Archive for May, 2021

Honey, mustard, pretzels, avocado, Parmesan and bacon—what’s not to like about this chicken salad from Half Baked Harvest? Dredge chicken tenders in egg and coat with crushed pretzels and spices. While the chicken is baking, combine the greens, tomatoes, Parmesan, avocado and cooked bacon and make the honey-mustard dressing. Add the cooked chicken to the salad and top with the dressing.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for pretzels without artificial ingredients and check the dried spices for colour and anti-caking agents. Use bacon preserved with celery salt instead of nitrites. Genuine Parmesan cheese (look for the name stamped on the rind) contains no additives or preservatives. I used President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon mustard and omitted the tahini.

Dredge the chicken in egg and coat with crushed pretzels and spices

Add the cooked chicken to the salad and top with dressing


Chicken and salad

2 eggs beaten

1 pound (454 g) boneless chicken tenders

1 cup (250 ml) finely crushed salted pretzel twists

1 teaspoon (5 ml) chili powder

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) garlic powder

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) onion powder

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) smoked paprika

¼ -½ teaspoon (1.75 – 2.5 ml)cayenne pepper

kosher salt and black pepper

Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing

6 cups (1.5 L) mixed greens

1 cup (250 ml) cherry tomatoes, halved

½ cup (125 ml) shaved Parmesan

1-2 avocados, diced

4 slices cooked thick cut bacon, crumbled

Honey-mustard dressing

¼ cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup (60 ml) honey

juice of 1 lemon

3 tablespoons (45 ml) Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons (30 ml) tahini

2 tablespoons (30 ml) apple cider vinegar

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) cayenne pepper


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

In a bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Combine the pretzels, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, and a pinch of pepper to a bowl.

Dredge the chicken through the crumbs, pressing to adhere. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

To make the salad, Combine the greens, tomatoes, parmesan, avocados, and bacon in a salad bowl.

To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a glass jar and whisk until smooth. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.

Toss the chicken in with the salad. Add a little of the dressing. Serves 4.

Half Baked Harvest

This recipe from Food and Wine calls for airline chicken breasts, which are skin-on boneless chicken breasts with the drumette attached. I couldn’t find them, so I used skin-on bone-in chicken thighs, which worked just fine. Brown the chicken and set it aside. Cook carrots, oyster mushrooms, small turnips or radishes with butter and herbs and then add scallions and the chicken to the pan. Roast until the chicken is done and then remove it and the vegetables from the pan. While the chicken rests, add wine, herbs and chicken stock to the pan and simmer to reduce it. Add butter. Season the sauce and serve it over the chicken and vegetables.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for butter that contains only cream, with no colour added. I used wine from Frogpond Farm, which has a sulfite level of less than 10 parts per million. Imagine Organic chicken stock is additive-free.

This recipes uses a combination of oyster mushrooms, radishes, carrots and onions

Brown the chicken and set aside

Cook the vegetables with rosemary sprigs

Add the chicken and onions to the pan and roast until done

While the chicken rests, make a quick sauce

Serve the chicken and vegetables with the sauce


4 (10-ounce/283 g) skin-on airline chicken breasts or skin-on bone-in chicken breasts or thighs

1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste

¾ teaspoon (3.5 ml) black pepper, divided

1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil

6 small carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch (2.54-cm) pieces (about 1 ½ cups/375 ml)

8 ounces (226 g) fresh oyster mushrooms, halved

6 small hakurei turnips or radishes, trimmed and quartered (about 1 cup/250 ml)

3 tablespoons (45 ml) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, divided

6 rosemary and thyme sprigs, divided

2 spring onions, or 4 scallions, cut into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces (about 1 cup/250 ml)

¼ cup (60 ml) rosé wine

½ cup (125 ml) unsalted chicken stock

2 tablespoons (30 ml) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1 ¼  teaspoons (6.25 ml) salt and ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) pepper. Heat oil in a 12-inch (30-cm) ovenproof skillet over medium. Cook chicken, skin side down, until skin is golden brown and crispy, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Reserve drippings in skillet.

Increase heat to high. Add carrots, mushrooms, turnips, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) butter, 3 herb sprigs, remaining ¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) salt, and remaining ¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) pepper; stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 6 minutes. Add onions and chicken, skin side up. Transfer skillet to preheated oven. Roast until a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of chicken registers 160°F (71°C), 18 to 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, divide chicken and vegetables among 4 plates; reserve drippings in skillet.

Return skillet to heat over high. Add rosé and remaining 3 herb sprigs; cook, undisturbed, 2 minutes. Add stock, and bring to a simmer over high. Simmer until reduced by one-third, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in parsley and remaining 2 tablespoons butter; season to taste with salt. Pour sauce over chicken and vegetables. Serves 4.

From Food and Wine

This sheet-pan meal uses fresh sausage to create meatballs that are roasted along with cherry tomatoes, broccoli and mushrooms. Serve the sausage and vegetables with garlic bread and Parmesan cheese.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the dried spices to ensure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. I use Free From sausages and Ace Bakery bread. Genuine Parmesan, which has the name stamped on the rind, is additive-free.

Toss ingredients on sheet pan

Roast until sausage is cooked and vegetables are tender

Serve with bread to soak up all the juices


1 pint (500 ml) grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

1 head broccoli florets or 2 bunches broccolini, trimmed and cut into 1-inch (2.54-cm) pieces (about 4 cups/1 L)

½ pound (226 g) cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced (about 3 cups/750 ml)

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil, plus more as needed

1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) dried oregano

1 teaspoon (5 ml) red-pepper flakes

Kosher salt

¾ pound (340 g) bulk spicy or sweet Italian sausage (or fresh sausages removed from casing)

¼ cup (60 ml) plus 2 tablespoons (30 ml) grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

1 loaf soft Italian bread, split lengthwise

3 to 5 small garlic cloves, grated or minced


Heat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) with one rack in the lower third and one in the upper. On one sheet pan, combine the tomatoes, broccoli and mushrooms with ¼ cup (60 ml) oil. Season with 1 teaspoon (5 ml) oregano, ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) red-pepper flakes and salt to taste. Toss to combine, then arrange the tomatoes so they are cut-side up. Roll the sausage into 1-inch (2.54-cm) balls. (There should be about 30.)

Distribute them around the vegetables. Sprinkle the entire sheet pan with 2 tablespoons (30 ml) Parmesan. Roast for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, brush the cut sides of the bread with about 2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) of oil. Spread the grated garlic on the bread, then sprinkle with the remaining ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) red-pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) oregano and salt to taste. Cut into 3- to 4-inch (7.6- to 10-cm) pieces. Grease another sheet pan with olive oil, then place the bread on the pan, cut-side up.

After 15 minutes, gently shake the pan to flip the meatballs. Sprinkle the entire pan with the remaining ¼ cup (60 ml) Parmesan, concentrating your efforts on the tomatoes and the empty pan edges so that some Parmesan has room to crisp. Return the meatball sheet pan to the lowest rack and place the bread sheet pan on the higher rack. Roast until the bread is golden at the edges, the broccoli tips are crispy and the meatballs are cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. (If the broccoli and meatballs need a little more time, remove the bread from the oven, cover loosely with foil and continue to roast the other sheet pan for 5 more minutes.)

Use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up any cheese that has stuck to the bottom of the pan. Serve everything with the garlic bread and more grated cheese. Serves 4.

From NYT Cooking

This one-pan recipe from NYT Cooking combines chicken, onions, peppers, black beans, tomatoes and rice. Sear the chicken and set aside while you sauté the onions and peppers. Add hot chiles, spices, black beans and cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle uncooked rice on top, add boiling stock and return the chicken to the pan. Bake for about 40 minutes and serve with your toppings of choice. Cook’s note: If you have one, use a 12-inch (30-cm) cast iron skillet.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I use Imagine organic chicken stock, which is additive-free. Check dried spices for colour and anti-caking agents. Blue Menu black beans are additive-free.

Brown the chicken and set aside

Cook the onions and peppers

Add black beans, tomatoes, rice and stock; return chicken to pan and roast until done


8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

Flaky sea salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil or peanut oil

1 large yellow or white onion, chopped

2 green or red bell peppers, halved, seeded and sliced

2 ½ cups (625 ml) chicken stock

2 red Fresno chiles or jalapeños, halved, seeded and chopped

1 (3-inch/7.6-cm) cinnamon stick, broken in half

3 garlic cloves, finely grated

1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cumin

1 (15-ounce/425-g/443 ml) can black beans, rinsed

⅓ pound (150 g) cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup (250 ml) basmati rice, rinsed in a sieve until the water runs clear

3 tablespoons (45 ml) chopped cilantro leaves

Lime wedges, pickled chiles, sliced fresh chiles, sour cream and sliced avocado, for serving


Heat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 C). Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the oil in a 12-inch (30-cm) ovenproof skillet (the pan size is very important) over medium-high. Brown the chicken on both sides to give it good color, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Add the onion and bell peppers to the pan and sauté until just starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

In a small saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Meanwhile, add the Fresno chiles or jalapeños, cinnamon, garlic and cumin to the skillet and cook for about 2 minutes, then add the black beans and cherry tomatoes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the rice on top in an even layer. (It’s important that the black beans are beneath the rice and chicken. The rice will burn otherwise.) Add the stock and return the chicken to the pan, skin-side up.

Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. The chicken should be lovely and golden, the stock should be absorbed and the rice should be tender. Sprinkle with the cilantro. Serve with lime wedges, pickled chiles, sliced fresh chiles, sour cream and avocado (squeeze some lime juice over the avocados in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper). Serves 4.

From NYT Cooking

I love spaghetti carbonara and this recipe from Alison Roman yields great results. Thick guanciale or pancetta works best for this version, although you can use bacon. Brown the meat and set aside. Whisk together egg, egg yolk, garlic, cheese, salt and pepper. Cook the pasta and while still underdone, transfer to skillet with some of the pasta water. Cook for about a minute, add egg and cheese mixture and toss until the sauce emulsifies. Serve topped with black pepper, cheese and the crispy meat.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for pork without additives, preserved with celery salt – I used President’s Choice pancetta. Genuine Parmesan cheese contains no colour additives or preservatives – look for the name of the cheese stamped on the rind.

Brown the pancetta and set aside

Alison Roman's spaghetti carbonara


1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil

A slice of guanciale or pancetta or bacon, about ¼ inch (0.6 cm) thick, cut into ¼-inch (0.6-cm) pieces (about 2 oz/55g)

A handful of spaghetti (about 3 ounces/85 g)

Kosher salt

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1 garlic clove, finely grated (optional)

About ½ cup (125 ml) finely grated parmesan and/or pecorino cheese, plus more for grating on top

Freshly ground black pepper


Heat olive oil and guanciale or pancetta in a medium skillet over medium heat until most of the fat has started rendering out and the meat starts to brown, 4–6 minutes. Remove from heat and using a spoon, transfer the meat to a small bowl, leaving the fat behind.

Meanwhile, whisk egg, egg yolk, garlic, and ½ cup (125 ml) cheese in a medium bowl. Season with a little salt and lots of black pepper.

Cook pasta in a medium pot of salted boiling water about halfway through (it should be malleable but still just before al dente).

Return the skillet with the fat to medium heat and using tongs, place the pasta in the skillet (this means you don’t have to drain the pasta and worry about reserving the pasta water, it just stays in the pot), and add in about ½ cup (125 ml) pasta water, swirling to scrape up all the sticky, porky bits. Cook here for a minute or so.

Whisk in ¾ cup (187 ml) pasta water to the egg/cheese mixture and then add pasta to that bowl, using your tongs to toss, toss, toss.

Return the pasta and all the sauce to the skillet over medium heat (it will look watery and soupy). Cook the pasta and continue to toss, moving the skillet and the pasta, letting the sauce come together and become totally emulsified and creamy. If you notice any bits of scrambled eggs, your heat is too high — remove it from the heat and let it cool before continuing.

Just before it looks thick enough, remove it from the heat, and yeah, keep tossing. Toss it! Add more pasta water if it’s looking a bit dry (this pasta goes from saucy to sticky very quickly, pasta water will keep you saucy).

Transfer it to a bowl or eating vessel of your choice. Top with more black pepper, parmesan cheese, and a sprinkle of the crisp pancetta. Serves 1.

From Alison Roman