Archive for February, 2022

This delicious recipe from Ina Garten is a company-worthy dinner. Marinate lamb chops in a mint-spice-lemon-yogurt sauce and then grill on the barbecue or on a stovetop grill pan. Serve with couscous tossed with toasted pine nuts and fresh mint.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the dried spices to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. I used Astro Original Balkan-Style yogurt and Simply Natural organic sriracha. Make sure the butter you use does not contain colour. I used Imagine organic chicken stock. Check the label on the pine nuts to make sure no preservatives have been added.

Marinate the lamb before grilling

Grill lamb until rare or medium-rare

Serve lamb with couscous



6 large garlic cloves

1/3 cup (82.5 ml) julienned fresh mint leaves

1 ½ tablespoons (22.5 ml) ground turmeric

1 tablespoon (15 ml) whole coriander seeds

1 tablespoon (15 ml) ground cumin

1 tablespoon (15 ml) grated lemon zest (2 lemons)

Kosher salt

5 tablespoons (75 ml) good olive oil, plus extra for the grill

3 racks of lamb (6 to 7 ribs each), cut into chops

1 ½ cups (375 ml) plain whole-milk Greek yogurt

1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) Sriracha

3 tablespoons (45 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice

Couscous with pine nuts and mint

2 tablespoons (30 ml) good olive oil

1 tablespoon (15 ml) unsalted butter

1 cup (250 ml) chopped yellow onion

3 cups (750 ml) chicken stock, preferably homemade

1 ½ cups (375 ml) couscous

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

½ cup (125 ml) julienned fresh mint leaves, loosely packed

1/3 cup (82.5 ml) pine nuts, toasted



Place the garlic, mint, turmeric, coriander, cumin, lemon zest, and 2 ½ (12.5 ml) teaspoons salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until finely ground. Add the olive oil and pulse to combine.

Place the chops in one or two non-metal dishes large enough to hold them in one layer. Spread the garlic and herb mixture evenly on both sides. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, Sriracha, and lemon juice, and spread it evenly on the lamb chops. Cover, refrigerate, and allow to marinate for 6 to 24 hours.

Prepare a charcoal grill with hot coals and oil the cooking grate. Sprinkle the lamb with salt and grill 5 to 6 inches above the coals, first with the yogurt side up (marinade and all) for 4 to 5 minutes, then turn and grill for 3 to 4 minutes, until medium rare. Transfer to a clean plate, cover the plate tightly with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the couscous. Serves 6.


Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook over medium-low heat for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Stir in the couscous, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt, and ½ teaspoon (1.25 ml) pepper and remove from the heat. Cover the pot tightly and allow the couscous to steam for 10 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork and stir in the mint and pine nuts. Taste for seasonings and add about 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt, depending on the saltiness of the stock, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Serve hot. Serves 6.

From Ina Garten’s Cooking for Jeffrey

Ribollita, which means “reboiled” is a hearty Tuscan soup traditionally made from leftover vegetables and stale bread. This version from Ina Garten—which contains beans, pancetta, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, tomatoes, savoy cabbage, kale, basil, chicken stock and bread—is a perfect supper on a cold winter night. Soak and cook the beans (or use canned) and set aside. Cook the pancetta and vegetables. Puree half the beans and add them and the whole beans to the pot. Add water and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the cubed bread and simmer for another 10 minutes before serving, topped with Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use dried beans or Blue Menu canned white beans. Look for pancetta preserved with celery salt instead of nitrites. Check the red pepper flakes to make sure they don’t contain colour. Unico or Blue Menu canned tomatoes are additive free. I use Imagine organic chicken stock and Ace Bakery bread. Genuine Parmesan is additive- and colour-free—look for the name stamped on the rind.

Serve ribollita topped with grated Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil


½ pound (226 g) dried white beans, such as Great Northern or cannellini

Kosher salt

¼ cup (60 ml) good olive oil, plus extra for serving

¼ pound (113 g) large diced pancetta or smoked bacon

2 cups (500 ml) chopped yellow onions (2 onions)

1 cup (250 ml) chopped carrots (3 carrots)

1 cup (250 ml) chopped celery (3 stalks)

3 tablespoons (45 ml) minced garlic (6 cloves)

1 teaspoon (5 ml) freshly ground black pepper

¼ (1.25 ml) teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 (28-ounce/796 ml) can Italian plum tomatoes in puree, chopped

4 cups (1 L) coarsely chopped or shredded savoy cabbage, optional

4 cups (1 L) coarsely chopped kale

½ cup (125 ml) chopped fresh basil leaves

6 cups (1.5 L) chicken stock, preferably homemade

4 cups (1 L) sourdough bread cubes, crusts removed

½ cup (125 ml) freshly grated Parmesan, for serving


In a large bowl, cover the dried beans with cold water by 1 inch (2.54 cm) and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to soak overnight in the refrigerator.

Drain the beans and place them in a large pot with 8 cups (2 L) of water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of salt and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes, until the beans are tender. Set the beans aside to cool in their liquid.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large stockpot. Add the pancetta and onions and cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of salt, the pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the tomatoes with their puree, the cabbage, if using, the kale, and basil and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for another 7 to 10 minutes.

Drain the beans, reserving their cooking liquid. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree half of the beans with a little of their liquid. Add to the stockpot, along with the remaining whole beans. Pour the bean cooking liquid into a large measuring cup and add enough chicken stock to make 8 cups (2 L). Add to the soup and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

Add the bread to the soup and simmer for 10 more minutes. Taste for seasoning and serve hot in large bowls sprinkled with Parmesan and drizzled with olive oil. Serves 8.

From Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa at Home

This sheet-pan supper from Bon Appetit is quick, healthy and tasty. Top chicken thighs with a blend of lemon zest, garlic, oil, salt and pepper. Seed and slice squash and place, along with cubed halloumi, on one half of a foil-lined baking sheet. Top with a blend of oil, garlic, cumin and salt. Thinly slice the shallots and place them in six piles on the other half of the baking sheet. Top each pile with a piece of chicken. Bake until cooked then quickly broil to brown the chicken. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing and add the chopped kale to it, massaging the kale briefly to soften it. Serve the chicken pieces whole or sliced with the tossed kale, squash, halloumi and shallots.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for halloumi with no preservatives or colour added. I use President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon mustard.

Place squash and halloumi on one half of a baking sheet and chicken on top of sliced shallots on the other half

Massage kale in the dressing to soften it

Cook until squash is tender and chicken is done - run under the broiler to borwn

Sheet-pan chicken, halloumi and squash salad


4 garlic cloves, divided

Zest and juice of 1 small lemon

4 Tbsp. (60 ml) plus ⅓ cup (82.5 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided

3½ tsp. (17.5 ml) Diamond Crystal or 2 tsp. (10 ml) Morton kosher salt, divided

Freshly ground black pepper

6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs

1 medium delicata squash

6 oz. (170 g) halloumi cheese, cut into 1-inch (2.54-cm) cubes

2 tsp. (10 ml) ground cumin

4 shallots, thinly sliced

1 Tbsp. (15 ml) Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp. (15 ml) pure maple syrup

1 bunch kale, ribs and stems removed, leaves chopped


Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 425 F (218 C). Finely grate half of garlic into a large bowl. Mix in lemon zest, 3 Tbsp. (45 ml) oil, 2 tsp. (10 ml) Diamond Crystal or 1¼ tsp. (6.25 ml) Morton kosher salt; season with pepper. Pat chicken dry and place in bowl, turning and rubbing to evenly coat.

Cut squash in half lengthwise; scoop out seeds and discard. Slice crosswise 1 inch (2.54 cm) thick. Place squash and halloumi on one half of a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) oil over, finely grate remaining garlic on top, and sprinkle cumin and 1 tsp. (5 ml) Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. (2.5 ml) Morton kosher salt evenly over. Season with pepper and toss to combine. Arrange into an even layer, keeping to the same side.

Place shallot slices in 6 piles on other half of baking sheet; top each pile with a chicken thigh, skin side up. Roast until chicken is cooked through and squash is fork-tender, 33–36 minutes.

Heat broiler. Broil vegetables and chicken until skin is golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice, mustard, syrup, remaining ½ tsp. (2.5 ml) Diamond Crystal or ¼ tsp. (1.25 ml) Morton kosher salt in a clean large bowl; season with pepper. Gradually stream in remaining ⅓ cup (82.5 ml) oil, whisking until emulsified. Add kale; massage dressing into greens.

Transfer chicken to a cutting board; thinly slice, discarding bones. Transfer to bowl with salad; add squash, halloumi, and shallots and toss. Season with pepper. Serves 4.

From Bon Appetit

This stuffed shell pasta dish from Half Baked Harvest’s Super Simple cookbook is hands-down one of the best baked pasta dishes I’ve ever eaten. Make a rich sauce with sausage, tomatoes, red pepper, spices and chopped spinach. Meanwhile, cook the pasta shells until al dente. Combine ricotta and Gouda cheeses with basil and spoon or pipe the mixture into the cooked pasta shells. Arrange the stuffed shells on top of the sauce, top with mozzarella and bake for about 30 minutes. Top with fresh basil and serve. Cook’s notes: I had some cooked pasta shells left over. I spooned the cheese filling into the shells instead of piping. Be sure to squeeze as much water as you can from the thawed chopped spinach. I used pizza mozzarella instead of fresh and it worked well.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used Free From hot Italian sausages, Unico tomatoes, Tre Stelle ricotta, No Name pizza mozzarella and No Name frozen chopped spinach. Check the spices to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents and look for Gouda with no artificial ingredients or colour added.

Brown the sausage, add the tomatoes, bell pepper and spices and simmer for 15 minutes. Then add the spinach.

Combine the ricotta, Gouda and basil

Place the cheese-stuffed shell on top of the sauce

Top with mozzarella and bake. Garnish with basil.

Spinach and three-cheese stuffed shells


2 tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil

1 lb (454 g) ground spicy Italian sausage

2 28-oz (796 ml) cans crushed tomatoes

1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced

2 tsp (10 ml) dried oregano

½ tsp (2.5 ml) crushed red pepper flakes (plus more as needed)

1 8-oz (227 g) bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1 1-lb (454 g) box dried jumbo pasta shells

16 oz (454 g) whole milk ricotta cheese

2 cups (500 ml) shredded Gouda cheese

1 cup (250 ml) fresh basil leaves, chopped (plus more for serving)

8 oz (227 g) fresh mozzarella cheese, torn

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C).

Heat olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned, 5 to 8 minutes.

Reduce heat to low and add the crushed tomatoes, bell pepper, oregano, red pepper flakes and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the spinach. Taste and add more salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.

Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the shells and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain well.

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, Gouda, and basil. Transfer the mix to a large zip-top bag. Push the mixture into one corner of the bag, squeeze the air out of the top, and snip about ½ inch (1.25-cm) off that corner.

Working with one at a time, pipe about 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the cheese mixture into each shell (or just spoon the filling into the shells), then place them in the skillet. Sprinkle the shells evenly with mozzarella.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the cheese has melted and is lightly browning on top, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then top with fresh basil to serve. Store any leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days. Serves 6 to 8.

From Super Simple by Half Baked Harvest’s Tieghan Gerard