New Finds

To me, baked beans are the ultimate winter comfort food. This recipe from Canadian Living—based on the traditional dish served at the Zurich, Ontario bean festival—is delicious. Quick soak and cook dried white beans, combine with bacon, tomato juice, brown sugar, ketchup, salt, dry mustard and pepper and then bake low and slow for three to four hours. You can serve this as a side dish or on its own with toast and a green salad.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for bacon preserved with celery salt instead of nitrites. Heinz tomato juice and ketchup are additive-free, as is Keen’s dry mustard.

Soak beans and then cook until tender

Add tomato juice, ketchup, bacon, brown sugar, salt, pepper and dry mustard to cooked beans

Cook for 3-4 hours, adding bean cooking liquid if necessary


2 ½ cups (625 ml) white pea beans

¼ lb (125 g) bacon, cubed

1 ½ cups (375 ml) tomato juice

1 cup (250 ml) brown sugar

1 cup (250 ml) ketchup

1 tbsp (15 ml) salt

½ tsp (2.5 ml) dry mustard

½ tsp (2.5 ml) pepper


In large saucepan, pour 8 cups (2 L) water over beans, bring to boil and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand for 1 hour. Drain, discarding liquid.

In same saucepan, pour 8 cups (2 L) fresh water over beans; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes or until beans are tender. Drain, reserving liquid.

In casserole, combine beans, bacon, tomato juice, sugar, ketchup, salt, mustard and pepper. Cover and bake in 300 F (150 C) oven for 3 to 3 ½ hours or until tender, checking every 45 minutes and stirring in reserved liquid, if necessary, to moisten beans. Serves 6.

From the Canadian Living 20th Anniversary Cookbook

This recipe from the latest Food and Drink calls for a beef strip loin roast, which is leaner and less expensive than prime rib, but which is very tender and tasty. Oven-sear the roast for 10 minutes and then top with a mixture of bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, lemon zest and oil. Return roast to oven and cook until medium-rare or to your desired doneness. Let the roast stand for at least 10 minutes, covered, keeping in mind that the meat’s internal temperature will rise a few degrees during this time.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

For the bread crumbs, I used PC black label panko, which is additive-free. Genuine Parmesan is additive-free; look for the name stamped on the rind.

A strip loin roast is leaner and less expensive that prime rib

Combine panko, Parmesan, parsley, lemon zest, oil and pepper for the crust

Parmesan-crusted stip loin roast


4 lb (1.81 kg) beef strip loin roast, untied

Salt and freshly ground pepper

¾ cup (175 ml) panko bread crumbs

½ cup (125 ml) finely grated Parmesan cheese

2 tbsp (30 ml) minced fresh parsley

Grated zest of 1 lemon, about 1 tbsp (15 ml)

2 tbsp (30 ml) olive or canola oil


Preheat oven to 450°F (232°C). Trim off any excess fat cap on the roast thicker than ¼ inch (5 mm). Lightly season roast all over with salt and pepper. Place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Sear roast in oven for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine panko, Parmesan, parsley and lemon zest in a bowl; drizzle in oil, tossing to evenly coat crumbs. Season with pepper to taste. Set a rimmed baking sheet on your work surface.

Remove roast from oven. Lower the heat to 275°F (135°C). Lift rack with roast from roasting pan and place on rimmed baking sheet; set roasting pan aside.

Press crumb coating by small handfuls over top and sides of roast, leaving cut ends bare. Scrape up any crumbs that fall onto baking sheet and press back on top of roast (if any do not adhere, discard or use on a baked vegetable side dish).

Carefully transfer roast on rack back into roasting pan. Return to oven and roast for about 2 hours or until meat thermometer reads 135°F (57°C) for medium-rare or until desired doneness (temperature will rise about 5°F/3°C upon resting).

Transfer roast to a cutting board, loosely tent with foil and let rest. Cut roast into slices to serve. Serves 6 with leftovers.

From Food and Drink

Shelf Love, the new cookbook from the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen, focuses on comfort food made from pantry staples, along with Yotam Ottolenghi’s signature additions, such as tasty spice blends and novel flavour pairings. This recipe uses berbere — an Ethiopian spice blend — as the basis of a paste that coats chicken pieces, carrots and chickpeas. Bake the dish for about 70 minutes and top with an orange-cilantro salsa.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the spices don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. I used No Name tomato paste, Blue Menu chickpeas, Allen’s apple cider vinegar and pure honey.

Berbere is an Ethiopian spice blend

Place chicken, carrots and chickpeas in pan and cover with spice paste

Roast until chicken is done and carrots are tender

Serve the chicken with an orange-cilantro salsa

Berbere-spiced chicken, carrots and chickpeas


Berbere spice mix

8 teaspoons (40 ml) pure chile powder (ground dried red hot peppers) or 2 tablespoons (30 ml) cayenne pepper

5 teaspoons (25 ml) sweet paprika

1 tablespoon (15 ml) salt

1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground coriander

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground ginger

3/8 teaspoon (1.9 ml) ground cardamom

3/8 teaspoon (1.9 ml) ground fenugreek

¼ teaspoon (1.25) ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon (0.63 ml) ground cloves

Chicken, carrots and chickpeas

1 onion large, peeled and roughly chopped

6 cloves garlic peeled and roughly chopped

1.5 oz (45 g) coriander stalks (0.9 oz/25g) and leaves (0.6 oz/20g) separated, and both roughly chopped

2.5 tbsp (22.5 ml) berbere spice

2.5 tbsp (22.5 ml) tomato paste

2.5 tbsp (22.5 ml) honey

3 tbsp (45 ml) apple cider vinegar

6 tbsp (90 ml) olive oil

1.75 lb (800 g) carrots cut into 1.5-2-inch (4-5 cm) lengths

2 15-oz (425 g) canned chickpeas, drained

12 chicken thighs and drumsticks (6 of each)

3 oranges – 1 left whole, the others juiced, to get ½ cup/125 ml


Berbere spice mix

Mix all ingredients together. Store in airtight container. Makes 1/3 cup (82.5 ml).

Chicken, carrots and chickpeas

Heat the oven to 425 F (220 C). Put the onion, garlic, coriander stalks, berbere spice, tomato paste, honey, a tablespoon (15 ml) of vinegar, four tablespoons (60 ml) of oil, 1.75 tsp (8.75 ml) salt and a good grind of pepper in a food processor and blitz to a smooth paste.

Scrape this into a large, roughly 13-inch x 10-inch (34-cm x 26-cm) roasting pan and add the carrots, chickpeas, chicken, orange juice and 6 oz (150 ml) water. Toss everything together to coat and combine, then arrange the thighs skin side up on top, so they’re just nestled in the mix.

Tightly cover the tray with foil, bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 40 minutes more, rotating the pan once halfway, until everything is cooked through and nicely coloured. Remove from the oven and leave to settle slightly for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, segment the whole orange and roughly chop the flesh. Put this in a medium bowl with the coriander leaves, the last two tablespoons (30 ml) each of vinegar and oil, 1/8 teaspoon (0.63 ml) of salt and a good grind of pepper and mix to combine.To serve, spoon the coriander salsa all over the top of the chicken and serve directly from the pan. Serves 6.

From Shelf Love by the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen

This chili recipe from Ina Garten doesn’t have beef or beans, but it’s delicious and perfect for a winter supper. Cook onions, peppers and spices, add tomatoes and basil and simmer for a half hour. Meanwhile, roast skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts. Cut the cooked chicken into chunks, add to the vegetables and cook for another 20 minutes. Serve the chili topped with chopped onions, corn chips, grated cheddar and sour cream.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the spices to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. Blue Menu canned tomatoes are additive-free. Check the corn chips and sour cream for additives and make sure the cheddar does not contain colour.

Cook onions

Add vegetables and spices

Ina Garten's chicken chili


4 cups (1 L) chopped yellow onions (3 onions)

2 tbsp (30 ml) good olive oil, plus extra for chicken

2 tbsp (30 ml) cup minced garlic (2 cloves)

2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced

2 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced

1 teaspoon (5 ml) chili powder

1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cumin

¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) dried red pepper flakes, or to taste

¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) cayenne pepper, or to taste

2 teaspoons (10 ml) kosher salt, plus more for chicken

2 (28-ounce/828-ml) cans whole peeled plum tomatoes in puree, undrained

¼ cup (60 ml) minced fresh basil leaves

4 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on

Freshly ground black pepper

For serving: Chopped onions, corn chips, grated cheddar, sour cream


Cook the onions in the oil over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Crush the tomatoes by hand or in batches in a food processor fitted with a steel blade (pulse 6 to 8 times). Add to the pot with the basil. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C).

Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, until just cooked. Let cool slightly. Separate the meat from the bones and skin and cut it into ¾ -inch (1.9-cm) chunks. Add to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. Serve with the toppings, or refrigerate and reheat gently before serving. Serves 6.

From Ina Garten

This is a busy week, so a quick and tasty supper is in order. Try this Bon Appetit recipe for clams arrabbiata – clams in a spicy tomato sauce. Brown pancetta, cook onion and garlic and stir in hot pepper flakes. Add tomatoes and simmer until the sauce reduces by about half. Add clams and water, cover and cook for 8-10 minutes and then remove the clams. Cook the ditalini or any other small pasta until done and return the clams to the pot to warm them through. Serve the clams and sauce topped with basil and with crusty bread. Cook’s note: I cooked the pasta separately while the sauce was simmering, added it to the sauce and clams and served right away.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for pancetta or bacon without nitrites, such as brands preserved with celery salt. Make sure the pepper flakes do not contain colour or anti-caking agents. Blue Menu tomatoes are additive-free, as are several varieties of Ace Bakery crusty bread.

Clams Arrabbiata


3 Tbsp. (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

2 oz. (57 g) thinly sliced pancetta (Italian bacon), chopped

1 medium onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

¾ tsp. (3.75 ml) crushed red pepper flakes

1 28-oz. (828 ml) can whole peeled tomatoes

24 littleneck clams, scrubbed

4 oz. (114 g) ditalini or other small pasta (about 1 cup/250 ml)

Handful of torn basil leaves

Country-style bread (for serving)


Cook oil and pancetta in a medium Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until pancetta begins to crisp, about 5 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, 6–8 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in red pepper flakes.

Add tomatoes, crushing with your hands as you go; increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until tomato liquid is reduced by half and tomatoes take on a jammy consistency, 12–15 minutes. Add clams and 2 cups water. Cover pot and cook, stirring occasionally and reducing heat as needed to maintain a simmer, until clams begin to open, 8–10 minutes. Uncover pot and transfer opened clams with a slotted spoon to a plate. Re-cover pot and continue cooking clams until they open, up to 15 minutes longer; discard any clams that haven’t opened by this time.

Add ditalini to pot and cook, stirring often (pasta will want to settle and stick to the bottom of the pot), until al dente, 8–10 minutes. Add clams back to pot.

Ladle clams and sauce among bowls; top with basil. Serve with bread alongside for dipping. Serves 4.

From Bon Appetit

This absolutely delicious recipe from Canadian Living is inspired by the Alsation flammekueche, a pizza-like savoury tart cooked over a wood fire. Cook pancetta until crispy, set aside and then cook the onion. Cut a baguette in half lengthwise and top each half with a mixture of crème fraîche and quark, top with onions, pancetta and Swiss cheese. Bake for about 10 minutes, sprinkle with chives and serve. Cook’s note: I couldn’t find crème fraîche or quark so I substituted sour cream and cream cheese.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for pancetta preserved with celery salt instead of nitrites. I used an Ace Bakery baguette, which is additive free, No Name sour cream and Arla organic cream cheese. Look for Swiss cheese that does not contain colour or additives.

Cook pancetta and set aside

Spread cheese mixture on sliced baguette

Top with cooked onions, pancetta and Swiss cheese and bake

Garnish with chives and serve


5 oz (140 g) pancetta

1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced

1 baguette, halved lengthwise

¾ cup (187 ml) crème fraiche or sour cream

¾ cups (187 ml) quark cheese or cream cheese


1 cup (250 ml) shredded Swiss cheese

4 teaspoons (20 ml) chopped fresh chives


In skillet, cook pancetta over medium heat, stirring often, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towel-lined plate; set aside. In same skillet, add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F (190°C); line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place baguette halves cut side up on prepared baking sheet. In small bowl, combine crème fraîche and quark; season with pepper. Spread over baguette halves. Top with onions, reserved pancetta and Swiss cheese.

Bake until cheese is melted and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer baguette halves to cutting board and cut into thirds. Sprinkle with chives. Serves 6.

From Canadian Living

It’s a busy time of year, and sheet-pan recipes help get dinner on the table in a hurry. This dish from Melissa Clark combines sausages, onions and sweet peppers, which are roasted and then topped with a vinegar-oregano dressing, served over arugula and garnished with feta cheese. Cook’s note: I used fresh marjoram instead of oregano.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used Free-From hot Italian sausages and Eden Organic red wine vinegar, which are free of additives and preservatives. Tre Stelle feta cheese is also additive-free.

Place sausages and peppers on baking sheet

Roast until sausages are cooked through and peppers are tender

Drizzle dressing over sausages and peppers, serve over arugula and garnish with feta


1 red bell pepper, 1 orange bell pepper and 1 yellow bell pepper, each seeded and sliced into ¼-inch- (about ½-cm-) wide strips

1 small onion, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch (about ½-cm) thick rounds

1 tbsp (15 ml) and 1 ½ tsp (7.5 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for sprinkling

¾ tsp (3.75 ml) kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 lb (450 g) fresh Italian sausages (sweet or hot), pricked with a fork

½ tsp (2.5 ml) red wine vinegar, plus more for sprinkling

1 tsp (5 ml) finely chopped fresh oregano

3 cups (750 ml) fresh arugula for serving, if desired

¼ cup (60 ml) crumbled feta cheese


Preheat oven to 400F (200C). On a rimmed baking sheet, scatter bell pepper slices and onion rounds and toss with olive oil, salt and black pepper until lightly coated. Spread vegetables in a single layer and roast until limp, about 10 minutes. Arrange sausages on top of vegetables and continue roasting until peppers are caramelized and sausages are cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Sausages are cooked when internal temperature (checked with a meat thermometer) reaches 160F (71C). Broil in upper third of oven until tops of sausages are browned and edges of peppers are slightly charred, about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine vinegar and oregano.

Drizzle vinegar mixture on vegetables and sausages and toss, adding more salt, pepper and/or vinegar to taste.

If using, divide arugula on individual plates and sprinkle with a little olive oil and red wine vinegar. Arrange peppers, onion and sausage over the arugula and sprinkle with feta cheese. Serve immediately. Serves 2-3.

From Dinner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark

This recipe from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi is a colourful and delicious side dish or vegetarian main dish. Roast parsnips and onions with herbs and garlic, add sweet potatoes and cherry tomatoes and then dress the tender and caramelized vegetables with lemon juice, capers, maple syrup and Dijon mustard.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use freshly squeezed lemon juice and 100 per cent pure maple syrup. I use Unico capers and President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon, which are additive-free.

Start by roasting the parsnips and onions

Add the sweet potatoes, roast until tender and top with the dressing


4 parsnips (1½ lbs/680 g total)

4 medium red onions

2/3 cup (165 ml) extra virgin olive oil

4 thyme sprigs

2 rosemary sprigs

1 head garlic, halved horizontally

Salt and black pepper

2 medium sweet potatoes (1¼ lbs/568 g total)

30 cherry tomatoes, halved

2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice

4 tbsp (60 ml) small capers (roughly chopped if large)

½ tbsp (7.5 ml) maple syrup

½ tsp (2.5 ml) Dijon mustard

1 tbsp (15 ml) toasted sesame seeds (optional)


Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Peel the parsnips and cut into two or three segments, depending on their lengths. Then cut each piece lengthways into two or four. You want pieces roughly 2 inches (5 cm) long and ½-inch (1.27 cm) wide. Peel the onions and cut each into six wedges.

Place the parsnips and onions in a large mixing bowl and add ½ cup (125 ml) of the extra virgin olive oil, the thyme, rosemary, garlic, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt and some pepper. Mix well and spread out in a large roasting pan. Roast for 20 minutes.

While the parsnips are cooking, trim both ends of the sweet potatoes. Cut them (with their skins) widthways in half, then each half into six wedges. Add the potatoes to the pan with the parsnips and onion and stir well. Return to the oven to roast for a further 40 to 50 minutes.

When all the vegetables are cooked through and have taken on a golden color, stir in the halved tomatoes. Roast for 10 minutes more. Meanwhile, whisk together the lemon juice, capers, maple syrup, mustard, remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil and ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt.

Pour the dressing over the roasted vegetables as soon as you take them out of the oven. Stir well, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Scatter the sesame seeds over the vegetables if using and serve at the table in the roasting pan. Serves 4.

From Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

This recipe from Real Simple is a tasty one-pot meal featuring chicken thighs, Israeli couscous (a small, pea-shaped pasta), shallots, olives, dates and spices. Brown the chicken and set aside. Combine couscous, shallots, olives, dates, spices and water in the same pan, bring to a simmer and add the chicken back to the pan. Bake until the chicken is done and the couscous is tender. Run under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the chicken and garnish with pomegranate seeds and cilantro. Cook’s note: I used chopped red pepper instead of pomegranate seeds and made the recipe with eight chicken thighs instead of six.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used President’s Choice garlic-stuffed green olives, which are additive-free. Parnoosh brand dried dates are additive-free. Check the dried spices to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents.

Brown chicken and set aside

Add couscous, shallots, olives, dates, spices and water to skillet and bring to a simmer

Return chicken to pan and roast until couscous is tender and chicken is done

Chicken thighs with couscous and olives


6 6-oz. (170 g) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) kosher salt, divided

1 cup (250 ml) uncooked Israeli couscous

½ cup (125 ml) chopped shallots (from 1 shallot)

½ cup (125 ml) Castelvetrano olives, coarsely chopped

¼ cup (60 ml) chopped dried dates

1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cumin

¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) ground cinnamon

½ cup (125 ml) finely chopped fresh cilantro

¼ cup (60 ml) pomegranate seeds


Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C) with rack 8 inches (20 cm) from heat. Sprinkle skin of chicken thighs with ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt. Place chicken, skin side down, in a large, broiler-safe skillet. Cook over medium, undisturbed, until chicken skin is crisp and light golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer chicken, skin side up, to a plate. Discard drippings in skillet.

Add couscous, shallots, olives, dates, cumin, cinnamon, and remaining 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt to skillet. Stir in 1⅓ cups (332 ml) water and bring to a simmer over medium-high. Nestle chicken, skin side up, in couscous mixture. Cover skillet with aluminum foil and transfer to oven. Bake until chicken is cooked through, a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of thighs registers at least 165°F (74°C), and couscous is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Increase oven temperature to broil. Uncover skillet; broil until chicken skin is crisp, about 5 minutes. Top with cilantro and pomegranate seeds. Serves 4.

From Real Simple

This Canadian Living recipe for pasta e fagioli—pasta and beans—is great comfort food on a chilly fall night. Cook pancetta, onion, celery, carrots, rosemary and garlic, mix in tomatoes, beans, pasta and broth and simmer until the pasta is done. Top with hot pepper flakes, Parmesan cheese and fresh basil and serve with crusty bread.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for pancetta or bacon preserved with celery salt instead of nitrates. Unico crushed tomatoes and white beans are additive-free. I used Imagine Organic chicken stock. Check the hot pepper flakes to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. Genuine Parmesan cheese is additive-free—check for the name stamped on the rind.

Cook pancetta and vegetables

Add tomatoes, beans, pasta and stock and simmer

One-pot pasta e fagioli


2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil

4 oz (113 g) pancetta or bacon, diced

1 onion, chopped

2 celery stalks, diced

2 carrots, diced

1 tablespoon (15 ml) chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp/5 ml dried rosemary)

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 18-fluid oz (540 ml) can crushed tomatoes

2 18-fluid oz (540 ml) cans white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

8 oz (225 g) shell pasta (about 2 cups/500 ml)

4 cups (1 L) sodium-reduced chicken broth

Salt and pepper

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) hot pepper flakes

Grated Parmesan cheese

Fresh basil leaves, chopped


In large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat; cook pancetta, onion, celery, carrots and rosemary, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.

Mix in tomatoes, beans, pasta and broth; bring to boil. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until pasta is tender but still slightly firm, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with hot pepper flakes, Parmesan, and basil. Serves 4.

From Canadian Living

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