Archive for December, 2011

If you have had your fill of holiday turkey, ham and roast beef, try this delicious pasta with mussels in a spicy tomato sauce from the Holiday 2011 issue of Food and Drink. Arrabbiata is the Italian word for angry, but you can tone down the heat in this dish if you wish by reducing the amount of hot pepper. The recipe calls for San Marzano canned tomatoes, which taste better than regular canned plum tomatoes, so use them if you can find them. Penne rigate has ridges, meaning the sauce will cling to it, but regular penne would be fine. Be sure to discard any mussels that won’t close before cooking and any that aren’t open after cooking.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The ingredients in this recipe that may contain artificial ingredients include the pancetta and tomatoes. Use nitrite-free bacon and a brand of tomatoes that contain only tomatoes (or tomatoes and salt).

Cut pancetta or nitrite-free bacon into thin strips

Garlic, hot peppers, onion and parsley

Saute bacon until crisp

Saute onions

Add tomatoes and cook until thick

Mussels Penne Arrabbiata


2 tbsp olive oil

2 oz thinly sliced pancetta or bacon, cut into thin strips

1 onion, thinly sliced

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 hot red pepper, thinly sliced

1 28-oz can San Marzano tomatoes

12 oz penne rigate

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 lbs mussels, scrubbed

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley and/or basil


Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add pancetta and sauté for about 3 minutes or until crisp; use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate, leaving oil in pot. Add onion and sauté for about 5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and hot pepper and sauté for 1 minute.

Add tomatoes and bring to a boil, breaking up tomatoes and scraping brown bits from pot. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring often, for 10 to 15 minutes or until thick.

Meanwhile, cook penne in a large pot of boiling salted water for about 11 minutes or until al dente. Drain well.

Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper, keeping in mind that mussels and pancetta will add salt. Stir mussels and half of the pancetta into sauce. Cover and boil gently for about 5 minutes or until mussels open. Discard any that do not open.

Divide penne among warmed serving bowls. Ladle sauce and mussels overtop. Sprinkle with remaining pancetta and parsley and/or basil. Serves 4.

From the Holiday 2011 issue of Food and Drink

This delicious side dish will be finding its way onto our table for Christmas dinner. These are not your typical Brussels sprouts – they are not boiled, nor do they turn that odd green colour that boiled or steamed sprouts tend to. Simply shred the sprouts in a food processor, sauté them in a pan that has just been used to crisp pancetta or bacon, and then combine with currants, maple syrup, mustard and the pancetta. Delicious!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

To avoid additives and preservatives, use a nitrite-free bacon, currants without sulfites added and an all-natural mustard, such as President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon.

Saute pancetta or bacon until crisp

Saute shredded sprouts in bacon fat, then toss with other ingredients

Shredded maple-mustard Brussels sprouts


2 lb (907 g) Brussels sprouts

8 oz (225 g) pancetta or bacon, diced

1/4 cup (60 mL) dried currants

3 tbsp (45 mL) maple syrup

3 tbsp (45 mL) grainy mustard

1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper


Trim ends of Brussels sprouts; remove any discoloured leaves. In food processor and using blade attachment, shred sprouts. Set aside.
In large skillet or wok, cook pancetta over medium heat until crispy, 8 to 10 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer to small bowl.

Add sprouts to pan; cook until wilted, 8 to 10 minutes. Add currants, maple syrup, mustard, pepper and pancetta; toss to coat. Serves 10.

From the December 2011 issue of Canadian Living

This new find from the October 2011 issue of Real Simple is easy to make, tasty and colourful. Just coat chicken pieces (I used skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs) in a brown sugar-soy-lime juice sauce and roast until done. Meanwhile, toss red cabbage, carrots, scallions, mint and ginger with a quick dressing. I omitted the carrots and the slaw was still very tasty. I served the chicken and slaw with roasted potatoes. This recipe is perfect for a quick weeknight supper.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe use tamari instead of soy sauce, which often contains MSG and sodium benzoate. Be sure to use fresh lime juice – concentrates include artificial ingredients.

Dissolve brown sugar in soy sauce and lime juice

Add chicken pieces, turn to coat with sauce and place skin-side down; turn once during cooking

Roast chicken until cooked through

Meanwhile, combine ingredients for red cabbage slaw

Lime and soy-glazed chicken with red cabbage slaw


3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

6 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 ½ to 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces

¼ head red cabbage, thinly sliced (4 cups)

2 large carrots, coarsely grated

4 scallions, thinly sliced

½ cup chopped fresh mint leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 teaspoon sesame oil

kosher salt and black pepper


Heat oven to 400° F. In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, stir together the sugar, soy sauce, and 3 tablespoons of the lime juice; add the chicken and turn to coat. Roast, skin-side down, until the sauce is simmering, about 10 minutes. Turn the chicken skin-side up and roast, basting occasionally, until cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes more.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the cabbage, carrots, scallions, and mint with the ginger, canola oil, sesame oil, the remaining 3 tablespoons of lime juice, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Serve with the chicken. Serves 4.

From the October 2011 issue of Real Simple

This recipe from Canadian Living’s Best Weekend Pleasures is, hands-down, our favourite baked pasta recipe. I’ve been been making it for years and it is always a big hit. Lean ground turkey is formed into meatballs, which are then browned. Make a sauce with tomatoes, peppers, onion and mushrooms and simmer the meatballs. Add cooked rigatoni, top with cheese and bake until the cheesy is gooey and delicious. This dish would be perfect for a casual holiday dinner party and you can make it in advance.

If you can’t find ground turkey, buy a skinless, boneless turkey breast and process it on high in your food processor.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Ingredients in this recipe that may contain artificial ingredients include the dry breadcrumbs, Parmesan, canned tomatoes and mozzarella. Look for breadcrumbs without additives, or substitute panko. Use Parmesan and mozzarella without colour and canned tomatoes with nothing added but salt, such as Unico brand.

Make turkey meatballs and brown well

Saute onion, peppers, garlic and mushrooms

Add tomatoes and turkey meatballs and simmer

Add cooked rigatoni

Top casserole with Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses

Bake until browned and piping hot



1 Egg

1/3 c Onion, finely chopped

¼ c Dry breadcrumbs

2 Garlic cloves, minced

3 tb Parmesan, freshly grated

1 ts Dried oregano

¾ ts Salt

½ ts Pepper

1 lb Lean ground turkey


2 tb Olive oil

1 Onion, chopped

2 Garlic cloves, minced

3 c Mushrooms, sliced

1 Sweet green pepper, chopped

1 ½ ts Dried basil

1 ½ ts Granulated sugar

1 ts Dried oregano

1 ts Salt

¾ ts Pepper

28 oz Canned tomatoes, chopped

2 tb Tomato paste

3 ½ c Rigatoni pasta

1 1/3 c Mozzarella, shredded

¼ c Parmesan, freshly grated


Meatballs: In bowl, beat egg lightly; mix in onion, crumbs, garlic, Parmesan, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix in turkey. Shape heaping tablespoonfuls into balls. In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; cook meatballs, in batches if necessary, for 8-10 minutes or until browned on all sides. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate.

Add onion, garlic, mushrooms, green pepper, basil, sugar, oregano, salt, pepper and 2 tb water to skillet; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Stir in tomatoes and tomato paste; bring to boil. Add meatballs; reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Meanwhile, in large pot of boiling salted water, cook rigatoni for about 8 minutes or until pasta is tender but firm. Drain and return to pot; add tomato sauce, stirring to coat rigatoni. Transfer to 11×7-inch baking dish or 8-cup shallow oven casserole. You can make the recipe to this point, cool and refrigerate for up to one day.

Sprinkle mozzarella (use part-skim mozzarella), then Parmesan evenly over top.

Bake in 400F 200C oven for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and top is golden. Per serving: about 780 calories, 49 g protein, 34 g fat, 70 g carbohydrate very high source fibre, excellent source calcium and iron. Serves 6.

From Canadian Living’s Best Weekend Pleasures