Archive for January, 2021

This recipe from Bowls, by America’s Test Kitchen, is a quick and easy take on Pad Thai. Sauté shrimp and set aside. Whisk lime juice, water, sugar, fish sauce, oil, vinegar and cayenne together and set aside. Soak rice noodles in boiling water until tender. Cook garlic and shallot, add egg and scramble it. Add the noodles, lime mixture, scallions and cook for a few minutes. Put noodle mixture in bowls, top with shrimp, scallions and bean sprouts and other garnishes and serve. Cook’s note: I omitted the bean sprouts and used parsley instead of cilantro for a garnish.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use freshly squeezed lime juice. I used Cock brand fish sauce and Marukan rice vinegar, which are additive-free. Check the cayenne to make sure it does not contain colour or anti-caking agents.

Sauté the shrimp and set aside

Add noodles to shallot, garlic and egg

Shrimp Pad Thai Bowl


3 tbsp (45 ml) lime juice

2 ½ tbsp (37.5 ml) packed dark brown sugar

2 tbsp (30 ml) fish sauce

2 ½ tbsp (37.5 ml) vegetable oil, divided

2 tsp (10 ml) rice vinegar

1/8 tsp (0.6 ml) cayenne pepper

4 oz (113 g) ¼-inch- (0.6-cm-) wide rice noodles

1 small shallot, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

Pinch table salt

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 scallions, green parts only, sliced thin, divided

12 oz (340 g) sautéed shrimp, warmed

1 cup (250 ml) bean sprouts

Peanuts (optional)

Chopped cilantro (optional)


To sauté shrimp, pat 12 oz. (340 g) peeled and deveined shrimp dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tbsp (15 ml) vegetable oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add shrimp in a single layer and cook for 1 minute without stirring. Flip shrimp and cook until opaque, about another minute. Keep warm while you prepare the rest of the recipe.

Whisk lime juice, 3 tbsp (45 ml) water, sugar, fish sauce, 1½ tbsp (22.5 ml) oil, vinegar and cayenne together in bowl; set aside. Pour 2 quarts (2 L) boiling water over noodles in bowl and stir to separate. Let noodles soak until soft and pliable but not fully tender, stirring once halfway through soaking, 8-10 minutes. Drain noodles and rinse with cold water until water runs clear, shaking to remove excess water.

Heat remaining tablespoon (15 ml) of oil in 10-inch (25-cm) non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add shallot, garlic and salt and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until shallot is light golden brown, about 1½ minutes. Stir in egg and cook, stirring vigorously until scrambled and barely moist, about 20 seconds.

Add drained rice noodles and toss to combine. Add lime mixture and half of scallions, increase heat to medium-high and cook, tossing gently, until noodles are well coated and tender, about 3 minutes. If not yet tender, add 2 tbsp (30 ml) water to skillet and continue to cook until tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide among individual serving bowls, then top with shrimp and bean sprouts and sprinkle with remaining scallions. For extra crunch and flavour, sprinkle with chopped peanuts and minced cilantro. Serves 2.

From Bowls by America’s Test Kitchen

This recipe from Ina Garten’s latest cookbook, Modern Comfort Food, would be perfect for a casual dinner party. Dredge skin-on, boneless chicken breasts in flour and pan-fry briefly before cooking them for 10 minutes in the oven. Return the pan to the stovetop, add butter and cook until the chicken is done. Serve with lemon orzo with feta cheese. Cook’s note: I did not use dill for the orzo.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use butter that contains only cream and fresh lemon juice. Tre Stelle feta is additive-free.

Finish cooking the chicken in butter after removing from the oven

Crispy chicken with lemon orzo


Crispy chicken

2/3 cup (165 ml) all-purpose flour

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 boneless chicken breasts, skin-on (about 8 ounces/226 g each)

¼ cup (60 ml) canola oil

9 tablespoons (136 ml) unsalted butter, divided

2 tablespoons (30 ml) minced fresh parsley

1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges

Lemon orzo with feta

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup (250 ml) orzo

2 teaspoons (10 ml) grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons (30 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons (30 ml) good olive oil

1 tablespoon (15 ml) minced fresh dill

1 cup (250 ml) small-diced feta, preferably Greek (4 ounces/113 g)


Lemon orzo with feta

In a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts (2 L) of water to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt and the orzo. Return the water to a boil and simmer uncovered for 9 to 11 minutes, until the orzo is al dente. Drain.

Transfer the orzo to a bowl and stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, dill, 2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt, and 1 teaspoon (5 ml) pepper. Fold in the feta and serve hot.

Crispy chicken

Heat the oven to 450°F (232°C).

Combine the flour, 2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt, and 1 teaspoon (5 ml) pepper in a shallow bowl. Remove the tenders on the underside of the chicken breasts and save for another use. (This makes the chicken breasts an even thickness so they cook evenly.) Heat the canola oil and 4 tablespoons (60 ml) of the butter together in a large (12-inch/30-cm) cast-iron skillet over medium heat until the butter has melted and begins to sizzle.

Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture and shake off any excess. Place the chicken, skin side down, in the skillet and cook over medium heat without moving for 12 minutes. With the chicken still skin side down, place the skillet in the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Return the skillet to the stovetop over medium heat (careful; the handle will be hot!). Turn the chicken skin side up, add the remaining 5 tablespoons (75 ml) of butter, and continue cooking for 3 to 5 minutes, until the butter is a nutty brown color and the chicken breasts are just cooked through. Off the heat, sprinkle on the parsley.

Divide the lemon orzo with feta among four dinner plates. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and slice each breast crosswise in thick slices. Arrange one breast on each plate with the orzo. Spoon a few tablespoons of the brown butter over each chicken breast, squeeze on some lemon, and sprinkle with salt. Serve hot with a fresh wedge of lemon on each plate. Serves 4.

From Modern Comfort Food by Ina Garten

This pasta dish from Alison Roman is absolutely delicious. Caramelize shallots and garlic, add hot pepper flakes, anchovies, tomato paste and cook for another few minutes. Set half of the sauce aside in the fridge or freezer for future use. Cook the pasta and add to the remaining sauce with some of the pasta cooking water. Cook until the sauce is thickened a bit and coats the pasta. Garnish with a mixture of chopped parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook’s note: I know this looks like a lot of anchovies, but they add an incredible depth of flavour and the final dish does not taste like anchovies at all.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the hot pepper flakes to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. I used Unico anchovies and No Name tomato paste.

Caramelized shallot pasta


¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

6 large shallots, very thinly sliced

5 garlic cloves, 4 thinly sliced, 1 finely chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon(5 ml) red-pepper flakes, plus more to taste

1 2-ounce (57 g) can anchovy fillets (about 12), drained

1 4.5-ounce (128-g) tube or 6-ounce (170-g) can of tomato paste, about ½ to ¾ cup (125 to 187 ml)

10 ounces (285 g) pasta

1 cup (250 ml) parsley, leaves and tender stems, finely chopped

Flaky sea salt


Heat olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium high. Add shallots and thinly sliced garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots have become totally softened and caramelized with golden-brown fried edges, 15 to 20 minutes.

Add red-pepper flakes and anchovies. (No need to chop the anchovies; they will dissolve on their own.) Stir to melt the anchovies into the shallots, about 2 minutes.

Add tomato paste and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly to prevent any scorching, until the tomato paste has started to cook in the oil a bit, caramelizing at the edges and going from bright red to a deeper brick red color, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer about half the mixture to a resealable container, leaving the rest behind. (These are your leftovers to be used elsewhere: in another batch of pasta or smeared onto roasted vegetables, spooned over fried eggs or spread underneath crispy chicken thighs.)

To serve, cook pasta according to package instructions in a large pot of salted boiling water until very al dente (perhaps more al dente than usual). Transfer to Dutch oven with remaining shallot mixture (or a skillet if you are using the leftover portion) and 1 cup pasta water. Cook over medium-high heat, swirling the skillet to coat each piece of pasta, using a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up any bits on the bottom, until pasta is thick and sauce has reduced and is sticky, but not saucy, 3 to 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine parsley and finely chopped garlic clove, and season with flaky salt and pepper. Divide pasta among bowls, or transfer to one large serving bowl, and top with parsley mixture and a bit more red-pepper flakes, if you like. Serves 4.

From Alison Roman

This tasty dish combines spicy Chorizo and corn with cilantro-lime rice, topped with lime crema and a fresh tomato-avocado salsa. Cook’s note: I used finely chopped cooked and dried Chorizo instead of fresh Chorizo sausage and it worked well. Cook the dried Chorizo for the same amount of time as the fresh, to ensure it is crispy and heated through.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used President’s Choice Chorizo, which is additive-free and No Name sour cream. Check the dried spices for colour or anti-caking agents.

Brown the Chorizo and corn

Make the pico de gallo

Make the lime crema

Add the scallions, cilantro and lime zest to cooked rice

Place rice in bowl, top with Chorizo and corn mixture and top with pico de gallo and lime crema


9 oz (250 g) Chorizo sausage, uncased

Olive or canola oil

2 tsp (10 ml) garlic, minced

¾ cup (180 ml) Basmati rice

2 tbsp (30 ml) cilantro, finely chopped

6 tbsp (90 ml) sour cream

Lime, zested and juiced

4 oz (113 g) grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

Avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

1 tbsp (15 ml) Mexican seasoning (see recipe below)

2 green onions, thinly sliced, keeping white and green parts separate

4 oz (113 g) corn kernels


Mexican seasoning

1 teaspoon (5 ml) chili powder (add more if you like)

1 teaspoon (5 ml) garlic powder

1 teaspoon (5 ml) onion powder 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) dried oregano

2 teaspoons (10 ml) paprika

1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) ground cumin

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) sea salt

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) black pepper

1 pinch ground cinnamon

1 pinch ground cloves

Mix together ingredients thoroughly in a bowl and store in a cool place in an airtight container.


Add 1 ¼ cups (315 ml) water to a medium pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Add rice to the pot of boiling water. Reduce the heat to low. Cook, still covered, until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, 12-14 minutes.

While rice cooks, heat a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add ½ tbsp (7.5 ml) oil, then chorizo. Cook, breaking up chorizo into smaller pieces, until golden-brown and cooked through, 6-7 minutes.

Add corn to the pan with chorizo. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown, 2-3 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium. Add Mexican seasoning, garlic and 2 tbsp (30 ml) water. Cook, stirring together, until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.

When rice is done, fluff with a fork and stir in the white parts of the green onions, half the lime zest and half the cilantro. Season with salt.

To make the lime crema, mix sour cream, half the lime juice and remaining lime zest in a small bowl.

To make the pico de gallo, mix tomatoes, avocado, remaining green onions, remaining cilantro and remaining lime juice in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide rice between bowls and top with chorizo mixture and pico de gallo. Dollop over lime crema. Serves 2.

Adapted from HelloFresh

This recipe from Ina Garten consistently wins online debates about the best lasagne recipe. It does so for a couple of reasons: first, it uses turkey sausage, which makes for a lighter dish and second, you soak the noodles in hot water, avoiding the need to boil them. This recipe takes a while to make and assemble, but the results are excellent. Cook’s note: I couldn’t find turkey sausage, so I used a hot Italian pork sausage and it worked well. I also used cream cheese instead of goat cheese.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for an all-natural sausage, such as Free From brand. I used Unico tomatoes, No Name tomato paste, Tre Stelle ricotta, Arla organic cream cheese and No Name mozzarella. Genuine Parmesan (look for the name on the rind) is always additive-free.

Brown the onion and sausage

Add tomatoes, tomato paste, herbs and spices and simmer until thickened

The sauce layer

The pasta layer

Mozzarella and ricotta layers

Top with sauce and Parmesan and bake for 30 minutes

The lasagne is done when the sauce is bubbling and the top has browned

Ina Garten's turkey lasagne


2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil

1 cup (250 ml) chopped yellow onion (1 onion)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 ½ pounds (680 g) sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed

One 28-ounce (793 g) can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree

One 6-ounce (170 g) can tomato paste

¼ cup (60 ml) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided

½ cup (125 ml) chopped fresh basil leaves

2 teaspoons (10 ml) kosher salt

¾ teaspoon (3.75 ml) freshly ground black pepper

½ pound (226 g) lasagna noodles

15 ounces (425 g) ricotta cheese

3 to 4 ounces (85 to 113 g) creamy goat cheese, crumbled

1 cup (250 g) grated Parmesan, plus ¼ (60 ml) cup for sprinkling

1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten

1 pound (454 g) fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 C).

Heat the olive oil in a large (10- to 12-inch/25- to 30-cm) skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the sausage and cook over medium-low heat, breaking it up with a fork, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the parsley, the basil, 1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) of the salt, and ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.

Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water. Add the noodles and allow them to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain.

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup (250 ml) of Parmesan, the egg, the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of parsley, remaining ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt, and ¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) pepper. Set aside.

Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9- by 12- by 2-inch (22- by 30- by 5-cm) rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Then add the layers as follows: half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta, and one 1/3 of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with ¼ cup (60 ml) of Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling. Serves 8.

From Ina Garten