The Best Slow Cooker Short Ribs With a Delectable Red Wine Sauce

Richly satisfying and beefy, our easy short ribs are also deeply comforting with a reduced wine sauce and loads of veggies to stave off any guilt you may hold while hibernating from the frigid winter temperatures. Sear your short ribs and vegetables, transfer to your slow cooker and tuck in.

Slow Cooker Short Ribs with Reduced Wine Sauce and Vegetables

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes (plus 3-6 hours in the slow cooker)
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
4 lbs short ribs cut into 2- to 4-inch pieces
1 ½ tsp each kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper, divided
1 Tbsp canola oil
2 carrots, cut in thirds
2 onions, quartered
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
2 Tbsp tomato paste
3 cups full-bodied red wine (like Cabernet Sauvignon)
2 sprigs rosemary
6 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
2 cups no-salt added beef broth
12-14 small cremini mushrooms


Directions:
1. Sprinkle short ribs with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add ribs and cook in batches, turning to brown all over, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker insert.

2. Add carrots, onions, garlic, rosemary, thyme and bay leaves to same Dutch oven and cook, turning carefully until browned, 4 minutes. Add tomato paste in centre of pan and cook, stirring until fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in wine and broth; bring to a boil.

Tip: For a tomato based short rib ragout, add 1 can of good-quality plum tomatoes in place of beef broth. Remove the bones after removing from slow cooker and use 2 forks to shred the meat for a lovely rich ragout.

3. Pour vegetable mixture over ribs. Cover and cook on low until meat is very tender, on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 5 hours, adding mushrooms the last hour (if using).

4. Remove short ribs and vegetables to a large bowl and cover. Strain sauce into medium pot and skim fat. Add mushrooms and bring to a boil over medium-high heat and reduce to half, about 2 cups. Add short ribs and vegetables to pot and serve with mashed potatoes or potato gratin.

Tip: For ease of skimming, let the wine sauce and fat sit overnight in the refrigerator. Pour remaining wine sauce over ribs.

Stay cozy all season with these 15 Dutch-oven recipes made for winter, our best slow cooker soups and stews, and 10 slow cooker casseroles that’ll warm you right up.

The Realistic Clean Eating Meal Plan That Won’t Leave You Hungry

Happy New Year! It’s time to celebrate… but not with champagne, or sugar cookies, or elaborate cheese platters. While we don’t really believe in resolutions (because let’s face it, most set us up with unrealistic expectations) we do believe in starting the year off strong, and one of the best ways to do that is by assessing our eating habits. The good news? There’s no need to give up all those delicious dishes we crave, or do away with fun cooking techniques. Healthy eating is about consuming foods that nourish our cells to boost energy, improve focus, increase mood and support immune health (here’s to no more winter colds!) – and who doesn’t want that? Follow this realistic meal plan as a simple starting point.

What to keep in mind for every meal:

Breakfast
Morning meals should contain a healthy amount of protein and fat. This helps keep blood sugar levels stable to sustain energy throughout the day (and can aid in preventing diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer). Think: eggs and avocado, nuts, seeds, nut/seed butters, chia puddings and overnight oats.

Lunch
Salad and grain bowls make for the best lunches, because you can often re-purpose dinner leftovers to make them. Aim for a myriad of colour (phytonutrients provide veggies and fruit with their bright hues and health-giving benefits) and texture (like crunchy nuts and seeds paired with creamy dairy-free dressings) in every dish.

Dinner
Dinners can be more involved than lunches, but if you’re short on time, prep ahead: chop veggies the night before, or make the recipe a few days ahead and freeze it (like these freezer-friendly recipes). Another tip: try to finish eating about three hours before bedtime so your body is able to fully digest the food before you hit the sheets.

Healthy Meal Plan: Day 1

Breakfast: Super Simple Morning Egg Sauté

Serving: 1-2
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, butter or avocado oil
1 cup kale or spinach, roughly chopped
½ zucchini, sliced into half discs
¼ tsp sea salt
Pinch of pepper
2 eggs
1 heaping Tbsp creamy tahini
¼ lemon, squeezed
¼ cup pecans, toasted
¼ avocado, sliced
Crack of pepper

Directions:
1. Heat a wide saucepan over medium, add the oil, and when it gets slippery and starts sliding freely around the pan, add the kale and zucchini. Season with salt and pepper. Toss around until veggies begin wilting.

2. Push the veggies to the side. If you feel the pan needs a bit more oil, splash a small glug in and crack the eggs in the empty space. Season with salt and pepper. After about 2-3 minutes, flip the eggs.

3. Grab a bowl and put the veggies on the bottom, place the runny eggs over the veg, then drizzle with tahini and lemon. Top with toasted pecans, avocado and pepper. Voila!

Lunch: Asian Noodle Salad with Ginger Dressing

A medley of veggies that are probably already in your fridge with a sweet and tangy immune-boosting dressing. Get the recipe.

Dinner: Lentil and Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie

cauliflower-pot-pie

A vegan, veggie-packed warming dinner with loads of fibre to keep you full and feed the good bacteria in the gut. Get the recipe.

Healthy Meal Plan: Day 2

Breakfast: Morning Chia Pudding

The mighty chia seed delivers omega 3’s, fibre, protein and calcium to boost your energy levels. Trust us when we say it’s one of the best ways to start the day. Get the recipe.

Lunch: Clean Bean and Green Stew

Servings: 3-4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 sweet potato, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 carrots, sliced into ½ inch circles
2 celery stalks, sliced
½ dried green or brown lentils
1 cup chickpeas (from can or previously cooked)
2 ½ cups veggie broth
1 cup kale or swiss chard, roughly chopped
Small handful of parsley or cilantro, roughly chopped
Sea salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Place a large pot on the stove, turn to medium heat, add the oil. Swirl the oil around the pan, then drop in the onions. Allow to cook for 3-5 minutes until translucent and slightly browned.

2. Add the garlic. Toss for about 1 minute, then add the remainder of veggies and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.

3. Let the veggies cook for 5-8 minutes until they begin to soften, then toss in the lentils and chickpeas, season with a pinch of salt and pepper again and mix so everything gets combined.

4. Pour in the veggie broth, season one more time, bring to a boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes.

5. Once simmer time is over, add in the kale so it brightens and gets slightly cooked. You can also make a big batch of this stew in advance, because it freezes super well.

Dinner: Sesame-Crusted Salmon with Asian Greens and Tamari Dressing

Salmon is rich in healthy fats (i.e. omega 3’s), and when paired with calcium-rich sesame seeds, fibre-rich brown rice and phytonutrient-rich bok choy, you’re eating a meal that will nourish, replenish and detoxify. Get the recipe.

Healthy Meal Plan: Day 3

Breakfast: Veggie-Packed Breakfast Frittata

Eggs and veggies in the morning are the perfect combo for delivering nutrients and keeping blood sugar stable. Get the recipe.

Lunch: Healthy Buddha Bowl

Vibrant veggies topped with a gut-loving fermented miso sauce that’s also rich in good fats and calcium. Get the recipe.

Dinner: Easy Tamari Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Servings: 2-3
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:
1 ½ pounds chicken thighs, sliced into pieces
3 tsp tamari
2 crowns broccoli, sliced into florets
1 Tbsp avocado or coconut oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
2 Tbsp brown rice vinegar or rice vinegar
2 Tbsp sesame oil
3 Tbsp tamari
1 Tbsp maple syrup

Optional Toppings:
¼ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
2-3 Tbsp sesame seeds
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Directions:
1. Slice the chicken into pieces, place in a bowl and pour tamari over top.

2. Place broccoli florets in a large pot with hot water. Steam them until they turn bright green and are still a bit crunchy in texture. Drain and set to the side.

3. Heat avocado or coconut oil over medium in a large pot or saucepan, then add the chicken. Stop yourself from constantly tossing the chicken around. You want it to cook on one side for 3-5 minutes, then flip and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Don’t worry if some pieces are not fully cooked through yet.

4. Take the chicken out of the pan, set to the side and add the onion, garlic and ginger all at once. Let them sauté for about 3 minutes, then add the chicken and broccoli back in.

5. Pour the liquids (i.e. vinegar, tamari, etc.) in a bowl, give a quick stir to mix, then pour into the pot. You could pour them individually into the pot but, we like the idea of them being fully combined first.

6. Toss everything around to coat in the delicious juicy liquids, then simmer until the juices begin to thicken and disappear, about 10-12 minutes.

7. You can serve with brown rice, brown rice noodles or as is. Whatever you decide, top with fresh cilantro, sesame seeds and green onions.

Looking for more inspiration to start the year off with a healthy bang? Here’s how a nutritionist meal prep every Sunday, plus 15 bad eating habits experts say to ditch this year and 10 things healthy people eat for breakfast.

cheeseball bites

Cheese Ball Bites Are the Ultimate Make-Ahead Party Appetizer

Your favourite party-perfect appetizer made mini! A simply adorable starter for the holiday season, these mini cheese balls are easy to put together and can be rolled in a variety of delicious ingredients. Serve with fresh bread for spreading, and you’re set for festive entertaining. No time? Make your gathering even easier by preparing and rolling the cheese ball bites (without coatings) up to two days ahead (wrap and refrigerate). When guests arrive, roll in your desired coatings, then dive right in.

Mini Cheese Ball Bites

Mini Cheese Ball Bites

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Makes: 24

Mini Cheese Ball Bites

Ingredients:

Cheese Ball Bites
1-½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 brick (250g) cream cheese, softened
2 green onions, minced
1 tsp paprika
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper

Coating
3 Tbsp chopped, toasted walnuts
3 Tbsp chopped dried cranberries
3 Tbsp chopped crispy fried onions
3 Tbsp minced chives
3 Tbsp (3 strips) cooked, crumbled bacon
3 Tbsp roasted sunflower seeds

Serving
Sliced fresh baguette
Crostini
Crackers

Directions:

Cheese Ball Bites
In a large bowl, stir together cheddar cheese, cream cheese, green onions, paprika and cayenne pepper. Form mixture into 24, 1 Tbsp balls (tip: dampen hands with a little water if mixture is sticking).

Mini Cheese Ball Bites

Coating
Roll 4 balls into walnuts, pressing lightly to adhere, and place on a serving platter. Repeat with remaining balls and coatings (4 balls per 3 Tbsp of topping).

Mini Cheese Ball Bites

Serving
Serve finished cheese ball bites with fresh baguette, crostini or crackers.

Add these mini cheese ball bites to an epic Canadian cheese platter at your next holiday gathering. You can also try these 25-minute everything bagel smoked sausage rolls, along with our best last-minute party appetizers that are beyond easy.

25-Minute Everything Bagel Smoked Sausage Rolls with Puff Pastry

These are hands down one of my favourite appetizers to serve at any social gathering. With the help of the smoked sausage, the rolls come together within 25 minutes! You can prepare them ahead of time and simply pop them in the oven to bake as guests begin to arrive. If Dijon mustard isn’t your jam, sub with equal parts cream cheese for a tangy filling.

Everything Bagel Smoked Sausage Rolls

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 12 rolls

Ingredients:

1 sheet frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed
6 smoked pork sausages, halved
¼ cup whole grain or Dijon mustard, plus more for serving
1 large whisked egg, for egg wash
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
1 Tbsp dried minced garlic
1 Tbsp dried minced onion
½ Tbsp white sesame seeds
½ Tbsp black sesame seeds
½ Tbsp flaked sea salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375ºF . Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Roll out the prepared puff pastry and slice into 12 evenly sized squares.

3. Brush the centre of each square with mustard. Place the sausage on the mustard and trim the ends of the pastry to ensure the edges of the sausage will be showing.

4. Brush the left side of the square with egg wash and gently roll. Press the ends to seal. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining squares for a total of 12 sausage rolls.

5. In a small mixing bowl, toss together the garlic, onion, sesame seeds and salt.

6. Brush the top of each sausage roll with the remaining egg wash, and sprinkle generously with everything-bagel seasoning.

7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Serve with additional mustard for dipping!

We’ve also rounded up 35 Last-Minute Party Appetizers That Are Beyond Easy and 20 Un-Brie-lievably Good Baked Brie Recipes.

Your New Favourite Shortbread: Petits-Beurre (French Butter Cookies)

If you’ve travelled in France, you might be familiar with the ubiquitous Petit-beurre cookie. It has been around since 1886, when it was invented by Louis-Lefèvre Utile in Nantes. The cookies are still imprinted with his initials (LU) and are the best-known product of all the Lefèvre Utile range. This recipe is the closest I can get to my store-bought favourites.

Butter Cookies (Petits-Beurre)

Active Time: 45 minutes
Chilling Time: 1-3 hours
Bake Time: 11- 13 minutes
Servings: 50 cookies (approx.)

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups (225 g) all-purpose flour
½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp fine sea salt
½ cup (113 g) cold salted butter, cut into small cubes
¼ cup (60 mL) heavy (35%) cream

Read: 20 Delicious French-Canadian Dishes to Make at Home

Directions:

1. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse a few times to combine.

2. Add the cubed butter and pulse until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

3. Add the cream and continue to pulse until the dough comes together. The dough will be fairly soft.

4. Gather the dough into a ball, divide in half and form each half into a disk. If you don’t want to use it immediately, you can wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days. Roll each disk between two sheets of parchment paper until it’s 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick. Keeping the dough flat and between the two sheets of parchment, place it in the fridge for 1 to 3 hours.

Read: These Classic French Dishes Are the Definition of Comfort Food

5. Preheat the oven to 350˚F (175˚C). Line two large baking trays with parchment paper. Remove one of the rolled-out pieces of dough from the fridge and allow it to sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes.

6. Cut out cookies using a rectangular cookie cutter that measures 2 1/2 x 2 inches (6 x 5 cm). Place the cookies on the parchment-lined baking trays. They will not spread, so you can place them fairly close together—just make sure they are not touching.

7. Repeat with the second sheet of dough.

8. Place one tray in the top third of the oven and the other in the bottom third of the oven, and bake for 11 to 13 minutes, switching the trays from the top to bottom rack and turning them from front to back halfway through the bake, until the cookies are golden around the edges but still pale in the centre.

9. Remove the cookies from the oven and, using an offset spatula, immediately place them on wire racks and allow to cool completely. You can store these in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

For more irresistible baked goods, check out these 20 make-ahead options for your holiday bash, Anna Olson’s very best cookie recipes, or our most popular cookies of all-time.

Excerpted from In the French Kitchen with Kids by Mardi Michels. Copyright © 2018 Mardi Michels. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

The Most Delicious Chocolate Babka with a Healthy Twist for Your Hanukkah Party

Babka is an extremely popular Eastern European Jewish dessert, and for good reason. Imagine eating pools of gooey, delicious chocolate alongside crunchy toasted nuts that have been swirled and baked inside a warm, slightly crusty loaf of bread – that’s babka. Obviously, bread + chocolate = two of the best foods on the planet, so it only makes sense to marry them together in baked form. You can also create babka with raisins or cinnamon (or both), but our preference is for chocolate, so we devised a healthy-ish version of the classic. We swapped out white flour and white sugar for more nutrient-rich ingredients – but you won’t taste the difference, scout’s honour! We recommend making a second loaf to ensure leftovers (this version is healthy enough for breakfast, after all).

Delicious Healthier Chocolate Babka Recipe

Servings: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 1 hour + 6-14 hours rising time
Bake Time: 40-50 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours

Ingredients:

Dough
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
1 package or 2 tsp instant yeast
½ tsp maple syrup
7 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature, diced into cubes
1 large egg, room temperature
3 Tbsp coconut sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp sea salt
2 ½ cups spelt flour

Chocolate Walnut Filling
⅓ cup unsalted butter, cubed
½ cup coconut sugar
100 grams dark chocolate 70% or higher (approx. 1 chocolate bar), roughly chopped
¼ cup raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

Syrup
½ cup water
½ cup coconut sugar

Directions:

Dough
1. In a saucepan, gently warm the almond milk, so it’s warm to the touch but not too hot. Take off the heat and add in the yeast and maple syrup. Allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes until it becomes frothy and foamy. If it doesn’t foam up, your yeast may have died or the milk was too hot.

2. Next, combine the dough ingredients by hand, or using a food processor or electric mixer with the hook attachment (we chose the food processor). Whichever method you decide, mix together the butter, egg, coconut sugar, vanilla and salt. In the food processor, pulse on low for about two minutes until the butter is creamy.

3. Gradually begin to add the flour, 1 cup to start. Pulse in the foamy milk-yeast mixture along with remaining flour until the dough comes together to form a ball. If the dough isn’t coming together, add more flour, starting with 1 Tbsp at a time. If it’s too dry, add water 1 Tbsp at a time.

4. Knead the dough by hand on a lightly floured surface or using your electric mixer for about 8-10 minutes, until the ball of dough is smooth and not sticky.

5. Place the kneaded dough in a bowl that’s been lightly oiled or buttered (so the dough doesn’t stick) and cover with a towel or beeswax/plastic wrap. If you can, refrigerate for 6 hours up to overnight. If you don’t have that time, let it rest in the warmest place in your kitchen for an hour, but overnight is best.

Filling
1. Melt the butter in a saucepan, then stir in the rest of the ingredients, except the walnuts, until the mixture is silky and smooth.

Assembly
1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle, approximately 22 x 12 inches. Once rolled out, spread the filling evenly over top, you don’t need to leave a border. Then sprinkle the walnuts all over.

2. Starting from one side, begin rolling the dough into a long log, like you’re rolling up a tortilla or a yoga mat; then stick it in the freezer for 10 minutes (this will help with slicing the dough in the next step).

3. Remove the dough from the freezer and slice the rolled dough log in half lengthwise.

4. Place the two slices right next to each other with the chocolate insides facing up and make an “X” shape (the “X” should be right in the middle). Twist both sides over each other, like a braid or a rope. Place in a bread pan that’s been buttered and covered in parchment paper, you may need to fold it a bit more or squish it into the pan. Cover the babka with a towel and let it rest for 1 – 1 ½ hours so it can rise further.

5. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and bake for 40-50 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean (unless it punctures a chocolatey area).

6. While it’s baking, prepare the syrup by combining the water and coconut sugar in a saucepan, bring to a boil, then simmer for 4 minutes and whisk until the coconut sugar is completely dissolved. Allow to cool completely.

7. When the babka is out of the oven, generously brush the syrup over the top to help lock in moisture and create a glossy finish.

8. Gently remove the babka from the pan, slice and enjoy. Babkas also freeze remarkably well, so you can make several batches for other occasions.

For more festive recipes, try these 15 delectable Hanukkah doughnuts, plus the only dishes you need for a Happy Hanukkah.

Anna-Olson-Holiday-Dessert-Hacks

Transform Festive Desserts with Anna Olson’s Top Holiday Hacks

With the holiday season fast approaching, it’s time to shine in the dessert department. In addition to the usual festive fare, why not dress things up for the holidays with Anna Olson’s sweet and easy hacks? Just follow these fun, fresh and flavourful ideas to make good use of your holiday ingredients, and take your Christmas baking to the next level.

How to Eggnog Anything

A mix of eggs, cream, sugar and booze, eggnog is the quintessential holiday drink. With a little ground nutmeg and rum extract, it’s easy to infuse this drink’s festive flavour into desserts, too. Anna shows that just a dash of rum (or rum extract) and ground nutmeg give buttercream frosting an unmistakable “eggnog” flavour. Swirl the sweet spread onto her Flourless Mini Vanilla Cupcakes and sprinkle nutmeg on top to complete the look. Or, for a decadent sweet treat, stir nutmeg and rum extract into Anna Olson’s Chocolate Truffles. If cookies are more your style, infuse the eggnog flavours into Anna Olson’s Vanilla Icebox Cookies by adding rum extract and ground nutmeg to the recipe, then, after baking, pipe frosting between two icebox cookies.

If you just can’t get enough eggnog this season, try your hand at these 15 Delicious Ways to Enjoy Eggnog.

Edible Peppermint Candy Platter

Instead of the plastic or glass trays, serve treats on an edible peppermint candy platter. Anna Olson demonstrates how to make a serving plate out of standard candies in this impressive holiday hack. If you’re making cookies, bake up a peppermint plate so you’ll have a unique and portable option for holiday parties and potlucks.

Adorable Rudolph Cookies

Shake up the holiday cookie table with these show-stopping sweets! Start with Anna’s Icing Sugar Cookies and learn how to transform them into adorable and easy decorated treats. A little royal icing and perfectly placed pretzels will help create delicious and adorable desserts. Those new to decorating will love how easy and achievable these sweets are.

Leftover Candy Canes

Got a stocking full of candy canes? There’s a recipe for that. Before you toss them, break out the food processor and pulse those broken bits into a fine candy cane crumb. This will serve as the base for tons of recipes. For a simple dessert, add crunchy candy cane bits inside and out of Anna Olson’s Vanilla Icebox Cookies. Another way to refresh your holiday treats with candy cane crumbs is to roll filled Chocolate Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies into candy cane dust. If you’re looking for a festive sipper, double-up on the peppermint with this Slow Cooker Peppermint Hot Chocolate, lining the mug’s edge with candy cane bits (brush the edge with a bit of warm water to encourage sticking).

For even more recipes with the traditional holiday candy, try these 15 Tasty Recipes That Use Leftover Candy Canes.