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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Friday, April 19, 2024

Confessions of a Cooking Fanatic: Double or nothing

Sometimes more is, in fact, better.

Confessions of a Cooking Fanatic

Graphic by Rachel Wong

I find it hard to justify the time I’ve spent cooking if the food I’ve cooked cannot be spread out over multiple meals. This usually means doubling a recipe, or doubling the protein component and scaling everything else to preference.

A special set of restrictions emerges when you attempt to double and triple recipes: Pans get too crowded, pasta boils over quicker and pots fill to the brim when you least expect it. The result is often a meal cooked unevenly due to heat dispersed at an uneven rate. I have made many mistakes when attempting to cook at scale, I’ve learned from them over the years.

This week, however, I failed. I cooked something that was too filling, too delicious and yielded too large of an output to reasonably consume.

1. White Chicken Chili

Lidey Heuck’s recipe is a fall favorite. Chili doesn’t have to be tomato and ground beef-based, and Heuck delivers a satiating, adaptable alternative. White beans provide this chili with its thickness, so we have stumbled upon an accidentally vegan recipe, assuming you swap out the chicken stock for vegetable stock and the rotisserie chicken for an extra can of beans.

Now, I am still terrified at the thought of deboning a rotisserie chicken, so we opted to boil and shred some chicken breast instead. As someone living in a house split 50/50 between vegetarians and former vegetarians, this is a great recipe because the chicken is added in during the last step.

I doubled this recipe for a recent potluck in an effort to make a lot of food for a lot of people with a lot of different diets. The chili received great reviews across the board, and I was honored to share the recipe with the Daily Slack.

Most time-consuming step: slicing enough garlic to satisfy your preferences.

2. Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta with Sage and Walnuts

Making this meal was my mid-week plan to destress. However, I have been plagued by this recipe for the last six days as I still struggle with consuming the leftovers. Yet another brainchild of Lidey Heuck, this recipe is meant for fall.

I opted to use 24 ounces of Trader Joe’s red lentil pasta (1 ½ times the recipe’s allocated amount) and to toss in some shredded chicken breast. Inspired by the top comment’s recommendations for reducing dishes, I began by getting the squash and garlic to roast in the oven. I brought a pot of water to a boil, boiled and shredded my chicken and began with the pasta. After the pasta was cooked and drained in the final Tupperware, I fried sage and walnuts in olive oil in the same pot. Once I removed the nuts and herbs, I added the roasted squash and garlic with some water and blended with an immersion blender. Finally, I added some sauce to the pasta and some pasta to the sauce. This made such a high volume of food, one container was not enough.

The most time-consuming step? Eating meal after meal of butternut squash pasta.