All posts by Amanda Riva

Amanda Riva is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients.

Simple Pan-Roasted Brown Butter Radishes

Raw radishes have a sharp, pungent flavour, but pan roasting them brings out their natural sweetness. For this fresh and flavourful side dish, radishes are first sauteed and then tossed in brown butter and lemon juice until fragrant and topped with fresh chives.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 6

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Ingredients:
2 bunches radishes, assorted colours and types
1 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp lemon juice
1 bunch chives, chopped
Lemon wedges

Directions:
1. Trim the radishes so 1/2-inch (1 cm) of the stem is intact; trim and discard roots. Scrub well and dry well. Wash the leafy green tops, dry well and coarsely chop and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the radishes, cut side down. Sprinkle with salt. Cook, shaking occasionally but not turning, for 5 to 7 minute until golden. Cook, stirring often, for an additional 3 minutes or until lightly coloured all over.
3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling the pan, for 3 minutes or until butter is starting to brown and smell nutty, then remove from heat.
4. Stir the brown butter and lemon juice into the radishes. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped chives. Serve with lemon wedges.

Looking for more seasonal recipes? Check out our collection of spring dinners that can made in 30 minutes or less.

How to Make a Romantic Bacon Bouquet

Sometimes roses just won’t cut it. If you need something a little more extraordinary to please that special someone in your life, we’ve got you covered. Enter: bacon roses.

This bacon bouquet is anything but cliché! It’s the perfect gift to show them you care and that you understand their love of bacon. But you don’t have to just give this bouquet to your sweetheart; bring it to a party or a housewarming! Even though they may look like flowers, they are so much better (and tastier).

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 1 Dozen Roses

Ingredients:
12 thick cut bacon slices
24 toothpicks
12 wooden skewers

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Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Arrange a wire rack on top of a baking sheet.
3. Roll each bacon slice into pinwheels and secure the bottom with two toothpicks in an “X” to act as a stand on the wire rack. Continue with remaining bacon.
4. Arrange the bacon roses toothpick-side down on the wire rack. Transfer to oven and bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Remember bacon will continue to crisp when removed from the oven.
5. Transfer onto paper towel to drain. Carefully remove and discard toothpicks. Slide each bacon rose onto a skewer.

4-Ingredient Key Lime Pie Pops

If you enjoy a good key lime pie, you’re going to love these pie-inspired pops. Lime Greek yogurt is mixed with lime juice and zest, then layered between crunchy graham cracker crumbs.

Healthy, refreshing and delicious, satisfy your pie cravings with this sweet and tart summertime treat.

key lime pie pops

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Serves: 8

Ingredients:
3 cups Lime Greek Yogurt
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp lime zest
½ cup graham cracker crumbs

key lime pie pops

Directions:
1. In a bowl stir together Greek yogurt, lime juice and lime zest.
2. Fill each popsicle mold halfway with yogurt mixture. Add a spoonful of graham cracker crumbs and continue to fill popsicle molds. Finish with another thin layer of graham cracker crumbs then insert popsicle stick and freeze.
3. To serve, run the bottom of the popsicle mold under warm water for 10 seconds and pull gently on the stick to release the popsicle.

Strawberry Kiwi Greek Yogurt Popsicles

We’ve got the perfect, low-calorie summer treat: strawberry kiwi Greek yogurt popsicles! Less than 130 calories and a whopping 12 grams of protein make this sweet snack the choice to help you cool down this season. Bonus:  adding agave nectar means you’ll get the sweetness, without the added sugar!

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Strawberry Kiwi Greek Yogurt Popsicles

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours, 10 minutes
Serves: 8

Ingredients:
2 cups 2% plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup skim milk
1/4 cup agave or honey
1 ripe kiwi, peeled and coarsely chopped
6 strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped

Directions:
1. In a blender or food processor purée the yogurt, milk, agave and kiwi. If you don’t have a blender or food processor then simply stir together all the ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Sprinkle strawberry pieces into each of the popsicle molds. Divide the Greek yogurt kiwi mixture over top of the strawberries. Insert popsicle sticks and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.
3. To release popsicles, run the bottom of the popsicle mold under hot water for 10 seconds and gently pull on the popsicle stick to release.

Notes: Popsicles take more than 4 hours to freeze. To avoid drips, push the stick of your popsicle through the bottom of a cupcake liner.

How to Make a Breakfast Fondue for Mother’s Day

What better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than with a fun breakfast fondue . Make a delicious spread of all of Mom’s favourite treats complete with fruit skewers and melted chocolate.

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
8 oz (250 g) semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup (250 mL) 35% whipping cream
Fresh cut fruit or fruit kabobs
Mini cinnamon buns
Mini croissants
Mini muffins
French toast sticks
Granola bars
Waffles

Directions:
1. Heat cream in small saucepan set over medium heat just until it starts to simmer. Pour over chocolate and let stand for 1 minute. Then whisk until smooth.
2. Keep warm and serve with your favourite breakfast dippers.

amanda riva Amanda Riva is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients. 

Amanda Riva is part of the Lifestyle Blog Network family.

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Naturally Coloured Easter Eggs from The Hot Plate

This year forget the artificial dyes. With such a strong focus on buying local, natural, and seasonal, it’s a wonder that come Easter each year we all love to get down and dirty with messy dyes. This year I got to thinking about all of the great ways I add colour to dishes using vegetables. Beets, for instance, add a wonderful and vibrant pink colour to an otherwise beige risotto. Cabbage adds crunch and colour to dishes when used as a slaw or side dish. While these dyes might be slightly less potent, the results are beautiful and seasonal pastel colours.

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One of my favourite reasons for loving this dye is that once you’ve finished the craft, these eggs can be enjoyed free of any concerns about artificial ingredients. After finishing this fun tea time craft, we used the leftovers to make deviled eggs and egg salad sandwiches. So, maybe it isn’t a long lasting craft, but it’s rewarding and economical for people looking to have some fun in the kitchen. When crafting with kids, this is also a fun science experiment to educate kids on vegetables and just how cool eating your greens can be!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Makes: 12 eggs

Ingredients:
12 large white eggs
2 large red beets, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 large yellow or orange beets, cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 head purple cabbage, cut into wedges

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Directions:
1. Fill three pots with three cups of cold water. Add one type of vegetable to each of the pots, cover, and bring to a simmer.
2. Simmer the vegetables in each of the pots for 15-20 minutes. Pour each of the liquids through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl.
3. Let the vegetable liquid cool to room temperature.
4. While the vegetable liquids are cooling, hard boil the eggs. Add the eggs to a large pot and cover with water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Uncover and boil the eggs for 7 minutes. Remove the eggs from the pot, careful they will be hot. Let the eggs cool for 10 minutes.
5. Add your eggs to the dyes and let them sit for 5-6 minutes in the dye. The colors will be soft pastels.
6. Eggs will keep in the fridge for 5 days.

How to Make Gingerbread Holiday Bark

Need inspiration for a tasty homemade holiday gift? This dark chocolate holiday bark packed with gingersnaps, ginger, pretzels, caramels, pistachios and cranberries has got something in it for everyone to enjoy.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 12

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Ingredients:
1/2 cup crumbled gingersnaps
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1/4 cup crumbled salted pretzels
1/4 cup roughly chopped soft chewy caramels
1/4 cup roughly chopped pistachios
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 pound good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped (at least 70%)
1 ounce white chocolate, melted

Directions:
1. Line a 9 x 13 inch metal baking pan with parchment paper so it overhangs the ends.
2. Combine gingersnaps, crystallized ginger, pretzels, caramels, pistachios and cranberries, and set aside.
3. Place dark chocolate in heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally, until melted. Remove from heat.
4. Pour chocolate onto the prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with gingerbread mixture. Drizzle melted white chocolate over bark. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until chocolate is set.
5. Remove from pan and peel off the parchment paper. Break the bark into pieces. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.

Notes:
– Substitute your favourite nuts and dried fruit for the pistachios and cranberries if desired.

Roasted Root Vegetable Pasta with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

In addition to being packed with protein, fibre, and many other nutrients, this comforting pasta dish requires less than an hour of prep and cooking time from start to finish. Parsnips, beets, carrots and butternut squash are tossed in a mixture of balsamic vinegar, mustard, honey, garlic and spices, and are then roasted to a tender perfection. These hearty veggies pair well with the creaminess of the goat cheese, while the walnuts add a nice crunch to the mix.

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon honey
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
1 red onion, cut into chunks
2 cups butternut squash chunks
4 beets, peeled and cut into wedges
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 pound whole-grain spaghetti
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Whisk oil with vinegar, mustard, honey, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. Measure out half and set aside.
  3. Toss remaining with carrots, parsnips, red onion and squash. Arrange on a foil-lined tray. Add beets to the same bowl and toss until evenly coated in the residual oil mixture.
  4. Arrange on one side of the baking sheet. Roast, tossing occasionally, for 45 minutes or until tender.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare spaghetti according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup cooking liquid and drain well.
  6. Toss with reserved oil mixture and as much of the cooking liquid need to achieve desired consistency.
  7. Garnish with goat cheese and walnuts.

Hearty Vegetarian Chili with Butternut Squash

There’s nothing more soul-warming than a big bowl of chili. A unique and tasty alternative to your typical chili, this vegetarian green chili is made with tangy canned tomatillos, poblano chiles and jalapeños for some added heat.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

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Ingredients:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 poblano chile pepper, seeded and chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cans whole tomatillos, drained and roughly chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped
8 ounces Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 Tbsp lime juice
Shredded aged Cheddar
Sour cream
Finely chopped radishes
Lime wedges
Tortilla chips

Directions:
1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan set over medium heat. 2. Add onions, poblano, carrot, celery, jalapeño, garlic, chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 7 to 10 minutes or until vegetables soften.
3. Add tomatillos, broth and Worcestershire sauce, and bring to a boil. Add butternut squash, potatoes, white beans and pinto beans. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour or until vegetables are tender and chili thickens slightly.
4. Stir in corn, cilantro and lime juice. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through. Serve with Cheddar cheese, sour cream, radishes, lime wedges and tortilla chips.

Notes:
– For those who like their chili to pack a punch, replace chili powder with chipotle chili powder.

Apple Napoleons with Dulce de Leche

The flavours of apple, cinnamon and dulce de leche marry exquisitely in this decadent, tasty dessert. Head to your local farmer’s market for some freshly picked apples and indulge in this after-dinner delight.

Watch this dessert come to life in this video and then try the recipe yourself below:

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Serves: 6

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Ingredients:
1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 cup mascarpone
1 Tablespoon brandy
2 Tbsp icing sugar
2 Tbsp butter
4 apples, cored, peeled and sliced
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup dulce de leche (approximately)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Roll cold puff pastry out on a lightly floured surface, into two 9 x 12-inch (30 x 23cm) rectangles. Arrange each piece of puff pastry on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Top with a second piece of parchment paper and a second baking sheet. Bake, rotating halfway, for 30 minutes or until golden. Cool completely.
2. Cut each piece, using a serrated knife, into 9 equal rectangles; set aside. The puff pastry can be prepared and stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days in advance. With electric mixer, beat mascarpone with brandy and icing sugar until light and fluffy; keep chilled. Store, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 days.
3. Melt butter in large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add apples and cinnamon; sauté for 5 to 7 minutes or until tender. Stir in dulce de leche and vanilla, cook, stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes or until heated through.
4. Add a dollop of mascarpone over 6 pieces of puff pastry; top with some apples. Repeat layers once and cap with remaining puff pastry. Drizzle additional dulce de leche on top. Serve immediately.

Notes: Substitute caramel sauce for the dulce de leche, if desired.

Skillet Scalloped Potatoes

Some of my fondest memories of the holidays are from when my family would get together for potlucks. All of us would bring our most prized dishes that we had been perfecting for years.

There were cakes, cookies, roasts, dips, you name it, it was there. But no matter how hard everyone worked on create the ultimate crowd-pleasing dish, my grandmother’s scalloped potatoes always seemed to blow everyone away. They were so gooey, warm and packed with so much flavour. To me, this was the perfect side dish for any holiday meal or special occasion.

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Ingredients:
6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese
Salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
2. Heat an 8 to 9-inch oven safe skillet over medium heat. Add 3 Tbsp of butter and reduce heat to low. Cook until melted and frothy. 3. Add flour and whisk until lightly browned and raw taste is cooked about, about 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk in milk until smooth.
3. Remove skillet from heat and pour milk mixture into a bowl or large measuring cup.
4. In a separate bowl, toss sliced potatoes with salt and pepper. Arrange potato slices in the skillet so that they slightly overlap.
5. Using 1 ½ cups of the cheese, sprinkle between every second layer of potato. Pour milk mixture back into the skillet to coat potatoes.
6. Top potatoes with remaining ½ cup cheese. Dot the cheese with the remaining Tbsp of butter. Season with pepper.
7. Cover with foil and bake for 60 minutes. Remove foil and bake or broil for 5-10 minutes until top is golden and bubbly.
8. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Skip the canned cranberry sauce and make it right at home — it’s super easy to make with just five ingredients! It’s also deliciously sweet and tart, with a nice hit of citrus from the orange. Make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge so you have one less step when preparing your holiday feast.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

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Ingredients:
1 340 g-bag fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 medium orange
Kosher salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Add cranberries, stock and granulated sugar to a medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add the rosemary, 1 tsp orange zest and 1/4 cup orange juice from the orange. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Cover the cranberry mixture and bring to a boil. When cranberries begin to burst open, uncover the sauce and continue to simmer over medium heat.
3. Cook until the cranberries have burst and the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove from the heat and cool cranberry sauce with rosemary sprigs.
4. Once cool, discard rosemary and refrigerate cranberry sauce in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months until ready to use.

 

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Blueberries and Cream French Toast Bake

Start this weekend off on the right foot with this oven-baked French toast casserole that can be assembled the night before for a stress-free breakfast or brunch in bed. Using cream in the custard makes this extra decadent and delicious, but milk will work as well for a lightened up version.

Blueberries and Cream French Toast Bake 

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 6

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Ingredients:

Maple Brown Sugar Drizzle:
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp melted butter
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

French Toast Bake:
1 cup 10% cream or whole milk
3 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla
8 cups cubed day-old egg bread or Italian loaf
2 cups fresh blueberries, divided
Whipped cream (optional)

Directions:

Maple Sugar Drizzle:
1. Stir brown sugar with maple syrup, butter and cinnamon until combined.

French Toast Bake:
1. Grease an 8 x 8-inch square glass baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk cream with eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla. Add bread cubes and toss to coat. Stir in 1 cup blueberries.
2. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight, or until mixture is absorbed.
3. Preheat oven 350°F. Top evenly with Maple Sugar Drizzle. Bake, uncovered, for 50 to 60 minutes or until fluffy and golden.
4. Serve with remaining blueberries and whipped cream if desired.

amanda riva Amanda Riva is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients.  Amanda Riva is part of the Lifestyle Blog Network family.

Zucchini Bread with Pecans

Zucchini bread is the perfect high-fibre treat – it can be enjoyed for breakfast, as a snack or light dessert. This delicious recipe can easily be made gluten-free, so sub in your favourite wheat-free flour and get ready to enjoy!

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Serves: 12

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups =all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
2 Tbsp ground flax
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp  baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup finely shredded zucchini
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 egg
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and set aside. Stir the all-purpose flour with the whole-wheat flour, ground flax, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
2. Combine the zucchini, milk, oil and egg in a separate bowl. Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture until just combined. Gently fold in the pecans. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
3. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely.

amanda riva Amanda Riva is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients. Amanda Riva is part of the Lifestyle Blog Network family.

How to Make Green Bin Cookies

What are you craving for an afternoon snack? Maybe you love chocolate chip cookies or perhaps your taste buds are looking for something salty — we know how hard it can be to decide sometimes. With these Green Bin Cookies, you don’t have to make the choice because you can have it all! Treat the kids this spring break with these cookies that include all their favourite snacks. They’re also great for cleaning out leftovers from your cupboards!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minutes
Yield: 32 Cookies

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Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup large flake oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup broken salted pretzels
1/2 cup mini candy coated chocolate pieces
1/2 cup good quality dark chocolate pieces
1/2 cup mini marshmallows

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Beat butter with granulated and brown sugars or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time or until well blended. Beat in vanilla.
2. In another bowl, stir together flour, oats, baking soda and salt. Stir into butter mixture. Stir in pretzels, candy coated chocolate pieces, chocolate covered raisins and marshmallows. Chill dough for 30 minutes or until firm.
3. Using a 1 ounce (2-inch) scoop, drop 2 inches apart, onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
4. Bake, for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden and set, rotating and switching pan halfway through. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool completely.

Notes:
– Substitute add-ins with your favourite nuts, dried fruit and candies. Try salted peanuts, butterscotch chips and chopped dates.

amanda riva Amanda Riva is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients. Amanda Riva is part of the Lifestyle Blog Network family.

Grilled Artichokes with Lemon Basil Sauce

Discover the delicious flavour of fresh artichokes this season by simply grilling them with a little lemon, olive oil and salt, served alongside a zesty yogurt sauce with capers and fresh basil.

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
Juice of 1 lemon (skin reserved for zest)
4 globe artichokes
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Sauce:
Lemon Zest
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp capers, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt

Directions:
1. Squeeze the juice from the lemon into a large bowl filled with cold water. Reserve the zest for the sauce.
2. Remove the tough, outer leaves from the artichokes until a pale yellow is revealed. Trim and peel the stem. Cut in half and remove the furry inside (the choke). Place the halves in the lemon water. Repeat with remaining artichokes.
3. Cook artichokes in a large pot of rapidly boiling, salted water for 15 minutes. Drain well.
4. Set a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush the cut side of each artichoke with oil and season with salt. Grill, cut-side-down, for 5 minutes or until well-marked and the center is tender.
5. Stir yogurt with basil, oil, capers, reserved lemon zest and salt until well combined. Serve with grilled artichokes.

amanda riva Amanda Riva is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients. Amanda Riva is part of the Blog Network family.

Easy Fruit Nachos

This playful and healthy twist on nachos uses fresh pear slices instead of chips. Take advantage of fresh in-season fruit with this sweet nutritious snack.

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
4 pears, cored and sliced
1/2 mango, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped strawberries
2 Tbsp shaved coconut
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
2 Tbsp melted chocolate
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt

Directions:
1. Arrange pear slices on a platter. Sprinkle mango, strawberries, coconut and almonds over top.
2. Drizzle evenly with melted chocolate.
3. Serve with vanilla Greek yogurt for dipping.

Notes:
– Substitute caramel sauce for the melted chocolate if desired.

Wild Rice Chicken Skillet

When it comes to busy nights and weeknight dinners, I feel like I just kind of throw things together. Mostly it’s because I don’t have a lot of time to plan and just end up using whatever I have on hand. But then there are those nights when I really just want to have a delicious and hearty meal.

So I decided to try this wild rice chicken skillet recipe: with hearty rice, tender chicken and some fresh spinach, this meal is super healthy, delicious and quick to make.

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
3 cups cooked wild rice
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
6 baby Bella mushrooms, cut into six pieces
2 cups packed baby spinach
¼ cup reduced sodium chicken stock
Pinch dried basil
Pinch dried red chili flakes
½ cup fat free sour cream
1 cup part skim shredded cheddar cheese
¼ tsp salt
Pepper
Fresh parsley, for serving

Directions:
1. Using an oven safe skillet (all stainless steel), heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sear on both sides until golden, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to plate.
2. Add mushrooms to the skillet and stir until softened, about 5 minutes. Deglaze skillet with chicken stock. Stir in spinach, rice, sour cream, dried basil and chili flakes.
3. Add chicken breasts back to the skillet and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

amanda riva Amanda Riva is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients. Amanda Riva is part of the Blog Network family.

How to Make Mini Tiramisu

The perfect ending to any Italian meal, this single serving tiramisu recipe is rich and creamy with a kick of coffee flavour.

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 8

Ingredients:
1 cup strong freshly brewed coffee or espresso
3 Tbsp coffee-flavoured liqueur (optional)
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 tub mascarpone cheese, softened
18 crisp ladyfinger cookies, coarsely chopped
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp chocolate shavings or cocoa powder

Directions:
1. Stir coffee with liqueur; set aside. Whisk egg whites with electric beaters on high until soft peaks form. Continue to beat, gradually adding in half the sugar, until stiff peaks form; set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks on high with the remaining sugar. Beat until mixture is pale yellow and tripled in volume. Reduce speed to medium and beat in the mascarpone until smooth. Beat in the 3 Tbsp of the coffee mixture and the vanilla until fully incorporated. Fold in the egg whites; set aside.
3. Divide half the chopped ladyfingers among 8 (4 oz) jars. Drizzle half the remaining coffee mixture among the jars. Then layer in half the mascarpone mixture. Repeat layers.
4. Garnish with chocolate shavings. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Notes: Garnish with fresh berries, if desired.

amanda riva Amanda Riva is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients. Amanda Riva is part of the Blog Network family.

Roasted Sweet and Salty Chickpeas

It’s mid-afternoon, and the post-lunch, pre-dinner munchies are hitting you hard. You need something to satisfy that sweet and salty craving, preferably without a ton of sugar, cholesterol or fat.

Well, we’ve heard your plea, and may I present:The pea! Chickpea, actually. This superfood is gluten and cholesterol-free, and contains more than five grams each of fibre and protein (great for crushing cravings!). Either hot out of the oven or as a snack the next day, sugar and spice make this a delicious and addictive treat.

888_roasted-chickpeas

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted very dry
1 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp  chili powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder and salt. Add chickpeas to the mixture and stir to combine.
2. Add to a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour or until the chickpeas sound hollow when the baking sheet is shaken.

amanda riva Amanda Riva is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients. Amanda Riva is part of the Blog Network family.