Quick Carrot Apple Salad

The extended family came over for an impromptu dinner tonight – my nephew made burgers, and I scoured the house for something to make a salad out of. We had no greens, or kale, or anything green, really – but we had tons of carrots, and I remembered a grated carrot salad we ate at various events when I was a kid, and so I tried to recreate it. It was easy to grate two large carrots, dice an apple, add a handful of raisins and dress the whole thing with rice vinegar, salt and pepper, a pinch of salt and a spoonful of mayo. And it turned out to be delicious on burgers, too.

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Ichiban Salad

Growing up, my mom regularly made Ichiban salad – a crunchy mix of coleslaw, packaged ramen noodles, toasted almonds and a tangy dressing made with rice vinegar, oil and part of the seasoning packet. It’s not the healthiest salad in the world, but the mounds of cabbage tend to offset the crunchy noodles, and we only use half the seasoning packet. It has become my go-to desk lunch, and default dinnertime salad, made easy with bagged coleslaw mix, perfectly suited with anything from meatloaf to roasted chicken. If you can’t have almonds in your house, substitute toasted pepitas (green pumpkin seeds).

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Quinoa Salad with Chicken, Avocado & Oranges

Chicken-citrus-quinoa-salad-1

I love a big quinoa salad – not least of all because quinoa can be cooked and kept in the fridge to dole out into nutrient-dense salads all summer long. It’s gluten free, high in protein and fibre, and as technically a seed, it’s lighter in texture than most whole grains.

This combination makes use of leftover roast chicken (or pick one up at the deli if it’s too hot to cook) – try adding just about anything in season, or from your garden.

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Nicole Gomes’ Apple Beer Mac & Cheese

mac & cheese
For the 2016 edition of the Grate Canadian Cheese Cook-Off, our friend Chef Nicole Gomes was one of four of Canada’s top chefs to battle it out with their best gourmet Mac & Cheese recipe. The contenders all look amazing, but we gave Nicole’s a try – a 5 cheese version made with a splash of beer and a unique twist: grated apples, sauteed in butter. It was delicious, of course, and fed the family very well tonight. Thanks Nicole – and thanks Canadian cheese!

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Potato, Kale & Ricotta Galette

Potato kale galette 1

We love kale, and are always looking for new ways to do potatoes. We’re fans of creamy scalloped potatoes; thinly sliced spuds layered with cheese and cream, but sometimes it’s too heavy – this is a perfect compromise, and a great way to get your greens.

Sautéed kale cooks down dramatically, allowing a large serving between layers of soft, crispy potato. This version is subtle, with garlic and ricotta; try an Indian-spiced version by ditching the ricotta and spiking the kale with ginger and curry powder or garam masala as it cooks.Read More

Easy Bacon Corn Risotto

Easy Bacon Corn Risotto
Comforting, creamy risotto doesn't have to tie you to the stove. We found a way to nix all that time-consuming stirring and still get fabulous results. This dish is superb served under pan-seared fish, such as cod or halibut, or with roasted chicken
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Ingredients
  1. 5 to reduced-sodium chicken broth 1.25 to
  2. 51⁄2 cups or Homemade Vegetable Stock 1.375 L
  3. (see recipe, page 90)
  4. 6 slices bacon, chopped 6
  5. 1 tbsp butter 15 mL
  6. 1 onion, finely chopped 1
  7. 11⁄2 cups fresh or thawed 375 mL
  8. frozen corn kernels
  9. 2 cloves garlic, minced 2
  10. 2 cups short-grain white rice, such as 500 mL
  11. Arborio (see tip, opposite)
  12. Salt and freshly ground
  13. black pepper
  14. 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved 500 mL
  15. 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 250 mL
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, bring broth to a boil; reduce heat and let simmer. Meanwhile, in another large saucepan, sauté bacon over medium-high heat until lightly browned but not crispy. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Drain off fat and wipe out pan with paper towels.
  2. Add butter to the pan and melt over medium heat. Sauté onion and corn for 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and sauté for 15 seconds or until fragrant. Add rice and stir to coat. Return bacon to pan and add 4 cups (1 L) of the broth, 1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) salt and 1⁄4 tsp (1 mL) pepper. (Remove the remaining broth from the heat.) Bring rice mixture to a boil; reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Uncover, stir thoroughly, then stir in tomatoes. If liquid is mostly absorbed, add another 1 cup (250 mL) broth.
  3. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until liquid is almost absorbed and rice is still slightly firm to the bite. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan and enough of the remaining broth to make it creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if desired. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes or until rice is tender.
  4. Serves 6 to 8.
Notes
  1. Tip: If you use a salt-free stock or broth, you may want to add more salt. Salt is, in any recipe, a matter of personal preference, so feel free to increase or reduce the quantities we suggest. Before adding more salt at the end of the cooking time, be sure to taste the dish first, as the bacon and Parmesan contribute quite a lot of salt.
  2. Tip: Short-grain rice is essential to a smooth and creamy risotto. You won't get the same velvety finish if you try to make risotto with long-grain rice, such as basmati, converted or jasmine. Short-grain rice, such as Arborio or Carnaroli, is sometimes labeled "risotto rice."
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