This hearty soup from Canadian Living’s Best Soups and Stews is a perfect lunch or light dinner after you’ve been outside enjoying the wintry weather. Brown sausage, add vegetables, spices, tomatoes and stock and simmer. You can make keep this in the fridge for two days and it also freezes well.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the sausage, spices, tomatoes, chickpeas and stock for additives, preservatives and colour. I used “Free From” mild Italian sausage, Imagine stock, Blue Menu chickpeas and Unico tomatoes.

Use any kind of sausage you like

Brown sausage and vegetables

Add tomatoes, spices, chickpeas, stock and simmer

Ingredients:

1 lb. (500 g) fresh turkey sausage or any sausage you like

1 tsp (5 ml) vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 large carrot, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

2 jalapeno peppers, sliced thinly or chopped

1 tsp (5 ml) ground cumin

½ tsp (2 ml) ground coriander

½ tsp (2 ml) paprika

¼ tsp (1 ml) chili powder

¼ tsp (1 ml) pepper

1 19 oz (540 ml) can tomatoes or chopped tomatoes

1 19 oz (540 ml) can chickpeas

3 cups (750 ml) chicken stock

¼ cup (50 ml) fresh coriander or parsley, chopped

1 avocado

2 limes

Preparation:

Remove casings from sausage; cut into slices or break into chunks. In large pot, heat oil over medium heat; cook sausage, without stirring, for 5 minutes. Add onion, garlic, carrot, and celery; cook, stirring often for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are softened and sausage is cooked through. Skim off any excess fat.

Stir in jalapeno peppers, cumin, ground coriander, paprika, chili powder and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour in tomatoes (breaking up with a spoon if using whole tomatoes). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, drain and rinse chickpeas; stir into pot along with stock and 2 tbsp (25 ml) of the fresh coriander. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Halve avocado and remove pit. Cut through flesh to skin lengthwise and crosswise to dice; with spoon, scoop out cubes into bowl. Squeeze juice from one of the limes and toss juice with avocado. Slice remaining lime into 8 wedges. Garnish each serving with avocado and lime wedge. Sprinkle with remaining coriander. Makes 8 servings.

From Canadian Living’s Best Soups and Stews

This recipe from Food and Wine calls for marinated artichoke hearts and meaty green olives. After browning the chicken thighs, transfer to a baking dish and scatter artichoke hearts, olives, garlic, lemon slices and thyme on top. Bake and serve!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for artichoke hearts and olives that are preservative-free. I use Imagine brand stock and Cock brand fish sauce.

Olives, lemon, garlic and marinated artichoke hearts flavour this dish

Flatten chicken and brown, skin side down

Place chicken in baking dish and scatter other ingredients on top

Braised chicken thighs with marinated artichoke hearts

Ingredients:

8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (3 ¾ pounds/1.7 kg)

Sea salt and pepper

1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

15 ounces (425 g) marinated artichoke hearts, plus ¼ cup (60 ml) brine from the jar

1 cup (250 ml) green olives

1 head of garlic, halved crosswise

1 lemon, thinly sliced

6 thyme sprigs

1 cup (250 ml) chicken stock or low-sodium broth

½ cup (125 ml) semidry sherry, such as amontillado

1 tablespoon (15 ml) Asian fish sauce

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 375° F (190° C). Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. In a large cast-iron skillet or black steel pan, heat the oil. Add half of the chicken skin side down and top the pieces (not the pan) with a pot lid; cook over moderate heat until browned and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer skin side up to a large baking dish. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Scatter the artichoke hearts, olives, garlic, lemon slices and thyme in the baking dish.

Pour off the fat from the skillet. Add the artichoke brine, stock, sherry and fish sauce; bring to a boil. Stir in 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of salt, then pour the mixture around the chicken. Cover tightly with foil and braise in the oven for 1 hour, until the chicken is very tender.

Uncover and increase the oven temperature to 400° F (204° C) Roast the chicken for 15 minutes longer, until the skin is crisp.

Discard the thyme. Transfer to plates and serve. Serves 4-6.

From Food and Wine

This luscious pasta from Bon Appetit is definitely dinner party-worthy. Cook prosciutto until crisp, brown mushrooms, add shallots, thyme and stock and simmer. Add the cooked pasta and some of the prosciutto, add cream and butter and serve, topping with more thyme and prosciutto. Enjoy!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the prosciutto does not contain preservatives. I use Imagine brand chicken stock.

Cook prosciutto until crisp

Brown mushrooms, add shallots, thyme and stock and simmer

Toss with pasta, cream, butter and serve, garnished with thyme and prosciutto

Ingredients:

¼ cup (60 ml) plus 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil

2 ounces (57 g) thinly sliced prosciutto (about 6 slices)

1 pound (500 g) mixed mushrooms (such as chanterelles, maitake, oyster, crimini, and/or shiitake), torn into bite-size pieces

2 medium shallots, finely chopped

1 teaspoon (5 ml) thyme leaves, plus more for serving

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

1 cup (250 ml) chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth

12 ounces (340 g) pappardelle or fettuccine

⅓ cup (75 ml) heavy cream

2 tablespoons (30 ml) unsalted butter

Preparation:

Heat ¼ cup (60 ml) oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium. Arrange prosciutto in a single layer in pot and cook, turning once or twice, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) oil in same pot over high. Cook mushrooms, tossing occasionally, until browned and tender, 5–8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add shallots and 1 tsp. (5 ml) thyme, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until shallots are translucent and softened, about 2 minutes. Add stock and reduce heat to low. Bring to a simmer and cook until only a thin layer of stock coats bottom of pot, 5−7 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 3 minutes less than package directions.

Using tongs, transfer pasta to pot with mushrooms and add 1 cup (250 ml) pasta cooking liquid. Crumble half of prosciutto into pot. Increase heat to medium, bring to a simmer, and cook, tossing constantly, until pasta is al dente and liquid is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add cream, return to a simmer, and cook, tossing, until pasta is coated, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, add butter, and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt if needed.

Divide pasta among bowls. Top with more thyme and crumble remaining prosciutto over; season with pepper. Serves 4.

From Bon Appetit

This stir-fry from Canadian Living uses a slightly different technique — the beef is tossed with egg yolk, garlic, cornstarch, salt and pepper before cooking. It works well, giving the steak a great sear. The recipes calls for onion, mushrooms, broccoli and red pepper, but you can use whatever you have on hand.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I have never been able to find additive-free oyster sauce, so I make my own by combining 3 tablespoons of tamari sauce with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 3 teaspoons of cornstarch. I use regular Tabasco in place of the chili garlic sauce.

Toss beef with egg yolk, cornstarch and garlic

Mix together sauce ingredients

Brown beef and set aside

Stir fry mushrooms and onions

Add other vegetables, then beef and sauce

Steak and broccoli stir-fry

Ingredients:

1 lb. (450 g) beef flank marinating steak

2 tablespoons (30 ml) oyster sauce

1 teaspoon (5 ml) chili garlic sauce

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) each salt and pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 egg yolk

2 teaspoons (10 ml) cornstarch

1 tablespoon (15 ml) vegetable oil

1 onion , thinly sliced

3.5 oz (100 g) shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced

12 oz (350 g) bite-size broccoli florets (about 6 cups)

1 sweet red pepper, thinly sliced

Preparation:

Place beef in freezer until firm, about 20 minutes. Thinly slice across the grain.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, whisk together oyster sauce, chili garlic sauce, half each of the salt and pepper and 1/3 cup (75 ml) water. Set aside.

In bowl, toss together beef, garlic, egg yolk, cornstarch and remaining salt and pepper.

In large nonstick skillet or wok, heat 1 tsp (5 ml) of the oil over medium-high heat; stir-fry half of the beef mixture until browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to plate. Repeat with 1 tsp (5 ml) of the remaining oil and the remaining beef mixture.

In same pan, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat; stir-fry onion and mushrooms until onion is golden and mushrooms are softened, about 5 minutes. Add broccoli, red pepper and 2 tbsp (30 ml) water; stir-fry until broccoli is tender-crisp, about 8 minutes. Return beef and any accumulated juices to pan. Stir in oyster-sauce mixture; cook, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.

From Canadian Living

This dish from Bon Appetit can be made with regular cod, black cod or any other firm white fish. Mix up the chermoula — a Moroccan sauce — and spread it over the fish. Sprinkle some cherry tomatoes over and bake until the fish is done and the tomatoes are beginning to burst. Colourful and delicious!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the tomato paste and herbs for additives and colour. Look for a red wine vinegar with no added sulfites, such as Eden Organic brand.

Make the chermoula

Spread chermoula over fish and then scatter tomatoes over

Roast until fish is done and tomatoes are soft and starting to burst

Slow-roasted cod with red chermoula

Ingredients:

¼ bunch cilantro, leaves and stems separated, stems finely chopped

1 Fresno chile, seeded if desired, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely grated

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

1 tablespoon (15 ml) tomato paste

1 teaspoon (5 ml) paprika

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) crushed red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) honey

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) ground allspice

1 tablespoon (15 ml) Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar, plus more for drizzling

1½ pounds (680 g) skin-on black cod or cod fillet

4 cups (1 L) cherry tomatoes, divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 300° F (148° C) Mix cilantro stems, chile, garlic, oil, tomato paste, paprika, red pepper flakes, honey, allspice, and 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside 3 Tbsp. (45 ml) chermoula for serving.

Place fish in a 3-qt. (2.8 L) shallow baking dish. Cut 2 cups (500 ml) of tomatoes in half and scatter around fish along with remaining whole tomatoes. Spoon remaining chermoula over tomatoes and fish, spreading across the surface with the back of the spoon. Season with salt and pepper and roast until fish is cooked through and tomatoes are soft and some have burst, 20–30 minutes.

Transfer fish to a platter, breaking into large pieces. Remove and discard skin. Spoon tomatoes and roasting juices over and around fish. Top with reserved chermoula, then cilantro leaves; drizzle with more vinegar, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 4.

From Bon Appetit

This ratatouille recipe from Style at Home is a great way to use up the tomatoes and zucchini in your late-summer garden. I also added some leftover eggplant. Use a canned or jarred pasta sauce, your favourite homemade version, or make this one from Mario Batali.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

If you use a purchased tomato sauce, check it for preservatives. Make sure your dried herbs don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents.

Slice tomatoes and zucchini (I also used eggplant)

Cover bottom of dish with tomato sauce

Layer tomatoes and vegetables over sauce and bake until tender

Ingredients:

½ cup (125 ml) pasta sauce

1 tbsp (15 ml) tomato paste

¼ tsp (1 ml) each dried oregano and pepper flakes

2 small green or yellow zucchini sliced ⅛-inch thick (0.32 cm)

1 tbsp (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

½ tsp (2 ml) salt

¼ tsp (1 ml) pepper

1 small plum tomato sliced ⅛-inch thick (0.32 cm)

2 tbsp (30 ml) thinly sliced fresh basil

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425 F (210 C). Spread pasta sauce in bottom of 5- cup (1.25 L) oval casserole dish. Stir in tomato paste and half of oregano and hot pepper flakes.

In large bowl toss together zucchini, tomato, oil, salt, pepper and rest of dried spices.

Arrange zucchini and tomato slices in casserole dish in overlapping, concentric circles. Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the zucchini is tender, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with basil before serving. Serves 4.

From Style at Home

This salad from Chatelaine is supposed to serve four, but it was so good the two of us ate it all in one sitting. This is a great way to use up the green beans, cherry tomatoes and fresh oregano from your garden.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use a red wine vinegar with no sulfites added, such as Eden Organic brand. Look for shrimp and feta with no additives or preservatives.

Whisk dressing ingredients together in a large bowl

Cook the beans in boiling water until tender-crisp

Keep the cherry tomatoes whole if they are small

Cook the shrimp until pink, about 3 minutes

Toss everything together and enjoy!

Ingredients:

3 tbsp (45 ml) olive oil

2 tbsp (30 ml) red wine vinegar

1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped oregano

1 garlic clove, minced

2 cups (500 ml) trimmed green beans

12 oz (340 g) frozen peeled shrimp, thawed

4 cups (1 L) thinly sliced romaine lettuce

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 cup (250 ml) crumbled feta

1 cup (250 ml) cherry tomatoes, halved if large

Preparation:

Whisk oil with vinegar, oregano and garlic in a large bowl until combined. Season with fresh pepper.

Boil a pot of water. Add green beans and cook until tender crisp. Drain and rinse under cold water and pat dry. You can boil the shrimp in the same water or sauté them in a pan with oil. Cook until shrimp turns pink, about 3 min.

Add beans and shrimp to dressing, along with romaine and onion. Toss until coated. Add feta and tomatoes. Serves 2-4.

From Chatelaine

These tasty beef and vegetable skewers reach a whole new level when topped with a parsley-basil pesto vinaigrette. Use any remaining vinaigrette to toss with grilled potatoes or other vegetables.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for a red wine vinegar with no sulfites added, such as Eden Organic brand.

Use fresh parsley and basil for the vinaigrette

Combine the herbs with garlic, vinegar, salt and oil

Cut the meat and vegetables in chunks that are about the same size

Cook on a greased grill, basting with the vinaigrette

Provençale Beef Brochettes

Ingredients:

1 lb (500 g) steak cut into 1½-inch (3.8 cm) cubes

1 red onion

1 each sweet red and green pepper

1 small eggplant

12 mushroom caps

Olive oil

Pesto Vinaigrette

3 large garlic cloves, quartered

1 tsp (5 ml) salt

2 cups (500 ml) packed fresh parsley

1 cup (250 ml) packed fresh basil

3 tbsp (45 ml) red wine vinegar

1 tsp (5 ml) granulated sugar

⅔ cup (150 ml) olive oil

Preparation:

Pesto Vinaigrette

In food processor, puree garlic and salt. Add parsley and basil and process into fine paste.

With motor running, add vinegar and sugar, then oil in thin, steady stream. Season with pepper to taste. Makes 1 cup (250 ml).

Cut beef into 1½-inch (3.8 cm) cubes and cut vegetables into similar-sized chunks.

Thread steak, onion, peppers, eggplant and mushrooms onto skewers and brush with oil.

Place skewers on greased grill over high heat. Cook for 2 minutes. Reserving half of pesto vinaigrette, brush some of the remaining vinaigrette over the brochettes. Serves 4.

From Canadian Living’s Best Barbecue Cookbook

My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes that Saved My Life is Ruth Reichl’s memoir about the year after her beloved Gourmet magazine abruptly ceased publication. Set mostly in her country house, Reichl mourns her loss, ponders her future — and cooks. In the book, Reichl makes these Americanized Thai noodles during the winter, but they are delicious at any time of year.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for a brand of fish sauce without MSG and shrimp without preservatives added. I used Tabasco sauce instead of sriracha.

Cook shrimp until they change colour

Stir fry scallions with ground pork

Add soaked rice noodles

Scramble egg

Add sauce and combine

Thai American Noodles

Ingredients:

½ pound (250 g) very thin rice noodles, preferably Thai rice sticks

¼ cup (60 ml) sugar

¼ cup (60 ml) fish sauce

¼ cup (60 ml) white vinegar (or unseasoned rice vinegar)

2 tablespoons (30 ml) peanut oil

½ pound (250 g) medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ pound (250 g) ground pork

4 scallions, white and tender green parts, sliced into ½ -inch (1.27 cm) lengths

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon (5 ml) crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste

2 limes (juice only)

½ cup (125 ml) salted peanuts, finely chopped

1 lime, cut into 6 wedges, for garnish

Sriracha Chili sauce

Preparation:

In a large bowl, soak the noodles in hot water to cover for about 20 minutes or until soft, then drain and set aside.

Combine the sugar, fish sauce and vinegar. Set aside.

In a wok, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it is very hot. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, just until they change color, about 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Add the garlic to the wok, and as soon as it starts to color and get fragrant, about 30 seconds, add the pork and half of the scallions. Cook just until the pork loses its redness, 2 to 3 minutes, then add drained noodles and mix quickly. Add the fish sauce mixture, reduce the heat to medium and cook 5 to 8 minutes or until the noodles have absorbed all the liquid.

Clear an area of the wok and crack 1 egg into it, breaking the yolk. Tilt the wok to get as thin a sheet of egg as possible and scramble just until set, about 1 minute. Then mix the egg into the noodles. Repeat with the remaining egg. Add the shrimp, remaining scallions and red pepper flakes and mix thoroughly. Add the lime juice and cook, stirring for 1 minute.

Transfer the noodles to a platter and top with a sprinkling of peanuts. Serve with lime wedges, the remaining peanuts and lots of Sriracha. Serves 3.

From My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes that Saved My Life by Ruth Reichl

This jerk chicken recipe from Bon Appetit is quick and easy. Just toast and grind the spices, mix with oil, rub the mixture on the chicken and bake.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the spices do not contain colour or anti-caking agents.

Toast the spices

Grind with a spice mill or mortar and pestle

Mix rub with oil

Coat chicken with the rub-infused oil

Bake until the chicken is cooked through

Ingredients:

1 4-inch (10 cm) piece cinnamon stick

1 tablespoon (15 ml) plus 1 teaspoon (5 ml) allspice berries

2 teaspoons (10 ml) black peppercorns

2 teaspoons (10 ml) whole cloves

2 tablespoons (30 ml) light brown sugar

1 tablespoon (15 ml) plus 1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried thyme

1 teaspoon (5 ml) cayenne pepper

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

4 chicken legs (thigh and drumstick)

Kosher salt

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425° F (218° C). Whack cinnamon stick with the back side of a chef’s knife to break into small pieces. Toast cinnamon, allspice, peppercorns, and cloves in a dry small skillet over medium-high, tossing, until fragrant, about 2 minutes; let cool.

Grind spices, brown sugar, thyme, and cayenne in spice mill or with mortar and pestle to a fine powder. Mix oil and 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) spice rub in a small bowl (save remaining rub for another use). Rub chicken legs with jerk spice mixture; season with salt. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden brown and cooked through, 30–35 minutes. Serves 4. Do Ahead: Jerk spice can be made 3 months ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

From Bon Appetit

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