This recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s new cookbook, Simple, is simply fantastic. Cut potatoes into fries and parboil. Toss with oil and salt and bake for about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, fry sliced garlic in oil until golden. Toss the potatoes with the oil and bake for another few minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with dried oregano and feta and serve. So good!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use a brand of feta cheese with all-natural ingredients.

Parboil potatoes and place on parchment-lined baking sheet

Bake until tender and golden, then toss with garlic oil

Sprinkle with oregano and feta and serve

Ingredients:

4 ½ lbs (2 kg) yellow potatoes, unpeeled and cut into ¾-inch- (2-cm-) wide fries

6 tbsp (90 ml) sunflower or canola oil

Flaked sea salt

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 tsp (10 ml) dried oregano

5 ¼ oz (150 g) feta, roughly crumbled

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450 F (232 C).

Place a large pot filled with plenty of salted water over high heat. Once boiling, add the potatoes and cook for 7-8 minutes, until starting to soften at the edges but still holding their shape. Drain and set aside to dry out for 5 minutes, then transfer to a large bowl. Add the sunflower or canola oil along with 1 tbsp (15 ml) salt (I used less; about 1 tsp/5 ml) and mix well.

Tip the potatoes and oil onto two large parchment-lined baking sheets, so that they are not overcrowded and bake for 40-50 minutes, stirring a few times, until golden brown and crisp.

About 5 minutes before the fries are ready, heat the olive oil and garlic in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Fry gently for 3-4 minutes, until the garlic is pale golden brown. Take the cooked fries out of the oven and pour the olive oil and garlic over them, then return to the oven for a further 4 minutes. Remove from the oven and, while piping hot, sprinkle with the oregano and feta. Serve at once. Serves 6.

From Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi

This dish from The New York Times is as tasty and soothing as a bowl of chicken noodle soup. Marinate chicken drumsticks, brown them and set aside. Cook the onion and then add orzo and broth. Cook for a few minutes, then place the drumsticks on top and cover the pan. Cook until the chicken is done, the orzo is tender and most of the liquid is gone. Remove from the heat and scatter cucumber, feta and dill over the top.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I use Imagine Organic brand chicken stock and President’s Choice green olives stuffed with garlic. Look for a feta cheese with all-natural ingredients.

Brown the chicken

Cook the onion

Add the orzo

Return the chicken to the pan and cook until it is done

Chicken drumsticks with orzo, feta and dill

Ingredients:

2 lemons

5 tablespoons (75 ml) olive oil

3 garlic cloves, smashed

1 teaspoon (5 ml) kosher salt

1 teaspoon (5 ml) black pepper

2 pounds (907 g) chicken drumsticks (about 6 drumsticks)

1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped

2 cups (500 ml) orzo

3 cups (750 ml) chicken broth or water

2 small or 1 large thin-skinned (English) cucumbers, chopped

5 ounces (141 g) feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 ¼ cups/310 ml)

2 tablespoons (30 ml) chopped fresh dill

Castelvetrano or other green olives, for serving

Preparation:

Cut one of the lemons into wedges and set aside. Juice the remaining lemon and combine with 3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, in a large resealable plastic bag or in a bowl, along with the chicken pieces. Seal and shake the bag (or stir in the bowl) to coat. Set aside for 30 minutes, or refrigerate up to overnight.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade, letting the excess drip off, and cook until lightly golden all over, turning when the chicken releases easily from the pan, about 12 minutes total. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add the onion to the pan and stir to coat with the remaining fat. Decrease heat to medium and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in the orzo and the broth or water. Cook until the liquid is partly absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Top with the chicken legs and cover with a lid or foil. Continue cooking until the orzo is tender, most of the liquid is absorbed, and the chicken is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes more, depending on the size of your drumsticks. Remove from the heat and scatter the cucumber, feta and dill over the top. Serve from the skillet with lemon wedges and olives.

From the New York Times

This recipe from Kitchn is an excellent side dish or vegetarian main course. Cook orzo pasta and set it aside, then sauté diced sweet potato, onion, garlic, ginger and mushrooms. Toss with tamari, balsamic vinegar and oil and return the orzo to the pan, cooking until it turns brown and toasty. Add some chopped kale or other hardy green, heat until it wilts and serve.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for a balsamic vinegar that contains only naturally occurring sulfites and use tamari instead of soy sauce.

Sauté the yam and onion

Add the garlic and ginger and continue to cook

Add mushrooms, cook to soften them and then add cooked orzo

Add chopped kale or other hardy greens and heat until wilted

Ingredients:

Salt

8 ounces (227 g) orzo pasta

Grapeseed, peanut, or vegetable oil

1 large sweet potato (about 12 ounces/340 g), diced

2 medium onions (about 1 pound/454 g total), finely diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon (15 ml) peeled and grated fresh ginger

6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps diced

1 tablespoon (15 ml) balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons (30 ml) soy sauce

3 big leaves Swiss chard or kale, stalks removed and leaves finely chopped (about 2 cups/500 ml)

Freshly ground black pepper

Shaved Parmesan cheese (optional)

Preparation:

Heat a large pot of water to boiling and salt it generously. Cook the orzo until barely al dente, about 6 to 7 minutes. Drain and toss with a generous drizzle of oil so that the grains of orzo are lightly coated with oil; set aside.

Heat a large sauté or frying pan (the largest you have — you want plenty of room and hot surface) over high heat. Drizzle in a little grapeseed or vegetable oil (not olive oil — you want an oil with a high smoke point) and heat until very hot. Add the sweet potatoes and arrange them in a single layer. Cook over high heat until they begin to caramelize and turn brown, about 4 minutes. Flip the sweet potatoes and cook for 3 minutes more.

Turn the heat down to medium and push the sweet potatoes up in a pile against one side of the pan. Add the onions to the center of the pan and season lightly with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are beginning to turn brown. Add the garlic and ginger and stir them into the onions. Push the onions off to the side of the pan, next to the sweet potatoes, where they will continue to caramelize.

Add the mushrooms to the hot center of the pan and cook for 4 minutes without turning them. Stir the mushrooms and cook for 4 minutes. At this point everything should be getting well-cooked; the onions should be quite dark brown and the garlic should be golden and soft. The potatoes should be softening.

Whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, and 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of oil. Pour this into the pan with the vegetables and mix everything together, scraping the bottom as you go. Cook for 3 minutes.

Turn the heat up to high, as high as it will go. Add the orzo gradually, shaking in a cup at a time, and stirring and scraping constantly. Cook, letting the orzo get browned on the bottom of the pan, then scraping it up, for about 5 minutes. You are developing a little more color and flavor on the pasta, and helping all the flavors combine.

Add the greens and cook until they’re barely wilted, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat, taste, and season as needed. Serve hot, with shavings of Parmesan if desired. Serves 4-6.

From Kitchn

I love sheet pan dinners. A protein, some veggies a nice sauce and dinner is ready. If you line the baking sheet with parchment or heavy-duty foil, you can even avoid washing it! This recipe from Canadian Living is quick, healthy and colourful. Make a quick vinaigrette with wine vinegar, mustard and shallots and toss some of it with green beans and cherry tomatoes. Place salmon on the lined baking sheet, surround it with the beans and tomatoes and bake until the fish is cooked through. Top with olives, capers and parsley and serve.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used Eden Organic red wine vinegar and President’s Choice Old Fashioned Dijon. Unico caper are additive-free, as are Silver Leaf Kalamata olives.

Arrange salmon, beans and tomatoes on a lined baking sheet

Bake until the salmon is cooked through

Sheet pan Mediterranean salmon

Ingredients:

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

3 tbsp (45 ml) red wine or white wine vinegar

1 tbsp (15 ml) grainy mustard

1 shallot, finely chopped

½ tsp (2.5 ml) each salt and pepper

1 skin-on salmon fillet, about 1 lb (454 g)

¼ tsp (1.25 ml) each salt and pepper

3 cups (750 ml) green beans, trimmed

3 cups (75 ml) cherry tomatoes

¼ cup (60 ml) chopped parsley

¼ cup (60 ml) pitted black olives

Caper berries for garnish

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425 F (218 C). Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

For the vinaigrette, whisk together oil, vinegar, mustard, shallot, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Reserve ¼ cup (60 ml).

Arrange salmon, skin side down, on prepared pan; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss green beans and cherry tomatoes with remaining vinaigrette and then scatter them around the salmon.

Bake until fish flakes easily when tested and vegetables are tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Flake fish into large pieces. Sprinkle with parsley, olives and capers (if using).

Divide fish and vegetables among plates; drizzle with reserved vinaigrette. Serves 4.

From Canadian Living

This recipe from the New York Times is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner. Cook the noodles, make the sauce and set aside. Then stir fry beef, ginger and spices and set aside. Cook the vegetables, return the beef and noodles to the pan and toss with the sauce. I substituted red pepper for the carrots.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use tamari instead of soy sauce, which usually contains sodium benzoate.

Make sauce

Cook noodles and set aside

Cook beef and set aside

Add vegetables and cook until tender

Return beef and noodles to the pan and add sauce

Beef and broccoli lo mein

Ingredients:

1 (8-ounce/227 g) package lo mein noodles

Salt

3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced

¼ cup (60 ml) soy sauce

¼ cup (60 ml) dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons (30 ml) canola or grapeseed oil

1 pound (454 g) chuck or rib steak, thinly sliced against the grain

1 (1-inch/2.5-cm) piece of ginger, peeled and cut into rounds

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) black pepper

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) red-pepper flakes

1 head broccoli, cut into small florets (about 3 heaping cups)

2 carrots, shredded

3 scallions or green onions, thinly sliced

2 to 3 teaspoons (10 to 15 ml) sesame oil (optional)

1 lime, cut in wedges, for serving

Preparation:

Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling, salted water until tender, about 4 minutes, or according to package instructions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Meanwhile, stir together the garlic, soy sauce and brown sugar, and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the oil in a large wok or skillet until hot and shimmering. Add the beef, ginger, black pepper and red-pepper flakes, and cook until crisp on the outside but still pink inside, 2 minutes. Season with salt, and move to a plate.

Add remaining oil to the wok and heat until shimmering. Add the broccoli and cook, tossing until crisp-tender, 2 minutes. Add ¼ cup (60 ml) water and steam the broccoli until bright green and some of the liquid has evaporated, 2 minutes more. Add the noodles, beef, ginger, carrots and soy sauce mixture to the pan, and toss over medium heat until coated and thickened a little, about 1 to 2 minutes. Salt to taste. Sprinkle with scallions, and drizzle with sesame oil, if using. Toss to coat and serve warm, with lime. Serves 4.

From the New York Times

This recipe from the New York Times combines tasty chicken thighs with caramelized lemon and shallots, white beans and kale. Brown the thighs, then set aside while you caramelize the lemon slices and shallot. Add the beans and then the kale, which will wilt slightly. Return the chicken to the pan, heat it through and serve!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the beans do not contain preservatives. PC Blue Menu beans are a good choice.

Toss the lemon and shallot with salt and pepper

Brown the chicken thighs and set aside

Saute the lemon and shallot

Add the beans and kale

Return chicken to pan, heat through and serve

Ingredients:

1 lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed

1 shallot, peeled and cut into thin wedges

Kosher salt and black pepper

2 ½ pounds (1.13 kg) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or breasts (about 4 to 6)

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 (15-ounce/443 ml) can small white beans (such as Great Northern, navy or cannellini) or chickpeas

1 bunch kale, ribs removed, leaves torn into large pieces

Flaky sea salt

Olive oil, for drizzling

Preparation:

Toss lemon slices and shallots together in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper; set aside. (This will lightly pickle the shallot and soften the lemon while you cook the chicken.)

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add chicken, skin-side down. Using kitchen tongs or a spatula, press the chicken evenly into the skillet so it makes good contact with the hot surface (which will promote browning). Cook, resisting the urge to check too frequently, until the skin is deeply golden brown (think of the color of a well-baked croissant), 5 to 8 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken pieces. At this stage, most of the fat should be rendered and the skin should be crispy. Flip and continue to cook until pieces are cooked through, another 7 to 10 minutes.

Using kitchen tongs, transfer chicken to a plate to rest, leaving all the fat behind. Add lemon and shallot to the chicken fat, standing back if you need because it will sizzle. Cook, swirling the skillet, until the lemon has started to caramelize and brown, 3 to 5 minutes. (It’ll smell like a mix of lemonade and caramel.)

Add the beans to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the beans have started to brown a bit and soak up all of that caramelized lemon chicken fat, 3 to 4 minutes. Working in batches, add kale and toss to wilt, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go.

Return the chicken to the skillet, along with any juices that have collected on the plate, and cook for a minute or two, just so everything gets to know each other in there.

Divide the chicken, beans and kale between plates, making sure to top each serving with a few lemon slices. Sprinkle with flaky salt and a final few turns of pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Serves 4.

From the New York Times

In this recipe from the New York Times, farro (a type of wheat grain) is cooked on top of the stove then topped with salmon fillets. While the salmon steams, toss cucumbers, radicchio and dill with a lemony dressing. The farro turns out savour and chewy, the salmon is moist and the salad adds colour and crunch.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

All ingredients in this recipe are additive-free.

Cook onion and farro until grain is toasty

Add water and simmer

Meanwhile, make salad

Farro is done when most of the water is absorbed and the grain is al dente

Place salmon fillet on top of farro, cover and steam

Remove skin from salmon before serving

Farro with salmon, cucumber, radicchio and dill

Ingredients:

5 tablespoons (75 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

1 onion, finely chopped (1 cup/250 ml)

Kosher salt and black pepper

2 cups (500 ml) farro (12 ounces/340 g), rinsed and drained

1 lemon

3 mini (or Persian) seedless cucumbers (7 ounces/198 g)

1 small head radicchio (5 ounces/141 g)

⅓ cup (75 ml) packed finely chopped dill

4 boneless salmon fillets (4 ounces/113g each, and about 1-inch/2.5 cm thick)

Preparation:

Heat 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of the oil in a large straight-sided skillet with a lid over medium heat. Add onion, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until starting to turn clear, about 3 minutes. Add farro, sprinkle with salt, and cook, stirring, until the pan is dry and the farro smells toasty, about 2 minutes. Stir in 2 ½ cups (725 ml) water. Bring to a boil, then cover skillet, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, zest the lemon into a large bowl, then squeeze in its juice. Cut the cucumbers in quarters lengthwise, then slice into ½ -inch (1.25 cm) slices crosswise (you should have 2 cups/500 ml); add to the bowl. Quarter and core the radicchio, then thinly slice into ¼ -inch (0.67 cm) strips (you should have 3 cups/750 ml); add to the bowl. Add dill, remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper to the bowl, and toss until evenly coated.

When the farro is done, season the salmon with salt and pepper. Uncover the farro. Most of the water should be absorbed and the grains should be al dente. Set the salmon on top of the farro in a single layer, skin side up if applicable. Cover and steam to desired doneness, 6 to 7 minutes for medium-rare. Remove from the heat. If your salmon has skin, grip a corner with a paper towel and peel off and discard; repeat with the remaining fillets. The skin should come off easily in a single piece.

Divide the farro and salmon among bowls, flaking the salmon into pieces if you like, and top with the cucumber salad. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.

From the New York Times

This recipe from Bon Appetit is easy, tasty and pretty. Cook whole peppers in a hot cast iron skillet until they start to brown, then cool and slice. Return the peppers to the skillet with shallot, chile and thyme and set a whole chicken on top. Roast until the chicken is done and then serve the carved chicken over the beautifully soft and luscious vegetables.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Everything in this recipe is additive-free.

Cook peppers until they begin to colour

Slice peppers and place in skillet with shallot and thyme

Top with whole chicken and roast

Roast chicken with bell peppers, lemon and thyme

Ingredients:

4 large bell peppers (any colour)

1 large shallot, thinly sliced

1 Fresno chile, thinly sliced crosswise

5 sprigs thyme, divided

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

¼ cup (60 ml) plus 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1 3½–4-lb. (1.6-1.8 kg) chicken, patted dry

1 lemon, halved

Preparation:

Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 425° F (218° C). Heat a large ovenproof skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high. Cook bell peppers in skillet, turning every minute or two, until blistered in several spots, about 5 minutes. (You aren’t trying to cook them, just get some color on them.) Transfer bell peppers to a cutting board and let cool slightly; reserve skillet. Stand a pepper upright and slice off sides, working your way around stem in 3 or 4 cuts. Pull out ribs and seeds; discard along with stems. Repeat with remaining peppers.

Return peppers to skillet and add shallot, chile, and 3 thyme sprigs. Season generously with salt and black pepper and drizzle ¼ cup (60 ml) oil over. Season chicken all over with salt and black pepper and set on top of peppers. Place a lemon half and remaining 2 thyme sprigs in chicken cavity and rub skin all over with remaining 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) oil. Roast in oven until skin is golden brown and crisp all over and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of breast registers 160° F  (71° C), 60–80 minutes. Remove from oven (be careful; handle is hot!) and let rest 15 minutes before transferring chicken to a cutting board and carving.

Just before serving, squeeze remaining lemon half over chicken and bell peppers. Serves 4.

From Bon Appetit

This delicious salad from Bon Appetit features grilled corn tossed with a spicy dressing, avocado, chile and cilantro. If you don’t have a barbecue, just cut the kernels from the cobs and sauté them in the butter until they are tender and beginning to brown. I served this right away, without chilling it for two hours, and it was great. It was also very good the next day, chilled.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure your butter does not contain colour and be sure to use fresh lime juice. I use Simply Natural Organic Sriracha.

Grill corn or remove kernels and saute

The corn is tossed with a honey-lime dressing

Grilled corn salad with hot honey-lime dressing

Ingredients:

3 ears of corn, husked

2 Tbsp. (30 ml) unsalted butter, melted

1½ tsp. (7.5 ml) kosher salt, plus more

Freshly ground black pepper

3 Tbsp. (45 ml) fresh lime juice

2 Tbsp. (30 ml) honey

1½ tsp. (7.5 ml) Sriracha

1 tsp. (5 ml) granulated garlic or garlic powder

1½ avocados, cut into ¾-inch (1.9-cm) pieces

1 serrano chile, thinly sliced

½ cup (125 ml) cilantro leaves with tender stems

Preparation:

Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Brush ears of corn with butter; season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning occasionally, until kernels are very tender and charred in spots, 10–12 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut kernels from cobs.

Meanwhile, whisk lime juice, honey, Sriracha, granulated garlic, and 1½ tsp. (7.5 ml) salt in a large bowl to combine. Add corn, avocados, chile, and cilantro to vinaigrette and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing in direct contact with salad to prevent avocados from turning brown. Chill at least 2 hours. Do Ahead: Salad can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Serves 8.

From Bon Appetit

This fun recipe from Bon Appetit lets everyone assemble their own meal. Marinate shrimp briefly in a spicy sauce then quickly cook them in a skillet. Arrange the shrimp, cucumbers, herbs, lettuce and peanuts on plates and let everyone compose their own wrap. In addition to cucumbers, I used red pepper and radishes. I also used cilantro instead of mint.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Sambal oelek typically contains additives, so I used Simply Natural Organic Sriracha. Check the sesame oil and nuts to make sure they are additive-free.

This recipe lets everyone assemble their own meal

Sambal shrimp lettuce wraps

Ingredients:

½ cup (125 ml) hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek)

¼ cup (60 ml) honey

¼ cup (60 ml) unseasoned rice vinegar

4 tsp. (20 ml) toasted sesame oil, divided

1½ lb. (680 g) large shrimp

Kosher salt

1–2 Tbsp. (15-30 ml) vegetable oil

2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced into rounds

Flaky sea salt

2 heads of Bibb lettuce, leaves separated, covered, chilled

½ cup (125 ml) mint sprigs

½ cup (125 ml) crushed salted, dry-roasted peanuts

Preparation:

Whisk hot chili paste, honey, vinegar, and 2 tsp. (10 ml) sesame oil in a small bowl to combine. Season shrimp lightly with kosher salt and place in a resealable plastic bag. Pour in half of marinade and seal bag. Transfer remaining marinade to a small bowl and set aside for serving. Let shrimp sit at room temperature, turning the bag occasionally to ensure even coating, 10–15 minutes.

Remove shrimp from marinade, allowing excess to drip back into bag, and transfer to paper towels to drain. Heat 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) vegetable oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Working in batches and adding another 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) oil along the way if the skillet is looking dry, arrange shrimp in skillet in a single layer and cook undisturbed 2 minutes (the marinade will have darkened in colour and some of the sugars in it will have started to caramelize). Turn shrimp over and cook 30 seconds. Transfer to a platter.

Arrange cucumbers on platter next to shrimp; season with sea salt and drizzle with remaining 2 tsp. (10 ml) sesame oil. Arrange lettuce leaves and mint sprigs on platter so that each component is visible and easily accessible. Place crushed peanuts in a small bowl and set out next to platter along with reserved marinade (for spooning into wraps). Serves 4.

From Bon Appetit

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