Just Cook It! Justin Chapple

Just Cook It!: 145 Built-to-Be-Easy Recipes That Are Totally Delicious by Justin Chapple  is not your typical “you can make a meal’ type of cookbook. It’s more in line with a you can make a truly delicious, elevated meal with a few basics thrown in for good measure type.

Justin is the mad genius at Food & Wine’s test kitchen. His first book Mad Genius Tips: Over 90 Expert Hacks and 100 Delicious Recipes provides a world of tips and tricks that even this experienced cook could  appreciate. 

In Just Cook It!, Justin ups the game a bit with elevated dishes such as Garlicky smoked salmon rillettes, Pomegranate-glazed Turkish meatballs, and Pork, scallion and enoki negimaki with sesame-soy glaze. I love the range of dishes the author covers along with the wealth of international flavors that this title provides. Justin focuses on bringing out fresh and vibrant flavors without having to spend all day in the kitchen but your family and guests will think that you have.

We are preparing an EYB Book Preview for this title, but I wanted to get this promotion up today. Updated: check out our EYB Book Preview. I’ll be interviewing Justin at the Tattered Cover in Denver on June 12th and I hope those of you in the area can come and meet Justin.

Check out these three fantastic recipes (the carrot chimichurri is everything) and enter our giveaway below for a chance to win one of three copies of this book. 

3-Minute Steaks with Carrot Chimichurri
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Total time: 20 min Serves 4

The last time Jason and I went to Paris, we had steak frites, like, a million times. Without guilt. The reason? The steaks were far thinner than the gigantic ones served here in the United States. By the time we got back, we vowed to eat smaller steaks. You know, for our health, and maybe a little bit because we Americans enjoy “being French” sometimes more than the French do. Things started out well, but pretty soon we began feeling slightly dissatisfied with our petite meat. The problem was that small steaks cook so quickly, they don’t develop a sensational char. So I went on a mission to discover a way to get the crusts we craved. Eventually I figured out that a little cornstarch dusted on the meat before cooking absorbs excess moisture and promotes browning. Now I cook all my “baby steaks” this way, as well as thin-cut pork chops and fish fillets. I love to serve these steaks with a bright, acidic sauce, like my carrot “chimichurri.” It’s a fun riff on a classic version but with the addition of very thinly sliced pieces of carrots and their greens, which lend a sweetness and earthiness that I find to be downright delicious.

  • 2 small carrots (about 2 ounces), quartered lengthwise and very thinly sliced crosswise
  • ¼ cup finely chopped carrot greens
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 4 (6-ounce) boneless New York strip steaks, cut ½ inch thick (have your butcher cut them like this)

Cornstarch, for dusting

In a medium bowl, whisk the carrots and their greens with ¼ cup of the olive oil, the parsley, lemon juice, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Season the chimichurri generously with salt and black pepper.

In a large cast-iron skillet (as big as you have!), heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over high heat until almost smoking. Season the steaks with salt and black pepper. Dust both sides of the steaks with the cornstarch and rub it in with your fingers. Add the steaks to the skillet and cook until crusty on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip the steaks and cook until crusty on the other side, 1 minute for medium-rare and 2 minutes for medium.

Transfer the steaks to plates and serve with the carrot chimichurri.

DO IT AHEAD The carrot chimichurri can be refrigerated in an airtight container overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Ravioli Lasagna with Arugula
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Hands-on time: 20 min
Total time: 1 hr 15 min Serves 6 to 8

This is definitely not a traditional lasagna, but who cares when you can make such a good, fast approximation on a weeknight? Store-bought cheese ravioli are the ultimate hack because they let you skip all the layering and spreading. Just parboil them, tear up some fresh mozzarella, and open a jar of good marinara sauce. I sauté the sauce quickly with some ground beef for a cheater Bolognese, but you can skip that step entirely for a veggie version.

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups good-quality marinara sauce, such as Rao’s
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 ¼ pounds prepared cheese ravioli, thawed if frozen
  • 2 cups packed chopped baby arugula, plus leaves for sprinkling
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced ¼ inch thick and torn into pieces

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the beef and a generous pinch each of salt and black pepper and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until just cooked through, about 7 minutes. Stir in the marinara sauce and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until bubbling, about 5 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and black pepper.

Spread 1 cup of the sauce over the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch ceramic baking dish and arrange half the ravioli on top. Spread half the remaining sauce on the ravioli and sprinkle the arugula on top. Scatter half the mozzarella on the arugula and season with salt and black pepper. Layer the remaining ravioli, sauce, and cheese on top.

Cover the lasagna tightly with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the cheese has melted. Uncover the lasagna and bake for 15 minutes more, until the top is lightly browned. Let stand for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with arugula and serve.

DO IT AHEAD The unbaked layered lasagna can be covered and refrigerated overnight. Bring it to room temperature and then bake it as directed in step 4.

Roasted Carrot and Avocado Panzanella
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A while back, my buddy Jesse Tyler Ferguson, the incredibly talented actor best known for his role onModern Family, started a food blog with his friend Julie Tanous. It’s filled with healthy riffs on classic recipes-lots of Paleo, lots of gluten-free. All delicious! To celebrate the launch, our mutual friend Ellen Bennett, an apron designer, threw a potluck brunch at her place in LA, so I flew out. Jesse and I woke up early that morning and each prepared something to bring. He made a tangy-fresh salad with fresh and pickled tomatoes. Me? I made this recipe. Roasted-carrot salads aren’t anything new, but I definitely amped mine up.

Hands-on time: 35 min
Total time: 1 hr 15 min
Serves 8 to 10

  • 1 pound sourdough bread, cut or torn into bite-size pieces
  • [3/4] cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1[1/2] pounds small mixed-color carrots, halved lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 orange, cut into wedges
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • [1/3] cup champagne vinegar
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1[1/2] tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 ripe but firm Hass avocados, pitted, peeled, and cut into wedges
  • 4 cups watercress, thick stems removed

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the bread with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Spread in an even layer and bake for about 12 minutes, until golden and almost crisp. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Keep the oven on.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the carrots, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and the coriander and cumin seeds. Squeeze the orange and lemon over the carrots, then add the squeezed fruit to the bowl, too. Season generously with salt and pepper and toss to mix. Spread on two large rimmed baking sheets and roast for about 25 minutes, until lightly charred and tender. Let cool; discard the orange and lemon.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, shallot, mustard, and the remaining 6 tablespoons olive oil. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper.

On a large serving platter or in a serving bowl, gently toss the bread, carrots, and avocados with the vinaigrette. Add the watercress, season with salt and pepper, and toss to mix. Serve at room temperature.

Recipes are excerpted from JUST COOK IT! © 2018 by Justin Chapple. Photography © 2018 by David Malosh. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.


The publisher is offering three copies of this book to EYB Members in the US and Canada. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won’t be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on July 27th, 2018.

Post a comment


  • Angryyew  on  June 3, 2018

    I'd like to try the roasted salsa verde.

  • jmay42066  on  June 3, 2018

    Reuben toast with poached eggs

  • t.t  on  June 3, 2018

    Pomegranate-glazed Turkish meatballs with salted yogurt & mint

  • lauriesk  on  June 3, 2018

    Pomegranate-glazed Turkish meatballs with salted yogurt & mint

  • rchesser  on  June 3, 2018

    Ravioli Lasagna with Arugula.

  • ravensfan  on  June 3, 2018

    Thai skillet corn

  • eatysmith  on  June 3, 2018

    "Which recipe in the index of this book would you like to try first?"
    Ravioli Lasagna with Arugula!

  • MiMi60  on  June 3, 2018

    Salted brownies for sure!!!

  • JRumi  on  June 4, 2018

    Pineapple roasted pork shoulder

  • lean1  on  June 4, 2018

    I would like to make the Avocado pizza with Dukkah

  • debbiehb  on  June 4, 2018

    I'd try Ravioli Lasagna with Arugula

  • southerncooker  on  June 4, 2018

    Bacon-&-egg ramen in buttery broth

  • sarahawker  on  June 4, 2018

    Lime soup with chicken & hearty greens (Sopa de lima)

  • EmilyR  on  June 4, 2018

    avocado pizza with dukkah

  • sgump  on  June 5, 2018

    I'd try the stewed beans & sausage with broccoli rabe (though, heavens, I'd probably omit the sausage).

  • RNJessicaK  on  June 5, 2018

    You had me at Carrot Chimichurri!! I'm starting with the steaks.

  • dbielick  on  June 6, 2018

    Mini blueberry-ginger breakfast buns

  • kmn4  on  June 6, 2018

    Pomegranate-glazed Turkish meatballs with salted yogurt & mint

  • ebs  on  June 6, 2018

    Cauliflower fried rice with ginger and soy

  • Katiefayhutson  on  June 7, 2018

    Pineapple roasted pork shoulder

  • mpdeb98  on  June 7, 2018

    Not-so-classic onion dip

  • Siegal  on  June 8, 2018

    I want to make salted brownies

  • lmhester  on  June 8, 2018

    I'd try the slow-cooked green beans with tomatoes and bacon on page 140

  • Julia  on  June 8, 2018

    Shaved cauliflower and radicchio salad with yogurt Caesar.

  • Waderu  on  June 9, 2018

    Carrot chimichurri

  • bangss  on  June 9, 2018

    The Sweet Corn Queso with Pepperoni Crumbs sounds great!

  • sequoia55  on  June 9, 2018

    Cauliflower fried rice with ginger and soy

  • Shipley90  on  June 9, 2018

    The first recipe I want to try is the Pomegranate-glazed Turkish meatballs with salted yogurt & mint. It sounds super delicious!

  • Laura1  on  June 10, 2018

    Thai skillet corn

  • infotrop  on  June 10, 2018

    Slashed-&-sugared chicken drumsticks, yes with the roasted salsa verde

  • LaurenE  on  June 10, 2018

    Thai skillet corn

  • recipegenie  on  June 10, 2018

    Salted Brownies!

  • riley  on  June 11, 2018

    Sopa de Lima

  • lgroom  on  June 11, 2018

    Sopa de Lima

  • matag  on  June 11, 2018

    Foolproof pasta carbonara with radicchio

  • tararr  on  June 11, 2018

    Roasted Carrot and Avocado Panzanella

  • jluvs2bake  on  June 14, 2018

    French toast casserole with caramelized peaches

  • Mariarosa  on  June 15, 2018

    Flat-roasted chicken with coriander & lemon

  • Lucicat  on  June 15, 2018

    Pomegranate-glazed Turkish meatballs with salted yogurt & mint

  • artthecat  on  June 20, 2018

    Red curry peanut soup with chicken

  • RSW  on  June 21, 2018

    Pomegranate-glazed Turkish meatballs with salted yogurt & mint

  • Shelley.b  on  June 21, 2018

    Ravioli lasagna with arugula

  • ladybrooke  on  June 21, 2018

    Mini blueberry-ginger breakfast buns

  • amylou61  on  June 24, 2018

    I'd like to try the Mini blueberry-ginger breakfast buns

  • Laura64  on  June 24, 2018

    stovetop mac and cheese with bacon bread crumbs

  • Patoliv1312  on  June 24, 2018

    The Tangy baked chicken wings.

  • Scotsman61  on  June 25, 2018

    Pomegranate-glazed Turkish meatballs with salted yogurt & mint

  • debbiehb  on  June 28, 2018

    Ravioli Lasagna with Arugula

  • PeavineBlues  on  June 28, 2018


  • Julia  on  June 28, 2018

    Pickled beet dip

  • TheCookbookCook  on  June 29, 2018

    Oven-fried pork carnitas

  • heyjude  on  June 30, 2018

    Avocado Pizza with Dukkah

  • laureljean  on  June 30, 2018

    Sweet corn queso with pepperoni crumbs

  • NikNik23  on  June 30, 2018

    Salted Brownies which sound delicious!

  • Dannausc  on  July 1, 2018

    Pickled beet dip

  • VeryVigario  on  July 1, 2018

    Pickled beet dip

  • starzine  on  July 2, 2018

    I would like to try the Garlicky smoked salmon rillettes with rye crisps.

  • hungryinhouston  on  July 2, 2018

    Shumai Stew with Shiitake and Mustard Greens

  • Nkrieda78  on  July 5, 2018

    I would make the Pickled Beet Dip

  • orchidlady01  on  July 5, 2018

    Pork shumai with vinegar-soy sauce

  • linded  on  July 11, 2018

    Pork shumai with soy vinegar sauce.

  • Kristjudy  on  July 18, 2018

    Pineapple roasted pork shoulder

  • klrclark  on  July 18, 2018

    Pomegranate-glazed Turkish meatballs with salted yogurt & mint

  • LSanders  on  July 22, 2018

    Pickled beet dip

  • lpatterson412  on  July 26, 2018

    White Chicken Chili with Poblanos and hominy!

  • Vanderjane  on  July 27, 2018

    Farro and Black Bean Chili with Swiss Chard and Jack Cheese

  • mreils  on  July 27, 2018

    Pomegranate glazed Turkish meatballs!!

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