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Hearty one-pot meals and soups to warm the winter-weary soul

Hearty soups, one pot meals and earthy pasta sauce--perfect fare for a blustery winter's day
Hearty clam chowder, pasta with beans and one-pot meals--winter fare at its finest. Photo: Metro Creative Connection

You don’t have to book a flight to Boston for good New England Clam Chowder. Our recipe is rich and flavourful, featuring smoky bacon, light cream, whole baby clams, and clam nectar. All you’re missing is the bread bowl, but a crusty baguette will do just as well. 


6 slices thick bacon, julienned

1 cup (250 mL) chopped onion

1 cup (250 mL) chopped celery

2 cans (5 oz / 142 g each) whole baby clams

1 can (14 oz / 398 mL) clam nectar

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) diced peeled potatoes

1/2 tsp (2 mL) thyme, crumbled

1/4 tsp (1 mL) garlic powder

1/4 tsp (1 mL) hot pepper sauce

1 bay leaf

2 cups (500 mL) light cream (10%)

Chopped fresh parsley 

Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove from heat.

Remove bacon with a slotted spoon; drain bacon on paper towels. Drain off all but 2 Tbsp (25 mL) fat from pan. Return pan to medium heat. Add onion and celery to pan; sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Drain clams, reserving liquid; set clams aside. Add reserved clam liquid and next 6 ingredients (clam nectar through bay leaf ) to onion mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in bacon, clams and cream. Cook, stirring frequently, just until chowder is heated through. Do not boil. Remove and discard bay leaf. Sprinkle with parsley. Yield: Serves 4 - 6. 

Cook's Note: If clam nectar is unavailable, 1 3/4 cups (425 mL) chicken broth may be used.


One Pot Meals

Roasted Lemon Oregano Chicken Thighs

2 Tbsp canola oil

1 lb (0.5 kg) boneless skinless chicken thighs

4 cups quartered baby potatoes

2 cups diced carrots

2 cups diced red onions

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 Tbsp liquid honey

1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano, crumbled

2 tsp grated lemon peel

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Remove chicken and set aside. 

Transfer vegetable mixture to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Add chicken in a single a layer over vegetables. Bake until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender, about 35 – 40 minutes. 

Yield: Serves 6.


Spanish Rice with Sausage 

1 Tbsp canola oil

1 lb (0.5 kg) mild Italian sausages, casings removed

1 cup diced yellow onion

¾ cup diced celery

3 cups sliced bell peppers

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 can (14 oz/398 mL) diced tomatoes

1 cup long grain white rice

1 cup no-salt-added beef broth

2 tsp finely chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce

1 tsp liquid honey

1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried thyme, crumbled

Salt to taste

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sausage meat and cook, stirring to break up the meat, until browned. Sauté onion and celery until softened, about 5 minutes. Add bell peppers and garlic; cook for an additional 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, rice, broth, chipotle pepper, honey and thyme. with salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Serves 6.


Made famous by the tune “That’s Amore”, Pasta E Fagioli aka “pasta fazool” is an Italian favourite. The hearty, veggie-filled sauce can be made ahead and reheated with the pasta and beans just before serving—perfect for those evenings when you’re simply looking for something quick and comforting.


2 Tbsp (25 mL) olive oil

1 cup (250 mL) shredded carrots

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 can (28 oz / 796 mL) whole tomatoes

2 cups (500 mL) chicken broth

2 Tbsp (25 mL) packed golden brown sugar

3/4 tsp (3 mL) salt

1/2 tsp (2 mL) basil, crumbled

1/4 tsp (1 mL) oregano, crumbled

1/4 tsp (1 mL) freshly ground pepper

1 can (19 oz / 540 mL) white kidney beans, rinsed and drained

2 cups (500 mL) rotini or farfalle pasta, cooked, rinsed and drained

2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh parsley


Freshly grated Parmesan cheese 

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add carrots and garlic; saute for 3 minutes. Add next 7 ingredients (tomatoes through pepper). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently and breaking up tomatoes, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. 

Using a hand blender, puree mixture until smooth. May be prepared to this point and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. 

Reheat over low heat before proceeding. Add beans, cooked rotini and parsley; cook, stirring, until heated through. Serve topped with croutons and Parmesan cheese. Serves 6.

Cook's Note: If desired, 1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh basil and 2 tsp (10 mL) chopped fresh oregano may be substituted for the dried basil and oregano in this recipe. If using fresh herbs, add them with the beans, cooked rotini and parsley.

Yield: Serves 6

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