Archive for November, 2020

These chicken enchiladas from Ina Garten’s Modern Comfort Food take some time to make, but the results are worth it. While you roast the chicken breasts, make the enchilada sauce. Sauté the onion and pepper and then add the cooked and shredded chicken and black beans. Assemble the enchiladas, top with cheese and bake for about 35 minutes. You can assemble this dish and keep in the fridge for up to a day before baking — just add about 10 minutes to the baking time.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the dried spices don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. I used Imagine Organic stock and Blue Menu tomatoes and black beans. I used PC Original flour tortillas, President’s Choice goat cheese, No Name sour cream and PC Canadian cheddar.

Make the sauce

Combine onion, pepper, shredded chicken and beans

Assemble enchiladas

Place assembled enchiladas in baking dish and top with cheese and sauce

Bake until the cheese melts; to brown, place under the broiler for a minute or two


2 pounds (900 g) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on, (3 split)

Good olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons (30 ml) canola oil

2 tablespoons (30 ml) all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon (15 ml) chili powder

1 tablespoon (15 ml) ground chipotle powder

1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cumin

2 cups (500 ml) good chicken stock, preferably homemade

1 (14.5-ounce/428-ml) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

1 ½ cups (375 ml) crushed tomatoes, such as San Marzano

1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried oregano, crushed in your hands

1 ½ cups (375 ml) chopped yellow onion (1 large)

½ cup (125 ml) seeded and small-diced poblano pepper

1 (15.5-ounce/458-ml) can black beans, rinsed and drained

¼ cup (60 ml) minced fresh parsley or cilantro, plus extra for garnish

7 (8-inch/19-cm) flour tortillas

7 ounces (198 g) creamy goat cheese, such as Montrachet

2 cups (500 ml) freshly grated extra-sharp white Cheddar (6 ounces/170 g)

Sour cream, for serving

2 ripe Hass avocados, pitted, peeled, and sliced, for serving


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (176 C).

Place the chicken on a sheet pan skin side up, rub with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until a thermometer registers 140 degrees F (60 degrees C). Cover with aluminum foil and set aside for 15 minutes, until cool enough to handle. Discard the skin and bones and shred the chicken to bite-sized pieces.

Meanwhile, heat the canola oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking constantly, for one minute, then whisk in the chili powder, chipotle powder, and cumin. Add the stock, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for a few minutes until slightly thickened. Stir in the fire-roasted tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, oregano, and 1 tablespoon salt, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Heat 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium (10 to 11-inch/25 to 28-cm) sauté pan, add the onion and the poblano pepper and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Off the heat, stir in the shredded chicken, black beans, parsley, 1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) salt, and ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) black pepper and set aside.

To assemble, spread 1 cup (250 ml) of the sauce in a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33-cm) baking dish. Lay one tortilla on a board and spread it with 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of the sauce. Spoon ¾ cup (185 ml) of filling down the middle of the tortilla. Crumble 1 ounce (28 g) of goat cheese on the filling. Roll the tortilla up tightly and place it seam side down I the baking dish. Repeat to make 6 more enchiladas and place them snugly side but side in the dish. Spread the remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with Cheddar.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley and serve hot with sour cream and avocados. Serves 4-6.

From Modern Comfort Food by Ina Garten

This New York Times version of the Italian classic dish Bucatini all’Amatriciana is delicious. Bucatini is a thick, spaghetti-like pasta with a hole running through the centre. You can also use spaghetti. Cook the pancetta (I used bacon) and set aside. Soften onions, add tomatoes, season and simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the pasta. Combine the sauces, pasta and meat and heat through. Remove from heat and add the cheese.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for pancetta, prosciutto or bacon that is additive-free. I used Blue Menu tomatoes. Make sure the cheese does not contain colour.

Cook the meat until crisp and set aside

Simmer the sauce for about 20 minutes

Bucatini all'Amatriciana


½  pound (227 g) of unsliced pancetta or prosciutto

3  tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil

1  medium red onion, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 ½  pounds (680 g) canned tomatoes

½  teaspoon (2.5 ml) hot red-pepper flakes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1  pound (454 g) dried bucatini or spaghetti

½  cup (125 ml) freshly grated pecorino, romano or Parmesan cheese


Cut the pancetta or prosciutto into chunks less than one-half inch (1.25-cm) thick. Place in a saucepan with the olive oil and fry over low heat for 15 minutes, until all the fat has been rendered out and the meat is very crisp. Remove the meat from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the onion to the pan and sauté over medium heat for five minutes.

Drain the tomatoes, finely chop them and add to the onion in the pan. Season with red-pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Bring a large pot of cold water to a boil and add salt to taste. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 9 to 12 minutes, depending on the brand. Drain well.

Transfer the cooked sauce to a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and the reserved meat and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Remove the skillet from the heat, add the cheese and mix very well. Transfer the pasta to a warm platter and serve immediately. Serves 4-6.

From the New York Times

This stir-fry from Winner Winner Chicken Dinner cooks in less than 15 minutes, once you have assembled your ingredients. Brown the chicken and set aside and then cook the vegetables. Quickly stir fry the garlic and pepper flakes, return the chicken to the pan, add the sauce and cook until the sauce thickens and coats the ingredients. Add fresh basil and serve. Cook’s note: You could also make this with beef, pork or even shrimp. Adjust the cooking time accordingly. You can also use whatever vegetables you have on hand.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use tamari instead of soy sauce. I use Marukan rice vinegar. Make sure the hot pepper flakes do not contain colour.

This stir-fry comes together in 15 minutes, once you have assembled your ingredients

Basil chicken and vegetable stir-fry


5 tbsp. (75 ml) low-sodium soy sauce

4 tbsp. (60 ml) unseasoned rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp. (30 ml) chicken stock

1 tbsp. (15 ml) cornstarch

4 tbsp. (60 ml) neutral oil, plus more as needed, divided

1 1/2 lb. (680 g) boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs, cut into 2-in. (5-cm) pieces

1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml) salt, divided

12 oz. (340 g) green beans, trimmed and cut in half

2 bell peppers, cut into 1/2-in. (1.27-cm) thick strips (I used a red and a yellow pepper)

5 garlic cloves, finely minced or grated

1/4 tsp. (1.25 ml) red pepper flakes

2 cups (500 ml) fresh basil

Cooked rice, for serving, optional


To make the sauce: Whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, stock and cornstarch in a small bowl or medium measuring cup; set aside, keeping the whisk close by.

To make the stir-fry: Place a large skillet or wok over high heat for 30 seconds. Add 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of oil and heat until shimmering, about 30 seconds. Add chicken and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) salt. Cook, tossing frequently, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) oil to the pan and as soon as the oil is shimmering — which may be immediately — add the green beans and bell peppers. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) salt and cook, tossing frequently, until just tender and charred in spots, about 4 minutes.

If at any point the oil cooks off or the mixture begins to burn, reduce heat to medium-high (but not lower). You can also add a small additional glug of oil.

Push the vegetables to the edges of the pan and add the garlic and pepper flakes to the open space in the middle. Cook, keeping them contained in the centre space, but moving them around to prevent burning for about 20 seconds.

Return chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet or wok and toss everything together once. Give the sauce you made a whisk (the cornstarch settles to the bottom otherwise) and add it to the pan. Cook, tossing constantly, until the sauce thickens and coats all the ingredients, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove from the heat, add the basil, and serve immediately over rice, if desired. Serves 4.

From Winner Winner Chicken Dinner by Stacie Billis

This recipe from the New York Times is simple and delicious. Marinate chicken thighs in a mixture of tarragon, garlic, oil, salt and pepper for at least six hours or overnight. While the oven is preheating, toss sliced onions with oil, salt and pepper and spread out on a baking sheet. Add the chicken and fresh tarragon and thyme sprigs. Roast for about 35 minutes, tossing the onions after 15 minutes. Serve the chicken with the caramelized onions.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

This recipe is free of additives and preservatives, except for the sherry vinegar. Either omit it or use a wine vinegar with only naturally occurring sulfites, such as Eden Organic brand.

Spread chicken and onions on baking sheet and top with herbs

Roast until chicken is done, tossing the onions partway through

Sheet-pan tarragon chicken with onions


½ cup (125 ml) finely chopped tarragon (leaves and tender stems), plus 4 whole sprigs

2 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced

2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling

1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) kosher salt, more as needed

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground black pepper, more as needed

3 pounds (1.4 kg) bone-in chicken thighs (skin on)

2 large onions, peeled and sliced (about 4 cups)

4 thyme sprigs

Sherry vinegar, to taste


In a large bowl, stir together tarragon, garlic, oil, salt and pepper. Add chicken thighs and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 6 hours, and up to overnight.

Heat oven to 425 degrees F (218 C). Spread onions out on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss well. Clear spaces on the baking pan, then place chicken pieces in the cleared spaces so the onions surround the chicken. Strew thyme and tarragon sprigs over onions and chicken.

Roast, tossing the onions after 15 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and the onions tender, 25 to 35 minutes. If the chicken skin or onions are not as brown as you’d like, run pan under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes at the end of cooking.

Place chicken on a platter. Drizzle onions with sherry vinegar and more salt and pepper if needed. Spoon onions around the chicken and serve. Serves 6.

From the New York Times

This take on hamburgers from Ina Garten’s Modern Comfort Food is fantastic. Cook sliced red onions until they are caramelized. Meanwhile, make four beef patties and freeze for 15 minutes. Sear and flatten the burgers, top with the onions and Gruyère cheese, cover and cook until the burgers are done and the cheese is melted. Serve on buns topped with ketchup and your favourite burger toppings.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used Eden Organic red wine vinegar, Keen’s dry mustard and Ace hamburger buns. Check the Gruyère cheese to make sure it does not contain colour. Heinz ketchup is free of additives and preservatives.

Caramelize the onions

Sear the hamburger patties

Top the patties with the onions and cheese, cover and cook until the cheese is melted

Place patties in buns and serve with your favourite burger toppings


3 ½ tbsp. (52.5 ml) canola or grape-seed oil, divided

4 cups (1 L) ¼-in.-thick (0.64-cm-thick sliced red onions (from 2 onions)

1 tsp. (5 ml) granulated sugar

1 tbsp. (15 ml) good red wine vinegar

1½ tsp. (7.5 ml) dry mustard powder

1½ tsp. (7.5 ml) kosher salt

½ tsp. (2.5 ml) freshly ground black pepper

1¼ lbs. (567 g) ground beef with 20% fat

4 oz. (113 g) Gruyère cheese, shredded (about 1 cup/250 ml)

4 hamburger buns

Ketchup, for serving


Heat 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the oil in a large (12-inch/30-cm) skillet over medium. Add onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender and starting to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add sugar; reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are browned and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. Add vinegar, and cook 30 seconds to deglaze the pan.

Stir together dry mustard powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Place ground beef in a medium bowl, and sprinkle with dry mustard mixture. With your fingers, lightly work the mixture into beef, and shape into 4 (1-inch/2.54-cm-thick) patties. Place patties on a plate, and freeze exactly 15 minutes.

Heat a large (12-inch/30-cm) cast-iron skillet over medium high, and add remaining 1½ tablespoons (22.5 ml) oil. From the freezer, place burgers directly into hot skillet. With a large metal spatula, firmly press each burger into skillet. Cook burgers 2 ½ to 3 minutes, without disturbing, so bottoms get browned and crusty. Flip burgers; top evenly with onions, and then sprinkle evenly with Gruyère. Place a lid on skillet, and cook burgers until cheese is melted and burgers are medium-rare, 1½ to 2 minutes. Place 1 burger on each bun, and serve hot with ketchup on the side. Serves 4.

From Modern Comfort Food by Ina Garten