Close-up headshot of a smiling Chef Nuit Regular

Chef Nuit Regular Brings a Warm Heart and a Keen Eye to Wall of Chefs

For as long as she can remember, Chef Nuit Regular has always found happiness by fostering it in others — although her happiness didn’t always start in the kitchen. As a young child growing up in Phrae, Thailand, she remembers hating to cook. “I wanted to go out to ride bicycles with my friends, but I had to help to make curry paste, even when I was little. My mother would grow her own vegetables and sell satay in the laneway outside the house,” says Nuit. “And I wanted to help my mother, because I loved her.”

When Nuit later trained as a nurse in Pai, Thailand, she made extra money for herself and her family by selling food in class, and then eventually worked in nursing by day and ran Curry Shack restaurant during the evening hours with her husband, Jeff Regular. “I wanted to become a nurse and help the poor people in my village to make them comfortable and ease their worry and pain,” she says. “And when I started cooking in the restaurant and the guests said they loved the food, it made me feel happy in the same way.”

Related: Inside Chef Nuit Regular’s Fridge

Close up shot of Chef Nuit Regular smiling

Photo courtesy of Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott

She and Jeff brought different flavours of Thailand to Toronto’s restaurant scene, including the northern Thai flavours at Sukothai, Pai Northern Thai Kitchen, Sabai Sabai and elaborate royal Thai dishes at Kiin. Trying to do something new has often presented its own challenges, both in sourcing authentic ingredients and in changing preconceived notions. Although many people were curious and wanted to learn, Nuit clearly remembers a customer who insisted her pad thai was made incorrectly. “He wanted me to add ketchup to the pad thai and I had to tell him, ‘I am sorry, but even though I won’t make any money here, I can’t give you the dish that way’,” says Nuit. “In the beginning, it was really hard because people didn’t understand, but now there’s a lot of diversity in Toronto.”

Related: 18 Ingredients the Wall of Chefs Stars Love to Splurge on

A plate of pad Thai noodles

Nuit Regular’s pad thai dish at Pai, which remains ketchup free.

Today, Nuit is a successful chef and restaurateur, responsible for over 200 staff members across her restaurant empire (with a second Pai location set to open this year) and her first cookbook, Kiin: Recipes And Stories From Northern Thailand, set to hit the shelves on October 20. As a judge on this season’s Wall of Chefs, Nuit enjoys the histories and backgrounds of the dishes that contestants set before her. “I want to see the story behind the dish, and those techniques from different households,” she says. Competitors looking to impress her discerning palate should be prepared to present a balanced, colourful and creative dish (she has even been known to sniff the food in front of her to check the aroma when judging). She also wants cooks to remember their portion sizes. “Don’t try to make a lot,” she advises. “You only have to make four plates, which is more manageable: the cooking time will be shorter, and your flavours will be more intense.”

Nuit Regular and Noah Cappe at a home cook's station on the set of Wall of Chefs

Nuit Regular on the set of Wall of Chefs

See More: Watch Full Episodes of Wall of Chefs

And as one former home cook to another, Nuit sympathizes with the stress of the competition (she still admits to some nervousness herself when she cooks in front of people). “I pause, take a step back and breathe,” she says. “And I tell myself, ‘You’re doing something that you’ve made for your family before that they love’. If you cook, follow your heart.”

Pot of Valerie Bertinelli's chicken cacciatore with olives, capers and tender chicken thighs

Celebrate Fall With Valerie Bertinelli’s Cozy Chicken Cacciatore

Valerie Bertinelli is always excited to share treasured family recipes for classic Italian meals.  Over the years on Valerie’s Home Cooking,  viewers have joined her in the kitchen as she prepared dishes passed down from her mother, Nancy. A standout is this chicken cacciatore, or hunter-style chicken, made with plump chicken thighs, earthy cremini mushrooms, and a double shot of briny goodness from black olives and capers, all finished with a rich tomato sauce. It’s a simple, comforting dish that can be served with creamy polenta, mashed potatoes, or a bed of egg noodles. Once you’ve tried it, don’t be surprised if you keep returning to it whenever you’re looking for hearty, warming fare this fall.

Related: Valerie Bertinelli’s 20 Best Chicken Recipes

Valerie Bertinelli’s Mom’s Chicken Cacciatore

Total Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Serves:
4 to 6

Ingredients:
6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, skin removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 lb sliced cremini mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp finely chopped fresh oregano
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes, cut up with kitchen shears
3/4 cup halved black olives
2 Tbsp drained capers
1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves

Related: 50 Cozy Comfort Food Recipes to Warm You Up This Fall

Directions:
1. Sprinkle the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, then toss them in a bowl with the flour to lightly coat.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large, wide pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the thighs and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the thighs to a plate.

3. Add the onion and mushrooms to the pot and cook, stirring, until the onion is softened and the mushrooms are lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and bell peppers and cook, stirring, until the peppers are just starting to soften, about 1 minute. Add the wine and bring to a boil, then cook, scraping up any brown bits, until reduced by about half. Add the oregano and rosemary. Add the tomatoes and their juice and bring to a simmer. Add the olives and capers. Return the chicken to the pot, nestling in the sauce. Reduce the heat to keep the sauce at a gentle simmer and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes.

4. Sprinkle with the basil. Serve immediately.

Want to add more cozy homestyle dishes to your rotation? Look no further than Valerie Bertinelli’s Best Italian Recipes, From Lasagna to Cannoli.

Watch Valerie’s Home Cooking 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.

How to Make Traditional Chinese Congee From Scratch

This recipe stems from my mother’s kitchen, where a bubbling pot of congee is a near constant presence, ready to be doled out as a breakfast, family lunch or late-night snack. Forms of congee can be found on tables around the world, from arroz caldo in the Philippines to India’s kanji. Whether you enjoy congee as a creamy porridge or more of a rice soup, it is the ultimate comfort food that doesn’t require any special equipment to make. Although some rice cookers have a congee setting, you can just as easily cook this recipe in a heavy pot. Be sure to get the bottom of the pot when you stir, because as my mother always says: “there’s nothing worse than burnt bits, which are distressing.” Take her advice and spend a lazy Sunday afternoon making this simple, yet restorative fix for your loved ones’ flagging spirits as the cold weather drags on. 

Congee

Traditional Chinese Congee

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Servings: 10

Ingredients:

1 cup short grain jasmine rice (although there is some leeway in terms of rice choice, there are some outliers — parboiled rice will cook too quickly to achieve the right consistency, wild or brown rice cook more slowly and may be too chewy in the finished product)
10 to 12 cups cold water
1 2-inch knob ginger
7 cups boiling water (to be added as needed)
2 tsp salt
1 to 1.5 cups store-bought or homemade chicken broth
500 grams of pork shoulder or chicken thigh, cut into ¼-inch thick pieces
1 tsp cornstarch
½ tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp rice wine or sake
8 king oyster mushrooms, sliced lengthwise
3 green onions, separated into white and green parts (cut the white parts into larger 2-inch chunks, as they will be cooked, whereas the green parts should be chopped finely, as they’ll be used for garnish)

Note: while this recipe uses chicken broth and slices of pork or chicken, it could easily be made vegetarian or vegan by omitting the eggs and meat and using water, vegetable or mushroom broth.

Congee ingredients

Directions:

1. Rinse rice three times or until water runs clear. Drain rice. Place rice in heavy bottomed large pot and pour cold water over rice.

2. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Stir with a rice paddle, thick spatula or heat-resistant silicone turner.

3. Add ginger. Bring to a simmer and cook for about an hour, topping up with hot water so that it doesn’t boil down. Adjust the heat to keep it just below a rolling boil, but not so high that it boils over (it boils over very fast, so do not leave it unattended). You may need to lower the temperature between the lowest setting and medium.

Related: How to Cook a Perfect Pot of Rice on the Stove

4. At the one-hour mark, the congee will start to thicken and become creamy as the rice begins to break down. Add salt and broth.

5. Marinate the chicken or pork with the cornstarch, sea salt, oil and rice wine or sake. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes to marinate.

6. Continue simmering for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add marinated pork or chicken slices, as well as the king oyster mushrooms and the white parts of the green onions.

Chicken slices

6. Continue simmering for another 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if needed. Serve warm with crispy you tiao (savoury fried crullers) and topped with rousong, pei dan (century eggs) or soft-boiled chicken or duck eggs, thin slices of raw fish, chopped cilantro, green onions or peanuts. Most of these add-ons can be found at Chinese markets.

Like Leslie’s congee? Check out her tips on how to make a soup creamy without dairy and how to make homemade hot sauce.

Pot of beef and Okra tomato-based stew

Kardea Brown’s Beef and Okra Stew is the Warming Dinner You Didn’t Know You Were Craving

Food and family go hand in hand, and Kardea Brown pays tribute to her mother and grandmother with the dishes they’ve passed down to her. Each delectable recipe on Delicious Miss Brown is inspired by West African cuisine and has a distinct coastal South Carolina flair.

With a crispness in the air and leaves turning brilliant shades of gold and red, we’re all craving warming meals. Celebrate autumn with this comforting beef stew featuring tender, melt-in-your-mouth morsels of top sirloin and earthy, fiber-rich okra. It’s the perfect fall dinner to enjoy with your family as the days grow shorter and cooler.

Related: Kardea Brown’s Fried Chicken Po’ Boy

Kardea Brown’s Beef and Okra Stew Recipe

Total Time: 55 minutes
Serves:
4 to 6

Ingredients:
2/3 cup canola oil
1 lb beef top sirloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 beef bouillon cube
1 large white onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
Two 8-oz cans tomato sauce
1 cup beef stock, plus more as needed
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 Tbsp ground ginger
1 to 2 Tbsp sugar
1 10-oz package frozen okra

Related: Top 15 Make-Ahead Beef Recipes Perfect for Any Day of the Week

Directions:

1. Heat the oil in a large pot over high heat. Sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon of each). Add the beef to the hot oil along with the beef bouillon, onion and garlic and cook until the beef is seared, about 5 minutes; reduce the heat to medium. Continue to cook, stirring, until the beef is browned, about 3 more minutes. Remove the beef to a plate and set aside.

2. Stir the tomato sauce, beef stock, tomato paste, ginger, sugar, 1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper and 1 cup water into the pot. Bring to a boil; season with additional salt. Return the beef to the pot and add the okra. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the okra is tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Add additional stock or water if the stew is too thick; the okra will thicken the stew as it cooks.

Excited to try more delicious South Carolina cuisine from the Delicious Miss Brown?  Give Kardea’s 30-Minute Fish Fillet Sandwich a try!

Watch Delicious Miss Brown 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.

The Best Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe = The Fall Dessert You Need (Trust Us)

The best sticky toffee pudding I’ve ever had was in London, England, which makes perfect sense given its origin. A soft and spongy cake made with sweet dates and soaked in a rich toffee sauce? Count me in! I make this dessert for my family every year at Thanksgiving and around the holidays, but truthfully, this dessert‘s good all year round.

The Best Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 28 to 30 minutes
Total Time: 58 to 60 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

Cake
1 cup dates, pitted and packed
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup boiling water
⅔ cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
3 Tbsp fancy molasses
4 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

Sauce
½ cup butter
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp fancy molasses
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

1. Roughly chop the dates to ensure there are no pits, add to a small bowl with baking soda and boiling water. Let side for 10 minutes then puree both water and softened dates until smooth.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and line the bottoms of 6 ramekins with parchment paper. Place on a cookie sheet and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, egg, molasses, melted butter and vanilla. Add the date puree. Mix in the flour, baking powder and salt until just combined.

4. Scoop the batter into the prepared ramekins until ⅔ full. Bake in the oven for 28-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

5. Now prepare the sauce: in a heavy bottom saucepan, whisk together the butter, cream, brown sugar and molasses on medium-high heat. Let the mixture come to a boil and let bubble for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Related: 25 Vegan Thanksgiving Desserts Everyone at Your Table Will Love

6. Once the cakes come out of the oven, while they’re still warm, run a knife around the perimeter of the ramekin to loosen. Invert the ramekin, placing the cake upside-down and remove the parchment paper. Slowly drizzle a couple spoonful’s of the warm toffee sauce on top. The cake will slowly absorb the sauce. To serve, drizzle extra toffee sauce on the plate, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

Like Sabrina’s baking? Check out her no-bake key lime pie icebox cakedessert wontons and easy peach plum cobbler.

How to Make Bruschetta in 15 Minutes (Plus the Best Bruschetta Bar for Nights Inside)

Nothing says staying indoors quite like a delightful seasonal spread bursting with fresh ingredients. We absolutely love to use the best of the season, and one summer and early fall favourite is tomatoes. Fresh, juicy and perfectly ripe at the end of summer, we’re always looking for ways to make them a star. Our new favourite is to assemble a quick and easy bruschetta bar when spending time inside with loved ones (because we’re desperate to switch things up these days!).  With a few simple ingredients, you can showcase the bright, herbaceous flavours of this beloved app and present an impressive spread in just a few minutes.

How to Make Bruschetta (And the Best Bruschetta Bar!)

bruschetta-bar-spread

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

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
4 tomatoes, seeded and diced or 12 cocktail tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup Vidalia onion, minced
1 clove garlic, grated
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3/4 cup labneh or Greek yogurt
3/4 cup ricotta
3/4 cup hummus
1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped basil
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 Tbsp za’atar
1 baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices
Olive oil

bruschetta bar assembled

Related: Ranking Canadian Retailers Offering Grocery Delivery Right Now, by Price

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.
2. Place labneh, ricotta, hummus, walnuts, parsley, basil, parmesan and pine nuts into small bowls and place on platter.
3. Sprinkle labneh with za’atar and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle ricotta with herbs, if desired.
4. Assemble all items on a platter and serve with plates for guests to assemble their appetizers.

Looking for more easy peasy recipes? Trust us: these snack plates are the easy dinner option you need this week!

Slow Cooker French Onion Soup is the Easiest Way to Make Dinner

Love French onion soup? Don’t have time to stand around caramelizing onions? Then this slow cooker version is the perfect way to satisfy those cravings. Slow cooker soups are a great way to get a meal on the table with very little prep time and this is no exception. This is a perfect easy soup recipe for a chilly fall evening. It’ll make your home smell amazing and it’ll taste like you’ve spent hours in the kitchen when, in fact, it’s the slow cooker doing all the work for you!

Slow Cooker French Onion Soup

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 9 hours
Total Time: 9 hours, 30 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

2 lbs onions, halved and sliced
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 tsp brown sugar
1.5 L beef stock
2 Tbsp brandy (optional)
8 sprigs fresh thyme, plus some for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
8-12 slices baguette
1 ½ cups grated Swiss cheese

Directions:

1. Place sliced onions, butter and sugar in a 6-quart slow cooker. Stir to combine.

Related: This Vegan Pumpkin Soup Has a Super-Secret Immune-Boosting Ingredient

2. Cover and cook on high for 6 to 7 hours, removing the lid and stirring from time to time. Many recipes suggest doing this overnight, but as all slow cookers are different, it’s best to be around when these are cooking so you can keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. The onions should be deep brown before you put the rest of the ingredients in.

3. Add the stock, brandy, thyme and pepper. Cover again and cook on high for approximately 2 hours.

4. Remove the lid, scoop out the thyme sprigs and stir.

5. Pre-heat your oven broiler to high. Prepare your oven-safe soup bowls by placing them on a parchment-lined tray. Top each bowl of soup with 2 slices of baguette and approximately ¼ cup grated cheese.

6. Broil for approximately 5 minutes or until the cheese is melty and golden brown. Top with a few fresh thyme leaves to serve.

Like Mardi’s slow cooker French onion soup? Try her oven-baked zucchini and corn fritters or her easy mixed berry galettes.

These Ginger Molasses Cookies Will Warm You up on a Chilly Fall Day

One of the first recipes I turn to when the weather starts to shift are these soft and chewy ginger molasses cookies. They have warming spices like ginger, cinnamon and cloves, are dotted with spicy candied ginger and rolled in raw sugar for a bit of crunch. My secret to the rich golden colour? Blackstrap molasses! It’s bold and robust in flavour — everything I want in a ginger molasses cookie. But feel free to swap in regular molasses if your taste buds aren’t quite ready for it.

Soft and Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 12 to 13 minutes
Total Time: 17 to 18 minutes
Servings: 16 cookies

Ingredients:

¾ cup butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp water
¼ cup blackstrap molasses
2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup (about 10 wheels) diced ginger candies
½ cup turbinado or raw sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper, set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg, water and blackstrap molasses. Scraping down the sides as needed.

Related: 25 Healing Ginger Recipes for Cold and Flu Season

3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt. On low, add the flour mixture to the stand mixer and mix until just combined. Fold in the diced candied ginger.

4. Pour the turbinado sugar in a shallow dish. Scoop the cookie dough into 1 ½ inch balls and roll in the turbinado sugar until completely coated.

5. Place 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet to allow the cookies to spread. Bake for 12 to 13 minutes until the tops have slightly cracked. Remove from oven and let rest for 2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Like Sabrina’s baking? Check out her no-bake key lime pie icebox cakedessert wontons and easy peach plum cobbler.

The Big Social: Canada’s Ultimate Feel-Good (Socially-Distanced) Food Party

Here at Food Network Canada, we’ll take any opportunity to break bread with our friends, but the meals taste even better when we’re dining for a good cause!

The Big Social is a national cross-country food party that brings people together and raises funds for low-income communities. Like many other nations, Canada has been deeply affected by the coronavirus crisis. It’s challenging enough to self-isolate in a well-stocked home. But for the many Canadians living on a low income, there is a heightened sense of anxiety. Food insecurity was already an urgent problem, with 1 in 8 Canadians struggling to put food on the table. Now, 1 in 7 people are experiencing food insecurity during the ongoing pandemic.

With The Big Social, you can connect in person or online, making this year’s Distance Edition the perfect way to give back during COVID-19. From October 9-25, raise funds, share food, have fun, show you care!

The best part is that anyone can host, and joining is as easy as 1-2-3. Go to www.bigsocial.ca to register to host. Once you’ve registered, you can set a fundraising goal for your dinner, and send out a (socially-distanced) invite to your friends, family or coworkers to join and support low-income communities through donations!

Your generous donation supports community members to eat well, cook healthy and take action on issues that affect their livelihood.

An example of donation breakdowns:

$30 can give seniors a healthy cooking session
$50 can provide fresh fruit and vegetables for a family
$75 can bring food literacy education to kids
$100 can grow a garden in low-income communities
$175 can help to open a new Community Food Centre

To stay safe and healthy, consider these virtual event themes:

1. Cross-country (or global!) cheers: The beauty of a virtual event is that you can “cheers” your friends across the country — or the world! 

2. PJ party: Because let’s be honest, there’s nothing quite like eating in your PJs. 

3. Beloved family recipes: Everyone can cook from the same recipe, follow a kitchen leader, or prep separately and then share the story behind the dish.

Register to host an event for The Big Social at www.bigsocial.ca.

For more, check out how FoodShare’s Paul Taylor breaks down food insecurity (and how Canadians can help) and how food injustice inspired this 23-year-old to start her own farm.

Molly Yeh Taco Hotdish

Molly Yeh’s One-Pot Wonder Taco Hot Dish

Enjoy all the flavours of a taco bar in just one warm and flavourful dish (because who needs all those dishes?). Molly Yeh takes spiced ground beef, beans and salsa and tops it with corn chips. After a quick trip to the oven to bake, she tops it all with the classic taco fixings. Corn and radishes add sweetness and crunch, while queso fresco and salsa verde finish it off with bold flavour. Garnish with cilantro (if that’s your jam) and limes for the perfect family-style taco meal.

Molly Yeh Taco Hotdish

Related: Molly Yeh’s Bagel Salad Recipe is an Instant Brunch Classic

Molly Yeh’s Taco Hotdish

Total Time: 50 minutes
Active Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6-8 servings

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
Kosher salt
One 1-oz packet taco seasoning
2 lbs ground beef
One 14-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
9 oz corn kernels (frozen, canned or fresh)
3 cups mild salsa
One 9-oz bag corn chips, such as Fritos
5 oz queso fresco, crumbled
Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
Sliced radishes, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving
Salsa verde, for serving

Related: Molly Yeh’s Chicken Shawarma Tacos

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper, jalapeno, onion and a pinch of salt and cook until softened, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the taco seasoning and cook for another minute. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking it up with a spoon or spatula, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the beans, corn and mild salsa. Transfer to a casserole dish and cover with the corn chips.

3. Bake until the casserole is heated through and the corn chips are lightly toasted, about 20 minutes. Top with the queso fresco, cilantro, radishes and a squeeze of lime. Serve with salsa verde.

Molly Yeh Taco Hotdish

Get to know the cookbook author and blogger behind Girl Meets Farm with 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Molly Yeh.

Watch Girl Meets Farm 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.

This Healthy Ethiopian Vegan Potato Stew is the Perfect Fall Comfort Food

This Ethiopian potato stew (AKA dinich wot) is one of my favourite plant-based stews for fall. It’s incredibly hearty, spicy and super easy to make. Traditionally this recipe is served on top of a large platter of injera with other colourful vegan stews. However, it can be enjoyed with rice, fonio or in my case on its own with fresh bread on the side. I also love to substitute in ingredients like sweet potato, pumpkin and okra to switch up the flavours. Feel free to add your own twist on it and warm up this fall with a bowl of Ethiopian comfort food.

Ethiopian Vegan Potato Stew

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 65 minutes
Servings: 2 to 4

Ingredients:

2 large yellow onions, finely chopped
3-4 Tbsp berbere spice
5 cloves minced garlic
1 Tbsp minced ginger
¼ cup crushed tomato
3 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into thick chunks
1 ½ cup hot water (adjust as needed)
Salt, to taste

Directions:

1. To a large heated pot, add oil and onions. Once the onions begin to caramelize, add berbere spice, stir well so the onions are coated. (Each Berbere blend is different, some blends are spicier than others, so feel free to adjust the amount to fit your taste).

2. Add garlic and ginger and add a bit of water as necessary to the pot.

3. Add crushed tomato and mix well. Add some water as necessary to prevent the mixture from burning.

4. Once the ingredients are well incorporated, add the diced potatoes and hot water slowly and bring to simmer. Be careful not to add too much water.

Related: This Easy Ethiopian Mushroom Stir-Fry Will Be Your New Fave Weeknight Meal

5. Cover with lid and stir occasionally adding more water as necessary.

6. Once the potatoes are tender and the stew is finished, serve with injera, rice or on its own. Enjoy!

Tip: If you’d like to kick things up, you can stir in a spoonful of korarima spice (Ethiopian Black cardamom) a few minutes before the stew is done cooking.

Love Eden’s Ethiopian vegan potato stew? Try her teff breakfast bowl or quick and tasty guava tarts.

We Tried Popeyes’ Famous Chicken Sandwich That Finally Arrived in Canada – Is It Worth the Hype?

It doesn’t happen every day, but — every once in a blue moon — people lose their minds over a hype-worthy food. For a bite to reach that level of foodie fervour, a few things have to happen: it has to be hard to get your hands on, it has to be photo ready (a la charcoal soft serve) and it has to be totally tasty. Enter the collective Canadian craving for the infamous Popeyes’ Chicken Sandwich.

You might be asking: why all the hype over a fried chicken sandwich? Can’t you get fried chicken plenty of places? Yes… and no (until recently). Popeyes’ Chicken Sandwich (often referred to audaciously as “The Sandwich”) was released to attention-grabbing crowds in America in 2019 — but it only arrived in Canada as of September 14th.

So is this sandwich worth the buzz? Or can we chalk up this chicken frenzy merely a case of wanting what you can’t have? Obviously, we needed answers, so we gave The Sandwich a try.

Recipe for Success

First thing’s first: what exactly is a Popeyes’ Chicken Sandwich? The Sandwich (which will set you back between $5.99 to $6.49 depending on which province you’re in) consists of an all-white fried chicken breast fillet topped with barrel-cured pickles and mayonnaise (either classic or spicy) — all assembled on a toasted brioche bun.

The chicken itself follows the company’s signature fried chicken formula. The chicken is marinated in a blend of Louisiana seasonings, battered by hand, breaded in a buttermilk coating and then fried. So, if you’re already a fan of their fried chicken, this will almost definitely be for you.

 

First Looks

If all the fanfare has you picturing some sort of over-the-top chicken-fried behemoth, then you’ll likely be a bit disappointed to feast (your eyes) on The Sandwich. However, if you’re expecting a classic fried chicken sandwich, then you’re in luck! Visually, there are no big surprises: The Sandwich is straightforward looking, with a generous piece of fried chicken and chartreuse-hued rounds of those cured pickles neatly sandwiched between the halved brioche bun.

Related: I Tried “Beyond Meat” Meals at 5 Popular Canadian Chains. Here’s How They Stacked Up

Digging In

At first bite, the chicken hit a lot of the targets we were looking for in fried chicken: it was crispy on the outside (without being super greasy — always a risk with fried chicken), tender on the inside and had good flavour (thanks, likely, to those Louisiana seasonings).

It’s worth noting that the chicken-to-bread ratio was good. The toasted brioche bun was soft with a nice chew (it almost melted in your mouth).

In terms of toppings, The Sandwich keeps things pretty simple, in a good way. It’s really just the mayo (more on that up next) and the pickles. Luckily, we love pickles and these were perfect: crunchy, tangy and delicious!

Related: What It’s Honestly Like Dining out Right Now ⁠— and What I’ll Never Take for Granted Again

The Spicy Scenario  

As I mentioned earlier, the Popeyes’ Chicken Sandwich comes in two versions: classic and spicy. How to choose? If you can always go for a little more flavour, you’ll prefer the spicy version (the spicy mayo tastes like chipotle mayo and leaves behind a nice little kick that lingers). If, however, you’re a fried chicken purest, stick to the classic.

The Verdict

Overall, the Popeyes’ Chicken Sandwich is a really good fried chicken sandwich. If we were craving a fried chicken sandwich, it would definitely be on our list — but it wasn’t life-changing. Still, if you’re a fan of fried chicken on any level, our advice is to give it a try.

Here are famous recipes we’re making at home — from McDs hash browns to IKEA meatballs. Also, here are recipes from hit movies!

Spookylicious 2020

Spookylicious: A Feast For the Eyes is Coming This Fall

Something spectacularly delicious is coming your way this Fall! Spookylicious is the ultimate line-up of all your favourite Food Network Halloween shows. Get ready for all the creepiest edible creations, from over-the-top spooktacular cakes to jaw-dropping pumpkin carvings that will frighten like never before.


Spookylicious returns to Food Network Canada beginning Monday, September 14 at 9 PM ET/PT with a new season of Halloween Baking Championship. Carla Hall hosts as 10 talented bakers compete to create terrifyingly tasty treats and bake their way through a haunted house brimming with challenges that test their nerves and skills. Judges Zac Young and Stephanie Boswell join Carla to determine whose devilishly delicious desserts will earn the grand prize of $25,000 and the title of Halloween Baking Champion.

Halloween Baking Championship season 6

Halloween Wars returns for season 10 on Sunday, September 20 at 9 PM ET/PT.  Host Jonathan Bennett welcomes six teams made up of an expert pumpkin carver, a cake artist and a master sugar artist to fight for glory as they create frighteningly fun and edible Halloween displays that are as spooky as they are tasty. The last team standing takes home a grand prize of $50,000.

Halloween Wars season 10

Hosted by Alyson Hannigan, new series Outrageous Pumpkins is coming to Food Network Canada on Sunday, September 27 at 10 PM ET/PT. In it, the most spectacular and ridiculously talented pumpkin carvers and Halloween artists come together to duke it out in an outdoor pumpkin carving competition that defies everything you thought you knew possible with pumpkins.

Outrageous Pumpkins season 1

Stream Spookylicious 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.

The Dark Side of Trendy Superfoods (and What You Can Do to Help)

Superfoods are (typically) plant-based, nutrient-dense foods that contain antioxidants, healthy fats, fibre and a slew of other vitamins and minerals. The superfoods list is pretty expansive and ranges from blueberries and salmon to Greek yogurt, beans and whole grains. Basically they’re foods that max out on the nutritional benefits while minimizing overall caloric intake. So what’s the problem? Well as it turns out, there’s a pretty dark side to some of these superfoods and they can come with all kinds of surprising ethical, economic and cultural side effects. This is particularly noteworthy when superfoods become trendy (avocado toast anyone?), resulting in a large supply and demand. Let’s take a look.

Kale

Kale chips and salad may have decreased in popularity over the past few years, but the leafy green continues to top many superfood lists. If you continue to add it to your plate, then where you get it matters. A large amount of kale is grown on the United States’ West Coast and shipped to Canada via truck, which has a pretty significant environmental impact. Ecologists at Cornell University estimate that to grow, wash, package, transport and keep one pound of the greens chilled for that journey requires 4,600 calories of fossil fuel energy. That packs a pretty big environmental impact.

What you can do: Pay attention to where your greens come from and try to buy local. Kale is one of the easiest vegetables to grow during a Canadian summer, so you could also consider planting your own and eating it in season.

Avocado

Avocado toast, guacamole, sushi… there are so many delicious ways to enjoy this creamy green fruit, which is often referred to as nature’s mayonnaise. It’s no wonder that avocados have become a staple at produce sections across the country. At first, the farmers in Michoacán, Mexico — one of the only places on Earth where avocados can grow year-round — were fans of the growing trend. But then the cartels caught on, who have been extorting the farmers — as well as the sellers of fertilizer and pesticides — ever since. Some farmers who have been unwilling to cooperate have allegedly been attacked or killed.

What you can do: You can do your best to buy avocados that operate outside cartel influence. Alternatively, you can pay attention to the California growing schedule and buy avocados when they’re in season — typically from spring to summer.

Related: What is Food Insecurity? FoodShare’s Paul Taylor Explains (Plus What Canadians Can Do About It)

Quinoa

Quinoa is high in protein and quite filling, which has made this grain a staple in vegetarian and vegan plates for years now. Unfortunately, quinoa’s growing popularity has spelled disaster for many farmers in South America where it hails — typically in Peru and Bolivia. There, farmers used to cycle their crops with the help of llamas and other animals. But in order to meet growing demand they have sold off their livestock and invested in farming equipment instead, which has resulted in decreased soil fertility. Also, as demand for quinoa grew worldwide, it tripled in price and became too expensive for the locals who have long relied on it as their main source of food. The situation has improved in recent years as countries like Australia, the United States and Canada have found ways to grow it locally.

What you can do: There is ongoing debate as to whether it is better: to buy local and help keep food costs down or to buy from the Andes and invest in the farmers there whose livelihoods depend on production. While there are points for each side, the main consensus seems to be that if you are going to indulge in a bowl of quinoa, ensure that it is certified fair trade.

Coconuts

Health experts still seem to be divided as to whether coconuts (including coconut oil, milk and water) is actually a superfood or a hidden source of fat. If you do incorporate coconuts into your diet though, you should consider how they’re sourced. There are many countries that train and use young pig-tailed macaque monkeys to pick coconuts for production, since the animals are able to harvest up to 1,600 coconuts daily — way more than humans ever could. As a result there have been many allegations of animal mistreatment and abuse in countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Malaysia.

What you can do: Make sure to educate yourself on where your coconuts are coming from. PETA has a handy list of offenders, as well as companies that have severed ties with producers that use monkeys for their harvest.

Related: How Food Injustice Inspired This 23-Year-Old to Start Her Own Farm, Plus Her Advice for You

Cacao

Chocolate as a superfood? Um, yes please. Who doesn’t love knowing that a sweet treat could actually be good for them? Cacao — AKA the raw, unrefined pods that grow on cacao trees — is loaded with antioxidants, is the highest plant-based source of iron and is even a natural mood elevator. However, our love for all things chocolate (sweetened or otherwise) has led to some serious deforestation problems in countries like the Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Ghana, where producers are clearing forests to make room for new crops. Poverty for underpaid farmers is also an issue and they often turn to child labour or slavery as a result.

What you can do: Read the labels and do your research. Major chocolate brands have taken positive steps in the past few years to source ethical cacao. But in order to really ensure that you’re choosing with your heart, see if the company in question publishes an impact report on its website or if it uses third parties to certify any “ethical” trademarks. You can also advocate for change and take several other steps as outlined in this report.

Salmon

Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, salmon has long been linked to benefits like improved brain function and better neurological health. However there have been many reported problems over the years of unethically farmed fish being loaded up with potential chemicals, putting the “superfood” part of the fish in question. And as for the fresh stuff? Overfished waters are also a serious problem worldwide .

What you can do: Although some guidelines can be tricky to follow, try and stick to sustainably sourced salmon (and other fish and seafood) wherever possible in order to protect the species as a whole. And if you are consuming the farmed variety, the government of Canada recommends sticking to locally raised stocks from the Southern Coasts.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

This Upside-Down Apple Cake is a Must-Make Rosh Hashanah Dessert

This flavourful glazed apple cake recipe is a mashup of two of my favourite fall desserts: a simple and delicious honey apple cake that I grew up eating on the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah and a show-stopping upside-down salted caramel apple cake that has become a more recent indulgence. I’ll be serving it for dessert at our Jewish New Year dinner, as well as Thanksgiving, because it’s one of those crowd-pleasing autumn cakes that has something for everyone, from the tender and nutty crumb to the sticky, sweet and salty topping. It’s also made almost entirely in a good old cast-iron skillet, which has become my new go-to for everything from barbecuing to baking.

Upside-Down Apple Cake With Honey and Salted Caramel

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 to 40 minutes
Total Time: 60 to 70  minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients:

Topping
2 Tbsp + ½ cup unsalted butter, divided
4 small or 3 large baking apples such as Gala or Pink Lady, peeled, halved and cores neatly scooped out with a teaspoon or melon baller
⅔ cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cake
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup almond flour, toasted
1 tsp ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup light brown sugar
⅓ cup light-coloured honey
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup whole milk plain Greek yogurt (4% or 5%), room temperature
Flaked sea salt to finish (optional)

Directions:

1. Set the rack in the centre of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Spread almond flour on a parchment- or silicone-lined baking sheet and toast for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring once or twice, until golden. Set aside to cool. Keep the oven on.

2. Meanwhile, heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet (or other oven-safe pan) over medium heat. Cast-iron takes longer to heat up than other pans, so leave it on for a good 5 minutes before you start cooking for even heat distribution. Add 2 Tbsp butter to coat and arrange apple halves with cut sides down. Cook apples until cut sides are evenly golden brown. (Don’t stir). This can take 5 to 10 minutes or a bit longer, depending on the type of apples you’re using, so keep a close eye on them and rotate as needed. Turn apples over and cook for about 5 more minutes, until slightly tender and juices start to release. Transfer apples to a plate with cut sides up.

3. To make the caramel sauce, add ½ cup butter to the skillet on low heat. When it starts to bubble, stir in brown sugar. Keep stirring until smooth and thickened for about 2 minutes. (If it’s separating, add one or two spoonfuls of very hot water). Remove from heat and stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and vanilla. Let cool for 1 minute. Arrange apples, cut sides down, on top of the caramel sauce, spacing evenly.

4. For the cake: whisk together flour, toasted almond flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

5. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat butter, brown sugar and honey together on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, beating well after each addition. On low speed, beat in half of the flour mixture, then the yogurt, until combined. Beat in remaining flour mixture until incorporated and no flour pockets remain. Do not over-mix.

Related: Transform Those Overripe Bananas Into This Impressive Upside-Down Cake

6. Spoon batter over apples and caramel in skillet, smoothing evenly.

7. Bake until it is evenly browned and the middle springs back when pressed lightly, about 30 to 40 minutes. Let the apple cake cool in the skillet for 10 to 15 minutes, then run a small knife or offset spatula around the edges to loosen and flip over onto a cooling rack or dish. (If any apples stick to the skillet, gently scrape them off and press them back into the top of the cake).

Related: Pomegranate Ginger Chicken for a Sweet and Fruitful Rosh Hashanah

8. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt flakes and serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream and mint tea. Store covered at room temperature for up to 2 days or up to 1 week in the refrigerator.

Love Claire’s upside-down apple cake? For a main, whip up her vegetarian mujadara dish or seven-vegetable Moroccan couscous.

A Haitian Chef Reveals the Secret Ingredient to His Toronto Restaurant’s Success (Even During COVID)

Like most great chefs, Marc-Elie Lissade jumped at the opportunity to fill a global food gap in a major metropolis. After leaving Haiti at age 11, Lissade spent some time living in the United States before setting down roots in Toronto in the hopes of opening his own restaurant. And that’s when, in December 2019, Boukan was born – a Haitian food joint offering French-Creole street fare.

“Street food works in Toronto because it’s open to many styles of cuisine,” he says. “And we don’t already have a lot of Haitian or Creole cuisine here.”

Related: The Very Best Ways to Devour Street Food Around the World

Lissade excels at Haitian comfort foods (think: deep fried and delicious). Boukan is a vibrant space packed with eye-popping colour located on Toronto’s Kingston Road. The walls, dedicated to the work of local artists and signatures left behind by satisfied customers, illustrate the importance of ancestral ties and community.

His passion for food comes from his close bond with his grandma, a bona fide chef in her own right. Growing up, it was she who taught him many of the homemade seasonings and recipes that make Boukan such a hot spot destination for foodies.

It’s hard to deny how Lissade’s attention to history, family meals and community have become the main ingredients to his restaurant’s success (FYI: he also has his own catering company called Black Apron Events and garnered the top award from 2018’s Taste of the Caribbean!).

A Place in History

Given his penchant for connecting with family through food, it comes as no surprise that Lissade turned to his ancestral roots when brainstorming a restaurant name – in particular, a groundbreaking moment in Haitian history.

The Haitian Revolution is widely considered one of the most significant moments in the history of the Atlantic World. It lasted for more than a decade, beginning in August 1791 before concluding in January 1804 with the self-liberated slaves exerting independence over French colonial rule in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). The event bears the distinction of being the only slave uprising to result in a state led entirely by non-white rulers and former captives.

Prior to the revolution, enslaved Haitians would gather around a campfire (boukan) to shares stories, dance and enjoy food together. It’s that specific aspect – a community coming together – that ultimately inspired Lissade to take a page from his ancestors’ history book for the name of his restaurant. “After 1804, Haitians were [finally] able to celebrate,” he says. “For me, Boukan is our culture and it represents history and a place of celebration.”

Family Ties

If one were to map out Lissade’s career trajectory, from his catering company Black Apron Events to Boukan, it would start with his grandma. At only eight years old, Lissade was a chef in training, assisting his grandma with her catering company – running around grabbing the ingredients and cookware she needed. Even now, any reference to his grandma will take Lissade on a trip down memory lane.

“I remember every Saturday night we’d have fritay [pronounced free-tie, a general term for fried food] and griyo [deep fried pork]. We’d sit down and she’d tell us stories,” he recalls. “We always looked forward to that.” (Griyo also happens to be his favourite recipe to make with his grandma, which Boukan customers can find on the menu).

Every family has its own fiercely guarded kitchen secrets that are passed on through generations. When asked if there’s a specific tip or secret ingredient that his grandma taught him over the years, Lissade gives a reluctant laugh. “Yes. It’s really about the process of [prepping] the food,” he says. “She taught me to cook with three senses: smell, sight and texture. When you’re cooking, you’re always running around tasting different things, so your taste buds change. [Slowing down and paying attention to] those senses is what helped her become a better cook. Now, at 32, I understand why she was cooking that way.”

Related: 15 Easy Cooking Techniques Everyone Should Learn to Master

A Place to Gather

There’s a real sense of community woven into the very fabric of Boukan, from the rotating work by local artists featured on the walls to recipe-sharing with fellow chefs.

“I wanted the place to be open to everybody,” he explains. “We all get stronger through collaboration with others.” And that collaboration takes on many forms.

For starters, Lissade rotates the artwork featured in his restaurant roughly once a month to make room for new pieces and local talent. “I don’t want to go to a restaurant where the same artwork has been on the wall for 15, 20 years,” he says. “Yes, this is a restaurant, but it’s also an art gallery where I open it to all local artists in Toronto. People can purchase it and it is full commission to them. I don’t take money from it because I know how hard it can be – unless you’re a Picasso.”

Even the story behind one of Lissade’s favourite “secret ingredients” has a communal backstory. “I have a close friend who lives in Miami and she’s a Haitian chef,” he says, citing her influence on one of the most popular recipes he’s crafted for the menu. “When I was opening Boukan I thought it’d be a crazy idea to offer a vegan burger. We [Haitians] love meat, but I wanted to be different.”

The result was the wildly popular Burger Boukanye featuring a plant-based patty, pickled onions, vegan Creole mayo and, the secret ingredient, djon djon – a rare black mushroom only found in northern Haiti. “I’m not vegan, but I thought it was so good,” Lissade says of his collaboration with his friend. “The seasoning in it is the one I learned from my grandma, so you can’t find it anywhere else.”

Related: Iconic Southern Comfort Food, From Cornbread to Fried Chicken

As for the global pandemic that shuttered the vast majority of businesses around the world, there was no way to predict the fallout for a restaurant as young as Boukan. “I was very worried,” he says. “We’re not even a year old, so when COVID happened I didn’t know what to do. We weren’t eligible for help from the government because we’d only been open for a few weeks last year.”

Enter: the very community he’s sought to bring together through food. “Thank God for the support of the Haitian community and our neighbours – they supported us like there’s no tomorrow. If it wasn’t for them, I think we would have been closed by now.”

To learn more about Boukan Owner and Executive Chef Marc-Elie Lissade, tune into the @AmexCanada #ShopSmallStories Twitter episode here. The Twitter Original series was created in partnership with American Express Canada in support of their Shop Small program, a national movement, backed by a Cardmember offer, to encourage Canadians to get behind their local small businesses and help revive communities.

Photos courtesy of North Agency

Celebrate Oktoberfest at Home With These Soft Pretzels, Done Two Ways!

These soft pretzels remind me of going to the carnival (or Oktoberfest celebrations!), but since we can’t go in person this year, I’m bringing the party home with my jalapeno smoked-cheddar stuffed pretzels. Yes, you read that right! These pretzels are soft, golden brown and stuffed with a creamy filling. Alternatively, you can skip the filling (but why would you?!) and toss them in a sweet cinnamon sugar mix. Serve with salsa, cheese sauce or even butter — or try them with my favourite decadent cream cheese icing recipe.

Soft Pretzels

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Rest Time: 55 minutes
Bake Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 90 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients:

Pretzel Dough
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp instant yeast
1 cup warm water
¼ cup ( ½ stick ) butter, melted

Jalapeno Cheddar Filling
¼ cup cream cheese
½ cup smoked cheddar, grated
⅓ cup jalapenos, diced
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp granulated garlic

Cinnamon Sugar Topping
½ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

Other
¼ cup baking soda, for boiling
¼ cup melted butter, for brushing
Coarse salt, for topping

Directions:

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, water and melted butter. Knead for 7-10 minutes on medium-low speed until the dough is soft and smooth. Place on the counter, cover with the mixing bowl and let rest for 45 minutes until the dough doubles in size.

2. Meanwhile, make the jalapeno cheddar filling. Mix together the cream cheese, smoked cheddar, jalapenos, salt and garlic. Set aside.

Related: 15 Must-Try German Dishes to Celebrate Oktoberfest

3. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Boil 8 cups of water on the stovetop.

4. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions and roll each piece into a smooth ball. Starting with one piece — keeping the rest covered so they don’t dry out — roll the dough into a log about 12 inches long. Flatten to about 2 inches wide. Add about 2 Tbsp of the jalapeno cheddar filling in the centre lengthwise. Pinch the dough together to close the seams, making sure to push out any air. Gently roll the dough with your hands until it’s about 24 inches long.

5. To shape the pretzels, take the left side and cross over the right, cross over the right again and flip the ends up and pinch to seal.

6. Add the baking soda to the boiling water. Boil the pretzels 2 at a time for 30 seconds, remove with a spider strainer and place on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the filled pretzels lightly with coarse salt and let rest for 10 minutes until the pretzels dry out.

7. Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush liberally with the melted butter. Enjoy warm. If you’ve opted to skip the filling and go the cinnamon sugar route, now brush the pretzels with melted butter and toss in cinnamon sugar mix to coat.

Like Sabrina’s soft pretzels? Check out her no-bake key lime pie icebox cake, dessert wontons and easy peach plum cobbler.

Seasonal Produce Shines in Ina Garten’s Tomatoes and Burrata Recipe

Foodies looking for an easy lunch or light dinner recipe that plays with taste and texture can rely on the creamy wonders of burrata cheese. It’s soft shell can be pierced with a fork, revealing a buttery  centre that aligns with the sweet tomatoes and fresh basil on your plate. For the uninitiated, why not start with this simple and classic version  from The Barefoot Contessa.

Creamy burrata cheese, ripe mixed heirloom cherry tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and aged balsamic vinegar are perfectly paired with Ina Garten‘s crunchy homemade four-ingredient garlic toasts. It’s exactly the sort of bold and beautiful dish that’ll brighten your late-summer, early-fall dinner table. *Chef’s kiss*

Related: Ina Garten’s Greek Salad is a Classic for a Reason

Ina Garten’s Tomatoes and Burrata

Total Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 2 servings

Ingredients:

1 (8- to 10-ounce) ball of fresh burrata cheese
1 pint mixed heirloom cherry tomatoes or 8 to 10 (2-inch diameter) heirloom tomatoes
Good olive oil
Aged balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 fresh basil leaves, julienned
Fleur de sel or sea salt
6 Garlic Toasts, recipe follows

For the Garlic Toasts:
1 baguette
1/4 cup good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, halved lengthwise

Related: Any Hour is Cocktail Hour With Ina Garten’s Classic Cosmopolitan

Directions:

1.Cut the ball of cheese in half crosswise and place the halves, cut side down, on 2 salad plates. Cut each tomato in half through the stem end and distribute them around the burrata. Drizzle the tomatoes and burrata generously with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Scatter the basil on the salads, sprinkle with fleur de sel, and serve with Garlic Toasts.

Related: Ina Garten’s 25 Easiest Weeknight Dinners

For the Garlic Toasts:
Yields: 20-25 toasts

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Slice the baguette diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Depending on the size of the baguette, you should get 20 to 25 slices.

3. Lay the slices in one layer on a baking sheet, brush each with olive oil, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Bake the toasts for 15 to 20 minutes, until they are browned and crisp. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, rub one side of the toasts with the cut side of the garlic. Serve at room temperature.

Watch Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics 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.

Chicken Fajita Salad

Ree Drummond’s Crowd-Pleasing Chicken Fajita Salad is a Show-Stopping Main

You may not believe it, but Ree Drummond has taken everything you love about chicken fajitas and created a healthy, family-sized meal salad that will please your eyes and your taste buds. Once you’ve grilled your chicken, bell pepper and corn, arrange them on a bed of romaine and butter lettuce along with avocado, lime and Cotija cheese, then finish it with a homemade cilantro-lime dressing. It’s a simple yet impressive dish that will let you show off your presentation skills. Make The Pioneer Woman’s chicken fajita salad the centerpiece on your dinner table tonight, and watch your family devour every morsel!

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s 25 Cheesiest Recipes Ever

Ree Drummond’s Chicken Fajita Salad Recipe

Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves:
6

Fajita Mix Ingredients:
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Salad Ingredients:
4 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing the grill
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 red bell peppers, quartered
2 yellow bell peppers, quartered
3 ears corn, silks and husks removed, halved crosswise
3 avocados, halved and pitted
1/2 lime, for squeezing

Cilantro Lime Dressing Ingredients:
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp lime zest plus 1/4 cup lime juice
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp chili flakes

Assembly Ingredients:
1 head romaine lettuce, leaves separated
1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated
1 bunch fresh cilantro sprigs, whole
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
4 limes, halved crosswise
1 wheel cotija cheese, broken into large chunks

Related: 15 Food Network Canada Chef Cookbooks You Need in Your Collection

Fajita Mix Directions:

1. Mix the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, sugar, salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper in a bowl.

Salad Directions:

1. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat and brush with olive oil.

2. Sprinkle a third of the fajita mix over one side of the chicken breasts. Place the chicken seasoned-side down on the grill and sprinkle another third of the fajita mix over the top of the chicken. Grill the chicken until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side; this will depend on the size of the breasts. Remove the chicken to a baking sheet to cool.

3. While the chicken is cooling, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the remaining fajita mix to a large mixing bowl and whisk together. Add the peppers and toss to coat. Place the peppers on the grill and cook, turning to get good grill marks, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to the baking sheet to cool.

4. Brush the corn with the last 2 tablespoons olive oil. Arrange the corn on the grill and cook, turning frequently, until cooked and brown, about 10 minutes total. Remove to a plate to cool.

5. Slice the chicken crosswise but keep the slices together. Slice the avocado crosswise, keeping the slices together like the chicken. Squeeze a bit of lime juice over top to prevent the slices from browning.

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s Tex-Mex Recipes Will Satisfy Your Cheesy, Meaty Cravings

Cilantro Lime Dressing Directions:

1. Add the olive oil, cilantro, lime zest and juice, salt and chili flakes to a mason jar and shake until emulsified.

Assembly Directions:

1. Arrange the lettuce leaves on a large board or platter. Cluster the chicken breast slices, avocado slices and peppers among the leaves. Tuck in the corn cobs here and there and do the same with the sprigs of cilantro. It should look more free-form than composed. Add the tomatoes, limes halves and chunks of cheese in the same way. Drizzle a bit of dressing over the salad to give it a hint of flavor and serve the rest on the side.

Want to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your family? The Pioneer Woman’s Top Cooking Tips for Easier Weeknight Dinners will help you get started.

Watch The Pioneer Woman 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.

We’re Falling for This Sausage, Apple and Sage-Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe

As the fall approaches and the summer heat comes to an end, the hearty comfort food cravings strike! This recipe is as cozy as it gets and hits all the fall must-haves: roasted acorn squash stuffed with sweet apple and a spicy sausage filling. Loaded with flavour, it is perfect for a small Thanksgiving gathering side dish, but easy enough for a weeknight supper. If you aren’t a fan of spice, simply substitute the sausage with a mild Italian or honey garlic variety.

Sausage, Apple and Sage-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

2 medium or 3 small acorn squashes, halved and seeded
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
½ pound ground spicy Italian sausage
1 tsp dried sage
½ tsp dried thyme
1 apple, diced
1 cup panko bread crumbs (unseasoned)
½ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the squash halves on a baking sheet, flesh side up. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, until tender.

2. As the squash roasts, prepare the filling. In a skillet over medium heat, add the remaining olive oil, garlic, onion and celery. Cook until the onions begin to turn translucent, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the sausage, sage and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the sausage is browned and cooked throughout, about 5 minutes.

Related: The Ultimate Squash Guide: All the Varieties and Their Best Uses

4. Stir in the apple, bread crumbs and parmesan. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.

5. Once squash is ready, evenly divide the mixture amongst the roasted squash halves. Place back in the oven & bake for an additional 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Like Marcella’s acorn squash recipe? Try her winter greens mac and cheese or make-ahead French toast bake.