You wouldn’t think these pork chops would cook in the amount of time suggested in this recipe from Canadian Chef Michael Smith, but they do. While they rest, whip up a quick sauce of orange juice, marmalade, mustard, spices and Worcestershire sauce and dinner is on the table in a jiffy.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use butter without colour and pure orange juice. I used Wilkin & Sons marmalade, Vilux organic grainy mustard and Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce.

Season the chops well

Sear the chops until brown on one side

Assemble your ingredients for the sauce

Make the sauce while the chops rest

Pork chops with marmalade mustard pan sauce

Ingredients:

4 pork chops, thick cut, approx 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick

1 tsp (5 ml) salt

generous amount black pepper

1 tbsp (15 ml) vegetable oil

2 tbsp (30 ml) butter

½ cup (125 ml) orange juice

¼ cup (60 ml) marmalade

2 tbsp (30 ml) grainy or dijon mustard

1 tsp (5 ml) dried tarragon or thyme

1 tsp ( 5ml) Worcestershire sauce

Preparation:

Heat a heavy large skillet to medium high. Pat chops dry with paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Add oil to pan then butter to oil, cook until melted, and slightly browned.

Add chops and sear until meat is browned, about 5 minutes. Flip, cover tightly and reduce heat to low. Cook for 3-4 minutes more. Remove chops to plate and tent with foil.

In the pork chop pan, return heat to medium high, add orange juice, and stir in marmalade, mustard, tarragon and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Spoon sauce over pork chops and enjoy! Serves 4.

From Family Meals in Minutes, by Michael Smith

Lucy Waverman recently published this recipe from Estonia in the Globe and Mail. She described it as a “powerful, full-flavoured but not spicy dish with the taste of the sun that we sorely need at this time of the year.” Estonia is in the Baltic region of northern Europe and Tallinn is its capital city. You can make this dish ahead, and serve it with rice or egg noodles. However to be truly Estonian, Lucy says to serve it with black rye bread.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure your spices do not contain colour or anti-caking agents. I used nitrite-free bacon instead of pancetta and a red wine with a sulfite count of less than 10 parts per million. Unico tomatoes and Pilaros olives are additive-free.

Season the chicken thighs

Use only the white and pale green part of the leeks

Brown the chicken well and set aside

Bacon and parboiled garlic add flavour

Saute the bacon and vegetables

Add spinach and chicken and then bake

Chicken from Tallinn

Ingredients:

1 head garlic, separated into cloves

1 ½  lb (750 g) boneless skinless chicken thighs

½ tsp (2.5 ml) ground fennel

½ tsp (2.5 ml) chili flakes

1 tbsp (15 ml) finely chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried

Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup (125 ml) coarsely chopped pancetta

3 tbsp (45 ml) olive oil

4 leeks, white and light green parts only, well washed

½ cup (125 ml) red wine

1 ½ cups (375 ml) drained canned tomatoes, chopped

1 cup (250 ml) chicken stock

½ cup (125 ml) Kalamata olives, pitted, halved

1 tbsp finely chopped preserved lemon or 1 tsp grated lemon zest

4 cups (1 L) packed baby spinach

4 caper berries

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400 F (205 C).

Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Remove root end from garlic cloves and add to water. Boil for 2 minutes. Drain and peel garlic cloves. Reserve.

Cut thighs in half. Sprinkle with fennel, chili flakes, rosemary, salt and pepper. Slice leeks on a diagonal into ½-inch (1.27 cm) pieces.

Heat oil in a large oven-proof skillet over high heat. Brown chicken in batches, about 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and reserve.

Add pancetta to pan and cook for 1 minute. Reduce skillet heat to medium-low. Add garlic cloves and leeks, and sauté 5 to 7 minutes or until soft. Add red wine and bring to boil, reduce by half. Add tomatoes and stock, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add olives and preserved lemon and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in spinach. Return chicken to skillet.

Transfer to oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in centre. Sprinkle with parsley. Top each portion with a caper berry. Serves 4.

From Lucy Waverman

This is a classic beef stew recipe from Family Meals, written by Canadian chef Michael Smith. I’m not sure about making it on a weeknight, as it benefits from at least two hours of simmering, but it’s perfect for supper on a chilly November Saturday or Sunday. And it’s even better the next day. I added scallions, fresh herbs, and peas to the basic recipe.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for tomatoes with no additives, such as Unico or Blue Menu brands. I used a wine with a sulfite level of fewer than 10 parts per million and Imagine organic chicken stock. If you add chickpeas, bacon or cheese, make sure they don’t contain colour, additives, or nitrites.

Brown the beef well

Simmer the stew for a couple of hours; if there is too much liquid, simmer with the lid off

Weeknight or Weekend Beef Stew

Ingredients:

For the classic weeknight stew:

2 pounds (900 g) of cubed stewing beef

2 tablespoons (30 ml) of vegetable oil

2 onions, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped

2 potatoes (or 2 or 3 parsnips or 2 sweet potatoes or a turnip), chopped

A 28-ounce (796 ml) can of whole, diced, crushed or pureed tomatoes

1 bottle of big, beefy red wine (pour some for the grown-ups first!)

4 cups (1L) of beef broth or plain water

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon (15 ml) of sea salt

Lots of freshly ground pepper

Weekend finishing flourishes- choose 1 or 2 or all

4 green onions, thinly sliced

Leaves from 1 bunch of fresh thyme, sage, tarragon or rosemary, minced

1 to 2 cups (250 to 500 ml) of frozen green peas

1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and chopped

A 14-ounce (398 ml) can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

8 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

1 wheel (5.2 ounces/150 g) of your favourite Boursin cheese, crumbled

Preparation:

Heat your largest, heaviest pot over medium-high heat while you gently dry the beef on a few paper towels. Splash a pool of oil into the pot, swirling and covering the bottom with a thin film. Using tongs, carefully add a single sizzling layer of beef without crowding the pan. This is your only shot at adding the rich, deep flavours that can only come from respectfully browned meat. Listen to the heat. A simmering pan means nothing. Sizzle is the sound of flavour. Too loud, though, and a sizzling pan becomes a smoking-burning pan. When the beef is deeply browned all over, transfer it to a plate. Repeat with the rest of the beef, 10 to 15 minutes in total. Pour off any excess oil, leaving behind any browned bits of goodness.

Add the onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, tomatoes, wine, broth, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Return all the beef to the pot. Stirring frequently, bring to a furious full boil, then immediately reduce the heat to a slow, steady simmer. Cover tightly and very gently simmer for at least an hour, another if you can, stirring now and then, patiently tenderizing the meat, releasing the richness and building deep beefy flavour. Serves 4 to 6.

From Family Meals by Michael Smith

This pasta dish from Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes is a favourite of his wife, Jools. It’s very good and doesn’t take long to make. Mix together scallions, carrot, celery, sausages and spices in the food processor, then cook in a frying pan. Add garlic, balsamic vinegar and canned tomatoes and toss with cooked penne. You can top it with parmesan cheese if you like.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Sausages, spices, balsamic vinegar and canned tomatoes may contain artificial ingredients. Look for all-natural sausages and spices with no colour or anti-caking agents. I use a balsamic vinegar with only naturally occurring sulfites and Unico brand tomatoes.

Cook the sausage meat and vegetable mixture

Add garlic, balsamic vinegar and tomatoes

Jools' Pasta

Ingredients:

4 scallions

1 carrot

1 stick of celery

1–2 fresh red chilies

3 or 4 good-quality sausages

1 heaped teaspoon (5 ml) fennel seeds

1 tsp (5 ml) dried oregano

500 g dried penne

4 cloves of garlic

4 tbsp (60 ml) balsamic vinegar

1 400 g can of chopped tomatoes

A few sprigs of Greek basil, or regular basil

Preparation:

Turn your oven to 375°F (190°C). Put a large frying pan on a high heat. Put the standard blade attachment into the food processor.

Trim the spring onions, carrot and celery. Roughly chop all the vegetables, then blitz in the food processor with the chilies (stalks removed). Add the sausages, 1 heaped teaspoon (5ml) of fennel seeds and 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of oregano. Keep pulsing until well mixed, then spoon this mixture into the hot frying pan with a lug of olive oil, breaking it up and stirring as you go. Keep checking on it and stirring while you get on with other jobs.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season well then add the penne and cook according to packet instructions.

Crush 4 unpeeled cloves of garlic into the sausage mixture and stir in 4 tablespoons (60 ml) of balsamic vinegar and the tinned tomatoes. Add a little of the starchy cooking water from the pasta to loosen if needed.

Drain the pasta, reserving about a wineglass worth of the cooking water. Tip the pasta into the pan of sauce and give it a gentle stir, adding enough of the cooking water to bring it to a silky consistency. Taste, correct the seasoning, then tip into a large serving bowl.

From Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes

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

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