Save That Leftover Pie Dough and Make These Cinnamon Pinwheel Cookies!

Several pie crust recipes yield enough dough for the top and bottom of a pie, but not all pies require both. When you find yourself with leftover pie dough, don’t let it go to waste. Turn it into a new dessert: cinnamon pinwheel cookies. They taste like mini cinnamon rolls! They’re super simple to make and are so good that you might just find yourself going out of your way to have “leftover” pie dough.

Leftover Pie Dough Cinnamon Pinwheel Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 12 to 15 minutes
Total Time: 27 to 30 minutes
Servings: 12 pinwheel cookies

Ingredients:

½ batch pie crust, chilled
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch fine salt

Directions:

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

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll pie dough into a 12 by 8 inch rectangle.

3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together butter, sugar, cinnamon and salt until well blended.

Related: Start Your Morning on a Sweet Note With These Gooey Cinnamon Buns

4. Spread the prepared filling evenly over dough. Tightly roll the dough, beginning from the 12 inch side. Press the seam to seal. Trim and discard the ends, about ½ inch on each side. Cut log into ¼ inch thick slices and transfer to prepared baking sheet.

5. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to chill. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until edges begin to brown.

Looking for more fun at-home baking projects? Try these lemon meringue cupcakes and secret ingredient carrot cake.

We Tested 5 Vegan Egg Substitutes — This One is the Winner

There are so many options these days when it comes to replacing eggs in your vegan baking. So, we decided to test a whole bunch of substitutes to see which ones went boom and which ones went bust. We chose to test them all with the same brownie recipe, since we know brownies can be quite forgiving and almost always delicious (and it meant we got to eat a lot of brownies!). We deliberately left out commercial, store-bought brands and tested the most common egg replacements you probably already have stocked in your kitchen pantry. Let’s introduce you to our five vegan egg contenders.

Chia Egg

Both flax and chia eggs are classic substitutes used in vegan baking. We find them to be quite interchangeable so we only tested this recipe with chia. To make a chia egg, add 1 Tbsp of whole or ground chia seeds to 3 Tbsp of water. Whole chia seeds can easily get stuck in your teeth, so we recommend using ground unless you’re in a pinch (you can blitz them in a coffee grinder!). Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, until it becomes gelatinous and thick. The reason why this works well in most baked goods, like muffins, cakes, breads and brownies, is because it adds moisture while also acting as a binder and not imparting any flavour. The downside is that because both chia and flax are darker in colour, they’ll change the colour of certain baked goods that are lighter, like cookies or cakes.

Result: The chia brownies came out gooey, fudgy and resembled a more traditional brownie texture.

Related: Common Ingredient Substitutions That Will Bring Your Recipes to Life

Aquafaba

Aquafaba is newer on the vegan baking scene. It’s the reserved liquid from a can of chickpeas. So once you drain your can of chickpeas, keep the liquid and measure out 3 Tbsp to replace one egg, then whisk it until it becomes frothed. If you put this into a stand mixer for about 3-5 minutes it will become whipped and resemble whipped egg whites with stiff peaks. When it’s that whipped, it’s more ideal for making meringues or macarons. So, we just frothed it. Aquafaba doesn’t tend to give off much moisture, sometimes leading to a drier baked good.

Result: We were really excited to see how the aquafaba would turn out, mainly because it’s so weird and interesting. But unfortunately, it was a bust. The texture was tough and lacked any sort of fluffiness. It also didn’t rise and had a layer of tiny holes on top. This may be because too much air was incorporated into the batter while mixing and became trapped, making it dense and bubbly on top. This is possibly because aquafaba acts more like egg whites, rather than a whole egg.

Arrowroot Starch/Powder

If you don’t have arrowroot, you can replace it with potato starch, cornstarch or tapioca starch. Arrowroot is gluten-free, grain-free and vegan. To replace one egg, make a slurry by combining 2 Tbsp of starch with 3 Tbsp of water. Arrowroot acts as a great binder and thickener, which may change the texture of your baked good to be a little on the drier side.

Result: This was the best looking brownie, but it had a drier, cakier texture and wasn’t as fudgy. If you like a cakier brownie, this is a great egg substitute for you.

Applesauce

Applesauce is a classic substitute for a few different baking ingredients: eggs, sugar, butter and oil. The reason why it works well as an egg replacement is because it adds a lot of moisture, making for a fudgy texture. Use ¼ cup of applesauce to replace one egg.

Result: The applesauce made a great fudgy brownie, but not quite as gooey as the chia brownie. Sometimes applesauce can impart a strong flavour, but we didn’t find that at all and found it was barely detectable. It also had a bit more rise than the chia brownie.

Mashed Sweet Potato

Mashed sweet potatoes are an amazing egg substitute, they offer a natural sweetener, while adding moisture to create a fudgy texture and are thick enough to act as a binder. You’ll need ¼ cup of mashed sweet potato to replace one egg.

Result: The sweet potato brownie came out fairly similar to the applesauce one in terms of fudgy texture and rise, but you could definitely taste the sweet potato, which may or may not be appealing to you.

Related: You Won’t Believe These Fudgy Sweet Potato Brownies Are Totally Gluten-Free

Overall the Winner is…

The chia egg brownie! It had the best texture, was moist, had a good amount of rise and tasted sweet, decadent and chocolatey. If you want to make the brownies yourself, here is the recipe we used.

The Best Vegan Brownie Recipe

Prep Time: 7 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 37 minutes
Servings: 9 brownies

Ingredients:
2 vegan eggs
½ cup coconut oil, melted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup coconut sugar
⅓ cup cocoa powder
½ cup spelt flour
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking powder
½ cup chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8-inch brownie pan with parchment paper.

2. Prepare your vegan eggs and combine them with the coconut oil and vanilla in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Then add the dry into the wet until well combined, but not over-mixed. If you like, you can fold in chocolate chips.

4. Pour the batter into your brownie pan, shake the pan around until the batter is evenly spread out.

5. Bake it in the oven for 30 minutes, allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

Want more vegan baking ideas? This carrot cake recipe and this raspberry cheezecake recipe are so good even non-vegans will love them.

The Price of A Slice: Breaking Down the Costs of Cake

Have you ever bitten into that perfect, ornately decorated slice of cake and wondered why it costs so much more than the one that you bake at home? After all, you’re a pro baker, with a killer carrot cake recipe and decorating chops to avoid #cakefails. You’ve watched all the baking competitions and thought: well, that doesn’t look too hard.

The thing is, you’re paying for not only the baker’s time but their expertise when you buy those custom creations in the bakery. And those prices can vary greatly due to a wide array of factors.


Cakes can be priced per slice or as a whole, and sometimes include consultation and cake tasting sessions with the customer. Frosting a cake with fondant (which tends to lend itself to elaborate preparations due to its pliability) tends to be more expensive than just buttercream, since most fondant cakes require a buttercream layer underneath anyway. Fondant can also sit for longer with less depreciation in quality since it creates a seal around the cake layer — a big bonus for busy bakeries around wedding season, which tends to fall within certain time periods of the year.

Related: Anna Olson’s Cake Decorating Ideas for Swiss, Italian and French Buttercream

Fondant isn’t just restricted to nuptial bliss, however. Although wedding cakes used to be the big showpieces for ornate design, today, people are splashing out for custom cakes for all sorts of occasions, from birthdays to other milestone events, such as awards, albums or even retirements from pro baseball (hey, athletes like cake, too, as evidenced by these creations from Buddy vs. Duff‘s Buddy Valastro.)

Let’s take a look at a few more elements that rack up those cake costs.

Time Is Money

Duff Goldman, pro baker and Food Network baking judge (he’s also set to go up against Valastro in the new season of Buddy Vs. Duff), sets prices for cakes according to difficulty and labour at his bakery Charm City Cakes. It takes a lot of time and training to properly spin sugar, work with isomalt and execute elaborate technique-driven decorating styles (such as macramé and crochet textures, a big trend for 2020, according to Harper’s Bazaar), and the price you pay reflects that level of expertise and experience. A study by The Knot in 2017 estimated that wedding cake makers spend an average of 15.4 hours per cake, with each ornate floral decoration taking about 26.8 minutes.

Related: 50 Wonderful Wedding Cake Recipes to Celebrate Your Big Day

Ingredients Add Up

Both quantity and quality of ingredients also factor into the final price. Even though professional bakers often pay wholesale prices, the cost of that single bean chocolate or gold leaf adds up. Smaller bakeries also aren’t getting the same bulk discounts on flour, butter and sugar as those large scale facilities churning out cakes on conveyor belts, so they are paying a premium (and those costs add up fast: the Knot study estimated that the average wedding cake uses a whopping 13.5 cups of sugar).

Get the Recipe: Naked Wedding Cake

Convenience Is Key

Like most things in life, you’re also paying for convenience. Although the bragging rights for successful checkerboard cakes or other elaborate designs are high, consider what you’d have to stock at home in order to make that creation. Commercial ovens suitable for large scale cakes, scales and piping equipment all cost money (not to mention available storage space), and you’re forking over the cash to avoid storing your own forks. The ability to have someone else take care of the details on your big day, whether it’s a wedding, birthday or other celebration, is often priceless—among other things, cake bakers are often pros at moving sky-high creations, which is a task that’s not for the faint of heart.

So the next time you wonder why that elaborate bakery cake costs what it does, consider the time, labour and love behind each forkful.

Watch The Big Bake: Spring Tuesdays at 9PM ep and stream 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.

 

 

5 Delicious Ways to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at Home (Including a Taco Bar!)

While you could say the star of a Cinco de Mayo party is the margarita, the celebration wouldn’t be anywhere near complete without a rainbow-bright spread starring all of our favourite Mexican dishes, spices and fixings. And just because we’re stuck at home this year doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate in style just the same (bring on the virtual dinner parties!). We’ve even created a taco-themed Zoom background to get the party started.

It’s time to bring on the guac and tacos (okay, and churros for dessert) with this tasty, sweet and savoury Mexican-inspired menu for a successful Cinco de Mayo fiesta at home this Tuesday, May 5th.

Fresh Salsa Verde

When it comes to classic party dishes, you can’t go wrong with a hefty platter of chips and salsa. And this vibrant version, featuring fresh green tomatoes, mint leaves, garlic and lime juice, is guaranteed to satisfy taste buds everywhere. Don’t have mint? Swap for fresh or dried basil, or any other herbs you have on hand!

Get the recipe for Fresh and Minty Salsa Verde

Classic Guacamole

Where there’s chips and salsa, there should also be an (extra-large) offering of guacamole. Try this super simple five-ingredient recipe and serve with these non-traditional — but incredibly delicious — homemade wonton chips. Cue the drools.

guacamole-with-crispy-chips
Get the recipe for Classic Guacamole and Chips

Related: Creative Ways to Eat Avocados (That Don’t Involve Toast)

The Most Epic Stay-at-Home Taco Bar

Now that you and your household have dipped into the homemade salsa and guac, it’s time for the main attraction. And by that we mean the most eye-catching, drool-worthy taco bar that’ll brighten your menu… and entire week, let’s be honest.

Even better? It’s a cinch to assemble: begin by stocking up on Old El Paso hard shells and soft tortillas. Then opt for protein like grilled flank steak, shredded chicken and refried beans. Next come all your favourite fixings: pickled jalapeños, corn, avocado (or the guac you made!), shredded lettuce, sliced peppers, fresh cilantro and lime wedges. Last but certainly not least: shredded cheddar, sour cream and a whole lot more salsa for good measure. Voila!

Related: Tasty Taco Recipes You’ll Crave Every Day of the Week

Bean Salad

This colourful side dish features a medley of refreshing flavours — corn kernels, bell peppers, red onion, cherry tomatoes, avocado, pinto beans and fresh cilantro — then it’s tossed in a light, garlicky lime dressing before serving.

pinto-bean-salsa-saladGet the recipe for Pinto Bean Salsa Salad

Related: These Delicious Recipes Will Make You Rethink Canned Beans

Classic Churros with Caramel Sauce

Anyone with a sweet tooth will absolutely devour these doughy deep-fried, cinnamon-sugar treats. The best part? They only take 15 minutes to make thanks to using store-bought puff pastry.

cinco-de-mayo-churro-recipe
Get the recipe for 15-Minute Churros with Caramel Sauce

Wash down these eats with a refreshing drink to sip and celebrate. Here are our very best Cinco de Mayo cocktails.

Anna Olson’s Herbed Avocado Dip Will Take Your Sandwiches and Veggies to the Next Level

As we continue to spend more time at home, there’s no time like the present to get kids engaged in meal prep and cooking. And what better way to keep little hands busy than with a versatile homemade spread that they can help you make in the kitchen?

This mouth-watering herbed spread crafted by Junior Chef Showdown judge and mentor Anna Olson is as creamy and decadent as it looks — and we wouldn’t want it any other way!  Use it as a flavourful dip for vegetables, as a sauce for grilled salmon or chicken, as a creamy dressing on salads and potato salads, or even in place of mayo on a sandwich.

Related: Meet the Kid Chefs Competing on Junior Chef Showdown

If you’re looking for more fun activities for the kids, download our latest Junior Chef Showdown colouring page.

Anna Olson’s Healthy Avocado Dip and Dressing

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
Makes: about 1 cup

Ingredients: 

¾ cup Greek yogurt
1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
2 green onions, sliced
½ cup fresh cilantro, basil, mint, dill or any combination, roughly chopped
2 to 6 tbsp rice vinegar (see note)*
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
4 Greek pitas
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, cut into 4-inch sticks
2 stalks celery, cut into 4-inch sticks
½ English cucumber, but into ¼-inch rounds

Related: Indulge in Dessert for Breakfast With Anna Olson’s Chocolate Banana Pancakes

Directions:

1.Puree yogurt, avocado, green onions, herbs, rice vinegar, salt and pepper until smooth in the bowl of a food processor. Transfer to a bowl and chill until ready to serve.

2. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush both sides of pitas with olive oil. Grill pitas in batches until golden and charred, about 2 minutes per side. Cut into 8 wedges each.

3. Place veggies and pitas on a serving platter along with dip.

*Add 2 to 3 tbsp vinegar for a dip. Add up to 6 tbsp for a looser mixture to dress salads. This will keep for up to 5 days, refrigerated.


Watch Junior Chef Showdown Tuesdays at 9ep and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

 

Molly Yeh’s Chicken Shawarma Tacos Will Satisfy Your Late Night Takeout Craving at Home

When you can’t decide between tacos and shawarma, why not have both? Resist the urge to order takeout and satisfy your craving with Molly Yeh‘s irresistible chicken shawarma tacos. Warm, fluffy flour tortillas are filled with tender morsels of spiced chicken thigh meat and golden fried onion, then topped with a tasty tahini sauce. Once you’ve tried a bite of this fun food fusion, it’ll instantly become your go-to late night snack.

Related: Healthy Middle Eastern Recipes You’ll Make on Repeat

Molly Yeh’s Chicken Shawarma Tacos

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Serves:
4

Chicken Shawarma Taco Ingredients:

1 Tbsp curry powder
1 Tbsp garam masala
1 1/2 tsp chicken bouillon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 medium onion
10 6-inch flour tortillas
Tahini Sauce, recipe follows
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped

Tahini Sauce Ingredients:
1/4 cup tahini
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Related: Start Your Day the Molly Yeh Way With These Breakfast Recipes

Chicken Shawarma Tacos Directions:

1. In a large bowl, mix together the curry powder, garam masala, chicken bouillon, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Rub all over the chicken and let marinate for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil.

3. Spread the chicken out onto the lined baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly, then slice into bite-size pieces.

4. Thinly slice three-quarters of the onion and dice the remaining one-quarter. Set the diced onion aside for the topping. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil (or 2 tablespoons of the marinade) in a skillet over medium-high and add the sliced onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 7 minutes.

5. Add the chicken and some of the marinade to the onions and cook until crisp and beginning to brown on the edges, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

6. Warm the tortillas on the stove or in the microwave. To assemble, fill them with chicken, Tahini Sauce, diced onion and cilantro.

Related: Molly Yeh’s Carrot Cake With Spiced Cream Cheese Recipe

Tahini Sauce Directions:

1. In a small bowl, mix together the tahini, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons cold water until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper.

Looking for more fun recipes from the star of  Girl Meets Farm? Try Molly Yeh’s grown-up spins on indulgent childhood favourites!

You’ll Never Guess the Secret Ingredient in This Beautiful Carrot Cake

Do you have that one recipe you turn to again and again? The one your family always requests when it’s their birthday? For me, this is that cake. This Baking Therapy recipe is super moist, simple to whip up and full of delicious treats like pecans, coconut and one of my super-secret ingredients — fresh pineapple! And if you make a double or triple batch, you can always turn this single layer treat into an impressive tiered cake.

Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Icing

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Makes: 9 servings

Ingredients:

Cake
2 tsp white vinegar
100 ml whole milk
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup grapeseed oil (or any neutral oil)
5 Tbsp butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cup carrots, grated
1/3 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1/3 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
1/3 cup shredded coconut

Glaze
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp whole milk
3 Tbsp butter
Splash vanilla

Icing
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 ½ cup icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla
Pinch salt
1 Tbsp heavy cream

Directions:

Cake
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9-inch square pan with parchment paper and grease with oil. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, stir together the white vinegar and milk, set aside to curdle.

3. Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger.

4. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, oil and butter. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time and mix well after each addition. Add the milk mixture and vanilla. Mix the dry ingredients to the wet until just combined. Fold in the carrots, pecans, pineapple and coconut.

Related: Our Most Crave-Worthy Carrot Cake Recipes in Every Form

5. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, pushing it into the corners and smooth out the top. Bake in the oven for 28-32 minutes until golden brown and when a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Glaze
1. In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, milk, butter and vanilla over medium-high heat. Once the mixture starts to bubble, turn the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 3-4 minutes until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat.

Icing
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream both butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the icing sugar, vanilla, salt and cream and beat for 1 minute on medium speed.

Assembly
1. Cool the cake in the pan for 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and brush on the glaze while the cake is still warm. Let the cake cool completely before icing the cake. Garnish with sliced carrot hearts and mint leaves, chopped pecans or shredded coconut. Enjoy!

Like Sabrina’s baking? Check out her easy recipe for soft rolls.

Watch out for Sabrina’s baking videos on the Food Network Canada Instagram account.

Whip up This Bright Asparagus and Mushroom Yaki Udon in Just 15 Minutes

We’re all spending more time indoors these days, relying on our pantry staples for dinnertime inspiration. Say goodbye to pasta and tuna and hello to instant noodles and soy sauce with this fast and insanely delicious Japanese stir-fried udon. We love the delightfully chewy and thick whole-wheat noodle and meaty king oyster mushrooms (but feel free to play, mixing your favourite varietals). And the best part? You can whip this up in just over 15 minutes!

Asparagus and Mushroom Yaki Udon

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 16 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
2 packages frozen udon noodles or instant udon noodles
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1 Tbsp rice vinegar or cider vinegar
1 Tbsp water
3 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided
4 green onions, thinly sliced (white and green parts separated)
1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into chunks
1 cup frozen edamame, thawed (you can substitute with frozen peas or corn)
2 packages (150g each) baby king oyster mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, button mushrooms or oyster mushrooms, sliced
Pinch each salt and pepper
2 tsp sesame oil (optional)
Pinch hot pepper flakes (optional)

Optional garnish: toasted sesame seeds, chopped green onions

Directions:

1. Place udon in a large bowl and cover with warm water to thaw; break up with hands and drain in a colander.

2. In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, vinegar and water. Set aside.

Tip: Don’t have ginger? No worries, the soy mixture will still be just as delicious.

3. Heat 1 Tbsp of the vegetable oil in a wok or a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the white parts of the green onion and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add asparagus and edamame and stir fry until slightly tender, about 1 minute. Remove to a plate.

Related: 20 Easy Dinner Recipes Ready in 15 Minutes or Less

4. Heat 4 tsp of the remaining oil in the wok. Add the mushrooms, reserved green onions and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring until tender and golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Reserve to asparagus plate.

5. Heat remaining 2 tsp of oil in the wok. Add the udon and stir fry for 30 seconds. Add the reserved soy sauce mixture and vegetables. Stir fry until liquid comes to a boil, the noodles are coated in sauce and is slightly reduced, 30 to 45 seconds. Drizzle with sesame oil (if using) and sprinkle with hot pepper flakes (if using).

6. Divide among plates and sprinkle with sesame seeds or chopped green onions (if desired).

Want to cook more meals in 15 minutes or less? These weekend BBQ recipes and brunch recipes will surely do the trick.

Take This Quiz to Find Out Which Famous Food Dish You Should Make

It’s dinnertime and let’s face it: when it comes to cooking fresh fare for yourself and your family every single night (AKA adulting), everyone could use a little inspiration or some easy dinner ideas every now and again. But, whether you love whipping up new creations by invoking your favourite Top Chef Canada winners, or you prefer to splurge on takeout and sample some inspiring new plates (and grabbing ideas to try out in your own kitchen while you’re at it), there’s always something to be said about the classics. You know the dishes we’re talking about: the tried-and-true recipes that are so great they will always have a place in our hearts (and on restaurant menus everywhere), no matter how they’re reinvented, deconstructed, or reimagined.

Try it: Get the recipe for grilled Caesar salad with cheddar crisps

The best part about classic food dishes is that they can be made to fit your own personality depending on your tastes, preferences, and flair. They can be transformed into deconstructed plates, made into comfort food, or rolled into a home chef’s menu for the ages with just a few simple tweaks and a little creativity. And quite often, they’re typically just as delicious as the OG dishes on which they’re based.

Just ask the contestants on Top Chef Canada. In this season’s second episode host Eden Grinshpan had them each spin a wheel to see which one of five classic dishes they would reinvent for the judges in the Quickfire challenge, injecting their plates with new ideas in what can only be called the ultimate (foodie) personality test. Some cheftestants churned out plates that were real winners, inspiring us to wonder what we would recreate given the same opportunities.

Related: Which 2020 Culinary Trend Do You Need to Try?

Would poutine be just as delicious if it were smothered in a béchamel sauce and topped with a poached egg? Could you reinvent fish and chips with some crushed salt and vinegar potato chips as a batter and then mix some carrot and turnip fries into your typical potato batch? Of course! So given the chance, how would you put your own spin on one of these classics, from the Caesar salad to a shrimp cocktail?

More importantly, which classic recipe should you tackle in the first place? In honour of the contestants on the show, take our personality quiz to find out which classic dish from the series you should recreate the next time you’re feeling a little bit stuck in the dinner department.

Indulge in Dessert for Breakfast With Anna Olson’s Chocolate Banana Pancakes

With more time at home, now more than ever is the perfect time to introduce kids to cooking. And what better way to get little ones excited about getting in the kitchen than with a brunchtime favourite — pancakes — from Canada’s baking sweetheart?

In this twist on a classic, Junior Chef Showdown judge and mentor Anna Olson gives the classic buttermilk recipe an extra sweet update by adding cocoa powder and tasty ripe bananas that cook to caramelized perfection.

Related: Meet the Kid Chefs Competing on Junior Chef Showdown

If you’re looking for more fun activities for the kids, download our Junior Chef Showdown colouring page and crossword and check back next week for more family-friendly recipes and games.

Anna Olson’s Chocolate Banana Pancakes with Caramel Sauce and Chantilly Cream

Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4

Chantilly Cream Ingredients:

1 cup 35% cream
1 Tbsp instant skim milk powder
1-½ Tbsp icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract

Chantilly Cream Directions:

1. Whip cream and skim milk powder in a large bowl using a hand mixer on high until the cream holds a soft peak. Add the sugar and vanilla and whip just to combine. Chill until ready to use.

Butter Caramel Sauce Ingredients:

3 Tbsp water
2 tsp lemon juice
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup 35% cream
½ cup unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp sea salt

Butter Caramel Sauce Directions:

1. Place water and lemon juice in a medium saucepan and then add the sugar (do not stir). Bring to a full boil on high heat and continue to boil, without stirring, until the sugar becomes amber, about 4 to 6 minutes. As the sugar cooks, occasionally brush the sides of the pot with water to keep the pot clean (this prevents the sugar from crystallizing).

2. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in cream (avert your face to watch to protect from the steam). Add butter and whisk until melted. Whisk in vanilla and salt and set aside to cool to room temperature in the pot.

3. Pour the cooled sauce into a covered bowl or jar and chill until ready to use. Serve the sauce warm.

Related: Sarah Britton’s Gluten-Free Everything Bagel Loaf is the Easiest Bread Recipe Ever

Pancake Ingredients:

1-¼ cups flour
¼ cup cocoa powder, sifted
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine salt
Pinch cinnamon
1-½ cups buttermilk
1 egg
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan
2 Tbsp honey
2 bananas, peeled and sliced into ½-inch thick slices

Garnish:

½ cup chopped, toasted hazelnuts, optional

Pancake Directions:

1. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, melted butter and honey.  Add to flour mixture and stir gently, just until combined (a few lumps are fine).

Related: Anna Olson’s Cocoa Powder Tips

2. Heat a griddle or non-stick skillet over medium heat and grease lightly with butter.  Ladle a ¼ cup of batter for each pancake onto griddle. Cook for one minute, then arrange 3 banana slices on top of each pancake.  Cook until surface of pancake takes on a dull finish and bubbles begin to appear, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook another 2 to 3 minutes.  Remove pancakes to a plate and keep warm while preparing remaining pancakes.

3. Serve your pancakes with a drizzle or caramel sauce and a dollop of whipped cream.  Enjoy immediately.

Watch Junior Chef Showdown Tuesdays at 9ep and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

Here’s How to Organize Your Tupperware Drawer Once and for All

Our Tupperware drawers used to stress us out. Seriously. Just opening them up and seeing the chaos that lurked inside was enough for us to toss leftover food away instead of packing it up — it was so wasteful, we know! The thought of spending more than 10 minutes in an archeological dig to find a matching top and bottom was too much of a feat. It’s like trying to find a matching pair of socks while sifting through an enormous pile of clothes in the dryer: it’s frustrating, it wastes time and there are far better things to be doing. So, we came up with a system that now has our Tupperware drawers looking glorious. Now we proudly package up leftovers anytime, looking at the orderly drawers with awe and admiration. This system will change your life. OK, maybe it won’t change your life, but it will change the function of your kitchen, which will inevitably make you calmer and a little bit happier.

Step 1: Empty it Out
Take a deep breath and open the drawer. Take every single item out of the drawer: all lids, all containers and any other random objects that might be stashed away in there. Make sure to look behind the drawer to see if any lids or containers have fallen back there. Have a clear space ready to transfer all the items onto, like a section of the countertop, the kitchen table or even a clean space on the floor. This is the messy part.

Step 2: Partner and Purge
Often times food storage container drawers will be filled with mismatched lids and containers that are just a waste of space. Start finding partners by stacking all of the same-sized container bottoms together. Push all the lids to the side and work on just the containers first. You will inevitably have singles of some containers or ones that are incredibly large or small, don’t stack these ones with the others, just place them to the side. Once you’re done, move onto stacking all lids that are the same shape and size and ensure they have a matching bottom container. Simply count the number of bottom containers and matching tops to see if the numbers add up.

Now, for the purge. If you have lids with no matching bottoms or bottoms with no matching lids, recycle those, unless you have another use for them. If you have containers that are stained, broken or just plain gross, recycle those too. If you find any other items that are not food storage related, find their appropriate home (that may very well be the garbage).

Step 3: Tame the Lids
In a food storage container drawer, often times it’s the lids that like to go rogue and crazy. It’s time to tame them by placing an elastic band around the stack of ones that are the same shape and size. Then organize them into storage containers that will fit into your drawer. You can find these online or at any kitchen store or dollar store. If your drawer doesn’t have room for the storage containers, you can lay the lids on top of their matching bottoms, but they must be contained with an elastic band.

Related: The Leftover Chicken Recipes You’ll Look Forward to Devouring

Step 4: Clean the Drawer
Before the organized containers can go in, give the drawer a good clean and wipe down. You don’t know what dust, crumbs or yuckiness have been living in there.

Step 5: In With the New
Start putting the stacks of container bottoms into the drawer. If some of the single ones are big, place them in first and stack similarly shaped ones inside of it. Do the same with smaller singles and stack those into similarly shaped larger ones. Make space for the storage containers of lids or place the matching lids on top of their partnered bottoms.

Step 6: Beam With Pride
You did it! You now have a chaos-free Tupperware drawer that is actually user friendly! Aren’t you excited for packing leftovers and snacks now? Your job is not done though — now it’s time to pass this article along to those who desperately need it, you know who they are.

Related: 35 Weeknight Meals That Taste Even Better As Leftovers

Step 7: Maintenance
This is the most important step of them all. Once all your food storage containers are washed and clean, you must put it back properly. Let us repeat. You must put it back properly! That means you don’t just toss it back in the drawer, you stack it where it needs to go. You don’t throw your cutlery all willy-nilly in a drawer, you spend time organizing it into sections. Similarly, you don’t throw your clothes in a drawer, you spend time folding it first. Take this same care and a bit of extra time with your Tupperware drawer. And if you are someone who just throws cutlery in a drawer — we need to talk. Happy organizing!

Ready to use up your leftovers? These fried mashed potato balls and this pasta frittata with salad will help you reinvent the wheel.

Start Your Morning on a Sweet Note With These Gooey Cinnamon Buns

Craving the perfect morning breakfast treat? These fluffy, chewy, golden brown Baking Therapy cinnamon buns, smothered in the most addictive brown butter cream cheese icing will surely do the trick. This is an overnight dough, which means you can make these tonight to enjoy tomorrow. What are you waiting for?

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls With Brown Butter Cream Cheese Icing

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Resting Time: 12 hours
Bake Time: 38 minutes
Total Time: 13 hours, 18 minutes
Servings: 8 cinnamon rolls

Ingredients:

Dough
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm milk
¼ cup white sugar, divided
3 ½ cup bread flour
¾ tsp kosher salt
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, beaten

Filling
¾ cup brown sugar
1 ½ Tbsp ground cinnamon
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Icing
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 ¼ cup icing sugar
Pinch kosher salt
1 Tbsp heavy cream
½ tsp vanilla extract

Related: No Fresh Fruit? Bake These Tasty Sweet Treats With Jam and Jelly

Directions:

Dough
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the yeast, milk and 1 Tbsp of white sugar. Cover with a kitchen towel and let proof for 5-10 minutes until foamy.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the bread flour, remaining white sugar and salt.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the milk mixture and dry ingredients. On low, slowly stream in the butter and eggs. Once the dough starts to come together, switch to the dough attachment and knead on low for 10 minutes until soft and smooth. Form the dough into a round ball, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let proof overnight.

Filling
1. In a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar and ground cinnamon. In another bowl, melt the butter and set aside to cool.

Assembly
1. Butter a 10-inch round pan or any pan of your choice and set aside.

2. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, lightly flour your rolling pin and roll out into a rectangle (about 17 x 14 inches).

3. Brush the dough with the melted butter and sprinkle generously with the brown sugar cinnamon mixture. Leave about a 1 cm border to allow the dough to adhere to each other when rolled.

4. Start with the longest edge nearest to you, tightly roll the dough away from you into a firm log. Pinch the seams together and set the log seam side down.

5. With a serrated knife or unflavoured dental floss, trim off the ends and cut the dough into 2-inch rolls — you should get about 7-8 rolls. Transfer the rolls to the greased pan, cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for another 15-20 minutes, until they’ve doubled in size.

6. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake for 35-38 minute until golden brown and bubbly.

Related: Overnight French Toast, Plus More Easy Breakfast Casserole Recipes

Icing
1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and cook over medium-high heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until it gets foamy and turns a beautiful golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set in the fridge to cool and slightly solidify.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the cream cheese and brown butter. Add the icing sugar, salt, heavy cream and vanilla and whip for 30 seconds until light and fluffy.

3. Spread the brown butter icing on the cinnamon buns as soon as it comes out of the oven. Serve warm.

Like Sabrina’s baking? Check out her easy recipe for soft rolls.

Watch out for Sabrina’s baking videos on the Food Network Canada Instagram account.

Sarah Britton’s Vegan Blood Orange Chocolate Birthday Cake Will Make You Want to Celebrate

In the new Food Network Canada Facebook 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.

This time around, she’s given us a reason to celebrate at home — birthday or not — with a vegan citrus and chocolate birthday cake that you’ll crave all year round.

Related: Homemade Bread Recipes You’ll Want to Make Again and Again

Blood Orange Chocolate Birthday Cake

Dark Chocolate Date Frosting Ingredients:

4 cups/720g pitted dates
½ cup/50g raw cacao powder
½ tsp sea salt
Grated zest of 2 organic oranges
1 cup plant-based milk of your choice

Dark Chocolate Date Frosting Directions:

1. If the dates are really dry, soak them in warm water for an hour or so, until softened. Then drain the dates.

2. Combine the dates, cacao powder, salt and orange zest in a food processor, and pulse to break up the dates. Then slowly add the milk with the processor running until you have a thick, silky frosting that is easy to spread. You may need to stop periodically and use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the food processor. If you have any leftovers, store them, covered, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Related: 20 Comforting Baking Projects That Deserve a Pat on the Back

Chocolate Cake Ingredients:

2 cups/280g whole spelt flour
½ cup/50g unsweetened cacao powder
2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp fine salt
1 cup/250ml pure maple syrup
1¼ cups/ 30ml plant-based milk of your choice
6 Tbsp/90ml coconut oil, melted, plus extra for the pan
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Blood Orange Cake Ingredients:

2½ cups/360g whole spelt flour
2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp fine salt
1 cup/250ml pure maple syrup
Grated zest of 2 organic blood oranges
1¼ cups/300ml freshly squeezed blood orange juice (about 5 oranges)
6 Tbsp/90ml coconut oil, melted, plus extra for the pan
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Decorations:

100g dark chocolate (80%), melted
A few slices dehydrated citrus
3 Tbsp dehydrated raspberries

Blood Orange Chocolate Birthday Cake Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Lightly oil two 7–inch/18cm springform cake pans.

2. Make the chocolate cake batter: In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl combine the maple syrup, milk, coconut oil and vanilla; whisk to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk to remove any lumps. Quickly whisk in the vinegar.

3. Make the blood orange cake batter: In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl combine the maple syrup, orange juice, orange zest, coconut oil and vanilla; whisk to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk to remove any lumps. Quickly whisk in the vinegar.

4. Pour each bowl of batter into its own prepared cake pan. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, approximately 50 minutes. Set the cakes on a wire rack and let them cool for about 20 minutes, then remove them from the pans. Let the cakes cool completely. You may even want to bake them the night before.

Related: 65 Vegan Desserts Even Non-Vegans Will Love

5. Use a long knife to carefully slice each cake in half horizontally, creating four thin layers, total.

6. Put the 7” blood orange cake layer on a platter. Spread the top with about a quarter of the frosting. Put the 7” chocolate cake layer on top, and spread it with frosting. Repeat with the remaining blood orange and chocolate layers.

7. Use the melted chocolate to decorate the dehydrated citrus slices by dipping some into the chocolate half way, and drizzling chocolate over others. Decorate the top of the cake with the decorated dehydrated citrus and crumbled dried raspberries. Serve. (The cake keeps rather well at room temperature, covered, for 5 days.)

For more baking inspiration, Sarah Britton’s Bold and Beautiful Raspberry Cashew Cheezecake is an instant dessert classic, or learn how to make her Keto Salt and Pepper Tahini Cookies and easy Gluten-Free Everything Bagel Loaf.


 

Harry Eastwood’s Quick and Healthy Substitutes for Baking

Spring has sprung, and with it comes a plethora of bold and beautiful baked goods, recipes and seasonal veggies that brighten our spirits after a long, dreary winter. And, like many of us, The Big Bake judge Harry Eastwood is excited to change things up in the kitchen — and incorporate more healthy substitutes into her baking.

“Most of my favourite seasonal ingredients are linked to what’s out in the garden,” she says. “I get quite strong urges for things that are bright and fresh, like lemons.”

Watch: Sweet Substitutes from Joy Wilson

The British-born, Paris-based chef and cookbook author knows more than her fair share about baking hacks and substitutions — not to mention how to seamlessly weave together healthy substitutes and seasonal ingredients. “I’m done with [recipes] that are long and slow,” she says. “I crave foods that are a certain colour more than a certain flavour this time of year.”

Related: 20 Comforting Baking Projects That Deserve a Pat on the Back

So, as the talented teams on The Big Bake continue to wow us with their spring-inspired cake creations, we look to Harry for her easiest healthy baking substitutions for when you’re in a pinch.

Farewell to a Baking Staple

One of the easiest baking ingredients to swap out? Butter. Although that might be a little difficult to hear for those with a serious sweet tooth, the truth is that you won’t actually miss it all that much in your favourite baked goods. (We promise!) “You definitely don’t taste the butter in a sponge cake,” Harry points out as an example. “You taste the buttercream icing. [Butter is] the easiest thing you can lose without noticing so long as you replace it with a healthy fat, like ground nuts, because there needs to be a balancing act with what you put in.” If you’re doing some spring baking, consider replacing butter in our most crave-worthy carrot cake recipes in every form. Other healthy butter substitutes include applesauce, Greek yogurt, buttermilk and avocado.

Related: Anna Olson’s Quick Guide to Ingredient Substitutions

Make it Moist

If you’ve got a variety of veggies on hand and you’re looking to make an epic cake that has some real moisture to it, Harry suggests adding in some of those sweet seasonal veggies. Not only will your cake come out soft and spongy, but it’ll be a whole lot healthier to boot. “I think vegetable cake is so underrated just because it’s healthier,” she says. “But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste good! If you have a vegetable cake with buttercream icing on top, I defy you to tell the difference. The point of a vegetable cake is that people don’t know it’s a vegetable cake.” Psst, it also comes in handy if you’ve got a few picky eaters on your hands and are looking for novel ways to get them to eat their greens.

Harry’s Go-To Secret Ingredient

As for Harry’s all-time favourite healthy baking substitute, one need look no further than the nearest produce aisle. Surprisingly, it’s not avocado. “Zucchini is probably my favourite ingredient to add into cakes because it’s very easy to introduce without anybody having a clue,” she laughs. “If you’ve succeeded at [sneaking it in], then you’ve done a good job. You’ve nailed it.”

For more inspiration, try these Common Ingredient Substitutions That Will Bring Your Recipes to Life or enjoy these Underrated Spring Vegetables That Belong in Your Meal Rotation.

One Humble Can of Chickpeas, Six Different Meals to Remember

Beans are not only one of the most versatile pantry ingredients, they offer a variety of health benefits, too! Chickpeas in particular are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre. Aside from turning that can of chickpeas hiding in your pantry into homemade hummus, here are six ways you can incorporate them into a healthy snack or meal. Be sure to rinse and drain the chickpeas before using them to remove any excess sodium. OK — here we go!

Chickpea Pasta
I grew up eating chickpeas in pasta, so this dish is one of my favourite quick dinners to whip up! It adds a serving of protein and fibre to an otherwise carb-heavy dish, which will keep you fuelled for longer. To make: simply simmer the chickpeas in marinara sauce (store-bought or homemade) until slightly softened, about 15 minutes. Put it on top of the pasta of your choice and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Related: The Best-Ever Pasta Recipes for Easy Dinners

Roasted Chickpeas
Roasted chickpeas make for a filling and healthy afternoon snack. You can toss them in any flavours or herbs you favour. My favourite flavour is everything bagel with a hint of garlic, but feel free to use any spices you already have on hand (onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, dried herbs, etc). To make: toss the chickpeas in extra-virgin olive oil and desired seasoning. Roast at 400°F for 30 to 35 minutes, until crispy. Enjoy them as is or add to a salad.

Salad With Chickpeas
Chickpeas are a great alternative to diced chicken on salads as it adds a plant-based protein, but they also work as a gluten-free substitute for croutons. Prepare your favourite mixture of vegetables and top with a handful of chickpeas. For additional crunch and flavour, try adding leftover roasted chickpeas.

Related: 70+ Chickpea Recipes to Make Your Heart Happy

Chickpea Salad Sandwich
This recipe is a twist on a tuna salad sandwich. It is great on its own or served between two slices of toasted bread. To make: add one can of rinsed chickpeas to a mixing bowl and mash slightly with a fork. Toss with mayo (regular or vegan), dijon mustard, diced celery, minced shallots, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Make a big batch and enjoy over several days for lunch.

Chickpeas and Eggs
For this quick morning breakfast, you can scramble the chickpeas right into the eggs or top the scrambled eggs with roasted chickpeas. If you have additional ingredients on hand such as cheese, spinach, tomato or roasted red pepper, try scrambling those in with your eggs and chickpeas too.

Related: The Most Creative Ways to Cook With Eggs

Chickpea-Stuffed Red Peppers
For this recipe, the red peppers can be stuffed with just about anything you have on hand including herbs, cheese and grains. I like to start with a base of chickpeas and quinoa, tossed with olive oil, parsley, crumbled feta, shallots and lemon. To make: hollow out each red pepper and stuff with filling. Bake at 400°F for 20 to 25 minutes, until the filling is warmed throughout and the pepper has softened.

Want to cook with more pantry staples? These canned salmon recipes and tortilla recipes might do the trick!

What 2020 Culinary Trend Should You Try

Quiz: Which 2020 Culinary Trend Do You Need to Try?

You could say that culinary trends are an industry staple — the foundation on which all other dishes are eventually spun off. Just think about it: as soon as one chef blows your mind with a plate full of crunchy, edible bugs, other chefs clamour to create their own rendition of the dish. Before you know it, your local carnival is serving critters on top of ice cream. Maybe with some fried vegan butter on the side (because, you know, carnival food).

Or, if bugs aren’t your thing, consider all the ways intermittent fasting and plant-based diets have transformed the scene. Odds are you’ve probably tried cauliflower rice and there’s vegan protein in your daily smoothie. Maybe you’ve even considered becoming a flexitarian – after all, you’ve discovered it’s too hard to give up those steaks, sushi, and fried chicken forever, especially at dinner parties when you don’t want to be the odd man (or woman) out.

There are less subtle trends to consider, too. Many chefs are embracing nose-to-tail cooking as zero waste kitchens pop up in today’s climate, while online ordering and delivering have changed the fast food and takeout game. Are you doing your part to try and eat locally sourced, sustainable foods? Are there milk alternatives in your fridge and nutritional yeast in your cupboard? And hey — who else remembers when craft beer became a thing and opened up a whole new world of hoppy flavours?

We may no longer be chowing down on charcoal-everything or ordering up rainbow-coloured bagels, but trends in some shape or form will always have a place in the kitchen. From cooking techniques and ingredients to diets and new flavour combinations (two words: chocolate bacon), there are many ways to embrace them. But, which current or future trend is for you?

The chefs on Top Chef Canada were tasked with thinking about that in the eighth season premiere, when host Eden Grinshpan asked them to create a dish that represents a food trend of the future. Through healthy bowls, recycled technologies and a few ideas in between (fried grasshoppers, anyone?), these contestants proved that “trendy” doesn’t really mean one particular thing or idea.

Think you’re ready to tackle some trends in your own kitchen and prove your culinary prowess once and for all? Of course you are, you foodie, you. Take this quiz to find out what kind of a trendsetter you are in the kitchen, and how you can use that trend to concoct your own spectacular Top Chef Canada-worthy meal.

Savour All the Bright Flavours of Spring With These Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Bars

Celebrate the fresh flavours of spring with this simple, very adaptable recipe. Add your favourite chopped nuts for some crunch and swap in different fresh fruit depending on what is available. And with a dough that doubles as a crust and crumble topping, these pie bars come together in no time. No matter how you slice it, these sweet and slightly tart fruit bars are the perfect everyday treat.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 30 to 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 to 55 minutes
Servings: 9 bars

Ingredients:

Filling
1 ¼ cup rhubarb, diced small
1 ¼ cup strawberries, diced small
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
½ tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Dough
12 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
¼ cup chopped nuts (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line an 8×8-inch square pan with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl, toss together the rhubarb, strawberries, lemon juice and 1 Tbsp of brown sugar. Set aside.

3. Using an electric mixer, cream together the dough’s first three ingredients: butter, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt. Mix on low speed until combined.

4. Place about 2/3 of the dough in the pan. Press the dough into the pan using your fingertips or the flat bottom of a measuring cup. Set aside.

Related: 45 Fresh and Beautiful Rhubarb Recipes

5. Drain off most of the juice from the fruit mixture. Add in the other Tbsp of brown sugar, as well as the cornstarch, cinnamon and salt. Toss to combine. Pour the fruit mixture on top of the crust and spread evenly.

6. Mix the reserved dough with the nuts (if using) and sprinkle over the top of the fruit. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until slightly browned on top and the juices around the edges of pan bubble.

7. Cool the bars completely before slicing.

Craving more sweet treats? Check out The Pioneer Woman’s most popular cake and pie recipes and these perfect lemon meringue cupcakes.

crockpot-freezer-meals

How to Prep Slow Cooker Freezer Meals to Get Through the Week

Slow cooker freezer meals are a must for any family and for the budget-savvy home cook. Often referred to as “dump meals” or “dump bags”, what makes it easy, is that you thaw and simply dump the contents of your freezer bag into your Crockpot. Then you let it do its thing as you go about your day. And when it’s dinnertime: your delicious home-cooked meal is ready to devour. This style of cooking awards you some precious time back, and it also happens to be kind to your wallet. Win, win.

To make perfect Crockpot freezer meals, there are a few tips and tricks to getting it just right. You don’t want to end up with a stew that’s way too soupy or vegetables that are mushy and unappetizing. Here’s what you need to know!

Related: These Budget-Friendly Microwave Recipes Are Total Time-Savers

lentil-soup-crockpot-freezer

Get the Right Meal Prep Equipment

Before you start planning which meal to make, you need the right equipment: a slow cooker, freezer bags, a permanent marker and labels (although these aren’t entirely necessary). We recommend buying name-brand freezer bags that are sturdy. The ones that have the slide lock are the easiest.

Always Label Your Freezer Bag First

Once you’ve decided what you’re going to make, it’s important you label your freezer bags. Do not attempt to label once the food is in, not only will the bags be too hard to write on, but the marker often won’t work, or the label won’t stick because of the moisture released from the ingredients inside.

This surefire labelling method will help you remember what you froze, how long it’s been in your freezer and how to cook it. First label what the meal is, for example: “Chicken Tortilla Soup” or “Turkey Chili” and write down the date you made it. Then label it with ingredients that need to be added before cooking as well as cooking instructions. For example: add 1/2 cup broth before cooking, set on high for 6 hours.

Label it with instructions on how you’re going to serve the meal once it’s ready – so you know which ingredients you need to have on hand before slow-cooking. If it’s a chili, maybe you want to serve it with avocado, fresh cilantro and some grated cheese. If it’s a curry, you might want to serve with toasted coconuts, peanuts and fresh mint. Or if you’re making chicken tortilla soup, you will certainly need to have tortillas on hand to crisp up and top your bowl.

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

slow-cooker-prep

Time-Saving Tips for Freezer Meal Prep

Take your time chopping up all ingredients first and prepping the sauce or marinade before packing. It’s best if all prep work is done before for efficiency and for easy clean-up. Usually prepping for slow-cooked meals only takes 15-20 minutes.

Some savvy home-cooks like to make several different freezer meals at once, so they’ll prep four different recipes first, then pack all of the bags and freeze. This will usually take a whole day to do.

Some slow cooker recipes call for sautéing or blanching the veggies, or browning the meat beforehand. We’ve found these steps to be unnecessary. Just toss everything in, uncooked.

How to Pack Freezer Bags

To avoid big spills and messes in the kitchen, stand the bags upright to pack. You can buy special baggy rack holders online, or simply place the bag in a big bowl so it won’t fall over as you’re adding the ingredients.

No matter the meal, you can add the ingredients to the bag in any order. Some people prefer veggies and beans at the very bottom, sauces and marinades in the middle, and meat on top; but, once in the slow cooker, it will all meld together.

When closing up the bags, press them firmly to ensure all the air is released. Then lay the bag flat in the freezer (this allows for easy defrosting, and it doesn’t take up as much of your precious freezer space).

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

crockpot-freezer-packing

Do’s and Don’ts for Slow Cooker Freezer Meals

If you’re making a meat Crockpot meal and your chicken, turkey, lamb, pork or beef is already frozen, don’t defrost it before adding it to your bag. You never want to defrost raw meat and then freeze it again.

Slow-cooked meals tend to release a lot of liquid, especially if you’re cooking lots of veggies. You don’t need to add as much broth or water as you think; otherwise, you’ll end up with a soupy texture and diluted flavour.

Most dairy products need to be added to the slow cooker the day of cooking and shouldn’t be frozen, for example: milk, cream, sour cream and cheese.

If your recipe includes pasta, add it the day-of, don’t freeze beforehand. Pasta tends to get very, very mushy, so unless you’re making a baked ziti, add the pasta 15 minutes before cooking time is up.

Be careful with veggies that get too mushy, like broccoli, asparagus or leafy greens. Add those towards the end of the cook time to preserve some texture. If you don’t mind mushy veggies, then you can add them in with the rest of the ingredients.

Related: 10 Tasty Uses for Leftover Food Scraps to Reduce Food Waste

How to Thaw and Cook Crockpot Freezer Meals

Always thaw the freezer meal first before adding it to the slow cooker… this is important for food safety. You can defrost the freezer bag by placing it in the fridge the night before. The meals tend to store well in the freezer for 3-4 months.

Depending on how much time you have, most meals need to be cooked for 4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.

The Best Crockpot Freezer Meals to Make

The best meals to make in the slow-cooker are soups, stews, curries, chilis, daals, meatballs, ribs, brisket and roasts. We don’t recommend slow-cooked fish, seafood or pasta dishes.

There you have it: the ins and outs of making Crockpot freezer meals for any weeknight dinner!

Looking for some tasty slow cooker dishes to try? Start with our most popular slow cooker recipes.

Published September 1, 2018, Updated April 11, 2020

You Won’t Believe These Fudgy Sweet Potato Brownies Are Totally Gluten-Free

This is no ordinary brownie recipe. It’s made with a super secret ingredient — sweet potato! Sweet potatoes are undeniably delicious, loaded with nutrients and naturally gluten-free. If you’re looking for the perfect chocolatey, fudgy brownie with that beautiful shiny, crackly top, this Baking Therapy recipe was made for you.

The Fudgiest Sweet Potato Brownies

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time 35 to 38 minutes
Total Time: 55 to 58 minutes
Servings: 9 brownies

Ingredients:

1 cup sweet potato (about 2 or 3), mashed
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 large eggs
¾  cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork and microwave on high for 8-10 minutes until soft. Set aside to cool slightly and mash with a fork until smooth.

2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line and grease a 8×8-inch square pan.

3. Melt the bittersweet chocolate and coconut oil together, either in a double boiler or in the microwave, making sure to stir every 30 seconds. Set aside to cool.

Related: 35 Gluten-Free Dessert Recipes That Are Actually Delicious

4. In a medium bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs and brown sugar for about 5 minutes until lighter in colour and viscous.

6. On low speed, pour in chocolate and coconut oil mixture and the cocoa powder mixture. Add the sweet potato and vanilla extract and beat on medium speed until well combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

7. Pour batter into the prepared pan, smooth out the top and bake for 35 to 38 minutes, until a toothpick when inserted comes out mostly clean.

8. Let the brownies cool in the pan for 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before slicing.

Like Sabrina’s baking? Check out her easy recipe for soft rolls.

Watch out for Sabrina’s baking videos on the Food Network Canada Instagram account.

Sarah Britton’s Keto Salt and Pepper Tahini Cookies = Our New Favourite Treat

In the new Food Network Canada Facebook 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.


This time around, she’s elevated the humble cookie and transformed it into a salty and sweet keto-friendly treat that you’ll want to make on repeat.

Related: Homemade Bread Recipes You’ll Want to Make Again and Again

Salt and Pepper Tahini Cookies

Homemade Tahini Ingredients: 
Makes about 2 cups (500ml)

4 cups / 300g un-hulled (brown/variegated) sesame seeds
½ tsp. fine salt
½ cup cold-pressed sesame oil (olive oil works too)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spread sesame seeds out on two rimmed baking sheets and place in the oven to toast for 15-20, stirring a couple times during cooking to prevent burning. Remove from the oven and let cool.

2. Place sesame seeds in a food processor and blend on high until smooth, adding the oil as needed. Add salt and blend.

3. Store tahini in an airtight glass jar in the fridge for up to 2 months.

Related: 20 Comforting Baking Projects That Deserve a Pat on the Back

Cookie Ingredients:

2 cups / 220g almond flour
½ tsp. flaky sea salt, plus more for garnish
1 ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup / 175ml tahini
½ cup / 125ml yacon syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup / 50g chopped dark chocolate
2 Tbsp. crushed cacao nibs, plus 2 Tbsp. to garnish

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Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F / 170°C. Lightly grease, or line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, black pepper and salt. Set aside.

3. In a small saucepan whisk tahini, yacon syrup, and vanilla together over low heat until runny. Pour over dry ingredients and stir well to combine. The dough will be thick and you may need to use your hands to finish mixing. When the dough has cooled, fold in chopped chocolate and cacao nibs.

4. Roll about a tablespoon and a half worth of the dough in the palm of your hands, into a ball. Flatten slightly, then place on the prepared tray, sprinkle with a few more cacao nibs and a pinch of flaky salt. Lightly press the toppings into the dough.

5. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the bottom is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

6. Store in airtight containers at room temperature for up to a week.

For more baking inspiration, Sarah Britton’s Bold and Beautiful Raspberry Cashew Cheezecake is an instant dessert classic, or learn how to make her easy Gluten-Free Everything Bagel Loaf.

Watch The Substitute Baker Wednesdays at 4ep on the Food Network Canada Facebook page.