All posts by Janet Ho

Janet Ho is the managing editor for She has a gluttonous appetite for food, travel and trying new restaurants. Her favourite hobby is eating.

Ina Garten’s Perfect Garden Party Menu

When it comes to summer entertaining, the Barefoot Contessa is the grande dame of throwing elegant and memorable events without a hitch. She takes simple ingredients and transforms them into fresh and gorgeous dishes that are guaranteed to impress any crowd. As with all parties, the presentation is as important as the food. Take a page from Ina Garten‘s entertaining book with these table-setting ideas and delicious summer recipes.

Champagne Cocktail Bar

Create a self-serve cocktail bar for guests, featuring one bowl each of strawberries, raspberries and sugar cubes. Make sure the table is fully stocked with fruit juices and a large ice bucket with a few bottles of champagne. Keep a few bottles of sparkling water on display for your non-alcoholic guests. And don’t forget the champagne flutes!

Appetizers and Mains

Take the stress out of throwing a formal affair — outdoor parties are all about cool and comfortable ambiance! You can create a buffet-style table where guests can create their own plate of yummy items. When decorating, it’s all about the details and colourful accents, such as flower arrangements (think pretty hydrangeas or sunflowers), table linens and napkins.


Roasted Eggplant Spread

Serve this chunky and colourful veggie dip with pita bread bites. The best part? You can make this spread the night before!

Roasted Shrimp with Green Goddess Dressing

This absolutely addictive, creamy dip features basil, lemon, garlic and scallions, and pairs perfectly with large roasted shrimp.

Arugula, Watermelon and Feta Salad

This fresh summer salad is so easy to make and features a light citrusy vinaigrette and the best produce of the season.

Oven-Fried Crispy Chicken

Who doesn’t love buttermilk fried chicken? When it comes to filling large appetites, these tender pieces will do the trick. It takes just 15 minutes to prep and then into the oven it goes.

Dessert and Sweet Treats

A party isn’t complete without a serving of sugary delights. Ina has so many delicious summery desserts to choose from, including these popular sweets that’ll have guests singing your praises.


Lemon Bars

A perfect combo of sweet and tart flavours, these palate-pleasing treats make a pretty display for your dessert table. Have little baggies on hand so guests can take these home with them, too!

Summer Fruit Crostada

This dessert is seriously gorgeous and boasting a variety of fruit including black plums, blueberries and peaches.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

This childhood favourite will have friends smacking their lips and sneaking seconds (and thirds).

Bobby Flay’s Long Weekend BBQ Menu

Bobby Flay, host of Barbecue Addiction and Food Network Star, is all about firing up the grill during the summer months. The boyishly charming chef conquers the barbecue like no other, with an easy approach to making classic dishes and use of flavour-packed ingredients. This long weekend, create a Bobby Flay-approved feast to remember with this spread of sweet and savoury dishes from the grill master himself.


Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges with Dipping Sauce
Bobby Flay’s mustard, honey and mint dipping sauce is the perfect accompaniment to these hot-off-the-grill sweet potato wedges.


Fish Tacos
Flaky white fish marinated in lime juice, ancho, jalapeño and cilantro, is grilled, then served on warm tortillas topped with garnishes of your choice and a homemade tomato salsa.


Grilled Rib-Eye Steak with Brown Butter and Blue Cheese
Not a fish person? These thick and juicy steaks make a tasty alternative for a summer main.


Grilled Broccoli Rabe with Grilled Pepper Relish
Serve your tacos and steak with a healthy dose of grilled greens and colourful bell peppers dressed in a red wine vinaigrette.


Grapefruit Granita-sicle
Finish the meal with a light Italian dessert that will cleanse the palate and quench your thirst on a hot summer’s day.

Watch an all-new episode of Bobby Flay’s BBQ Addiction Saturday, July 2nd at 11 am E/P.

Easy Father’s Day Menu Ready in Under an Hour

Preparing a decadent four-course meal doesn’t have to mean slaving away in the kitchen for hours. This delicious Father’s Day menu is a cinch to make and will surely impress Dad and give him a happy belly (and heart!).

First Course: Garlic Country Bread with Whipped Ricotta Butter
Time: 20 minutes

We guarantee that the aromas alone from this homemade garlic bread will whet your appetite and set the mood for the celebratory feast.

Second Course: Butterflied Lobster Tails with Garlic Lemon Butter
Time: 20 minutes

A Father’s Day spread is not complete without a serving of succulent lobster tails to fancy up your dinner menu. Prep these ahead of time.

Third Course: Giada De Laurentiis’ Grilled Lamb Chops with Nancy Fuller’s Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Time: 10 minutes for lamb, and reheat make-ahead mash

This mouthwatering dish by Giada De Laurentiis is prepared with rosemary, garlic, thyme and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Simple and classic, pair these mouthwatering chops with make-ahead cheesy baked mashed potatoes. Got some extra time? Add some crunchy texture to your plate with fried zucchini.

Fourth Course: The Pioneer Woman’s Cookies and Cream Cups
Time: 5 minutes

Not everything has to be made from scratch when throwing a memorable meal. Take the stress out of baking a fancy cake and make Ree Drummond’s delightful cookies and cream cups instead. They will be the perfect finishing touch to a well-made meal.


5 Foods Roger Mooking Always Cooks in Batches


Think you know everything when it comes to batch cooking?

When it comes to the art of cooking in bulk, Chopped Canada judge Roger Mooking has it down pat. As the father of four kids, he makes it a weekly priority.

“During the week, we’re busy running kids to and from activities, so I tend to spend Sundays cooking and freezing a bunch of stuff that we can build meals from easily,” Rogers says.

From easy sauces to breakfasts-on-the-go, here are 5 things that Roger batch cooks for his family.

“I add it to sandwiches instead of mayo, or to soups to thicken and make heartier.”

“I reserve all the bones from roasted meats and freeze them until I have enough to make a decent pot of stock. Then I freeze it into smaller batches and use it as needed.”

Herb Purées
“I add it to sandwiches, stews, meat marinades, veggie marinades and mixed into mayo for potato salads.”

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes
“I like to slow roast a bunch of tomatoes and serve it in salads, to quinoa dishes and reheated into side dishes for steak or chicken. I also like to purée it into soups and for vinaigrettes.”

Simple Breakfasts
“I make batches of biscuits, pancakes and waffles for freezing. I just thaw and reheat for a quick breakfast or snack.”

Looking for family-friendly recipes? Check out our Cooking for Kids guide. And tune-in on Saturdays at 9 E/P to catch Roger Mooking on Chopped Canada.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Roger Mooking’s Top Tips for Feeding a Family

Roger Mooking knows a thing or two about family meal planning . When he’s not judging Chopped Canada or developing creative dishes for Twist By Roger Mooking, a new restaurant at Toronto Pearson Airport, he’s a busy father to four girls. That’s right, four girls under the age of 10! That means getting all four kids to try new flavours at mealtime — not an easy feat.

We connected with the family man who shared his tips on grocery shopping, getting kids excited about food and introducing new flavours.


On Having a Plan
“We shop once a week, usually early Saturday mornings when the grocery store is empty but well stocked for a busy day. It’s the best time to go if you can get up early on a Saturday — folks with kids are used to getting up early for the most part! Then we spot shop as needed during the week.”

On Introducing New Foods
“We always buy a new item every week that we’ve never tried before. It might be a type of cheese, a kind of cracker, a new brand of yogurt, a different pasta or noodle — anything. It’s about introducing new flavours to the kids; sometimes it’s successful sometimes it’s not.”

On Getting Kids Involved
“I always encourage the kids to go grocery shopping with me. Sometimes we all go (including my wife Leslie), sometimes it’s just one or two kids, and sometimes it’s just me. But when the kids are involved, they usually ask to buy something that piques their curiosity. I like to include them in the cooking process, too. Cooking is one of the most important life skills we can teach them”

On Saving On the Grocery Bill
“I like to peruse the specials displays to see if there is any good value there. Often you can find specials on great quality products that just might have a shorter shelf life. The grocery stores tend to mark down those items to get them off the shelves quickly before they spoil.”

On Buying Quality Food
“We tend to buy for quality over price. Quality and value can co exist though! I usually buy what looks the freshest and build meals around that.”

Looking for family-friendly recipes? Check out our Cooking for Kids guide. And tune-in on Saturdays at 9 E/P to catch Roger Mooking on Chopped Canada.

This interview has been edited and condensed.


6 Classic Canadian Pies You Need to Try

Classic Canadian Pies infographic
Design by Alexandra Tanner

Get the Recipes

Flapper Pie
A popular dessert in the Prairies, this rich custardy pie is made with graham crumb crust and topped with meringue.

Maple Pie
Silky, sweet and creamy, this delicious treat boasts the one ingredient all Canadians love: maple syrup.

Sugar Pie
Also known as Tarte Au Sucre, this Quebec favourite is buttery, sweet and melt-in-your mouth good.

Apple Pie
Classic and comforting, nothing beats a slice of freshly baked warm apple pie featuring Canada’s great produce.

Tourtiére Pie
This savoury French-Canadian dish boasts a medley of hearty flavours in one incredible dish.

Pecan Pie
Similar to its cousins, Maple Pie and Sugar Pie, this rich dessert is just as tempting but offers more crunch.

How to Revive Stale Bread

There’s nothing like the taste of fresh baguette. The sweet aroma and that soft, comforting mouthfeel — it’s just so darn delicious.

But I have a pet peeve with the lengthy loaf. It’s not always possible to enjoy every bit of the whole baguette before it goes stale. If you have this problem too, be prepared to be wowed by this amazing trick by Sarah Moulton featured on The Rachael Ray Show.

Simply drench your rock-hard baguette in cold water then tightly wrap it in aluminum foil.  Next, place the wrapped baguette in the oven (not preheated), then set the temperature to 300F and let is heat for 12 to 15 minutes. Then take the baguette from the oven, remove the foil and heat in the oven for an additional 5 minutes. Voila! Your leftover baguette is as good as fresh!

Note: We tried it here at FNC and it totally works! But make sure to eat your revived bread right away, as it will quickly harden again.

See how it’s done in the video below: