Fridge-Pasta

Versatile Clean-Out-Your-Fridge Pasta

We consider pasta to be the great unifier. No matter what you have in your fridge, chances are you can make a pretty good meal if you toss it together with some pasta.

This recipe uses a something-from-nothing sauce, relying on a few fridge and pantry staples like anchovies, garlic and chili flakes. The vegetables we’ve included are easily switched out for ones you have on hand, and swapping the chicken for another protein like shrimp or sausage would work just as well. So get ready to clear out your fridge and make a delicious pasta dish all at once. You call it magic, we call it dinner.

Fridge-Pasta

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp lemon zest
175g penne pasta
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1/2 227g pkg (about 1 1/2 cups) cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 zucchini (about 3/4 cup), cut into 1/4-in cubes
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
3 anchovies, minced
1/2 bunch kale (about 3 cups), roughly chopped
1 cooked chicken breast, cut into thin slices
1/4 cup Parmesan, finally grated (optional)

Fridge-Pasta

Directions:
1. Toast panko crumbs in a small dry pan set over medium heat, about 3 minutes. Let cool then mix with parsley and lemon zest. Set aside.
2. Boil a large pot of salted water over high heat. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking liquid, then drain pasta.
3. Heat a large non-stick pan over medium-high. Add 1 Tbsp oil, then mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
4. Lower heat to medium, then add remaining oil, anchovies, garlic and chili flakes. Cook until garlic has softened and anchovies have disintegrated, 2 to 3 minutes. Add zucchini and cook until slightly softened, 2 minutes. Return mushrooms to pan and season with salt. Add kale, then chicken, pasta and cooking liquid. Stir until kale is wilted and sauce has thickened, about 3 minutes.
5. Divide pasta among plates and top with bread crumb mixture and Parmesan. Enjoy!

Looking for more ideas? Learn 14 Clever Ways to Use Almost-Expired Food.

Top Chef Canada Returns With All-Stars Season

Food Network Canada has been cooking up a delicious secret and it’s time to share it with all of you. Top Chef Canada is coming back in an all new way. Canada’s most prestigious and high stakes culinary competition returns Sunday, April 2 at 10 ET/PT with an All-Stars season for its fifth installment.

Mark McEwan, revered chef and restaurateur, is back as head judge and is reacquainted with 12 chefs from past seasons, who return to see if they can win the previously elusive Top Chef Canada title.

Mark is excited for what fans will see in Top Chef Canada: All-Stars.

“Top flight ingredients, driven and proven chefs, full on challenges and the best food I’ve seen in five seasons, epic!”

If this doesn’t make your stomach rumble with excitement, you might want to check if you have a pulse!

Top Chef Canada: All-Stars Judges
From Left: Eden Grinshpan, Mark McEwan, Mijune Pak, Janet Zuccarini, Chris Nuttall-Smith.

Mark McEwan is joined by a new cast of refined palates including resident judges Chris Nuttall-Smith, Mijune Pak, Janet Zuccarini and host Eden Grinshpan. Chris Nuttall-Smith previously worked under the cloak of anonymity as the restaurant critic for The Globe and Mail. On Top Chef Canada, comes face-to-face with the chefs he’s critiquing.

“When we [judges] lost our heads about how incredible a dish was, it was beautiful to be able to say that in the moment to the chef’s face and to see them light up.”

Chris heaped praise on his fellow judges, noting that “every single one of them really is at the top of their game.”

Mijune Pak is the Vancouver food writer behind the award-winning food blog and restaurant guide, Follow Me Foodie. When asked about the reboot of Top Chef Canada, Mijune didn’t hold back.

“It’s the crème de la crème of cooking competitions on television,” she says. From the chef challenges to the guest judges, “it’s all about the food.”

Janet Zuccarini, is a powerhouse restaurateur, owning Toronto hot spots Trattoria Nervosa, Gusto 101 and Pai Northern Thai Kitchen, with more restaurants in the works. Janet says that one of the best parts of being on the series was how the judges, from various backgrounds and with different opinions, worked together as a panel.

Eden Grinshpan, a judge on Chopped Canada, steps into the role of Top Chef Canada host, guiding the chefs through their challenges and weighing in on their fate at judges’ table. She brings with her Le Cordon Bleu chef credentials and a disarming personality. Eden loves watching the chefs evolve and grow throughout the competition and seeing how the competition affects them. “Some people rise to the occasion and some fall under it.”

And who are the chefs that Eden is talking about? We’ll be revealing the 12 chefs to compete on Top Chef Canada: All-Stars soon, so keep checking back. For full bios on each of the judges and host, click here.

Each week during the season, Foodnetwork.ca will be your destination for more Top Chef Canada as we’ll be posting exclusive content including deleted scenes, episode recaps, culinary behind-the-scenes articles, and interviews with the competing chefs. Plus, we’ll be giving away Top Chef Canada prizes.

chicken sheet pan dinner

Simple Sheet Pan Chicken and Veggie Dinner in Under an Hour

One tray means little mess for this chop, toss and roast creation. Full of hearty, warming winter vegetables and crowd-pleasing chicken, and generously coated with a maple-mustard sauce, you’ll have dinner ready for your family in under an hour.

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Use any in-season vegetables you have on hand such as squash, potatoes, onions and beets. You can also opt for a different protein, such as pork chops, sausages, meatballs or even fish — the options are truly endless.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4

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Ingredients:
1 whole chicken, cut into 6 to 8 pieces, or chicken pieces of choice (breast, drumsticks, etc.)
1 medium turnip, peeled and sliced into boats
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into medium pieces
1 onion, peeled and thickly sliced
1 medium sweet potato, cut into large pieces
1/2 large bulb or 1 small bulb fennel, cored and sliced into thick strips
1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage, more for garnish
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

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Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Arrange chicken, vegetables and sage on a large rimmed baking sheet.
2. In a small bowl, whisk mustard, maple syrup, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper until combined. Add to chicken and vegetables, and toss to coat. Evenly space chicken and vegetables, ensuring chicken is skin side-up.
3. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, until vegetables are tender and chicken is cooked through with crispy skin.
4. Serve with additional fresh sage, if desired.

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Check out these 15 simple recipes for tasty sheet pan suppers.

How to Make Cinnamon Buns in 5 Easy Steps

This is my great-aunt’s method, which is so easy that even kids can help! When I was young, it was always my job to grease the pan with butter before the buns went into the oven.

You’ll need:
• flour for dusting
• ready-made dough, homemade or store-bought
• rolling pin
• 3/4 cup (175 mL) packed brown sugar
• 1/2 cup (125 mL) soft butter
• 1 to 2 tbsp (15 to 30 mL) cinnamon
• pastry brush
• butter for greasing
• sharp knife
• tea towel

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1. Roll Out Dough
On a floured work surface, using rolling pin, roll out dough to about 1/2-inch (1 cm) thickness, forming a rectangle.

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2. Brush on Cinnamon Mixture and Roll
Mix together brown sugar, butter and cinnamon until very soft but not melted. Using pastry brush, brush dough with brown sugar mixture. Gently roll up dough, jelly roll–style, ending with seam side down.

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3. Cut Into Buns
Using a sharp knife, cut dough into 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick slices.

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4. Assemble in Pan and Let Rise
Place, cut side down, in a well greased 13×9-inch (3 L) baking dish. (Aunt Lucy would hand me an empty butter foil to scoop up soft butter with and smear inside the pan.) Cover with a tea towel; let rise until doubled in size, about 25 to 30 minutes.

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5. Bake and Turn Out
Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven until golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool slightly. Carefully turn buns out onto parchment or waxed paper. They should come out as one piece with gooey cinnamon-sugar sauce resting on top.

Click here to see the full recipe for Aunt Lucy’s Cinnamon Buns.

By Colleen Fisher Tully

Celery Soup

7 Ways to Make Your Soups Creamy Without Dairy

During winter’s bitter, blustery days, a warming pot of soup is top of mind. If you’re craving a rich and comforting soup without adding the heaviness of cream, you’ve got plenty of options in your crisper or pantry. It’s time to think outside the box (or carton) with these seven easy, dairy-free thickeners.

Vegan Cream of Celery Soup

Creamy soups, like this vegan cream of celery soup, don’t have to be loaded with fat or heavy cream.

1. In A Slurry
When it comes down to it, some creamy soups are just white sauces with more liquid added. Building a roux from flour and butter (or margarine), cooking for a few minutes to remove the raw flour flavour, and adding chicken or vegetable stock will give you a sturdy soup without a whisper of cream. Cornstarch, on the other hand, is mixed with a few tablespoons of liquid and then stirred into the soup after it has come to a boil. Either way, the tricks you use to thicken a gravy — flour pastes, cornstarch slurries or even add-ins such as arrowroot or tapioca — can give your soup a thicker mouth feel.

2. Koo Koo For Coconuts 
For creaminess without cream, full-fat coconut milk will add a luscious sheen and body to your broth (you can use low-fat if you must, but it won’t give you as much richness). In Thai cuisine, coconut milk is added to flavourful curry pastes to produce creamy soups that pack a punch, such as this Thai Coconut Curry Corn Soup. If coconuts aren’t your thing, try subbing in soy or nut milk instead, although your soup will be a little thinner in consistency.

3. Against The Grains
Anyone who has ever made a Chinese congee knows the thickening power of rice — absorbing liquid and releasing starch to add a velvety texture when cooked. Add half a cup of rice at the beginning of the simmering period for your soup, and blend when the grains have plumped out. Pressed for time? Try using quick cooking rice instead to shorten the simmering time needed.

4. The Power Of Spuds
Don’t forget the humble potato — adding just one can add significant body and creaminess to your soup. Peel your spud if you desire, or leave it unpeeled and well scrubbed if you’re pureeing the soup afterwards. Just be warned that unless you’re using a full blender, you may end up with visible bits of potato skin sprinkled throughout. A smaller dice or thin slices will help the potato break down quicker in the boiling liquid. Sweet potato or yam can also be used, but keep in mind it will affect the colour of your finished product. You can also raid the fridge for yesterday’s mashed potatoes, leftover potato soup or baked sweet potatoes for a head start.

5. Back To Your Roots
Don’t stop at potatoes — chopped root vegetables, such as parsnips, turnips, rutabaga or carrots, all make economical and easy ways to add velvety texture. Beyond the basics, Jerusalem artichokes or sunchokes, taro or water chestnuts can also be cooked and puréed for body. Try  sneaking in some cauliflower or broccoli for some added vegetable goodness.

6. In A Nutshell
Soft nuts, such as cashews, add a creamy texture when soaked, such as in this vegan cream of celery soup. Nuts can be pre-soaked the night before, or cooked directly in simmering liquid to soften before blending.

7. Check Your Pulses
White beans, such as cannelloni, release a starchiness when cooked that will taste creamy on the palate without providing a dominant flavour. Soak and cook your own, or open a can for convenience, if you desire. Chickpeas or lentils, on the other hand, will impact the taste of your finished soup, but also provide a hearty helping, especially when paired with salty pancetta or bacon.

Looking for comforting soup recipes? Try one of these 21 Noodle Soups to Slurp Up This Winter.

Super Crispy Salt and Vinegar Potatoes

When I was a kid, I used to eat salt and vinegar chips until my tongue hurt — and that salty, acidic crunch is still just as addictive in my adult life.

If you’re just as keen on this indulgent snack, you can satisfy that craving for tangy, salty chips in the form of roasted potatoes! And the best part is that they can be served as a part of your breakfast, lunch or dinner.

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:
1/4 cup vinegar, plus 2 Tbsp
1 Tbsp salt
2 lbs baby potatoes, such as Yukon gold or red skin
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
Pepper, to taste

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Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. In a large sauce pan, combine vinegar, salt and potatoes. Add water just until potatoes are covered. Heat sauce pan on high until mixture reaches a boil, reduce to a simmer and continue to cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 10 minutes.
2. Drain liquid. Cut potatoes in half and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Combine butter and olive oil and pour mixture over potatoes, shaking the baking sheet to coat potatoes.
3. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown and crispy, about 30 minutes, shaking the pan every 10 minutes.
4. Remove from oven and immediately drizzle remaining 2 Tbsp of vinegar over potatoes. Garnish with sea salt and season with fresh ground pepper.

Want more tasty tater recipes? Check out these 10 ways Canadians are eating potatoes.

banana stuffed cinnamon buns

6 Ways to Hack a Can of Cinnamon Rolls

There’s no doubt that the smell freshly baked cinnamon buns is one of the most intoxicating aromas. Not only do they smell amazing, they also deliver in yumminess, gooeyness, and fluffiness all at once. But if you could keep all that tasty flavour and give your cinnamon bun a whole new look?

Get ready to surpass all your expectations of deliciousness with these six recipes that start with a can of store-bought cinnamon roll dough. The best part is they’re all super quick and easy.

Banana Stuffed Cinnamon Rolls

Banana Stuffed Cinnamon Buns
If you dream of banana split ice cream sundaes, this recipe is for you. Serve this recipe warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and you’ll forget about banana splits for good. To make it, unravel cinnamon roll dough to form long strips. Peel bananas and carefully wrap one strip of dough around each banana. Arrange on a cookie sheet and bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. Drizzle with honey or caramel and serve with ice cream.

Cinnamon Roll Waffles
You can skip out on making the batter for these amazing waffles. All you have to do is heat your waffle iron and place one cinnamon roll in the centre, cooking for 3-4 minutes. To make the almond butter glaze, stir 2 Tbsp of milk with 2 Tbsp of almond butter, then whisk in 3/4 cup of icing sugar until smooth. Remove waffles from press and drizzle with almond butter.

Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake
This deliciously moist coffee cake is super easy to prepare. Peel and dice 2 granny smith apples. In a medium skillet heated over medium, melt 2 Tbsp of butter with 1 cup of brown sugar. Place diced apples and cook until caramelized, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, dice 2 cans worth of cinnamon rolls into 1-inch pieces. Place them in a 9×9-inch cake pan. Whisk 4 large eggs with 1/2 cup of milk and pour over cinnamon roll pieces. Pour the caramelized apples over mixture. Bake in a 350°F oven for 35 minutes. Drizzle with icing if desired.

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake
This tasty cake feels elegant and festive, but the recipe is so easy, you can basically make it in your sleep. Then, of course, you’ll be waking up to this sweet and tart, moist upside-down cake. To make it, combine 1/4 butter and 3/4 cup brown sugar in a small saucepan heated over medium. Once melted add 1 cup of cranberries (fresh or frozen) and cook for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in another 1/2 cup of cranberries. Transfer mixture into a well-greased 8-inch cake pan. Cut cinnamon rolls into 2-inch pieces and place over top of the cranberry mixture. Bake in a 350°F oven until buns are cooked and browned on top, about 40 minutes. Let cool in cake pan for 15 minutes, then flip onto a plate so cranberries are on top.

Peanut Butter Cinnamon Bun Pretzels
It’s a mouthful to say, but it’s also something you’ll want to stuff your face with! Unroll each cinnamon roll into long strips. Smear 1 Tbsp of peanut butter (I like crunchy) on each one. Fold the strips over onto each other to half the length. Twist each roll several times while stretching slightly. Form into a circle, then cross the ends to form into a pretzel shape. Bake in a 350°F oven for 20 minutes. Let cool slightly and drizzle each with icing.

Cinnamon Nutella Babka
This babka is beyond decadent and will have your guests fooled that it took less than 5 minutes to prep this recipe. To make it, unravel cinnamon buns into long strips of dough. Arrange strips side by side to form a long dough surface. Smear 1/4 cup of Nutella along surface. Twist dough several times to form a long twisted rope. Spiral the rope into 1 big circle. Place on a lined cookie sheet, and bake in a 350°F oven until browned and cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Looking for more delicious hacks? Up your baking game with out 15 Baking Hacks for the Best Cookies Ever.

French Onion Soup Pizza Will Satisfy All Your Cravings

Craving a piping hot bowl of French onion soup? Get all the same flavours of this comfort food classic, but in pizza form!

Hand-held slices packed with buttery, caramelized onions and flavourful broth, gooey melted Gruyère and a crispy bread base — this mouth-watering pizza gives fusion a whole new meaning.

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 cups sliced Spanish onions
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp Madeira wine
1/2 cup beef stock
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp black pepper
2 sprigs fresh thyme, plus 1/2 tsp
1 227g store bought, thin pizza crust
1 cup of Gruyère cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

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Directions:
1. Heat butter in a large pan over medium heat. Once butter is bubbly and foaming, add the onions and salt. Stir onions to coat in butter and let cook until deep brown and caramelized, about 30 minutes, stirring intermittently.
2. Once onions have caramelized, pour in Madeira wine, stir, and continue to cook until alcohol is evaporated and liquid is fully absorbed into onions, about 1 minute.
3. Preheat oven to 400°F. Add beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper and thyme to onions. Increase heat to medium and cook until stock fully reduces, about 5 minutes. Drain any residual liquid and remove thyme sprigs.
4. Place the caramelized onions over the pizza crust, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Cover onions with Gruyère and sprinkle with Parmesan.
5. Bake in oven until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and garnish with 1/2 tsp fresh thyme.

Looking for more comfort food goodness? Check out our 16 Satisfying French Onion Soup Recipes.

Red Velvet Crêpes with Strawberry Cream Filling

Gorgeous, decadent and absolutely delicious, these red velvet crêpes, filled with sweet strawberry syrup and fresh whipped cream, are sure to please whether you’re serving them for breakfast or dessert.

Make the batter and sweet strawberry filling ahead of time so you’ll be able to impress loved ones or guests in a flash.

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4-6

 

Ingredients:

Crêpe Batter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups milk
2 eggs
2 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp cocoa
1 tsp apple cider
Red food colouring
Butter (for pan)

Filling
15 strawberries (chopped)
3/4 cup water
2 Tbsp sugar (adjust to taste)
500 ml heavy cream
Sugar
Vanilla

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Directions:

Crêpes:
1. Combine ingredients for crêpe batter in a blender, mixing for 1 minute until mixture is smooth and slightly frothy.
2. Add red food colouring until you reach your desired colour of red.
3. Allow crêpe batter to rest in fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight.
4. In a pan on medium heat, add butter and then about ¼ cup of crêpe batter into the pan, frying until it begins to brown on the bottom (about 1-2 minutes).
5. Flip and cook crêpe for about another minute.

Red Velvet Crepes with Strawberry Syrup & Whipped Cream

Filling:
1. In a pan on medium heat, add strawberries and water.
2. Cook for about 10-15 minutes before adding sugar. It will begin to reduce in this time. Then add sugar to taste, allowing to continue cooking until syrup reaches desired thickness (thick enough to coat a spoon). Keep in mind it will get a little bit thicker as it cools down.
3. In a bowl, combine heavy cream with sugar and vanilla to taste.
4. Beat cream until you reach desired thickness.
5. Plate and add filling just off the centre of the crêpe with a little whipped cream, rolling up the crêpe around it. Top with more whipped cream and syrup.

How to Make a Romantic Bacon Bouquet

Sometimes roses just won’t cut it. If you need something a little more extraordinary to please that special someone in your life, we’ve got you covered. Enter: bacon roses.

This bacon bouquet is anything but cliché! It’s the perfect gift to show them you care and that you understand their love of bacon. But you don’t have to just give this bouquet to your sweetheart; bring it to a party or a housewarming! Even though they may look like flowers, they are so much better (and tastier).

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 1 Dozen Roses

Ingredients:
12 thick cut bacon slices
24 toothpicks
12 wooden skewers

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Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Arrange a wire rack on top of a baking sheet.
3. Roll each bacon slice into pinwheels and secure the bottom with two toothpicks in an “X” to act as a stand on the wire rack. Continue with remaining bacon.
4. Arrange the bacon roses toothpick-side down on the wire rack. Transfer to oven and bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Remember bacon will continue to crisp when removed from the oven.
5. Transfer onto paper towel to drain. Carefully remove and discard toothpicks. Slide each bacon rose onto a skewer.

Easy Stovetop S’mores Dip

Get all the tasty flavours of s’mores in a quick, 4-ingredient chocolate fondue. Heart-shaped strawberries and adorable teddy graham crackers make this feel extra special, but you can use any fruit and cookie of your choosing.

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For all the vegans out there, you can make this dairy-free by using dark chocolate and canned coconut milk.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

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Ingredients:
1/2 cup 18% cream or full-fat canned coconut milk
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch salt
1 jar marshmallow fluff, divided
2 cups teddy graham crackers or regular graham crackers, divided, for dipping
1 pint strawberries, for dipping

Directions:
1.In a medium saucepan, heat cream until bubbles appear around the edge. Remove from heat; whisk in 1/2 cup chocolate chips, vanilla and salt until uniform. Gently whisk in 1/2 jar marshmallow fluff.

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2. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl. Reserve.

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3.Place oven rack in centre of oven. Preheat broiler to high. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Dollop remaining marshmallow fluff on baking sheet; broil until puffed and brown on top, about 3 minutes. Cool.

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4. To serve, place toasted marshmallow fluff on top of chocolate dip, crumble over a few graham crackers and remaining 1 Tbsp chocolate chips. Serve with strawberries and graham crackers for dipping.

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Looking for more ways to enjoy this campfire treat? Check out our collection of scrumptious s’mores recipes.

Ina and Jeffrey

Ina Garten and Jeffrey’s Love Story

Ina Rosenberg was only 20 when she married Jeffrey Garten, and as a new bride, was happy spending her days at home, cooking for the love of her life. But Jeffrey says that the day he came home and found her watching a sitcom at 11 in the morning, he suggested a change. “I just said to her, ‘You have to do something. You won’t be happy if you don’t.'”

Now Ina jokes that Jeffrey was the first feminist, and it’s true that since then, he’s supported her, whether she was whipping up gourmet meals on a camp stove in Europe, working as a nuclear policy analyst for President Jimmy Carter, or buying the first plank in the Barefoot Contessa empire; the small specialty food shop she opened in Westhampton Beach, New York in 1978.

Ina Garten and Jeffrey

Twenty years later, when she put her own money into the inaugural run of The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, Jeffrey was there, and nearly twenty years after that, he’s still there, cheering her on at every turn.

But Jeffrey downplays the inspirational role he plays in Ina’s life and stardom. “It was such a natural thing for her to do,” he told People magazine. “I certainly supported her, but it was really all her. I was so proud of her. Not everybody finds something that they’re so passionate about, but she clearly had.”

For her part, Ina has accepted that Jeffrey’s work has often taken him far away. In the 80s he was relocated to Tokyo, where Ina carefully arranged his living space to look exactly like their apartment in New York, so Jeffrey would feel at home, even when she was far away. And although many couples break under the strains of a long distance relationship, it hasn’t seemed to affect Ina and Jeffrey. “No matter where he is, I always know that there’s nothing more important than me in his life,” Ina told People. “We give each other enormous freedom to do what we want to do, but we’re still the anchor.”

Ina Garten and Jeffrey

It doesn’t hurt that Jeffrey “seems to like everything I make,” writes Ina in the introduction to her latest cookbook, Cooking for Jeffrey. “And that’s exactly why I love to cook!”

After nearly 50 years of marriage, these still-smitten lovebirds hardly need proof that theirs is a special kind of romance, but we still think it’s deliciously romantic that the couple have inspired a line of Valentine’s Day cards, cementing their status as a couple for the ages. So if you’re looking for a sweet nothing to whisper to your beloved foodie this year, you can’t wrong with the words on the card: You’re the Jeffrey to my Ina.

Catch new episodes of the Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics premiering March 5 at 12pm ET. Check back on the show site here to watch full episodes online plus get Ina’s recipes featured in the show.

How to Host a Successful Chili Cook-Off

Gather your most competitive, food savvy crew, and host a chili cook-off this Family Day. A kind of choose-your-own-adventure style of dining, this cook-off runs on the dishes your family and friends provide, so the more the merrier.

As the host, here are some simple ways to streamline your chili cook-off, including a handful of chili and side dish recipes, along with flexible cook-off guidelines. So roll up your sleeves and put your best chili forward this Family Day. May the best pot win!

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1. Choose a theme and a recipe

We’ve chosen to focus on chili — a one-pot wonder that’s easily transported from slow-cooker or pot, to table. And chili is highly adaptable, with variations like chicken, beef, turkey, veggies, triple-bean and more. Every guest will likely have his or her favourite, something they’re keen to share with the group.

Chili recipes to whet your guests’ appetites:
The Pioneer Woman’s Chipotle Chicken Chili
Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
Spicy Black Bean and Raisin Chili with Fresh Pineapple and Tortillas
Rachael Ray’s Zucchini Chili
Chili Con Carne
Hearty Vegetarian Chili with Butternut Squash

2. Invite your family, friends and neighbours
Create an event via Facebook. Even guests who don’t have a Facebook account can be invited by email this way, so no one is left out. Make sure to clearly state what you’re providing (see below) and what they’re providing; a pot of their best chili and a mug.

Since this is Family Day, invite your nearest and dearest to participate, including the kids.

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3. Serving vessels and cutlery
For judging, consider the humble coffee mug when sampling each chili. A mug is easily held (no spills and you can stand comfortably with it), retains heat, and guests can dip and dive into small bites of each chili. Depending on the size of the party, you may want to consider plastic cutlery — here, it’s all about the spoons — and small plastic or Styrofoam sampling mugs.

Encourage guests to bring their own mug to the party (BYOM), or provide a cheap and cheerful option from IKEA or second hand store or simply what you have in your kitchen. Like the menu, the dinner ware doesn’t need to match.

Once the chili judging has ended, provide bowls (ceramic or plastic) for larger servings of favourites. Toppings and sides can more easily be added this way (see below).

4. Keep score
In true sportsperson competitive nature, provide a handmade score sheet to guests.

1. Place sticky note numbers (1, 2, 3, etc.) on each pot of chili for easy scoring.
2. One score sheet per pot judging taste (score: 1 to 5, 1 to 10, etc.) plus a written note on what made this chili better/different.
3. Keep each pot’s score sheets in front of the said pot-on-trial for easy tallying post-game.

5. Super sides
Bring these out after judging. Sides are the host’s job — cornbread, salad and, if you have the time, a layered dip, are our chili cook-off top picks. Get the recipe for Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread.

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6. Toppings bar essentials
The host should provide the sides, in this case, a topping bar for chili. Guacamole or diced avocado, grated cheese, chopped cilantro, green onion, sour cream or Greek yogurt, pickled jalapeños and corn tortilla chips can be easily assembled and put into small bowls for guests to adorn to their taste. Get the recipe for Guacamole with a Kick.

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7. Beverages
This is up to you: BYOB or host-provided. If you’re providing, chili bar must-haves include margaritas, beer, wine (red and white), sparkling water and still water. For those who love cocktails, consider the spicy, truly Canadian classic, the Caesar, or chili and taco partner extraordinaire, the Moscow Mule. For kids and teens, create a specialty mocktail.

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8. Declare the winner, provide a prize
With judgement sampling and post-judgement feasting now over, it’s time to declare a winner. And, while the winner will receive bragging rights among friends, a small prize completes the competition.

Prize ideas: a new wooden spoon, new mug, a second-hand trophy or, for non-material goods, the winner gets to take home the leftovers.

9. Extras to consider
If it’s a one-pot, slow cooker cook-off like this chili feast, you’ll require an extension cord to keep food hot and safe, as well as heat pads as to not scorch your table.

And, though you’ll all likely be too full, dessert is always nice to have on hand for guests with a serious sweet tooth. For the chili cook-off, a Tres Leche Cake keeps the tablescape on-theme and feeds a crowd. Get the recipe for Alton Brown’s Tres Leche Cake.

tres-leche-cake

10. More cook-off theme ideas
Chili isn’t the only dish that works cook-off-style. Adaptable, family-style and build-you-own dishes work best for cook-offs. Here’s a handful of both savoury and sweet ideas to get you started.

Savoury:
Pizza cook-off: You provide the dough, guests bring their best pizza toppings.
Meatball cook-off: You provide the cooked spaghetti, guests bring a pot of their perfect sauce and meatballs.
Soup cook-off: You provide the toppings (baby saltine crackers, toasted seeds, croutons, herbs, pesto, etc.), guests bring a pot of soup.
Taco cook-off: You provide the toppings and taco shells, guests bring a taco filling of their choosing (roasted vegetables, pulled pork, spiced ground beef, grilled onions, etc.)
Grain bowl cook-off: You provide the rice and sauce, guests bring their go-to grain bowl edition.

Sweet:
Cupcake cook-off: You provide the coffee, tea and a cupcake of your own creation (and maybe some sprinkles), guests bring a cupcake of their choosing.
Ice cream sandwich cook-off: You provide a few pints of vanilla ice cream, guests bring their best chocolate chip cookie.

3 Ways with Cauliflower Wings

If you’ve been searching for a healthier chicken wing alternative to please both carnivores and vegetarian diners, look no further. Enjoy classic wings — sans meat — with these three tasty cauliflower wing variations!

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Cauliflower florets offer a pool of flexibility when it comes to flavourings, so get creative with your homemade and prepared sauces. From Thai peanut to maple chipotle to honey garlic, these tasty bites will satisfying your cravings with little caloric impact.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

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Crunchy Thai Peanut

Ingredients:
1 small or 1/2 large head cauliflower
1/2 cup natural peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
1 Tbsp minced fresh Thai chili
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 tsp tamari or fish sauce
1/2 tsp ground dried ginger
1/4 cup water, more to thin
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Minced green onion, to serve
Chopped fresh cilantro, to serve
Sriracha, to serve

Cauliflower-Wings-1-Thai-Peanut-Prep

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Cut cauliflower in half, remove tough core and cut into large florets.
3. In a medium bowl whisk peanut butter, lime juice, chili, tamari or fish sauce, ginger and water until smooth. Mixture should be thick but still run off the spoon; if too thick, add water, 1 tsp at a time until proper consistency. Add panko to a large plate.
4. Working one at a time, dip cauliflower in peanut butter mixture to coat, then coat in panko, shaking off extra. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cauliflower.
5. Bake for 30 minutes, until cauliflower is tender and panko is crispy. Transfer to a serving plate, top with green onions, cilantro and a drizzle of Sriracha. Serve.

Cauliflower-Wings-1-Chipotle-BBQ-Maple

Maple Chipotle BBQ

Ingredients:
1 small or 1/2 large head cauliflower
1 cup prepared or homemade BBQ sauce
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Cut cauliflower in half, remove tough core and cut into large florets.
3. In a medium bowl, mix BBQ sauce, maple syrup, vinegar and chipotle peppers until combined. Working one at a time, coat cauliflower in BBQ sauce mixture. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cauliflower.
4. Bake for 30 minutes, until cauliflower is tender sauce is sticky. Transfer to a serving plate. Serve.

Cauliflower-Wings-Honey-Garlic-Sesame

Honey, Garlic and Sesame

Ingredients:
1 small or 1/2 large head cauliflower
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp white miso paste
2 Tbsp rice vinegar or mirin
2 Tbsp water
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp dried granulated garlic (no garlic salt)
2 tsp black and/or white sesame seeds, to serve
Chopped fresh cilantro, to serve (optional)

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Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Cut cauliflower in half, remove tough core and cut into large florets.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk honey, miso, vinegar or mirin, water, sesame oil and garlic until combined. Working one at a time, coat cauliflower in honey mixture. Place on prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Repeat with remaining cauliflower.
4. Bake for 30 minutes, until cauliflower is tender sauce is sticky. Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with cilantro and chili, if using. Serve.

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Note: Make these as close to baking as possible. The longer the panko sits on the peanut butter mixture, the less crispy it will be.

For another tasty appetizer, try this recipe for Moroccan-spiced cauliflower bites.

red velvet chocolate lava cakes

Heart-Shaped Red Velvet Lava Cakes

If the way to your Valentine’s heart is through their stomach, you’ll surely win them over with this chocolatey, heart-warming dessert.

Filled with a double dose of chocolate, these cakes take just 30 minutes to make, and are best served warm to enjoy the gooey chocolate filling. While you’re likely planning a dinner for two, this romantic recipe makes four — because we know how irresistible these decadent cakes really are.

red velvet chocolate lava cakes

Prep: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 min
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
Cake:
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
6 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1 cup icing sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp red food dye

Topping:
Additional icing sugar dusting (amount based on personal preference)

red velvet chocolate lava cakes

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. Grease 4 heart-shaped muffin tins or ramekins.
3. Combine flour, cocoa, salt and cinnamon.
4. Microwave butter and chocolate on high until melted in blasts of 15 seconds, about three times. Stir mixture in between each blast.
5. Add icing sugar to chocolate mixture and stir to combine.
6. Stir in eggs, yolks, vanilla and red dye. Add in flour mixture and stir to combine.
7. Divide batter into prepared muffin cups or ramekins. Bake until batter has risen but remains wet in the centre, about 12 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before un-molding.
8. Dust with icing sugar. Serve warm.

Looking for more inspiration? Try these 12 Romantic Recipes for a Valentine’s Day Dinner At Home.

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A Poutine for Each Province and Territory

Oh, Canada! To celebrate Poutine Week, we’re highlighting local ingredients from each province that would make tasty additions to our gravy-covered national treat. Get the fries cooking and your taste buds ready for these creative poutine combos.

Poutine week

British Columbia: Dungeness crab and sautéed wild mushrooms

Yukon: Smoked salmon and citrus crème fraîche

Alberta: Braised short ribs and baked beans

Saskatchewan: Roasted beets and sour cream

Northwest Territories: Ground bison and grainy mustard

Manitoba: Sweet corn and pickled red onions

Nunavut: Grilled caribou and caramelized onions

Ontario: Pulled pork and apple slaw

Québec: Montreal smoked meat and toasted caraway seeds

lobster poutine

Nova Scotia: Lobster and lemon aioli

New Brunswick: Grilled oysters and hot sauce

Prince Edward Island: Clothbound cheddar and stout gravy

Newfoundland and Labrador: Salted cod and summer savory

For more creative ways of making this class Canadian dish, check out our tasty poutine recipes.

Poutine combos by Charlotte Katz.

Chuck Hughes and Danny Smiles Cross Canada in Chuck & Danny’s Road Trip

Food Network Canada’s new series Chuck & Danny’s Road Trip brings together two best buds – Chuck Hughes and Danny Smiles – on one epic Canadian culinary adventure.  In this six-part series kicking off Friday, March 3 at 9 ET/PT, these two chefs hit the open road in a fully loaded RV visiting Canada’s most spectacular regions with stops at national parks from Vancouver Island to Prince Edward Island.

At each destination they have a wild time sourcing local ingredients, from bagging seaweed in wet suits to digging for quahogs, harvesting wild rice in a canoe or foraging for juniper on ATV’s. Chuck and Danny then take these ingredients and cook up an unforgettable campground feast for the local chefs, farmers and artisans that introduced them to the region’s bounty.

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Off the road, Chuck Hughes and Danny Smiles are a Montreal-based culinary duo creating amazing dining experiences at Hughes’ critically acclaimed restaurant Le Bremner. This is Chuck Hughes’s return to Food Network Canada after appearing on the premiere season of Chopped Canada, and his series Chuck’s Day Off and Chuck’s Week Off. Danny Smiles was previously on the third season of  Top Chef Canada, claiming the title of first runner up.

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Excited for their journey? For a list of Chuck & Danny’s Road Trip episodes, including details on their destinations and what they’re cooking up, visit the episode guide here.

Can’t get enough of Chuck and Danny? Check back here for recipes featured on the show, behind-the-scenes videos, plus exclusive articles and photos.

 

How to Hasselback All Your Veggies

Hasselback potatoes are an incredible way to bring boring potatoes to life. The thin slices, crispy edges and soft, buttery insides make them a show stopper at any event. Why reserve this amazing cooking technique for potatoes when there’s an endless list of fruits and vegetables that benefit from the hasselback treatment. The thin slices help inject flavour into the centre of the veggie, and there are limitless flavour combinations.

Here are some tips on how to hasselback a variety of vegetables at home, plus the best cooking methods and times.

Hasselback 101
The key to hasselback is perfect slices that don’t quite go all the way through the veggie, leaving a beautiful fan, ready to crisp up in the oven.

Start by arranging veggies on a cutting board between two chopsticks. The chopsticks are there to prevent you from cutting all the way through the vegetable. Using your knife, make incisions into the vegetables at 1/8-inch intervals. Brush each vegetable with olive oil, minced garlic, fresh thyme, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at the recommended times and temperatures below.

hasselback zucchini

Zucchini
Follow method above. Roast zucchini on a baking sheet at 400°F until tender, about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese 5 minutes before removing from the oven.

hasselback squash

Butternut Squash
Peel butternut squash and cut in half lengthwise. Remove pulp and seeds. Arrange cut side down on cutting board and proceed with method. Disperse 6-8 bay leaves into the slices of the squash. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic and thyme. Roast in the oven on a baking sheet at 425°F until tender, about 40 minutes. Drizzle maple syrup over squash 5 minutes before removing from the oven.

hasselback beets

Beets
Be sure to peel the beets before scoring. Follow method above. Cover beets with foil and bake in a 375°F. Remove foil after 20 minutes and continue to bake until beets are tender, about another 25 minutes. Serve with fresh basil and ricotta, or creamy horseradish.

Pear or Apples
Cut pears or apples in half lengthwise. Proceed with recipe, omitting olive oil, garlic and salt. Instead, brush pears with melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Place on a baking sheet and roast at 375°F until just tender, about 30 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream or yogurt and chopped walnuts.

Try this recipe for The Pioneer Woman’s Hasselback Potatoes.

Meet the Local Chefs Adding Flavour to Chuck & Danny’s Road Trip

In Chuck & Danny’s Road Trip, premiering March 3 at 9 ET/PT, Chuck Hughes and Danny Smiles are on a cross Canada hunt for amazing local ingredients and food experiences. From Vancouver Island to Prince Edward Island, they get help from local chefs to find and forage ingredients that represent that spectacular locale’s essence. Meet the local chefs who give Chuck and Danny a helping hand!

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Chef Justin Cournoyer, pictured right, with Chuck Hughes and Danny Smiles.

Chef Justin Cournoyer
Justin’s childhood was about the rosy cheeks, dirty hands and sun-bleached hair that came from spending each day outside in a small, one-time logging community in Eastern Ontario called Actinolite. Justin’s first job cooking was at a casual family restaurant. After high school he made the leap to formal cuisine, followed by a stint of travel to sharpen his taste for flavourful, thoughtful food. In 2000, he returned to Canada and spent a combined four years under Chef Susur Lee in Toronto, finding his place amount the city’s young and dynamic chef community. His experienced laddered up to Justin’s ultimate destination – the restaurant he had envisioned from the time he was 18 years old. Infused with childhood memories, senses and a connection with the land, he opened “Actinolite”, named after his childhood home.

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Chef Elia Herrera

Chef Elia Herrera
Hailing from Cordoba, Mexico, Elia’s recipes have been passed down through many generations of her family. She moved to Toronto in 2004 after attending the Instituto Culinario de Mexico. Elia worked as pastry chef in some Toronto’s finest restaurants, including Canoe, Scarpetta, Sassafraz, Ultra Supper Club and Mistura. She is now an executive chef at Los Colibris, which serves a high-end twist on traditional Mexican cuisine. She came to Canada with her family and says, “I fell in love with Canada…and everybody left except me.”

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Chef Brooke Winters, middle, with Danny Smiles and Chuck Hughes

Chef Brooke Winters
Being from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Brooke is no stranger to the amazing abundance of locally and ethically grown and raised fruit, vegetables and meats. Starting at a young age, she worked around the Island, Vancouver’s Lower Mainland, as well as abroad, competing in international culinary competitions. Brooke realized her dream of serving locally raised food to people in a casual, affordable way, by opening BNurtured, Salt Spring Island’s first farm to fork food trailer.

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Chef Pierre A. Richard

Chef Pierre A. Richard
Pierre, of Moncton, New Brunswick, developed a taste for the culinary arts at an early age helping his mother with planting and harvesting on the family farm and using the farm’s bounty to cook family meals. He moved west to pursue culinary dreams and completed an apprenticeship in a well-known AAA/CAA Diamond restaurant in Canmore, Alberta and his Red Seal Chef Certification at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.  Pierre returned to New Brunswick in 2006, first to St. John where he was the Chef de Cuisine at Opera Bistro, and then back to Moncton where he was the Sous Chef at Little Louis’, one of Atlantic Canada’s premier award winning restaurants. Pierre’s contributions with the then Chef Andrew Stevens earned Little Louis’ Four Diamond Restaurant status by AAA/CAA. When Chef Stevens departed, Pierre became Chef and with his leadership, has maintained the Four Diamond award at Little Louis’, for seven years running.

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Chef Daniel Hudson, middle, with Chuck Hughes and Danny Smiles

Chef Daniel Hudson
Daniel’s career began 16 years ago in the UK where he worked in one of the finest kitchens, Eastwell Manor. He gained hands-on experience from Michelin Star chefs over the years. His motto in the kitchen is, “I do what I know and what I know, I do well”. Dan Hudson moved to Vancouver Island, British Columbia in 2005. He opened his award-winning restaurant Hudson’s on First in Duncan in 2012, and in 2014 won a Vancouver Magazine Best Restaurant award. He is now running Jake’s On the Road in Duncan. Chef Daniel also appeared on Food Network Canada’s Top Chef Canada and was a winner on Chopped Canada.

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Chef Ross Munro
Ross started his culinary career as a teenager working in small restaurants eventually moving through some of Canada’s top dining spots and leading Canadian hotels – Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, The Westin Edmonton and the Hyatt Regency Calgary among them. In 2012, Chef Ross was named both Prince Edward Island Chef of the Year and Atlantic Canada Chef of the Year; the latter bestowed upon him by his chef peers from Atlantic Canada. Most recently, he’s been Director of Culinary for the Murphy Group of Restaurants and Resident Chef at Sims Corner Steakhouse and Oyster Bar in Charlottetown, PEI. He is currently the Owner/ Operator of Red Door Oyster Co. Chef Ross possesses a global perspective in his approach to food having traveled the world and knowing the culinary skills of many cultures. During the off-season, he leads tours around the globe to connect clients with international chefs.

Excited to hit the road? Watch the trailer for Chuck & Danny’s Roadtrip.

Hit the Highway with Chuck & Danny’s Road Trip Playlist

Chef Chuck Hughes and Chef Danny Smiles, tight friends in and out of the kitchen, hit the highway seeking great Canadian food and good times in Food Network Canada’s Chuck & Danny’s Road Trip, premiering March 3rd.

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On the road, they meet folks who care about food as much as they do, and cook up epic celebratory feasts for their new friends. This trip of a lifetime comes complete with a killer soundtrack of eight great Canadian bands adding their music to Chuck and Danny’s adventure. It doesn’t surprise us at all that Chuck Hughes’s latest show has such a stellar music line up. His Food Network Canada series Chuck’s Day Off also featured an amazing soundtrack, his Instagram (@chefchuckhughes) is peppered with music festival pics, and for the last seven years he and Danny Smiles have fed the music elite that play Montreal’s Osheaga Arts and Music Festival.

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Tokyo Police Club adds three songs to the Chuck & Danny’s Road Trip soundtrack including “Boots of Danger (Wait Up)”, the raucous theme song to the show. “Young Leaves” by Attack in Black is a gem of a road trip tune. Wintersleep, originally from Halifax but who now call Montreal home, add “Santa Fe” from their latest album The Great Detachment.  The soundtrack also features the melancholy voice of City and Colour, heavy Hamilton-rockers Monster Truck, the hook-laden styles of Vancouver’s Yukon Blonde, the shimmering sounds of Twist, and a Stevie Wonder-influenced K-OS track “Dance In Yo Car.”

Take these bands along on your next adventure – or even  on your Monday morning commute. Listen to the show soundtrack on Spotify.