The best ribs are cooked low and slow on a charcoal grill—but who has time to tend to the barbecue for hours? Instead, bake your ribs in a tangy marinade, pop them on the grill and baste them with your favourite barbecue sauce. This recipe from Lucy Waverman even gives you a great shortcut to make “half homemade” barbecue sauce.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for a Dijon without white wine or sulfites and make sure your spices do not contain colour or anti-caking agents. Heinz ketchup, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco original hot sauce are all additive-free. I used Miss Diana’s barbecue sauce as the base for my sauce.

Pour the liquid over the ribs in a baking dish

Bake for about 90 minutes

Separate ribs and grill, basting with barbecue sauce

Oven-baked ribs

Ingredients:

2 racks pork back ribs

Marinade

1 cup (250 ml) water

1 cup (250 ml) cider vinegar

¼ cup (60 ml) Dijon mustard

3 tbsp (45 ml) brown sugar

1 tsp (5 ml) hot-pepper flakes

½ tsp (2.5 ml) cayenne

½ tsp (2.5 ml) salt

Half homemade spicy rib sauce

1 cup (250 ml) store-bought barbecue sauce

¼ cup (60 ml) ketchup

½ cup (125 ml) cider vinegar

1 tbsp (15 ml) Worcestershire sauce

Juice of one lemon

1 tsp (5 ml) hot-pepper sauce

1 tsp (5 ml) cayenne pepper

1 tbsp (15 ml) chili powder

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 F (177 C).

Remove the membrane covering the bones as that stops the rub from properly absorbing. Using a small, sharp knife, work the tip under the thin membrane until you have enough to grasp. Then, using your fingers, peel it back and discard. It is easiest to start in the middle and pull each part away from the bones. Place ribs in a baking dish.

Whisk together water, vinegar, mustard, sugar, pepper flakes, cayenne and salt until sugar dissolves. Pour over ribs and cover with foil. Bake for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until ribs are tender. Reserve ribs and discard liquid.

Preheat barbecue to medium and oil the grill. Grill ribs for 25 minutes or until brown and crispy, turning occasionally.

Meanwhile, combine sauce ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes.

Brush with barbecue sauce of your choice and continue cooking until sauce is glazed, about 15 minutes. Cut into ribs and serve with more barbecue sauce. Serves 4.

From Lucy Waverman

This delicious crumble from Lucy Waverman has been a big hit this summer. Fresh rhubarb and strawberries are tossed with spices, sugar, orange zest and butter and then topped with a mixture of sugar, flour, butter and either rolled oats or granola. Pop it in the oven and then serve the warm crumble with ice cream. Yum!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure your spices don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. Granola may contain preservatives; I used plain rolled oats. Look for butter that does not contain colour.

Mix rhubarb and strawberries with spices, orange zest and butter

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble

Ingredients:

4 cups (1 L) chopped rhubarb, cut into 2-inch pieces

2 cups (500 ml) sliced strawberries

½ cup (125 ml) brown sugar

1 tsp (5 ml) ground ginger

½ tsp (2 ml) cinnamon

½ tsp (2 ml) nutmeg

2 tbsp (30 ml) grated orange rind

1 tbsp (15 ml) cold butter, cubed

Topping

½ cup (125 ml) brown sugar

½ cup (125 ml) all-purpose flour

¾ cup (175 ml) granola or rolled oats

½ cup (125 ml) butter

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).

Combine rhubarb, strawberries, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange rind and butter in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Pour into an 8 x 8-inch (20 x 20-cm) metal baking dish.

Mix together sugar, flour and granola. Cut in the butter with a pastry knife until the mixture looks crumbly. Sprinkle topping over baking dish, making sure the whole surface is covered.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is browned and the rhubarb syrup is bubbling. Serves 6.

From Lucy Waverman

You can make these tangy chicken wings from Lucy Waverman on either a gas grill or a charcoal barbecue, but the latter infuses them with delicious smoky flavour. These couldn’t be simpler to make; just combine hot sauce, cider vinegar and melted butter, toss the wings with oil salt and pepper, and grill them, basting every few minutes with some sauce. Cook’s note: keep the basting sauce separate from the serving sauce to avoid contamination from the raw chicken. You may also want to take it easy when salting the wings, as most hot sauces are very salty.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

There are lots of great hot sauces out there, and many don’t have artificial ingredients. Two classics – Frank’s Hot Sauce and Tabasco original hot sauce – are both additive-free. Look for butter that does not contain colour.

Grilling these wings over charcoal infuses them with smoky flavour

Ingredients:

Dunking sauce

½ cup (125 ml) hot sauce

¼ cup (60 ml) cider vinegar

¼ cup (60 ml) melted butter

Wings

2 lb (1 kg) chicken wings, separated, wing tip discarded

2 tbsp (30 ml) vegetable oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preparation:

Preheat grill to medium high. If using a charcoal grill, sprinkle some soaked wood chips on the coals; I used pecan wood chips.

Combine hot sauce, vinegar and melted butter. Remove ¼ cup for basting and reserve the rest.

Toss wings with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place wings on grill, and grill for 3 minutes on each side. Baste with sauce and turn over again. Repeat turning and basting with sauce every 3 minutes or until chicken wings are cooked through, about 12 minutes to 15 minutes total, depending on the size of the wings. You can throw the wings into the remaining sauce or serve separately for dipping. Serves 4.

From Lucy Waverman

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

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