This delicious, nutritious salad from Donna Hay’s Fresh and Light is a great combination of flavor and textures. Add wilted kale and fresh parsley to cooked red quinoa and toss with a smokey paprika dressing. Top with some grilled halloumi cheese and you have a wonderful side dish or vegetarian entrée. Halloumi is a semi-hard, unripened, brined cheese typically made from goat’s milk, sheep’s milk and, sometimes, cow’s milk. Because it has a high melting point, it is great for grilling or frying. Cook’s note: arugula would be a good substitute for kale in this salad.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Read the label on the cheese to ensure it does not contain additives or colour. Make sure the smoked paprika does not contain colour.

Pour boiling water over the kale to wilt it slightly

Cooked red quinoa, parsley and smokey lemon dressing

Halloumi has a high melting point, so it is great for grilling or frying

Toss quinoa, kale and parsley with dressing

Fry the halloumi for a few minutes on each side, until browned

Red quinoa, kale and halloumi salad

Ingredients:

5 oz (150 g) kale, trimmed

2.5 cups (750 ml) cooked red quinoa

½ cup (125 ml) flat-leaf parsley leaves

1 lb. (500 g) halloumi, thinly sliced

Olive oil, for brushing

For the smoky lemon dressing:

2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice

1 tsp (5 ml) sweet smoked paprika

1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil

Preparation:

Cook the quinoa according to the package directions and set aside.

Cut the kale into large pieces and place in a heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water over and allow to stand for five minutes. Drain and pat dry. Toss the kale with the quinoa and parsley.

To make the dressing, combine the lemon juice, paprika and oil. Pour over the salad and toss.

Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Brush the halloumi with oil and cook until golden. Divide the salad between serving plates and top with the halloumi to serve. Serves 4.

From Fresh and Light by Donna Hay

This stir-fry from Real Simple magazine combines economical chicken thighs with scallions, cucumber and noodles. The crispy garlic garnish adds flavour and crunch.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for a chicken stock with no additives, preservatives or artificial flavour. I use Imagine Organic brand. Instead of soy sauce use tamari, which is preserved with alcohol instead of sodium benzoate.

Fry the garlic until crispy

Cook the chicken and set aside

Stir fry scallions and ginger

Add cucumber and stir-fry until tender

Serve over noodles

Ingredients:

8 ounces (250 g) linguine

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 pound (500 g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into thin strips

2 tablespoons (30 ml) cornstarch

Kosher salt

6 scallions, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) lengths, plus additional sliced scallions for serving

2 tablespoons (30 ml) finely chopped fresh ginger

1 English cucumber, sliced into half-moons

1/3 cup (75 ml) low-sodium chicken broth

3 tablespoons (45 ml) soy sauce

Preparation:

Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer the garlic to paper towels with a slotted spoon. Reserve the oil.

Combine the chicken, cornstarch, and ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) of salt in a bowl; toss to coat. Heat 2 tablespoons of the reserved garlic oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the chicken in an even layer. Cook, without touching, until browned on the bottom, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir and cook until cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Add the scallions and ginger to the skillet. Cook over high heat, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cucumber and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chicken, pasta, broth, and soy sauce. Cook, stirring, until coated and hot, 1 to 2 minutes. Top with the sliced scallions and crispy garlic. Serves 4.

From Real Simple

This colourful salad from Chatelaine is a great side dish with grilled meat or seafood, and it would also be a good vegetarian entrée. Roast squash and toss with peppery arugula, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds and feta. Drizzle with an apple juice-Dijon vinaigrette and enjoy.

Roast the squash until tender and beginning to brown

The squash and sweet dressing complement peppery arugula

Top with crumbled feta and dried cranberries

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for a Dijon mustard without benzoate of soda or sulfites – I use President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon. Make sure the feta does not contain preservatives and that the cranberries do not contain sulfites. I used Ocean Spray craisins, which are additive-free.

Ingredients:

¾ cup (174 ml) apple juice

2 tbsp (30 ml) cider vinegar

2 garlic cloves, minced

5 tbsp (75 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

2 tsp (10 ml) Dijon mustard

1 butternut squash, about 1.4 kg, washed well

1 tbsp (15 ml) honey

½ tsp (2.5 ml) salt

4 cups (1 L) baby arugula

1 cup (250 ml) crumbled feta

¼ cup (60 ml) unsalted raw shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

2 tbsp (30 ml) dried cranberries

Preparation:

Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven. Preheat to 400 F (200 C). Line 2 large baking sheets with foil.

Boil apple juice with vinegar and garlic in a small saucepan. Boil until reduced to ¼ cup (60 ml) about 10 min. Remove from heat and whisk in 3 tbsp (45 ml) oil and Dijon.

Cut a large, shallow slit through the skin of squash. Microwave on high to make it easier to cut, 3 to 5 min. Slice unpeeled squash in half and discard seeds. Cut into 1/3-in.-thick (0.8 cm) slices. Toss with remaining oil, honey and salt until coated. Spread out on prepared baking sheets. Roast until just tender and edges are starting to brown, about 15 min.

Divide arugula among plates. Top with warm squash. Drizzle with dressing. Top with feta, pepitas and cranberries. Serves 4.

From Chatelaine

This colourful salad is a great side dish with any grilled meat, fish or seafood. Zucchini and peppers are grilled or broiled and then tossed with cooked Israeli couscous, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, red onion and basil. Unlike regular couscous — small grains of durum wheat — Israeli couscous is a toasted pasta shaped in tiny balls, about the size of small peas. The cooking method is different too; to make regular couscous, you usually boil liquid, add the couscous, turn off the heat and let the couscous steam and absorb the liquid. To cook Israeli couscous, which is called Ptitim in Israel, you add the pasta to boiling water, reduce the heat and simmer until the pasta absorbs the liquid.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Sun-dried tomatoes and olives may contain preservatives. I use Mediterranean Organic sun-dried tomatoes and Pilaros black olives.

Grill or broil colourful vegetables

Mix with cooked Israeli couscous

This is a great side dish with grilled seafood, fish or meat

Ingredients:

1 cup (250 ml) Israeli couscous

¼ cup (60 ml) chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil, plus 2 tbsp reserved oil

1 tsp (5 ml) Maldon sea salt

1 yellow zucchini, sliced into 1/8″ (0.3 cm) thick rounds

1 green zucchini, sliced into 1/8″ (0.3 cm) thick rounds

1 red pepper, thickly sliced

1 orange pepper, thickly sliced

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup (60 ml) pitted and chopped kalamata olives

¼ cup (60 ml) red onion, finely diced

¼ cup (60 ml) chopped fresh basil

Preparation:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook Israeli couscous for 12 minutes or until tender to the bite. Drain well, place in a large bowl and toss with sun-dried tomatoes, reserved oil and salt. Stir occasionally until cool. Meanwhile, heat the barbecue to medium. Toss all the vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Grill until vegetables are tender and lightly charred. Allow to cool slightly and chop into 1/4″ (0.6 cm) dice. Stir into the couscous along with the olives, red onion and basil. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 6.

From Style at Home

This very easy recipe from the May 2015 issue of Bon Appetit yields great results. Marinate chicken thighs in vinegar, brown and bake. Meanwhile, sauté radishes and mustard greens in butter, dress with vinegar and garnish with fresh tarragon. Cook’s note: if you can’t find mustard greens, use kale or Swiss chard.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure you use butter with only one ingredient: Cream.

Sauteed radishes have a mellow flavour

Wilt the greens slightly

Vinegar-marinated chicken with buttered greens and radishes

Ingredients:

2 pounds (900 g) skin-on bone-in chicken thighs

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup (60 ml) plus 1 tablespoon (15 ml) distilled white vinegar

1 tablespoon (15 ml) vegetable oil

2 tablespoons (30 ml) unsalted butter

8 radishes, quartered, halved if small

1 bunch mustard greens, leaves torn

4 tablespoons (60 ml) tarragon leaves, divided

Preparation:

Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in a large baking dish. Pour ¼ cup vinegar over chicken and let sit 15–20 minutes. Remove chicken from marinade and pat skin dry. Reserve baking dish (no need to wipe it out).

Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C) Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Working in batches, cook chicken, skin side down, until skin is golden brown and crisp, 8–10 minutes; turn and cook until other side is just browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer chicken to reserved baking dish; reserve skillet. Bake chicken until cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 165°F (74°C), 10–12 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat butter in same skillet over medium-high. Add radishes, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until radishes are browned and tender, about 5 minutes. Add mustard greens and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mustard greens are just wilted, about 2 minutes (they should still have some spring in their step). Add 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) tarragon and remaining 1 Tbsp.  (15 ml) vinegar; toss to combine.

Serve greens and radishes with chicken topped with remaining 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) tarragon. Serves 4.

From the May 2015 issue of Bon Appetit

This recipe from Real Simple is quick, healthy and fun to eat. A mixture of soy sauce and brown sugar does double duty as a marinade for the salmon and dressing for the tacos. While the salmon is marinating, mix up the mayo, slice the cucumbers, cabbage and scallions. Then just sear the salmon, warm the tortillas and dinner is ready.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I use tamari instead of soy sauce because it used alcohol as a preservative, not sodium benzoate. I can’t find Sriracha without additives, so I combined Tabasco original hot sauce with Hellman’s mayo. Read the label on the tortillas to make sure they are all-natural.

Baby cucumber slices, shredded cabbage and chopped scallions add flavour and crunch to the tacos

Sear the salmon and pull into chunks

Seared salmon tacos

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons (45 ml) low-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon (5 ml) brown sugar

4 6-ounce (170 g) pieces boneless, skinless salmon fillet

2 tablespoons (30 ml) canola oil

Kosher salt

¼ cup (60 ml) mayonnaise

2 teaspoons (10 ml) Sriracha

2 baby cucumbers, sliced

¼ red cabbage, shredded (2 cups/500 ml)

½ cup (125 ml) sliced scallions

8 small flour tortillas, warmed

Preparation:

Combine the soy sauce and brown sugar. Pour half the dressing into a large bowl and add the salmon. Let marinate for 10 minutes, tossing occasionally. Reserve the remaining dressing.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Remove the salmon from the marinade and season with ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt. Cook in the skillet until opaque throughout, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Break into large pieces.

Combine the mayonnaise and Sriracha.

Divide the Sriracha mayonnaise, salmon, cucumbers, cabbage, and scallions among the tortillas and drizzle with the reserved dressing. Serves 4.

From Real Simple

This pasta dish from Martha Stewart Living is quick and tasty. Roast eggplant and tomatoes, sauté some sausage meat and then combine with cooked pasta, olives and cheese. Cook’s note: Smaller Japanese eggplants are best for this dish; if you can’t find them, slice a larger eggplant crosswise and then cut into coin-sized pieces.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use sausage and olives with no additives or preservatives and cheese that does not contain colour.

Roast the eggplant and tomatoes

Remove sausage meat from casings and saute

Penne with roasted eggplant, tomatoes, sausage and olives

Ingredients:

4 cups (1 L) cherry tomatoes, preferably a mix of red, orange, and yellow

4 Japanese eggplants, cut crosswise into ½ -inch (1.27 cm) rounds

4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1 pound (450 g) penne

4 links sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed

1 cup (250 ml) pitted Kalamata olives

½ cup (125 ml) grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for serving

Small fresh basil leaves, for serving

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (218 C). Divide tomatoes, eggplants, and garlic between two rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle with oil; season with salt. Toss to combine, then spread in a single layer. Roast until eggplants are tender and browned in spots, about 25 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt. Cook pasta 2 minutes less than instructed on package. Drain, reserving 1 cup (250 ml) pasta water.

Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan over medium-high. Cook sausage, breaking it into small pieces, until browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Add reserved pasta water; cook, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan, until almost evaporated.

In a large bowl, combine eggplant mixture, sausage, olives, pasta, and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Top with basil and serve immediately, with more cheese alongside. Serves 4.

From the March 2015 issue of Martha Stewart Living

This recipe is quick, tastes good and is fun to eat! Whip up a peanut sauce, sauté shrimp, garlic, ginger, bok choy and scallions (the recipe also calls for carrot and bean sprouts, which I omitted) and serve in a lettuce wrap topped with chopped nuts. Cook’s note: Boston lettuce may work better than iceberg.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use an all-natural peanut butter and fresh lime juice. Use tamari instead of soy sauce, which contains sodium benzoate. Look for frozen shrimp with no added preservatives

Peanut-lime sauce

Saute the shrimp and set aside

Stir the shrimp back in to heat through

Spoon into lettuce, wrap and enjoy!

Ingredients:

Peanut-Lime Sauce

3 tbsp (45 ml) smooth natural peanut butter

1 tbsp (15 ml) lime juice

1 tbsp (15 ml) sodium-reduced soy sauce

1 tbsp (15 ml) liquid honey

1 clove garlic, minced

pinch pepper

Lettuce Wraps

1 large head iceberg lettuce

2 tsp (10 ml) vegetable oil

225 g extra-jumbo shrimp, (about 16 to 20 count), peeled and deveined

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp (5 ml) minced fresh ginger

2 large heads Shanghai bok choy, thinly sliced

1 carrot, cut in matchsticks

pinch each salt and pepper

1 cup (250 ml) bean sprouts

1 green onion, sliced

¼ cup (60 ml) chopped roasted unsalted peanuts

Preparation:

Peanut-Lime Sauce: In bowl, whisk together peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, honey, garlic, pepper and 2 tbsp (30 ml) water. Set aside.

Lettuce Wraps: Halve and core lettuce; gently separate 8 large leaves, trimming if necessary to make 5-inch (12 cm) lettuce cups. Set aside.

In large nonstick skillet or wok, heat half of the oil over medium-high heat; cook shrimp, turning occasionally, until pink and opaque throughout. Remove to cutting board; halve lengthwise. Set aside.

In same skillet, heat remaining oil over medium heat; cook garlic and ginger, stirring, until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add bok choy, carrot, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Stir in bean sprouts, green onion and shrimp.

Spoon shrimp mixture into lettuce cups. Drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with peanuts. Serves 4.

From the May 2015 issue of Canadian Living

This arugula-almond pesto from Martha Stewart is quick and easy to make, colourful and bursting with flavour. Just whirl arugula, almonds, garlic lemon juice, Parmesan cheese and olive oil in your food processor and then toss with the pasta of your choice. Penne rigate has ridges, which help the sauce cling to the pasta.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the almonds to be sure they do not contain preservatives and use fresh lemon juice, not a concentrate. Check the label of the cheese to make sure it does not contain preservatives or colour – I use Splendido brand.

Arugula and almonds replace basil and pine nuts in this pesto

Penne rigate with arugula-almond pesto

Ingredients:

5 ounces (141 g) baby arugula, some leaves reserved for garnish

3 tablespoons (45 ml) blanched almonds, toasted and chopped (2 ounces/56 g)

1 small clove garlic, chopped

3 tablespoons (45 ml) fresh lemon juice

¼ cup (60 ml) grated Parmesan (1 ounce/28 g)

Coarse salt

½ cup (125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 pound (454 g) penne rigate

Preparation:

Combine arugula, almonds, garlic, lemon juice, and cheese in the bowl of a food processor; season with salt. Pulse until coarsely pureed. With motor running, slowly add oil, processing to a paste.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt. Cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain; transfer pasta to a bowl. Add pesto and toss to coat evenly. Drizzle with oil, garnish with arugula leaves, and serve immediately. Serves 4.

From Martha Stewart Living

Duck breasts are available in most grocery stores, and they are easy to make. Score the skin so the fat renders, quickly sear and then finish roasting in the oven. This recipe from Chatelaine also features a Szechuan sauce, braised napa cabbage and shiitake mushrooms.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use an all-natural stock such as Imagine Organic brand. Heinz ketchup is additive free and I used honey instead of molasses. Use a balsamic vinegar with only naturally occurring sulfites and tamari instead of soy sauce.

Cross-hatch skin and fat in a diamond pattern

Sear and roast the duck

Meanwhile, saute the shiitakes

Crispy Szechuan Duck with Braised Napa Cabbage and Shiitakes

Ingredients:

1 cup (250 ml) low-sodium chicken broth, divided

4 garlic cloves, minced, divided

2 tbsp (30 ml) ketchup

2 tbsp (30 ml) fancy molasses

1 tbsp (15 ml) minced ginger

2 tsp (10 ml) balsamic vinegar

2 tsp (10 ml) low-sodium soy sauce

½ tsp (2.5 ml) dark sesame oil

½ tsp (2.5 ml) hot-red-chili flakes

2 duck breasts, 14 oz each (400 g each)

¼ tsp (1.25 ml) salt

2 8 oz. (227 g) pkgs fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed

1 small napa cabbage, cut into eighths lengthwise with core intact

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400F (204C) Line a baking sheet with foil.

Whisk ¼ cup (60 ml) broth with half of garlic, ketchup, molasses, ginger, vinegar, soy, sesame oil and chili flakes in a small saucepan and set over medium-high. Boil until sauce thickens and reduces to ½ cup (125 ml), 3 to 5 min. Set aside and cover to keep warm.

Place duck breasts, skin-side up, on cutting board. Using a sharp knife tip, cross-hatch skin and fat in a diamond pattern. Sprinkle with salt. Season with fresh pepper.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium. Place duck, skin-side down, in pan. Cook until skin is golden and crisp, 8 to 10 min. Reduce heat if browning too quickly. Transfer duck, skin-side up, to prepared sheet. Roast until medium-rare, 8 to 10 min. Let stand 10 min before slicing.

Reserve fat from pan in a small bowl. Add 1 tbsp (15 mml) fat to pan over medium-high. Add mushrooms and sauté until soft, 3 to 4 min. Stir into warm sauce in saucepan. Add 1 tbsp (5 ml) of remaining fat to pan, then cabbage. Sauté for 2 min. Add remaining ¾ cup (180 ml) broth and garlic, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, turning cabbage often, until tender, 5 to 7 min. Divide cabbage among 4 plates. Top with mushroom sauce and sliced duck. Serves 4.

From Chatelaine

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