brine turkey

How to Brine a Turkey and Why You Should Try It

If you’ve ever had unbelievably flavourful and juicy chicken at a restaurant, chances are it was brined before it was served to you. You can get that same tender result at home by brining your Thanksgiving turkey before roasting it. Besides adding flavour through aromatics like garlic and bay leaves, brining helps meat retain moisture through the cooking process, resulting in unbelievably tender turkey, and lots of compliments to the chef.

Whether it’s a wet or dry brine, it’s an incredibly easy technique that is good to have in your repertoire. Here’s how to make both wet and dry turkey brines, along with some pros and cons for the two methods.

Turkey brine

Wet Brining

Pro: Soaking your bird in a saltwater solution allows you to easily infusing it with different flavours, such as bay leaves, citrus peels, whole peppercorns or onions. Just, strain them after the brining is complete.

Con: Wet brining can be a bulky process. Because there is a lot of liquid involved, this method requires a large container to hold the turkey and the brine, which can mean rearranging your refrigerator ahead of the big day.
Con: For extra crispy skin, you need to remove the turkey from the brine and return to the fridge uncovered for several more hours to dry. With the dry brine, you can just roast straight away for golden, crispy results.

Simple Wet Brine for Turkey
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 12 hours

Ingredients:
1 L water
1 cup sea salt
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Peel of 1 lemon
3 L cold water
1 tall, large pot or container
1 large turkey, gizzards and neck removed from cavity

Directions
1. Place 1 litre of water and all aromatics in a medium pot. Turn the stove to medium heat and stir until the salt has completely dissolved.
2. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes while aromatics infuse. Combine with remaining water.
3. Place turkey in the pot and add saltwater mixture. Cover with lid or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for approximately 12 hours or overnight.
4. >When ready to roast, strain saltwater from the pot and discard any remaining aromatics.
5. Rinse turkey in cold water, including inside the cavity, to remove excess brine.
6. Place turkey on a clean towel or sheets of paper towel and pat dry.
7. Roast as desired.

Dry Brine
Pro: With no added liquid and just a medley of salt and spices rubbed directly on the bird you give the salt an opportunity to draw moisture from the bird. Once the salt dissolves,  the moisture is reabsorbed, salt in tow, tenderizing the meat and maintaining its flavour without watering it down.
Pro: Since there is no extra liquid used, roasting will yield a beautifully brown and crispy skin.

Con: The dry rub isn’t for those who hate getting hands-on with meat. You need to make sure this salt rub is rubbed in evenly for it to fully work its magic.

Simple Dry Brine for Turkey
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 8 to 12 hours

Ingredients:
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp black peppercorns
½ cup sea salt
2 Tbsp cane sugar
1 large turkey, gizzards and neck removed from cavity

Directions:
1. Place the first 5 ingredients in a food processor and pulse several times until a chunky paste forms.
2. Add salt and sugar and continue to pulse until a grainy paste forms.
3. Pat turkey dry with paper towel and then liberally rub the salt mixture all over the skin and inside of the cavity.
4. Place in refrigerator and let sit for 8 to 12 hours.
5. Remove from refrigerator and rinse in cold water to remove the rub.
6. Place turkey on a clean towel or sheets of paper towel and pat dry.
7. Roast as desired.

Looking for more Thanksgiving recipes? Try these 20 Make-Ahead Recipes for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving Feast.

BBQ Your Thanksgiving Dinner With This Great Grilled Menu

Thanksgiving dinner often means spending hours at the stove, basting a giant turkey in the oven, stirring mashed potatoes and sautéing vegetables. But have you ever wondered if you could make the entire meal outdoors instead? Well, we did! Canadian Thanksgiving comes early this year, so take advantage of the mild weather and fire up the grill one last time with this Thanksgiving-worthy menu, made entirely on the BBQ.

Grilled-Polenta-Crackers-with-Roasted-Pepper

Grilled Polenta Crackers with Roasted Pepper Salsa
As your Thanksgiving guests arrive, make them feel at home by presenting drinks and grilled snacks before the sit-down dinner. Warm thin slices of polenta on the grill before topping them with a fresh salsa of peppers, olives, capers, onions, garlic, herbs and red pepper flakes. This impressive recipe is perfect for passing around on a party tray, and the ultimate start to any harvest dinner party.

Pumpkin, Arugula and Prosciutto Salad
A plated fall salad makes a great starter, especially when it involves sweet chunks of pumpkin, peppery arugula and salty strands of prosciutto. It’s an unexpected, Thanksgiving-worthy recipe that can easily be made on an outdoor grill.

bbq Turkey Drumsticks

BBQ Turkey Drumsticks with Chipotle Glaze
If you’re not keen on roasting a whole turkey, consider BBQ turkey drumsticks to spice things up. These are finished with a flavourful, finger-licking chipotle sauce that won’t make anyone miss the gravy.

Planked Stuffed Potatoes
Potatoes are a Thanksgiving table must-have. This twist on simple baked potatoes features a goat cheese, crab, corn and basil filling, topped with Parmesan cheese and cooked until crispy on the grill.

giada-grillled-veggies

Giada’s Grilled Vegetables
Accompany your turkey with an assortment of freshly grilled vegetables. This recipe includes a colourful veggie selection, but almost any seasonal produce can be substituted.

Bobby Flay’s Dessert Pizza
Dessert and pizza aren’t exactly foods you’d expect to do well on the grill, but this creation will convince you otherwise. The sweet pizza is warmed on the grill and topped with mascarpone cheese, honey, seasonal fruits and icing sugar. Try sautéed apples or a smear of pumpkin pie filling to make this feel more autumnal.

Roasted Chestnuts
If you’re able to find chestnuts at the grocery store or farmers’ market, get in the festive mood with these homemade roasted chestnuts. They’re easy to warm on the grill, and a nice treat for Thanksgiving guests to take home.

Turn Thanksgiving leftovers into an epic brunch tomorrow with Bobby Flay’s Turkey and Sweet Potato Hash.

Vegan Sweet Potato and Kale Galette with Pistachio Parmesan

We’re in the full swing of fall now and hiding away in the kitchen to make some comforting meals is just what you need. Making your own dough doesn’t have to be a hassle either. Try our easy recipe for this sweet potato and kale galette with a flaky coconut oil and rosemary crust. You can even fill it with other seasonal vegetables like butternut squash or finely chopped Brussels sprouts — it’s up to you!888_sweet-potato-and-kale-galette

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 2-4

Ingredients:

Pistachio Parmesan:
¼ cup roasted & unsalted pistachio nut meat (can sub roasted almonds or cashews)
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp sea salt

Crust:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp ground pepper
5 Tbsp solid coconut oil
2/3 cup cold water
¼ cup all-purpose flour (for rolling dough)

Filling:
1 sweet potato
2 cups roughly chopped kale leaves (stems removed)
¼ cup thinly sliced white onion
2 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp + 2 tsp olive oil

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 400°F.
2. In a coffee grinder, combine the ingredients for the pistachio parmesan and grind into a fine meal. Set aside.
3. Thinly slice the sweet potato and onion with a mandolin. Coat with 2 tsp olive oil and set aside.
4. Massage lemon juice into roughly chopped kale and set aside.
5. To make the crust, blend together 1½ cups all-purpose flour, rosemary, sea salt and ground pepper in a large mixing bowl.
6. Using a pastry blender, cut in coconut oil until the mixture looks like crumbs.
7. Make a well in the middle of flour mixture and add cold water. Fold it only a few times with your hands to mix the dough until it just comes together. Be careful not to over mix.
8. Lay out a large piece of parchment paper onto a flat, dry surface. Dust the parchment paper with some all-purpose flour and place dough on top. Dust a rolling pin with flour as well, and gently roll out the dough to approximately a 15” oval or circle. It doesn’t have to be perfect as this is meant to look rustic. Note: rolling it out on parchment paper makes transferring it to a baking pan much easier.
9. Sprinkle about ¾ of the pistachio parmesan mixture on the entire surface of the dough.
10. Slightly overlap the thinly sliced sweet potatoes in the centre of the dough, leaving a 2” rim of dough all around.
11. Add a little more pistachio parmesan on top, and then add kale, onion slices and remaining thinly sliced sweet potatoes (you might only use ¾ of the sweet potato depending on its size).
12. Fold the 2”-edge of dough over top of the vegetables and pinch together any excess creating a crust.
13. Take 1 Tbsp of olive oil and brush the edges of the crust with it and drizzle any remaining oil on top of the vegetables. Sprinkle remaining pistachio parmesan all over crust and on top.
14. Lift the sides of parchment paper and gently place the galette on a large baking sheet or pizza pan. Bake for 25 minutes.

See more from hot for food on their YouTube channel.

ina-gartens-Perfect-Roast-Turkey

Your Stress-Free Thanksgiving Dinner Checklist

The first time I cooked a traditional Thanksgiving meal from scratch, I can say for a fact that I used every single cooking vessel — pots, pans, roasters and Dutch ovens — in my reasonably well-equipped kitchen. Although I had lists upon lists and every step mapped out well beforehand, it still took three days of intensive cooking and resulted in my exhausted-self, muttering in an exasperated tone, “How the heck do people do this every year?”

Experience has shown me the value of starting well ahead — a month or more, ideally. If this seems excessive, think of it as trading a frenzied few days for an hour here and there, resulting in a relaxing Thanksgiving.

Here is a foolproof way to space out your Thanksgiving feast and make sure everything is on time, right up to the moment guests take their seats at the dinner table.

Make-Ahead-Deep-Dish-Apple-Pie

Thanksgiving Menu: (Serves 8)

One Month To Go
Order Your Turkey From the Butcher
You definitely don’t want to be the recipient of last-minute turkey on the big day, when selection is sparse and crowds are full. Ordering ahead — especially if you’re asking the butcher to do something more involved such as spatchcocking or you have a specifically sized bird in mind — will give you time to discuss your menu and get some cooking tips.

A general rule of thumb is a half pound to one pound of meat per person, but you want to err on the side of being lavish — leftovers are one of the best parts of Thanksgiving. For a foolproof turkey measure, the Turkey Farmers of Canada offers an online turkey calculator that will tell you the size of turkey you should buy, depending on the number of guests.

Sit Down and Plan Your Menu . . .
. . . right down to drinks and appetizers. Decide on how many people you’re looking to invite and send out invitations with an RSVP time of next week. If your friends and family are notorious for bringing unexpected guests, budget space and food accordingly. Be practical: do you have enough seating and table room for everyone to comfortably eat?

Clean Out Freezer Space
This is the time to start using those meals you’ve put aside for a busy day or ditch that crystallized ice cream — you’re going to need that room in the weeks ahead.

Three Weeks To Go
Finalize Your Menu
Now’s your opportunity to whittle down your menu from all the things you optimistically wanted to make. Be ruthless in your planning — do you really need eight appetizers and five desserts for a party of eight? (The answer is no.)

Make Two Shopping Lists
Read all your recipes carefully and make two shopping lists: one for non-perishables (you’ll be buying those this week) and one for perishables to be purchased closer to the big day.

Beat the crowds and head out to the grocery store to stock up on your long-storing items in bulk: store-made or canned/boxed stock for gravies and soups, flour and sugar for baking, cocktail napkins, and juices and pop for drinks. Also, think about buying ingredient staples, such as garlic, onions, apples, potatoes, carrots or parsnips, which all keep well and will save you from an overloaded cart later on. Buy ingredients for stuffing, cranberry sauce, and gravy to make next week. Consider purchasing wine and mixes for winter cocktails, such as a festive mulled cider.

Take Inventory
Open your cupboards and review your platters and serving dishes that can go from freezer or fridge to table, and assign them to each dish: appetizers, turkey, stuffing, sauces, vegetables, dinner rolls, mashed potatoes, and desserts. Have a spare handy in case you misjudge the volume.

Simple-Oven-Baked-Stuffing-Recipe

Two Weeks To Go
Make Your Pie and Cheesecake Bites
Store them in the freezer on pretty plates that you can place on the table.(Read this article for tips on freezing cookies and bars.)

Time to Think Savoury Thoughts
Make-ahead gravy will take a last-minute item off your plate on the big day and let you focus on other things. Using roasted chicken wings builds a flavour base, so all you have to do is add the drippings when you’ve cooked your turkey and you’re all set. Cover and store in the freezer.

Cranberry sauce is easy to make ahead, as well. Store it in a small microwavable dish that can go straight from the freezer to the table to save a plating step.

Get ahead of the game by making stuffing and storing it in the freezer and oven-safe dishes to make reheating a snap. Instead of one big container, consider making two portions to avoid having to pass big platters around the table (and upping the potential of using a toaster oven to reheat it on the big day, freeing up precious oven space), or look at a plate of these apple and onion stuffing muffins to make portion size and plating easy.

Now’s also the time to par-bake dinner rolls to store in freezer bags (make sure to get out all the excess air) and whip up some make-ahead mashed potatoes to store in the freezer in oven-ready dishware.

One Week To Go
Grocery Shopping Round 2
Back to the grocery store with your second list of perishables, including vegetables such as green beans, cauliflower, and broccoli, dairy such as butter, milk and eggs, coffee and tea, and any ingredients you need for appetizers. Consider some pots of fresh herbs for garnishes and aromatic table decorations.

Time for a Kitchen Inspection
Clean out space in the refrigerator for leftovers, and give it a quick wipe down so that new food doesn’t absorb the odours of last week’s takeout. Check your oven, toaster oven, stovetop and range hood to ensure they are clean and ready to go. Pop out greasy filters to give them a soak so that your fans work effectively. Locate your fire extinguisher (better safe than sorry), warming trays or chafing dishes and check that you have enough power outlets to run everything — a power failure is the last thing you need.

Check your Dishware and Cutlery Situations
Do you have enough matching plates, forks, spoons and sharp knives, coffee cups, and wine and water glasses? Locate your cloth napkins and tablecloths, and wash them if necessary.

Three Days To Go
Pick up Your Fresh or Frozen Turkey
If it’s frozen, now is the time to start defrosting it in the refrigerator (for a 10 lb bird, Turkey Farmers of Canada recommends two days and two hours of defrosting time in the fridge).

Best-Ever-Green-Bean-Casserole

Two Days To Go
Veggie Time
Make your green bean casserole and cauliflower and broccoli cheese in table-ready serving ware, cover them securely and store in the fridge.

One Day Before
Get Your Gear Ready
Assemble serving platters for the turkey and rolls, as well as serving implements for each dish. Check how many trivets you have for warm dishes going to the table to preserve your tablecloths. Put together your smaller items, such as corkscrews, pie servers, gravy boats, ladles, electric carving knife, strainers and hand blenders for last-minute gravy adjustments, etc., to have on hand so that you’re not searching for them at the last minute. If you don’t use your coffeemaker or espresso machine regularly, pull it out of storage. Assemble appetizer and dessert plates with cocktail napkins.

Set the Table
Cover the whole table with another tablecloth or bed sheet to keep it dust-free, and watch out on removal so you don’t end up performing an inadvertent, unsuccessful, magic trick.

Prepare and Truss the Turkey
And store it uncovered in the roasting pan in the refrigerator to let the skin dry out for crispness.

Gather Your Garnishes
A bit of watercress or other greens is a pleasing contrast to the turkey. Put butter into serving dishes, cover, and store in the refrigerator. Assemble your appetizer platters and store, covered, in the refrigerator. Chill white wine, juice and soda. Print out the game plan below so you can check items off as you go.

The Big Day
In the Morning: Treat yourself and sleep in! You’ve earned it, and you’ll need the energy as the day goes on.

Noon: Make sure to have some lunch, so you’re not starving as the day goes on. Look over your lists and recipes again. Take the apple pie out of the freezer to defrost.

1 p.m.: Carefully remove the cover from the table setting and add any last-minute touches (the pots of herbs for an informal centrepiece, candles, fresh flowers, etc.).

2 p.m.: Pull turkey out of the fridge to bring to room temperature.

3 p.m.: Turn on the oven to 350 ° F to preheat.
Add aromatics such as onions and apples, if desired, to the cavity of the turkey.

3:30 p.m.: Put the turkey into the oven.

4 p.m.: Open or decant wine. Put mulled cider on the stovetop to simmer.

5 p.m.: Bring your appetizer platters out of the fridge to serve, adjusting any seasonings or last-minute garnishes.
Bring the mashed potatoes, stuffing and vegetables out of the fridge to bring to room temperature.

6 p.m.: Guests arrive.Serve appetizer platters, wine and mulled cider.
Serve appetizer platters, wine and mulled cider.
Take the turkey out of the oven and cover with foil to rest.
Pour off juices to add to gravy (reserve a 1/4 cup) and put on stovetop to heat.
Put mashed potatoes, stuffing and vegetables into the oven.
Carve the turkey. Take reserved juices and pour on top of the slices to keep them moist and plate them on your prepared platter with watercress.

6:45 p.m.: Take out potatoes, stuffing and vegetables and put them on the table.
Put dinner rolls in the oven to finish baking and melt butter on a low heat on the stovetop to brush over.
Call everyone to start getting ready to eat.
Pour wine and drinks. Bring the rolls and turkey to the table.

7 p.m.: Dinnertime!
Turn the oven off. Put pie in the oven to warm for dessert and bring out the cheesecake bites. Turn on the coffeemaker.

8:30 p.m.: Serve desserts and coffee and tea.

10 p.m.: Relax…the dishes can wait until tomorrow.

Looking for to plan your own menu? Start with these Great Canadian Thanksgiving Recipes.

Slow Cooker Chicken Coconut Curry

Slow Cooker Coconut Chicken Curry is the Easiest Healthy Comfort Food

Are you craving a warming, deeply delicious curry that is slow-cooked to perfection? This coconut chicken curry has the bold, creamy flavours we love in restaurant versions, but is a cinch to make at home, and far healthier. The method is as simple as adding ingredients to your slow cooker and setting the timer – you come home to a beautifully cooked meal that’s especially satisfying to eat as the weather gets chilly. Served on a bed of whole grain quinoa or rice and topped with refreshing cilantro, it’s healthy comfort food done right.

Slow cooker chicken curry 3

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours on high, 8 hours on low
Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes on high, 8 hours 10 minutes on low
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into cubes
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
2 Tbsp mild curry powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp sea salt
1 heaping cup of baby spinach
Warm cooked quinoa, for serving
¼ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Curry ingredients

Directions:
1. Place all ingredients except baby spinach, quinoa and cilantro in a 6-quart slow cooker. Mix well to combine, cover and set on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.

Slow cooker chicken curry-1

2.  When ready to serve, open the lid and stir in baby spinach to wilt. Ladle curry over cooked quinoa or rice with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro. Serve.

Slow cooker chicken curry-2

Spicy-hot curry is all about the cooling condiments. Smooth things out with this refreshing mint, yogurt and cucumber raita.

Looking for more slow cooker ideas? Try these tasty chicken slow cooker recipes.

Pomegranate Ginger Chicken

Pomegranate Ginger Chicken For a Sweet and Fruitful Rosh Hashanah

Sweet, tart and jewel-tone pomegranates are commonly enjoyed during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year celebrations, and there are many theories about what this majestic fruit symbolizes. One explains the fruit’s (supposed) 613 seeds represents the 613 good deeds in the Hebrew Bible. Another refers to pomegranates as a symbol of fertility, representing a happy new year of unlimited possibilities. Though my favourite reason to eat these ruby-red gems is because they’re a versatile fruit that adds sparkle to both savoury and sweet recipes, all season long.

chicken-pom

In this dinnertime treasure, we pair pomegranate molasses and pomegranate seeds with fresh ginger to make a seasonally-spiced chicken bake fit for holiday entertaining. As it bakes, a mouthwatering gravy forms at the bottom the dish, which you can serve with couscous or rice to soak it all up. This recipe is perfect for any occasion, simple enough for weeknight cooking and regal enough for elegant holiday entertaining.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Marinade Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh minced ginger plus 1 (2-inch) piece thinly sliced
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt, more for serving
1 (3 lb) whole chicken broken into 8 pieces or 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts, halved
1 Spanish onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/8 tsp ground pepper
Warm cooked couscous or rice, for serving, optional

Directions:
1. In a large zip-top bag, mix pomegranate molasses, olive oil, 1 Tbsp minced ginger, cinnamon, garlic and salt. Place chicken and onions in bag and massage to coat with mixture. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to 1 day in refrigerator.
2. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place chicken and onions in a single layer in a large ovenproof baking dish. Discard remaining marinade. Place thinly sliced ginger in-between chicken pieces.
3. Bake until chicken is cooked through and onions are tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and garnish with fresh pomegranate seeds, parsley, additional salt and pepper. Serve with warm couscous or rice, if desired.

Add some sparkle to the rest of your plate with our best-ever holiday sides.

Apple Granola Bars

Apple Pie Granola Bars That Taste Just Like Fall

We’ve made apple pie healthier and snack-sized, but have still kept all the classic, cozy fall flavour you know and crave. These apple pie granola bars have all of the perks of the traditional slice, without any of the fuss of making pastry. Filled with dried apples, cinnamon, nuts and honey, they have serious comfort food appeal, but are wholesome enough for an on-the-go breakfast. If you’re feeling decadent, dip one side of these bars in melted butterscotch chips or serve a la mode.

AppleGranolaBars-8

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Chill Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Makes: 8 to 10 bars

AppleGranolaBars-1

Ingredients:
1⁄2 cup unsalted whole roasted almonds
1⁄2 cup unsalted roasted hazelnuts, chopped
1⁄2 cup unsalted roasted walnuts, chopped
1/3 cup rolled oats, toasted
1⁄4 cup honey
2 Tbsp almond butter
1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
1⁄2 tsp cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp salt
1⁄2 cup dried apple rings, diced
1/3 cup butterscotch chips or salted caramel chips, melted (optional)

Directions:
1. Line an 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang.
2. In a medium bowl, mix to combine almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and oats. Set aside.

AppleGranolaBars-3

3. In a small saucepan, combine honey, almond butter, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. While continuously whisking over low heat, warm mixture until it starts to gently bubble. Remove from heat and pour mixture into nut mixture.

AppleGranolaBars-4

4. Using a spatula fold in diced dried apples and mix until everything is thoroughly combined. Transfer into lined pan and tightly pack the mixture with the back of the spatula. Make sure there are no gaps.
5. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to firm up.

AppleGranolaBars-5

6. Using parchment overhang, lift granola bar mixture from baking pan onto a cutting board. Cut the chilled granola bar mixture into 8 to 10 bars or squares. If desired, dip one side of the chilled bars into the melted butterscotch chips or salted caramel chips and place on parchment until set. Serve.

AppleGranolaBars-13

Enjoy more bountiful fall apple desserts with this mouthwatering list of perennial favourites.

Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas

No-Mess Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas Will Change Your Dinner Game

Are you looking for a satisfying, flavourful dinner with barely any clean up? If so, sheet pan chicken fajitas is the recipe for you. Simply toss all ingredients on a baking sheet and pop in the oven for an easy, healthy and delicious meal. With very little prep and minimal clean-up required, you’ll surely be adding this dish to your family’s weeknight supper schedule.

Sheet-Pan-Chicken-Fajitas Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 27 minutes
Total Time: 37 minutes
Serves: 2 to 4 

Ingredients:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into thin strips
1 yellow onion, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 red onion, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into ½-inch strips
1 yellow pepper, seeded and cut into ½-inch strips
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp paprika
1½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp granulated garlic powder
¼ tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
4 to 6 tortillas
1 avocado, diced
⅓ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 lime, cut into wedges

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. On a large rimmed baking sheet, add chicken, onions, peppers, oil, chili powder, paprika, cumin, granulated garlice powder, salt and pepper. Toss well.

Sheet-Pan-Chicken-Fajitas Recipe

2. Bake for 25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender. Stack tortillas and wrap securely in foil.
3. Remove cooked chicken and vegetable mixture from oven and make a clearing to add on tortilla package.

Sheet-Pan-Chicken-Fajitas Recipe

4. Set oven to broil. Return sheet pan with chicken and vegetable mixture and tortilla package to oven. Broil for about 2 minutes, until chicken and vegetables are slightly crisped and tortillas are warmed through.

Sheet-Pan-Chicken-Fajitas Recipe

5. Unwrap tortilla package. Build fajitas in tortillas with chicken and vegetable mixture, avocado, cilantro and a squeeze of lime. Serve.

Take your dinner chicken from ordinary to extraordinary tomorrow night, too, with these tasty recipes.

We’re Sweet on The Baker Sisters and You Will be Too!

Rachel and Jean are sisters and lifelong bakers who live by the motto “Eat dessert first!” They’re also the stars of the new Food Network Canada series The Baker Sisters, premiering October 20th, where they’ll hit the road to find the most delectable sweets at bakeries and restaurants across Canada and the U.S.

The Baker SistersIntroducing The Baker Sisters: Rachel (left) and Jean.

Rachel Smith and Jean Parker grew up surrounded by the sweet smell of baked goods in Bayside, Ontario. Before they could even reach the counter, their mom, a baker extraordinaire, had them helping her in the kitchen. As kids, their single mom started a butter tart business to supplement her income and the girls, earning 10 cents a tin, helped their mom fill the tins full of delicious tarts. Inspired by their mother, Rachel and Jean went on to establish the Maple Key Tart Co., tweaking their mother’s award-winning recipe to create their own delectable butter tart formula. Now they’re taking their baking know-how on the road to get the sweet scoop on some of this continent’s most blissful treats.

If you’d like to really indulge, we’ll be posting the recipes and locations featured in the series to the show’s website so you can create confectionery magic in your own kitchen or plan one sweet road trip! Throughout the season, we’ll get to know Rachel and Jean better with exclusive interviews on the baking secrets they learned on their journey, their favourite desserts and have them answer the most controversial dessert question ever: “Do raisins belong in butter tarts?”

We’re sweet on The Baker Sisters and we’re positive you will be too!

 

Cauliflower Crust

3 Healthy New Ways to Eat Cauliflower Crust (That Aren’t Pizza)

Cauliflower crust has become the latest craze as a pizza base. Everywhere you turn, cooks are swapping out the carb-heavy, flour-based crust for a nutrient-rich, naturally gluten-free cauliflower mixture. There’s no need to stop the party at pizzas though. The vegetable-based crust is incredibly versatile, and can be used in all sorts of delicious applications, well beyond your typical slice.

We take the new, health-driven crust and create savoury tarts, quiches and pot pies with it. Forget about rising times and intimidating dough recipes, cauliflower crust is here to save the day, deliciously.

Cauliflower-Crust-Tart-1

Classic Cauliflower Crust

Keep this master recipe on hand for all of your cauliflower crust needs.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 1 Cauliflower Crust

Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp salt

Directions:
1. Cut cauliflower into florets, discard tough core and pulse florets in a food processor until it resembles the size of a small grain (like rice).
2. Steam cauliflower “grain” in a steam basket or fine-mesh sieve until tender, about 5 minutes.
3. Using cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel, ring any excess liquid out of cauliflower. Discard liquid.
4. Add rung cauliflower to a large bowl and mix in mozzarella, eggs and salt.
5. Use as directed in recipes (below).

Zucchini and Ricotta Tart with Cauliflower Crust
On a large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spread 1 recipe Cauliflower Crust (recipe above) into a 1-inch-thick rectangle. Bake at 400ºF, until mixture is cooked though and beginning to turn golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Spread 1 cup ricotta cheese over baked cauliflower crust, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Top with thinly sliced zucchini and halved cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with a touch of olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Return tart to oven and bake until zucchini is cooked through and crust is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and garnish with fresh herbs of choice. Slice and serve. Serves 4.

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Cauliflower Crust Muffin Tin Quiche
Grease a 6-cup muffin tin with butter or oil. Press 2 to 3 Tbsp Cauliflower Crust (recipe above) into a bowl shape, up the sides of each muffin cup, until an even layer is formed (this is the “pastry shell”). Bake at 400ºF for 15 minutes, until baked through and beginning to brown. Reserve. In a large bowl, mix to combine 2 large eggs, 1/2 cup grated cheese of choice and 1/2 cup whole milk. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Divide egg mixture among baked cauliflower crust shells. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until filling is puffed and cooked through. Cool for 5 minutes in pan. Remove quiches from muffin tin by running a sharp knife around edges. Garnish with fresh thyme and serve. Serves 6.

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Miniature Cauliflower Crust Pot Pies
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Divide your favourite chili, pot pie or stew recipe into 6 medium ovenproof ramekins, leaving a 1-inch space at the top for crust. Add 1/4 cup Cauliflower Crust (recipe above) over each ramekin of chili, pot pie or stew. Smooth tops by gently packing the mixture down. Sprinkle crust with 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan or Cheddar. Bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling, about 20 minutes. Serve warm. Serves 6.

Kick cauliflower up a notch and explore the vegetable’s crispier, spicier side with these vegan cauliflower “fish” tacos, complete with avocado crema.

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A Classic Green Goddess Dressing That Goes On Everything

Salad dressings don’t usually get their start on the stage, except for the classic Green Goddess, that is. Created in 1923 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, this verdant dressing was made to celebrate a stage production of the same name. Unbeknownst to the creator at the time, the simple blend of mayonnaise, fresh herbs and anchovies would become a staple in North America throughout the 20th century. Let’s just say that if Green Goddess didn’t pave the way, ranch dressing wouldn’t be as prominent on the grocery store shelves as it is today.

The best part of this particular salad dressing, aside from its amazing deity-provoking name, is its remarkable versatility. Its first calling may be to tenderly coat cool spinach leaves, crispy iceberg wedges or tender butter lettuce, but try serving it alongside grilled chicken, steaks and pork, or with roasted potatoes and cauliflower. The list of uses runs longer than the dressing’s history.

Without further ado, here’s how to make the famous Green Goddess dressing at home, and our favourite salad to serve it with.

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Classic Green Goddess Dressing

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 1½ cups

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Ingredients:
¼ cup fresh tarragon leaves
¼ cup fresh chervil leaves
¼ cup fresh chives, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
5 anchovy fillets
Juice of 1 lemon (about ¼ cup)
⅔ cup mayonnaise
⅔ cup sour cream
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 tsp salt

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Directions:
1. In a food processor or blender, add tarragon, chervil, chives, garlic, anchovies and lemon juice. Blend until a thick paste forms. Pulse in remaining ingredients and blend until full combined and pastel green in colour. Store airtight in refrigerator up to days.

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Roast Chicken, Almond and Currant Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Cool Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Serves: 4 to 5

Ingredients:
Roast Chicken:
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 cup raw almonds
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper, to taste

Currants:
⅔ cup water
⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup dried currants 

Salad:
6 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
6 celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 avocados, pitted and flesh cubed
16 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
Classic Green Goddess Dressing, as needed (recipe above)

Directions:
Roast Chicken:
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Add chicken to a baking dish and roast until skin is crispy and interior is cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate to cool. Once chicken is cool, remove skin and separate meat from bones into bite-sized pieces. Discard skin and bones or save for use in another recipe. Reserve meat.

2. Place almonds into same baking dish (containing chicken drippings), season with salt and pepper and return to 400ºF oven. Roast almonds for 10 minutes, or until fragrant and beginning to brown. Transfer almonds to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess fat. Once cool, roughly chop almonds. Reserve almonds.

Currants:
1. Add currants to a medium heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring water and vinegar to a simmer and pour over currant. Let sit for 10 minutes, strain and reserve currants.

Salad and Assembly:
1. In a large bowl, add lettuce, celery, avocado, tomatoes, cheese, chicken and currants. Add Green Goddess dressing to coat lettuce mixture and gently toss. Transfer salad to a serving platter, top with almonds and serve.

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Green Goddess 101

Dressing Herbs
Many Green Goddess recipes call for parsley instead of, or in addition to, chervil. Although chervil looks similar to parsley, the taste and texture of the fresh herbs are quite different. Chervil has a more subdued, fresher taste compared to that of parsley, and boasts somewhat of a licorice flavour, similar to fennel. Find chervil at specialty grocers, farmers’ markets or your own backyard.

Basil is another tender, summery herb that can be added to a Green Goddess dressing. A touch of mint is nice, too, but rosemary, thyme, sage and oregano have distinct flavours that will easily overpower the more delicate herbs.

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Dressing Add-Ins
Ripe avocado adds creaminess to a Green Goddess dressing, typically in lieu of mayonnaise, sour cream or yogurt, and is an especially ideal substitute when egg or dairy allergies or are involved, or those following a vegan diet.

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For more ways to jazz up your greens, check out our best homemade salad dressing recipes.

This Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Will Change Your Life

Have you ever dreamt of eating a cookie that’s actually good for you? Well, your dream is now a reality with this life-changing chocolate chip cookie recipe. These simple cookies are flourless and refined sugar-free, using tahini (sesame seed butter) as their base to create a rich treat with a welcome nutty taste and bone-building calcium. A sprinkle of coarse salt before baking takes these already-epic cookies to another level. And, not only do they taste sensational, they’re also stunningly beautiful, with their rustic crinkles and bursts of dark chocolate. We think you may never go back to the standard chocolate chip cookie again.

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Healthy Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes
Makes: 18 cookies

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies - Tahini

Ingredients:
1 cup tahini
½ cup coconut sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ tsp baking soda
1 (100g) 70% (or higher) dark chocolate bar, roughly chopped
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, whisk to combine tahini and coconut sugar. Whisk in egg, followed by vanilla and baking soda. With a spatula, fold in chocolate until evenly incorporated.

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies - Dough

3. Scoop 1 Tbsp-sized portions of cookie dough and add to prepared baking sheet, leaving about 3-inches of space around each cookie, as they will spread quite a bit. Do not flatten cookies. Sprinkle a small amount of coarse sea salt on top of each cookie.

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies - Dough on Baking Sheet

4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until dry on top and spread, rotating pans halfway through if oven racks are staggered. Cool cookies on pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Serve.

Put that leftover tahini to good use and make super-creamy homemade hummus, another nutritious snack option.