Headshot of Ree Drummond set against a close-up of her broccoli and rice casserole

The Pioneer Woman’s Broccoli Rice Casserole is a Comforting Twist on a Classic Side

There are a few things we all crave when we’re sitting down for that iconic Thanksgiving meal: fall flavours, harvest-inspired platters and plenty of soul-warming, comforting options. With that said — as much as we can’t get enough of seasonal classics like stuffing and cranberry sauce — there’s also plenty of room at the table for new spins on savoury side dishes. Enter the queen of home-cooking comfort food, The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond, and her latest perfect-for-Thanksgiving casserole recipe. 

Made from a delectable mix of long-grain rice, broccoli and a plethora of cheeses, this easy-to-prepare casserole is creamy and oh-so comforting — making it a delicious addition to your Thanksgiving (and everyday, really) dinner table.

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s Must-Try Casserole Recipes

Ree Drummond holding her cheesy broccoli and rice casserole

Best Broccoli Rice Casserole

Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 10 to 12

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) salted butter
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, grated
4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne
3 cups whole milk
4-oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp paprika
8-oz processed cheese, cubed
3 cups grated sharp Cheddar
8 cups small broccoli florets
6-oz diced pimentos, drained
2 1/2 cups cooked long-grain rice

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s Ultimate Comfort Food Recipes

Directions:

 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

 2. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle over the flour, dry mustard and cayenne and stir to mix it in well. Continue to cook for 1 minute.

 3. Next, add the milk, stirring constantly; cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the cream cheese and Parmesan, stirring until totally combined. Stir in the pepper, salt and paprika. Add the processed cheese, stirring until completely melted. Next, add 1 1/2 cups of the Cheddar and stir until melted. Then, fold in the broccoli and pimentos.

 4. In a large baking dish, create a base with half of the rice. Top with half of the broccoli cheese sauce. Repeat with the remaining rice, then the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the rest of the Cheddar evenly over the top of the casserole. Bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes.

Looking for more of The Pioneer Woman’s easy comfort-food meals to warm your dinner table? Try one of these recipes from Ree Drummond this week!

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.


Chef Suzanne Barr Will Make You Think About Your Dinner Plate Differently

If you read her bio, Suzanne Barr is described as a Toronto-based chef and restaurateur, a judge on Food Network Canada’s Wall of Chefs and a committed social advocate. Talk to her, and she’s all of these things, but it’s the more intimate details about her life and the refreshing perspective she brings to her work that will make you wish you could share a meal with her weekly. We caught up with the chef to learn about her culinary influences, her role in the fight for food justice and equality, and ultimately what she contributes to the world with every plate she creates.

Chef Suzanne Barr posing at True True Diner (now closed)

Photo courtesy of Samuel Engelking

Culinary Roots

Suzanne remembers growing up and crafting Jamaican beef patties in her parents’ kitchen alongside her mother, father and siblings. The flaky, fragrant pastries made for a coveted after-school snack or light Saturday supper (being of Jamaican descent, it’s long been a family staple for Suzanne). Today, her focus remains on paring a plate back to its essence, taking every opportunity to showcase local, seasonal ingredients.

“My cooking style has gone on a massive journey,” she says. “Right now, I’m really inspired by preservation, using old traditional techniques to store food and then use at later dates.” This past summer, Suzanne, along with her husband and five-year-old son, travelled to Montreal for a few days, and came back with a massive case of locally grown tomatoes, which she pickled whole with garlic and fresh basil. “It’s all about getting access to really incredible vegetables and elevating them to give them their shining moment of just being what they are.”

Related: 15 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Pickle, From Avocado to Okra

Jar of pickled whole tomatoes

Honing Her Craft and Mission

After over a decade in the film and television industry, Suzanne endured hardship when her mother was diagnosed with cancer. She became her mom’s caretaker, often contemplating the role food plays in health and community.

“After losing my mom, I needed something that was more healing and connective, that brought me back to the most essential things in life, which is eating and breaking bread and having community around food,” she says. “I rediscovered this passion that was such a big part of me, but had lay dormant for far too long. It was now my duty to follow it and walk away from everything I had known and worked toward,” she says.

Growing up and witnessing her mother as a vivacious force who saw the value in voicing her opinion and beliefs instilled in Suzanne the courage to do the same. “Having my mom as such a matriarch in my life really pushed my passion and drive to fight for women and folks who look like me.” Suzanne attended her first protest in 1997 when she was in her early 20s. It was The Million Woman March in Philadelphia. She was moved and inspired by the act of travelling to another city for a day-long celebration of being a woman of colour. Advocating for women and the BIPOC community is woven into her work, shining light on issues of inequality and structural racism that too often go unheard.

“It’s become a big part of the mission in the work I do: feeding and healing folks with food, all the while educating people on the importance for BIPOC folks to be connected, and having a voice that can stand and fight for the people who don’t always have those same opportunities,” she says.

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

Chef Suzanne Barr critiquing a dish on the set of Wall of Chefs

Suzanne was the head chef and owner of Toronto’s True True Diner, an Afro-Caribbean restaurant and community space that paid tribute to the civil rights movement. She also paid her staff living wages, and believes tipping should be removed from every restaurant. Even if menu items become pricier,  if you’re transparent with your customers about your values, Suzanne believes enough people will stand behind you and support your mission.

“It’s important to pay people real living wages, to understand that when we speak about sustainability, it doesn’t stop with the food that we’re utilizing as restaurateurs and chefs. The sustainability of your staff, of the people who are working in these establishments, that to me is one of the most valuable resources that we have overlooked for far too long.”

True True permanently shuttered its doors this past July, and Suzanne was blindsided (she wrote a heartfelt statement about the experience). “I wanted to share that it’s okay to be vulnerable, it’s okay to share some of those not-so joyful stories that are part of being a business owner, and being a person of colour trying to compete in this industry that doesn’t always recognize the importance of having these faces for other POC and other non-POCs,” she says. “We’ll do it again in another space. True True lives within everyone who experienced it, and I’m grateful for that.”

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

Recipe for the Perfect Dish

“I always tell my staff: No matter what you do, no matter where you end up working, make sure that when you’re creating a dish, a part of you is on that plate,” she says. “Because that same intention and love and commitment can spread, and it gets shared over and over again. It becomes a new memory for someone else in a different way. Even different from what you intended when you put it on that plate in the first place.” For Suzanne, the plate represents her Caribbean descent, her personality, her joy, and sharing that experience with others, from the first moment a diner sees the dish to their very last bite.

Pasta made by a home cook on Wall of Chefs

That’s Suzanne’s advice to home cooks and budding chefs, including those inspired to try out for Wall of Chefs someday. And with that comes embracing the fear of the unknown: “Being a little scared in the kitchen can actually inspire you to make some of the most incredible foods you’d never imagined you could make. Because you push yourself,” she says. And really, that’s the beauty of Wall of Chefs, too – it connects people to their own experience of cooking, and inspires fans to try their hand at making something new, whether it’s chicken cordon bleu or a first attempt at making pasta or bread from scratch. If it doesn’t pan out the first time, simply try again.

Watch full episodes of Wall of Chefs online. You can also stream 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.

These Curried Brussels Sprouts Are the Fall Side Dish You Need Right Now

Fall is all about making roasted veggies — and Brussels sprouts should be high up on that list. Their small size and nutty taste make them perfect for roasting. The key is to get the edges crispy and caramelized by roasting them cut side down at a high temperature. And don’t even think about removing the small leaves that fall off — those become so crunchy and make the best Brussels sprouts chips. In this recipe, we use a delicious curry spice mix to take them to next level. All you need to do is cut the Brussels sprouts, toss them in the spice mix and roast them on a sheet pan. The perfect side dish for any meal!

Curried Brussels Sprouts

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

1 lb Brussels sprouts
3 large garlic cloves
1 ½ tsp curry powder
¼ tsp chilli powder (more to taste)
½ tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp olive oil
Lemon wedges (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Wash the Brussels sprouts well and pat dry using a paper towel. Trim the ends and cut in half lengthwise. It’s fine if some of the outer leaves fall off, keep them to roast on the pan.

2. Peel the garlic and crush it using a garlic press. Mix together the curry powder, chilli powder, paprika, salt, olive oil and crushed garlic.

3. Toss the Brussels sprouts with the marinade ensuring they are well coated. Turn the Brussels sprouts cut side down on a sheet pan and space them out evenly (do not overcrowd!).

4. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown. Serve as a side with lemon wedges.

Looking for more fall recipes? Try this vegan pumpkin soup or this easy paleo butternut squash tart.

5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Dinner Ideas: Slow Cooker Beef Bolognese

Ready to make the most comforting dinner with the least amount of effort? Then you’ll love this beef Bolognese. It only required five ingredients, plus a little salt and pepper! It’s the perfect, warming dish to make as the weather starts turning cooler — and is usually loved by all family members, even picky eaters. After a quick sauté of the onion and beef, simply throw all of the ingredients into the slow cooker and voila, you’re done. We like to choose a jar of our favourite store-bought marinara or tomato sauce, since it infuses so much flavour in one simple ingredient. If you would like to add the extra step of making your own, go for it. For the ultimate comfort dinner, serve the Bolognese over a big pile of your favourite noodles.

5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Beef Bolognese

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 to 6 hours
Total Time: 3 to 6 hours
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 lb ground beef
1 x 750 ml jar marinara or tomato sauce
½ cup chicken broth or dry red wine
½ tsp sea salt and pinch of pepper

Directions:

1. Place a wide skillet over medium-high heat and add in the oil. Once heated, put in onion and cook for 3 minutes until translucent.

2. Add in the ground beef, break it up with the back of a spoon and allow to brown.

3. Then place the onion, browned beef, sauce, broth, salt and pepper in the slow cooker.

4. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours.

Like Tamara and Sarah’s slow cooker beef Bolognese? Try their vegan pumpkin soup or their no-bake chocolate layered oat bars.

Easy Paleo Butternut Squash Tart Recipe: Your Fave Seasonal Squash Transformed!

We can all agree that the fall season is popular for all things pumpkin, particularly pies and tarts. However, you can also enjoy delicious fall desserts by transforming another seasonal favourite into a tasty tart. Introducing this rustic paleo butternut squash tart, made with a grain-free crust and a decadent buttery filling. It’s easy to make and a great way to enjoy butternut squash all season long.

Paleo Butternut Squash Tart

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Rest Time: 2 hours
Bake Time: 55 to 60 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Servings: 6 to 8

Ingredients:

Crust
1 ¼ cup almond flour
½ cup arrowroot starch or tapioca starch
1 Tbsp cane sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp kosher salt
1 stick unsalted cold butter, cubed
¼ cup ice water

Filling
2 cups cooked and pureed butternut squash
½ cup pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp paleo-approved brown sugar
4 ½ tsp arrowroot starch or tapioca starch
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted room temperature butter
2 eggs
3 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ cup warm water

Tip: To save time, you can purchase frozen prepared butternut squash cubes. Heat them up with 1.5 Tbsp of water in the microwave on high for five minutes. Puree in a food processor or blender until smooth.

Directions:

1. In a large bowl or a food processor, start by combining the almond flour, starch, sugar, cinnamon, salt and butter until the batter is crumbly. Add in 1 tsp of ice water at a time until the dough starts coming together. You may not need the full ¼ cup of ice water in the event that your dough already sticks together, so play it by ear. Once your dough is formed, but not too sticky, flatten it out into a 1 inch disk and wrap in saran wrap. Refrigerate for two hours or overnight.

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

2. When your dough is ready to roll out, remove from the fridge and preheat your oven to 350°F. Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper into a 10 inch round disk. If you find that the dough is too hard to roll, leave it at room temperature for about a minute. Remove the parchment paper and transfer the dough into a greased 10-inch round tart pan. Press the dough into the pan until all the edges are covered, then return it to the fridge.

3. Combine all filling ingredients in a large bowl. Using a hand mixer, mix for 3 minutes until you get a smooth batter. It’s normal to see tiny clumps of butter in the batter after mixing.

4. Pour the filling into the tart crust and place the tart pan on a baking sheet. Place the tart in the oven and bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. When ready, cool the tart on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Serve with toppings of choice.

Like Valerie’s paleo butternut squash tart? Try her 30-minute low-carb lamb burger recipe.

Molly Yeh’s Flaky Dill Bread: The Perfect Use for Leftover Herbs

Our favourite Girl Meets Farm recipes often include Molly Yeh’s mouth-watering baked goods – think cake and cookies – and this flaky, herb-alicious bread is no exception. Whether you’re looking for a warm mid-day snack or flavourful dinner side, this eight-ingredient masterpiece is your best bet.

Make use of all that luscious dill growing in your herb garden by combining it with your homemade dough and enjoy the soothing scents. Serve hot for optimal deliciousness. Find more tips and recipes with our ultimate herb guide.

Related:  Molly Yeh’s One-Pot Wonder Taco Hot Dish

Molly Yeh’s Flaky Dill Bread

Total Time: 2 hours
Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 cup pastry flour
2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
Oil, for greasing the bowl
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) butter, very soft
1 cup chopped fresh dill

Related: Your New Favourite Dish Starring Avocado: Molly Yeh’s Guacamole Salad

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, pastry flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Create a well in the center and add 3/4 cup water. Mix until you have a shaggy dough.

2. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead, adding additional flour as needed, until smooth, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and rest for 30 minutes.

3. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide into 6 balls. Keep them covered with plastic wrap when you’re not working with them. Using your hands, spread 1 tablespoon butter on a large work surface, top one of the balls of dough with another tablespoon of butter and pat out into a flat circle. Put the buttered dough ball on top of the spot of butter on the work surface. Using a flat hand, gently massage the dough in circular motions (as if you’re washing a window) to flatten it out into a very large translucent circle. It’s OK if it tears and is not perfect just try to get it as thin as possible!

4. Top with a sprinkling of the dill and then roll it out into a long, skinny log. Roll the log into a coil and transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Related: Molly Yeh’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake is a Birthday Treat to Remember

5. Roll out the coils into 7-inch-round circles by placing them between two pieces of wax paper and flattening with a rolling pin. The dough will probably want to stick to the wax paper, but it’s ok if it tears while you’re peeling it off. Alternatively, you can stick the rolled-out coils in the fridge for about 30 minutes, which will make them slightly easier to handle.

6. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook one at a time until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Serve hot!

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.

These Pumpkin Pie Squares With Candied Pecans is the Fall Dessert You’ve Been Craving

It’s fall! Which means, it’s time to celebrate with a pumpkin dessert. Pumpkin bars, cookies and loaves are among my favourite, but you can’t forget the most important of all — pumpkin pie. These Baking Therapy pumpkin pie bars have a rich and smooth filling blended with warming spices like cinnamon, ginger and clove, as well as a gingery cookie crust. Serve with fresh whipped cream and spiced candied pecans for a little crunch. Once you try these babies, I promise you’ll be hooked!

Pumpkin Pie Squares With Spiced Candied Pecans

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 90 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Servings: 12 to 16 squares

Ingredients:

Crust
1 cup gingersnap cookie crumbs
1 ⅓ cup (9 full sheets) graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup brown sugar
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
7 Tbsp butter, melted

Filling
⅔ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 can (300 ml) sweetened condensed milk
3 ⅓ cup (796 ml can) pumpkin puree
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt

Pecans
½ egg white
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups whole pecans

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line and grease a 9-inch square pan.

2. Start making the crust. Pulse the gingersnap cookies and graham crackers into a fine crumb in a food processor or use a resealable plastic bag and crush with rolling pin. Add to a bowl with brown sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Mix together until it resembles wet sand. Transfer to pan, press mixture down and bake for 10 minutes.

Related: Our Baking Expert Reveals 10 Baking Supplies You Can’t Live Without

3. While the crust is baking, whip up the filling. In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, eggs and egg yolks. Add the condensed milk, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, vanilla and salt. Whisk until fully combined.

4. Pour the filling over the crust and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then lower the oven to 325°F and bake for another 30 minutes. The centre should be firm and the sides will start to pull away from the pan. Let cool completely in pan.

5. Whisk together egg white,  sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and vanilla. Toss in the pecans. Bake at 300°F for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

6. Slice into 12 or 16 squares and serve with fresh whipped cream and candied pecans for crunch.

Like Sabrina’s baking? Check out her ginger molasses cookies and the best ever sticky toffee pudding.

Host, Alyson, with judges, Terri and Ray, as seen on Outrageous Pumpkins, season 1.

The 5 Best New Shows to Watch on Amazon Prime in October

While October may not be the first month that comes to mind when thinking about the most delectable times of year, we’d like to make a case for why it’s one of our favourite months for food-loving television junkies. With a packed schedule full of your Spookylicious favourites, plus new crave-worthy Canadian series, it’s a very good time to tune into Food Network Canada on STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels. Here are the shows we’ll be glued to all month long, and why you shouldn’t miss them!

Halloween Baking Championship

Who Should Watch: Baking Fanatics

Carla Hall on the set of Halloween Baking Championship

It’s the ultimate baking competition, with a spooky twist! Hosted by Carla Hall (Top Chef, The Chew),  talented bakers from across North America compete to create Halloween-themed baked goods that are scarily delicious.

Related: Meet the Season 6 Bakers on Halloween Baking Championship

Big Food Bucket List

Who Should Watch: Social Media Foodies

John Catucci laughing with a chef making smoked pork ribs

Are you missing dining out and feeling the foodie FOMO? Do you crave discovering local gems and trying out the must-eat offers before the rest of your friends? Then tune into this series where John Catucci (You Gotta Eat Here!) is back and exploring the bucket list-worthy spots across North America. He’s taking you into the kitchens to see how all the drool-worthy dishes are made.

See More: Explore the Restaurants From Big Food Bucket List

Big Time Bake

Who Should Watch: Competitive Cooks

Buddy Valastro on the set of Big Time Bake

Buddy Valastro (Buddy vs. Duff) is back with an all-new series, and this time he’s behind the judging table! In this adrenaline-pumping baking competition, bakers are given six hours to create a show-stopping cake. The catch? It’s a nonstop competition in the kitchen.

Related: The Evolution of Buddy Valastro: From Cake Boss to Buddy vs. Duff

Outrageous Pumpkins

Who Should Watch: DIY Lovers

Get ready to be astounded and inspired! Seven expert carvers compete to create the haunting and life-like Halloween rendering, all using pumpkins. Hosted by Alyson Hannigan (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), this four-part series is for more than just food lovers as the fantastic creations are spooky works of art that will delight all.

Related: 40+ Perfect Pumpkin Desserts to Make Your Fall Menu Sweeter

Wall of Chefs

Who Should Watch: Home Cooks Seeking Inspiration

"The Wall" on Wall of Chefs

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to cook in front of one of your culinary heroes? What about an entire panel of the most inspiring cooks across the country? That’s what the home cooks are up against as they do culinary battle in front of “The Wall” in order to win $10,000 and some serious bragging rights!

Related: The Best Expert Cooking Tips From “The Wall” (Take Note!)