11 Easy Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget

When you’re off to college or university for the first time, you have to take care of a few things, like tuition and books. But don’t forget to take care of yourself when it comes to a healthy diet. Eating nutrient-dense foods also means better brain health, so you’ll be able to ace those exams with your eyes closed. Of course, eating wholesome, nutritious foods can be quite expensive — unless you follow these nutritionist-approved tips.

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1. Make a Meal Plan
Sketching out a meal plan for the week is essential for focused, affordable grocery shopping. If you don’t have a plan of what you’re going to make for dinner and pack for lunches, you’ll likely run out for convenience food, which costs far more than a homemade meal. If you have roommates or housemates, get them involved as well; this will make the task more fun and you can split the grocery bill.

2. Embrace Plant-Based Protein
Meat and seafood can be expensive to eat every night, so rely on canned beans and dry lentils, both wildly affordable, for a plant-based source of protein a few times a week. Canned beans can be enjoyed in a salad, dressed up with a bit of spice for a salsa or mashed as a quesadilla filling. Lentils cook up in less than 30 minutes, and can cost less than $5 for a large bag at the grocery store.

3. Make Coffee At Home
Make coffee at home throughout the week and save your café-going for weekends and exam season. Depending on your order, you could be saving about $20 per week. You don’t even need a bulky coffee machine, just a kettle and French press. This guide from Detour Coffee shows you how to make a French press coffee at home (or in a dorm room). Pack in a travel mug and you’re all set for that early morning lecture.

4. Cook Once, Eat Twice
Make a double batch of your dinner and stop paying upwards of $8 for lunch tomorrow. Though I’ve been out of university for many years now, I’ve kept to this this habit in my working life. I make a large stew, like this Spicy Red Lentil Vegetable Stew (serves 8!) on Sunday to eat for lunch the following week.

5. Invest in Locking Glass Containers
These can cost a bit more than plastic containers up front, but unless you break the glass (which is very hard to do), you don’t have to replace them as often, if ever. I’ve been using my glass containers for many years and continue to pack them up with homemade meals for affordable days out and about. Pack yogurt, fruit and granola in them for breakfast, grain salads, sandwiches or leftovers for lunch, or snacks for late night cram sessions.

6. Stick to Classic Superfoods
Healthy ingredients like broccoli, bananas, beets, onions, sunflower seeds, raisins, eggs, lentils, black beans and plain yogurt aren’t expensive, and remain some of the most wholesome foods you can eat. You don’t have to eat all those hyped-up superfoods to be healthy, so keep it simple with the classics.

7. Skip the Pre-Packaged and Prepared Foods
You can make a salad yourself for about $1 (maybe even less) and skip the $8-plus pre-made salad from the store. Buy a large pack of lettuce to last the week and garnish with hardboiled eggs, chopped cucumber, sunflower seeds and dried fruit. Olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a bit of salt are all the ingredients you need to dress it up. Some salads, like this hearty Kale and Quinoa salad from Valerie Bertinelli, can be kept pre-made in the refrigerator all week long.

8. Visit the Bulk Food Store
I love getting spices from a bulk food store or bulk bins at the grocery store. I can purchase very small quantities if I know I’m not going to use it very often or I’m just looking to “sample” it in a new recipe. Small quantities of spices, which can really add a load of flavour to a meal, can cost under a dollar, compared to jarred spices, which can run you $5 or more per jar.

9. Your New Favourite Snack
Apples and peanut butter are where it’s at. Go for natural, unsalted peanut butter, and season it yourself. If you have it handy, a sprinkle of cinnamon makes this feel gourmet. Protein, fibre, healthy fats and a bit of salty-sweet crunch make apples and peanut butter a snack that almost feels like dessert.

10. Eat Seasonally
Eat produce that’s in season and local in your area. In-season foods, like apples appearing in fall, for instance, are often more affordable than out-of-season produce or produce flown from across the world.

11. Student Discount Days
Often, university and college towns and cities will have days of the week (usually a weekday), where students are offered a discount. Though you’ll likely face a crowd, this savings can really pay off on your final bill.

Inspired With Anna, Food Network Star Kids, and More Coming This Fall

As we say goodbye to another beautiful summer, we say hello to an action-packed fall line-up on Food Network Canada. We’re kicking off September with exciting new shows and brand new episodes of your returning favourites.

Chopped Canada returns with more high-stakes, heart-pumping competition Saturday, September 3rd at 9 pm E/P. Brad Smith and all your faovurite judges are back to critique appetizers, entrées and desserts from talented Canadian chefs.

Get a double-dose of Bobby Flay this fall as Beat Bobby Flay returns with new episodes Thursday, September 1st at 10 pm E/P. The grill-master and breakfast pro will also debut a brand new show, Brunch @ Bobby’s, premiering Saturday, September 10th at 10 am E/P. With the launch of this appetizing new series, we’re giving away three copies of his cookbook, Brunch @ Bobby’s, which features 140 sweet and savoury recipes. Enter the contest now.

On the new series Inspired with Anna, acclaimed chef Anna Olson takes a break from baking to travel Southeast Asia for an unforgettable culinary journey. From Singapore to Hong Kong, Anna discovers unique ingredients in the markets, and learns original techniques from local cooks and distinguished chefs. Inspired with Anna premieres Sunday, September 4th at 10 am E/P  with two back-to-back episodes.

The Man in Plaid is back! John Catucci is hilarious, but when kids across Canada invite him into their favourite restaurant kitchens, things get downright silly. On a special edition of You Gotta Eat Here!, a new generation of foodies show John that their taste in cuisine goes beyond chicken fingers and fries. You Gotta Eat Here!: Kids Edition begins Friday, September 2nd at 8 pm E/P and regular episodes resume Friday, September 30th at 9 pm E/P.

Speaking of kids, Tia Mowry and Donal Skehan host the pint-sized competition, Food Network Star Kids, where 10 wildly talented young chefs battle their way through a variety of culinary challenges to become the next Food Network Star Kid. The adventure begins Sunday, September 4th at 8 pm E/P.

An all-new, star-studded cast of recruits joins the new season of Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition hosted by Anne Burnell and Rachael Ray. Upcoming episodes feature Oktoberfest-themed beer and sausage challenges, a Halloween Bloody Mary battle, and the return of the trivia game, Family Food. Guest judges include lasy season’s winner, Jenni “JWoww” Farley, and runner-up, Kendra Wilkinson. The competition heats up Wednesday, September 14th at 9 pm E/P.

For our full show lineup, visit our schedule page.

3 Quick and Easy Mini Bagel Appetizers

Trendy, avocado toast is definitely delicious and bruschetta is a real summer treat, but we can’t get enough of bagels — mini bagels to be precise. The wee favourites are far from microwaved pizza bagels of years past. We’ve got three tasty and truly grown-up ways to enjoy these bites as a unique and adorable appetizer.

From modern BLT bagels to spicy Mexican flavoured bites to classic cream cheese and lox, there’s something for everyone in these party-ready recipes.

Mini Bagels

BLT Bagel

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 12

Ingredients:
12 mini bagels, sliced in half, toasted
1/2 cup roasted tomato jam or sundried tomato pesto
1/2 cup arugula
6 slices bacon, chopped

Directions:
Place bagels cut side-up on a large serving plate. Spread bagels with 2/3 of the tomato jam or tomato pesto. Top with arugula, bacon and remaining 1/3 the tomato jam or tomato pesto. Serve.

Spicy Mexican Bagel

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 12

Ingredients:
12 mini bagels, sliced in half
1/2 cup chunky tomato salsa (mild, medium or hot)
1 avocado, pitted and sliced into small pieces
1/4 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp sliced fresh basil or cilantro
1/4 tsp chili flakes
Lime wedges, for serving

Directions:
Place bagels cut side-up on a large serving plate. Spread bagels with salsa. Top with a fan of avocado, dollop of sour cream, sprinkle of basil or cilantro and sprinkle of chili flakes. Serve with lime wedges for seasoning.

Mexican mini bagels

Cream Cheese & Lox Bagel

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 12

Ingredients:

Lemon Cream Cheese:
1 cup cream cheese, room temperature
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest

Bagels & Toppings:
12 mini bagels, sliced in half
6 to 8 slices smoked salmon
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4cup capers
1/2 cup fresh dill

Directions:

Lemon Cream Cheese:
In a large bowl, stir cream cheese until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and lemon zest until combined.

Assembly:
Place bagels cut side-up on a large serving plate. Spread bagels with prepared lemon cream cheese. Top with smoked salmon, a few slices of red onion, 3 to 4 capers and a sprinkle of fresh dill. Serve.

vegan churro donuts

Drool-Worthy Vegan Churro Donuts

There’s nothing like biting into a fresh, still-warm donut. But you don’t need to be at the coffee shop at the crack of dawn to enjoy this heavenly treat.

Fresh donuts at home (hold the deep fryer) can be yours in under an hour with this chocolate-filled recipe. This version provides the same warm, cinnamon flavours (and requisite chocolate pairing) as traditional churros, but in a healthier package.

Bonus: This tasty version of the popular cinnamon treat has no eggs or milk, meaning vegans and non-vegans alike can relish in this delicious homemade dessert.

churro donuts

Prep Time: 12 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes
Makes: 12 donuts

Ingredients:

For the Vegan Churro Donuts:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp psyllium powder or ground flax meal
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or water
1/4 cup grapeseed oil or olive oil (not extra-virgin), plus more for pan
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

For the Cinnamon Sugar:
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

For the Dark Chocolate Glaze:
1/3 cup finely chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
2 tsp coconut oil

For the White Chocolate Glaze:
1/3 cup finely chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips
2 tsp coconut oil

churro vegan donuts

Directions:

Vegan Churro Donuts:
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease a 12-count non-stick mini donut pan with oil. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, psyllium powder, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Stir in almond milk or water, oil and vinegar.
3. Spoon batter into prepared donut pan, filling all the way to the top.
4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until donut are puffed and bounce back when touched. Cool for 5 minutes.

Cinnamon Sugar:
1. In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon.
2. Tap out donuts from pan and roll in cinnamon sugar while still warm (there will be extra, which is used to garnish later). Place donuts on a plate.

Dark and White Chocolate Glaze:
1. Melt dark chocolate and coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat or briefly (20 to 30 seconds) in the microwave. Follow the same instruction for white chocolate.

Assembly:
1. Using a spoon, drizzle either dark or white (or both) glaze over donuts. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar. Serve immediately or let chocolate set. Store leftovers airtight at room temperature.

Chef Michael Smith on How to Throw a Labour Day BBQ

Food Network star Michael Smith is one of Canada’s best-known chefs — and also a barbecue fiend. The Chopped Canada judge recently launched Fireworks, a restaurant celebrating everything barbecue, and is Prince Edward Island’s hottest new eatery.

“We have every live fire cooking method known to man,” he says. “We have a smokehouse, a hearth, and a wood-oven. It allows us to do different techniques, and every single one using live fire and coals.”

If you can’t make it to Prince Edward Island to enjoy the fine barbecue at Fireworks before the end of summer, don’t worry. Chef Michael shares his top tips for throwing an amazing Labour Day barbecue at home. Before you get grilling, read this!

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Start with the right equipment.

It may seem old-fashioned, but Chef Michael swears by the power of cast-iron cookware for grilling.

“Cast-iron is a revelation to us,” says Chef Michael. “It radiates heat so evenly; things just don’t burn in it! We cook with cast-iron every single thing we do. Dutch ovens, skillets, planchas. That’s one big take-away: consider using cast-iron.”

Cook with live fire (if you can).

Whether you’re a first timer or a barbecue master, Chef Michael encourages those with backyard space to use “real wood fire” for grilling.

“Have one fire that’s generating your coals,” says Chef Michael. “Then sweep the coals over to the other side of the hearth — that’s where you do your cooking.”

The type of wood matters too; always use dried-out hardwood over softwood, which tends to leave an oily film on food, spoiling the flavour. “Hardwood burns hotter, slower, and tastes better,” says Chef Michael.

Maple Planked Salmon

Don’t cook over a flame.

When grilling, avoid direct contact between flame and food. Instead, let the flame die down to a hearty, thick bed of coals, no matter what fuel source you’re using. “We don’t cook over flame,” says Chef Michael. “Flame scorches food, and leads to black.”

Dress to impress (your meats, that is).

Add a gorgeous aroma by smoking meats with fruit wood chips like apple, available at most hardware stores.

“These are the caviar of wood,” says Chef Michael. “The wood has a distinctive flavour, tasting fruity. Reserve this special aromatic wood if you’re smoking food.”

It’s easy; just let the fire burn down to embers, and then top dress with fruit wood at the last minute. Or for a flavour-packed punch, consider brining your meats.

“If you’re really looking to amp up your barbecue game, brine,” says Chef Michael. “Chicken and pork in particular really benefit.”

It’s all in the technique.

To master the art of barbecuing, follow Chef Michael’s essential grilling tips:

  • Pre-heat your grills: “It’s probably the biggest tip of all. Food will not stick to hot metal. It sticks to cold metal.”
  • Sauce at the end: “Never, ever put barbecue sauces on your food before you grill it! Many sauces are packed with sugar, and immediately burn. Brush your sauces on towards the end of the cooking process.”
  • Be patient: “Often, we rush the process and miss the opportunity to fully cook the meat. If there’s a little tugging or sticking, that’s the meat saying, ‘I’m not ready to flip yet!’ Take your time — it’s very much in your favour.”
  • Understand the process: “The whole point of searing meat is to build flavour. Searing meat encourages juices to come out of the meat. If you’re rushing and not pre-heating, then you’re not adding flavour.”

Grilled Pineapple Salad

Have fun with the menu.

Lots of foods are grill-able, and consider broadening the barbey beyond burgers and hot dogs. Chef Michael suggests smoking freshly-shucked oysters on the grill for 2-3 minutes, top dressed with fruit wood. Or make a Grilled Pineapple Salad, Chef Michael’s “all-time favourite.” For drinks, seared lemon or lime make great garnishes, or whip up a pitcher of grilled lemonade. Best of all, barbecued fruits work beautifully as a fiery dessert.

“Use the grilled fruit component as a simple dessert,” says Chef Michael. “Big thick rings of grilled pineapple served with some kind of funky ice cream. I like to grind up fresh cilantro and sugar in a food processor, and then sprinkle it onto grilled pineapple — delicious stuff!”

Chill out.

Last but not least, invite plenty of friends and family, and “don’t worry so much about the food.”

“It’s really about who’s at the table, not what’s on the table,” says Chef Michael.

All this talk of food got you hungry? Check out Michael Smith’s Best Seafood Recipes.

How to Make a Montreal-Style Muffulette Sandwich

This epic Montreal-style sandwich is a riff on the Italian classic known as the Muffuletta. Layers of savoury Montreal smoked meat, turkey, cheese, spicy mustard, briny pickles and crunchy veggies come together to create a flavour combination that will quickly become your go-to for weekday lunches and game day gatherings. Look for a flavourful white cheese made in Québec (like Chèvre Noir) for the most authentic Montreal experience!

montreal-muffulette-sandwich

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
1/3 cup chopped dill pickles
1/3 cup chopped pickled pepperoncini peppers
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large sourdough boule (600 g)
1 Tbsp spicy deli-style mustard
4 slices semi soft cheese
400g thinly sliced Montreal-style smoked meat
200g thinly sliced deli smoked turkey breast
2/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
3 whole pickles, sliced in half
250 mg cream cheese
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill

montreal-muffulette-sandwich2

Directions:

For the Spicy Pickle Sauce:
1. Whirl together pickles, peppers and oil in food processor until almost smooth.

For the Sandwich:
1. Cut top 1/3 off boule horizontally. Hollow out the bottom of the bread, leaving generous 1/2-inch (1 cm) border to form large bread bowl and lid.
2. Spread bottom of bread bowl with spicy mustard; top with pickle mixture.
3. Layer in cheese, Montreal smoked meat and smoked turkey. Top meat with, onions and halved pickles.
4. Spread inside of top of bread with cream cheese; sprinkle with dill.
5. Top with the hollowed out bread top, cream cheese side down. (Tip: Wrap sandwich tightly with plastic wrap. Press sandwich between two large plates; weight top plate down with can. Refrigerate for up to 2 hours.)
6. Cut into wedges to serve.

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Giveaway! Win a Copy of Bobby Flay’s New Cookbook

With a spatula in one hand and a cocktail in the other, Bobby Flay goes from sweet to salty to savory, in his new daytime show Brunch @ Bobby’s,  premiering Saturday, September 10th at 10 am E/P.

Drawing inspiration from around the globe, viewers are invited to sit down and enjoy the best part of the weekend: brunch!

With the launch of this appetizing new show, we’re giving away three copies of his cookbook Brunch @ Bobby’s which features 140 recipes from sandwiches to eggs to sweet spreads, each full of his signature bold ingredients.



Giveaway Details:

For a chance to win a copy, tell us your favourite Bobby Flay recipe found on our website! It can be anything from Bobby’s Fish Tacos to his Oatmeal Pancakes with Maple-Glazed Roasted Apples. Please email us the recipe link to giveaways@foodnetwork.ca with the subject line “Brunch @ Bobby’s″.

This giveaway closes on Wednesday, August 31 at 9am E/P.

Read full rules and regulations here.

Good luck!

Long Weekend Dinner Party Menu

Make the most of summer with this long weekend menu that’s a snap to put together when entertaining for a crowd. From grilled steak served on platters to Mexican corn with a built-in husk handle to party-starting tea cocktails, this backyard dinner party menu sets the mood for a stellar warm weather gathering.

grilled corn

The Appetizers

Mexican Grilled Corn with Cotija Cheese and Lime
Nothing quite marks barbecue season like grilled corn on the cob. This version features fresh and salty cotija cheese and a splash of lime. Warning: this appetizer is highly addictive, so plan to make a lot of it.

Ina Garten’s Watermelon and Feta Salad
Kick off the long weekend with a fruity spin on a classic summer menu opener. Ina’s sweet and cool watermelon salad with salty feta cheese and peppery arugula ticks all the right flavour boxes.

The Cocktails

Charred Pomelo Twist
Grill grapefruit until it’s slightly charred and muddle the juice together with cilantro in a cocktail shaker. Add ready-made lemon tea, plenty of ice and shake until well chilled. Garnish with a smoked salt rim and cilantro leaves and don’t share.

Peach Tea-lini
Peach season is short. Make the most of it by indulging in these fresh and easy tea cocktails. The best part? They can be made ahead of time and garnished with wedges of peach just before serving.

grilled flank steak

The Mains 

Grilled Flank Steak with Cilantro Chimichurri
A casually elegant way to stretch steak for a crowd, this grilled flank steak is thinly sliced on the same cutting board it’s served on and paired with a flavour-packed fresh cilantro chimichurri dipper to keep things interesting.

Jamie Oliver Chicken Skewers and Spicy Noodle Salad
We can’t get enough of Jamie’s crowd-friendly, fork-free chicken skewers with a crunchy peanut satay sauce, but it’s this fiery noodle salad that really kicks up the heat.

Lemon-Berry-Meringue-Cakes-with-Bumbleberry-Sauce

The Dessert

Anna Olson’s Lemon Berry Cake with Bumbleberry Sauce
There will be no post barbecue dessert slicing flubs when you serve these gorgeously bright, fruity mini meringue cakes with a sweet and citrusy bumbleberry sauce.

East Coast Summer Scallops

Irresistible East Coast Summer Scallops

If you are lucky enough to visit (or live) on the East Coast in summer, you’ll know the joy that is fresh sea scallops. The tasty, buttery seafood are a mainstay in chowders and served with pasta, but we love the way these little morsels crisp and caramelize when seared quickly on a hot pan.

Scallops are available in two sizes. Look for sea scallops which are larger than bay scallops for this colourful dish. Be sure and remove the little muscle on the side of the scallop before cooking. In the summer, fresh peas are a flavourful alternative to frozen.

East Coast Summer Scallops

Total Time: 45 minutes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:
Pea Puree
2 Tbsp butter
2 shallots, minced
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 cups fresh or frozen peas
1 cup low sodium chicken stock
1 ½ tsp finely grated lemon rind
1 Tbsp chopped mint leaves
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

Candied Tomatoes
1 cup grape tomatoes
2 tsp canola oil
2 tsp liquid honey

Scallops
12 sea scallops
pinch salt
pinch pepper
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp butter

East Coast Summer Scallops

Directions:
1. Pea Puree: Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook shallots and garlic until softened, about 2 minutes. Add peas and stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until peas are tender, 5 to 8 minutes for fresh and 3 to 4 for frozen. Pour into blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Transfer to medium bowl and add lemon rind, mind and salt and pepper; keep warm.
2. Candied Tomatoes: In a bowl, toss tomatoes with honey and oil. Spread on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake in 400°F oven until tomatoes start to blister, about 15 minutes.
3. Scallops: Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper (step reordered). Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallops to skillet and cook until golden brown, about 1 ½ minutes. Turn, add butter to pan and cook, basting scallops with butter, until golden brown. Remove from heat.
4. Divide pea puree between 4 plates, smearing across plate. Place 3 scallops on top of pea puree on each plate. Top with candied tomatoes around scallops.
5. Serve!

Make Your Own Pizza Cones for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner

Portable, personalized and downright genius, we’ve got two new ways to make pizza even more delicious. Enter: breakfast and dinner pizza cones.

Breakfast Cone: The ultimate breakfast sandwich, this version is a mash-up between Neapolitan pizza and everyone’s breakfast favourite: bacon and eggs!

Dinner Cone: Ooey, gooey, good. Everything we love about a classic pepperoni pizza wrapped up in a chewy cone. For a vegetarian version, use veggie pepperoni — it’s delicious and (almost) tastes like the real deal.

So gather the ingredients below, and make your own pizza cones at home with this fun and simple food hack.

pizza-cones-2

Prep Time: 20 – 25 minutes
Cook Time: 43 – 53 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour (approximately)
Yield: 4 cones

Ingredients:

Cones:
1 package pizza dough, room temperature
1 tsp olive oil (or oil spray)
1 tbsp salt

Breakfast Filling:
4 slices of bacon
5 eggs
2 Tbsp milk
Pinch salt
Pinch pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
3 Tbsp butter
15 cherry tomatoes, quartered
3/4 cup cherry bocconcini

Dinner Filling:
1/2 cup pizza sauce
2 tsp dried Italian herb blend
1/3 cup pepperoni, chopped
1/2 red pepper, finely diced
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
15 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 jalapeño pepper, finely diced
2 cups mozzarella, grated

pizza-cones-1

Directions:

Cones:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
2. To DIY your own pizza cones, cut an aluminum tray or sheet pan into 9” x 9” squares. Roll each square into a cone shape, pinching the bottom tip of each to secure its shape. Wrap each cone with non-stick aluminum foil. Set aside.
3. Divide pizza dough into 4 tennis-sized balls. Lightly oil or spray your work surface.
4. Using your hands, roll out each ball of dough into 24-inch long “snakes”. Don’t worry if the dough shrinks in length a little once you remove your hands. Just keep re-rolling it out to 24”.
4. Roll each dough “snake” around an aluminum-wrapped cone. Once wrapped around the cone, tuck the end of the “snake” underneath the rest of the dough to secure to the cone.
5. Place cones on prepared baking sheet. Brush with oil or melted butter. Sprinkle with salt.
6. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Breakfast Filling:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Lay bacon on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until crispy, approximately 18 minutes. Transfer to kitchen towel and allow to cool.
3. In a bowl, whisk eggs with milk. Add in the salt, pepper, and basil.
4. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the cut tomatoes.
5. Pour the egg-basil mixture into the skillet; stir.
6. Add the bocconcini; stir until cheese is heated.
7. Place one piece of cooked bacon into each cone. Using a long soda spoon, fill the cones with the stovetop mixture.

Dinner Filling:
1, In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine: pizza sauce, Italian herbs, pepperoni, red pepper, red onion, cherry tomatoes, jalapeño, and mozzarella. Stir and heat for 5 minutes.
2. Using a long soda spoon, fill the cones with the stovetop mixture.

Want to learn more about cone-shaped foods? Watch this video on how crispy waffle cones are made.

Spiced Whiskey Peach Cinnamon Rolls

We love peach season. There’s an endless amount of things you can create with sweet peaches, but cooking them in a spiced maple whiskey sauce was at the top of our to-do list! We stuffed those spiced whiskey peaches into a fluffy cinnamon roll, topped it with some vegan vanilla icing and made all your sweet food dreams come true.

Prep Time: 30 minutes (plus 4 hours for proofing dough)
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Makes: 12 rolls

888_peach-cinnamon-rolls

Ingredients:

For the Dough:
1 packet active dry yeast (2 ¼ tsp)
1 cup warm water (100°F)
¼ cup sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp sea salt
¼ cup coconut oil (melted)
¼ cup all-purpose flour (for rolling out dough)
1 tsp coconut oil (to oil the bowl for proofing)

For the Spiced Peaches:
3 ripe peaches, peeled and diced (approximately 3 cups)
1 cup Spicebox canadian spiced whiskey (or bourbon)
¼ cup maple syrup

For the Filling:
2 Tbsp vegan butter (melted)
¼ cup sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon

For the Icing:
1 cup icing sugar
1 Tbsp vegan butter (softened)
1 Tbsp non-dairy milk (or water)
½ tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Combine active dry yeast with warm water and sugar. The water needs to be at a temperature of around 100°F for the yeast to activate, so it’s best to use a thermometer. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes. It should double in size and be foamy at the top.
2. Meanwhile melt your coconut oil over low heat. Ensure the coconut oil is also not heated above 100°F.
3. Combine flour with sea salt in a large mixing bowl. Then, create a well in the middle of the flour and pour the yeast mixture and the coconut oil into it.
4. Fold the dough gently to combine. It should just come together and then you can use your hands to knead it a few times to form a ball.
5. Lightly oil another large mixing bowl with 1 tsp of coconut oil and place the ball of dough in it to proof. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel, and leave it in a warm dark place for 2 hours. On top of the fridge or in the oven or microwave should be enough to keep any cool draft off of it. The dough will double in size.
6. While the dough is rising, you can prepare the spiced peaches. In a saucepan, heat spiced whiskey, maple syrup and diced peaches over medium heat. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and then remove from heat and cool completely.
7. Combine sugar and cinnamon for the filling and set aside.
8. Melt the butter in the pan you want to bake the cinnamon rolls in, and then you can use the residue to grease all sides of the pan.
9. Once dough has proofed, lightly flour a clean dry surface/countertop and roll out the dough to approximately a 16” x 16” square.
10. Leave a 1” edge on one side of the dough free from melted butter and any fillings. This will be the outer edge when you roll the dough up.
11. Brush melted butter on the surface of the dough. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly on top, then take the spiced peaches and spread them out on top of the cinnamon sugar.
12. Start at the opposite side of the clean edge and roll the dough into a log shape. Take a sharp knife and cut 12 equal rolls.
13. Place the rolls in the pan leaving a bit of space to the edge of the pan. Cover the pan in plastic wrap and a towel, and allow the rolls to proof in a warm dark place for another 2 hours.
14. Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Bake the rolls for 25-30 minutes.
15. Allow the cinnamon rolls to cool for 10-15 minutes and make the icing by combining all the icing ingredients in a small bowl with a hand mixer until smooth.
16. Spread the icing on top of warm cinnamon rolls and serve immediately.

See more from hot for food on their YouTube channel.

Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Ice cream equals summer. But for those that can’t enjoy dairy versions, there’s an extremely healthy solution to satisfy your ice cream cravings.

This vegan peanut butter chocolate chip ice cream uses frozen bananas as its base, creating the smooth and creamy texture of regular ice cream, just without the cream (and calories!). You’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven after you try this.

888_peanut-butter-banana-ice-cream2

Ingredients (1 serving):
2 sliced and frozen bananas
2 Tbsp natural peanut butter
3 Tbsp raw cacao nibs
Pinch sea salt
Drizzle of agave (or maple syrup), optional

888_peanut-butter-banana-ice-cream

Directions:
1. Place frozen banana slices in a food processor and run the machine until it resembles a crumb like consistency.
2. Add peanut butter, cacao nibs, sea salt and agave, and whiz a little longer until you get a soft-serve ice cream consistency.

Tip: You can add many other things to this frozen banana ice cream base. Try candied nuts, almond butter or another favourite nut butter, cinnamon, frozen blueberries, chopped dates, candied ginger… The options are endless.

See more from hot for food on their YouTube channel.

giant pulled pork

How to Make a Family-Sized Pulled Pork Sandwich

Pulled pork is always a crowd pleaser. So what could possibly be better than warm, tender pork sandwiches?  A giant, family-sized pulled pork sandwich!

This epic sandwich is filled with sweet, sesame-scented tender pork, smothered in a tangy rhubarb sauce and topped with crunchy Asian slaw, all of which is stuffed into a giant round loaf, and cut into wedges for a fun and delicious main.

Mega Pulled Pork
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:
1 orange
½ cup soy sauce
4 Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
2 Tbsp sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, grated or pressed
½ Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1/8 tsp pepper
1 bone-in pork shoulder (1.6 kg)
3 cups chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup water
1 cup each shredded green and red cabbage
3 green onions, sliced
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp hot pepper sauce
1 round country white or sourdough bread loaf (600g)

Giant Pulled Pork

Directions:
1. Grate zest (approximately 2 Tbsp) and squeeze juice from orange, add to large saucepan, add soy sauce, 2 Tbsp of the rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp of the sesame oil, garlic, ginger and pepper. Bring to a boil.
2. Add pork to pan, cover with tight-fitting lid. Bake in 350°F oven, basting and turning roast occasionally, until meat is falling apart, about 2½ hours.
3. Remove pork from pan, reserving juice. Skim fat from juice and discard. With two forks, shred pork, discarding any visible fat. Toss shredded pork with 3 Tbsp of the reserved juice, discarding remaining. (Tip: Let cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat in saucepan over medium-low heat until piping hot before continuing.)
4. Meanwhile, combine rhubarb, sugar and water in small saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer gently until rhubarb is pulpy and broken down, about 1 hour. Let cool.
5. With immersion blender, puree until smooth; cover and set aside. (Tip: Refrigerate for up to 3 days. Let come to room temperature before continuing.)
6. Meanwhile, combine green and red cabbage, green onions, remaining vinegar, remaining sesame oil, salt and hot pepper sauce. Let stand until slightly softened, about 10 minutes.
7. Cut bread in half, horizontally; pull out some of the inside of cut sides of top and bottom halves to hollow out slightly, leaving ½-inch (1 cm) border. Fill bottom of bun with pork mixture. Drizzle with rhubarb sauce, then slaw. Top with top half of bun. Cut into wedges to serve.

Parents’ Top Tips for Packing Lunches That Kids Will Actually Eat

There are plenty of good reasons for wanting to pack a healthy, nutritious school lunch your kids will eat. Consider this: if fueling their minds isn’t inspiration enough, it’s inevitable that one of these days, someone is going to forget to clean their lunchbox, only to discover that come Sunday evening (or worse, Monday morning), the uneaten contents have sprouted new life.

parents-tips-on-packing-school-lunches

Save yourself the trouble with these keep-it-real tips for packing school lunches with ease from real parents.

Train Your Sous-Chef Early

These are the two most-commonly cited reasons for including kids in the lunch process: they learn useful life skills and strip themselves of the right to complain.

Food blogger Sandra Hickman Simmons highlights the positive side: “Make it a fun thing you do together at least occasionally,” she says. “When the child opens the lunch they will get an immediate smile on their face remembering how they cut their sandwiches with a cookie cutter, or played a counting game with the grapes while making the lunch with mom or dad.”

Bonus: when kids choose the foods that go into their own lunch boxes, they’re more likely to actually eat them. “If they pack it, they own it,” writes Family Cook Off host and mother of three, Trish Magwood. She suggests laying out rules, such as ‘each lunch must include a fruit and a protein,’ then letting the kids choose the items within your pre-set categories. Best of all, studies show that kids who participate in home cooking are more likely to choose healthy items.

Make a List

Family life can get so hectic that sometimes we even forget our own bright ideas. By keeping a running list of favoured lunch items, you’re creating a grocery list and packing day inspiration. “When lunch making time rolls around in the bleary-eyed morning, it’s easier to look at a list and pick stuff than try for creativity before the coffee sets in,” says Toronto mom Lana Rayman.

Involve your children in the listing process so the options are parent and kid-approved; if they can read, they can use the list you’ve created together to guide their choices and do lunch on their own.

Mix It Up

“I usually pack lots of little things cut up,” says Kitchener mother Julie Barker. She says her son, Jack, is more likely to eat his lunch if it’s all “mini.”

Cut-up portions aren’t just cute — they’re practical, too. Kids have limited time to eat their lunches, and bite-size bits are easier to manage. They also create space for a greater nutritional variety.

That said, don’t get too upset if even the best packed food rainbows are occasionally returned home. “My son needs variety,” says mom Dawn Hill. “And it’s always a surprise what he’s going to eat and what he suddenly “hates.” I’ve given up worrying about it.”

Remember: It’s Elementary School, Not Top Chef Canada

 Many of the parents we spoke to recommended cutting and arranging foods in cute shapes. It can be a fun way to bond with your kids while taking care of a necessary task. But crafting panda sushi and banana penguins isn’t for everyone.

Milton mom Lisa Weaver reminds parents to test out a lunchbox before buying, as some are easier to operate than others. “They don’t get a lot of time to eat,” she says, “and little hands need to know how to open latches and lids.”

Stay On Track

Above all, try not to stress. Yes, good nutrition is important, but dietitians frequently advise taking a weekly approach, rather than daily. If your kid is getting the right balance of fruits, veggies, proteins and fibre-rich complex carbs throughout the week, an indulgence here or there is totally fine.

When your kids inevitably do return with uneaten items, instead of asking why they didn’t eat a particular item, approach them with a neutral statement, like: “I see there’s still a lot of rice in here…” If you’re lucky, it might lead to a conversation about their current food interests, or their lunchtime social lives. Besides, at the end of the day, it’s just lunch.

Still hungry for fresh lunch ideas? Try these recipes: 16 Stress-Free Lunch Ideas

5 Easy Dishes You Make in a Toaster Oven

The toaster oven is a marvelous appliance when you’re cooking for one or two people, and don’t want to turn on the oven just to bake a single chicken breast.

Here are five easy ways to cook delicious meals and snacks with this underrated kitchen appliance.

Breakfast: Warm Turkey and Gooey Mozzarella English Muffins

This simple yet satisfying breakfast sandwich beats anything you’ll get at a coffee shop en route to work. Protein from the turkey and healthy fats from the avocado will keep your hunger in check, while the spicy mayo, which can be made in advance, will wake up your taste buds. This recipe makes two English muffins, enough for you and your roommate (or you and your hangover).

BreakfastSandwich

Ingredients:
2 whole wheat English muffins
2 slices mozzarella
1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
4 slices turkey breast
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
Sriracha, to taste

Directions:
1. Slice the English muffins in half and top each of the bottom halves with a slice of mozzarella and two turkey slices.
2. Toast all four halves in the toaster oven until the cheese starts to melt.
3. In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise with Sriracha until it’s to your liking.
4. Top the toasted muffins with avocado slices and a smear of the spicy mayo.

Mid-Morning Snack: Roasted Spiced Almonds

Forget buying the sugar-laden, honey-roasted nuts and opt for toasted almonds for a healthier snack that you can take to the office. Toasting the almonds intensifies the nuttiness and gives them a better crunch.

Almonds

Ingredients:
1 heaping cup raw almonds
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
2 big pinches cayenne

Directions:
1. Set the toaster oven to the bake setting at 400°F.
2. In a pan lined with aluminum foil, toss the almonds with the olive oil ensuring that every nut gets evenly coated.
3. Sprinkle salt and cayenne on the almonds and toss again. Spread the almonds out in single layer and bake for 12-14 minutes until the almonds turn a dark brown, but not black.
4. Let cool for five to 10 minutes before serving. Let the almonds cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Lunch: Baked Chicken Fingers with Cucumber-Mango Slaw

Nothing will replace the greasy goodness that is a bucket of fried chicken (NOTHING!), but this baked version uses significantly less oil and still has that satisfying crunch.

ChickenTenders

Ingredients:
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into thick strips
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp grated parmesan
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 panko crumbs
1/4 cucumber, julliened
1/2 mango, julliened*
Chili flakes, to taste
Salt, to taste

Directions:

1. Set the toaster oven to the bake setting at 425°F.
2. In a small bowl, lightly coat the chicken strips in olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Set aside.
3. In another bowl, combine the panko crumbs, parmesan, and Italian seasoning. Dredge the chicken in the crumb mixture, pressing the crumbs into the meat to ensure they’re heavily coated.
4. In a baking pan covered with aluminum foil, line the chicken strips in a single layer. Bake for 8 minutes. Flip, then bake for another 7 minutes or until the chicken is cooked completely. Let the chicken rest for five minutes.
5. In the meantime, toss the cucumber and mango together. Sprinkle with chili flakes on top. Serve with chicken strips, which go well with dips like Dijon or ketchup.

*Wash the mango and slice the skin off with a paring knife. Slice along the length of the mango, keeping the knife as close to the pith in the middle as possible. Repeat with the other side. You’re now left with two mango halves or “cheeks” and the inedible seed in the middle.

Afternoon Snack: Vegan, Dairy and Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Oat Cookies

These soft and chewy cookies are basically made from a sweet potato that’s been baked, pureed and mashed with rolled oats. They’re essentially teething cookies (my baby niece approves), but I’ve also been passing them off as vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free (as long as the oats came from a gluten-free factory) treats for my friends who suddenly became intolerant to everything. Hey, as long as they taste good, right?

SweetPotatoCookies

Ingredients (makes about a dozen cookies):
1 medium sweet potato
3/4 cup rolled oats
2 tsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Directions:
1. Set the toaster oven to the bake setting at 400°F.
2. Poke holes in the sweet potato with a fork. Place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
3. Set the toaster oven to 350°F.
4. Remove skin and place in a mixing bowl. Using a hand blender (or a spoon or potato masher) mash the potato to get a creamy consistency. Add in the oats, maple syrup, vanilla, and spices. Mix until well combined.
5. Make Tbsp sized dough balls and place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Arrange them so that none of them are touching the edges of the tray or each other. Slightly flatten the cookies with your palm.
6. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring to cool completely on a wire rack.

Dinner: Lemon-Pepper Cod with Roasted Vegetable and Kale Salad

Roast whatever vegetables are in season when they’re at their most flavourful (not to mention cheapest) — potatoes, parsnips, beets, sweet peppers — mix it up to keep things fresh and exciting.

CodSalad

Ingredients:
1 cod filet
2 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup summer squash, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup carrot, cut into small cubes
1/3 cup white onion, diced
2 cups kale, stems removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
Salt and pepper, to taste
Zest of 1/2 lemon (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat the toaster oven to 400°F.
2. In a pan lined with aluminum foil, toss the vegetables with olive oil until everything is evenly coated (about 2 Tbsp). Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables start to soften. Remove from oven and pour the vegetables into a bowl to cool.
3. Sprinkle the cod with 1 Tbsp of olive oil and 1 Tbsp of lemon juice. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Place on roasting pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the fish is flaky and no longer translucent. Let the fish rest for 5 minutes before serving.
4. In the meantime in a serving bowl, toss the kale with the warm, roasted vegetables and 1 Tbsp of lemon juice. Place the cod on top, sprinkle with lemon zest and serve.

Ice Ring

How to Make a Party-Perfect Ice Ring for Your Punch Bowl

Nothing gets a party going like punch. Friendships and laughter are born around the punch bowl, but we’re not talking about the awkward fruit punch you drank at high school dances. This fresh, modern recipe is an elegant cocktail that’ll impress your guests, complete with a bright, berry-ful ice ring to keep your punch chilled while adding a gorgeous garnish.

Fruit Ice Ring

Sparkling Citrus Punch with Berry-ful Ice Ring

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
Ice Ring
1 cup raspberries
1 cup sour cherries, pitted (frozen if fresh is not available)
2 cups champagne grapes*
1-1 1/2 cups distilled water

Sparkling Punch
750 ml bottle of dry white sparkling wine
1-330 ml can sparkling orange soda, such as San Pellegrino Aranciata
2 oz bitter Italian soda, such as Aperol
2 oz orange liqueur, such as Triple Sec
1/2 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Fresh mint for garnish

Fruit Ice Ring

Directions:

Ice Ring:
1. Place raspberries, cherries, and grapes in an 8 or 9 inch Bundt pan. Pour distilled water over fruit only just to cover. Place in the freezer for 8 hours or overnight until frozen.

Sparkling Punch:
1. In a large punch bowl, mix sparkling wine, soda, Aperol, triple sec, orange juice and lemon juice.
2. Remove Bundt pan from freezer. Run warm water over bottom to loosen the ice ring from the pan. Place the ice ring in the punch and garnish with fresh mint. Serve immediately.

*if champagne grapes are not available, substitute cranberries or sliced strawberries.

Looking for more entertaining inspiration? Try our 10 Tasty Canadian Cocktails.

Cauliflower Bites with Turmeric Yogurt

Bright and Bold Moroccan-Spiced Cauliflower Bites

Turn a head of cauliflower into a flavourful and healthy appetizer in less than 30 minutes.

This meat-free “wing-style” dish will entice even the most discerning carnivore with its full flavour profile. Turmeric gives this dish it’s bright yellow hue, combined with cinnamon, pepper, cumin and thyme, for a fragrant spice combo you’ll want to use on more veggies. Serve as a quick party appetizer or as part of a larger meal as a tempting veggie side dish.

Cauliflower Bites
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

Moroccan-Spiced Cauliflower Bites:
1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into bite-size florets
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Turmeric Yogurt Dip:
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced

To Serve:
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or diced green onion

Directions:

Moroccan-Spiced Cauliflower Bites:
1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
2. In a large bowl, toss all cauliflower ingredients until florets are evenly coated. Spread on a baking sheet.
3. Roast for 18 to 20 minutes until cauliflower is tender and beginning to brown on the bottom.

Turmeric Yogurt Dip:
1. In a medium bowl, whisk all dip ingredients until uniformly yellow. 2. Transfer to a serving bowl. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Stir before serving.

To Serve:
1. Arrange cauliflower on a platter, sprinkle with cilantro or green onion, and serve warm or room temperature alongside dip.

Bobby Flay

The One Place Bobby Flay Won’t Open a Restaurant

Here in Canada, we can’t get enough of Food Network star and chef Bobby Flay, whether we’re slapping one of his signature BBQ recipes on the grill, or creeping his cat’s Instagram account (we see you @nachoflay). But when we asked Chef Flay if he plans to open a restaurant north of the border, the American star was unequivocal: No. Not here, not now, not ever.

Thankfully it’s not because he doesn’t love Canada. In fact, Chef Flay is especially fond of Toronto, where he recently collaborated with long-time friend and former Iron Chef competitor Susur Lee. The culinary duo cooked up a special dinner at Lee’s restaurant Frings; the menu featured chorizo crepinette with apricot mostarda and braised octopus, where several lucky locals, including Drake, were in attendance.

Susur Lee and Bobby FlayFlay talked up the Toronto food scene while explaining why he’s not in a hurry to open a Canadian outpost: “In a town like Toronto, where there’s such a great culinary culture, I believe that the people of Toronto should be supporting the local chefs, and they do,” he said. Then he tempered his answer with a downright Canadian-sounding dose of humility: “Without mentioning names, there have been countless American chefs that have tried this town and they haven’t done very well. So I don’t think I’m better than them.”

Not even his pal Susur Lee could convince him. “But you know, Chef Bobby, I’ll tell you — your flavours would really suit in this town,” said Chef Lee. “Your big flavours!”

Susur Lee and Bobby Flay in Toronto

Still, the answer was — and is — no.

“When I roll out of my bed in New York, I can walk into my restaurant and cook,” he explained. “Even though Toronto is only an hour away, you still have to go the airport and get on a plane — it’s a whole event.”

Bobby Flay loves flying in and wowing Canadian diners, or cooking for them when they visit one of his US restaurants, but he doesn’t want to be anybody’s American fling. Falling in love with a Bobby Flay restaurant is a long-term affair, and that’s just how he likes it.

“You have to get people to buy in for a long period of time, not just once or twice,” he said, noting that his famed Mesa Grill ran 20 years before closing, and that three of his current restaurants have been open for more than ten years. “That’s what it takes to have success in the restaurant industry. It’s not a get rich quick proposal.”

It might not be the answer we want, but it’s an honest one. So in the mean time, we’ll be saving up for a trip to Flay’s Gato in New York City, and consoling ourselves with these awesome Bobby Flay recipes.

Can’t get enough Bobby? His new show Brunch at Bobby’s premieres Saturday, September 10 at 10 a.m. E/P. See the schedule here

4 Easy Ways to Preserve the Best of Summer

In the last few weeks of summer, it can be hard to resist a basket of bright, warm peaches at the farmer’s market, or freshly picked roadside corn at $2 a dozen. If you’ve ever found yourself surrounded with more perfectly ripe produce than you could ever possibly enjoy, we hear you.

To help get us out of this pickle, we turned to Dana Harrison and Joel MacCharles, the couple behind the website Well Preserved, for their tips and recommendations on how to preserve the best of summer. The pair recently launched their first book, Batch, a guide to preserving 25 different ingredients, which includes over 200 recipes, tips and techniques.

For most preserving, you don’t need pressure cooker or a smoker to save those summer flavours. “It is way easier than you think, way funner than you think and it can take minutes,” says MacCharles, who notes that the biggest obstacle to preserving is not knowing what’s possible.

If your fridge is overflowing, these four techniques are a great place to start saving the flavours of summer for a cooler day.

canning

1. Freezing. Your first tool to making produce last longer is already in your kitchen. “The fridge and freezer are the ones that people don’t think about,” says MacCharles. While it can take up space, freezing is a super simple way to preserve food at its peak, so it can be enjoyed later in the year. Try roasting peppers and pureeing them before slipping them into the freezer for a boost of flavour come winter.

2. Fermenting. People are seeking out kimchi and kombucha for the gut-health benefits, but many don’t realize that fermentation is a type of preserving. “I think fermenting is the easiest thing you can do,” says Harrison, who recommends turning that big head of cabbage into sauerkraut. “Massage a bunch of cabbage together with salt and put it in a jar and that’s it, you’re done.”

3. Infusing. Infusing is an easy and super quick way to capture the flavours of fresh ingredients. “You could talk to many people who are infusing and they don’t think that they are preserving food,” says MacCharles, who says the technique is big in the cocktail scene, where bitters and infused alcohol are popular. Home cooks can play with infusing oils, vinegar or alcohol. A simple and easy way to make a gourmet ingredient in a flash is infusing salt. Mixing salt with an ingredient like a wilting pepper or rhubarb is a dead easy way to infuse flavour into your salt and makes for an easy flavour enhancer.

4. Canning. While most people think strawberry jam is a great place to start, MacCharles  disagrees. “It is easy to mess up yet it is totally the gateway,” he says. He recommends thinking about what you like to eat and learning the techniques from there. Harrison and MacCharles learned the hard way by starting with jam, but canned tomato sauce is where they really hit their stride. “It is on the cover of the book because that is family to us,” says MacCharles. Every fall, Harrison and MacCharles head to his parent’s house for one saucy weekend, where they typically make 160 jars in one sitting.

When in doubt, make something you know you like to eat and get the family involved with preserving for the most fun.

Scrumptious Pecan Butter Tart Ice Cream

If you’re looking for new and delicious ways to satisfy your sweet tooth this summer, we’ve got just the ticket. This decadent ice cream is chock-full of butter tart pieces and a luscious butter pecan swirl, all packed into a chocolate-dipped, pecan-crusted waffle cone.

Freezing the butter tart pieces and adding them after pureeing the frozen custard ensures the pieces don’t sink to the bottom of the mixture. No ice cream maker? No problem! The pan-freezing method makes this mouth-watering recipe a total cinch.

butter-tart-ice-cream1

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Cool Time: 7 hours
Total Time: 7 hours, 30 minutes
Serves: 8 scoops

Ingredients:
Ice Cream:
1 vanilla bean
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 1/4 cups 35% cream
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 pecan butter tarts, chopped
8 waffle cones
3 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
2 butter tarts, quartered

Butter Pecan Swirl:
1/4 cup corn syrup
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/4 tsp vanilla

butter-tart-ice-cream2

Directions:

Ice Cream Base:
1. Scrape seeds out of vanilla bean.
2. Add milk, cream, vanilla bean pod and seeds saucepan; bring to a boil.
3. Remove from heat; cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk sugar and egg yolks; slowly whisk in cream mixture.
5. Return to saucepan; cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
6. Strain into a clean bowl; discard vanilla bean pods.
7. Place plastic wrap directly on surface; refrigerate until cold, about 1-2 hours.
8. Pour into a 9-inch square metal baking pan; freeze until almost solid, about 1-2 hours.
9. Freeze chopped butter tarts on parchment paper-lined baking sheet until hard, about 1 hour.

Butter Pecan Swirl:
1. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, cook butter, corn syrup, brown sugar, and salt until melted, about 3 minutes.
2. Bring to a boil. Stir in pecans and vanilla; remove from heat and set aside.

Assembly:
1. Break ice cream into pieces and purée in food processor until smooth. Transfer blend into a bowl and add in frozen butter tarts.
2. Scrape into 6-cup airtight container, and then swirl in butter pecan mixture.
3. Cover and freeze until firm, about 3 hours.
4. Meanwhile, arrange pecans in a shallow bowl.
5. In microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate on medium, stirring once, until melted, 1 to 2 minutes.
6. Dip top rim of each waffle cone into the chocolate letting excess drip back into bowl. Immediately press chocolate edge into pecans to coat.
7. Scoop ice cream into cones and garnish each cone with a quarter butter tart.

Learn how to make the perfect butter tart pastry with these easy tips.