This is another delicious chicken recipe from Nothing Fancy by Alison Roman. Brown a whole chicken or chicken pieces in a Dutch oven. Add lemon and shallot slices, cook for a few minutes and then add dates, thyme and water. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, cover and cook for about 25 minutes. Remove the lid, drizzle with oil and roast uncovered for another 20-30 minutes. Serve the chicken with the shallots, lemon and dates, sprinkled with thyme and sea salt.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the dates to make sure they don’t contain sulfites. I use Parnoosh dates, which are additive-free. Make sure your pepper flakes don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents.

Brown the chicken, then add lemon slices, shallots, dates, thyme and roast in oven.

After 20-24 minutes, remove lid, drizzle with oil and cook another 20-30 minutes.

One-pot chicken with dates and caramelized lemon

Ingredients:

3 ½ -4 lb. (1.58-1.8 g) chicken or 3 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or legs

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons (60 ml) olive oil, divided

1 lemon, cut into thick slices crosswise, seeds removed

2 shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise

4-6 medjool dates (3 oz./85 g), pitted

4 sprigs fresh thyme plus more for serving

1 cup (250 ml) water

1 teaspoon (5 ml) crushed red pepper flakes

Flaky sea salt for serving

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (218 C) with rack in the middle.

Season chicken all over with kosher salt and black pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons (30 ml) oil in a large (at least 8 quart/7.5 L) Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Place the chicken in the pot breast side up, and using your tongs or hands (be careful!), press lightly to make sure the skin comes into even contact with the pot bottom. This is your chance to brown the legs and render that excess fat! It’s rarely offered in whole-chicken recipes, so take advantage. If using chicken parts, just sear the chicken skin-side down.

Cook, without moving, until the chicken is nice and browned, about 5-8 minutes. Seriously, no peeking! Nothing exciting will happen before 5 minutes, I promise you.

Add the lemon slices and shallot, maneuvering the chicken however you need so that the slices come into contact with the bottom of the pot. Let everything sizzle in the chicken fat until lightly caramelized, about 2 minutes.

Add the dates, thyme sprigs and water. Sprinkle red pepper over chicken; cover. Roast in oven until dates are plump, the lemon is jammy and chicken is almost but not totally cooked, 20-25 minutes.

Remove the lid and drizzle the chicken with the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of oil. Return to the oven and bake, uncovered until liquid has reduced by half and chicken is golden brown, 20-30 minutes.

Let chicken rest in the pot for 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and carve. Serve along with the shallot, lemons and dates, with some more thyme and flaky sea salt sprinkled over. Serves 4-6.

From Nothing Fancy by Alison Roman

This dish from the New York Times is quick, easy and a good way to use up that leftover cabbage in the fridge. Dredge beef in garlic, brown sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir fry the beef and set aside. Cook the cabbage until tender, stir in vinegar and return steak to pan. Serve over rice, garnished with sesame seeds and scallions.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use tamari instead of soy sauce. I used Eden Organic red wine vinegar instead of sherry vinegar.

Dredge the beef

Stir fry the beef and set aside

Stir fry the cabbage

Black pepper beef and cabbage stir fry

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon (15 ml) whole black peppercorns, coarsely crushed with the bottom of a cup or pan

3 garlic cloves, grated

2 teaspoons (10 ml) light brown sugar

1 teaspoon (5 ml) cornstarch

Kosher salt

¾ pound (340 g) sirloin steak, thinly sliced crosswise

3 tablespoons(45 ml) sunflower oil or other neutral oil

2 tablespoons (30 ml) soy sauce

½ head small green cabbage (about 8 ounces/226 g), thinly sliced

1 tablespoon (15 ml) sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon (15 ml) toasted sesame seeds, crushed with your fingertips

2 scallions, thinly sliced

Cooked rice, for serving

Preparation:

Add peppercorns, garlic, brown sugar, cornstarch and 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt to a medium bowl and stir to combine. Add sliced steak and toss to coat.

Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add steak and cook, stirring frequently, until some of the edges are lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add soy sauce and toss beef to coat, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer beef to a bowl or plate.

Add cabbage to skillet, spread in an even layer and let cook, undisturbed, for 1 minute so that some pieces caramelize in the pan. Toss and cook cabbage, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in vinegar and season with salt.

Add steak and any juices back to the skillet, and stir until well combined with the cabbage and warmed through, about 1 minute. Top with toasted sesame seeds and scallions; serve with rice. Serves 2-4.

From the New York Times

It doesn’t get much faster or easier than this recipe from Kitchn. Pre-heat the oven with a baking sheet inside. Meanwhile, make the honey-Dijon dressing, halve the potatoes and chop the chicken, broccoli and onion. Toss the potatoes in oil and salt and roast on the pre-heated baking sheet for 15 minutes. Add the chicken and vegetables and toss with half the dressing. Roast for 10 minutes, toss with the rest of the dressing and then roast for another 5-10 minutes or until the chicken is done. I used chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use pure honey. I used President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon whole-grained mustard and Eden Organic red wine vinegar instead of white wine vinegar.

After potatoes cook for 15 minutes, add chicken, broccoli, onion and sauce

Sheet-pan honey-Dijon chicken with vegetables

Ingredients:

1/3 cup (85 ml) honey

¼ cup (60 ml) Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons (30 ml) whole-grain mustard

1 tablespoon (15 ml) white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon (5 ml) kosher salt, divided

¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) freshly ground black pepper

1 pound (454 g) small red potatoes, halved

2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil, divided

1 ½ pounds (680 g) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 pound (454 g) broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets

1 small red onion, cut into 1-inch (2.54-cm) pieces

Preparation:

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425°F (218°C). Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven while it is heating.

Whisk the honey, Dijon, whole-grain mustard, vinegar, pepper, and ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) of the salt in a small bowl; set aside.

Place the potatoes, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the oil, and ¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) of the salt in a large bowl and toss to combine. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and arrange the potatoes in a single layer, cut-side down. Return to the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, place the chicken, broccoli, red onion, remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil and remaining ¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) salt in the same bowl and toss to combine.

Add the chicken, broccoli, and red onion to the baking sheet. Pour half the honey-Dijon mixture over the chicken and vegetables and toss to evenly coat them in the sauce. Spread the chicken and veggies into a single layer.

Roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, toss with the remaining honey-Dijon mixture, and spread back into an even layer. Roast until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes more. Serves 4.

From Kitchn

This is a delicious vegetarian salad from Bon Appetit that feeds a crowd. Cook Israeli couscous, which is small pasta about the size of peas. Grill fresh corn and slices of Halloumi cheese (or cook in a cast iron or grill pan on top of the stove). Remove the kernels from the cobs and toss with the couscous, halloumi, scallions, herbs and toasted walnuts. Toss with a lemon and wine vinegar dressing and enjoy.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the nuts and Halloumi for preservatives. I used Eden Organic red wine vinegar. Use freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Corn and Israeli couscous salad with Halloumi

Ingredients:

1 cup (250 ml) walnuts

1 cup (250 ml) Israeli couscous

Kosher salt

4 ears of corn, husked

2 tablespoons (30 ml) plus ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil, divided

Freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces (226 g) Halloumi cheese, sliced lengthwise ¾-inch (1.9-cm) thick

3 scallions, thinly sliced

½ cup (125 ml) coarsely chopped fresh parsley

¼ cup (60 ml) basil leaves

¼ cup (60 ml) mint leaves

2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons (30 ml) or more white wine vinegar

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 F (177 C). Toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop.

Cook Israeli couscous in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions. Drain (do not rinse) and spread out on a baking sheet to let cool.

Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Rub corn with 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning occasionally, until lightly charred and tender, 8–10 minutes. Transfer to a platter and let cool.

Meanwhile, brush cheese with 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) oil and grill, turning once, until lightly charred in spots, about 5 minutes. Transfer to platter with corn; let cool.

Cut kernels from cobs and place in a large bowl. Add scallions, parsley, basil, mint, walnuts, and couscous. Using your hands, tear Halloumi into bite-size pieces; add to bowl and toss to combine. Add lemon juice, vinegar, and remaining ¼ cup (60 ml) oil. Toss to coat; season with salt, pepper, and more vinegar, if desired. Serves 8.

From Bon Appetit

This vegetarian dish from the New York Times is bursting with flavor from broccolini, tomatoes, onion, cumin, salty feta and fresh herbs. Serve over cooked orzo or farro.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the cumin and red-pepper flakes to make sure they do not contain colour or anti-caking agents. Tre Stelle feta is additive-free.

Arrange the ingredients on a sheet pan

Serve over baked orzo or farro

Ingredients:

1 bunch broccolini, ends trimmed, thick stalks split lengthwise, or broccoli, stalks trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces

2 cups (500 ml) grape tomatoes, halved

1 small red onion, peeled, quartered and cut into 2-inch (5-cm) wedges

1 lemon, ½ cut into thin rounds and the remaining ½ left intact, for serving

3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil, plus more for serving

1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cumin

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) red-pepper flakes

Kosher salt and black pepper

2 (6- to 8-ounce/170- 226-g) blocks feta, cut into 1-inch (2.54-cm) slices

Cooked orzo or farro, for serving

½ cup (125 ml) fresh basil or cilantro leaves and fine stems, roughly chopped (optional)

Preparation:

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) with a rack set in the lower third. On a sheet pan, combine the broccolini, tomatoes, onion and lemon slices with the olive oil and toss. Add cumin and red-pepper flakes, season with salt and pepper, and toss again until evenly coated. Nestle the feta slices into the vegetables.

Roast 15 to 20 minutes, stirring halfway through but leaving the feta in place, until the broccolini is charred at the tips, the stems are easily pierced with a fork and the tomato skins start to blister and break down.

Serve over orzo or farro. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with the remaining lemon half for squeezing. Top with fresh herbs, if using. Serves 4.

From the New York Times

I have a major weakness for cookbooks and just added America’s Test Kitchen’s Bowls to my collection. Bowls combine vegetables, protein and sauce over a base of greens, rice, grains or noodles. I like this cookbook because suggests many ways to customize your bowl, as well as tips on improvising and presentation. In this recipe, spicy Chinese noodles are topped with vegetables, shrimp, scallions and cilantro. I omitted the carrot.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use tamari instead of soy sauce and ensure the noodles are additive-free. I used dried chow mein noodles and frozen shrimp with only salt added. Check the curry powder for colour and anti-caking agents. You can also make your own.

Cook the shrimp and set aside

Cook the vegetables and set aside

Toss noodles with sauce, curry powder, garlic and ginger

Top noodles with shrimp, peppers, scallions, cilantro and a lime wedge

Ingredients:

¼ cup (60 ml) water

2 tsp (10 ml) soy sauce

1 ½ tsp (7.5 ml) sugar

1 tsp (5 ml) lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving

6 ounces (170 g) fresh or dried Chinese noodles

4 tsp (20 ml) vegetable oil, divided

½ red bell pepper, sliced thin

1 small carrot, peeled and cut into 2-inch-long (5-cm-long) matchsticks

1 tbsp (15 ml) curry powder

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ tsp (2.5 ml) grated fresh ginger

¾ cup (185 ml) sautéed shrimp

¼ cup (60 ml) cilantro leaves

1 scallion, sliced thin on the bias

Preparation:

Whisk water, soy sauce, sugar and lime juice together in small bowl until sugar is dissolved; set aside. Bring 2 quarts (2 L) water to boil in large saucepan. Add noodles and cook, stirring often, until nearly tender. Drain noodles and rinse thoroughly with cold water; set aside.

Heat 1 tsp (5 ml) oil in 12-inch (30-cm) nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add bell pepper and carrot and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes; transfer to bowl, cover with aluminum foil and set aside until ready to serve.

Add remaining 1 tbsp (15 ml) oil, curry powder, garlic and ginger to now-empty skillet and cook over medium heat until fragrant, 15 to 30 seconds. Add soy sauce mixture and noodles, tossing to coat noodles with sauce, and cook until liquid is absorbed but noodles are still glossy, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide among individual bowls, then top with vegetable mixture and shrimp and sprinkle with cilantro and scallions. Serve with lime wedges. Serves 2.

From Bowls by America’s Test Kitchen

Parchment packets are a great way to cook fish, because they keep the fish moist. This recipe from Half Baked Harvest tops thin slices of potato and zucchini with salmon fillets, oil, garlic, lemon, herbs and olives. Bake for about 20 minutes and dinner is on the table. Cook’s note: I omitted the dill and used regular paprika.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the paprika to make sure it doesn’t contain colour, flavour or anti-caking agents. Look for preservative-free Kalamata olives, such as Pilaros brand. I use Tre Stelle feta, which is additive-free.

Place salmon on top of sliced potatoes and zucchini and drizzle with oil mixture

Top with lemon and olives

Parchment packets keep the fish moist

Top with feta and greens

Ingredients:

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced or grated

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped fresh dill

2 tsp (10 ml) smoked paprika

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 small russet potato, very thinly sliced into ¼-inch (0.6-cm) rounds

1 small zucchini, thinly sliced

4 (6-8 oz./170-226 g) salmon fillets, skin removed

1 lemon, sliced

1/3 cup (85 ml) pitted Kalamata olives

4 oz. (113 g) feta cheese, crumbled

Crushed red pepper flakes

Fresh arugula and basil, for serving

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 400 F (204 C).

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, dill, smoked paprika and a pinch each of salt and pepper.

Place a large square of parchment paper (about 15 x 15 inches/38 x 38 cm) on clean work surface. On one half of the paper, arrange one-quarter of the potato slices in an even layer (about the size of your piece of fish) and season with salt and pepper. Layer one-quarter of the zucchini on top of the potato and season with salt and pepper. Place one salmon fillet on top of the zucchini, drizzle with the olive oil mixture and top with 2 lemon slices. Scatter a few olives around the fish. Repeat with the remaining parchment and ingredients

Fold the bare half of the parchment over the salmon and fold in the open edges twice (I staple the edges to make sure the packages stay closed). Place then packets on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the potatoes are tender, 18 to 20 minutes.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Transfer the packets to plates and open carefully, tearing away and discarding the top half of the paper. Serve with crumbed feta, red pepper flakes and fresh arugula and basil on top. Serves 4.

From Half Baked Harvest

Bon Appetit calls this salad “healthyish” because it is made with poached chicken, lots of greens and a tahini-lime dressing. Light and delicious!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use freshly squeezed lime juice, tahini that contains only sesame seeds and tamari instead of soy sauce. Make sure the sesame seeds and pepper flakes do not contain any preservatives.

Make the dressing

Toss the greens with the dressing

Shred the poached chicken

Poached chicken salad

Ingredients:

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (1–1½ lb./454-680 g total)

3 Tbsp. (45 ml) kosher salt, plus more

3 scallions, thinly sliced on a deep diagonal

3 Persian cucumbers

½ cup (125 ml) toasted sesame seeds, divided

2 Tbsp. (30 ml) fresh lime juice

2 Tbsp. (30 ml) tahini

1 Tbsp. (15 ml) soy sauce

1 tsp. (5 ml) honey

¼ tsp. (1.25 ml) crushed red pepper flakes

¼ head of romaine or green or red leaf lettuce or 1 head of Little Gem lettuce

Big handful of cilantro leaves with tender stems

½ lime (for serving)

Preparation:

Bring chicken, 3 Tbsp. (45 ml) kosher salt, and 5 cups (1.2 L) water to a bare simmer in a medium pot over medium heat (chicken should be submerged). Once liquid begins to simmer, reduce heat to low and cook (water should not be simmering at all now) until juices run clear when thickest part of chicken is pierced, 8–10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a medium bowl; discard poaching liquid. Let chicken cool slightly, then shred meat into big pieces; set aside.

Meanwhile, place scallions in a small bowl and pour in very cold water to cover; let soak 10 minutes. Drain scallions in a mesh sieve or colander, then rinse under cold running water, swishing vigorously to encourage them to curl up. Shake off as much water as possible and place in a large bowl; set aside.

Working one at a time, slice cucumbers in half crosswise, then slice each piece in half lengthwise. Place quarters cut side down and slice in half lengthwise again to create 8 pieces total per cucumber. Add to bowl with reserved chicken.

Set 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) sesame seeds aside in a small bowl for serving. Crush remaining sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle until some of the seeds have turned to powder, but with plenty of whole seeds left. (Alternatively, pulse seeds a few times in a food processor or spice mill, then transfer to a medium bowl before proceeding). Add lime juice, tahini, soy sauce, honey and red pepper flakes and mash to create a paste. Add ¼ cup (60 ml) water and whisk to combine (if you don’t have a small enough whisk, work in with the pestle). Taste and season with salt.

Add lettuce and cilantro to bowl with reserved scallions. Pour half of dressing over greens and toss to coat. Arrange on a platter. Pour remaining dressing over chicken and cucumbers, toss to coat, and arrange over greens. Top salad with reserved 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) sesame seeds and squeeze juice from lime half over. Serves 2-4.

From Bon Appetit

Tomatoes + corn + fresh herbs = summer. And when you add shrimp, garlic, hot pepper, wine and butter, you have a lovely dish that can be served over pasta or with crusty bread. I served this recipe from the New York Times over cooked linguine.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used frozen shrimp with only salt added and a wine from Frogpond Farm with a sulfite level of fewer than 10 parts per million. Use freshly squeezed lemon juice and butter that does not contain colour.

Cook the shrimp and set aside

Cook the corn and tomatoes

Add the shrimp back in and heat through

Top with herbs and serve over pasta or rice

Ingredients:

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

Kosher salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1 pint (500 ml) cherry or grape tomatoes

2 cups (500 ml) fresh or frozen corn kernels (from 4 ears)

5 garlic cloves, minced

½ teaspoon (5 ml) red-pepper flakes

¼ cup (60 ml) dry white wine

2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon), plus wedges for serving (optional)

5 tablespoons (75 ml) unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces

3 tablespoons (45 ml) chopped parsley or chives, or torn basil leaves

Preparation:

Pat the shrimp very dry and season with salt and pepper. In a large (12-inch/30-cm) skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Add the shrimp and cook until pink and lightly golden in spots, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the shrimp to a plate.

Add the tomatoes to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring just once or twice, until they start to blister in spots, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the corn, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring just once or twice, until the tomatoes burst and the corn is golden in spots, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the garlic and red-pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until you smell garlic, about 1 minute.

Reduce heat to medium, and add the wine and lemon juice, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until nearly evaporated, then add the butter and stir until melted. Add the shrimp and its juices and stir until warmed through. (If the sauce breaks and looks greasy, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of water and stir until emulsified.)

Remove from heat, add the herbs, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with extra lemon for squeezing over, if you like. Serves 4.

From the New York Times

This is a great recipe from Half Baked Harvest. Cook ground chicken and then add garlic, ginger, peppers and cashews. Cook for a few minutes and then add tamari, fish sauce, chili paste and honey. Cook until the sauce thickens, then remove from heat and add the herbs. I omitted the mint and mango.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used tamari instead of soy sauce, Simply Organic sriracha and Cock brand fish sauce. Check to make sure the oil and the almonds don’t contain additives.

Brown the chicken

Add the garlic, ginger, peppers and cashews and then the sauce

Remove from heat and add the herbs

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons (30 ml) sesame or peanut oil

1 pound (454 g) ground chicken

Black pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced or grated

1 inch (2.54-cm) fresh ginger, grated

2 red or orange bell peppers, chopped

½ cup (125 ml) raw cashews

½ cup (125 ml) low sodium soy sauce or tamari

2 tablespoons (30 ml) fish sauce

¼ cup (60 ml) honey

2-3 tablespoons (30-45 ml) chili paste

1 cup (250 ml) fresh basil, roughly torn

¼ cup (60 ml) fresh mint, roughly torn

Steamed white or brown rice, for serving

1 mango, thinly sliced or diced

Preparation:

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken. Season with black pepper and brown all over, breaking the chicken up as it cooks, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, peppers, and cashews, cook another 2-3 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant. Pour in the soy sauce, fish sauce, chili paste, and honey. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the sauce coats the chicken, about 5-8 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the basil and mint.

Serve the chicken and sauce over bowls of rice. Top with mangos and additional basil. Serves 4.

From Half Baked Harvest

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