you have: cauliflower, radishes, fennel, cucumber, beets, celery, carrots, turnips, daikon—and feel free to mix ‘em up!

Swap the lettuces… for endive, butter lettuce, Little Gem, or more crunchy shaved vegetables.

Make it vegetarian… Swap the cured meat for more of those crispy white beans or lentils mentioned above. Or just leave the meat out entirely.

Day 5: A Box of Noodles and Some Broth

Master recipe: Golden Noodles With Chicken

This “soup” is really all about the noodles. There’s broth there to keep things saucy, but the bright yellow rice noodles are really the star. And since we already poached the chicken (or other protein) on Day 3, we can slip that in and spend a little more time on the garnish: crispy fried shallots.

Swap the shallots… with thinly-sliced red or sweet onion. If you go the onion route, slice them as thinly as you can into strips, not rings. Try using this method. You can also buy packaged crispy shallots or fried onions, or add crunch to the finished dish with chopped peanuts or cashews.

Swap the flour… with Wondra, cake flour, cornstarch, potato starch, or chickpea flour.

Swap the chicken… with the chicken (or other protein) you poached on Day 3. You could also sauté ½ pound of ground meat if your extra cooked protein was co-opted in a last minute lunch frenzy.

Swap the fresh ginger… with finely grated lemongrass, fresh turmeric, or a combination of powdered ginger (about 1 teaspoon) and fresh lemon or lime juice (about 2 teaspoons).

Swap the ground turmeric… for twice the amount of finely grated fresh turmeric or—since this is there mostly for the color (and a bit of earthy flavor)—you can steep a few threads of saffron in water and add that to the mix instead.

Swap the vermicelli… for any long noodle: fettuccine, spaghetti, soba, ramen, etc.

Make it vegetarian… just leave out the chicken and use vegetable broth or bonito-free dashi instead of chicken stock. A can of rinsed drained chickpeas or white beans would make a lovely addition if you’d like some added protein. Other options: frozen edamame, cubed tofu, or a fried or poached egg, or some crispy mushrooms.

<h1 class="title">Trenton Tomato Pie- Inset</h1> <cite class="credit">Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Prop Styling by Alex Brannian, Food Styling by Dawn Perry</cite>

Trenton Tomato Pie- Inset

Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Prop Styling by Alex Brannian, Food Styling by Dawn Perry

Day 6: Pizza Dough and Whatever You’ve Got

Master recipe: Trenton Tomato Pie

Pizza night is here to take on any of your leftovers and make use of any dwindling produce. The master recipe keeps things simple with just a pack of mozzarella and a can of tomatoes (you’ll drain them, but you can save the juice in the fridge and use it next time you steam rice or make a pan sauce). But here’s the deal: you don’t have to have tomatoes or cheese to make pizza. It’s true! Toss whatever you’ve got on top of that dough, throw it in the oven, and ring that dinner bell.

Swap the tomatoes… for whatever toppings you’ve got. If you want to go saucy, grab a jar of marinara; or, go rogue with canned pumpkin, make romesco with jarred red peppers, or throw together a quick pesto with whatever greens or herbs you have on hand.

Swap the food processor dough… with any pizza dough recipe you like. The one included here was developed for a thin crust and can be made in either a food processor or stand mixer. No machine? Try restaurateur and baker Jim Lahey’s no-knead version. Keep in mind that homemade dough takes time to rise, so depending on the recipe you choose, you may need to make it a day early. Need it faster? This one can be made in just two hours (and yes, you can swap out the yeast if need be). Of course you could also pick up some pre-made dough from the store or your local pizza joint, if they’re non-contact selling that kind of thing.

Swap the flour for dusting… with fine cornmeal, masa harina, semolina, chickpea flour, bread flour, whole wheat flour, or cornstarch.

Swap the mozzarella… with any cheese or no cheese at all.

Add ons… canned artichoke hearts, coins or crumbles of cooked sausage, sautéed mushrooms, sliced olives, strips of prosciutto or salami. You can even top this pizza with a whole damn salad, if you have more tender greens to use up.

<h1 class="title">Chilaquiles - HERO - V2</h1> <cite class="credit">Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell</cite>

Chilaquiles - HERO - V2

Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell

Day 7: A Can of Soup and Some Tortilla Chips

Master recipe: Red Chilaquiles Egg Bake

Consider this dish the Chaotic Good of Cooking Through It, Round 3. After sautéing some aromatics, you’ll pour a can of tomato soup into the skillet, along with some canned diced tomatoes, chipotle sauce, and lime juice, and then just go right ahead and dump a whole bag of tortilla chips in with it. Once they’re stirred in, a few eggs get cracked on top and you bake the whole thing so the chips get crisp on the edges and perfectly crisp-gone-soggy (that’s a good thing) on the inside. Making it feels like you’re probably doing something wrong, but the finished spicy, crunchy, rich, and saucy casserole is oh so right.

Swap the onion… You know the drill: any allium goes.

Swap the garlic… for extra onion or 1½ teaspoons garlic powder.

Swap the jalapeños… for any fresh chili or about 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. You can also skip the fresh chiles and opt for topping the dish with pickled jalapeños, calabrian chiles, or pepperoncini instead.

Swap the limes… for grapefruit, lemon juice, or vinegar (red wine, white wine, white distilled, cider, rice, or Sherry vinegars are all fine).

Swap the tomato soup… for more canned tomatoes, any jarred salsa, or… marinara if you’re really in a pinch.

Swap the canned tomatoes… for salsa (any kind you’ve got). If you go this way, you may want to cut down on the chile you’re adding if the salsa is very hot.

Swap the chipotle sauce… for chipotle paste, chipotle chile powder, or any chili powder. You could also use smoked paprika or a combination of sweet paprika and cumin to add some of that smoky, earthy flavor that comes from chipotles.

Swap the tortilla chips… for any kind of corn chip (even a nacho-cheese flavored one wouldn’t be out of place), or tortillas (corn or flour) that you’ve sliced and toasted in a toaster oven or fried in oil.

Swap the eggs… If you don’t have eggs just leave them out; for added protein, you can toss on extra cheese after it’s baked.

Add ons… Feel free to throw in some shredded chicken, cooked sausage, or other shredded or diced cooked meat. You can also make this a canvas for toppings. The recipe suggests avocado, queso fresco, and cilantro, but you can add sliced black olives, sour cream, a different kind of cheese like shredded Monterey jack or cheddar, pickled peppers, pickled red onions, or anything else you might like on nachos.

<h1 class="title">Spicy Pork Bowl with Greens and Carrots</h1> <cite class="credit">Photo by Chelsie Craig</cite>

Spicy Pork Bowl with Greens and Carrots

Photo by Chelsie Craig

Day 8: Some Pork and Some Greens

Master recipe: Spicy Pork Bowls with Greens

Eight days is a long time to keep raw pork in the fridge, so after you get it home, take a tip from our big-batch pork tenderloin recipe: Freeze the pork for about an hour, then cut into thin slices (the chilling will make this easier). Toss the sliced tenderloin with the bulgogi-inspired marinade in the master recipe, then freeze the slices completely. They’ll be ready for pan-frying straight out of the freezer when Day 8 rolls around.

Swap the tenderloin… other cuts of pork, such as a loin, boneless chops, or belly. You could also use boneless chicken breasts or thighs, which can also be sliced thin and frozen as stated above. Or, mix the marinade with any kind of ground meat and cook it in big crumbles, trying not to break them up too much.

Swap the sambal oelek… for sriracha, piri piri hot sauce, harissa, gochujang, 2 teaspoons chili powder, or ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper. Perhaps it goes without saying, but different brands of these things can have varying heat levels, so proceed with caution if you’re unfamiliar or your family doesn’t love spice—you can always add more hot sauce to the finished dish.

Swap the brown sugar… for dark brown sugar, white sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup, or apricot or plum jam.

Swap the ginger… for fresh turmeric or 1 teaspoon of dried ginger plus a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.

Swap the soy sauce… for Worcestershire, miso, fish sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos.

Swap the sesame oil… for unfiltered pumpkin seed or sunflower seed oil if you happen to have them. No dice? Use a neutral oil or olive oil and a dash of toasted sesame seeds if you’ve got those around.

Swap the carrots… for any hearty vegetable you have on hand: celery, cauliflower, turnips, parsnips, radish, or broccoli.

Swap the kale… for any hearty green—frozen greens are fine too. Or add more of those vegetables above.

Swap the rice vinegar… for cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, coconut vinegar, or any vinegar you like on your salads.

Swap the rice… for any steamed grain such as barley, farro, bulgur, wheat berries, etc.

<cite class="credit">Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell</cite>
Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell

Day 9: Some Artichokes and a Can of Beans

Master recipe: Saucy Beans and Artichokes

This dish of stewed artichokes and beans wants to be spooned over toasted bread and eaten by hand as the tomatoey sauce drips back onto your plate. Or straight from the baking dish as your partner-in-quarantine opens a second bottle of wine. The recipe relies on canned beans, but if you have some dried big white beans in the cabinet, feel free to pull them out, stick them in your Instant Pot, and use them for this dish.

Swap the onion… Again, any onion or allium goes: red, white, yellow, sweet, leek. If you’re lucky enough to have some super-seasonal ramps, slice the base stem and use those, then save the leafy green tops for garnishing.

Swap the tomato… for grape, cherry, or plum tomatoes (you can pulse these to break them up in a food processor), or one 14- to 15-ounce can of diced or crushed tomatoes.

Swap the garlic… for more onions, shallots, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder.

Swap the tomato paste… for miso paste, or tomato purée that you cook down a bit longer than the paste.

Swap the fresh oregano… for an equal amount of fresh rosemary, thyme, or marjoram if you have it, or half the amount of any of those herbs, dried (with the exception of dried oregano, which is actually less potent that fresh, so you’ll use more as indicated by the recipe).

Swap the red pepper flakes… for any other chile flake you have on hand, or a drizzle of chili oil, or a few dashes of hot sauce.

Swap the canned artichokes… for jarred or frozen artichokes. You can also make this dish with roasted red peppers, zucchini or yellow squash cut into large pieces, canned ackee, sliced hearts of palm, or even large torn meaty olives.

Swap the beans… for any canned whole beans, or dried and cooked beans. White beans, such as gigante, butter, cannellini, or mayocoba will hew closest to the recipe, but pintos, black eyed peas, and black beans will also work.

Swap the feta… for shaved Parmesan, dollops of ricotta, crumbled goat cheese, slices of chevre, torn fresh mozzarella, or just leave it off.

Add ons… this dish is great with crusty bread, but you could also grab a piece of naan or another flatbread to scoop up the saucy beans and ‘chokes. And, of course, a fried egg wouldn’t be out of place.

<h1 class="title">Shrimp Okonomiyaki with Bonito Flakes - RECIPE</h1> <cite class="credit">Photo and Food Styling by Joseph De Leo</cite>

Shrimp Okonomiyaki with Bonito Flakes - RECIPE

Photo and Food Styling by Joseph De Leo

Day 10: A Big Vegetable Pancake

Master recipe: Okonomiyaki

This master recipe is a favorite of Epi’s Emily Johnson, not least because okonomiyaki (a type of savory Japanese pancake) is a great way to use up any odds and ends you might have lingering. My favorite add-in combination is leftover charred cabbage and a freshly shredded carrot, but you’ll see by the recipe that you really can add nearly anything to the batter before cooking it off in a pan. The recipe is very forgiving, so if you want a thinner batter (I usually do) feel free to add a bit more liquid that what this calls for. If you like your batter puffier, don’t change a thing.

Swap the flour… you can use sourdough starter discard for this recipe pretty easily. If you have a liquid starter, just swap in up to 2½ cups discard for the flour and milk in the recipe (this makes 8 pancakes). If you have a stiff starter, use about 3 parts discard to 1 part milk or alt milk or until it reaches a pancake-batter consistency. You could also use chickpea flour, rice flour, or whole wheat flour if you don’t have all-purpose.

Swap the milk… for buttermilk, alt milk such as oat, cashew, almond, or rice (you can even make your own). You could also use whey (the liquid fresh mozzarella comes in) or simply water.

Swap the cabbage, scallions, and peppers… for any thinly sliced, shredded, or cooked vegetables you have.

Swap the protein… the recipe mentions half-inch pieces of boneless chicken, shrimp, crab, beef, or pork, but you could also use seared diced Spam, crumbled cooked bacon, or any chopped deli meat.

Swap the toppings… Mayo, bonito flakes, Tonkatsu sauce, and nori are great for topping this dish, as are gomasio (a mix of sesame seeds and dried garlic) or furikake. Sriracha is delicious, too. You can also add sliced scallions, toasted sesame seeds, crumbled bacon, pickled ginger, avocado slices, tahini sauce, chile crisp, Crunchy Spice Oil, Japanese barbecue sauce, or any other toppings that sound good to you. Pile it up.

Make it vegetarian… Simple, just leave out the meat and add more vegetables. If you want to add some firm tofu or cubed feta, feel free, but for me, okonomiyaki is all about the vegetable fillings and loads of toppings.

ROUND TWO

Note: The Epicurious editors started cooking through this round on April 13th, 2020 and completed it on April 22nd, 2020. Click here for the grocery list. Looking for the first round of Cooking Through It? Scroll to the bottom of this page.

<h1 class="title">Crunchy Spice Scallops - RECIPE</h1> <cite class="credit">Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Erika Joyce</cite>

Crunchy Spice Scallops - RECIPE

Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Erika Joyce

Day 1: Some Seafood and a Hot Sauce

Master recipe: Scallop Rice Bowls With Crunchy Spice Oil

We start this round of Cooking Through It with seafood, picked up fresh from the fish counter or pulled from your freezer stash. The master recipe suggests quick-cooking scallops, but the same method works for peeled shrimp. To serve, steam some rice, sauté some hearty greens, and make a spiced oil to spoon over the lot. Try to resist drizzling the oil over everything else you eat this week—we’ll need at least 4 tablespoons again on Day 9.

Swap the scallops… with raw peeled shrimp (frozen are fine: thaw them in a bowl of cool water for about 30 minutes before continuing with the recipe) or whole fish fillets cooked using the cold-pan method. Not into seafood? Go for Italian sausages sliced into coins.

Swap the kale… with any type of hearty green: chard, collard, or mustard greens, broccolini, etc.

Swap the rice… for any kind of grain, such as steamed barley or quinoa. (Okay, quinoa’s not technically a grain, but it works!) You can also make grits or polenta as a base here, instead of steamed rice.

Swap the spices… Don’t have the exact spices called for in the spiced oil? Raid your spice cabinet for what you do have (the flavor won’t be the same, but the method will still work). Whole spices are preferable to ground since they’ll get crunchy and add pops of flavor and texture to each bite. Instead of sesame seeds, use pepitas, sunflower seeds, or chopped cashews. Yellow or brown mustard seeds can take the place of black; anise seed or nigella will work, too. No cumin seeds? Swap in fennel seeds or caraway. For pink peppercorns, sub in crushed cardamom pods, allspice, or green or white peppercorns. For red pepper flakes, swap in any chile flake you like. And honey, agave, or plain old sugar can stand in for maple syrup if need be. You can also use thinly-sliced onions or shallots if garlic isn’t an option.

Make it vegetarian: Scallops are out; tofu is in. You’ll want to add some flavor to the tofu, though, so use the sauce and cooking method here. Then add the maple-soy glazed tofu cubes to your greens, avocado, and rice.

<h1 class="title">COOK 90 - Chickpea Salad Pasta - HERO</h1> <cite class="credit">Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell</cite>

COOK 90 - Chickpea Salad Pasta - HERO

Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell

Day 2: A Pasta That’s Actually a Salad

Master recipe: Salad Pasta

Nothing feeds your soul quite like a big bowl of pasta; but nothing feeds your body quite like a big bowl of greens. Get comfort and your daily dose of vitamins with salad pasta (not to be confused with pasta salad).

Swap the pasta… for any other short pasta: bowties, casarecce, fusilli, rotini—just no long noodles. Gluten-free pastas work too. In fact, this recipe was developed with our favorite chickpea pasta in mind.

Swap the butter… for olive oil.

Swap the radicchio… for half a head of escarole, 2 or 3 endive spears, 2 cups of massaged kale, or extra arugula.

Swap the arugula and basil… for any tender greens and herbs. Think watercress, baby spinach, or any baby greens for that matter. Parsley, mint, tarragon, and/or cilantro can stand in for the basil.

Make it vegetarian… Whether you don’t eat anchovies or just don’t like them, you can leave them out and sub in 1 tablespoon of miso paste; a few dashes of soy sauce, coconut aminos, or vegan Worcestershire; or toss in some pitted sliced olives for a savory, salty punch.

<h1 class="title">Sheet Pan Dinner Chicken Pizza</h1> <cite class="credit">Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Food Styling by Olivia Mack Anderson</cite>

Sheet Pan Dinner Chicken Pizza

Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Food Styling by Olivia Mack Anderson

Day 3: A Sheet-Pan and Some Tomatoes

Master recipe: Sheet-Pan Chicken with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

What do you call an easy sheet-pan dinner of chicken breasts nestled into burst tomatoes and dripping with melted mozzarella? Officially we call it “Sheet-Pan Chicken with Tomatoes and Mozzarella,” but how we really refer to this recipe is “pizza chicken.” Of course, when it comes to pizza, everyone has their own favorite toppings. That means this dish is an ideal contender for making any necessary substitutions (including for the chicken). While you’re at it, consider roasting extra, un-mozzarella’d chicken to shred and save for future meals later this week (say, on Day 6).

Swap the chicken breasts… for boneless, skinless chicken thighs, turkey cutlets, or Italian sausages. Another option: use ground meat to make Italian-spiced meatballs, and place them (uncooked) right on the sheet pan. Don’t have time to shape a bunch of meatballs into perfect spheres? Just drop dollops of the ground-meat mixture on the pan for a freeform version. Or, prove the haters wrong and dice up a ham steak (or shred leftover Easter ham) and scatter canned pineapple all over the top.

Swap the grape tomatoes... for cherry tomatoes or quartered plum tomatoes. Canned tomatoes are also fine here: if you have a choice, opt for whole tomatoes, strain them (save the juice to add to some steamed rice later in the week), and lightly crush them before scattering across the sheet pan. Or just cook the chicken on a bed of jarred marinara and call it a day.

Swap the vinegar… Any vinegar you have in the house will work here. Yes, even white distilled.

Swap the garlic… with handful of a thinly-sliced onion or 1 teaspoon dried, powdered garlic or onion.

Swap the oregano… Dried marjoram is an easy substitute for oregano, but you could also use thyme (dried or fresh), dried rosemary, or dried parsley. If none of those are around, grab any spices that’ll make it feel like pizza to you.

Swap the fresh mozzarella… The name of the game is melting cheeses tonight. Low-moisture mozzarella is an easy choice, but you could easily use provolone. Dollops of ricotta or cottage cheese would also work (think of the ricotta pools on a white pizza). No Italian cheese in the house? Swiss, cheddar, havarti: they all work.

Swap the peperoncini and sliced onions… for any toppings you like: sliced black olives, mushrooms that have been cooked separately on the stove, crumbled bacon, pickled jalapeños, anchovies. You get the idea.

Add ons… Is pizza not pizza for you without pepperoni? Add a few slices along with your cheese. You can also toss some sliced sweet or hot peppers or quartered artichoke hearts in with the garlic and tomatoes if the mood strikes you. And a drizzle of hot honey is always a winner.

Make it vegetarian… Slice planks of extra-firm tofu and dry them really well before adding to the pan in place of the chicken. We also love large white beans here, but really any bean will work.

<h1 class="title">Saag Feta</h1> <cite class="credit">Photo by Chelsie Craig, Food Styling by Alison Attenborough</cite>

Saag Feta

Photo by Chelsie Craig, Food Styling by Alison Attenborough

Day 4: Greens and a Block of Feta

Master recipe: Spinach and Feta Cooked Like Saag Paneer

This recipe comes from Epi contributor Priya Krishna, whose cookbook Indian-ish is an easy favorite of ours. This dish will look familiar to anyone who loves saag paneer, but it’s especially perfect for right now, since you don’t need to find any paneer—although if you have the time, the milk, and need a project, you could make paneer yourself. Feta, however, gives the perfectly-seasoned greens a delicate tangy flavor we love just as much.

Swap the feta… with paneer? Too on the nose? You can also use halloumi, queso blanco, queso fresco, or another non-melting cheese. If none of those are an option, dollop spoonfuls of cottage cheese or ricotta into the greens just before serving, or drizzle a bit of cream over each portion.

Swap the spinach… with any hearty green. Really—use kale, collards, mustard greens, or even broccoli. It all gets puréed in the blender, so really, any hearty green works.

Swap the spices… with a teaspoon or two of mixed spices such as ground cumin, turmeric, ginger, fennel seed, fenugreek, asafetida, smoked paprika, and/or almost any spice blend you have in your cabinet. You can also use a tablespoon or two of Thai green curry paste for a different kind of flavor moment. Or skip the spices altogether and drizzle some of that Crunchy Spice Oil from Day 1 over the top after plating the dish.

Swap the lime juice… with lemon juice, white wine vinegar, cider vinegar, rice vinegar, cane vinegar, or coconut vinegar.

Swap the Indian chile… with a serrano, jalapeño, or other fresh green chile. You could also use a spoonful of a spicy green chutney or ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes.

Swap the blender... No blender? Pulse the cooked greens a few times in a food processor. If neither appliance is an option, just be a little more diligent about chopping the greens into bite-size pieces before adding them to the pan.

Add ons… Serve over rice or with roti, naan, or another flatbread (these three-ingredient flaky breads are rather quick to make and pretty easy).

Make it dairy free… Cubed tofu works well here in place of the feta.

<h1 class="title">Red Pepper Fritatta - RECIPE</h1> <cite class="credit">Photo & Food Styling by Joseph De Leo</cite>

Red Pepper Fritatta - RECIPE

Photo & Food Styling by Joseph De Leo

Day 5: A Potato and Some Eggs

Master recipe: Roasted Red Pepper Frittata

When it comes to a frittata, almost anything goes. The master recipe calls for roasted red peppers and potatoes, but if you have any cooked vegetables or greens from earlier in the week, this is a prime place to use them. The recipe serves eight, so save any extra wedges to serve as sandwiches the next day for lunch.

Swap the red peppers… for jarred roasted peppers or quartered artichoke hearts. You can also separately sauté 12 ounces of mushrooms, a bunch of asparagus, or add in some cooked hearty greens.

Swap the potato… with a sweet potato, zucchini, 1 to 2 cups of cooked pasta, rice, or another grain, a 14-ounce can of rinsed and drained chickpeas, or a handful of any cooked vegetable you’re trying to use up.

Add some meat (optional): Have some ground meat (lamb, pork, turkey, chicken, fresh sausage, whatever) you want to use up? After removing the potato and onion from the pan, add a few tablespoons of oil back to the skillet and sauté ½ pound of ground meat along with whatever vegetable swaps you might be using, then pour off any grease and pour the eggs, potato, and onion over the mix. Diced lunch meat or shredded leftovers are great here, too.

<h1 class="title">Chicken Enchilada Skillet</h1> <cite class="credit">Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell</cite>

Chicken Enchilada Skillet

Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell

Day 6: A Stack of Tortillas and a Skillet

Master recipe: Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Skillet

You already know that tortillas are a lifesaver when you have random bits of vegetables and cooked meats that are screaming to be made into tacos. Tonight you’ll use tortillas in a different way, creating a warm, comforting casserole. The master recipe calls for rotisserie chicken, but you can use any leftover chicken (such as the extra chicken you may have roasted on Day 3). Of course, like everything in this recipe, you can also swap the chicken for about a hundred other things.

Swap the onions… with a cup or so of chopped shallots, red onion, or the white parts of scallions (save the green parts for sprinkling on top of the finished dish).

Swap the garlic… with a teaspoon or so of garlic powder, or just leave the garlic out.

Swap the cumin… for a teaspoon of any spice you’ve got. This recipe was written with Mexican flavors in mind, and dried chilies, coriander, and/or oregano will keep you in that camp. But you can also stray and use paprika (smoked paprika will be particularly good here), turmeric, ground fennel seeds, or a spice blend.

Swap the salsa… for an equal amount of diced tomatoes, whether fresh or canned. If you have any fresh or canned chilies around to doctor those tomatoes, go for it. You can also sub in any other jar of salsa you have (green, black bean, etc.). Have tomatillos on hand? Roast them, chop them, and put them in.

Swap the sour cream… for an equal amount of softened cream cheese, or a drizzle (about ¼ cup) of heavy cream.

Swap the chicken… for 4 cups of cooked ground meat or sausage. Or go the tuna casserole route: throw in a couple of cans of tuna or some crumbled smoked trout. You can also throw in crumbled tofu or seitan, or add some cooked, chopped greens.

Swap the beans… for any other bean (kidney, chickpeas, etc.), or 2 cups of other quick-cooking vegetables such as frozen corn, edamame, chopped zucchini, etc.

Swap the cheese… for any other melting cheese, such as shredded cheddar or mozzarella.

<h1 class="title">Butternut Squash and Chorizo Hash</h1> <cite class="credit">Photo by Alex Lau, Food Styling by Sue Li</cite>

Butternut Squash and Chorizo Hash

Photo by Alex Lau, Food Styling by Sue Li

Day 7: Veg, Sausage, and a Cast-Iron Skillet

Master recipe: Butternut Squash and Chorizo Hash

Any hard squash will work for this hash: butternut, kabocha, delicata; and here’s a tip: you can eat the skin of all three of these, so don’t bother peeling. Is squash out of the picture? Don't worry about it, just...uh...hash together whatever you've got.

Swap the chorizo… for Italian sausage (hot or sweet) or any other fresh sausage. You can also dice cooked sausage, or crumble up any ground meat. You can even make fresh chorizo with ground meat, plus garlic and chipotles in adobo.

Swap the butternut… for kabocha squash, delicata squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, zucchini, turnips, or 2 cans of rinsed and drained chickpeas.

Swap the onion… for scallions, red onion, shallots, fennel, or a few teaspoons of dried onion.

Swap the lime and cilantro… for green sauce, which you can make at the beginning of the week and keep on hand for saucing practically anything. A splash of apple cider vinegar or squeeze of lemon juice can also stand in for the lime; and any tender herb or extra arugula you have on hand is a great way to add freshness. If you plan on turning this into tacos, shredded cabbage is another contender for added freshness.

Add ons: You can eat this hash as is, with or without an egg; or you could spoon it over steamed rice, stir-fry it with leftover rice from Day 4, or pile it into tortillas for taco night.

Make it vegetarian… with any plant-based sausage or crumbles. You can also roast some tofu and add that to the sautéed veg at the last minute.

<h1 class="title">High-Protein Sauces That Turn Vegetables Into a Meal Ricotta</h1> <cite class="credit">Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Food Styling by Kate Buckens</cite>

High-Protein Sauces That Turn Vegetables Into a Meal Ricotta

Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Food Styling by Kate Buckens

Day 8: Whipped Ricotta Topped With...Anything

Master method and recipe: Turn Veggies Into Dinner With Whipped Ricotta and Grilled Cabbage Wedges

You’ll want about ½ cup ricotta per person for these dinner bowls. Whisking ricotta with a little salt and olive oil makes it light and airy, an ideal bed for grilled or roasted vegetables. Any lingering leftovers? Those work as toppers too—take this chance to use them up. No leftovers in the house? If you have a grill, this is an optimal time to use it. Take wedges of cabbage out back, char them, and drizzle with a pancetta (or bacon or salami) vinaigrette. You may even want to grill extra vegetables now so you can have them ready for the rest of the week (one head of cabbage will make about eight servings).

Swap the ricotta… for cottage cheese or Greek yogurt. Or go the Caprese route: slice a few balls of fresh mozzarella into rounds and toss grilled or roasted veg on top. Plant-based dairy also works; cashew yogurt is especially good.

Swap the cabbage… for whatever vegetables you like grilled or roasted. Eggplant is great, but you can also grill (or roast) green beans, zucchini, beets, mushrooms, or any lingering veg you have in the house.

Add a sauce… Use the master recipe for grilled cabbage to make the pancetta vinaigrette with bacon, salami, or any other cured meat you have on hand. Want to go meat free? Sauce the dish with a green sauce, the Crunchy Spice Oil from Day 1, or simply dash on some hot sauce if you’d like.

Add some crunch (optional)… with our Seedy Power Sprinkle, croutons, or some toasted chopped nuts.

Add an egg (optional)… because you can never go wrong with a hard-boiled egg.

<h1 class="title">Coconut-Apple-Ginger Dal</h1> <cite class="credit">Photo by Alex Lau, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell</cite>

Coconut-Apple-Ginger Dal

Photo by Alex Lau, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell

Day 9: Some Dal and Some Carbs

Master recipe: Tadka Dhal

Dal (or dhal), the South Asian stew of pulses or legumes, comes together in very little time. There are more complex versions: apple-coconut, curried chickpea-lentil; as well as simpler versions, such as this one that’s meant to serve as an accompaniment to a larger spread.

What all these recipes have in common is the tarka (or tadka), oil or ghee that’s been warmed with spices and is used as a garnish for the finished dish. But we already made a spiced oil on Day 1, so we can skip that first step and go straight to the lentils and/or split peas.

Swap the yellow lentils… for anything labeled dal in the dried beans section of your grocery store (common ones are toor dal, moong dal, and chana dal), dried red lentils, green lentils (not French), brown lentils, or anything labeled split pea.

Swap the tadka spices… with whatever spices you have on hand, or skip making the tadka entirely and use the Crunchy Spice Oil from Day 1 to garnish the finished dish.

Swap the cherry tomatoes… for caramelized onions or fennel, sautéed apples or pears, or just leave it out.

Swap the cilantro… with any combination of tender herbs you have: parsley and mint are great options. You can also stir in some spinach, arugula, watercress, or other leafy green thing.

Add ons… Golden-raisin chutney is a delicious way to add dynamic flavor to your dal. For that matter, any kind of chutney is a great addition. You can also add chow chow or another pickled vegetable in addition to or instead of the fresh veg above. Toasted nuts or coconut flakes are a great way to add texture. And a dollop of yogurt is always welcome.

Add some meat (optional)… Craving more protein? Crisp some ground meat in a pan or poach and shred a chicken breast and sprinkle it over the top.

Add some bread (optional)… Did you make flatbread on Day 3? Do you have more? Serve it. You can also spoon this dish over all that sourdough you’ve been making, or, of course, serve it over steamed rice or another grain.

<h1 class="title">Frozen Butter Hand Pies</h1> <cite class="credit">Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Prop Styling by Beatrice Chastka, Food Styling by Simon Andrews</cite>

Frozen Butter Hand Pies

Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Prop Styling by Beatrice Chastka, Food Styling by Simon Andrews

Day 10: Some Dough, Some Cheese, and Some Fillings

Master recipes: Cheesy Hand Pies and Shaved Vegetable Salad

Hand pies are always warranted, but in times of isolation, is there anything better? Sit on the couch, stare out the window, eat a hand pie. Repeat. To go with, make a crunchy salad out of shaved root vegetables and other fresh things that keep for a long time in storage.

Swap the flour and butter… The master recipe instructs you to make a flaky pie dough, but you can achieve equally good results with store-bought pie dough (the kind that rolls out), puff pastry, several stacked layers of phyllo, or even pizza dough (make your own or buy some from the grocery store or your nearest pizza joint).

Swap the feta and mozzarella… for whatever mix of cheeses you have. Or, if you’re done with dairy for the week, fill the pies with whatever you want: stewed meat, ground lamb, cooked vegetables (maybe you grilled extra on Day 8 for tonight?).

Swap the vegetables in the salad… The salad calls for 12 cups of crunchy raw vegetables (that's enough to make eight servings; feel free to use less). It’s time to look to your root veg stash if the fridge is getting bare: carrots, radishes, turnips, beets. Hard squash works too, as well as cauliflower, fennel, and celery.

Swap the mint in the salad… with any tender herbs you happen to have. Or, honestly, just leave it out.

Swap the lemon in the salad… for a lime, white or red wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, or whatever salad vinegar you have, plus a little honey or sugar to sweeten it up a bit.

Swap the mandoline in the salad… for a peeler. Ribboned salad is just as delicious as shaved salad, trust.

ROUND ONE

Note: The Epicurious editors started cooking this plan on April 1st, 2020 and completed it on April 10th, 2020. Click here for the grocery list.

<h1 class="title">DECEMBER SMALL PLATES: Sausage Sheet-Pan Dinner W/Potatoes and Hearty Greens Process</h1> <cite class="credit">Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Prop Styling by Beatrice Chastka, Food Styling by Dana Bonagura</cite>

DECEMBER SMALL PLATES: Sausage Sheet-Pan Dinner W/Potatoes and Hearty Greens Process

Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Prop Styling by Beatrice Chastka, Food Styling by Dana Bonagura

Day 1: Some Sausage and a Sheet Pan

Master recipe: Sausage and Greens Sheet-Pan Dinner

A hot oven, a sheet pan, some sausage, and some vegetables—that’s all you need tonight. The master recipe calls for potatoes and greens, but you can use any hearty vegetable you want—and, for that matter, any kind of sausage. (Yes, even those plant-based sausages.)

Swap the Italian sausage... with any type of fresh sausage, including plant-based sausages.

Swap the potatoes… with 1 ½ pounds hearty vegetables such as winter squash, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, radishes, sweet potatoes, fennel, carrots, beets, or parsnips. Cut the vegetables into 1-inch pieces.

Swap the greens… The greens should be a hearty green such as kale (any variety) or collards. (Softer greens like chard, spinach, and arugula won’t hold up to the heat in the oven.) Or skip the greens entirely, substituting another ½-pound of vegetables.

Add-ons...If you have grapes, add them at the same time you add the vegetables—they get juicy and concentrated and play nicely with spicy sausage. Wedges of red onion or apple will add sweetness, too.

Make it vegetarian: Use a block of firm or extra-firm tofu in place of the sausage. Squeeze it dry, tear it into pieces, and rub it with oil and spices. See the method here.

<h1 class="title">Shrimp Poached in Coconut Milk with Fresh Herbs</h1> <cite class="credit">Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Prop Styling by Alex Brannian, Food Styling by Anna Hampton</cite>

Shrimp Poached in Coconut Milk with Fresh Herbs

Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Prop Styling by Alex Brannian, Food Styling by Anna Hampton

Day 2: Seafood and a Can of Coconut Milk

Master recipe: Shrimp Poached in Coconut Milk with Fresh Herbs

Seafood and coconut milk can take on any flavor your kitchen can provide (though the classic Julie Sahni recipe we’re using as our base is hard to beat). This is a great place to use any seafood that’s in your freezer.

Swap the shrimp… with 2 pounds of any seafood. Slice fillets of salmon, trout, cod, halibut, etc, into roughly 1-inch pieces (thaw frozen filets before slicing). Scallops can be used whole. Mussels and clams will be great here—scrub them and grab the biggest soup pot you’ve got. You can also forget the seafood altogether and use 1-inch cubes of chicken or tofu.

Swap the onions and garlic… with shallots, red onion, leeks, or scallions. You can also skip the onions and garlic altogether, but it’s not ideal. (If all you have is powdered onion and/or garlic, add ½ teaspoon of each, or a full teaspoon of only one.)

Swap the green chilies… with any fresh red chilies. You can also sub in a little bit of dried arbol chili (watch out—those things are fiery!) or red pepper flakes (use however much you think you can handle).

Swap the spices… with a teaspoon or two of ground cumin, fennel seed, fenugreek, asafetida, smoked paprika, and/or almost any spice blend you have in your cabinet. You can also use a tablespoon or two of a paste: harissa paste, tomato paste, Thai curry paste, etc.

Swap the cilantro… with fresh mint, fresh parsley, or just skip the garnish.

Swap the rice… with any cooked grain (barley, quinoa, farro, freekeh, couscous), or serve with bread or flatbread (roti, naan, tortillas) instead. You can also eat this without any carbs at all, but who wants to do that?

<h1 class="title">Cheesy Loaded Sweet Potatoes Recipe</h1> <cite class="credit">Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Food Styling by Kate Buckens</cite>

Cheesy Loaded Sweet Potatoes Recipe

Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Food Styling by Kate Buckens

Day 3: Potatoes, Cheese, and Anything Else

Master recipe: Cheesy Loaded Sweet Potatoes

Potatoes—we’re partial to sweet potatoes—are the most delicious blank canvas in your kitchen. Roast them in a big batch (you can use leftovers for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners down the line) or steam them according to the master recipe. Either way, you’ll want to top the potatoes with cheese and slip them back into a hot oven to get the cheese melted. After that, you can top them with almost anything.

Swap the sweet potatoes… with any other yam or potato, such as Russet, Yukon Golds, and even smaller potatoes such as new potatoes or fingerlings. (If using small potatoes, aim for about 3 pounds. Arrange the potatoes on individual plates and top them like you would nachos.)

Swap the cheese… with vegan cheese. Or skip the cheese altogether and add a different creamy element. Spread hummus, refried beans, or mashed avocado onto the cooked potatoes, or try slathering on some yogurt.

Cook some meat (optional)… While the potatoes roast or steam, cook about 1 pound of ground meat (chicken, lamb, pork, etc.) in 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high. If you feel like it, add whatever spices you have on hand: cumin, red pepper flakes, paprika, cinnamon, coriander, or a spice blend. Add about a teaspoon of kosher salt, too. Press the meat into an even layer and cook, undisturbed, until well browned on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Break up into pieces with a spatula and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is cooked through, anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes.

Top the potatoes… with any cooked bean or legume, any cooked grain such as farro, barley, quinoa, or rice, and almost any cooked vegetable: sautéed greens, crispy mushrooms (see this recipe for inspiration), burst cherry tomatoes, caramelized onions, etc. If you’re cooking ground meat, these vegetables can be thrown in the pan with it, to be cooked all at the same time. Avoid topping the potatoes with other starchy root vegetables such as roasted squash and carrots.

Finish the plate… with sauces, raw vegetables, and garnishes. Try a yogurt sauce, tahini sauce, green sauce, or a spicy chile oil. Add raw veg such as sliced radishes, avocado, or slaw. Then garnish with whatever you’ve got: fresh herbs, toasted breadcrumbs, chopped nuts, thinly-sliced red onion, and any and all pickles.

<h1 class="title">Braised Celery Lentils - HERO</h1> <cite class="credit">Photo and Food Styling by Anna Stockwell</cite>

Braised Celery Lentils - HERO

Photo and Food Styling by Anna Stockwell

Day 4: A Pot of Legumes and Some Caramelized Veg

Master recipe: Braised Celery With Garlic and Marinated French Lentils

A container of marinated lentils is a godsend to have in the fridge right now—they can be tossed into lunch salads, easten as an easy dinner side, or turned into soups or pastas. They’re also great in a soupy bowl of pan-seared and braised veg, like celery, which you probably have in your fridge right now. Of course, the legume, the broth, and the type of vegetables are all flexible, and though the side of bread and the egg on top are both great, they’re optional.

Swap the lentils… with brown or black lentils. You can also pour the vinaigrette over a batch of any warm, cooked bean. Start with 2 ½ cups of beans and follow our foolproof bean-cooking method.

Swap the celery… with an equal amount of fennel, carrots, or onions.

Swap the white wine… with red wine or dry vermouth, or skip it entirely and use just a splash of white wine vinegar instead.

Add an (optional) fresh green thing… If there are leaves on your celery, save them to sprinkle over the top of each bowl. Use parsley instead, if you have it. Or baby arugula. Or stir in baby spinach or kale just until it wilts right before serving.

<h1 class="title">Some Eggs and Some Greens - HERO</h1> <cite class="credit">Photo and Food Styling by Joseph De Leo</cite>

Some Eggs and Some Greens - HERO

Photo and Food Styling by Joseph De Leo

Day 5: Some Eggs and Some Greens

Master method: How to Turn Scrambled Eggs Into Dinner

This one is easy: scramble some eggs, put a salad on top, and eat it with or without thick pieces of toast. The trick is making it actually feel like dinner (not that we have anything against breakfast-for-dinner). The key is starting with a luxurious soft scramble, but this, like everything else, is flexible.

Swap the scrambled egg… with fried, poached, or soft-boiled eggs, or make an omelet. Aim for 2 or 3 eggs per person.

Swap the salad… Dressing fresh greens (arugula, spinach, radicchio, endive) with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and placing them on top of the scramble is the original move. But you can swap in cooked vegetables such as crispy roasted kale, sautéed or roasted mushrooms, roasted cherry tomatoes, roasted or steamed cauliflower, blanched asparagus, and/or roasted peppers.

Add an (optional) cured meat or fish… prosciutto, mortadella, and other charcuterie are lovely here, as are smoked salmon, lox, marinated or oil-packed anchovies, or flakes of smoked trout.

Swap the toast… with any other carb, such as rice, flatbread, pita, or tortillas. Or skip the carbs altogether.

<h1 class="title">Cook90 Nextover Pork Process</h1> <cite class="credit">Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell</cite>

Cook90 Nextover Pork Process

Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell

Day 6: A Hunk of Meat and a Slow Cooker

Master recipe: Slow-Cooker Chipotle-Orange Pork Tacos

Swap the slow cooker… with a Dutch oven, and slow-roast in your oven at 300°F until the meat is fall-apart tender, about 6 hours.

Swap the pork… with 6 pounds of boneless chicken thighs, lamb/goat/beef shoulder, brisket, duck legs, etc.

Swap the spice rub… with about ¼ cup of mixed spices. Try a combo of warm spices (such as cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ground ginger, and black pepper) or smoky spices (such as smoked paprika and ground dried chilies) or dried herbs (such as thyme, oregano, mint, and dill), or bright and earthy spices (such as cumin, coriander, fennel seed, and ground turmeric). Adding the tablespoon of brown sugar can help caramelization, but you can skip that. And in fact you can skip all the spices if you want to, and simply season the meat with salt, pepper, and citrus zest.

Swap the orange zest… with lemon or lime zest.

Swap the citrus juices… with 1 ¼ cup of any liquid you like: cider, white wine, beer, soda, broth, or simply water.

Swap the garlic… just leave the garlic out if you don’t have it. Got garlic powder? Use some in the spice rub.

Swap the tortillas, etc… Your slow-cooked meat doesn’t have to go into tacos. You can serve it as a sandwich, over polenta, as part of a grain bowl, as a topping on a salad, tossed with pasta, or stirred into soup.

Make it vegetarian… Slow-cook (or pressure-cook!) 1 ½ pounds of large white beans such as limas or gigantes, throwing the spices right into the cooking liquid.

<h1 class="title">Lentils Bolognese - HERO</h1> <cite class="credit">Photo and Food Styling by Anna Stockwell</cite>

Lentils Bolognese - HERO

Photo and Food Styling by Anna Stockwell

Day 7: Lentils and a Box of Pasta

Master recipe: Lentil Bolognese

Remember the marinated lentils (or beans) you made a few days ago? Hopefully you haven’t finished it yet, because we’re going to lean on it one more time for an almost vegetarian Bolognese. You can make it vegetarian if you like—we like to sneak just 2 slices of bacon in there to give it a meaty flavor without that much actual meat in it. This recipe already has a lot of swaps built into it (harissa or tomato paste; diced or whole canned tomatoes), but there are a few more ways you can make it your own.

Swap the onion… for any allium you have on hand: red onion, 2-3 shallots, a leek, etc.

Swap the garlic… If you’re out of garlic, just omit it. If you have garlic powder, add a teaspoon.

Swap the wine… with vermouth or sherry. Or mix 1 tablespoon of red or white wine vinegar with 1 tablespoon water, and don’t worry about letting it reduce.

Swap the butter… with creme fraiche or heavy cream, or omit it entirely.

Make it vegetarian… by simply leaving the bacon out.

Add some (optional) herbs… If you’d like a hit of green on top of your bowl of red, sprinkle on some fresh parsley, basil, and/or oregano just before serving.

<h1 class="title">COOK 90 - Salad Power Sprinkle - RECIPE</h1> <cite class="credit">Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell</cite>

COOK 90 - Salad Power Sprinkle - RECIPE

Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell

Day 8: Whatever-You’ve-Got Hummus Bowls

Master recipes: Easy Canned Chickpea Hummus and Winter Salad Hummus Bowls

Repeat this mantra: Hummus is a meal, not a snack. This is especially true when you’re doing tons of cooking and need a night when dinner will be quick and painless. (Bonus: this recipe uses up any and all odds and ends in the fridge.)

Swap the chickpeas in the hummus… with roughly 2 pounds of any cooked bean, canned or homemade. See our How to Make Hummus With Any Bean guide for help.

Swap the brussel sprouts and kale… with other thinly-sliced raw vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, radishes, bok choy, or fennel.

Swap the eggs… with a block of firm or extra-firm tofu, cut into 1-inch pieces and sautéed in a little oil until lightly browned.

Swap the Seedy Power Sprinkle… with 1 cup of chopped nuts or toasted breadcrumbs, or a handful of sesame seeds. Or just leave it out entirely.

Add some (optional) meat… You probably have leftovers from the meat you slow-cooked a couple of nights ago—get it warm and crispy in a hot skillet with some oil and throw some of it on top of the hummus, either in place of or in addition to the eggs.

<h1 class="title">Chicken with Rice and Beans - HERO - v2</h1> <cite class="credit">Photo and Food Styling by Joseph De Leo</cite>

Chicken with Rice and Beans - HERO - v2

Photo and Food Styling by Joseph De Leo

Day 9: One-Pot Chicken & Rice

Master recipe: One-Pan Chicken Drumsticks with Rice and Beans

Our recipe for one-pot chicken legs with rice and beans is already designed to make use of whatever’s in your pantry—it calls for any type of white rice, any type of canned bean, any type of dried fruit, and any type of tender herb. But you can still adjust it as needed.

Swap the chicken legs… for 2 ½ pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, wings, or a mix of bone-in chicken parts (cut breasts in half so that they’re roughly the same size as thighs).

Swap the onion… for a couple of shallots, a few cloves of garlic, a handful of scallions, or a (thoroughly washed) leek.

Swap the spices… for dried herbs such as thyme, mint, oregano, or a blend such as herbs de Provence.

Make it vegetarian… by omitting the chicken and doubling the beans. If you do this, skip the first step of the recipe and jump to sautéing the onion and spices. (Use a tablespoon or so of olive oil in place of the chicken fat.)

<h1 class="title">Spaghetti with Tuna, Tomatoes and Olives - HERO</h1> <cite class="credit">Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Kat Boytsova</cite>

Spaghetti with Tuna, Tomatoes and Olives - HERO

Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Kat Boytsova

Day 10: A Box of Pasta and a Tin of Tuna

Master recipe: Spaghetti with Tuna, Tomatoes, and Olives

If you’ve got pasta and a tin of seafood, you’ve got the makings of the ultimate pantry pasta. Just throw in whatever else you can rummage up in your fridge and cabinets.

Swap the spaghetti… for a pound of any pasta, including whole grain and gluten-free pastas.

Swap the tuna… for 6 ounces tinned sardines, smoked or tinned salmon, smoked trout, leftover shredded chicken, or whatever meat you made in the slow cooker a few days ago.

Add vegetables… such as cherry tomatoes, roasted squash, and wilted or fresh greens. Chop vegetables into ½-inch pieces where applicable, and stir in just before serving.

Add more from the pantry… like anything briny (capers, olives, pepperoncini), tomato paste, harissa, canned tomatoes, chickpeas and other beans, pesto, etc. (Tomatoes and tomato paste should be cooked down with a little olive oil to make a sauce; beans benefit from being warmed, too.)

Or make a modern casserole… If you’re looking for something even more comforting than a pantry pasta, try this pantry casserole, which we based on the one we love at the restaurant Saint Julivert.

Originally Appeared on Epicurious

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