You Haven’t Lived Until You’ve Tasted Butter Tart Cinnamon Buns

Cinnamon buns are delicious. It’s just my opinion, but I haven’t found a single soul who disagrees. The warm, buttery, fluffy buns are hard to say ‘no’ to (anyone who does has an inordinate amount of willpower!).  I know this is going to sound crazy, but this recipe makes the traditional cinnamon bun yesterday’s news. We take your grandma’s cinnamon buns to a whole new level by adding a butter tart filling. Gorgeous buns are baked in a sweet mess, so when they’re flipped, they drip with butter tart goodness. You’re welcome!

Related: You’ll Jump Out of Bed for These Cinnamon Streusel Muffins

Butter Tart Cinnamon Buns

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: about 4 hours
Makes: 12 buns

Ingredients:
Dough:
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
8g packet dry active yeast
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 eggs
4 – 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Butter Tart Glaze:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp salt

Filling:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon

Butter Tart Cinnamon Buns

Directions:
1. Warm buttermilk over low heat until just slightly warmer than room temperature.

2. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix sugar into buttermilk and add yeast. Let stand until mixture becomes foamy on the surface, about 10 minutes.

Related: How to Make The Perfect Banana Bread Every Time (Plus Freezing Tips and a Recipe!)

3. Add in butter and eggs and stir to combine. Add in flour, 1 cup at a time until a soft, pliable dough forms. If dough is tacky, continue adding flour until smooth.

4. Form dough into a ball and transfer into a large greased bowl. Set in a warm place and cover with a dish towel. Let dough rise until double in size, about 1 hour 30 minutes – 2 hours.

5. To make the butter tart glaze, mix all the ingredients in a bowl until combined. Pour into a large baking dish.

6. To make the filling, mix cinnamon and sugar. Place dough onto floured surface and roll into a 20 x 12 inch rectangle.

Related: White Chocolate Funfetti Cookies Make for the Perfect Emergency Cookie Stash

7. Spread butter edge to edge on the dough and sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over top. Roll from the longer edge of the rectangle until a large snake is formed.

8. Cut 12 equal portions from the roll and arrange in baking dish with butter tart filling. Cover with a dish towel and let rise until buns have doubled in size, about 1 hour.

9. While buns are rising, preheat oven to 350°F. Bake until golden brown and baked through, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.

10. Serve each bun flipped so the butter tart bottom is on top.

Butter Tart Cinnamon Buns

Looking for more baking inspiration? Here are our top chocolate chip cookie recipes and comforting baking project ideas (from sourdough to cream puffs) that deserve a pat on the back.

These Matcha and White Chocolate Oat Muffins Will Help Makeover Your Breakfast Routine

These are not your average breakfast oat muffins. They incorporate an unexpected (and vibrant) ingredient: matcha powder! Hailing from Japan, matcha is a finely ground powder of pure green tea leaves. It can be easily located in health food stores or online. In this recipe, the earthiness from the matcha pairs perfectly with the sweetness from the white chocolate. Your breakfast won’t be so average anymore.

Matcha and White Chocolate Oat Muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 12 muffins

Ingredients:

1 ½ tsp quality matcha powder
1 Tbsp boiling water
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp fine salt
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 cup quality white chocolate, roughly chopped

Related: Guilt-Free Paleo Carrot Cupcakes with Cashew “Cream Cheese” Frosting

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-tin muffin tray with liners.

2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together matcha and water until the matcha is fully dissolved.

3. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the butter, sugar, eggs, yogurt, vanilla and add in the matcha mixture until well blended.

4. Stir in the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ginger until smooth. Fold in the chocolate.

5. Using a large ice cream scoop, evenly divide mixture amongst the prepared muffin tray.

6. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until the muffins bounce back to touch.

Related: From Homemade Bread to Pickles, 20 Recipes to Master While Stuck Indoors

Don’t let the muffin fun stop there! Try these pumpkin, feta and sage muffins, plus these 50 best muffins recipes that will make you love baking.

Sarah Britton’s Bold and Beautiful Raspberry Cashew Cheezecake

In the new Food Network Canada series The Substitute Baker, celebrated Toronto-born holistic nutritionist Sarah Britton shows us just how easy it can be to adapt your favourite recipes to suit any occasion or special dietary needs.

For starters, she’s crafted this bold, gorgeous and positively mouth-watering plant-based cheesecake recipe that will make you look like a well-seasoned baker.

Related: 20 Easy Plant-Based Recipes for Beginners That Will Make You Drool

Healthy Raspberry Cashew Cheezecake

Ingredients:

Crust
1 cup/150g toasted sunflower seeds (almonds, pecans or walnuts also work)
¼ cup/35g cacao nibs
1 cup/250g soft dates, pitted
2 Tbsp raw cacao powder
¼ tsp sea salt

Filling
2 cups/300g raw cashews, soaked overnight
3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Seeds of 1 whole vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
½ cup/125ml virgin coconut oil
½ cup/125ml raw honey
Pinch sea salt
1½ cups frozen raspberries (thaw slightly)

Decorations
30g dark chocolate, melted
Handful of dried raspberries, crushed

Directions:

1. Place seeds, cacao nibs, cacao powder and dates in a food processor with sea salt and pulse to chop until they are to your desired fineness (process a finer crust longer than a chunky one). Test the crust by spooning out a small amount of mixture and rolling it in your hands. If the ingredients hold together, your crust is perfect (if it’s too dry, add more dates, if it’s too wet, add more seeds).

Related: Our Very Best Vegan Dessert Recipes to Make

2. Reserve ¼ cup of your crust to use as decorations later and transfer the remaining crust mixture to a lightly greased (with expeller-pressed coconut oil) and parchment-lined 7.5” (19cm) spring-form pan. Press the mixture firmly, making sure that the edges are well packed and that the base is relatively even throughout. Use a flat-bottomed drinking glass or bottle to help press the crust into the pan evenly. Use the reserved mixture to make balls of different sizes that you will use as decorations later. Store these in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

3. Warm coconut oil and honey in a small saucepan on low heat until liquid. Add vanilla and whisk to combine.

4. In the most powerful blender you own (I recommend a Vitamix), place all filling ingredients, except raspberries, and blend on high for 1-2 minutes or until very smooth.

5. Reserve ⅛ cup filling in a small bowl and set it aside. Pour about 2/3 (just eyeball it, you can’t make a mistake!) of the filling out onto the crust and smooth with a spatula. Tap the pan firmly against a hard surface to remove air bubbles. Add the raspberries to the remaining ⅓ of the filling and blend on high until smooth. Pour onto the first layer of filling and tap again to create a smooth surface. Dollop the reserved white filling onto the raspberry layer and swirl with a knife tip. Tap the pan once more to even out the filling, then place the cheezecake in the freezer until solid.

6. To serve, remove from the freezer 30 minutes prior to eating. Remove parchment from base of cake. Decorate with date and seed balls, drizzle with melted chocolate and sprinkle dried raspberries.

Related: Can I Freeze This? How to Freeze Fruit, Cheese, Leftovers and More

For more baking inspiration, try Our Most Crave-Worthy Carrot Cake Recipes in Every Form or These Banana Bread Recipes That Will Provide All the Comfort.


 

This Clever Trick Will Prevent Freezer Burn for Good (And Major Food Waste)

Your freezer is your friend in the fight against food waste. But have you ever opened the freezer to retrieve a carefully prepared meal or frozen item only to discover ice crystals blanketing the container? Or meat that looked a little too “off” in colour? If you’re nodding in agreement, you’ve encountered a simple case of freezer burn.

Many people don’t realize that they can burn frozen food. It sounds wrong, doesn’t it? How can something that’s frozen burn? Freezer burn is damage to frozen food caused by moisture in the food evaporating, leaving dry “pockets” of air and/or ice crystals. The good news is that, while the food won’t taste all that great, it is still edible. The better news is that freezer burn is totally preventable!

Related: Stop Wasting the Most Tossed-Out Food in Canada with These Recipes

The One Thing You Should Always Do to Prevent Freezer Burn

The most important thing you can do to prevent freezer burn is to reduce the food’s exposure to air: make sure you have an airtight, moisture-proof barrier between the food and the container it’s in. Simple tricks like wrapping foods in double layers of wax paper or aluminum foil before storing them in freezer-safe containers or bags will go a long way to making sure your food doesn’t go to waste.

Note that no food will last indefinitely without developing freezer burn, so another way to make sure you’re avoiding those pesky ice crystals from developing is to rotate the food in your freezer so you’re eating the oldest items first, which are the most at-risk of catching freezer burn.

Related: How to Freeze Fruit, Cheese, Leftovers and More

Top Tips for Avoiding Freezer Burn on Commonly Frozen Foods

1. If you’re serious about keeping frozen foods as fresh as possible, buy a vacuum sealer. This is a surefire way to make sure the packaging is completely airtight.

2. Buy too much bread? Slice loaves and store the slices in a large plastic freezer bag, making sure to remove as much air as possible. You’ll have fresh bread to toast for weeks to come! 

3. Found yourself with too much produce? It can be frozen, but most vegetables benefit from a quick blanch or steam prior to freezing. Once cooked, shock with cold water, then dry and freeze in airtight containers or freezer bags.

Related: Effortless Instant Pot Freezer Meals for Easy Weeknights

More Tips to Keep in Mind When Freezing Food

1. Never freeze hot food. Instead, allow it to come to room temperature before you freeze.

2. If you’re freezing liquid-heavy foods (think soups and stews), make sure you leave some room in the containers, as liquid expands when frozen. Place plastic wrap touching the liquid/food before you close the lid to avoiding potential freezer burn.

Related: The One Healthy Soup That Should Always Be in Your Freezer

3. Broth and stock are super useful things to have on hand, but how often does a recipe call for a small amount, leaving you with leftovers? Solution? Freeze it in ice-cube trays! As soon as it’s frozen, transfer to an airtight bag or container to ensure a constant supply that’s practical in size.

4. Do you have slightly past-their-prime produce lingering in your crisper? Put your freezer to work. Frozen fruit is perfect for smoothies, and frozen vegetables can be used in cooked dishes. No one will ever know they were anything other than fresh!

freezer-bag-of-pumpkin

5. Many people don’t think to freeze butter, but if you have a few sticks about to expire, pop them into the freezer to keep it fresh for longer. Note that it’s best to use quickly once thawed, making it perfect for baking!

Related: Building a Zero-Waste Kitchen is Easier Than You Think. Here’s How to Make it Happen

6. Cookie dough is a perfect candidate for freezing, so you’ll never be far from a freshly-baked treat! Scoop dough and freeze directly on baking trays. Once frozen solid, place the dough in airtight bags, or wrap them tightly in plastic and just bake however many you need. The dough will last in the freezer for up to three months.

Related: Anna Olson Explains How to Properly Freeze Just About Everything

7. Portion items when you freeze them so you can easily select the right amount of food to thaw, avoiding unnecessary waste.

8. Label all foods with the date you froze them, and don’t forget to rotate items and use older foods up first.

Related: How to Prep Slow Cooker Freezer Meals for Busy Nights

While freezing items is a great way to avoid waste, there are some other foods that you should never freeze.

5 Foods That Never Belong in Your Freezer (And Why):

1. Open packages of coffee beans (and ground) will absorb freezer smells. Make sure it’s stored in an airtight container, not the bag you bought it in.

2. Cooked pasta, like spaghetti, will not hold its structure when frozen and thawed, it will turn to mush (baked pasta dishes like lasagna, however, are perfect candidates for freezing).

3. Raw potatoes turn black when frozen due to a chemical reaction, so make sure to quickly blanch chopped potatoes before you freeze them.

4. Melon will turn mushy when frozen and thawed due to its high water content, so while it’s fine to use frozen in drinks, for example, it won’t be any good for a fruit salad.

5. Raw eggs in their shell will explode when frozen. If you find yourself needing to freeze eggs, crack them and lightly beat them before freezing them in an ice cube tray or muffin tin. When completely frozen, you can put them in a freezer bag where they will keep for up to six months.

Want to make the most of your freezer? Watch this video on how to prep food for freezing.

These Banoffee Tartlets = Our New Favourite Spring Baking Project

Inspired by the classic banana and toffee-filled pie, these banoffee tartlets combine all of our favourite flavours into individual desserts. Plunge your spoon past the fluffy whipped cream and through the ripe bananas and chewy toffee before shattering the crisp yet buttery crust on the bottom. Each bite is full of brown sugary goodness and tons of fresh banana. We would never pass up a slice of the classic variation, but these single-serving individual tartlets get us all the more excited for spring baking at home.

Related: These Banana Bread Recipes Will Provide All The Comfort You Need

How to Make Banoffee Tartlets


Bake Time:
25 to 30 minutes
Total Time: 90 minutes
Serves: 7 to 8

Ingredients:

Crust
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole-wheat pastry flour (or equivalent all-purpose flour)
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
½ tsp salt
9 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and diced
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp cold water

Toffee
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream
Pinch salt

Assembly
4 ripe bananas
Sweetened whipped cream for topping (about 2 cups)

Related: The Most Brilliant Ways to Use Overripe Bananas

Directions:

Crust
1. Combine the flours, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the butter and use a pastry cutter, a pair of forks, or your fingers to cut it into the flour mixture. The mixture should look sandy and the butter pieces the size of peas.

2. Stir together the egg yolk and water. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir to combine. The dough will be rather shaggy at first, but should stick together when given a tight squeeze.

Related: 50 Best Muffin Recipes That Will Make You Love Baking

3. Gently gather the dough and divide evenly into 7 or 8 portions (depending on the size of your tart pans).

4. Press each portion into sides and bottoms of the tart pans. Use the flat bottom of a small measuring cup to press in the corners and flatten out the bottoms until smooth. Trim the tops of the tart shells by running a paring knife around the top edge of the tart pans. Prick the bottoms of the tart shells with a fork and refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, pre-heat then oven to 375°F. Once chilled, line the tart shells with parchment paper or foil and fill with pie weights (dry beans or uncooked rice will also do). Place the filled tart shells on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and carefully remove the parchment/foil and pie weights. Return the tart shells to the oven and continue to bake for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the edges start to brown and the bottoms are dry to the touch. Cool completely before filling.

Related: Delightfully Easy Easter Desserts That You Can Enjoy All Spring

Toffee
1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add the brown sugar and cream. While whisking continuously, bring to a slow boil and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until the toffee coats the back of a spoon.

2. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt. Pour the toffee into a heat-safe container or glass jar, then chill in the refrigerator to cool and thicken slightly (don’t let the toffee completely set or it will be difficult to pour into the tart shells).

Related: Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream and Smoked Salt

Assembly
1. Once the tart shells and toffee have cooled, evenly distribute the toffee into the shells (leaving at least ¼ inch gap from the top). Slice the bananas into ¼ to ½ inch coins and place on top of the toffee filling. Top the banana slices with whipped cream.

2. Serve immediately.

3. Tart shells may be baked and cooled in advance. Leftover may be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days, but they are best consumed on the day of assembly.

Related: Molly Yeh’s Carrot Cake with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting is Simply Show-Stopping

For more inspiration, try our most popular cookie recipes of all time and crave-worthy carrot cake recipes.

The Only Dinner-Worthy Salad You’ll Need This Spring

Spring is here, and it’s time to celebrate with this marinated artichoke salad! We know artichokes seem like a lot of work, but the tender baby variety requires a lot less prep. Serve as a side salad for four or a healthy and easy weeknight dinner for two. If you can’t find baby artichokes, swap them for good-quality marinated ones.

Related: 25 Simple Spring Dinners Ready in 30 Minutes or Less

Marinated Artichoke Salad with Prosciutto and Parmesan

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2 to 4

Ingredients:
⅓ cup farro
5 lemons
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
½ tsp black peppercorns
12 baby artichokes
¼ cup olive oil
1 finger chili, thinly sliced (optional)
4 cups loosely packed arugula
100-g prosciutto, torn into 2-in pieces
2 Tbsp cup mint, roughly torn
¼ cup shaved Parmesan

Related: The Spring Chicken Recipes to Make All Season Long

Directions:
1. Cook farro according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Transfer to a baking sheet to dry.

2. Juice 3 lemons into a large bowl, reserving 2 tbsp juice. Stir in 4 cups water and set aside.

3. Combine 4 cups water, juice from remaining two lemons, garlic, 1 tsp salt and peppercorns in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat.

4. Meanwhile, working with one artichoke at a time, cut away the top 1/2-inch of leaves, trim and discard the tough outer leaves, then peel and trim the stem. Cut each artichoke in half lengthwise, then transfer to acidulated water.

Related: These Breakfast Ideas Will Get You Excited for Spring

5. Once all the artichokes have been processed, drain and transfer to the boiling water. Lower heat to a simmer and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove artichokes from water and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with olive oil, chili (if using) and reserved 2 tbsp lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool to room temperature.

6. To assemble salad, toss farro, arugula and prosciutto together in bowl with artichokes. Season with salt and pepper. Divide between plates and garnish with Parmesan and mint.

For more hearty, dinner-worthy salad creations, try this spring vegetable panzanella salad, along with these 15 healthy meal-sized salad ideas.

Tom Colicchio Answers Our Burning Questions About Top Chef All Stars: LA

We’re counting down the days until our favourite Top Chefs return to the small screen on Top Chef All Stars: LA. With a plethora of elite culinary masters facing off against each other, Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio has the difficult (albeit, delicious) task of trying all the dishes and, along with his fellow judges, selecting only one person to win the $250,000 jackpot.

Related: Ranking Food Network Canada’s Cooking Competition Shows, From Kind to Cutthroat 

Colicchio will be joined on Top Chef All Stars: LA by host Padma Lakshmi, fellow judge Gail Simmons and 15 returning chefs:

  • Eric Adjepong (Season 16: Kentucky)
  • Karen Akunowicz (Season 13: California)
  • Jennifer Carroll (Season 6: Las Vegas, Season 8: All Stars and Last Chance Kitchen Season 7)
  • Stephanie Cmar (Season 11: New Orleans)
  • Lisa Fernandes (Season 4: Chicago)
  • Kevin Gillespie (Season 6: Las Vegas)
  • Gregory Gourdet (Season 12: Boston)
  • Melissa King (Season 12: Boston)
  • Jamie Lynch (Season 14: Charleston)
  • Brian Malarkey (Season 3: Miami)
  • Nini Nguyen (Season 16: Kentucky)
  • Joe Sasto (Season 15: Colorado)
  • Angelo Sosa (Season 7: Washington D.C., and Season 8: All Stars)
  • Bryan Voltaggio (Season 6: Las Vegas)
  • Lee Anne Wong (Season 1: San Francisco and Last Chance Kitchen Season 7)

Ahead of the season premiere, we caught up with Tom Colicchio himself to get the scoop on the competition’s most explosive season yet.

FOOD NETWORK CANADA: How involved were you in the casting process for Top Chef All Stars LA?

TOM COLICCHIO: Not at all. (laughs) I’m not involved in choosing [the competing chefs] and I really don’t want to be. I try to be as impartial as possible. I don’t have a horse in the race here.

FNC: Who are you excited to see return to the show?

TC: I’m excited to see them all return, to tell you the truth. I think they’re all really strong. Since the show, Karen Akunowicz has won a [James] Beard Award [and] several chefs have been nominated for Beard Awards. I think the rivalry from season five between second-place finisher Brian Voltaggio and Kevin [Gillespie] should be interesting… But [we’ve] got a lot of chefs who’ve done some great things since they’ve been on the show. I’m just happy that we got a lot of participation from some really good chefs, and it made for a fantastic season.

FNC: Do you think there’s an advantage for chefs who competed on the most recent seasons of Top Chef?

TC: That’s one way of looking at it. But the other hand, someone who competed ten years ago has ten more years of experience under their belt. So that’s kind of hard to beat, too. Every season is different. Every challenge is different.

We find that halfway through a season, everything starts to look the same. [We] start seeing a lot of patterns in terms of flavour combinations and things. [But this time around], I think everyone kind of stood true to themselves. There’s not a lot of looking around, you know, where someone wins two [challenges] in a row and all of a sudden [a chef] tries something similar to that. [We’re looking for] good food. That’s it. It doesn’t matter if it’s rustic or what I call tweezer-ready. Good food is good food. Technique is good technique, [and] you can’t mask that. It really comes down to, ‘is it delicious or not?’ So I think this season, the chefs seemed a little more confident in their ability.

FNC: Are there any former Top Chef other contestants you’d like to see return in a future All Stars installments that haven’t come back yet?

TC: I’d love to see all the winners come back. That would be definitely pretty awesome. I think that might be hard to do, but you know, I’d love to get as many back as possible.

Watch Top Chef All Stars LA Thursday at 10 P.M. ET/PT on Food Network Canada. Stream Top Chef All Stars LA and all your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

Can I Freeze This? How to Freeze Fruit, Cheese, Leftovers and More

Ever wondered, ‘Can I freeze this?’ Or, do you find yourself with leftovers you can’t eat before its best before date? From meat to cheese to bananas to cakes and beyond, your food freezing questions are answered with this comprehensive guide. We’re here to help you reduce food waste, save money and time and make the most of this under-appreciated appliance.

how to freeze cheese

How to Freeze Cheese, Milk and Eggs

Of all the food groups, dairy is perhaps the one people have the most questions about. Can you freeze cheese? What about milk? Can you freeze whipping cream? The good news is that a lot of dairy can be frozen, as long as it’s properly packaged.

Butter: If you get a good deal on butter but couldn’t possibly use it up before its best before date, you can certainly stash it, still wrapped, in your freezer for up to 12 months. Flavoured and compound butters can also be frozen when tightly wrapped.

Cheese: Wrap hard cheeses (like cheddar, Parmesan) tightly in plastic and they’ll keep for up to 6 months. You can also shred hard cheese, freeze it, store it in an airtight container and use it from frozen. Soft cheeses like goat, ricotta or cream cheese won’t freeze well, as there’s too much moisture in them.

Eggs: Don’t try to freeze eggs in their shells – they’ll explode! Instead, crack them into muffin tins, lightly beat them with the tines of a fork, and freeze. Once frozen solid, pop the eggs out and place in freezer bag for up to 6 months.

Related: The Tastiest Ways to Eat Eggs for Dinner

Milk & Cream: Milk and cream can be frozen, but make sure they’re in a container with some room at the top as the liquid expands when frozen. Thaw in the fridge or in a large bowl of cold water. They may separate slightly once thawed, nevertheless, they’re perfectly safe to consume.

Yogurt: Yogurt can be frozen, but it might separate as it thaws, so it’s best to use yogurt from frozen in smoothies or baking as opposed to thawing it and eating it on its own. To freeze yogurt, spoon into ice cube trays; then, once it’s frozen solid, place the cubes in airtight zip-top bags and use as needed for up to 3 months.

Related: Our Best Healthy (And Tasty) Smoothie Recipes

How to Freeze Bread and Grains

Bread, Rolls and Buns: Slice fresh loaves you know you won’t be able to eat before they go stale, then place in a zip-top bag, being careful to remove all the air from the bag to avoid freezer burn. You can toast the slices directly from frozen. Keep whole rolls and burger buns in an airtight zip-top bag, defrosting at room temperature before slicing and warming. 

Grains: Cooked rice, whole grains and pasta will freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating, or enjoy cold in a grain salad.

Related: Easy and Tasty Ways to Use Leftover Rice

frozen-mixed-berries

How to Freeze Fruit (Like Bananas)

Well-packaged, many fruits can keep frozen 6 to 12 months. Apples and pears don’t freeze well from fresh, but applesauce, apple butter or pear puree (or any other fruit preserve) can be frozen, likewise blanched peeled and pitted peaches.

Bananas: Bananas can be frozen whole or chopped into small pieces and frozen flat in freezer bags for easy additions to smoothies. Thaw them to add to banana bread or muffins.

Related: Brilliant Ways to Use Overripe Bananas

Avocado: Avocado can be frozen, although you’re never going to be able to preserve the texture of a perfectly ripe avocado in the freezer. If you just want to use them in smoothies or guacamole, peel them and remove the pit, then wrap in plastic and place in an airtight container or freezer bag.

Berries: Berries freeze very well. Wash, dry and chop (if necessary)  strawberries, blueberries or raspberries and then place them flat in plastic freezer bags, making sure to remove all the air before sealing so you don’t get freezer burn. Great for baking, smoothies and spooning over yogurt.

Grapes: Frozen grapes make a delicious snack and healthy dessert straight from frozen, tasting like sweet sorbet. Take them off the vine, wash and dry, then add to a freezer bag or airtight container.

frozen-veggies-in-freezer-bags

How to Freeze Vegetables

Many vegetables are suitable to freeze for up to 6 months. Onions, garlic, peas (shucked) and corn (sliced off the cob) can be frozen raw, chopped or minced (in the case of onions and garlic) and stored in an airtight container or zip-top bag, but most vegetables benefit from a quick cooking before being frozen.

Related: The Most Delicious Ways to Use Freezer-Friendly Foods

How to prepare fresh vegetables for freezing: Blanch chopped vegetables by dropping in boiling water or steaming until tender-crisp, then shock with cold water. Pat dry, then freeze in serving-sized portions in airtight containers or freezer bags. This way, you can freeze veggies like zucchini, potatoes, spinach and carrots without tampering with their texture.

How to Freeze Meat and Fish

Meats and fish can be frozen for between 3 and 12 months, tightly wrapped in plastic, then placed in freezer bags so they don’t get freezer burn. Thaw overnight in the fridge.

Chicken or turkey parts: 6 months
Cooked ham: sliced and portioned, 2 months
Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines): 3 months
Lean fish (tilapia, halibut): 3 months
Ground meats or poultry: 3 to 6 months
Lamb: 6 to 12 months
Pork: 4 to 6 months
Sausages: 2 to 3 months
Uncooked beef steaks: 6 to 12 months
Whole chicken or turkey: 12 months

How to Freeze Casseroles and Soups

Soups, broths, casseroles, chilis and stews can be frozen and will keep for about 3 months. Pour into plastic airtight containers (portioned, so you can grab a meal for however many people you need), leaving a little room at the top to allow for expansion in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the fridge or at room temperature, then heat on the stovetop or in the oven and eat.

Related: Warm Up with The Pioneer Woman’s Best Soups and Stews

chocolate-chip-cookie-dough

How to Freeze Baked Goods and Desserts

Don’t need to bake all that cookie dough? You can scoop them out and freeze directly on baking trays. Once frozen solid, place the portioned dough in ziplock bags, or wrap them tightly in plastic and just bake however many cookies you you need. They’ll be good in the freezer for up to 3 months. Baked cookies can last 6 to 8 months tightly wrapped in the freezer.

Here are some other desserts from Anna Olson you can make, bake (or not) and freeze.

Cakes (unfrosted): 3 months
Cheesecakes: 6 months
Fruit pies (unbaked): 3 months
Fruit pies (baked): 6 months
Muffins and quick breads: 12 months

Preparing and Packing Food for the Freezer

• Make sure all packaging is airtight to avoid freezer burn.

• Label all foods with the date you froze them.

• Portion your foods so you can easily select the right amount of food to thaw, without wasting.

• Leave room at the top of liquids (milk, soups) for expansion as they freeze.

• Keep your frozen food “fresh” with more of our top Tips to Prevent Freezer Burn.

This Chocolate Tahini Coffee Granola Will Make You a Morning Person

It just might be the case that three of the very best ingredients in the world are tahini, chocolate and coffee. So naturally, we were committed to finding a way to stir them all together into one delectable healthy breakfast that can’t be beat. Enter this creamy, flavour-forward granola with a kick of coffee and cacao powder. These three ingredients marry well together because they heighten each other’s bitterness, sweetness and richness, making this granola such a treat. Sprinkle it onto yogurt (or a non-dairy equivalent) for added texture and creaminess… and while you’re at it, double the batch.

Related: Bright and Beautiful Breakfasts That’ll Get You Excited for Spring

Healthy Chocolate Tahini Coffee Granola Recipe

Servings: 6 ½ cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup almonds
1 cup pecans
1 cup pumpkin seeds
2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup rolled oats
¼ cup raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
⅓ cup ground decaf coffee (or caffeinated if you want an extra kick!)
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp sea salt
½ cup tahini
¼ cup maple syrup
½ cup coconut oil, butter or avocado oil

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl. If you like, you can roughly chop the nuts and seeds by hand or in a food processor.

3. Place a saucepan on medium heat and whisk together the tahini, maple syrup and coconut oil until velvety.

Related: How to Make Oat Milk 5 Ways (And Why It’s the Best Non-Dairy Option)

4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry, and mix until well combined.

5. Spread the mixture out onto a baking sheet. Use two baking sheets if needed, as you don’t want to overcrowd the granola.

Related: Healthy High-Protein Oatmeal, Dressed Up 3 Delicious Ways

6. Bake for 25 minutes, stirring at the 15-20 minute mark (we stirred at 20 minutes) then allow to cool for at least 10 minutes so the granola has the opportunity to harden.

7. Enjoy with dairy or non-dairy yogurt or milk, or by the handful.

Keep morning meals a priority and whip up a batch of these healthy loaded breakfast cookies or nourishing pancakes made with “green banana” flour.

Irresistible Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream and Smoked Salt

The combination of chocolate and peanut butter will forever be a classic, but the addition of smoked salt takes these cupcakes to a new level. A childhood favourite, reinvented. The cupcakes feature a peanut butter base with a rich chocolate buttercream piped mile high. To find the flaked smoked salt, visit the spices section in your grocery store. Biting into one of these decadent beauties just might become the sweetest part of your week.

Related: 25 Sinful Chocolate Desserts That Are Worth the Indulgence

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream and Smoked Salt

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Bake Time:
20 minutes
Total Time:
45 minutes
Serves: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cake Batter 
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
⅓ cup natural peanut butter, smooth
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp fine salt
¾ cup whole milk

Frosting
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 to 4 cups powdered sugar, or to taste
½ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
¼ tsp fine salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ cup whipping cream, cold
Smoked flaked salt, for sprinkling

Related: The Only Oatmeal Cookie Recipes You Need in Your Life

Directions:

Cake Batter
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 12 tin cupcake tray with liners.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, peanut butter and sugar.

3. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until well combined.

4. Sift in the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

5. Turn the mixer to low speed and slowly add the milk. Turn mixture to medium speed and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

6. Using a large ice cream scoop, evenly divide mixture among the prepared cupcake tray.

7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops bounce back to touch. Let cool completely before frosting.

Related: How to Melt and Temper Chocolate for Perfect Candy Making

Frosting
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt and vanilla. Beat until well combined, about 2 minutes.

2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the whipping cream. Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

3. Transfer frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe cupcake as desired and finish with a sprinkle of salt. These are best enjoyed within 24 hours!

For more cakey, frosting goodness try Molly Yeh’s Carrot Cake with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting or Anna Olson’s Very Best Cupcake Recipes.

Molly Yeh’s Carrot Cake with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting is Simply Show-Stopping

Your carrot cake game will never be the same once you try Molly Yeh’s sensational spring recipe. The secret ingredient that sets this dessert apart from the other carrot cake recipes you’ve tried in the past? Cardamom-forward hawaij, a warm spice blend from Yemen that Molly adds to both the cake and the creamy frosting. The simple (read: genius!) rainbow carrot rosettes adorning the cake also lend a touch of whimsy. Don’t be surprised if your friends and family ask for a second slice… it really does, dare we say, take the cake as the recipe to bake this season.

Related: Carrot Cake Recipes in Every Form, From Cupcakes to Cookies

Molly Yeh’s Carrot Cake with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Serves:
6-8

Ingredients:

Carrot Cake
Nonstick cooking spray, for the cake pans
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp hawaij (see Cook’s Note)
1 ½ cups neutral oil, such as canola
1 cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste or extract
2 cups shredded carrots
2 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

Spiced Frosting
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp heavy cream
1 Tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp hawaij
Pinch of kosher salt
Rainbow carrots, peeled into ribbons with a peeler, to decorate
1 rosemary sprig, leaves picked, to decorate

Cook’s Note: Hawaij is a Yemeni warm spice blend that’s heavy on the cardamom and can be used to flavour baked goods, frosting or even sprinkled in coffee! You can make a substitute by mixing 1 Tbsp ground ginger, 1 Tbsp ground cardamom, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground cloves and 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon.

Related: Carrot Cake and Cheesecake Combine Into One Glorious Dessert

Directions:

Carrot Cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 8-inch cake pans with non-stick cooking spray and line with parchment. Set aside.

2. Combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, baking soda and hawaij in a large bowl. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Whisk in the vanilla.

Related: Bright and Beautiful Breakfasts to Get You Excited for Spring

3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, and mix until about 90 per cent incorporated. Add the carrots and sesame seeds, and mix to incorporate (by this time, all of the flour mixture should be incorporated as well).

4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes in the pans, and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Related: Simple Spring Dinners Ready in 30 Minutes or Less

Spiced Frosting
1. Add the butter and cream cheese to a large bowl. Mix with a hand mixer until smooth and combined. Add the powdered sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Then add the heavy cream, vanilla, hawaij and salt. Mix until combined and smooth.

2. Cover the cakes with frosting and stack. Use the carrot ribbons to roll into rose shapes and place on top of the cake. Decorate with the rosemary, and serve!

Looking for more standout dishes from the celebrated food blogger and Girl Meets Farm star? Start your day the Molly Yeh way with these breakfast recipes!

No-Knead Olive Za’atar Bread That Looks Fancy (But is Super Easy)

Trust us: This no-knead bread recipe will make you feel like a professional baker. The secret? It’s a super simple, fool-proof recipe that you really can’t mess up, unlike other breads out there. While it does require a bit of time to allow the dough to rise, all good things take time, right? After that, you’ll be off to the races. You can flavour this bread however you please, but we find the combination of our favourite Middle Eastern spice, za’atar, with salty kalamata olives is the perfect marriage of flavours. 

We chose spelt flour because that’s our preferred healthy flour of choice, but you can use a combination of whole- and unbleached-wheat flour, or AP flour. When made only with whole-grain, the bread will be dense, so we recommend combining a light or unbleached variety to give it airiness and levity. Now go impress yourself and your friends, and get baking!

Related: How to Make the Perfect Sourdough Loaf (Bread Baking for Beginners)


No-Knead Olive Za’atar Bread Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Proofing Time: 6-18 hours
Bake Time: 75 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups light spelt flour
1 cup whole spelt flour
1 ½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp za’atar
½ tsp dry active yeast
1 ½ cups room temperature water
¼ cup coarsely chopped kalamata olives

Directions:

1. Place dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl, including the yeast.

2. Make a small well in the middle of the ingredients, and pour in the water. Mix slowly to incorporate, then fold in the olives. A shaggy dough will begin to form. Do not over-mix. 

Related: Conquer Brunch With This Make-Ahead Veggie Strata and Sourdough Bread

3. Once the dough mixture is shaggy, cover the bowl with a towel and let rest anywhere from 6-18 hours. The longer you wait, the better the dough.

4. After the resting period, the dough will have doubled in size.

5. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Place a large oven-safe pot with a tight lid into the oven. We prefer a dutch oven. Leave it there for 30 minutes. 

Related: How to Make Everything Garlic Bread Knots

6. While the dutch oven is heating up, take the dough out of the bowl and place it onto a floured surface. The dough will be very sticky, so be generous with the flour. Begin to roll it into a ball, but remember, this is no-knead, so there is “no need” to start pounding it or folding it. Simply round it into a ball and leave it alone.

7. Lightly oil the bowl and place the dough back into the bowl. Cover it with a towel and let sit for the remainder of the 30 minutes that your pot is heating up.

8. After 30 minutes, remove the pot from the oven (it will be hot so be careful!). Remove the lid and place a piece of parchment paper into the pot and drop the dough in. Put the lid back on and bake for 30 minutes.

9. Once the 30 minutes is up, remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes.

10. Then, take the freshly baked bread out of the oven and place it onto a cooling rack. You will be so impressed at how artisanal it looks, not to mention that you actually made it yourself, from scratch!

11. Enjoy with butter, ghee, olive oil or on its own.

Now that you’ve conquered bread from scratch, pair it with one of these healthy Middle Eastern recipes you’ll make on repeat.

9 Easy Weekly Meal Plan Ideas That Really Work

Between busy schedules and a family full of picky eaters,  the dinner struggle is real. Finding inspiration for quick, budget-friendly and (at least somewhat) healthy meals can challenge the best of home cooks, never mind those whose plates are already heaped pile-high.

That’s where meal planning becomes a lifesaver—if you can take the time to actually do it. If you don’t have the means to sit down weekly and plot out your favourite fare, we’ve got your back with this simple guide that will help you plan your meals and grocery list, too. These meal ideas and recipes (one for every night of the week, plus two bonus ideas to swap in and out) makes preparing a weekly meal plan  or menu easy while helping you to create dishes that are anything but routine.

How to Start Meal Planning? Try These No-Fail Meal Planning Ideas!

 

easy-pasta-pumpkin-sausageGet the recipe for Pasta with Pumpkin and Sausage

1. Start with Pasta

Pasta is an affordable universal favourite, so why not make it a weekly thing? Having a designated pasta night is genius because you can essentially pair any kind of pasta with whichever sauce, protein and veggie you feel like, and then you can do something completely different the following week.

Looking for some inspiration other than another plate of spaghetti and meatballs? Try these recipes instead:

Pasta with Pumpkin and Sausage

15-Minute Three-Cheese Spring Pasta with Peas

Sweet Potato and Zucchini Noodle Pasta with Garlic Scapes and Grilled Shrimp 

Anna Olson’s Beef Stroganoff

Ina Garten’s Bow Tie Pasta with Broccoli and Peas

korean-steakGet the recipe for Korean-Style Marinated Skirt Steak

2. You Can’t go Wrong with Protein and Veg 

A  barbecued, baked or even pan-fried cut of meat or fish always pairs well with some steamed or baked veggies. Switch up your marinades and cooking methods for even more variety, and then throw in some rice, lentils or potatoes for a complete meal.

Want some new ideas? Check out these simple-to-prepare recipes:

Giada De Laurentiis’ Ginger-Soy Chicken Wings

No-Mess Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Pork Tenderloin with Chipotle-Maple Mop

Flank Steak with Chimichurri

Bobby Flay’s Korean-Style Marinated Skirt Steak

Baked Fish Packets

Anna Olson’s Horseradish Grill-Roasted Salmon

chourico-kale-soupGet the recipe for Portuguese Chourico and Kale Soup

3. Soup and Salads are Your Friends

There are so many hearty salads and filling soups out there these days that it’s easy to make either one a meal in itself. If the weather is nice, plan on eating an elevated salad one night of the week with some fancy ingredients to make it interesting. Or, for those weeks when you need something a little more comforting, plan on having a hot soup and some crusty baguette to go with it.

Get started with these recipes:

Immune-Boosting Bone Broth, Chicken and Vegetable Soup

The Pioneer Woman’s Cheesy Cauliflower Soup

Portuguese Chourico and Kale Soup

Asian Noodle Salad with Sweet Ginger Dressing

Marinated Artichoke Salad with Prosciutto and Parmesan

Grilled Turkey, Brie and Pecan Salad

Instapot-Pulled-Pork-recipeGet the recipe for Instant Pot Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwich

4. Make Use of Your Slow Cooker or Instapot

Who doesn’t love a meal that you can throw together and then forget about until it’s ready? That’s the beauty of slow-cookers and Instapots—they do all of the heavy lifting for you. Figure out which night of the week will be your busiest, and then plan to use either tool to help pull dinner together in a breeze.

Need a new Crockpot or pressure cooker recipe? Check out any of these delicious dishes:

Instant Pot Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwich

Instant Pot Chicken Adobo

Alton Brown’s Pressure Cooker Chili

Slow-Cooker Enchiladas Two Ways

Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs

Slow Cooker Shrimp Boil

Spicy-Shrimp-Fried-RiceGet the recipe for Spicy Shrimp and Pineapple Fried Rice

5. Stock up on Easy-to-Assemble Ingredients

Having a well-stocked pantry is always key when it comes to throwing together last-minute dinners, or figuring out how to use up fresh ingredients that have been sitting in your fridge for a few extra days. Make sure to keep things like canned tuna, crab or chicken on hand, as well as lots of stock, tomato sauce and a few protein-filled grains and legumes.

Check out these simple ideas to elevate your basic pantry staples:

Crispy Tuna-Cake Sliders with Citrus Slaw

Stuffed Mozza Peppers

Classic Crab Cakes with Pea Puree

One-Pot Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Farmer’s Market Quinoa Salad

Spicy Shrimp and Pineapple Fried Rice

giadas-Lasagna-Rolls Get the recipe for Giada de Laurentiis’ Lasagna Rolls

6. Find Your Freezer Meals

Remember those freezer meals you made a few months ago that have been sitting in your freezer just waiting to be eaten ever since? Well, make use of them already, especially if you know you have an evening coming up where preparing dinner is just going to be another thing to worry about. And if you haven’t gotten on the freezer meal train just yet, you may want to think about starting. Whether it’s doubling up on your next pasta sauce or cobbling together a second lasagna or tray of enchiladas, there are plenty of freezer meals that you can make ahead of time to enjoy on those hectic nights when cooking is the last thing you want to be doing.

Turkey-Burger-Patty-Melts-recipeGet the recipe for Guy Fieri’s Turkey Burger Patty Melts

7. Have an Eat-With-Your-Hands Night

Whether it’s a burger, pizza or taco, it’s always fun to eat with your hands. That’s probably why these are the same fast-food items we tend to usually order throughout the week. If you want to save money, use better ingredients and still have a meal in a matter of minutes for a well-deserved Eat-With-Your-Hands night!

From pizza and tacos to sloppy joes and charcuterie boards, there are plenty of hands-on dishes to choose from here:

Bobby Flay’s Shredded Chicken and Tomatillo Tacos

Southwestern Sloppy Joes

Ina Garten’s Cheese and Bread Platter

Guy Fieri’s Turkey Burger Patty Melts

cauliflower-pot-pieGet the recipe for Vegan Shepherd’s Pie with Crispy Cauliflower Crust

8. Make One Night a Meatless Night

We’ve heard of Meatless Mondays, but really any night of the week is a good excuse to go meatless—especially when you incorporate foods like whole grains, quinoa and barley that fill the tummy and soul. Stir yourself up a creamy risotto, build a yummy Buddha bowl with all the things, or stuff an eggplant or squash with some whole grains and nuts. Keep it simple and hearty, and before long, you won’t even remember a time when you didn’t incorporate a meatless dish into your meal planning.

Check out these 20 easy vegan weeknight dinner recipes to get you started.

Leftover-Turkey-Chili-recipeeGet the recipe for Leftover Turkey Chili

9. Plan a Designated Leftover Night

Last but not least, it’s always a great idea to make one night an evening of no planning. That’s right, we’re talking leftovers. Once a week, throw whatever leftovers you have in the fridge on the table for everyone to enjoy, or reimagine them into a creative, brand new dish that requires very little effort.

Check out some of our favourite ways to use up leftovers here:

Leftover Steak and Potato Salad with Bold Tomato Dressing

Italian Chicken Pasta Salad

Sweet Arancini with Leftover Rice

Leftover Turkey Chili

Leftover Chili Mac and Cheese

Looking for more meal planning tips? Try these hacks that will help you plan like a pro.

The Healthy Loaded Oatmeal Cookie You’re Meant to Eat for Breakfast

Cookies for breakfast? You heard us right. Think of these healthy baked goods as chewy (portable) granola, sweetened with maple syrup and packed with wholesome ingredients, like chia seeds and walnuts. The cookies are also gluten-free – the batter uses oat flour instead of all-purpose, but you’d never know it!

Don’t have oat flour on hand? Make your own by grinding whole oats in a food processor until the mixture resembles a flour consistency. Just be sure to measure the oat flour after you grind it, not before. To turn this recipe into a dairy-free breakfast, simply substitute the butter with equal parts coconut oil. Pairing these cookies with your morning coffee will make everything that much sweeter.

Related: Healthy High-Protein Oatmeal, Dressed Up 3 Delicious Ways

Gluten-Free Breakfast Oat Cookies

Prep Time: 18 minutes
Chill Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 12 cookies

Ingredients:

½ cup unsalted butter, melted
½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
¼ cup maple syrup
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups gluten-free old fashioned oats
1 cup gluten-free oat flour
1 Tbsp chia seeds
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp fine salt
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
¼ cup pumpkin seeds

Related: Green Banana Flour is Here to Stay, And This Pancake Recipe Proves It

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the butter, sugar, maple syrup, egg and vanilla until well blended.

3. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the oats, oat flour, chia seeds, cinnamon, baking powder and salt until combined.

4. Fold in the cranberries, walnuts and pumpkin seeds.

Related: 3-Ingredient Breakfasts That Will Make Mornings a Breeze

5. Using a large ice cream scoop, evenly divide mixture into 12 rounds. Let chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.

6. Transfer dough to a prepared baking sheet and press each round to flatten.

7. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.

8. Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For more inspiration, here are our best high-protein breakfast recipes, the only make-ahead breakfast ideas you need, and a look into what healthy people eat for breakfast.

This Tangy Baked Lemon Tart is The Tastiest Way to Ring in Spring

I say, when life gives you lemons, use ’em! I’ve always loved lemons and gravitate to all lemon-flavoured treats, from lemon meringue pie to lemon bars. My love for lemons continues with this semi-sweet tart that is nothing short of delicious. With its bright yellow filling, it’s also a statement piece, making it the perfect dessert to serve at an Easter meal or any other special occasion. You can eat it on its own, but it also pairs nicely with fresh raspberries and a dollop of whipped cream.

Related: Our Very Best Lemon Desserts to Make This Spring

Baked Lemon Tart Recipe

Serves 8

Ingredients:

Crust
1½ cups (375 ml) all-purpose flour
⅓ cup (75 ml) icing sugar
½ cup (125 ml) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
½ tsp (2 ml) kosher salt
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp (30 ml) whipping (35%) cream

Filling
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
¾ cup (175 ml) whipping (35%) cream
½ cup (125 ml) granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
½ cup (125 ml) fresh lemon juice (about 4 lemons

Directions: 

1. To make the crust, add the flour, icing sugar, butter and salt to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles sand.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and cream. Add to the bowl of the food processor and pulse until the dough just comes together.

3. Turn the dough out onto a clean counter and shape it into a disc. Wrap the disc in plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Related: 5 Gorgeous Pastel Cakes to Make Your Spring Table Shine

4. Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper until it is about 1/16 inch (2 mm) thick. Place it in a 10-inch (25 cm) tart tin with a removable bottom, pressing it into the bottom and fluted edges. Using a paring knife, remove any dough that sticks out of the tin. Place the tin on a baking sheet and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

6. Crumple up a piece of parchment paper to eliminate any sharp edges that would dig into the dough and line the tart with it. Put either baking weights or dried beans on the parchment paper and blind bake the crust for 15 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and weights or beans and return the crust to the oven to bake for an additional 10 minutes, until golden. Remove the crust from the oven and reduce the temperature to 300°F (150°C).

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s Best Spring Recipes For Every Meal

7. To make the filling, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, cream, granulated sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Using a fine mesh sieve, strain the mixture into a large glass measuring cup with a spout.

8. Place the tart tin back in the oven on the middle rack. Slide the rack out halfway and slowly pour the filling into the tart shell. Gently slide the rack back in. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the centre is almost set (it should still move a bit when you gently shake the pan). It will continue to set once you remove it from the oven. Let cool completely, then cover the tart with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours before serving. Store in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Related: Delightful Easter Desserts That Make Spring Even Sweeter

Excerpted from Gather at Home by Monika Hibbs. Copyright © 2020 by Monika Hibbs. Published by Penguin Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

For more creations from Monika Hibbs,  you’ll love these DIY beeswax-covered food wraps (they’re so simple to make!).

Middle Eastern Sumac Chicken with Date Syrup, Lemon and Pecans

We love easy Middle Eastern dishes that look like you put a lot of effort into them when you didn’t, and this is one of them. If you’ve never cooked with sumac before, this is the perfect recipe to start. You can find it at most conventional grocery stores in the international aisle. It has a natural tangy, lemon flavour with a vibrant purple colour, that pairs really well with other citrus fruits, like roasted lemons. Roasting a lemon only amplifies the fruit’s juiciness and sweetness, transforming it into a little yellow flavour bomb. Topping the chicken with fresh herbs brightens the dish, while the date syrup rounds out the meal, and the toasty pecans add crunch. You’ll be greeted with a delectable combination of textures and flavours with every bite. Not to mention, this dinner staple is easy on the eyes, making it a reliable repeat when entertaining.

Related: One-Pot Chicken Dinners Ready in 30 Minutes or Less

Sumac Chicken with Date Syrup, Roasted Lemon Wedges & Pecans

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 70 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ lemon, squeezed
1 heaping Tbsp sumac
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 tsp date syrup
½ tsp sea salt
1½ lbs chicken thighs (or 4 chicken thighs)
1 leek, diced or 1 red onion, quartered
1 lemon, sliced into wedges
½ cup pecans
Fresh parsley or cilantro, roughly chopped
Date syrup

Directions:

1. Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, sumac, garlic, date syrup and sea salt in a big bowl. Place the chicken in the bowl, get it covered in marinade and let it sit for 30 minutes, if you have time.

2. Preheat oven to 400ºF. In your roasting pan, scatter leeks around the bottom and place the chicken inside. Then scatter the lemon wedges around.

Related: I Cooked With 6 Trending Spices to See if They’re Actually Worth the Hype

3. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes. At the 20 minute mark, add in the pecans to toast. Broil for 3-5 minutes to lightly crisp the chicken.

4. Take everything out and finish with a scatter of fresh cilantro or parsley and a big drizzle of date syrup.

For more ideas, these healthy Middle Eastern recipes are worth making on repeat. And for an on-theme dessert, might we suggest this halva ice cream cake (with a waffle cone crust!).

Top Chef Canada season 8 cast reveal and predictions

Meet This Year’s Top Chef Canada Contestants (Plus Our Season 8 Predictions)

It’s been a long wait, Canada, but the culinary competition show that shines a spotlight on some of the greatest chefs working across the country is back for an eighth season and we’re ravenously awaiting that first Quickfire. Until then, there are 12 hot new contestants ready to fire up those stovetops and take their plates to that next Top Chef Canada level, all under the watchful eyes (and seasoned palates) of a notoriously tough judging panel.

Who will impress judges Mark McEwan, Mijune Pak, Chris Nuttall-Smith and Janet Zuccarini (not to mention host Eden Grinshpan) when the show kicks off, and whose culinary masterpieces will fall flat? We’ve had some time to investigate these contestants—whose experiences and hometowns are among the most diverse yet—and we have a few first impressions and predictions to share…

Top Chef Canada Season 8 Competitors


L-R: Francis Blais, Adrian Forte, Elycia Ross, Brock Bowes, Dominique Dufour, Jo Notkin, Xin Mao, Stephanie Ogilvie, Nils Schneider, Shaun Hussey, Imrun Texeira, Lucy Morrow

Brock Bowes, Kelowna BC

Current gig: Chef/Co-Owner Crasian Food Truck

First impressions: Obviously this chef, with his wacky moustache and his knee-high socks, is full of personality. But he also seems to have the talent to back it up. He’s won Chopped Canada in the past (he donated all $10,000 of his winnings), and he was named the best chef in the Okanagan for four years before trading it in to run a food truck with his girlfriend. Brock says he plans on winning this thing the unconventional way: “I’m going to crush this show and I’m going to do it in a way that nobody has done it before.” Now that’s a first impression.

Our predictions: Sometimes it’s the super creative guys that you need to watch—they try to do everything and then they wind up second-guessing themselves. We all know that there’s no time for that in the Top Chef Canada kitchen, so hopefully, Brock stays on track, cooks the basics the best way he knows how, and then elevates those plates in an elegant way.

Xin Mao, Vancouver

Current gig: Chef/Owner of M8 Bistro & Bar

First impressions: Xin plans on bringing a competitive edge to this competition, something he first learned in business school but has since refined working under Vancouver’s legendary chef Pino Posteraro. The 26-year-old may be young but he’s spent plenty of time honing his skills, and given that this wasn’t his father’s first career choice for him, he also seems to have a lot to prove.

Our predictions: Xin hails from a small town in rural China, but his culinary training is Italian. That means his Chinese-Italian fusion could seriously impress the judges… now all the chef needs to do is stay calm in that pressure cooker of a kitchen so that he can properly execute his vision.

Elycia Ross, Calgary

Current gig: Chef/Owner of Lil’ Truck on the Prairie

First impressions: Elycia is all about redefining classic male toxicity in the kitchen and injecting her plates with good old-fashioned love. As the owner of a successful food truck she definitely knows a thing or two about busting her butt in a small and stressful space, but she also seems like the type to do that with creativity and grace.

Our predictions: The fact that Elycia owns a food truck may have some of the other chefs underestimating her, but once they see and taste her food they’re bound to change their tune. In fact, she may be one of our early underdogs.

Nils Schneider, Calgary

Current gig: Pastry Chef at Hotel Arts

First impressions: Desserts tend to trip up even the best of Top Chef Canada contestants, which makes Nils’ background as a pastry chef so interesting—this guy is all about mastering the different kitchen skills required to execute an amazing plate. From cooking, to butchering, to baking, this guy hasn’t just done it all, he’s also working towards becoming one of the country’s youngest Certified Master Chefs.

Our predictions: You know what they say about a Jack-of-All-Trades… he’s the master of none. So while Nils definitely seems to have a solid foundation heading into this competition, here’s hoping he’ll be equally strong in all of those basics to really stand out.

Dominique Dufour, Ottawa

Current gig: Chef/Owner of Gray Jay

First impressions: This wild child is breaking barriers in terms of female representation in the kitchen and it’s hard not to be here for it. Dominique isn’t shy about her love of butchering animals and using them from nose-to-tail; it’s something her team practices every Saturday at her restaurant, Gray Jay. Given that, we think she will definitely handle the heat in this competition.

Our predictions: Dominique seems pretty fearless, which will definitely come in handy given some of the crazy challenges the contestants face in the Top Chef Canada kitchen. But will she push her plates too far in terms of creativity and let some of that quality slack? Only time will tell.

Imrun Texeira, Ottawa

Current gig: Sous Chef at Stofa

First impressions: If there’s any chef in this competition that seems likely to leave his soul on the plate, it’s Imrun. He’s been classically trained as a French chef but he fuses his food with international techniques and flair, something that has to result in some pretty unique dishes and flavour combos.

Our predictions: Traditionally the Top Chef Canada judges love to be won over by fusion cooking, but only if the basics are done well. If Imrun can nail technique while also giving the judges something innovative, he’s likely to go pretty far in this thing.

Adrian Forte, Toronto

Current gig: Chef Consultant, Chef Du Jour

First impressions: This Jamaican-born chef is in it to win it. As a former Chopped contestant, a chef on Chef in Your Ear, and a culinary instructor at George Brown, he has the experience to back up his craft. Oh, and did we mention he’s also cooked for Drake and his crew? This chef screams confidence and flavour, which will be a spicy combo in the Top Chef Canada kitchen.

Our predictions: Of course celebrity doesn’t impress these judges, they’re here for flavour, creativity and technique. So long as Adrian doesn’t get too comfortable and he pushes his plates to that next level, he may definitely be the one to watch this season.

Jo Notkin, Montreal

Current gig: Chef/Owner of Zoe Ford Catering

First impressions: There have been self-taught chefs in this competition before but none quite like Jo. A decade ago when the recession hit her textile business went under, and she realized her passion was in food. Now as the owner of a successful catering company she has a more simplistic approach than some of the other chefs in this competition, but simple is sometimes the most delicious way to go.

Our predictions: The creations thrown together in a matter of minutes on this series is seriously mind-boggling, so Jo may need to adjust. Still, her flavour-profile game seems strong, so if she can use this as a learning experience she may catapult over the competition yet.

Francis Blais, Montreal

Current gig: Chef de Cuisine at Le Mousso

First impressions: Have you heard the story of the wayward boy who met a girl, fell in love and put his life on track by getting a job as a dishwasher at a restaurant? Before long he worked his way up to chef de cuisine at one of the highest-ranked eateries in Canada, and now he’s on this season of Top Chef Canada. It seems like it took Francis a long time to find his passion, but now that he’s got it he will fight for that prize until the very end.

Our predictions: Francis will definitely blow the judges away by taking risks—after all, that’s how he got his start in the kitchen. What we don’t know is whether those risks will pay off—it’s a fine line in the Top Chef Canada kitchen, folks, and sometimes the things that seemed destined to work out wind up falling flatter than a collapsed soufflé.

Stephanie Ogilvie, Halifax

Current gig: Chef de Cuisine at Chives

First impressions: How do you know if a chef truly loves what he or she does? When she spends her one night off a week running a 12-course underground style supper club with her husband, perhaps? That’s how Stephanie rolls, and now she’s ready to show the rest of Canada just how passionate (and delicious) her plates can be.

Our predictions: Stephanie has a long-standing but friendly rivalry with last season’s female frontrunner, Renée Lavallée, so she may have gotten a few insider tips on what it takes to survive in this competition. Not that she’ll necessarily need it, but any edge on this show is still an edge.

Shaun Hussey, St. John’s 

Current gig: Chef/Owner of Chinched

First impressions: Shaun may not have the confidence that the rest of the competitors seem to have walking into this competition, but his wife definitely believes in him. At any rate, we’re hoping Shaun will continue what season six winner Ross Larkin started, and that’s shining a light on the culinary prowess of Canada’s easternmost province.

Our predictions: If we learned anything from watching Ross on this series it’s that the judges always appreciate a dish that showcases distinctive Canadian roots. So if Shaun can show his unique East coast upbringing with elevated techniques, he’s someone we could get pretty excited by.

Lucy Morrow, Charlottetown

Current gig: Executive Chef at Terre Rouge Craft Kitchen

First impressions: Lucy may be young, but she is one talented chef. At 26 years old she’s already been named executive chef at one of the country’s Top 100 restaurants, she’s cooked for the prime minister, and she seems to have an unmatched passion for what she does. This chef is definitely going to show us a thing or two about how Millennials do Top Chef Canada.

Our predictions: There are some pretty fierce competitors this season, but Lucy seems to be among those with the most to prove. We’re betting on her to cook some pretty bold dishes this season, which will definitely get the judges’ attention.


The competition begins April 13 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network Canada.

 

 

 

strawberry-jam-what-to-do-with-fruit

10 Brilliant Ways to Use Fruit That’s Going Bad

Spring and summer are full of bright and fresh flavours, especially in the fruit department. Beautiful berries are calling our name, melons are at their ripest, baskets of juicy peaches and nectarines are readily available, and perfect plums take us well into the fall.

That’s probably why it’s so easy to overstock on some of these offerings—especially as we tell ourselves we’re going to eat better, lighter and fresher.

So what do you do with that big batch of berries once it’s starting to get mushy, or that basketful of peaches that’s starting to bruise?
Well we have a few ideas!

raspberry-smoothie

1. Blend up a Smoothie
The best part about ripe fruit is that it’s usually sweetest. That makes it a great natural sweetener for your next power breakfast smoothie. Can’t use it all at once? Freeze washed and prepared fruit in airtight containers or plastic bags and enjoy summer-inspired smoothies long into fall. Try this recipe for a Raspberry Refresher Smoothie.

how-to-make-fruit-popsicles

2. Freeze Fruity Popsicles
Turn that fruit into a natural popsicle that’s loaded with flavour and good-for-you ingredients. Puree ripe fruit in a blender until smooth then either pour directly into popsicle moulds or mix in some Greek yogurt or milk for a creamier treat. Learn How to Make Summer Fruit Popsicles.

cornmeal-pancakes-with-blueberry-sauce

3. Whip up Pancakes
Who doesn’t love fresh fruit on top of their stack with a little maple syrup? So why not alter your recipe and incorporate a fruit puree either on top or in the actual batter? It’s a great way to use aging fruit while switching up your weekend breakfast routine. Try The Pioneer Woman’s Cornmeal Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup.

Citrus-chicken-with-raspberry-barbecue-sauce

4. Make a Marinade
We don’t often think of mixing meat and fruit, but some fruits actually make for great tenderizers. Chicken and pork can always benefit from a little fruity marinade; in fact we pretty much consider them a match made in heaven. Try Citrus Chicken with Raspberry Barbecue Sauce.

spinach-and-strawberry-salad-with-warm-bacon-vinaigrette

5. Toss Together a Summer Salad
We’re fans of fruit in our salad, especially when you play around with the flavour profiles. Peaches and steak go great with arugula and goat cheese, while strawberries, spinach, toasted pecans and chicken are a classic match. Riper fruit adds an unexpected sweetness that really livens up your plate. Try Valerie Bertinelli’s recipe for Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette.

Summer Berry Sangria

6. Shake up a Fruity Cocktail or Boost Water with Flavour
Muddled fruit adds infinite flavour to regular old booze like vodka and gin. Create a signature cocktail (bonus points if you can mix in some fresh herbs too) for your next barbecue, or just stick to regular old sparkling water if you want to go easy on the drinking under that hot sun. Try this Summer Berry Sparkling Sangria.

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7. Jam Out
There’s nothing quite like fresh jam, is there? When done correctly it keeps forever and makes for great gifts. Jam is a terrific way to use up fruit that’s about to expire, especially if you want to liven up plain old toast or cookies. Try The Pioneer Woman’s Strawberry Jam.

plum-cheesecake galette

8. Fill a Pie
We’re always fans of pie, no matter what the season. If you’ve got extra fruit, go ahead and whip up a few to freeze for later. Or, if you’re in the mood for a single serving of pie flavours, cut up some fruit into a bowl, add a little cinnamon and microwave it for a minute or so. Or try this Plum Cheesecake Galette.

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9. Jazz up Your Yogurt
Know those “fruit-on-the-bottom” yogurts you buy? Yeah, they’re loaded with cornstarch and other added sugars. Why not whip up a healthier, fruity yogurt on your own? Muddle or blend your fruit and stir it into plain Greek yogurt. Add a little granola or chopped nuts for some extra crunch. Try Bobby Flay’s Berries Romanoff Parfait.

Raspberry Peach Fruit Leather

10. Make Fruit Leather
This works best if you have a food dehydrator, but you can do it with a regular old oven too. These “fruit roll-ups” are perfect for children and adults alike, and make for a perfect snack to-go. Try Anna Olson’s recipe for summer Raspberry Peach Fruit Leather, subbing in ripe fruit for the frozen stuff.

Too much fruit? Learn how to Get Rid of Fruit Flies for Good.

Anna Olson Chocolate Recipes for Every Skill Level

Anna Olson’s Chocolate Recipes for Every Skill Level: Easy to Advanced

Has Great Chocolate Showdown inspired you to try out some new skills in your kitchen? Not all chocolate recipes are created equal, so we asked Canada’s most beloved baker and Great Chocolate Showdown host Anna Olson to help us break down which of her recipes would be best suited to your skills.

Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro, here are Anna Olson’s best chocolate recipes for bakers of all levels.

Easy Chocolate Recipes for Baking Beginners

Anna Olson’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you’re not sure where to start your chocolate baking journey, look no further than this classic bake — cookies. “Chocolate chip cookies are a great basic because it gets you into the chocolate world,” recommended Anna.

Anna Olson's Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies RecipeGet the recipe for Anna Olson’s Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

Anna Olson’s Fudge Brownies

For a serious sweet tooth, fudgy brownies are another great option for new home bakers, and as a bonus, they use items you probably already have in your kitchen. “Brownies take minimal equipment. If you’ve got a pot, a pan, and a whisk, you can make brownies,” said Anna.

Anna Olson's Fudge Brownie RecipesGet the recipe for Anna Olson’s Fudge Brownies

Intermediate Chocolate Recipes if You Have a Few Baking Skills Under Your Belt

Anna Olson’s Chocolate Fudge Cake

For home bakers who have the basic chocolate skills down and want to give themselves a challenge, Anna provided some delightful options.

“You can get into fun things like chocolate crinkle cookies, a good, rich chocolate cake, a flourless chocolate torte, or vegan chocolate cupcakes with fudge frosting,” Anna shared.

Anna Olson's Chocolate Fudge CakeGet the recipe for Anna Olson’s Chocolate Fudge Cake

Advanced Chocolate Recipes for Baking Masters

Anna Olson’s Rich Chocolate Mousse Cake

If you’re ready to face the ultimate home baking challenge and show off your chocolate technique, Anna had a couple of ideas.

“I have a delicious chocolate mousse cake: chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, and it’s got a dark chocolate mirror glaze, which is really hot right now,” she divulged.

Anna Olson's Rich Chocolate Mousse CakeGet the recipe for Anna Olson’s Rich Chocolate Mousse Cake

“[My] chocolate souffle is another very challenging recipe,” she also shared. “It takes confidence, and you have to feel positive that you know how to get it just right.”

Anna Olson's Grand Chocolate Souffles with Salted Caramel SauceGet the recipe for Anna Olson’s Chocolate Souffles with Salted Caramel Sauce

For even more inspiration, watch Anna Olson on the Great Chocolate Showdown, Tuesdays at 9 PM ET/PT only on Food Network Canada.