Interactive: Ryan McLarty/QMI Agency; Words: Rita DeMontis, National Food Editor, QMI Agency; Raw food photos: Fotolia
With the addition of beets, this salad is perfect for in between shopping or for the festive table. Recipe courtesy of Metro. (

3 medium beets, washed and trimmed
2 blood oranges, peeled, pitch removed and sectioned
1 head of Boston, bibb or romaine lettuce
5 or 6 leaves of radicchio lettuce
1 head Belgian endive
1/3 cup (75 ml) pecans, chopped
1/3 cup (75 ml) feta cheese, crumbled

1/3 cup (75 ml) white wine vinegar
1/4 cup (60 ml) extra Virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) plain yogurt
1 tsp (5 ml) Dijon mustard
Salt/pepper, to taste

Poke beets with fork and microwave on HIGH for 4-5 minutes. Let cool slightly before carefully removing and peeling skin off. Dice into cubes. Set aside.

Wash, dry and chop greens into bite sized pieces. Toss together so you get a nice mix of colours and arrange in your bowl or platter. Scatter beets pieces over. Drain orange slices and place in salad.

Dressing: Place all dressing ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake vigorously. Drizzle half over salad and toss to coat thoroughly. (Serve rest on side).

Sprinkle pecans and crumbled feta and serve immediately.

Serves 4.
Sundried tomatoes add a new dimension to this beloved comforting dish. Recipe courtesy of Anyday Magic (

1 large clove garlic, halved
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) butter
1 tsp. (5 ml) salt
1/2 tsp. (2 ml) dried thyme leaves
Generous grinding pepper
1 Tbsp. (15 ml) all-purpose flour
3 cups (750 ml) 15% or 18% cream
5 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (21/2 lbs/1.25 kg)
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
4 sliced bacon, cooked and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup (75 ml) julienned sun-dried tomatoes, patted dry
1 cup (250 ml) grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Rub garlic over inside of an 8-inch (2L) square baking dish. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in salt, thyme and pepper and cook for 30 seconds. Whisk in flour cook stirring for 1 minute. Whisk in cream. Add potatoes; stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer stirring occasionally for 5 min.

Pour half of mixture into prepared dish. Stir onion with bacon and tomatoes. Sprinkle 3/4 of onion mixture over potatoes. Pour in remaining potato mixture. Sprinkle with remaining onion mixture and cheese. Set on baking tray to catch any drips. Bake until top is golden and potatoes are tender, 40 to 45 min. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6.

Tips: To prevent browning, peel your potatoes just before making this recipe. Switch up the bacon for cooked ham and use Canadian Cheddar instead of Gruyere.
A lovely winter soup made even better with the addition of pears. Recipe courtesy of Metro. (

2 lb. (1.2 kg) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch chunks
3 shallots, quartered
3 heirloom carrots, cut lengthwise and then in half
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) olive oil
1/2 tsp. (2 ml) salt, divided
3 cup (750 ml) prepared vegetable broth
1 cup (250 ml) milk
1/2 cup (125 ml) apple cider or water
3/4 cup (175 ml) pear puree
Pinch dried rosemary
Sour cream or Greek-style yogurt for garnish

Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Place squash, shallots, carrots and garlic in a large bowl and toss with olive oil and 1/4 tsp. (1 ml) salt.

Spread vegetables in a single layer on a large, rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until vegetables are fork tender. Let cool for 5 minutes. Place vegetables and 2 cups (500 ml) of vegetable broth into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Pour puree into a large sauce pan over medium-low heat and stir in last cup of broth, milk, water or apple cider, pear puree and rosemary. Allow soup to cook until hot for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with a dollop of Greek-style yogurt or sour cream mixed into soup.

Serves 4.
What are the holidays without good quality chocolate? Here's a showstopper of a dish courtesy of Green & Black's Organic from the company's 2014 holiday hit parade of recipes. (

Ready-made sweet short crust pastry (about 9 oz/255 g)*
3 oz. (85 g) Green & Black’s Organic Dark 70% Chocolate (finely chopped) (or favourite dark chocolate)
5 Tbsp. (75 ml) unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1/3 cup (75 ml) superfine sugar
1/2 cup (125 ml) corn syrup
1 tsp. (5 ml) vanilla extract
3 1/2 oz. (100 g) pecans, finely chopped)
3 1/2 oz. (100 g) pecans (to decorate)

Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Place a baking sheet in oven to heat up.

Lightly dust work surface with flour and roll out shortcrust pastry to the thickness of a quarter. Use it to line an 8-inch. (20c) loose-bottomed quiche pan with 1-1/4 inch (3 cm) straight-edged sides but do not trim off excess. Chill until needed.

Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure bowl doesn’t touch water. Cool slightly.

Place eggs, sugar, corn syrup, vanilla extract, and cooled chocolate mixture in a large bowl and beat together until smooth. Fold in chopped pecans, then pour into pastry. Trim pastry to 1/2 an inch (1.2cm) above filling. Decorate surface with pecan halves. Transfer pie to hot baking sheet in oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes until just set.

Serves 8.

TIP: Serve with dollop of whipped cream dusted with cinnamon for added festive flair.

*You can find pastry in the refrigerated section of your grocery store or supermarket.
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