Archive for February, 2023

This recipe from Real Simple is great comfort food. Cook the pasta, drain and set aside. Brown the sausage meat and add to the drained pasta. Cook the Brussels sprouts until wilted and then combine flour, garlic, water, milk and Worcestershire sauce to make a sauce. Reduce the sauce, stir in the cheese and then add the sausage and pasta. Top with more cheese and broil until golden and bubbling.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I use Free From hot Italian sausages, unbleached flour and Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce; all are additive-free. Check the Gruyère to make sure it does not contain colour. Genuine Parmesan has no colour or preservatives added; it will have the name stamped on the rind.

Cheesy sausage pasta bake with Brussels sprouts


Kosher salt, for water

12 ounces (340 g) rigatoni pasta

8 ounces (226 g) sweet Italian pork sausage, casings removed

1 teaspoon (5 ml) olive oil

10 ounces (283 g) Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced

1 ½ tablespoons (22.5 ml) all-purpose flour

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 cups (500 ml) whole milk

1 tablespoon (15 ml) Worcestershire sauce

10 ounces (283 g) Gruyère cheese, shredded (about 2½ cups/725 ml), divided

1 ½ ounces (43 g) Parmesan cheese, grated (about ¾ cup/187 ml)


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain, reserving 1¼ cups (312 ml) cooking water. Return pasta to pot. Preheat broiler with rack in middle position.

Heat a large, broiler-safe skillet over medium-high. Add sausage; cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to pot with pasta.

Heat oil in skillet. Add Brussels sprouts and cook until wilted and charred, 3 to 4 minutes. Add flour and garlic; cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add ¼ cup (60 ml) cooking water and whisk until combined, about 30 seconds.

Reduce heat to medium. Stir in milk, Worcestershire sauce, and remaining 1 cup (250 ml) cooking water; bring to a simmer. Cook until liquid has reduced by a quarter, 6 to 7 minutes. Add 1¾ cups (437 ml) Gruyère. Stir in pasta and sausage.

Top pasta with Parmesan and remaining ¾ cup (187 ml) Gruyère. Broil until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Serves 4-6.

From Real Simple

In this sheet-pan recipe from NYT Cooking, sausages are roasted with shallots and apples until caramelized and then tossed with a little apple cider vinegar for added flavour. A great weeknight supper with only one pan to wash!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I use Free From hot Italian sausages and President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon mustard, which is additive free.

This recipe features shallots with apples

Sheet-pan sausages with caramelized shallots and apples


6 shallots, trimmed on both ends and peeled (about 6 ounces/170 g)

2 crisp apples (preferably one tart, like Granny Smith, and one sweet, like Fuji)

1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil, plus more as needed

Kosher salt and black pepper

1 pound (454 g) sweet or hot Italian sausages

3 fresh rosemary sprigs

1 teaspoon (5 ml) whole-grain mustard

1 to 2 teaspoons (5-10 ml) apple cider vinegar, to taste

Chopped fresh parsley, for serving (optional)


Heat the oven to 425 degrees F (218 C). Cut the shallots lengthwise into ½-inch- (1.25-cm-) thick wedges. Core the apples and cut into ½-inch- (1.25-cm-) thick wedges. Place the shallots and apples on a sheet pan, drizzle with the 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast the mixture for 10 to 15 minutes, until the shallots are just starting to brown at the edges.

Meanwhile, place the sausages on a plate. Using a fork, prick a few holes in each sausage. Drizzle the sausages with olive oil and toss to coat.

Add the rosemary and mustard to the pan with the apples and shallots, and toss, spreading everything out into one even layer. Arrange the sausages on the pan, evenly distributed, and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, flipping the sausages and tossing the apples and shallots with the juices released from the sausages halfway through, until the sausages are browned and cooked to 160 degrees F (71 C) and the shallots are tender and caramelized.

Transfer the sausages to a serving platter and discard the rosemary sprigs. Pour the vinegar over the apples and shallots, and toss well, scraping up any browned bits from the pan. Transfer to the serving platter with the sausages, sprinkle with parsley, if using, and serve immediately. Serves 4.

From NYT Cooking

Here’s another delicious recipe from the vegetarian cookbook Evergreen Kitchen. Cook onion, garlic, chipotle peppers and sauce and then add passata, tomatoes and quinoa. Cover and bake until the quinoa is cooked. Stir in pinto beans, corn, cheddar cheese and cilantro. Top with more cheese and broil until the cheese is golden brown and bubbling. Garnish with pickled red onions, scallions and more cilantro.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

La Costena canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are additive free, as are most brands of passata. Unico or Blue Menu diced tomatoes and pinto beans are additive free, as is Green Giant frozen corn. Make sure the cheddar does not contain colour.

Cheesy chipotle quinoa bake


Pickled red onions

2/3 cup (165 ml) boiling water

1 tbsp (15 ml) granulated or cane sugar

1 tsp (5 ml) fine sea salt

2/3 cup (165 ml) apple cider vinegar

1 red onion, thinly sliced

Quinoa bake

2 tbsp (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1 yellow onion, finely chopped (2 cups/500 ml)

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo, minced + 1 tbsp (15 ml) adobo sauce

1 tbsp (15 ml) ground cumin

1 jar (23 fl oz/680 ml) passata

½ cup (125 ml) water

1 can (14 fl oz/398 ml) diced tomatoes

2 tbsp (30 ml) tamari

1 cup (250 ml) dried quinoa, rinsed and drained

1 can (14 fl oz/398 ml) pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 ½ cups (375 ml) frozen corn kernels

2 cups (500 ml) shredded aged cheddar cheese (8 oz/227 g), divided

¾ cup (187 ml) chopped fresh cilantro leaves and more for garnish

½ cup (125 ml) quick pickled red onions

2 scallions, thinly sliced


Pickled red onions

Run warm water over a 4-cup (1 L) mason jar to warm the glass.

Pour the boiling water into the jar. Add the sugar and salt, then stir until dissolved. Pour in the apple cider vinegar and add the sliced red onion. Use a spoon to press the onions down into the liquid. If the onions are not fully submerged, add equal parts of additional water and apple cider vinegar to cover.

The picked red onions are best enjoyed when soft and light pink. You can enjoy them after 30 minutes of soaking, but they’ll get better over time. Let sit on the counter for 1 hour to cool, seal with the lid and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Quinoa bake

Place an oven rack in the centre position and preheat oven to 425 F (220 C).

In a large Dutch oven or braiser, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce and cumin and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in the passata. Use the water to rinse the jar and pour the contents in to the pot. Add the tomatoes and tamari, stir and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in the quinoa.

Cover the pot with a lid and bake for 20 minutes, or until the quinoa is fully cooked.

Remove the chipotle-quinoa from the oven and reposition the oven rack, if needed, so that the top of the pot is 4 to 5 inches (10 to 12 cm) under the broiler. Set the oven to broil.

To the pot, stir in the pinto beans, corn, 1 cup (250 ml) of the cheddar and cilantro. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup (250 ml) cheddar. Broil until the cheese is golden brown and bubbling, 4 to 8 minutes (watch carefully, as broil times vary). Remove from the oven and top with picked red onions, scallions and more cilantro. Serves 6-8.

From Evergreen Kitchen

Mussels are inexpensive and quick to prepare, so they are perfect for a weeknight supper. In this recipe from Canadian Living, diced bacon is cooked and set aside while onion and garlic is cooked in the bacon drippings. Wine and bay leaves are added for a brief simmer and tomato paste is added. Once the liquid comes to a boil, add the mussels, cover the pot and steam until the mussels open, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the mussels with the bacon and chopped parsley and serve with crusty bread. Cook’s note: If possible, use PEI mussels. They are plump and delicious at this time of year.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use bacon preserved with celery salt instead of nitrites. I use Free From brand. No Name tomato paste is additive-free. I use white wine from Frogpond Farm that has a sulfite level below 10 parts per million.

Wine and bacon-steamed mussels


4 lb (2 kg) mussels

8 slices bacon, diced

1 onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 ½ cups (625 ml) dry white wine

2 bay leaves

2 tbsp (30 ml) tomato paste

¼ tsp (1.25 ml) pepper

2 tbsp (30 ml) fresh parsley, chopped


Scrub mussels; remove any beards. Discard any mussels that do not close when tapped. Set aside.

In Dutch oven over medium heat, cook bacon, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towel–lined plate. Drain all but 1 tbsp (15 mml) fat from pan; cook onion, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add wine and bay leaves; simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and pepper; return to boil. Add mussels; cover with tight-fitting lid and steam until mussels open, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat; discard bay leaves and any mussels that do not open. Sprinkle with bacon and parsley. Serves 8.

From Canadian Living