All posts by Great Canadian Cookbook Editors

The Great Canadian Cookbook celebrates and discovers the best in Canadian cuisine with must-try dishes, food stories and iconic food establishments across the country.

How to Make Perfect Butter Tart Pastry

By Colleen Fisher Tully

When people steal your butter tarts off a party tray and hide them in napkins, you know you’ve got a great recipe. This is what happens when Peggy Nagle brings her tarts to a gathering, a recipe she learned from her mother-in-law, a local legend known as the “Queen of Tarts.”

Here is Nagle’s modernized method for perfect pastry—which met her mother-in-law’s approval.

You’ll need:
• 5½ cups (1.375 L) all-purpose flour
• 2 tsp (10 mL) salt
• 1 lb (450 g) chilled lard, cut in chunks
• 1 egg
• 1 tbsp (15 mL) vinegar
• plastic wrap
• rolling pin
• muffin pans

1Perfect-Butter-Tart-Pastry-005
1. Mix Just Until Dough Holds Together
In large bowl, combine flour and salt. Pour flour mixture into food processor; add lard. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger pea-sized pieces.

In glass measure, using fork, beat egg with vinegar. Add enough very cold water to make 1 cup (250 mL). Drizzle into flour mixture, a bit at a time, mixing with fork until dough looks evenly moistened and holds together when gently pressed between fingers, as shown. (You might not need all of the liquid.)

 

2Perfect-Butter-Tart-Pastry-014
2. Divide, Wrap and Chill
Divide dough equally into 6 balls; wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for 3 hours. Prepared dough can be stored for 2 days in the refrigerator or 2 months in the freezer.

 

3Perfect-Butter-Tart-Pastry-017
3. Don’t Overwork the Dough
On lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to scant ?-inch (3 mm) thickness. If dough cracks while rolling, allow it to sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes, or until pliable enough to roll without breaking. The secret to flaky pastry is to handle the dough as little as possible. The more you handle it, the tougher it gets.

 

4Perfect-Butter-Tart-Pastry-036
4. Cut into Circles
Using jar lid, cookie cutter or large glass, cut circles of right size for your muffin pans.

 

5Perfect-Butter-Tart-Pastry-037
5. Fill ’Em Up
To avoid messy last-minute baking, make dough and fill muffin pans the night before, then add raisins and filling and bake right before serving. Butter tarts are best served fresh, and even better served warm.

Get the full butter tart recipe and read more about Waterloo, Ont.’s butter tart dynasty.

the commodore duck confit

Q&A: Commodore’s Jon Vettraino Is Like a Braised Beef Cheek

After working at various restaurants around Toronto and abroad, chef Jon Vettraino is dropping anchor. The talented chef, who learned the ins and outs of seafood early in his career under chef Martha Wright, is taking up the daunting task of running his own restaurant, The Commodore. Situated in Toronto’s trendy west end, the light and bright restaurant serves up Italian influenced dishes with lots of seafood.

Vettraino is passionate about using the best seasonal Canadian ingredients and creating contrasts with taste and texture. His Cape Breton shrimp on toast contrasts nutty flavours from the brown butter sauce with salty anchovies and savoury garlic and herbs. The taste and aroma are a treat for the senses. The dishes are as visually pleasing as they are delicious and served up on what looks to be Nonna’s fine china.

Duck Confit Crepe

One of Vettriano’s favourite dishes to make is the Duck Confit Crepe. The dish starts with super crispy crepe made out of tapioca and rice flour and coconut cream, topped with medallions of duck confit, QP mayo, peanuts, chillies, mint and scallions.
By Joel Gale

Vettraino’s passion for food and his creativity is evident across the menu. We caught up with him to talk about his new restaurant, his earliest food memories and who he thinks is the most impressive chef in the city.

What’s your idea of happiness?

Vettraino : My idea of happiness is to one day own a cottage where I can spend weeks at a time enjoying the good life with my wife and son.

What’s your first memory of food?

Vettraino: My first memory is probably my Croatian babysitter’s fried smelts. She’d make big seafood dinners and I’d sit in diapers and taste everything while she cooked.

Who was your cooking mentor? How did you first meet?

Vettraino: The chef that influenced me the most was Martha Wright. At the time Starfish had recently made James Chatto’s Top 10 Best list and I was impressed by that. Martha has a fantastic resume and she has really good ideas. She cooks seasonally, light and fresh. I’d been cooking for a few years before Starfish but my time there made me realize I had a lot to learn and unlearn.

Venison Ragu

The Commodore’s Gnocchi with Venison Ragu.
By Joel Gale

What do you love to cook the most (your signature dish)?

Vettraino:  I think I enjoy baking bread the most. It’s the most satisfying. It’s so simple yet incredibly complex. It’s so accessible that people have forgotten how much work goes into it.

As for a signature dish, it’s hard to say. We make a Vietnamese-style duck confit crepe which is my favorite at the moment. We make a super crispy crepe out of tapioca and rice flour and coconut cream. Then we top it with medallions of duck confit, QP mayo, peanuts, chilies, mint and scallions. It’s fun to cook and the response has been really positive.

Where do you see yourself in 2 years?

Vettraino: In two years I hope to have fine tuned the Commodore to the point that it’s become a Toronto institution.

If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?

I think if I wasn’t a chef I’d be working in film. Doing what exactly, I could never quite figure out.

What’s the least favourite thing about yourself?

Vettraino: My horrendous memory might be my least favorite thing about myself. That, and my gluttonous appetite. The appetite is a blessing and a curse. My inner fat kid has a pretty great palate.

Swordfish Crudo

The Commodore’s Swordfish Crudo with pickled sea asparagus, Trinidad peppers, shiso and crispy chicken skin.
By Joel Gale

What was the last restaurant you dined at? What did you eat?

Vettraino: The last restaurant I dined at was Campagnolo. We had Craig’s classic burrata with roasted grapes and the Amatriciana which are always excellent.

Name a Canadian chef that is doing exciting things in food right now. 

Vettraino: I’d have to say Patrick Kriss is cooking the most impressive food in the city. It’s hard to speak for Canada because I haven’t eaten outside of Toronto in two years. Alo is the total package. The staff, front and back are full of all stars. The food is flawless. The technique, presentation and flavour combinations are at a level that can compete with any Michelin starred restaurant I’ve eaten at.

If you were any dish or ingredient in the world, what would you be?

Vettraino: I’d be an off cut like braised beef cheeks. They’re a tough, poor man’s cut. Before you try them you can’t imagine they’d be any good, but then you try them and they’re nothing like you expected. They’re tender, flavourful and become one of your best meal experiences.

What is your favourite quote?

Vettraino: “Treat it like it’s yours, and someday it will be.” – Thomas Keller

Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Stew for Chilly Nights

Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Stew for Chilly Nights

By Wanda Baker

When I was a young child growing up in a small town, I encountered my first moose. Not in the woods or side of the road but in my father’s garage. My dad was a hunter and enjoyed heading out to the wilderness whenever his name was drawn. I had innocently wandered into the garage and found a moose waiting to be butchered. Whether I knew it was there or not, I was always curious. Over the years stew came to us in many variations: moose, deer and of course, beef.

When I left that small town, I started cooking for myself leading to all kinds of experimentation. My mom made her stews fairly simple using onions, carrots, potatoes — all the usual suspects. I stuck with beef, chicken or pork since game meat wasn’t readily available. I learned to brown the meat and add flavour enhancers like garlic and ginger.

Over the years my stews have changed to suit our family and our busy lifestyle. Slow cooker stews make dinners quick and easy when we have to eat and run. But I’ll always remember the moose from my childhood and the delicious stew that followed.

Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Stew, Courtesy of Wanda Baker, bakersbeans.ca, Calgary, Alta.

Beef and Barley Stew Bakersbeans

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 6-8 hours
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients:
1-2lbs beef stew meat (1 inch cubes)
Canola oil
1 small onion, diced
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, medium size, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups beef broth
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp ginger, minced
1 cup barley
Salt and pepper

Directions:
1. In a skillet over medium high heat add your oil, and brown beef in small batches. Remove from pan, and place in slow cooker. Continue until all beef is browned.
2. Turn heat down, pour a little more oil into pan, and add your onions, carrots and celery stirring for about 5 minutes. Toss in garlic.
3. Pour in a splash of beef broth, and scrape up all the brown bits from the pan. Add contents into slow cooker with beef.
4. Add remaining beef broth, bay leaves, soy sauce, ginger, and a pinch of salt & pepper to the slow cooker. Toss in your barley and cover.
5. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve with mashed potatoes, noodles or rice.

Bakersbeans
Wanda Baker is a Calgary-based lifestyles and food blogger since 2006 and has been cooking with her mom in the kitchen since age five. Look to Bakersbeans for delicious recipes and family adventures in Calgary and beyond.

ChickenSaladMasonJar

A Detox Chicken Salad You Can Make the Night Before

By Angie Wright

Mason-jar salad recipes have been floating around the Internet forever and I’m sure happy I stumbled across the idea! Better late than never. It’s no huge secret that I like to indulge in cake and other sweets, so I’ve had to come up with an eating plan that lets me fit in a few treats now and again. If I try putting something completely out of my diet it just makes me want even more of it. During the week my family eats quite well and leaves treats for the weekend. It makes Friday night even better! Grab some cake, hit the couch and enjoy.

My husband and I both work during the week so time is limited for planning healthy lunches. These Mason-jar salads are so easy and can be customized for whatever you have in the fridge that week. The best part is that these salads can be assembled ahead of time, and they keep for up to five days! It’s a great way to balance out the weekend treats.

Detox Chicken Salad, Courtesy of Angie Wright, fridaycakenight.com, Fort St. John, B.C.

These quick-and-easy make-ahead salads are perfect for popping into your lunch bag.

ChickenSaladMasonJar

Prep time: 10 min
Yield: 5 servings

Ingredients
1/4 cup (50 mL) balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup (50 mL) olive oil
2 1/2 cups (625 mL) cooked chicken, cubed
3 cups (750 mL) shredded red cabbage
3 cups (750 mL) shaved carrots
3 cups (750 mL) chopped kale or spinach
5 tsp (25 mL) dried cranberries

Directions
1. Evenly divide balsamic vinegar and olive oil among five large Mason jars.
2. Evenly divide chicken, cabbage, carrots and kale among the jars, layering each ingredient on top of the last.
3. Top each jar with dried cranberries. Seal jars with lids and rings.
4. Refrigerate until ready to eat. Shake before serving.

Friday is Cake Night
Angie comes from a small town in B.C., where she lives with her husband and two children. She spends her spare time working on her blog and travelling with her family as much as possible.

PinaColadaSmoothie

Immune-Boosting Green Smoothie to Start the New Year

By Regina Braun

Being pregnant with my daughter first got me into drinking green smoothies.

Did you know that getting over a cold is much harder when you are pregnant? I had no clue until I was pregnant and fighting the longest cold of my life. Why does it take so long? Well, first of all, the pregnant body gives the growing baby highest priority. Healing mom is not as important. Secondly, there is hardly any cold medication approved for use during pregnancy. So I was left dealing with this extended cold without any meds.

I realized that I had to take a proactive approach to boosting my immune system. That’s when I started to make green smoothies part of my routine. I still didn’t like the thought of a green-tasting drink, so my very first green smoothie creation ended up tasting like a cocktail instead. The tropical flavours of pineapple and coconut do an amazing job at masking the taste of leafy greens.

Is it any surprise, that my daughter already loves green smoothies? She insists on sharing my smoothies with me and loves it when I make them into mini popsicles for her.

Green Piña Colada Smoothie, Courtesy of Regina Braun, leelalicious.com, Calgary

Tropical flavours mask the taste of the leafy greens for a smoothie that is delicious and nutritious.

PinaColadaSmoothie

Prep time: 5 min
Yield: 2 servings (2 1/2 cups/625 mL)

Ingredients
1 cup (250 mL) coconut milk
2 tbsp (30 mL) organic shredded coconut (optional)
1 cup (250 mL) packed fresh spinach
1 cup (250 mL) frozen pineapple chunks
½ frozen banana
shredded coconut (for garnish, optional)
fresh pineapple (for garnish, optional)

Directions
1. In blender or food processor, combine coconut milk, shredded coconut, spinach, frozen pineapple and banana. (Layering ingredients from liquid to frozen makes for easier blending.)
2. Garnish rim of serving glasses with shredded coconut and piece of pineapple, if desired.
3. Serve immediately, or freeze leftovers to make green popsicles.

Leelalicious
I am a busy mom of one little girl who is already a great eater and future kitchen helper. On my blog, Leelalicious, I like to share nutritious and delicious recipes for the entire family!

CranberryEggnogMuffins

Cranberry Muffins to Cozy up with This Winter

By Barbara Mayhew

Cranberries grow in Prince Edward Island and are a versatile food. I remember as a small child going with my mother and grandmother to pick wild cranberries. In the fall, these berries were highly sought after. We used them fresh in cranberry sauce and froze them for use over the winter months.

The cranberries used in this recipe were grown in Farmington, near Souris, in the eastern part of P.E.I. A visit to Mikita Farms to watch the wet-harvesting of the cranberries got my creative juices flowing and inspired this recipe. I like to know where my food comes from, and being able to watch the cranberry harvest and then stop by the stand at the farm gate to buy the berries, meant I was able to use the freshest local produce available.

Cranberry-Banana Eggnog Muffins, Courtesy of Barbara Mayhew,  myislandbistrokitchen.com, Charlottetown

These muffins combine cranberries with eggnog – two classic winter flavours.

CranberryEggnogMuffins

Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 45 minutes
Yield: 12-14 standard-size muffins

Ingredients
1 cup (250 mL) cranberries (fresh or frozen), coarsely chopped
1½ Tbsp (20 mL) sugar
1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
1 cup (250 mL) whole-wheat flour
⅔ cup (150 mL) lightly packed brown sugar
¼ cup (50 mL) rolled oats
1½ Tbsp (20 mL) baking powder
½ tsp (2 mL) baking soda
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
½ tsp (2 mL) cinnamon
¼ tsp (1 mL) nutmeg
⅛ tsp (0.5 mL) allspice
1 Tbsp (15 mL) grated orange rind
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
¾ cup (175 mL) eggnog
½ cup + 1 tbsp (125 mL + 15 mL) vegetable oil
⅓ cup (75 mL) mashed banana
¼ cup (50 mL) orange juice
2 Tbsp (30 mL) maple syrup
1½ tsp (7 mL) vanilla
Streusel
¼ cup + 2 tbsp (80 mL) all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp (45 mL) brown sugar
½ tsp (2 mL) cinnamon
3 Tbsp (45 mL) butter
2 Tbsp (30 mL) chopped pecans

Directions
Streusel
1. In medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar and cinnamon.
2. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in pecans. Set aside.
Muffins
1. Preheat oven to 450°F (230ºC). Grease muffin tin, including top of tin.
2. In small bowl, sprinkle chopped cranberries with 1½ tbsp sugar. Toss lightly to coat cranberries. Set aside.
3. In large bowl, combine all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, brown sugar, rolled oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and orange rind. Mix well. Set aside.
4. In liquid measure, stir together egg, eggnog, oil, mashed banana, orange juice, maple syrup and vanilla. Whisk together.
5. Pour wet ingredients into well in centre of dry ingredients. Stir just until dry ingredients are barely incorporated. Do not overmix. Gently fold in the sugared cranberries.
6. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, filling almost to top. Sprinkle with streusel mixture.
7. Transfer muffins to oven and immediately reduce heat to 400ºF (200ºC). Bake 20 to 22 minutes, or until muffins are just firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.
8. Let muffins rest in muffin tins for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack.

My Island Bistro Kitchen
My blog focuses on local Maritime foods and beverages, with a particular concentration on those produced in P.E.I. In addition to sharing my own recipes, I write stories about local food and beverage producers and feature their products in recipes that I share on my blog.

CreamyMashedPotatoes

The Creamiest Mashed Potatoes for a Holiday Dinner

By Ashley Fehr

Is there a person on Earth who doesn’t like mashed potatoes? To me, they’re the perfect holiday dish.

When I reach back in my memory, I can’t think of a single Easter, Christmas or Thanksgiving that didn’t have mashed potatoes on the menu. They are the epitome of comfort food, and they go with anything.

A steaming bowl of mashed potatoes brings back memories of being in Mom’s kitchen, with the whole family gathered round the table. And, yes, since being in Manitoba means we could very well be under snow at Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving, a warm, hearty meal with family is one of the best remedies for the winter blues.

But even though we’re all yearning for a holiday feast, we’re not always willing to give up time together to spend hours slaving over every aspect of a meal that will most certainly be devoured in minutes. These potatoes come together quickly, with help from a secret ingredient, to keep you from having to hide out in the kitchen all day. They are rich, creamy and the perfect accompaniment to any holiday meal.

Ultra Creamy Mashed Potatoes, Courtesy of Ashley Fehr, thereciperebel.com, Portage la Prairie, Man.

These rich mashed potatoes will make a decadent side dish for your holiday dinner.

CreamyMashedPotatoes

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 15 mins
Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients
5 russet potatoes (about 10 cups/2.50 L chopped)
1 can (10 oz/284 mL) condensed cheddar cheese soup
¾ cup (175 mL) heavy cream or whipping cream
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped chives (optional)

Directions
1. Cook potatoes in a large saucepan of salted, boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes or until fork tender. Drain well. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly. Mash to desired consistency.
2. In pan over medium heat, combine soup and whipping cream. Cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until simmering. Fold in mashed potatoes. Stir in butter and pepper. Garnish with chives if desired.

The Recipe RebelAshley Fehr creates and shares easy, family-friendly recipes, homemade breads and decadent desserts on her blog The Recipe Rebel. She loves to put a creative, new twist on old favourites.

A Baked Goat Cheese and Spinach Dip That Can’t Be Beat

By Jo-Anna Rooney

Winters in Calgary are long and very cold, but we try to embrace the season by enjoying all it has to offer. This means that during those long winter months our family can often be found outdoors, taking part in great Canadian activities like pond hockey, snowshoeing, skiing and tobogganing.

After all of the fun, we look forward to heading indoors to gather around a crackling fire and enjoy warm drinks and comforting eats. There is just nothing like filling your belly with hearty, homemade food on a cold, wintery day. This Baked Goat Cheese and Bacon Spinach Dip is perfect for such an occasion! I like to prepare it ahead of time, and have it ready to go as soon as we come inside. Serve it bubbling hot with loads of crusty bread and your favourite red wine.

Baked Goat Cheese and Bacon Spinach Dip, Courtesy of Jo-Anna Rooney, aprettylifeinthesuburbs.com, Calgary

This make-ahead treat is the perfect reward after a day of winter fun.

BakedGoatCheeseBaconSpinachDip

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time:
30 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients
2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
8 oz (225 g) fresh spinach, chopped
1 onion, diced
1–2 cloves garlic, minced
5 oz (140 g) goat cheese
¾ cup (175 mL) sour cream
¼ cup (50 mL) chopped marinated artichoke hearts
8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
salt to taste
pepper to taste
crusty bread or crackers for dipping

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
2. In skillet heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Sauté spinach, onion and garlic until onion is translucent and spinach is wilted. Remove from heat.
3. Stir in the goat cheese, sour cream, artichoke hearts and bacon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Scrape mixture into ovenproof dish and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until mixture is bubbling.
5. Serve with crusty bread or crackers for dipping.

A Pretty Life in the Suburbs
Jo-Anna is the editor, director, chief, main cook, dishwasher and home decorator on the site A Pretty Life in the Suburbs. She created the site as a way to share her love of a simple home life through uncomplicated home tips and fresh and easy recipes. Her hope is that by spending some time on A Pretty Life in the Suburbs, you are inspired to add some simplicity and deliciousness into your home and life.

The Warming Gnocchi You Can Make Ahead of Time

By Cassandrea Gascoyne

Gnocchi has always been one of my favourite dishes. The first time my husband and I tried making it at home, it was on a winter night that was -30ºC, so now making and eating gnocchi always makes me feel warm and cozy. This recipe is a little different than traditional gnocchi in that it is made with a light tomato broth instead of a rich cream or cheese sauce.

When we were making the broth that cold winter night, the kitchen windows fogged up from the steam. The whole house smelled of tomatoes and garlic. The broth is light and complements the gnocchi well.

As we ate our heaping bowl of gnocchi and broth I can remember thinking this is the perfect winter dish! The best part is that the gnocchi and broth are freezable, so you can come home from work during a blizzard and know you can look forward to a warm bowl of comfort food that will be ready in just a few minutes.

Gnocchi in Tomato Broth, Courtesy of Cassandrea Gascoyne, chewsandbrews.ca, Spruce Grove, Alta.

This simple pasta dish is the perfect comfort food for dinner in the depth of winter.

 

888x600_gnocchi-in-tomato-broth

Prep time: 2 hours
Cook time: 1 hour
Yield: approximately 80 gnocchi and 2.5 cups (625 mL) broth

Ingredients
Gnocchi

4 russet potatoes
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
3/4 cup (175 mL) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (175 mL) whole-wheat flour

Tomato Broth
2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 medium stalks celery, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1/2 cup (125 mL) white wine
2 cups (500 mL) chicken stock
12 oz (341 mL) jar Italian tomato purée
handful fresh basil (plus more for garnish)
salt
pepper
Parmesan cheese

Directions
Broth
1. Meanwhile, in large pot over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Sauté until vegetables have softened and onions and garlic have started to brown.
2. Pour in wine and stir, scraping up browned bits. Cook until wine has reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Stir in chicken stock, tomato purée and basil; reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Gnocchi
1. Bake potatoes in 400ºF (200ºC) oven for 1 hour or until easily pierced with a knife. Let cool.
2. Peel cooled potatoes and grate into large bowl. (Or use a potato ricer, instead of grating.)
3. Stir in beaten egg and salt. Add all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, 1/2 cup (125 mL) at a time, mixing until the mixture forms a soft dough that isn’t too sticky.
4. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead for 3 to 4 minutes. Divide dough into quarters; roll each quarter into a long rope, about 3/4 inch (2 cm) in diameter. Cut rope into 3/4-inch (2 cm) pieces.
5. Place gnocchi on parchment paper–lined baking sheet. If desired, freeze gnocchi on tray, then transfer into a freezer bag.
6. To cook the gnocchi, drop into a large pot of boiling salted water. Cook the gnocchi about 2 minutes, or until they float. (If cooking from frozen, let them cook for 3 to 4 minutes.) Drain.
7. To serve, put 10 to 12 cooked gnocchi in each bowl and top with hot tomato broth. Garnish with fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese.

Note:
-If you like a traditional-looking gnocchi, there are some neat tools you can use in Step 6 to add ridges, such as the Gnocchi Board or Gnocchi Stripper.
-A slice of garlic toast goes nicely as well, and can soak up any leftover broth at the end!

Chews and Brews
Cassandrea Gascoyne loves to cook and eat, and now has a passion for writing about and sharing everything she cooks and eats. She also enjoys wine, craft beers and good coffee. When she isn’t eating or drinking you can find her camping and hiking with her husband in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Her kids have four legs and are fuzzy and are named Bob and Sam.

SkilletLasagna

Skillet Lasagna in Under an Hour

By Kelly Kwok

Once the weather begins to cool down, my family starts craving comfort food. Anything with cheese or pasta is always a hit at our house.

My husband’s favourite pasta dish is lasagna, but I only make it on the weekends – it takes time to layer everything, and creates a huge mess and piles dishes to clean afterwards. During the week, one-pot meals are my favourite.

After some digging around in my pantry, this easy skillet lasagna was born. I added my own touches to make it lighter, and packed it with veggies, including zucchini and spinach. I even used low-fat Parmesan and cottage cheeses to cut down on the fat without sacrificing taste. The entire dish – pasta cooking and all – is done in the same skillet on the stove.

The best part? It was a hit with my family!

Easy Skinny Skillet Lasagna, Courtesy of Kelly Kwok, lifemadesweeter.com, Niagara Falls, Ont.

This easy one-pot meal is a surefire weeknight dinner.

SkilletLasagna

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Yield: 5-6 servings

Ingredients
1½ tsp (7 mL) olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb (225-450 g) extra-lean ground turkey
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
2 medium zucchini, peeled and chopped (optional)
14 oz (398 mL) can diced tomatoes (San Marzano or fire-roasted)
8 oz (225 mL) can tomato sauce
2½ Tbsp (37 mL) chopped fresh basil, divided
1½ tsp (7 mL) dried oregano
½ tsp (2 mL) crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
2 cups (500 mL) water or low-sodium chicken broth
8 oz (225 g) bow-tie pasta
2 cups (375–500 mL) spinach, chopped (optional)
1 cup (250 mL) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
⅔ cup (150 mL) fat-free cottage cheese
⅓ cup (75 mL) low-fat ricotta cheese (optional)
2 Tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh parsley
grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions
1. In extra-large skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute or until fragrant.
2. Add ground turkey and cook, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes or until browned. Drain excess fat.
3. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add zucchini, if using. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the basil, oregano and red pepper flakes.
4. Stir in water or chicken broth. Add pasta. Bring to boil; cover skillet with lid and reduce heat.
5. Cook, stirring every 3 minutes and adding more water or broth as needed, for 15 to 18 minutes or until pasta is tender. If using spinach, stir in after 13 minutes.
6. Remove from heat. Stir in mozzarella and cottage cheeses. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
7. Dollop ricotta cheese over top; cover skillet for 2 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
8. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, remaining basil and Parmesan cheese, if using.

Notes
This recipe allows for lots of creativity. You may choose to use a different protein or choose to substitute gluten-free or whole-wheat pasta. Cooking times may vary.

Life Made Sweeter
My name is Kelly Kwok. I am a wife and mom of two – and the writer, recipe developer and photographer behind Life Made Sweeter, where I share desserts, family favourites and healthy recipes.

SkilletEggs_Waffles

Easy Waffles and Eggs in a Skillet

By Lisa Bolton

In our house, brunch is one of the most special meals, because usually it means slow, lazy mornings with loved ones. Whenever family or friends stay with us, brunch is always my favourite meal to plan. There is a high likelihood the dress code will be cozy pyjamas. And to me, brunch should always be family style – let everyone take a little of this and a little of that and pull up a seat at the dining table, a stool at the counter or even call dibs on the cozy spot on the sectional.

This skillet waffle and eggs dish is perfect for those occasions. Making one big waffle means the host won’t be confined to the kitchen cooking two waffles at a time. This dish has a little bit of savoury, a little bit of sweet and even a hint of heat – something for everyone. With the vibrant green and red, this brunch is our family go-to over the holiday season.

Skillet Waffles and Eggs, Courtesy of Lisa Bolton, foodwellsaid.com, Surrey, B.C.

Enjoy lazy holiday mornings with this all-in-one brunch dish.

SkilletEggs_Waffles

Prep time: 7 min
Cook time: 12 min
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients
2 eggs, separated
1 1/4 cups (300 mL) milk
1 cup (225 g) all-purpose flour
4 tsp (20 mL) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
3.5 oz (100 g) butter, melted and cooled, plus more for skillet
4 eggs
4 thick slices smoked bacon
1 tbsp (15 mL) maple syrup
sliced scallions
jalapeno pepper
chopped cilantro
plain Greek yogurt mixed with sriracha sauce

Directions
1. In bowl, whisk together egg yolks and milk.
2. Sift in flour, baking powder and salt. Stir until combined.
3. Drizzle in butter; mix until just incorporated.
4. In bowl, whip egg whites until peaks form. Carefully fold into batter.
5. Heat skillet over medium-high heat; grease generously. Pour batter into skillet and cook about 8 minutes or until bottom is golden. Using two spatulas, flip and cook until golden, about 4 minutes more.
6. Meanwhile, soft-boil eggs, cooking for about 6 minutes. Remove eggs from saucepan and run under cold water. Peel and set aside.
7. While eggs are cooking, heat frying pan over medium-high heat. Add bacon and maple syrup; fry until bacon is crisp.
8. To assemble: Break waffle into quarters. Top each quarter with a bacon strip, halved, and an egg. Just prior to serving, break egg to release yolk.
9. Garnish as desired with scallions, pepper, cilantro and yogurt.

Food Well Said
Lisa Bolton is a part-time freelance food writer and recipe developer, and a full-time mom. Her blog, Food Well Said, focuses on thoughtfully prepared, whole-food recipes that will please carnivores, vegetarians and everyone in between. Knowing we eat with our eyes first, she likes to focus on presenting family-style comfort food in an elevated fashion.

WestCoastFishChowderBowl

The Seafood Chowder That Represents Vancouver Island

By Amy Bronee

One of the perks of living on the southern tip of Vancouver Island is being able to go for a walk on the beach any time of year. In the cold months, the blustery winds churn up the ocean, sending waves crashing onto the rocky shore. Standing there looking out at fishing boats in the strait, it’s easy to start daydreaming about comfort seafood, the kind that warms the belly and soothes the soul. It was after just such a walk that I first made this creamy fish chowder. It uses seafood commonly found around Vancouver Island – salmon and rockfish – along with diced potato, carrot and chopped kale. Use chicken or vegetable broth if it’s what you have on hand, but nothing beats chowder made with homemade fish stock. I save fish bones and tails and simmer them in water with onions, carrots and celery, then freeze the stock for another day. For me, this fish chowder is Vancouver Island in a bowl.

West Coast Fish Chowder, Courtesy Amy Bronee,  FamilyFeedbag.com, Victoria

With rockfish and salmon, this chowder represents some of the West Coast’s best seafood.

WestCoastFishChowderBowl

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Yields: 4 to 5 servings

Ingredients
1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
1 cup (250 mL) diced yellow onion
1 cup (250 mL) diced peeled carrot
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
2 tbsp (30 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme
3 cups (750 mL) peeled diced potato
3 oz (85 g) smoked candied salmon nuggets, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
4 cups (1 L) fish stock (or chicken or vegetable stock)
10 oz (280 g) rockfish fillet, cubed (or other firm white fish)
1 cup (250 mL) roughly chopped kale
1/2 cup (125 mL) heavy cream
1.5 oz (45 mL) white wine

Directions
1. Melt butter in soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and salt. Cook for 5 minutes to soften, stirring frequently.
2. Stir in flour and thyme to coat vegetables. Add potato and candied salmon. Pour in stock. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Stir in rockfish, kale and heavy cream. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, uncovered, for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat. Stir in wine.

FamilyFeedbag
Amy’s home-cooking blog FamilyFeedbag.com has earned her several recognitions, including a Jamie Oliver Blog of the Month award and being named to Western Living magazine’s list of the Top 40 Foodies Under 40. Amy’s bestselling cookbook The Canning Kitchen: 101 Simple Small Batch Recipes is a celebration of home canning traditions in the modern home kitchen. Through her hands-on cooking classes in Victoria, Amy loves to connect with other home cooks and make simple, delicious food together.

SlowCookerButterChicken

Slow-Cooker Chicken Sliders With an Indian Twist

By Sarah Huggins

My husband and I hail from vastly different culinary traditions. We are both Canadian-born and raised, but he’s from a vegetarian Indian family and I’m from a meat-eating British one. Our wedding was a two-day affair at which our guests enjoyed a taste of each food heritage: chai, naan and chana masala on Day 1, and lamb chops, oysters and B.C. pinot gris on Day 2.

Six years and two kids later, we have evolved our own shared culinary tradition, which can be best described as a Canadian “mash-up.” Our four-year-old eats seaweed salad alongside her chicken curry, and our 20-month-old is just as likely to shovel in a bowl of tabbouleh as he is to devour a piece of pizza.

If we had a poster child recipe for this new family cuisine, these Slow Cooker Butter Chicken Sliders would be it: shredded slow-cooked chicken bathed in rich butter chicken gravy, piled onto a soft bun and garnished with fresh veg. Is it “Indian food”? That might be a stretch. But it’s our food. It’s authentic to our experience as a mixed family living a busy life in the most multicultural city on earth. There are few things more Canadian than that.

Slow-Cooker Butter Chicken Sliders, Courtesy of Sarah Huggins, kiwiandbean.com, Toronto

These bite-size butter chicken sliders are perfect for get-togethers – and they’re easy to make ahead.

SlowCookerButterChicken

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 7 hour
Yield: 8-10 servings

Ingredients
2½ tbsp (27 mL) butter or oil
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 thumb-size pieces gingerroot, peeled and finely grated
2 tsp (10 mL) garam masala
2 tsp (10 mL) cumin
1 tsp (5 mL) tsp turmeric
½-1 tsp (2-5 mL) cayenne pepper (optional)
14 oz (398 mL) can full-fat coconut milk
5½ oz (156 mL) can tomato paste
3 lb (1.35 kg) boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 tsp (5 mL) cornstarch
¼ cup (50 mL) whipping cream (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste
10 small slider-sized hamburger buns
shredded cabbage
sliced cucumber
chopped cilantro
mango chutney

Directions
1. Heat butter in medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened and starting to brown. Add garlic and ginger; continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is brown and caramelized.
2. Add garam masala, cumin, turmeric and cayenne pepper, if using, and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant.
3. Stir in coconut milk and tomato paste. Bring to boil, then remove from heat.
4. Make ahead: Transfer mixture to airtight container; cool and cover. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to use. Or pour into slow cooker and proceed.
5. Add chicken thighs to coconut milk mixture in slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or until chicken thighs are very tender.
6. Remove chicken to plate and shred. Whisk cornstarch into the sauce and turn the slow cooker to high. Stir in whipping cream, if using. (To prevent cream from curdling, add 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter chicken sauce to whipping cream to bring to room temperature, and then pour into crock pot). Add salt and pepper to taste.
7. Return shredded chicken to sauce and stir.
8. Serve on slider buns; garnish as desired with cabbage, cucumber, cilantro and chutney.

Note: Leftovers can be cooled in the fridge and then frozen in Ziploc bags or containers.

(Cooking For) Kiwi and Bean
(Cooking for) Kiwi & Bean is all about simple, wholesome family recipes: dinners you can create with pantry staples when you walk through the door at the end of the day, breakfasts you can whip up the night before, and snacks and treats that you can make with your kids.

ClassicCanadianCaesar

A Classic Caesar to Enjoy Any Time of Year

By Nancy Wu

Some use oysters, prawns, bacon or onion rings to garnish theirs, but I prefer a classic Canadian Caesar. No, it is not a Bloody Mary. It is delicious. It is genuinely Canadian. It is all about the clam juice – the slightly spicy saltiness that defines a Caesar. As a born and bred Vancouverite, the smell just pulls at my heartstrings. It reminds me of the summer: long barbecues on the beach, fishing on Vancouver Island and hiking the local trails.

The Caesar is my cocktail of choice. I particularly crave this whenever I’m away on vacation simply because it reminds me of home. But when I order it, I often just get blank stares. “So what’s in a Caesar?” people ask. This classic Caesar is made with tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, spices and, of course, clam juice!

Classic Canadian Caesar, Courtesy of Nancy Wu, Nomss.com, Port Coquitlam, B.C.

The clam juice makes all the difference in this tasty cocktail.

ClassicCanadianCaesar

Prep time: 10 mins
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients
Caesar glass rimmer
1 lime (cut into 5 wedges)
4-8 oz (120-240 mL) vodka
3 cups (approx 725 mL) Caesar mix
2 tbsp (30 mL) lime juice
1 tbsp (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp (15 mL) prepared horseradish
ice (optional)
pepper to taste
fresh sage leaves
4 bamboo skewers

Directions
1. Cover small flat plate with Caesar rimmer.
2. Use 1 lime wedge to wet rim of each glass. Coat rims with Caesar rimmer.
3. Divide vodka among glasses.
4. Pour Caesar mix, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce and horseradish into large pitcher and stir.
5. Top vodka with Caesar mix and stir.
6. Add ice if desired.
7. Top with fresh pepper. Thread 1 sage leaf and 1 lime wedge onto each skewer; use to garnish drinks.

Note:
Use 10 or 12 oz. (325 or 375 mL) glasses or mason jars for that ultra-Canadian look.

Nomss
Nancy is a finance professional by trade and the editor-in-chief of nomss.com, a Vancouver food blog focused on food journalism, lifestyle, travel, branding and social media. Nancy is passionate about invoking vivid imagery, descriptive experiences and public relations. She is digitally savvy and energetic about content marketing, strategic goodwill, digital relationships and food photography.

Palak Paneer: An Indian Favourite

By Suganya Hariharan

One of my most craved, all-time favourite Indian dishes, palak paneer is a scrumptious curry made of rich cottage cheese cubes simmered in creamy spinach sauce—“palak” meaning spinach and “paneer” is the Indian cottage cheese. This dish is famously served alongside fragrant rice and garlic naan in India.

To make it your own, replace the spinach with kale or create a blend of your favourite leafy greens. Spinach already goes well with garlic and cheese, and when it becomes a curry mixed with fragrant spices it becomes infinitely more delicious.

This dish takes only 30 minutes to prepare at home. To make it purely vegan, replace paneer with firm tofu, avoid cream and use oil instead of butter. It tastes great with basmati rice and warm naan.

Palak Paneer: Spinach with Indian Cheese, Courtesy of Suganya Hariharan, relishthebite.com, Montreal

Take your leafy greens to new heights with this traditional Indian spinach and cheese curry dish.

PalakPaneer_888embed

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Yield: 3 cups

Ingredients
2 tbsp (30 mL) ghee, unsalted butter or oil, divided
1 small stick cinnamon
3 cardamom pods
1 small dried bay leaf
1 tsp (5 mL) cumin seeds (jeera)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
5 fresh green chillies, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece ginger, minced
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
1 tsp (5 mL) chilli powder
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
¼ tsp (1 mL) turmeric powder
8 oz (250 g) fresh spinach (or other leafy greens), washed
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp (15 mL) kasuri methi leaves, crushed
½ tsp (2 mL) garam masala powder
½ tsp (2 mL) chilli powder
3 tbsp (45 mL) cream
8 oz (250 g) paneer

Garnish
1 tsp (5 mL) fresh cilantro
1 tsp (5 mL) cream
Pinch garam masala

Directions
1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cinnamon, cardamom, bay leaf and cumin seeds and sauté briefly, until slightly golden in colour. Add onion, chillies, garlic and ginger; sauté until soft.
2. Add the tomatoes, chilli powder, salt and turmeric powder to skillet; sauté 5 to 7 minutes, or until well mixed and soft. Add spinach and cilantro and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, or until wilted.
3. Remove bay leaf. Transfer the spinach mixture to a blender and pulse it few times until smooth but not puréed, being careful of hot splashes.
4. Return spinach mixture to skillet; add remaining 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil, crushed kasuri methi leaves, garam masala and chilli powder and cook over medium heat. Stir in cream, adding water, if mixture seems too thick.
5. Add paneer to skillet and simmer, covered, for 5 to 6 minutes or until the paneer has absorbed the curry flavours.
6. Remove from heat. Garnish with coriander leaves, cream and garam masala.

Tip: For extra flavour, try frying paneer lightly in butter before adding to the curry.

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Relish the Bite
My name is Suganya Hariharan, author of Relish the Bite. I do the cooking, writing and photography for the blog. Visit my site for all kinds of recipes but mainly tasty, spicy, flavourful Indian recipes. Never be afraid to try new flavours in your cooking!

A Chocoholic’s Dream: Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

By Mardi Michels

Growing up, I was a huge fan of Nutella. I was 11 years old when I discovered it for the first time at our local Italian deli. The chocolate spread, with a hint of toasted hazelnuts, tasted quite sophisticated to my young palate.

While I still have that sweet tooth, these days I’m more interested in satisfying my cravings with something like flourless chocolate cake. This cake has long been one of my favourite desserts and I have wonderful memories of my mum’s version. Over the past few years, I’ve made a number of flourless cakes and this one – combining my favourite childhood flavours of chocolate and hazelnuts – is one of the most popular. It’s light, not overly dense and fudgy, and sophisticated in its simplicity. Enjoy it plain or dress it up with a little fruit coulis, whipped cream or ice cream.

This cake is a crowd-pleaser that’s also perfect for a romantic dîner à deux. In fact, a colleague asked me to bake one for Valentine’s Day dessert for his sweetheart. It’s that good.

Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake, Courtesy of Mardi Michels, eatlivetravelwrite.com, Toronto

Rich, moist and incredibly delicious, it’s hard to believe this heavenly dessert is made without a hint of flour.
flourless-chocolate-hazelnut-cake_888embed

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Serves: 8-10

Ingredients
6 oz (170 g) dark chocolate (64 or 70%), roughly chopped
4 oz (115 g) butter, chopped
6 eggs, separated
3 oz (75 g) granulated sugar
4.5 oz (130 g) hazelnut meal (ground hazelnuts)
whipped cream, to serve

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180ºC). Grease 8-inch (2 L) springform pan.
2. Combine chocolate and butter on top of double-boiler over barely simmering water. Stir until melted and combined. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
3. In medium bowl, use electric mixer to beat egg whites until glossy and soft peaks form. Set aside.
4. In separate bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar until thick, creamy and light in colour.
5. Using rubber spatula, stir chocolate mixture into egg yolk mixture.
6. Add hazelnut meal to chocolate mixture, gently folding until the hazelnut meal is completely combined.
7. Stir egg whites into chocolate mixture one-third at a time, gently folding until no more streaks of white show.
8. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until skewer inserted into middle of cake comes out mostly clean with some crumbs clinging.
9. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove side from pan and cool cake completely on cake rack. Serve with whipped cream.

Tip: This cake keeps well overnight, at room temperature, covered with plastic wrap or foil.

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Eat.Live.Travel.Write.
Mardi Michels teaches French and cooking to elementary school boys. She writes eat. live. travel. write, a blog about culinary adventures near and far. She was a founding member of Food Bloggers of Canada, is a Food Revolution Day Ambassador for Toronto, contributes to JamieOliver.com and hosts adult cooking and baking classes in Toronto.

A Colourful and Crispy Tofu Dish

By Suganya Hariharan

When I was young, I spent most of my time with my family in the kitchen, and I don’t regret it. I used to sit on the kitchen counter and taste my parents’ cooking. I had no idea what tofu was until I was in tenth grade, when my dad bought it from the market in Singapore. At first, I was a little hesitant to have it for dinner. I stood near the kitchen with my mom as she cooked the scrambled tofu with chopped onions and chilies. We had it with some hot rotis (Indian bread) and it tasted scrumptious! My dad started buying tofu regularly after that, making me different kinds of dishes with tofu – this recipe is one version of that dish. Using garlic with the skin on gives this dish a different flavour.

Serve this recipe as an appetizer with toothpicks, or alongside rice noodles or plain sticky rice. You can also use it as a sandwich filling for a quick, healthy breakfast.

Spicy Garlic Soy Tofu, Courtesy of Suganya Hariharan, relishthebite.com, Montreal

This vegan dish doubles as a crowd-pleasing weeknight dinner or a quick and easy appetizer when unexpected guests arrive.
Spicy-garlic-tofu_888embed

Prep time: 4 mins
Cook time: 6 mins
Yield: 2 cups (500 mL)

Ingredients
8-10 dry red chilies
1 2-inch (5 cm) piece ginger
1 tbsp (15 mL) white sesame seeds
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
7-8 cloves garlic, skin on
2 tbsp (30 mL) sesame oil
2 tsp (10 mL) soy sauce
1 tsp (5 mL) pepper powder
1 lb (450 g) extra-firm tofu, in bite-sized cubes
green onions, chopped

Directions
1. Place the chilies, ginger, sesame seeds, salt and garlic in blender and pulse 3 or 4 times, or until coarse paste forms.
2. Heat oil in frying pan over medium-low heat; add spice paste. Fry for 30 seconds. Add soy sauce, pepper powder and tofu cubes.
3. Toss well to coat, cooking for about 2 minutes or until tofu turns slightly golden and crispy.
4. Garnish with chopped green onions.

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RelishTheBite
My name is Suganya Hariharan, author of RelishTheBite. My “factual job” is writing SQL queries for my quality control analyst position. In the cooking department: I do the cooking, writing and photography for the blog. I believe in the taste of happiness and my blog is a place to find the recipe for your favourite food. Never be afraid to try new flavours in your cooking!

How to Use Leftover Pumpkin Purée for Cookies

By Kacey Joanette

Pumpkins always remind people of autumn and Halloween, but if you grew up in a household like mine, there was never any inkling of pumpkin recipes. Over the years I have seen just how popular pumpkin recipes are and have delved into them head on, trying to win myself over with the whole love affair. At first, I assumed pumpkin recipes could be made using ordinary carving pumpkins, but that isn’t the case! Pumpkin pie or cooking pumpkins are picked specifically for cooking.

I finally experimented with homemade pumpkin purée when my daughter was old enough to pick her own pumpkins and would always pick the small cooking pumpkins to work with. We used them to make homemade pumpkin purée. To cope with the abundance of pumpkin purée, we decided chocolate chip pumpkin cookies were in order.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies, Courtesy of Kacey Joanette, thecookiewriter.com, Bowmanville, Ont.

After an afternoon of pumpkin picking, forget the traditional pumpkin pie and bake these chunky, bite-sized cookies instead.
Chocolate-Chip-Pumpkin-Cookies_888embed

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Yield: 30 cookies

Ingredients
1/2 cup (125 mL) salted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup (50 mL) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (50 mL) brown sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
1/2 cup (125 mL) pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) whole-wheat flour
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) ground cloves
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) ground allspice
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) ground ginger
1/2 – 3/4 cup (125 – 175 mL) chocolate chips

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In bowl, cream together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, mixing well. Add pumpkin purée, mixing until just combined.
3. In separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and ginger. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture, mixing until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. Scoop 1 tbsp (15 mL) of batter per cookie onto baking sheet and roll into balls.
5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before moving to wire rack.

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TheCookieWriter
The Cookie Writer is all about sharing recipes that can easily be adapted to suit dietary and lifestyle restrictions without anyone feeling left out.

Kid-Approved Breakfast Squares

Back-to-school season always leaves me with a bittersweet feeling. Sure, it’s nice to get back to a regular routine, but it also means summer is officially over. It’s time to replace the flip-flops and sunscreen for backpacks and lunchboxes, and there’s no more relaxing with leisurely sleep-ins and endless amounts of time to enjoy your morning meal.

With school starting comes the mad morning rush, and it takes a few weeks to get into the groove again. It’s helpful to prepare breakfast the night before to alleviate stress on busy mornings. These healthy breakfast squares really come in handy for those times when it’s just, “Grab your backpack and we’ll eat in the car!” They’re low in sugar, peanut-free and pack well for breakfast on the go.

Oatmeal Breakfast Squares
Recipe courtesy of Angie Wright of Friday is Cake Night.

healthy-oatmeal-breakfast-squares_888Blogembed

Prep time: 10 mins
Bake time: 20 mins
Yield: 9 squares

Ingredients
1 cup (250 ml) milk
1 large overripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup (50 ml) packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp (45 ml) unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
1/2 tsp (2 ml) vanilla
11/2 cups (375 ml) old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup (125 ml) oat flour
1/2 tsp (2 ml) cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 ml) baking soda
1/4 tsp (1 ml) salt

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat an 8-inch square cake pan with non-stick spray.
2. In large bowl, mix together milk, banana, brown sugar, applesauce, egg and vanilla.
3. Add rolled oats, oat flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt to banana mixture. Stir to combine. Scrape batter into prepared pan.
4. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool in pan 10 to 15 minutes before cutting into squares.

Written by Angie Wright

Friday is Cake NightI live in Northern B.C. with three taste-testers: my husband and two kids. We love to travel and try out new recipes. I have always loved to bake – and I have the extra 10 pounds to prove it!

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