Archive for March, 2020

This recipe from the New York Times uses canned tomatoes, canned black beans, tortillas, cheese, onions, peppers, garlic and spices — items most of us have in the pantry, fridge and freezer these days. Cooks the onions, pepper and garlic and then add cumin. Transfer half the mixture to a blender or food processor, add tomatoes, chili powder and hot sauce (if using) and blend. Add black beans and cheese to the vegetables in the pan. Cover the bottom of a baking dish with sauce. Assemble the enchiladas and place them in a dish, top with sauce and more cheese. Bake and serve with your favourite garnish.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the spices don’t contain colour and anti-caking agents. Unico or Blue Menu tomatoes are additive-free, as are Blue Menu black beans. Original flavour Tabasco is additive-free. Check the cheese to make sure it doesn’t contain colour and look for tortillas without preservatives, such as PC Original flour tortillas. No Name sour cream is additive-free.

Cook onion, pepper and garlic

Blend half the vegetable mixture with tomatoes

Add black beans and half of cheese to remaining vegetables

Assemble enchiladas and top with remaining cheese and sauce

Bake until cheese has melted

Vegetarian bean and cheese enchiladas


2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil

2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper or poblano chile, stemmed, seeded and cut into ¼ -inch (0.64-cm) pieces

4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

Kosher salt and black pepper

1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) ground cumin

1 (15-ounce/443 ml) can fire-roasted tomatoes, preferably crushed

2 teaspoons (10 ml) chili powder

½ teaspoon (5 ml) hot sauce or 1 chipotle chile in adobo, chopped (optional)

¼ cup (60 ml) sour cream, plus more for serving (optional)

2 (15-ounce/443 ml) cans black beans, rinsed

5 ounces (142 g) mild Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, grated (about 1 ¼  cups/310 ml)

10 to 12 (6-inch/15-cm) soft corn or flour tortillas

Fresh cilantro leaves and stems, for serving


Heat the oven to 425 degrees F (218 C). In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high. Add the onions, bell pepper and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and charred in spots, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the cumin and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Transfer half the vegetable mixture to a blender; add the tomatoes, chili powder and hot sauce. Blend until very smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (If your blender isn’t particularly strong and the sauce looks more like a chunky purée, add ¼ cup/60 ml sour cream and blend again until smooth.)

Add the black beans and ½ cup (125 ml) cheese to the remaining vegetables in the skillet and stir to combine. Some canned beans are already salted, so taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Spread out the tortillas directly on the oven rack and heat until warmed and pliable, 1 to 2 minutes, then wrap in a kitchen towel to keep warm. Pour half the enchilada sauce (about 1 ½  cups/375 ml) into a medium casserole dish or a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33 cm)baking pan and spread it to cover the bottom of the dish.

Line up the filling, tortillas and baking dish in a row. Place a little more than ¼ cup (60 ml) of the bean mixture in the center of one tortilla. Roll up the tortilla and place in the casserole dish, seam-side down. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas, then sprinkle with the remaining ¾ cup (180 ml) cheese. Bake until the cheese has melted, about 10 minutes. Top with sour cream and cilantro and serve immediately. The sauce and the black bean mixture, minus the cheese, can be made, covered in an airtight container and refrigerated up to 5 days in advance. Serves 4.

From the New York Times

This warming dish from chef Meera Sodha turns chicken thighs into a fragrant and delicious dish to be served over rice. Cook spices and onions, add ginger and garlic, and then add tomatoes and more spices. Add yogurt, bring to a simmer and then add the chicken. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for about a half hour. Add sliced almonds, garam masala and cayenne and serve.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure your butter does not contain colour. Check the spices to be sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. Unico and Blue Menu tomatoes are additive-free, as are No Name tomato paste and slivered almonds. Use an all-natural yogurt.

Cook the onions

Make a ginger, garlic and pepper paste

Add paste to onions and spices

Add tomatoes and chicken and simmer for about 30 minutes

Meera Sodha's chicken curry


2 tablespoons unsalted butter or ghee

1 tablespoon neutral oil, like canola

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 cinnamon sticks, approximately 2 inches long

2 large white or yellow onions, peeled and finely chopped

1 2 1/2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated or minced

6 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

2 green cayenne or jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into half-moons

Kosher salt, to taste

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons puréed tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

3 tablespoons whole-milk yogurt, plus 1 cup to serve with the meal

1 ¾ to 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks

3 tablespoons slivered almonds

1 teaspoon garam masala

Pinch ground cayenne pepper, or to taste.


Melt the butter or ghee in the oil in a large Dutch oven set over medium heat, and when it is hot and shimmering, add the cumin seeds and cinnamon sticks. Cook for a minute or two, stirring often, to intensify their flavors, then add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are golden, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the ginger, garlic and peppers into a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt, and smash them together into a coarse paste. (You can also do this on a cutting board, with a knife.)

Add the paste to the onions, and cook for 2 minutes or so, then pour in the tomatoes, and stir. Allow to cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, then add the tomato paste, ground cumin, ground turmeric and another pinch of salt, and stir to combine.

Add the yogurt slowly to the mixture, using a wooden spoon to whisk it into the sauce. It may be quite thick. When it begins to bubble, add the chicken. Lower the heat, put the lid on the Dutch oven and allow the curry to cook gently for 30 minutes or so, or until the chicken is cooked through. Add the almonds and the garam masala, along with a pinch of cayenne, and cook for 5 minutes more or so. Serve with basmati rice or naan, and the additional yogurt. Serves 4.

From the New York Times

I don’t know about you, but recent events have me yearning for comfort food and this baked pasta dish from Alison Roman in a recent issue of Bon Appetit fits the bill. While the pasta cooks, cook leeks and then add red pepper flakes and chopped broccoli rabe. Combine the cooked pasta with the leek-broccoli rabe mixture, then add cream, cheese, chives and some of the pasta cooking water. Put the mixture into a baking dish, top with breadcrumbs and cheese and bake for about 35 minutes. Delicious!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the cheddar does not contain colour and the red pepper flakes do not contain colour. I used 4C brand of panko for the topping.

Cook the leeks until soft and beginning to brown

Add the broccoli rabe and cook until it begins to wilt

Mix leeks and broccoli rabe with chives, cream and cheese. Place in baking dish and top with breadcrumbs and more cheese.

Bake until browned and bubbling

Sprinkle with chives and serve


Kosher salt

1 lb. (454 g) rigatoni, ziti, or fusilli

8 Tbsp. (120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided

3 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced into half-moons

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp. (5 ml) – or more – crushed red pepper flakes

2 bunches broccoli rabe or 3 bunches baby broccolini, trimmed, coarsely chopped

1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream

12 oz. (340 g) sharp white cheddar, coarsely grated (about 3 cups/750 ml), divided

1 cup (250 ml) chopped chives, divided

1 cup (250 ml) coarse fresh breadcrumbs or panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)


Preheat oven to 425° F (218° C). Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add a generous amount of salt. Cook pasta, stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking together, until just barely al dente, about 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup (250 ml) pasta cooking liquid.

While you are cooking the pasta, get the broccoli rabe going. Heat 5 Tbsp. (75 ml) oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium–high. Add leeks and season with salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are softened (but not so much that they don’t have any texture left) and starting to brown, 8–10 minutes.

Add red pepper flakes to leeks and stir to incorporate. Add broccoli rabe by the handful, stirring to combine and allowing each addition to wilt before adding more. Season with salt and black pepper. Once all of the broccoli rabe has been added, cook, stirring occasionally, until bright green and wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove pot from heat and set aside.

Add pasta to reserved broccoli rabe mixture along with cream, three-quarters of the cheese, ½ cup (125 ml) chives, and reserved pasta cooking liquid; mix well. Season with salt and black pepper and add more red pepper flakes if you prefer more heat (keep in mind that the saltiness and spiciness will increase as the pasta bakes).

Transfer pasta to a 3-qt. (2.8 L) baking dish (or, if your Dutch oven is ovenproof, just leave it in there). Toss breadcrumbs and remaining 3 Tbsp. (45 ml) oil in a medium bowl until coated; season with salt and black pepper. Scatter over pasta, then sprinkle evenly with remaining cheese. Bake until pasta is bubbling across the entire surface and breadcrumbs are deep golden brown, 30–35 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Scatter remaining chives over pasta just before serving. Serves 6-8.

From Bon Appetit

This recipe from Canadian Living is another great sheet pan dinner. Cook the seasoned vegetables for 15 minutes or so and then add the seasoned shrimp and sausage and cook another 8 minutes or so. Cook’s note: I used hot Italian sausage, which I microwaved for a few minutes to ensure it would be done at the same time as the shrimp. I covered the sheet pan with parchment paper so the food wouldn’t stick (and it makes it easier to clean the pan).

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the Cajun seasoning (or the spices you are using to make your own) doesn’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. I used Free From hot Italian sausages and frozen organic shrimp with only salt added as a preservative.

Roast vegetables for about 15 minutes

Add shrimp and sausage and cook until done

Cajun shrimp and sausage sheet pan dinner


1 lb (450 g) mini potatoes, halved

1 sweet red pepper, cut in large chunks

1 sweet green pepper, cut in large chunks

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil , divided

4 teaspoons (20 ml) Cajun seasoning (see recipe below)

¾ teaspoons (3.75 ml) smoked paprika

¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) salt and pepper

1 lb (450 g) shrimp (31 to 40 count), peeled and deveined

2 links smoked farmer’s sausages (about 5 oz/150 g), cut in chunks

1 lemon, cut in wedges


Cajun seasoning

Combine 1 tsp (5 ml) each dried thyme, paprika and packed brown sugar, ½ tsp (2.5 ml) each ground cumin, dry mustard and hot pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt.

Sheet pan dinner

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

On prepared pan, toss together potatoes, red pepper, green pepper, 3 tbsp (45 ml) of the oil, Cajun seasoning, paprika, salt and pepper. Bake until potatoes are almost tender, 15 to 18 minutes.

Meanwhile, pat shrimp dry; place in large bowl. Add sausage and remaining oil, tossing to coat.

Remove pan from oven; push vegetables to edges of pan. Arrange shrimp mixture in single layer in centre. Return to oven; bake until vegetables are tender and shrimp are pink and opaque, about 8 minutes. Serves 4.

From Canadian Living

This delicious, salty spicy dish from the New York Times comes together quickly, making it ideal for a quick supper. Combine red-pepper flakes with soy sauce and sesame oil. Cook orange rind and peanuts in oil and then pour over the red-pepper mixture to create a chile oil. While you cook the noodles, cook ground chicken until browned and cooked through. Remove the orange rind from the oil, add the oil to the cooked chicken in the pan, add the noodles and toss to coat. Cook’s note: I used spaghetti noodles instead of udon noodles and chopped scallions instead of chives.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the red-pepper flakes, peanuts and noodles do not contain additives or preservatives. I used tamari instead of soy sauce and Spectrum Natural sesame oil.

Combine red-pepper flakes, soy sauce and sesame oil.

Cook orange rind and peanuts in oil

Add rind and peanuts to red-pepper-flake mixture to create a chile oil

Spread ground chicken across the bottom of the skillet and cook until browned and cooked through

Remove rind from chile oil and then add oil to cooked chicken. Add noodles, toss to combine and then serve, topped with chives or scallions


1 ½ tablespoons (22.5 ml) red-pepper flakes

1 ½ tablespoons (22.5 ml) low-sodium soy sauce

1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) toasted sesame oil, plus more as needed

Kosher salt and black pepper

½ cup (125 ml) plus 1 tablespoon (15 ml) neutral oil, like grapeseed or canola

6 tablespoons (90 ml) roasted, salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Rind of ½ orange, peeled into 2- to 3-inch (5- to 7.6-cm) strips

1 pound (454 g) ground chicken

10 to 12 ounces (285 to 340 g) ramen or udon noodles, preferably fresh

3 tablespoons (45 ml) finely chopped chives


In a medium heatproof bowl, stir together the red-pepper flakes, soy sauce and sesame oil. Set next to the stovetop.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Meanwhile, in a large (12-inch/30 cm) skillet over medium heat, cook the ½ cup oil, peanuts and orange rind, shaking the pan occasionally, until the peanuts are golden and bubbling, 3 to 5 minutes. Immediately pour the contents of the skillet over the red-pepper mixture (be careful of splattering!) and set aside. (Once cool, the chile oil will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks in an airtight container.)

Meanwhile, in the same skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon (15 ml) oil over medium-high. Add the chicken and press it down with a wooden spoon into a thin layer. Season with salt and a generous amount of black pepper and cook, without stirring, occasionally pressing the layer of chicken down, until the bottom is browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Break the chicken up into small pieces and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes more.

While the chicken cooks, cook the noodles according to package directions, until chewy but not soft. Drain and toss with a bit of sesame oil.

Remove and discard the orange rind from the chile oil. Off the heat, add the chile oil to the chicken and stir to coat, scraping up any browned bits from the pan. Add the noodles and toss to coat. Top with chives and serve at once. Serves 4.

From the New York Times