Side Dishes

Cooking Club Recap!

I was so happy when Courtney invited me to her cooking club a while back.   She was just at the tail end of a whole kitchen/family room remodel and I know she had dreams of getting back in her kitchen when she was without one for weeks during construction.

Um, to say the project was a complete success is an understatement!


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I mean, come on now – look at that stove?!   Right when we walked in she had the table all set.  All together there are 8 of us – one had a last minute conflict (Tina, can’t wait to meet you at the next one – even though I forgot to take a picture of it, your flan was insulin worthy!). 

We obviously all settled into the kitchen and mingled and got to know each other.  Pretty sure everyone else knew each other – even though some of the Mom’s were around my age, they all had smaller children.  I know Lindsay said when I told her I had a 23 year old “you don’t look like you are old enough to have a 23 year old!”  Thanks Lindsay – made my night! Open-mouthed smile

Courtney then spoke a bit about why she formed the Club – because no matter what we all do on a daily basis, no matter the ages of our kids, where we live – the common denominator was that we all love food and cooking in our kitchens.  This is Courtney!

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The kitchen leads right into the great room which is super nice to have that open space next to the kitchen.  That is the only thing I really don’t like about my house is that the living room is in the front of the house and the kitchen was in the back of the house.

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Off of that room and right when you walk in the house to the right, is the formal living room.  I love the clean lines and that it looks comfy!

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Everyone was assigned a dish category.  Catherine showed us how she makes her guacamole.  I knew we would be best buddies because she doesn’t put raw onion or tomatoes in her guacamole, and adds extra cilantro!

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PicMonkey Collage - food

I haven’t had a margarita in ages and it was so good.  In the last three weeks I’ve only had three drinks total, so with that and a glass of wine with dinner, I was a cheap date!  Two women brought stuffed jalapenos – didn’t get a pic of the first one but she had corn in her cheese mixture, and the second one added bacon to hers.  Very spicy and delicious!  The upper right dish was my side dish – I ended up making a Mexican quinoa side salad – I bought tri colored quinoa at Whole Foods and while it looked pretty raw, it got a little muddled looking after it cooked – still tasted good!  Best part is that you can make the quinoa ahead of time (I did mine two days before and stuck it in the fridge) and then this dish comes together in about 5 minutes.

Mexican Quinoa Salad
Serves 8
Super easy cold side dish to go with tacos or enchiladas!
Write a review
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
310 calories
47 g
10 g
8 g
13 g
2 g
115 g
203 g
2 g
0 g
5 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 310
Calories from Fat 73
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
Saturated Fat 2g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 10mg
Sodium 203mg
Total Carbohydrates 47g
Dietary Fiber 6g
Sugars 2g
Protein 13g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 3 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
  2. 1 cup fresh corn (about 3-4 ears of corn, corn cut off)
  3. 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  4. 1 jar of roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
  5. 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  6. 1/2 cup salsa verde (I used 1/2 cup of my homemade salsa, but jarred is fine)
  7. 4 ounces queso fresco, crumbled
  8. 1/3 cup pepitas  (pumpkin seeds)
  1. Mix the quinoa, corn, black beans, roasted peppers and cilantro together and mix well.  Stir in the salsa, adding more if necessary.  At this point I just put it in my fridge overnight.  I thought if I added the queso fresco and the pepitas too early, the cheese would get mushy and the pumpkins would loose their crunch.  When I poured my salad into my serving dish, that’s when I topped it with the queso fresco and pepita seeds.
My Bizzy Kitchen
Mary Beth brought what I thought she called chile con carne, but what it ended up being was this amazingly delicious shredded beef.  She’s have Mexican and said that this dish is at EVERY single family event she’s ever been too.  There are many steps to this dish.  First boiling the chuck roast with onions, then letting it stew in the fridge over night – and she did this all while moving this week and ended up having to buy a new stock pot because she couldn’t find hers that was packed up!  OMG, the meat was so tender.  She said in her family they just serve this with a side of flour tortillas and you pick off some tortilla and pinch the meat in the tortilla and eat it that way.  Truth be told, this would be an awesome filling for baked enchiladas.

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Courtney’s Mom made a delicious veggie enchilada dish she got off of Food Network.  I left the recipe at Courtney’s house, but once I have the link to it, I’ll share it.  She said that you pureed fresh corn as part of the sauce.  All I know is that it was cheezy, a bit spicy and pure comfort food.

PicMonkey Collage - donna

My plate below.  I probably could have eaten twice that amount, but it was so good.

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The table was set so nicely!  I am sad I didn’t get any pics of Lindsay or Julie!  Next time for sure 😀

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Each of us had to provide an interesting fact about us, and when we sat down, we didn’t know how’s interesting fact we were going to guess so we had to guess as a table.

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Lindsay next to me had this interest fact – not only did she wear her grandmother’s wedding dress, but her Mom and Aunt were able to wear it as well.  My interesting fact?  That I have an identical twin sister and until we left for separate colleges at 18 years old, we’d only spent 12 hours apart at most our whole lives.

I actually brought a handmade hostess gift to Courtney.  It was actually a Pinterest Win!   Here is where I got the directions from.   While this is really simple, you have to be patient and let each coat of mod podge dry overnight – so while it took about 4 days to make, it was literally about 20 minutes of hands on work.  The tiles I got were from Menard’s – white unglazed quarry tiles – they were .49 cents each.   I ended up taking one of the photos off of Courtney’s blog and then added the Courtney’s Cooking Club on Picmonkey before sending them to Walgreen’s to print out at .8 cents a photo.

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I am actually not that crafty, so I was pretty happy on how these turned out.  We meet again in October and I’ll find out what the theme is for that one.  Looking forward to getting to know everyone a bit better too!

It’s a dreary, rainy Saturday morning and I could not be happier.  We need the rain and it gives me an excuse to spend time in the kitchen because I don’t feel guilty about not being outside when it’s icky out. 

I have no plans this weekend other than to get to the gym, make my bolognese sauce for dinner tonight and hopefully get together with my SIL for her birthday tomorrow night.  Construction is moving along.  I have the drywall taper here right now, and then it’s coordinating with the guy who does the siding sometime next week.  But hopefully by the middle of the week the drywalling will be completed and primed so we can get on to painting the living room and dining room before having the hardwood floors installed.  No project is ever easy, is it?  But I can see it shaping up and I know Tony would be happy with the decisions I’ve made.

I actually am planning another post tomorrow – two scone recipes!  An almond milk blueberry lemon scone that I made for birthday treats earlier this week, and some baby scones I made today – apple cinnamon granola scone that comes in at only 118 calories!

PicMonkey Collage - scones

Enjoy your Saturday!

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  • thekitchwitch
    August 29, 2015 at 10:37 am That stove is the stuff of dreams! Cooking club sounded fun and such delicious offerings!
    • Biz319
      August 29, 2015 at 7:17 pm I know, right Dana? I told Courtney that I'd probably just place a cot in front of it to sleep in the kitchen every night :D
  • Louise
    August 29, 2015 at 11:24 am My, my what a beautiful kitchen and stove!!! That cooking club looks like a lot of fun. Looks like you tell how made the dish then get to taste. What fun. What a neat idea for a gift for Courtney. Well, I am back to one finger typing...thus a short comment.
    • Biz319
      August 29, 2015 at 7:18 pm Yes, it's absolutely beautiful - sorry the comments aren't working for you again - gah!
  • Aimee
    August 29, 2015 at 12:39 pm How fun! I could eat Mexican food every day. What a gorgeous home and amazing looking food. Glad you had a great time.
    • Biz319
      August 29, 2015 at 7:19 pm Yep, fun to be around all those foodies! Glad you had so much fun before Carlos goes back to school - loved seeing the pics on Instagram :D
  • A Life From Scratch
    August 29, 2015 at 5:23 pm Oh my goodness - THANK YOU - for such the wonderful recap. This was so kind and amazing for me to read. And your recipe was PERFECTION. I've had it for two lunches since our meeting! Can't wait for the next one. Thanks again, Beth!
    • Biz319
      August 29, 2015 at 7:20 pm Thanks Courtney - you just reminded me that I never put the recipe in a format to print out - just fixed that. :D You were the perfect hostess - can't wait until the next one!
  • kris
    August 29, 2015 at 5:37 pm You must have read my mind because I was going to suggest making a Mexican quinoa salad. I make a very similar version, dairy free though : } And what a kitchen, looks like a magazine. Glad you had a great night.
    • Biz319
      August 29, 2015 at 7:27 pm It was so light and refreshing - and I didn't even know what the main dishes were but it just so happened to work perfectly :D p.s. her house has been in This Old House before for home remodeling :D
  • Kym
    August 29, 2015 at 7:03 pm What a great surprise Saturday post! Looks like you had good food and fun. Does the stove have two different ovens? I have always wanted two ovens. Maybe after you get your living room done you can plan out and get to work on your dream kitchen :)
    • Biz319
      August 29, 2015 at 7:29 pm Hey Kym! To tell you the truth I am not sure how it works - I know one door had a broiler, but not sure?! I hear you, I know as soon as I finish the living room I'll be itching to do the kitchen!
  • Jenn@slim-shoppin
    August 29, 2015 at 9:26 pm What a great cooking club - if I lived closer - I would ask to crash the next one! LOL
  • Fran
    August 31, 2015 at 6:11 am Now that's a kitchen that I like and where people live and cook, her whole house looks comfy. Next date: try cooking your dish on the night itself. It's so much fun to cook all together instead of bringing your dish to her house. Everyone can still think of a dish and bring the ingredients for it but cooking together and eat afterwards is so much fun.