Smoked salmon, sour cream with chives, a crispy potato cake — this simple but rich and satisfying combination would be a great dish to make for your valentine this weekend.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use butter that does not contain colour and make sure the sour cream is additive-free. Look for naturally smoked salmon.

Grate the potatoes and toss with butter, flour, salt and pepper

Press the potato mixture into a heavy skillet

Cook until browned on one side, then flip and cook until done

Skillet Rösti with Smoked Salmon


½ cup (125 ml) melted unsalted butter, divided

1 tbsp (15 ml) vegetable oil

3 russet potatoes, peeled, grated and squeezed dry in clean tea towel

2 tbsp (30 ml) flour

½ tsp (2 ml) kosher salt

¼ tsp (1 ml) black pepper

3 tbsp (45 ml) snipped chives, plus more for garnish

1 cup (250 ml) sour cream

Generous 9 oz (275 g) smoked salmon or smoked trout or gravlax


Add 1 tbsp (15 ml) melted butter and 1 tbsp (15 ml) vegetable oil to 8-inch (20-cm) skillet and heat over medium heat.

Add grated potatoes to a large bowl and toss with remaining melted butter, flour, salt and pepper. Toss until well combined.

Tip mixture into hot pan and press down firmly with hand or spatula to help it form a solid cake. Cook over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes or until it is golden brown underneath (you can check the colour by gently lifting up the edge of the rösti with a spatula, but don’t do this too early as the rösti may come apart).

When nicely browned on the bottom, loosen rösti from the pan with spatula and slide it onto a plate (remember, the skillet handle will be hot). Place another plate on top and holding both plates together, flip them over. Carefully slide browned-side-up rösti back into the skillet and continue cooking for 6 to 7 minutes more, or until golden brown on bottom and cooked through. Remove from heat and slide rösti onto a serving plate.

Stir chives into sour cream.

Top warm rösti with curls of smoked salmon and dollops of chive sour cream, plus more chives for garnish if you please. Serves 2-3

From Food and Drink

This is a vegetarian lasagna, but you won’t miss the meat, thanks to the mushrooms, peppers and cheese. You can even make it ahead, so it’s perfect for supper after a day outside skiing, skating or snowshoeing.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure your dry spices do not contain colour or anti-caking agents. I used President’s Choice tomato paste and PC Blue Menu diced tomatoes. Check the cheeses to make sure they don’t contain colour or preservatives.

Cook and drain 9 lasagna noodles

Saute the mushrooms and onions

Add spices, tomatoes and peppers

Layer the noodles, sauce and cheese

More cheese on top

Bake until bubbly - you can also put it under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the top


9 precooked lasagna noodles

2 teaspoons (10 ml) vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped

½ lb (226 g) fresh mushrooms, sliced

3 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup (60 ml) chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried oregano

1 teaspoon (4 ml) dried basil

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) hot pepper flakes

¼ cup (60 ml) tomato paste

1 19-ounce (560 ml) can diced tomatoes (undrained)

1 red peppers and 1 yellow pepper, coarsely chopped

Salt and pepper

2 cups (500 ml) non-fat cottage cheese

1/3 cup (75 ml) freshly grated parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon (5 ml_ dried oregano

3 cups (750 ml) shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese


Sauce: In large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat, cook onion and mushrooms for 5 minutes or until tender, stirring often. Add garlic, parsley, basil, oregano, hot pepper flakes, tomato paste and tomatoes; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Add sweet peppers; simmer for 10 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Filling: combine cottage cheese, half of the Parmesan and the oregano; mix well.

Assembly: in 13×9 inch (33 x 22 cm) baking dish, spread 1 cup (250 ml) tomato sauce over bottom. Top with layer of noodles. Cover with half of the cottage cheese mixture, then one-third of the mozzarella cheese and one-third of the remaining sauce. Add another layer of noodles; spread with remaining cottage cheese mixture. Layer with half of the remaining mozzarella, then half of the sauce and final layer of noodles. Top with remaining sauce and mozzarella, then Parmesan. (Lasagna can be prepared to this point, covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day. Add 15 minutes to baking time).

Bake, covered, in 350F (176C) oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Uncover and bake for 10-15 minutes longer or until hot and bubbly. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serves 8.

This soothing soup from Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen is true comfort food. While you quickly marinate pork strips, cook the noodles and drain them. Saute green onions and ginger, add the pork and then hot stock. Once the pork is cooked, add the bean sprouts and bok choy and simmer until the bok choy softens a bit. Then ladle it into your bowl, garnish with chopped hot pepper and enjoy. Cook’s note: I used udon noodles instead of ramen noodles and they worked very well.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use fresh lime juice and tamari instead of soy sauce. Use a fish sauce that does not include MSG or sodium benzoate; I use Cock brand. Check to make sure the paprika doesn’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. Imagine organic chicken stock is additive-free.

Marinate and cook the pork

Add the stock and bring to a boil

Add the bok choy

Vietnamese pork noodle soup


10 oz (280 g) pork tenderloin, cut into thin discs and then fine strips

2 tbsp (30 ml) lime juice

2 tbsp (30 ml)  soy sauce

½ (2.5 ml) teaspoon paprika

2 tbsp (30 ml) fish sauce

8 oz (250 g) ramen noodles

1 tbsp (15 ml) garlic oil

6 thin or 3 fat green onions, finely sliced

1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped fresh ginger

1 quart (1 litre) chicken stock

10 oz (280 g) bean sprouts

2 small baby bok choy, torn into pieces

2 teaspoons (10 ml) chopped red or green chili pepper


Put the strips of pork fillet into a bowl and add the lime juice, soy sauce, paprika and fish sauce, but don’t let this stand for more than 15 minutes.

Cook the noodles according to packet instructions and then refresh in cold water.

Heat a wok or a deep, heavy-based frying pan, then add the garlic oil and fry the spring onions and ginger for a minute or so. Add the pork and its liquid to the wok, stirring as you go.

Cook the meat in the pan for another 2 minutes, then make up the chicken stock with boiling water, add the hot stock to the pan and bring to the boil.

Check the pork is cooked through, then add the bean sprouts and baby bok choy. Add water if the soupy base has evaporated too much – about ½ cup (125 ml) of freshly boiled water should do the trick, but you may not need it.

Arrange the drained noodles equally in two large or four small warmed bowls, ladle over them the pork and vegetables, and finally the soupy stock. Scatter the chopped chili on top and serve. Serves 4.

From Kitchen by Nigella Lawson

This tasty one-pan meal from Canadian Living is great for a weeknight supper. Sprinkle chicken pieces and vegetables with spices, arrange in a roasting pan and bake for 40 minutes. Add more cayenne to boost the heat of the jerk spices.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure your spices don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents.

Mix together spices for the jerk spice blend

Sprinkle chicken and vegetables with spice blend and arrange in roasting pan

Bake until the chicken is done

One-Pan Jerk Chicken Dinner


2 tsp (10 mL) dried thyme

1 tsp (5 mL) garlic powder

¾ tsp (4 mL) salt

½ tsp (2 mL) each ground allspice, ground coriander and ground ginger

¼ tsp (1 mL) pepper

Pinch cayenne pepper

8 skin-on chicken drumsticks, or a mixture of thighs and drums, (about 900 g total)

300 g white or yellow-fleshed potato, (about 1), cut in wedges

300 g sweet potato, (about 1), cut in wedges

1 sweet red pepper, cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick slices

1 small onion, cut in wedges


In small bowl, whisk together thyme, garlic powder, salt, allspice, coriander, ginger, pepper and cayenne pepper.

In plastic bag, add chicken and 4 tsp (20 ml) of the thyme mixture. Holding bag closed, shake to coat chicken.

In lightly greased large roasting pan, toss together white potato, sweet potato, red pepper, onion and remaining thyme mixture; arrange vegetables in single layer. Add chicken.

Roast in 425°F (220°C) oven until juices run clear when chicken is pierced and potatoes are softened, about 40 minutes. Broil until chicken and vegetables are golden, about 3 minutes. Serves 4.

From Canadian Living

While I enjoyed the holiday turkey and prime rib, I wanted to start off the early days of 2016 with some lighter fare. This spicy pasta dish from Cook’s Illustrated fit the bill perfectly. The pepperoncini (pickled hot peppers), tomato paste, red pepper flakes, anchovies and cheese add depth of flavour to pureed canned tomatoes. The sauce takes about 30 minutes to make and can be prepared in advance and refrigerated. Cook’s Note: Anchovies are salty, so consider omitting the added salt.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Unico tomatoes and anchovies are additive-free. I used President’s Choice pickled jalapenos. Check the spices for colour and anti-caking agents and make sure the cheese does not contain colour.

Saute spices, tomato paste, anchovies and peppers

Simmer the sauce for about 20 minutes

Penne Arrabbiata


1 28-ounce (796 ml) can whole peeled tomatoes

¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup (60 ml) stemmed, patted dry, and minced pepperoncini

2 tablespoons (30 ml) tomato paste

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon (5 ml) red pepper flakes

4 anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry, and minced to paste

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) paprika

Salt and pepper

¼ cup (60 ml) grated Pecorino Romano, plus extra for serving

1 pound (454 g) penne


Pulse tomatoes and their juice in food processor until finely chopped, about 10 pulses.

Heat oil, pepperoncini, tomato paste, garlic, pepper flakes, anchovies, paprika, ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt, and ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) pepper in medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until deep red in color, 7 to 8 minutes.

Add tomatoes and Pecorino and bring to simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes.

Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve ½ cup (125 ml) cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot. Add sauce and toss to combine, adjusting consistency with reserved cooking water as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, passing extra Pecorino separately. Serves 4-6.

From Cook’s Illustrated

If you are looking for an easy, make-ahead, refreshing and light dessert for New Year’s, try this cranberry-raspberry mousse from Canadian Living. Simmer the berries with sugar and orange peel until the cranberries have popped, then puree and strain the mixture through a sieve to remove the seeds. Meanwhile, prepare the gelatin and combine it with the berry mixture. Fold in whipped cream, chill for 4 hours and serve!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Knox gelatin is preservative free. Use pure orange juice and whipping cream with no preservatives.

Whip the cream

Fold one-quarter of the whipped cream into the berry-gelatin mixture

Add the rest of the whipped cream

Spoon into serving dishes, chill and serve


2 cups (500 ml) frozen cranberries

2 cups (500 ml) frozen raspberries

1 cup (250 ml) granulated sugar

1 strip orange zest

2 tbsp (30 ml) orange juice

1 pkg gelatin

1-1/2 cups (625 ml) whipping cream, (35%)


In saucepan, bring cranberries, raspberries, sugar, orange zest, orange juice and 2 tbsp (30 ml) water to boil; reduce heat and simmer until cranberries pop, about 6 minutes. Discard orange zest.

In food processor or blender, purée cranberry mixture until smooth. Press through fine sieve into large bowl.

Meanwhile, in small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over ½ (125 ml) cup water; let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Warm over low heat until dissolved, about 1 minute. Stir into cranberry mixture. Place bowl in larger bowl of ice water to chill, stirring frequently, until cold and thickened to consistency of egg whites, about 5 minutes.

Whip cream; whisk one-quarter into cranberry mixture. Fold in remaining whipped cream. Divide among dessert dishes. Cover and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours.

Make-ahead: Refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Serves 8.

From Canadian Living

If you are looking for a quick supper during the holiday season, try this shrimp stir-fry from Real Simple. Once your ingredients are assembled and the rice is ready, dinner will be on the table in 15 minutes. If you can’t find broccolini, use broccoli instead.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Canola oil may have additives, so either use olive oil instead or check the label. Look for frozen shrimp with only salt added. I use Marukan rice vinegar and tamari instead of soy sauce.

Saute the shrimp

Set shrimp aside and then saute the vegetables

Return shrimp to pan and add sauce

Shrimp and broccolini stir-fry with sesame rice


1 cup (250 ml) jasmine or long-grain white rice

1 tablespoon (15 ml) toasted sesame seeds, plus more for serving

3 tablespoons (45 ml) canola oil

1 pound (454 g) peeled and deveined large shrimp (raw)

1 bunch scallions, sliced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon (15 ml) grated fresh ginger

1 small fresh red chili, finely chopped

1 large bunch broccolini, cut into 2-inch pieces

¼ cup (60 ml) rice vinegar

¼ cup (60 ml) soy sauce


Cook the rice according to the package directions. Stir in the sesame seeds.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring often, until opaque throughout, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate; reserve the skillet.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of oil to the reserved skillet. Add the scallions, garlic, ginger, and chili. Cook, stirring often, until the scallions are tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the broccolini and ½ cup (125 ml) water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the broccolini is crisp-tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in the reserved shrimp, vinegar, and soy sauce and cook, tossing frequently, until the sauce coats the shrimp and broccolini, 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve the shrimp and broccolini over the rice, sprinkled with additional sesame seeds. Serves 4.

From Real Simple magazine

Here’s a tasty recipe from Canadian Living’s Best Weekend Pleasures that uses inexpensive chicken legs. Marinate the chicken for up to 12 hours and then bake for about 40 minutes. You can serve with or without the sauce, and add more cayenne if you like heat. Serve with curried rice, cauliflower and peas.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the spices to be sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. Use fresh lemon juice and plain yogurt with no preservatives.

Marinate the chicken for up to 12 hours

Bake in marinade until juices run clear

Indian-spiced chicken legs


6 chicken legs, skinned

2 tsp (10 ml) ground cumin

2 tsp (10 ml) paprika

1 tsp (5 ml) turmeric

½ tsp (2.5 ml) each cayenne and black pepper

1 onion, chopped

3 large cloves garlic

¼ cup (60 ml) lemon juice

1 tbsp (15 ml) vegetable oil

2 tsp (10 ml) sugar

½ tsp (2.5 ml) all-purpose flour

¼ tsp (1 ml) salt

¼ cup (60 ml) plain yogurt


Separate chicken legs at joint. Place in glass bowl and set aside.

In skillet, stir together cumin, paprika, turmeric, cayenne and black pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring, for about 40 seconds or until fragrant. Remove from heat. Stir in onion, garlic, lemon juice, oil and sugar and pour over chicken, turning to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate from 4 to 12 hours, turning often.

Place chicken, meaty side down, in lightly greased roasting pan. Pour on marinade. Bake in 400-degree F (200-degree C) oven for 20 minutes. Turn and bake, basting with pan juices, for another 20 minutes or until chicken is done. Transfer chicken to platter and keep warm.

Set roasting pan over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour and bring to boil. Cook, whisking, for 30 to 40 seconds or until thickened. Stir in salt and yogurt. Do not boil. Pour sauce over chicken. Serves 6.

From Canadian Living’s Best Weekend Pleasures

If you are in the mood for some comfort food, try this baked pasta from Bon Appetit. It includes harissa, a North African hot chili pepper paste made from chipotle and spices. To tone down the spiciness of this dish, use a mild sausage instead of a hot one.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I have not been able to find preservative-free harissa, so I make it from scratch with canned chipotles and spices. The recipe is below. Look for sausage, canned tomatoes and feta with no preservatives. I use President’s Choice “Free From” sausages, Unico tomatoes and Tre Stelle feta.

Brown the sausage and slice into bite-sized pieces

Saute onion

Add tomatoes and other ingredients

Add cooked pasta and feta, transfer to baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes



2 tablespoons (30 ml) sweet paprika

1 chipotle in adobo, minced, plus 1 teaspoon (5 ml) adobo sauce

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons (10 ml) ground cumin

2 teaspoons (10 ml) ground caraway

2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil


1 teaspoon (5 ml) caraway seeds

1 teaspoon (5 ml) cumin seeds

1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil

12 ounces (340 g) hot or sweet Italian sausage

1 medium onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 28-ounce (828 ml) can whole peeled tomatoes

1 tablespoon (15 ml) harissa paste (see recipe above)

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

8 ounces (226 g) medium shell-shaped pasta

3 ounces (85 g) feta, crumbled

A spice mill or a mortar and pestle


Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C)

For the harissa, combine all ingredients into a paste. Set aside.

Grind caraway and cumin in a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle; set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Cook sausage until browned all over but still pink in the center, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Slice into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces.

Add onion to same skillet and cook, stirring often, until soft, 6–8 minutes. Add garlic and reserved spices. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, crushing, and juices, then harissa. Cook until sauce thickens slightly, 6–8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until very al dente (about 3 minutes less than package directions; it will be firm in the center). Drain, reserving ¼ cup (60 ml) cooking liquid.

Add sausage, pasta, and cooking liquid to skillet; toss to coat. Transfer to a 3-qt. (2.8 L) baking dish, top with feta, and bake until top is browned and juices are bubbling, 18–22 minutes. Serves 4.

From Bon Appetit

This hearty salad from Style at Home keeps well because it is made with Israeli couscous, a toasted pasta shaped into tiny balls a little smaller than peas. The recipe is just a guide; you can be very creative with this dish. I skipped roasting the tomatoes, left out the tuna and halloumi, and added sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use freshly squeezed lemon juice and a Dijon mustard without preservatives such as President’s Choice Old Fashioned Dijon. Other ingredients that may include additives are the tuna, beans, artichoke hearts, capers and halloumi.

Toast the dry Israeli couscous to bring out its nutty flavour

You can add lot of ingredients to the couscous, including tomatoes, artichoke hearts and herbs

Toss with a lemony dressing


Lemon chive dressing

2 tbsp (30 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice

¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbsp (30 ml) finely chopped shallots

2 tbsp (30 ml) finely chopped chives

2 tsp (10 ml) lemon zest

1 tsp (5 ml) Dijon mustard

½ tsp (2.5 ml) sea salt

½ tsp (2.5 ml) freshly ground black pepper

For salad

1 pint (250 ml) multicoloured cherry tomatoes

3 tbsp (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 cloves garlic, minced

1- ½ cups (375 ml) uncooked Israeli couscous

1 5-oz jar (150 g) chunk Italian tuna in olive oil

1 18-oz jar (532 ml) large butter beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup (250 ml) quartered fire-roasted marinated artichoke hearts

¼ cup (60 ml) chopped fresh basil leaves

1 tbsp (15 ml) capers, rinsed

9 oz (255 g) halloumi, cut into 6 pieces


Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C0

In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the lemon chive dressing; set aside.

Cut the tomatoes in half and lay them, cut sides up, on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are a little wrinkly but still moist. Allow to cool slightly on the baking sheet.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil in a pot over medium heat; add the garlic and cook until just sizzling.

Add the Israeli couscous and stir to coat in the garlic oil. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring, until lightly toasted and then add 2 cups (500 ml) cold water. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the couscous is tender. Remove from the heat, stirring to fluff.

Pour the lemon chive dressing over the couscous and stir to combine. Add the roasted cherry tomatoes, tuna, butter beans, artichoke hearts, basil and capers. Stir gently to combine.

Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Grill the halloumi slices for 1 to 2 minutes per side, until golden. Serve the Israeli couscous salad warm, topped with the grilled halloumi. Serves 4 to 6.

From Style at Home

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