A Crowd Pleasing Cheesy Brunch with McEwan’s Premium Selection of Cheese

While most foods like candy vs caviar are favoured quite differently from childhood to adulthood, cheese has the amazing power to transcend the ages. We fall in love early on in life and never let go.

Thankfully, McEwan’s offers a wide range of local and imported cheeses to impress the pickiest kid and the most sophisticated adult palates. With the help of their staff, it’s easy to build a perfect cheese platter with selections like St. Agur Blue from France, 18 month aged Manchego from Spain, Grey Owl Goat from Quebec, and one of my personal favourites ~ the Upper Canada Cheese’s Niagara Gold from Ontario. McEwan’s staff can also help you select the right cheese for your recipe.

CHEESY SWISS CHARD PHYLLO MINI QUICHES 

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Serve with a colourful fruit salad, Greek yogurt and a homemade granola, and you’ve got a light yet impressive mid-morning meal.

1 TSP OLIVE OIL
1 CLOVE GARLIC, MINCED
10 CUPS OF SWISS CHARD LEAVES, RIBS REMOVED, FINELY CHOPPED
¾ CUP LOW FAT COTTAGE CHEESE
½ CUP FINELY SHREDDED ITALIAN PARMIGIANO REGGIANO CHEESE, PLUS MORE FOR GARNISH
3 TBSP SUNDRIED TOMATOES, REHYDRATED AND FINELY MINCED
1 TSP LEMON ZEST
¼ TSP SALT
¼ TSP PEPPER
2 LARGE EGGS, BEATEN
1 tbsp olive oil
3 sheets of frozen phyllo pastry, thawed
Parsley, for serving
Hot Sauce, for serving

Preheat oven to 400°F, lightly grease a muffin tin, and place in the oven while the oven warms up.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add in the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add in the Swiss Chard leaves and ¼ cup of water. Cook over medium heat until well wilted and significantly reduced in volume, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat to a medium bowl.

Meanwhile, in a small food processer, puree the cottage cheese with the Parimigiano Reggiano cheese until the cottage cheese loses its curd-like texture.

Add the cheese, rehydrated sundried tomatoes, lemon zest, and salt and pepper, to taste to the chard. Then add in the beaten eggs and mix until well combined.

Cut the three sheets of phyllo in half down the middle. Lightly brush a little olive oil onto each square, then fold it in half, brush a bit more on, then fold again to yield a slightly rectangular square. Press into the muffin tin and trim the excess. Repeat with all 6 pieces.

Fill the phyllo with the cheese and Swiss Chard mixture and top with a light sprinkling of extra Parmigiano Reggiano. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the filling feels set, the phyllo edges are brown and the bottom of the phyllo is light brown.

Serve with finely chopped parsley and hot sauce, if desired. Serves 3-4.

DELICIOUSLY YOURS,

ABBEY SHARP, RD

OWNER, ABBEY’S KITCHEN

McEwan’s Gourmet Salts Enhance & Add Exciting New Flavour

With the continual rise of heart disease and mounting blood pressure concerns, people are becoming more conscious of the amount of salt they consume, and are opting for bolder flavoured quality salts in place of sodium-laden processed fare.

Five years ago your choices were limited to kosher, iodized, or maybe sea salt. Today there is a wide range of ways to not only add seasoning, but to also add an easy hit of flavour to your meal. McEwan stocks an impressive selection of gourmet salts ~ Tentazioni’s Truffle Salt, Terre Exotique’s Cyprus Salt with Saffron, Flor de Sal’s Black Olive Sea Salt, and Wild Hibiscus Flower’s Pyramid Salt Flakes.

This recipe combines sweet shrimp and peaches, sour lime, salty feta and an extra kick from the chili pepper salt. It makes for a perfect weeknight supper served along a light salad, or can be served as a passed hors d’oeuvre for a dinner party.

HONEY CHILI GRILLED SHRIMP & PEACH SKEWERS 

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1½ tbsp Mcewan’s own olive oil
1½ tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp honey
1 lb large shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 peaches, cut into 8 pieces each
1½ tsp lime zest
Generous pinch of Terre Exotique’s Diamond Salt with Esplette Chilli Pepper
2 tbsp finely crumbled reduced fat feta cheese
Lime wedges, for serving
Cilantro, for serving

Soak skewers in cold water for at least 30 minutes to prevent burning. Prepare outdoor grill for direct grilling on high.

In a medium bowl, combine the oil, lime juice and honey. Add the shrimp and peaches, and toss to coat fully.

Thread shrimp and peach pieces onto 8 skewers.

Grill for 3-4 minutes, turning once, or until browned and the shrimp become opaque throughout.

Pile onto a serving platter and sprinkle with the lime zest, the Esplette Chili Pepper Salt and the crumbled feta cheese. Serve with lime wedges and cilantro. Serves 4.

DELICIOUSLY YOURS,

ABBEY SHARP, RD

OWNER, ABBEY’S KITCHEN

At McEwan in the TD Centre, Fine Dining Comes Home in the Heart of the City

McEwan is changing how the downtown crowd does their grocery shopping. Nestled under the TD Tower along the P.A.T.H., our newest McEwan location is serving up 6,000 square feet of fresh, grab & go gourmet plus groceries for every meal of the day.

Open Monday to Friday, McEwan welcomes morning commuters with authentic Italian coffee and espresso, and upscale items like fresh European pastries, quiches, waffles and yogurt parfaits plus gourmet breakfast sandwiches (even a breakfast pizza). Lunch-goers can choose from six freshly made soup features, a customizable Panini station, a 15-foot salad bar, and an impressive 32-foot chef’s hot table.

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Fitting for downtown, McEwan’s new location also features a food-truck-inspired pop-up menu, with mouthwatering daily features like gourmet tacos, poutine, and banh mi. But it doesn’t stop there. Chef de Cuisine Kris Topping, who is running the kitchen, has a lot to play with.

“We want to serve the best of everything in one place. We’re coming in with guns blazing.” ~ Executive Chef Shen Ousmand, McEwan

Downtown shoppers can choose from a sprawling selection of freshly prepared meats like braised short ribs, pulled pork, whole chicken, lamb shank, rabbit, and a range of fresh seafood; paired with an equally large selection of gourmet sides and fresh vegetables. The new location will also feature hundreds of pantry items including homemade sauces, relishes and chutneys, as well as McEwan’s Own marinades, oils and pasta sauces.

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“We’re bringing high-quality, chef-driven prepared food to the downtown core. Our restaurant-style approach is fresh, spontaneous and has nothing to do with traditional retail.” ~ Chef Mark McEwan

McEwan is so much more than a gourmet grocery store. From traditional chicken tikka masala to lobster ravioli to Thai shrimp curry, Executive Chef Ousmand and his team are offering an unmatched selection of authentically prepared cuisine from around the world. And you better believe we cater.

Hours of Operation:
Monday to Friday: 6:30AM-7PM
Saturday and Sunday: CLOSED

Entertaining Made Easy with McEwan’s Premium Olives

When company shows up on the fly and you need a really quick snack to keep everyone’s mouths happy, a lovely bowl of olives is always a quick fix. McEwan carries a wide range of imported quality olives with a variety of unique fillings and flavours. There’s Tabasco’s Hot & Spicy Whole Spanish Olives for the adventurous, Sable & Rosenfeld’s Tipsy Blue Cheese Olives for those who like a little bite, Acropolis’ Mediterranean Mix for Organics lovers, and Morgantino’s Green Olives for the traditionalist.

If you want to take your olives to the next level, try serving them in a warm bath of fragrant olive oil, herbs and citrus. In this recipe I used a combination of McEwan’s Own vacuum-sealed Green Olives with Peppers and Kalamata Olives. Serve these in a bowl on a platter with bread and cheese, and you might have a hard time tearing your guests away for the main meal.

WARM ORANGE AND ROSEMARY OLIVES 

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1/3 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 large strips of zest + 1 tbsp finely grated zest from a Blood Orange
1 whole sprig of rosemary + 1 tbsp rosemary, finely minced
2 cups of McEwan’s Own Green Olives with Peppers
2 cups of McEwan’s Own Kalamata Olives

 

In a small saucepan, heat the Sarafino extra virgin olive oil with the garlic, strips of zest, and whole rosemary sprig over medium heat until the garlic and rosemary become very fragrant and begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes.

Fold the olives into the oil, along with the fine zest and minced rosemary. Toss to coat and transfer straight to a serving dish. Makes 4 Cups. Enjoy warm with cheese, bread and preserves.

DELICIOUSLY YOURS,

ABBEY SHARP, RD

OWNER, ABBEY’S KITCHEN

McEwan Gets Sweet, Spicy and Sticky with BBQ Sauce

Here at McEwan, we’ve known for a long time that the way to anyone’s heart is undoubtedly through their stomach. People do love to eat and there’s something particularly appealing about busting out the grill. And for every special someone in our lives there is a great BBQ sauce to add to the grilling flavour and fun, appealing to their spicy, smoky, sweet, or sour tastes. So this summer, do the special person in your life a favour and head to McEwan for the perfect saucy slather to dress up your next grilling feast.

McEwan’s team has spent countless hours testing out some of the world’s most unique and delicious BBQ sauces. From sweet Memphis style, to Mexican chipotle, to Jamaican Rum-spiked and more ~ there is something to satisfy everyone. They’ve even got a line of McEwan’s Own blends including a Wild Blueberry, Spicy Apple, and Cola infused sauce.

Obviously, the most popular use for BBQ sauce is on barbequed meat, with different flavours working best with different fare. Go for a Carolina vinegar-based sauce like the one from Guy Fieri when pulling fatty BBQ pork. The ketchup-based Kansas City sauces like the line by Zarda Barbeque is delicious slathered on ribs. Richer sauces like McEwan’s Own Cola BBQ is irresistible on beef brisket, while lighter Honey based sauces like Rufus Teagues is great on chicken drummettes and wings. But why should meat have all the fun and flavour?

In this recipe I use one of my favourite sauces, Bear Claw, which has the savoury addition of Chipotle to add a smoky note to this healthy shrimp dish. Serve this low fat, high protein dish alongside a cup of McEwan’s cold gazpacho and you’ve got a satiating well-balanced meal.

CHIPOTLE PEACH BBQ SHRIMP SUCCOTASH

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2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cobs of corn, husked and silks removed (about 1 ½ cups of corn kernels)
2 bell peppers, cut into quarters
2 zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise
3 peaches, sliced in half and pitted
1½ tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup frozen (thawed) or fresh (blanched) lima beans
Salt and pepper
¼ cup Bear Claw BBQ sauce
Juice of 2 small (or 1 juicy large) limes
1 lb large shrimp, deveined and peeled
Salt and pepper
3 tbsp Bear Claw BBQ sauce
1 oz queso cojita, or feta cheese (crumbled)
Cilantro, to garnish (if desired)

Preheat grill to medium high heat.

Brush the corn, bell peppers, zucchini and peaches with olive oil and season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Grill until tender and slightly charred on all sides, about 9 minutes for the corn, 6 minutes for the zucchini and bell pepper, and 2 minutes for the peach. Remove from the grill. Once cool enough to handle, peel away the charred skin from the pepper. Dice all of the vegetables and remove the corn from the cob. Set aside.

Meanwhile, season the shrimp with salt and pepper, anchor them onto a skewer and brush with the Bear Claw BBQ sauce. Grill on both sides until cooked through and opaque, about 1-2 minutes per side. Set aside.

mcewan_mcewanfoods_mcewandonmills_bbq_shrimp_shopsatdonmillsHeat the 1 ½ tbsp. of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add in the black beans and lima beans and toss until warmed through. Season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Add in the cooked vegetables, the lime juice, and the additional ¼ cup of Bear Claw BBQ sauce. Toss to coat.

Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with the queso cojita and cilantro (if using) and top with the grilled shrimp skewers.

DELICIOUSLY YOURS,

ABBEY SHARP, RD

OWNER, ABBEY’S KITCHEN

Cooking Up Something Juicy, Jiggly, and Jammy at McEwan

When I was growing up, jam was just a sweet condiment to otherwise boring toast, and a great pal to nut butter for lunch. But chefs and savvy home cooks know that fruit preserves, jellies and jams can shine in a wide range of dishes ~ From savoury to sweet, to everything in between. And standing in with all your sweet sticky needs, McEwan offers an extensive line. From locally produced family-run offerings, to trusted gourmet brands and every imaginable fruit you can dream up ~ McEwan’s make sure your toast, cheese, desserts, and meat are always accompanied by a quality fruit spread.

So what is the difference between a jelly, jam and preserve?

Beginning with the most indulgent, a jelly is a wobbly clear fruit spread made from fruit juice, sugar and sometimes pectin with no solid bits or fibre intact. Jam has the addition of actual fruit pulp and is looser and less giggly then jelly. Finally, preserves have the most actual fruit in them, meaning they tend to be a bit higher in fibre and lower in sugar then the other two spreads. While there is nothing more satisfying then a breakfast bread with a smear of jelly or jam, they still contain a lot of sugar so I like to use them in recipes where even small amounts can lend a huge flavour kick.

Desserts with jams, jellies and preserves are easy to free-style ~ Any flavour you like will work beautifully in a sweet bar, cookie, crepe, or cheesecake. But their success in savoury recipes typically depends on the other ingredients. Chicken is lovely with citrus marmalade, duck is delicious with cherry, beef and lamb can handle richer fruit like plums or currants, while pork- well, you can take your pick with pork. The possibilities are endless.

My go to preserve is Bonne Maman’s Fig Preserves because I love the luscious sweet flavour and the satisfying crackle of the seeds. Here I use it in a super simple Fig Balsamic Chili glaze to top a low fat, high protein pork tenderloin. Serve with some roasted heirloom carrots and steamed asparagus, and you have a colourful well-balanced meal that serves up to four people.

SWEET AND HEAT BALSAMIC FIG PORK TENDERLOIN

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2 tsp olive oil
1 lb pork tenderloin Salt and pepper
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
5 tbsp Bonne Maman fig preserves
½ tsp Sambal Oelek (or more, if you like it spicy)
8 figs, quartered and stemmed

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add in the olive oil.

3. Season the pork tenderloin generously with salt and pepper on all sides, then place in skillet and sear all over until is golden brown. Remove from the heat.

4. Meanwhile, combine the balsamic, Bonne Mamam Fig preserves, and sriracha in a small saucepot over medium low heat until it bubbles and melts down.

5. Liberally brush the tenderloin and the quartered figs with the glaze and store any extra glaze. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the pork reaches 145 F ~ About half way through the cooking process, brush again with the remaining glaze.

6. Allow the pork to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing. Serve with the caramelized figs.

DELICIOUSLY YOURS,

ABBEY SHARP, RD

OWNER, ABBEY’S KITCHEN

Tap into the Mouthwatering World of Maple at McEwan

Harvested right here in our backyard, Maple Syrup is an international delicacy that Canadians can call their own. It’s aromatic, sweet and completely natural, making it a popular choice for flavour-junkies and health-enthusiasts, alike. With an eye for quality and great taste, McEwans offers a wide variety of maple syrups for all of your baking, cooking, dipping, drowning and drinking (we don’t judge) needs.

Pure maple syrup tends to fall into two major categories ~ Grade A and Grade B. While Grade B is great for adding complexity to cocktails, Grade A (specifically Medium Grade A) is ideal for everyday use. From Shady Maple Farms’ Organic to McEwan’s OwnKemble Ontario, to Noble’s handcrafted artisanal Vanilla Bean Matured Maple, to fruit-infused options like Haskapa Maple Syrup, Can Natur’s Blueberry or Voisin Maple’s Apple Cinnamon ~ the choices at McEwans are literally endless.

“While I believe all sweeteners should be used in moderation, I like maple syrup because it’s sustainably produced, offers a more aromatic flavour compared to white sugar and offers a bonus dose of manganese, riboflavin, and zinc.”

MAPLE ALMOND CRUSTED SALMON WITH KALE, ORANGE AND MAPLE SALAD

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This nutrient-rich recipe is high in Omega 3s, fibre, protein and vitamin C and makes for a satisfying dinner or lunch that serves up to 4 people.

Dressing:

¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tbsp Smokey Kettle Grade A Medium Maple Syrup
2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
3 tbsp. olive oil Salt and pepper, to taste

Salad:

8 cups kale leaves, finely chopped and washed
2 oranges, segmented
1 oz sliced almonds, toasted

Almond Crust:

¼ cup almonds
¼ cup panko bread crumbs
Pinch each of salt and pepper

Glaze and Salmon:

2 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. Smokey Kettle Grade A Medium Maple Syrup
2 tsp orange zest
Salt and pepper
4x 3-4 oz filets of salmon
4 tsp olive oil

mcewan_mcewanfoods_maplesalmon_AbbeySharp_recipe_shopsatdonmillsMix together freshly squeezed orange juice, maple syrup, sherry vinegar, dijon mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper together, and set aside.

Dress the kale leaves in a few tablespoons of the dressing and begin to massage. Rub the leaves between your hands for a good 5 minutes to soften, then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Once salad has finished marinating, Preheat the oven to 425 F.

For the salmon glaze, mix together dijon mustard, maple syrup, orange zest and a pinch of salt and pepper and set aside.

Combine almonds, panko and a pinch of salt and pepper into a small food processor and process until it reaches the consistency of breadcrumbs.

Lightly season the salmon filets with salt and pepper and brush with the glaze.

Sprinkle generously with the almond crust and drizzle each with a teaspoon of olive oil.

Bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes, or until cooked through.

Once cooked, carefully lift the fish from the skin and discard the skin.

Assembly:

Toss the salad with a few more tablespoons of dressing to taste, and arrange on plates with the segmented oranges and toasted almonds.

Top with the cooked salmon filets. Enjoy!

DELICIOUSLY YOURS,

ABBEY SHARP, RD

OWNER, ABBEY’S KITCHEN

Spring Forward ~ Easter Entertaining

Spring has finally sprung, the birds are chirping and the sun is shining. With Easter long weekend fast approaching, your days may start to become hectic. At McEwan we’re here to help you with the details so that you can spend your time socializing at family gatherings, egg hunting with the children, or simply relaxing at home.

From egg baskets and chocolate treats, to lively decor and bright centrepieces, our team will have you catching spring fever in no time!

Here are some of our Easter must-haves. The hardest part will be keeping these gourmet treats hidden.

TOP 5 Snack Foods at McEwan

Being Mark McEwan’s assistant has me running around most days like a chicken with my head cut off!

I am a huge “snacker” and although I would like to say that I always make the healthiest choice, That would be a flat out lie! There are so many delicious offerings that I just go with my gut, literally. Here’s my 5 favourites that you MUST pick up the next time you are in - 

1. MAD MEXICAN’S FRESH SALSA

Photo Courtesy of Blog TO

Photo Courtesy of Blog TO

Anything from Mad Mexican ~ As I am writing this I am actually crunching away on their nacho chips and mild salsa (I can’t handle heat). Every single product is made with the utmost care. It is so fresh and I like to think it is pretty healthy. There is a full line up of different salsas, each one is very unique and completely addicting.

2. MCEWAN’S OWN GOURMET CHIPS

Photo 2-27-2015, 10 51 07 AMI think you can see the trend already, I am really into salty snacks. Whether it is Kool Ketchup, Dill Pickle or my personal favourite, Blue Cheese Chicken Wings, I just cannot get enough of these chips. They are a hit with my friends, ever since the first time I brought them out at a girl’s night, they have been specifically requested every time we are altogether.

3. REFUEL’S COLD-PRESSED JUICE 

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Refuel Kale Kraze ~ Sometimes you just need to get your vitamins on the run and the Kale Craze by Refuel is my go to. My day can change direction at the drop of the hat and being able to drink a meal really keeps me going.

4. MCEWAN’S OWN DESSERT JARS

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90% of the time I am reaching for chips of some sort, but when I am craving something a little bit sweet I dig in to the Dessert Jars at the pastry counter. Key lime pie…in a jar!? Yes please! Plus, having these small jars as the serving vessel is a great portion control method, unless of course you eat numerous jars…I have never done that…wink wink.

5. MCEWAN’S YOGURT PARFAIT BAR

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Mmmmmm morning snack! The “Build Your Own Yogurt Parfait Bar” at McEwan gives me the opportunity to make a new creation every day. Ever felt as though you needed more granola in your parfait or you want ALL strawberries with a little bit of honey? There are so many options and they all make me feel as though I am adding a little goodness into my body!

WRITTEN BY,
JORDIE MCTAVISH, EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT TO MARK MCEWAN

Soups ~ Make it a Meal or Outside the Bowl

It’s been a bitter cold Winter and soups have been gracing our dinner tables. At McEwan, you will find lots of slurpable options that you can warm up with. As we come out of the indulgent holiday season, and a chilly new year, a bowl of soup is a great healthy option to warm your body and fill your belly while keeping you on tract with your healthy goals.

They are also great time-saving starters for building heartier, more fulfilling meals Five Go-To Soups from McEwans and my top tips for transforming them into something new.

MCEWAN’S OWN TOMATO FENNEL

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Nutritional Benefit: Dairy-free and low in fat, this hearty broth-based tomato soup is packed with antioxidant-rich veggies.

Make it a Meal: Add some frozen tortellini, spinach, diced zucchini and top with Parmesan cheese.

Outside the Bowl: Mix ½ cup to your family’s meatloaf recipe for added flavour and moisture.

MCEWAN’S OWN VEGAN CHILI

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Nutritional Benefit: Made with almost a dozen veggies, beans and a little soy meat for protein, this vegan chili is low in fat and packed with satiating fibre.

Make it a Meal: Mix with cooked whole grain macaroni and a little cheese for an old-school Chili Mac.

Outside the Bowl: Layer the chili with sharp cheese and corn tortillas, and then bake into a Mexican Lasagna.

PACIFIC THAI SWEET POTATO SOUP

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Nutritional Benefits: With all those bright orange potatoes, a single cup of Pacific Thai’s Sweet Potato Soup offers 150% of your Vitamin A needs.

Make it a Meal: Add a handful of cooked rice noodles, some bean sprouts and poached shrimp for a Thai Noodle Soup.

Outside the Bowl: Sear bite-size pieces of chicken until golden brown, then add in a container of soup and a spoonful of almond butter. Simmer in the soup until it reduces to a thick curry sauce and serve over brown rice.

WOLFGANG PUCK’S HEARTY LENTIL VEGETABLE

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Nutritional Benefits: Lentils are a low fat healthy vegetarian source of protein and fibre, and this Wolfgang Puck’s soup packs a double punch with the added veggies!

Make it a Meal: Add a cup of diced low sodium smoked ham, and 3 cups of baby spinach as you reheat the soup on the stove.

Outside the Bowl: Simmer the soup over medium high heat until the broth evaporates and you’ve got a thick bowl of cooked lentils. Serve with seared turkey sausages and Swiss chard sautéed with garlic.

AMY’S ORGANIC CREAM OF MUSHROOM

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Nutritional Benefits: Sure there’s a little cream here, but while most canned cream of mushroom soups you barely see any real mushrooms or cream. Amy’s version is completely organic, and preservative and additive-free.

Make it a Meal: Create a hearty chowder by adding some parboiled potatoes and fresh shellfish.

Outside the Bowl: Use it as the creamy sauce in your beef stroganoff to accompany the lean beef, sautéed mushrooms and whole grain noodles.

On those chilly nights cozy up with bowl of something warm and fulfilling or switch things up with one of my easy soup-transforming tips! Whatever you’re craving, McEwan has all the top picks.

DELICIOUSLY YOURS,

ABBEY SHARP, RD

OWNER, ABBEY’S KITCHEN