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  • What do you have on hand?
  • How could you turn that into dinner without a trip to the store?
  • Do you wish you cooked more often? 
  • Or would you just like to get out of your rut and have more fun in the kitchen?

“I am now a complete convert to the one-dish-with-egg-and-bread meal plan! Just whipped up your white bean soup–so incredibly tasty and actually doable at the end of a long day. My 18-year-old was craving “real food” and tried to get me to make some complicated thing from Cook’s Illustrated but I talked her into the soup instead . . . which ended with her saying “that was fantastic!” Thanks for making it!” So thanks for making me a kitchen hero and for bringing so many new and wonderful flavors into our lives.” — S. Bigelow January, 2011.

It can feel like a coup when you pull things together some nights—without an extra trip to the store—and sit down to a delicious meal. Good food created with an idea, a few staples, some fresh produce or herbs, and minimal stress is most satisfying. This is why I have Cook With What You Have, a small business  in Portland, Oregon. I work with businesses and public agencies within their wellness initiatives and partner with CSA farms for whom I provide weekly recipe packets for the farm’s shares. I teach private classes and offer kitchen/pantry stocking consultations. I teach occasional classes in my home which are intimate, hands-on and convivial. The joy of simple, good food is contagious and we cook and eat together, share tips, ideas and stories. And people start cooking more and differently.

I don’t have many rules around food and the one that I often repeat reflects Michael Pollan’s famous line about not eating things with more than five ingredients listed. In other words, eat and cook with whole, mostly unprocessed food. The only trick in order to embrace this mantra is of course that you need to cook. Our stunning array of local produce makes this a surprisingly simple task!

30 Comments Post a comment
  1. Love the new site and all that you do to get folks in the kitchen!

    December 1, 2011
    • Thanks so much Harriet. It’s awfully nice to have the blog and site in one place. Very glad you like it.

      December 1, 2011
  2. Catherine Luedecker #

    Wow! Great job on the site. Looking forward to taking another class.

    December 4, 2011
  3. I LOVE seeing your name and blog every time I pick up my CSA! Happy New Year! –Angie

    January 3, 2012
  4. Danica #

    Your new site looks so nice Katherine. Great work! abrazos…

    January 10, 2012
  5. Gina e. Miller #

    Hi. Just saw your web address in an “Inspiration and Information” in Martha Stewart Living’s March edition (p.123).
    Yesterday, I was thinking I need help with meal preparation using what I already have. Seeing your website today was an answered prayer, but…I am in Virginia. Do you offer online assistance? Is it possible to obtain a list of your pantry items? Please advise.
    Sincerely, Gina

    February 8, 2012
  6. Hi Gina, Thank so much for your comment and inquiry. Email me at and we can talk more about ways I might be able to assist you. I do phone consultations and some remote work so I’m sure we can figure something out. Best, Katherine

    February 8, 2012
  7. Thrilled with this innovative site embracing a concept I love. Today for a BD lunch I started by making a Waldorf Salad but what about protein? Found some frozen cooked chicken in freezer so made enough chicken salad for two and served it on toasted Sara Lee Deli-Rolls (also in the freezer). And just in case…I made deviled eggs with dill relish stuffing and calantro garnish. Chocolate ice cream and raspberries left over from my Valentine’s special dinner was dessert. No trip to the store!

    February 17, 2012
  8. Catherine Faris #

    Hi, Katherine–

    For some unknown reason, I seem to have misplaced your address for tiday’s 11:00 meeting.

    Could you resend to

    Looking forward to it!



    March 10, 2012
  9. Linda Johnson #

    Please put me on your email list. Where is this Sunday’s class being held? Linda Johnson

    March 15, 2012
    • Hi again,

      I realized I read your message to quickly and that you weren’t necessarily signing up. So no worries if you can’t make it. Best, Katherine

      March 15, 2012
  10. thehappyvalleyproject #

    Katherine! I’ve been meaning to email you all spring because your beautiful website has been so important to me. We have been on sabbatical since January in Spain and the UK, and so I’ve been depending on your site exclusively when I want to figure out something new to make (and read your inspiring writing)–trying out the veggie hash (wow), chickpeas & cauliflower, adapting the crisp for the crate of apples we were left with…on and on. So, a big thank you! Kaia

    May 1, 2012
    • Hi Kaia! Thanks for your note and I’m so glad the site/recipes have been useful abroad. I look forward to hearing about your adventures sometime. It was great to have your mom in class again recently. All the best! Katherine

      May 1, 2012
  11. Hi, I’m a member of Sun Gold Farm CSA. The recipe you included for baked oats with blueberries is incomplete and gives only partial information. It shows “2 cups” on two occasions without telling what the cups contain. I assume one of those is the blueberries but what is the other? I’ll be trying the soba noodle/pea pod/broccoli recipe for a party and will let you know how it turns out. I’m a recipe developer (mostly for contests) and typically create my own, but wanted to try something that would incorporate the pea pods – not one of my usual ingredients.

    July 19, 2012
    • Hi Judith, I don’t know how I managed to delete those 2 key items. It’s 2 cups rolled oats and 2 cups milk. hope you like it!

      July 19, 2012
  12. Katie #

    Please, make it EASY! to print your wonderful recipes.

    August 23, 2012
    • Hi Katie–yes, that’s been on my list for a long time and I need help figuring it out. Web savvy I am not, unfortunately. Thanks for the nudge!

      August 23, 2012
  13. paul drake #

    hi…i understand you are hanna’s cousin? i am starting cooking classes here in ithaca ny to a group of foster kids that are about to enter the “real” world. would love to chat with you. i cooked for hanna at the sorority at Cornell ten years ago.

    August 29, 2012
  14. Great post! Looking forward to more posting from you. Thank you.
    New site looks very nice…

    October 26, 2012
  15. Brian Detman #

    I made the the Japanese Cabbage Pancakes (Okonomiyaki) on Sunday – great success. I also made the same recipe with carrots (steamed a bit before processing) – greater success. I made the sauce. I fried the pancakes. My son ate them without complaint. There was even extra batter for lunch and dinner. And would you believe it: my wife cooked and ate some for breakfast. Who would do that? Only Katherine herself probably.

    October 29, 2012
  16. Te'ana Conley #

    Hi Katherine!
    I was in the Lunch and Learn Class at PSU today and I wanted to let you know that I feel so inspired! I love your website, and I so look forward to trying some of your delicious looking recipes.
    Thanks so much!
    Te’ana Conley

    January 23, 2013
    • Hi Te’ana! Thank you for your note and I’m so glad you’re eager to cook. I always like updates so let me know what works/doesn’t, etc. Thanks for coming today.

      January 23, 2013
  17. Hello, I think your site may be having browser compatibility issues.
    Whenever I look at your site in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening
    in Internet Explorer, it’s got some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to give you a quick heads up! Aside from that, great blog!

    March 1, 2013
  18. Greetings! I’ve been reading your site for a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Houston Tx! Just wanted to say keep up the excellent job!

    March 9, 2013
  19. Pat Parsons #

    Just made your “Tomato-braised collards with beans” recipe in the Whitman Magazine. I made it with kale. Delicious and will be a favorite of ours and so healthy.

    Thank you.

    Pat & Terry (Class of ’63)

    March 29, 2013
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    April 21, 2013
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    July 27, 2013
  22. Do you have tele-classes?

    October 26, 2013
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    January 9, 2017

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