At this time of year, I like to cook a big pot of soup on Sunday. This soothing Ginger Chicken Soup from epicurious.com is delicious and very comforting if you have the sniffles.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

There are no additives or preservatives in these ingredients.

This recipe calls for lots of ginger

Remove the chicken breasts after about 30 minutes

Shred the chicken

Rewarm the stock after straining out the solids

Ginger Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

1 onion, sliced

2 celery stalks, chopped

8 ounces (250 g) unpeeled scrubbed ginger, cut into ½ “-thick (1.27 cm) slices

2 garlic cloves, crushed

10 whole black peppercorns

1 3-pound (1.5 kg) whole organic chicken, cut into 7 pieces (2 breasts, 2 legs with thighs attached, 2 wings, 1 back)

Kosher salt

Cilantro leaves (optional)

Preparation:

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large heavy pot. Add chicken, placing breasts on top. Add 6 quarts (6 L) water (preferably filtered or spring water); bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover with lid slightly ajar. Reduce heat to low; simmer until chicken breasts are just cooked through, about 30 minutes. Transfer chicken breasts to a plate; let cool, then cover and chill. Continue to simmer soup, uncovered, until broth is fully flavored, about 2 ½ hours longer. Return breasts to soup to rewarm, about 5 minutes.

Remove chicken from broth. When cool enough to handle, coarsely shred meat; discard skin and bones. Place a fine-mesh sieve over another large pot; strain broth, discarding solids in strainer (you should have about 8 cups broth). Season with salt.

Rewarm soup. Divide chicken among bowls. Pour hot broth over, dividing equally. Garnish soup with cilantro leaves, if desired. Serves 8.

From Epicurious.com

This is a great weeknight dinner because everything is roasted together on a single baking sheet. Inexpensive chicken legs, potatoes and olives are tossed with a mixture of bay leaf, fennel seeds and crushed red pepper flakes and then roasted for 35 to 45 minutes. For easy clean-up, line the baking sheet with non-stick foil.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the spices for colour and anti-caking agents. Olives may contain preservatives; I use Pilaros brand from Costco.

Toss the chicken, potatoes and olives with the spice mixture and arrange on pan

Cook until the chicken is done, 35-45 minutes

Roast chicken with potatoes and olives

Ingredients:

1 bay leaf, crushed

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes; plus more for serving (optional)

1½ pound fingerling potatoes, halved

½ cup pitted Kalamata olives

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 chicken legs (thigh and drumstick; about 3 lb.)

½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves with tender stems

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450°. Pulse bay leaf, fennel seeds, and ½ tsp. red pepper flakes in spice mill until finely ground.

Toss potatoes, olives, 2 Tbsp. oil, and half of spice mixture in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Place chicken on a rimmed baking sheet and rub with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil; season with salt and pepper and rub with remaining spice mixture.

Arrange potato mixture around chicken. Roast until potatoes are fork-tender, chicken is cooked through, and skin is crisp, 35–45 minutes. Serve chicken and potato mixture topped with parsley, lemon zest, and more red pepper flakes, if desired; spoon pan juices around. Serves 4.

From the October 2014 issue of Bon Appetit

Cooking fish and other ingredients inside parchment paper is a great cooking method. It’s quick, healthy and doesn’t dirty any pots or pans! The October 2014 issue of Real Simple includes six recipes for fish in parchment packets. I tried the one featuring fish with cherry tomatoes, onion and olives. It was delicious. Cook’s note: If you are like me, you may have trouble folding the parchment to obtain a tight seal. The solution? Use a stapler.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The olives and Feta may contain artificial ingredients. I use Pilaros brand black olives from Costco and Tre Stelle Feta.

Place all the ingredients but the Feta on large sheets of parchment paper

Fold the edges together to form a packet; you can staple it

The fish and other ingredients will steam inside the packets

Tomato, onion, black olive and Feta fish packet

Ingredients:

4 6-ounce (175 g) pieces boneless, skinless cod, salmon, or bass

2 cups (500 ml) halved cherry tomatoes

¼ small red onion, thinly sliced

1/3 cup (75 ml) halved pitted black olives

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

Kosher salt and black pepper

1 ½ ounces (45 g) Feta, crumbled (about 1/3 cup/75 g)

Preparation:

Heat oven to 425° F (210°C. Place the fish, tomatoes, onion, olives, oil, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt, and ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) pepper on 4 11-by-15-inch (28 x 38 cm) pieces of parchment, dividing evenly. Fold the parchment over the fish, then seal each packet by folding the edges over twice.

Transfer the packets to a baking sheet. Bake until the fish is opaque throughout, 12 to 14 minutes.

Transfer the packets to plates and use scissors to make a small X in the top of each packet.

Tear open carefully (they will probably release steam) and top with the Feta. Serves 4.

From the October 2014 issue of Real Simple

This delicious stir fry from Epicurious.com combines steak, vegetables and noodles with a tangy sauce. The recipe calls for soba (buckwheat) noodles, but you can use any long noodle. I also substituted red pepper for the carrot.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the almonds for preservatives. I make my oyster sauce from scratch (see recipe below) and use tamari instead of soy sauce. Marukan rice vinegar and Emile Noel sesame oil are additive free.

Fry the steak

Saute the vegetables

Add the sauce

Steak and Noodle Stir Fry

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons (30 ml) sliced almonds

8 ounces (250 g) soba (Japanese-style noodles), spaghettini or spaghetti

Kosher salt

1 teaspoon (5 ml) plus 3 tablespoons (45 ml) vegetable oil

12 ounces (375 ml) skirt or flank steak

Freshly ground black pepper

2 scallions, whites and greens separated, chopped

4 medium garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon (15 ml) grated peeled ginger

2 heads baby bok choy, quartered

1 medium carrot, peeled, thinly sliced on a diagonal

3 tablespoons (45 ml) oyster sauce (see recipe below)

3 tablespoons (45 ml) reduced-sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons (45 ml) unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon (15 ml) toasted sesame oil

Oyster sauce

1 ½ tbsp (25 ml) tamari

1 tbsp (15 ml) sugar

1 ½ tsp (7 ml) cornstarch

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spread out almonds on a small rimmed baking sheet; toast, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Let cool and set aside.

Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain; rinse to cool and set aside.

Heat 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season steak with salt and pepper and cook until charred in spots, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest 10 minutes. Thinly slice against the grain.

While steak rests, wipe out skillet and heat 3 tablespoons (45 ml) vegetable oil over medium heat. Add scallion whites, garlic, and ginger. Stir until softened, about 1 minute. Add bok choy and carrot. Cook, tossing occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.

Whisk oyster sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and ½ cup (125 ml) water in a small bowl. Add to vegetables; bring to a simmer. Fold in scallion greens and reserved almonds and noodles. Serve steak with noodle stir-fry. Serves 4.

From Epicurious.com

I needed to use up the last batch of Swiss chard from the garden, so I used it in this recipe adapted from the October 2014 issue of Real Simple. The recipe calls for collard greens, but you can use Swiss chard, kale or any other hardy green. Brown the chicken and set it aside while you sauté scallions, garlic and ginger. Then add the chard and toss until wilted and tender. Add the sauce, cooked chicken and cashews, toss to coat and serve over steamed rice.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use tamari instead of soy sauce, because it uses alcohol as a preservative instead of sodium benzoate. Check the cashews for preservatives. I make my own oyster sauce from tamari, sugar and cornstarch (see recipe below). Imagine brand chicken stock and Marukan rice vinegar are additive-free, as is Emile Noel organic sesame oil.

Stir fry the chicken strips until browned and then set aside

Stir fry the Swiss chard until wilted

Add the chicken and cashews back to the pan and coat with sauce

Cashew chicken and greens stir fry

Ingredients:

For the sauce

1 tbsp (15 ml) dry sherry

1/3 cup (75 ml) chicken stock

2 ½ tbsp (40 ml) oyster sauce (recipe follows)

2 tsp (10 ml) sesame oil

1 tsp (5 ml) rice vinegar

¼ tsp (1 ml) white pepper

1 tsp (5 ml) cornstarch

Oyster sauce

1 ½ tbsp (25 ml) tamari

1 tbsp (15 ml) sugar

1 ½ tsp (7 ml) cornstarch

For the chicken

3 tbsp (45 ml) canola oil

1 ½ pounds (675 kg) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into ½ -inch (1.25 cm)strips

2 tbsp (30 ml) cornstarch

Kosher salt

1 bunch scallions, sliced, white and green parts separated

4 cloves garlic, sliced

1 ½ tablespoons (25 ml) finely chopped fresh ginger

2 bunches collard greens, Swiss chard or kale, stems discarded and leaves cut into strips (10 cups/2.5 L))

3 tbsp (45 ml) tamari

½ cup roasted cashews (125 ml)

White rice, for serving

Preparation:

Heat 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat.

Toss the chicken with the cornstarch and ¾ teaspoon (3 ml) salt. Cook, in batches, turning the pieces once, until well browned (but not cooked through), 3 to 4 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a plate; reserve the skillet. Reduce heat to medium.

Add the remaining tablespoon (15 ml) of oil to the reserved skillet. Add the scallion whites, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the scallions are slightly soft, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add as many greens to the skillet as will fit. Cook, tossing frequently and adding more greens when there is room, until crisp-tender, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the sauce, cashews and chicken to the skillet. Cook, tossing frequently, until the chicken is cooked through and everything is coated with the sauce, 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve over the rice, topped with the scallion greens. Serves 4.

From the October 2014 issue of Real Simple

This is a very quick and tasty fish recipe from Chatelaine. Mix up a quick vinaigrette of marmalade, vinegar, oil, hot sauce and salt while you are barbecuing the fish. When the fish is done, drizzle it with the vinaigrette and garnish with fresh mint. Instead of barbecuing the fillets, you can sear them for a minute on each side in an oven-proof skillet and then pop them into a 425-degree F (218 degrees C) oven for 5-10 minutes.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The marmalade, white wine vinegar and sriracha may contain colour and preservatives. Look for an all-natural marmalade, a vinegar with only naturally occurring sulfites and an all-natural hot sauce, such as Tabasco original brand.

Grill the trout or sear it in a pan on top of the stove and then bake

Meanwhile, put together the vinaigrette

Sweet and spicy rainbow trout

Ingredients:

¼ cup (60 ml) orange marmalade

¼ cup (60 ml) white wine vinegar

3 tbsp (45 ml) olive oil, divided

1 tbsp (15 ml) sriracha

½ tsp (2.5 ml) salt, divided

4 rainbow trout fillets (200 g each)

½ cup (125 ml) chopped mint

Preparation:

Combine marmalade with vinegar, 2 tbsp (30 ml) oil, sriracha and ¼ tsp (1.25 ml) salt in a Mason jar. Shake until combined.

Preheat barbecue to medium. Brush trout with remaining 1 tbsp (15 ml) oil, then sprinkle with remaining ¼ tsp (1.25 ml) salt. Season with fresh pepper. Oil grill. Barbecue fish, skin-side down, lid closed, until a knife tip inserted into the thickest part of fish and held for 10 sec feels warm, about 8 min. Slide a thin spatula between skin and flesh, then lift trout off skin and onto a platter. Drizzle with vinaigrette and sprinkle with mint just before serving. Serves 4.

From Chatelaine magazine

This recipe from the LCBO’s Food and Drink is company-worthy. Halibut fillets are dredged and covered with panko, briefly fried and then baked. Meanwhile, fry some capers for a crunchy, salty garnish and sauté zucchini and cherry tomatoes for a colourful and delicious accompaniment.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the chili powder and panko for colour and preservatives. Look for a Dijon with no sulfites or sodium benzoate; I use President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon. Canola can sometimes contain additives, so buy one that is 100% pure. Unico capers are additive-free.

You will need three shallow bowls or pans for the dredging

Dredged halibut

Brown the halibut until the coating is golden, then bake

Meanwhile, saute the zucchini and tomatoes

Fried capers make a crispy, tangy garnish

Crispy halibut with zucchini saute and fried capers

Ingredients:

½ cup (125 ml) all-purpose flour

2 tsp (10 ml) chili powder

½ tsp (2 ml) salt

1 egg

¼ cup (60 ml) milk

1 tbsp (15 ml) Dijon mustard

1 cup (250 ml) panko

4 pieces, each 6 oz (175 g) skinless halibut fillet

3 tbsp (45 ml) canola oil

2 tbsp (30 ml) capers, drained, rinsed and patted dry

1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil

2 small zucchini, cut on the bias into ovals or halved lengthwise and cut into half-moons

1 cup (250 ml) red and yellow cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

1 tsp (5 ml) chopped garlic

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp (30 ml) chopped Italian parsley

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

Make a dredging station for the fish: combine flour, chili powder and salt in a shallow bowl. Beat egg with milk and Dijon in another bowl, and place panko in the third bowl.

Dredge fish first in flour, then in egg mixture and then in panko to coat.

Heat 2 tbsp (30 ml) canola oil in a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Add fish and fry, turning, for 2 to 3 minutes or until crumbs are golden. Transfer fish to a baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes or until fish is cooked through.

Wipe out pan, add remaining 1 tbsp (15 ml) canola oil and heat on high heat. Add capers and fry for 2 to 3 min or until crispy. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.

Add olive oil to pan over medium heat. Add zucchini and fry for 1 minute or until just beginning to soften. Add tomatoes and garlic; fry 1 minute longer or until they have begun to release juice. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with parsley and fried capers.

Serve fish over zucchini mixture, spooning some sauce over fish. Serves 4.

From Food and Drink magazine

This grilled shrimp from Martha Stewart Living is marinated in fresh herbs, jalapeno, garlic, lemon zest and olive oil. A few minutes on the grill and you have a lovely lunch or light supper. The recipe calls for jumbo shrimp, but you can use any size.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Shrimp can be treated with preservatives. Look for shrimp with only salt added.

Marinate the shrimp

Grill skewers for a few minutes on each side

Grilled Herbed Shrimp

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons (45 ml) chopped fresh cilantro leaves

3 tablespoons (45 ml) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

1 tablespoon (15 ml) minced jalapeno chile (from ½ jalapeno)

1 tablespoon (15 ml) minced garlic (from about 3 cloves)

1 tablespoon grated fresh lemon zest

1/3 cup (75 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound (500 g) jumbo shrimp, in shells (about 20)

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients except shrimp in a large resealable plastic bag. Snip through each shrimp shell down the back, leaving last segment and tail intact, and devein with a paring knife, leaving shell intact. Add shrimp to bag and massage with marinade. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or up to overnight.

Soak 10 short wooden skewers in water 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat grill for indirect heat, with coals to 1 side (or medium heat on a gas grill). Thread 2 shrimp onto each skewer and place on indirect side of grill. Cook, turning once, until shrimp are curled, slightly charred, and cooked through, about 5 minutes.

From Martha Stewart Living

This recipe from the Barefoot Contessa is one of my favourite pasta salad recipes. Fresh tomatoes, black olives, fresh mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes are tossed with cooked pasta and then dressed with a tangy vinaigrette. Top with grated Parmesan and chopped basil and you have a wonderful side dish or vegetarian lunch.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

It can be difficult to find sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil that do not contain sulfites. You can dry your own, or look for a sulfite-free brand, such as Mediterranean Organic. Check the ingredients on the olives and fresh mozzarella. I use Pilaros olives (available at Costco) and Tre Stella bocconcini cheese. Red wine vinegar can contain sulfites – I used Eden Organic brand. Unico capers are additive free. Make sure the Parmesan does not contain colour.

Fresh and sun-dried tomatoes, olives and fresh mozzarella

Pasta with sun-dried tomatoes

Ingredients:

½ pound (225 g) fusilli (spirals) pasta

Kosher salt

Olive oil

1 pound (454 g) ripe tomatoes, medium-diced

¾ cup (188 ml) good black olives, such as kalamata, pitted and diced

1 pound (454 g) fresh mozzarella, medium-diced

6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped

For the dressing:

5 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained

2 tablespoons (30 ml) red wine vinegar

6 tablespoons (90 ml) good olive oil

1 garlic clove, diced

1 teaspoon (5 ml) capers, drained

2 teaspoons (10 ml) kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon (3 ml) freshly ground black pepper

1 cup (250 ml) freshly grated Parmesan

1 cup (250 ml) packed basil leaves, julienned

Preparation:

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water with a splash of oil to keep it from sticking together. Boil for 12 minutes, or according to the directions on the package. Drain well and allow to cool. Place the pasta in a bowl and add the tomatoes, olives, mozzarella, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

For the dressing, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, capers, salt, and pepper in a food processor until almost smooth.

Pour the dressing over the pasta, sprinkle with the Parmesan and basil, and toss well. Serves 6-8.

From the Barefoot Contessa

This grilled chicken and corn dish from the August 2014 issue of Food and Wine is perfect for a late-summer lunch or casual dinner. Grilled chicken, corn and scallions are tossed with cherry tomatoes, herbs and a tangy jalapeño-lime dressing. If you want the dressing to be less spicy, don’t use the seeds from the jalapeños. Cook’s note – be sure to zest the limes before juicing them.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use fresh lime juice, as the concentrates contain sodium benzoate and are very bitter.

Season the chicken with oil, rosemary, salt and pepper

Leave one layer of the husk on the corn and soak for 10 minutes

Grill the scallions for five minutes and the chicken and corn for 15-20 minutes

Grilled Chicken and Corn with Jalapeño-Lime Dressing

Ingredients:

Jalapeño-lime dressing

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons minced jalapeños (with seeds)

1 ¼ tablespoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon pepper

Salad

4 ears of corn

2 bunches scallions, halved

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Pepper

Four 6-ounce boneless, skin-on chicken breasts

1 tablespoon rosemary leaves, chopped

1 pint Sun Gold tomatoes, halved

¼ cup thinly sliced basil

Chopped chives and finely grated lime zest, for garnish

Preparation:

In a bowl, whisk all of the ingredients for the dressing.

Light a grill. Remove all but the last layer of green husk from the corn. In a bowl, soak the corn in water for 10 minutes, then drain.

In a bowl, toss the scallions with 2 tablespoons of the oil; season with salt and pepper. In another bowl, coat the chicken with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the rosemary; season with salt and pepper.

Grill the corn, scallions and chicken over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until the corn and scallions are lightly charred and the chicken is cooked through, 5 minutes for the scallions and 15 minutes for the corn and chicken. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, then thinly slice across the grain.

Chop the scallions into 1-inch pieces. Remove the husks and cut the corn kernels off of the cobs. Transfer the scallions and corn to a large bowl; add the tomatoes, basil and half of the dressing and toss. Transfer the salad to a platter. Top with the chicken and garnish with chives and lime zest. Serve the remaining dressing at the table. Serves 4.

From the August 2014 issue of Food and Wine

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