Archive for January, 2016

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