All posts by Lara Buchar

Lara Buchar is the editor of FoodNetwork.ca. When she’s not testing out a new recipe or viral food trend, you can usually find her taking her dog Boba out for a leisurely stroll, bubble tea in hand.
turkey dinner hand pies on a white plate

Turkey Dinner Hand Pies Are the Leftover Hack You Need

Step aside, turkey noodle soup and hot turkey sandwiches – this reimagined twist on turkey dinner leftovers is the game-changing recipe you need for the holidays. Store-bought puff pastry means you only need 15 minutes of prep time to whip these up before popping them into the oven, so you can get back to snuggling up on the couch and basking in that cozy holiday feeling. Warning: you *may* never be able to eat regular leftovers again.

turkey dinner hand pies on a white plate

Turkey Dinner Hand Pies

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 20-25 minutes
Cool Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 40-45 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients:
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
Flour, for dusting
8 thick slices leftover roast turkey
½ cup leftover gravy, plus more for dipping
½ cup leftover stuffing
½ cup leftover cranberry sauce, plus more for dipping
1 egg mixed with 1 Tbsp water, for egg wash
1 tsp fresh thyme (optional)

ingredients for turkey dinner hand pies on a marble countertop

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375˚F.

2. On a lightly floured surface, lay out pastry sheets. Using a rolling pin, roll out dough until both sheets are roughly 10″ x 12”.

3. With a sharp knife, cut each pastry sheet into 4 rectangles, creating 8 rectangles total.

a puff pastry sheet on a white countertop cut into quarters

4. On the right side of one pastry rectangle, lay a slice of turkey. Spread 1 Tbsp gravy over the turkey. Top with 1 Tbsp of stuffing, followed by 1 Tbsp of cranberry sauce. Brush edges of the pastry with egg wash, and then fold the left side of the pastry over the right, lining up the edges as best you can. Crimp shut the open edges with a fork to seal, and use a sharp knife to mark 3 slits in the pastry. Repeat this step with the remaining pastry sheets, creating 8 hand pies total.

Related: Here’s How Long You Can Eat Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

steps for stuffing turkey dinner hand pies shown in 4 separate images

 

5. Brush the tops of the turnovers with remaining egg wash, then sprinkle with fresh thyme (optional).

Related: Use Leftover Potatoes to Make This Internet-Famous Crispy Potatoes Recipe

3 unbaked turkey dinner hand pies on a parchment lined baking sheet

6. Bake the hand pies for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and crispy.

7. Remove from oven and let cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes.

4 turkey dinner hand pies on a cooling rack

8. Serve immediately alongside additional gravy and cranberry sauce for dipping.

Related: Save That Leftover Pie Dough and Make These Cinnamon Pinwheel Cookies!

a turkey dinner hand pie on a patterned plate, cut in half to show filling

Looking for more leftover ideas? Try these 10 Ways to Use Your Thanksgiving Leftovers, From Potatoes to Stuffing.

farm boy thanksgiving dinner 2021

We Tried 4 Canadian Thanksgiving Meal Kits, Here’s How They Really Turned Out

Whether you’re getting together with extended family or having an intimate dinner for two, the thought of making a complete Thanksgiving feast can be daunting even for the most seasoned home cooks.

Thankfully,  there are solid meal kit options on the market that can take the planning, shopping, and stress out of the equation so that you can focus on cooking (or heating up) something impressive and delicious. To help guide your Thanksgiving meal planning, we tried four of the most popular Thanksgiving meal kits on the market. Read on for our comprehensive thoughts, and see how the meal kits actually turned out compared to the pictures.

Related: We Tested 4 Popular Canadian Meal Delivery Kits. Here’s How They Compared

chef's plate thanksgiving dinner

Left: Chefs Plate’s Thanksgiving Turkey & Mushroom Sauce with Maple-Bacon Brussel Sprouts. Right: Our attempt at the meal.

Chefs Plate: Thanksgiving Turkey & Thyme Mushroom Sauce with Maple-Bacon Brussels Sprouts

Perfect For: An Intimate Dinner For Two

Price: $9.99 per serving (minimum order of two servings)

Availability: Order Canada-wide via chefsplate.com by October 7th for delivery from October 8th-15th.

Why it’s great: Roasting a whole turkey for two people just doesn’t make sense. For an intimate Thanksgiving feast, the turkey dinner for two option from Chef’s Plate is the perfect solution. With gourmet touches like truffle salt mashed potatoes and maple-bacon Brussels sprouts, this turkey dinner can double as a luxurious date night meal. Bonus: this kit is available to order for 2-16 people, so you can order it even if you’re having a larger gathering.

How it compares: Despite having Thanksgiving touches like turkey and mashed potatoes, this meal kit tasted decidedly less Thanksgiving-y than the other kits (likely because of the mushroom gravy and lack of classic flavours like cranberry sauce and stuffing). Still, it’s a delicious meal that feels subtly festive, and the maple-bacon Brussels sprouts were a real standout.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Turkey Cooking Times

hello fresh thanksgiving box

Left: Hello Fresh’s Thanksgiving Box. Right: Our attempt at the meal.

Hello Fresh: The Thanksgiving Box

Perfect For: A Crowd-Pleasing Turkey Dinner with All the Fixings

Price: $23.33 per person (boxes starting at $139.99)

Availability: Order Canada-wide via hellofresh.com by September 29th for delivery on October 7th.

Why it’s great: Hosting a crowd? Hello Fresh has you covered with their Thanksgiving Box that comes in two serving sizes to feed 6 or 10 people. If you’re looking for a complete turkey dinner with all the fixings, this is it! The kit includes ingredients for sage-roasted rolled turkey with gravy, roasted butternut squash with maple syrup drizzle, garlic-infused mashed potatoes, green beans with butter and almonds, dinner rolls with herb garlic butter, cranberry sauce with orange zest, and a dessert of graham cracker crust pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

The comprehensive instructions guide perfectly times out your cooking process, so you know exactly when to simmer that cranberry sauce mash those potatoes, all while your turkey roasts in the oven. If it’s your first time making Thanksgiving dinner or you simply do not have the energy to put together a menu and buy all the ingredients (we don’t blame you!) but still want to cook something special, this is the kit for you.

How it compares: This is by far the most labour-intensive meal kit, but it really pays off with a whopping eight dishes including dessert (and nine if you add on the vegetarian main of Mushroom and Leek Stuffed Squash). While some of the sides are more simple (like the buttered green beans) compared to the sides in the other kits, it still makes for an exceptionally satisfying complete turkey dinner experience.

Left: Goodfood’s Chicken Thighs, Brown Butter and Spiced Cranberry Sauce. Right: Our attempt at the meal.

Goodfood: Chicken Thighs, Brown Butter and Spiced Cranberry Sauce with Roasted Broccoli, Onion and Squash Mash

Perfect For: The Last-Minute Get-Together

Price: $9.98 per serving (minimum order of two servings)

Availability: Order Canada-wide via makegoodfood.ca by 12 pm EST for same day delivery in select markets by 8 pm EST from October 4th-10th.

Why it’s great: So you forgot to pick up Thanksgiving dinner fixings? No problem! Goodfood’s Thanksgiving dinner kit can be ordered for same day delivery (yes, really!) in select markets including Toronto and Vancouver so you can decide to host in the morning and have an impressive meal on the table that same evening. While this is the only kit that doesn’t offer turkey, it still satisfies those traditional Thanksgiving flavour cravings with its cranberry sauce and squash mash.

How it compares: This kit was by far the easiest to cook, coming together (as advertised) in just 30 minutes. The combination of colours between the squash, red onion and broccoli was also especially stunning and made for a really enticing plate.

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

farm boy thanksgiving dinner

Farm Boy Thanksgiving Turkey Indulgence Dinner for Two. Right: Our plating of the meal.

Farm Boy: Thanksgiving Turkey Indulgence Dinner For Two

Perfect For: The Hands-Off Chef

Price: $79.99

Availability: Order within Ontario via farmboy.ca, by October 3rd for in-store pick up from October 8th-10th.

Why it’s great: If cooking isn’t your thing but you’re still craving the smell of roasted turkey with stuffing wafting through your home, the Farm Boy Thanksgiving Dinner is your best bet. A complete Thanksgiving meal that you can heat up in 30 minutes is a pretty wonderful experience, and this meal kit features Ontario turkey with savoury turkey gravy, cranberry ginger sauce, cranberry apple sausage stuffing, chive mashed potatoes, honey roasted carrots, maple bacon Brussels sprouts and a buttery Cranberry Pecan Tart for dessert. Farm Boy also offers their Thanksgiving Dinner in larger formats for 6-8 people priced at $169.99.

How it compares: Unsurprisingly, this prepared meal comes with the highest price tag per serving, an important factor to keep in mind. That said, the price tag is reflected in the presentation and organization: each dish comes individually packaged and beautifully arranged with straightforward heating instructions. While you can certainly remove the turkey, stuffing, mash and veggies from the packaging, we opted to keep them in the packaging because it was already so nicely plated.  Bonus: Farm Boy is extra generous with the servings of stuffing. And the dessert, a Cranberry Pecan Tart, is drizzled with dark chocolate and is simply divine

Availability: Farm Boy Indulgence Dinner for Two, farmboy.ca, $79.99. Order within Ontario by October 3rd for in-store pick up on October 8th, 9th or 10th.

Craving more Thanksgiving inspiration? See our best Crowd-Pleasing Recipes for a Holiday Potluck. 

the best new farm boy products for fall 2021

The 7 Best New Farm Boy Products to Try This Fall

If you’re anything like us, you’re already completely obsessed with Farm Boy – also known as Canada’s answer to Trader Joe’s. While we’d be remiss to write this article without shouting out our all-time Farm Boy favourites (the lemon-garlic dressing, chocolate almonds, and spicy kale edamame dip to name a few!), it’s time to say hello to Farm Boy’s latest crop of game-changing products. Here are our top picks for fall:

farm boy cream soda caramel corn

Farm Boy Cream Soda Flavoured Caramel Corn, $3.99/280g

Cream Soda Flavoured Caramel Corn

Caramel popcorn and cream soda is the unexpected snack mashup you need in your life. With notes of banana swirled into the pink cream soda drizzle, it lends the classic sweet snack a welcome note of nostalgia. Who needs to choose between popcorn, soda pop and candy when you can have all three?!

farm boy truffle pepperoni sticks

Farm Boy Truffle Pepperoni Sticks, $8.99/150g

Truffle Pepperoni Sticks

Truffle lovers, rejoice! These truffle pepperettes contain real summer truffle (none of the synthetic stuff!) and have a rich umami flavour that would be right at home on a luxe charcuterie board beside a thick chunk of brie and some herb-studded crackers. While we’re certainly fans of this truffley creation, they aren’t for the faint of heart – opt for the equally delicious Olive Pepperettes if you plan on sharing with kiddos or the truffle-averse.

farm boy tostadas

Farm Boy Tostadas, $3.49/350g

Tostadas

Looking to switch up your Taco Tuesday routine? These certified gluten-free tostadas are the answer, and contain just four simple ingredients: yellow corn flour, water, sunflower oil and salt. Supremely sturdy with just the right amount of crunch, you can pile them high with your favourite taco toppings. Bonus: we have a feeling they’d make for an *excellent* addition to at-home version of a Crunchwrap Supreme.

farm boy tomatillo and jalapeno salsa

Farm Boy Tomatillo and Jalapeno Fire Roasted Salsa, $4.99/300ml

Tomatillo and Jalapeno Fire Roasted Salsa

You’d never guess that this sophisticated salsa comes from a jar. With an inviting deep green colour and complex smoky flavour palate, this is not your average salsa! Keep this alongside a bag of corn chips in the pantry to serve when unexpected guests arrive and they’ll be impressed by your gourmet hosting abilities.

Organic Cucumber Melon Sparkling Water

Farm Boy Organic Cucumber Melon Sparkling Water, $1.49/1L

Organic Cucumber Melon Sparkling Water

Farm Boy’s organic sparkling waters are always an instant add-to-cart (we’ve been known to buy five cases of the Orange Vanilla at a time), so we were delighted to get our hands on their latest flavour. It tastes like a fizzy sparkling hybrid of cantaloupe and watermelon, and we’re officially hooked.

farm boy seafood paella kit

Farm Boy Seafood Paella Kit, $6.99/255g

Paella Kit

ICYMI: Paella is trending right now, and you don’t have to be a pro chef to make it at home! Farm Boy makes it easy with this straightforward kit that contains traditional ingredients like olive oil, bomba rice, and delicate saffron for quick prep, all you have to do is add in your favourite seafood and veggies.

farm boy fruit and vegetable wash

Farm Boy Fruit and Vegetable Wash, $4.99/496ml

Fruit and Vegetable Wash

While there’s nothing wrong with washing your fruits and veggies  the old fashioned way, this all-natural, fragrance-free alternative helps the process of removing pesticides, and eliminating bacteria without the soak time. Just spray and rinse!

an assortment of pastries from barbershop patisserie

3 Things You Must Try From Barbershop Patisserie in Toronto

Charming patisseries on cobblestone streets feel like a distant European travel daydream these days – that is, until we discovered Barbershop Patisserie. The decadent European-inspired pastry shop feels like a glimpse into Parisian café culture, with a hint of London pasty shops mixed in (their signature pastry is a savoury sausage roll!), all in the heart of Toronto. After gobbling up our pastry haul, we found ourselves scraping up each fallen pastry flake and eating them off our (sanitized) fingers because we just couldn’t bear to waste a single one.

pastries from barbershop patisserie

What You Need to Know About Barbershop Patisserie

Located on a bustling stretch of College St. in the Dufferin Grove neighbourhood, Barbershop Patisserie is the brainchild of renowned pastry chef Jill Barber (formerly of Black Bird Baking Co. and Paradise on Bloor). The takeaway shop opened mid-pandemic in late 2020 to great acclaim, regularly selling out of their buzzy pastries midday. Their rotating menu of pastries, cakes and cookies makes the most of fresh, seasonal produce for their fruit and veggie-based pastries, and fresh meat from local butchers for their meaty hand pies and pastries. They also serve up frothy coffee and tea based-lattes that pair perfectly with their baked confections.

See More: What’s in Season? Your Guide to Canadian Fruits and Vegetables

 

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Must-Try Baked Goods at Barbershop Patisserie

Sausage Roll Bites

barbershop patisserie sausage roll bites on a white and blue patterned plate
No trip to Barbershop Patisserie would be complete without trying one of their iconic sausage rolls, and we instantly fell in love with these mini bite-sized versions of their classic sausage roll. Reminiscent of London sausage pasties, the hearty sausage filling was perfectly spiced and the golden pastry shell held the roll together firmly, despite being oh-so delicate. Plus, the mini size (and price at just $1!) meant we could try even more off the menu, which is always a win in our books.

Roasted Eggplant Tart

The savoury veggie tarts at Barbershop Patisserie are often overshadowed by their sausage-filled counterparts, but you’d be doing yourself a disservice to not add one of these to your order. With plump eggplants currently in season, the seasonal veggie tart du jour was the roasted eggplant tart with fresh cream, spiced shallots and garlic chili oil. While eggplant isn’t typically a veggie found atop French pastries, you’d never guess it from this sophisticated tart – it was delightfully creamy with just a hint of spice, and the eggplant skin was so delicate that it just about melted into the flaky pastry.

Related: Tasty Indigenous Restaurants in Canada That You’ll Love

Chocolate Fudge Cake

A decadent slice of Barbershop Patisserie chocolate fudge cake on a patterned plate
A decadent slice of chocolate cake is always a good idea, and this single-serving portion of Barbershop Patisserie’s chocolate fudge cake is no exception. Moist layers of chocolate cake are sandwiched between thick, creamy chocolate icing for pure chocolatey bliss. At just the right level of sweet, our only regret is not getting a second slice for later.

Tip: Barbershop Patisserie also creates custom large cake orders, so you can order XL versions of this chocolate cake and other show-stopping creations for a crowd.

 

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A post shared by Jill barber (@barbershoppatisserie)

Craving more Toronto restaurant recommendations? See our 3 Things You Need to Order From Viaggio in Toronto!

comeback snacks founder emily o'brien beside bags of her popcorn

This Popcorn Shop is Destigmatizing the Ex-Con Label, One Kernel at a Time

Almost every job application form asks one simple question: “Do you have a criminal record?” For many people, it’s easy to breeze by it without a second thought. But for an ex-convict, it can feel like an impossible employment barrier to overcome.

comeback snacks founder emily o'brien beside bags of her popcorn
Comeback Snacks founder Emily O’Brien

After being sentenced to four years in prison for attempted drug smuggling, Comeback Snacks founder Emily O’Brien knows this firsthand. “If you’re an employer and you have two candidates, you’re probably going to go with the person who doesn’t have a criminal record just because it seems like a safer bet, without knowing anything about the other person.“

Which is why O’Brien decided to do something about it by starting her own business helping ex-convicts like herself: “I knew I couldn’t let my sentence determine the rest of my life in a negative way,” she explains. Food felt like a natural path to pursue: “When I was in prison I noticed the ways food brought people together. It made people laugh and forget where they were. It also allowed people to talk about their anxieties about reentering the workforce. They were terrified of being misunderstood and stigmatized and having no one believe in them. I wanted to change that narrative for myself and for others.”

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

5 bags of comeback snacks popcorn on a marble countertop
Comeback Snacks Popcorn, $6/bag, well.ca

And so, over many bowls of popcorn (a prison-approved snack), the idea for Comeback Snacks was born: “We would make different popcorn recipes, my favourite was Kraft Dinner cheese, I called it Jailhouse Cheese. I would buy Kraft Dinner from the canteen and put the cheese powder on the popcorn,” says O’Brien. “Some people would put mixtures of spices, some people would use a blend of cinnamon and Splenda from their morning coffee. It was really interesting to see how creative a lot of people were.” In many ways, popcorn provided the blank canvas O’Brien needed to map out her future: “I knew this would be the vector to my new way of life and my way of helping others to reenter the work force by proving that we are capable of so much more.”

That kernel of an idea turned into the thriving business that Comeback Snacks is now. With the help of friends and family on the outside, Emily mapped out her business while in prison and went full speed ahead once she was released, developing many of her flavours while living in a halfway house. Today, with five sweet gourmet flavours on their roster (think: Lemon Meringue and Salted Chocolate Caramel) and a staff of 5 employees (all of whom have criminal backgrounds), Comeback Snacks popcorn is in over 200 stores and ships across Canada. Each employee also earns above minimum wage: “Financial struggles are often a leading cause of why someone could become incarcerated,” says O’Brien. “When you come out and you have no credit or job and you’re trying to get an apartment, it can be really hard to build that foundation. We’re trying to help with that.”

Related: Joshna Maharaj on Tackling Food Security, Inclusion in Canada’s Hospitality Industry + More

In addition to hiring staff with criminal records, part of Comeback Snacks’ mandate is also to work with organizations that align with their values through fundraisers and popcorn donations, including the Yonge St. Mission, the Elizabeth Fry Society and even the SPCA: “Animals need a second chance too!” says O’Brien with a laugh.

 

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Comeback Snacks also recently opened their first bricks and mortar location in Hamilton, Ontario called Comeback Commissary. “Instead of it just being a store with popcorn it’s an educational experience for people to come and learn about the prison system and break some of the stigmas they may have,” says O’Brien. “I have a storytelling wall with my old uniform, pictures and other documents that explain the institutional challenges that limit people and make their reentry into society very difficult.” The shop also plans to serve as a community hub in its off hours: “We’re going to host AA and NA meetings. A lot of people that have worked with us struggle with that, and it’s important that they have a safe space they can use.”

As for what’s next? Comeback Snacks has partnered with snack food powerhouse the Neal Brothers to manufacture their popcorn on an even larger scale and produce new savoury flavours, including Lemon Pepper Dill and Emily’s own version of the Jailhouse Cheese flavour that started it all: “Instead of it being Kraft Dinner cheese it’s composed of three real Canadian cheddar cheeses.” Breaking stigmas has never been more delicious.

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

Photos courtesy of Martyna Domurad

A box of Popeyes nuggets on a wooden tabletop

The New Popeyes Nuggets Have Arrived In Canada — And We Tried Them First

With all of the hype surrounding last year’s game-changing Popeyes’ Chicken Sandwich (so iconic it’s often referred to as just “The Sandwich”), when the Louisiana-style chicken purveyor announced that they were releasing a new version of their chicken nuggets, we knew we had to give them a try. Could their latest menu item revolutionize nuggets as we know them, the same way their sandwich predecessor had? Here’s everything you need to know.

A box of Popeyes' nuggets on a wooden tabletop

Wait, Doesn’t Popeyes Already Have Nuggets in Canada?

They sure do — unlike our American neighbours, Canadians have been able to enjoy Popeyes’ chicken nuggets for years. However, based on the major success of their chicken sandwich, Popeyes decided to revamp and relaunch their nuggets internationally with a brand new recipe that adapts their iconic sandwich into nugget form. In short: if you were a fan of The Sandwich, then you’re in for a treat, because these nuggets are made with the exact same hand-battering technique with Louisiana seasoning and buttermilk breading (read: crispy-on-the-outside, juicy-on-the-inside tender chicken goodness).

So, How Do These Nuggets Stack Up Against Their Competitors?

Texturally, these nuggets do deliver on their lofty promise of “changing the nugget game.” The outside is satisfyingly crispy, and when you bite into them, you’re met with the lightly grained feel of real chicken breast. While it is a somewhat sad state of affairs to note that having the texture of real chicken sets these chicken nuggets apart from their competitors, the hard fact is that seeing the grain of a chicken breast in your nuggets is a new and novel experience. The nuggets also vary in size and shape — because they’re real chicken — so unlike certain competitors that have preset nugget “shapes” (Google it), you know these are the real deal.

A Popeyes' nugget being dipping into buffalo sauce

And What About the Dipping Sauce?

Another factor that sets these nuggets apart: the wide range of sauces you can choose for additional flavour. Popeyes isn’t playing around with their sauce selection: they have one for just about every craving; personal favourites were the Sweet Heat and Blackened Ranch, both Popeyes’ signature sauces that you can’t find elsewhere. The sad packet of sweet and sour sauce in your fridge is quaking!

OK, Where Can I Get Them?

Starting July 27th, Canadians can purchase Popeyes’ Chicken Nuggets at all Popeyes locations across the country. Depending on your province, an 8-piece box of nuggets will set you back about $5.99.

A closeup of a Popeyes' nugget

Anything Else I Need To Know?

Given that Canadians have already had access to Popeyes’ Chicken Nuggets for some time, it’s difficult to imagine that this new recipe will be met with the same long lines and hype-induced frenzy as The Sandwich of yore. That said, it’s undeniable that the team at Popeyes’ has married the best aspects of the signature Chicken Sandwich and adapted them into an extremely poppable nugget form. While we wouldn’t go as far as saying Popeyes’ has revolutionized chicken nuggets entirely, they do scratch an itch we didn’t know we had: chicken nuggets that actually resemble, well, real chicken.

Photos courtesy of Sabrina Stavenjord.