All posts by Mardi Michels

Mardi Michels is a full-time elementary school French teacher, cookery teacher, food and travel writer, recipe developer and the author of eatlivetravelwrite.com. A full-time francophile, she and her husband operate a vacation rental home in Southwest France. Her first cookbook, In the French Kitchen with Kids (Appetite by Random House,) was released on July 31, 2018. The follow-up book, French Food for Everyone will be released chapter-by-chapter starting with Le Goûter (after school snacks) on September 1st 2021.
a baking tray of 4 pumpkin spice creme brulees

Pumpkin Crème Brûlée is the Pumpkin Dessert You Need This Fall

Looking for a dessert to please pumpkin lovers that isn’t pie? This Pumpkin Crème Brulée is sure to satisfy their pumpkin cravings and more. Simple to prepare and practical to make in advance, it’s sure to become your pumpkin-season crowd-pleaser par excellence. Many people shy away from crème brûlée because it looks and sounds complicated, but it couldn’t be easier. Just five ingredients and very little hands-on time yields a silky-smooth dessert with a luscious flavour that will surprise and delight.

a baking tray of 4 pumpkin spice creme brulees

Pumpkin Creme Brulee

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35-40 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours, 20-25 minutes
Servings: 4

Special equipment:
4 x125ml (1/2 cup) ramekins (5”/12cm diameter and 1”/2.5cm deep)
Deep-sided baking dish (that will fit all the ramekins inside)
Kitchen blow torch (optional)

Ingredients:
3 egg yolks
⅓ cup granulated sugar, plus 2-3 Tbsp for caramelized topping
1¼  cups heavy whipping cream (35%)
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
⅓ cup pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)

ingredients for pumpkin spice creme brulee on a metal baking sheet

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 300˚F and set a full kettle to boil. Place the ramekins inside a deep-sided baking dish.

2. Whisk the egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar in a medium bowl or pot until the mixture starts to thicken slightly and become pale. Set aside.

egg yolks and sugar whisked together for pumpkin spice creme brulee

3. Mix the cream and spice mix together in a small jug or pot and heat until the milk is just about boiling (bubbles will start to form around the edge of the liquid) either on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Related: Turn Your Kitchen into a French Bakery with Palmier Cookies

pumpkin spice mixture being whisked together for pumpkin spice creme brulee

4. Whisking gently but continually, add about 1/4 cup of the hot cream to the egg mixture. Once this is combined, add the rest of the hot cream into the egg mixture, gently whisking until thoroughly incorporated.

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

pumpkin spice mixture being added to egg yolks and sugar for pumpkin spice creme brulee

5. Add the pumpkin purée to the cream and egg mixture and whisk gently to combine.

6. Strain the combined mixture using a metal sieve over a jug to ensure it’s smooth and lump-free.

custard being strained for pumpkin spice creme brulee

7. Pour the mixture into the ramekins.

Related: Pumpkin S’mores Sheet Cake is the Fall Dessert to Make This Season

4 ramekins filled with custard for pumpkin spice creme brulee

8. Carefully pour the hot water (from the kettle) into the bottom of the baking dish until it’s about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

9. Bake the custards for 30-35 minutes (they might still be a tiny bit jiggly in the centre) and remove from oven.

10. Allow to come to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled (2 hours).

11. Once completely chilled, remove from fridge and sprinkle about 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar on top of each of the custards (it needs to be a thick layer, not just a sprinkle).

ramekins of pumpkin spice creme brulee topped with sugar and ready to be blow-torched

12. Use a kitchen blow torch to caramelize the sugar to a hard caramel (alternatively you can do this under a broiler, but keep an eye on it!).

13. Serve once the caramel tops are cool (about 3 minutes).

a closeup of pumpkin creme brulee

Love Mardi’s pumpkin crème brulée? Try her mixed berry galettes next!

Slow Cooker French Onion Soup is the Easiest Way to Make Dinner

Love French onion soup? Don’t have time to stand around caramelizing onions? Then this slow cooker version is the perfect way to satisfy those cravings. Slow cooker soups are a great way to get a meal on the table with very little prep time and this is no exception. This is a perfect easy soup recipe for a chilly fall evening. It’ll make your home smell amazing and it’ll taste like you’ve spent hours in the kitchen when, in fact, it’s the slow cooker doing all the work for you!

Slow Cooker French Onion Soup

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 9 hours
Total Time: 9 hours, 30 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

2 lbs onions, halved and sliced
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 tsp brown sugar
1.5 L beef stock
2 Tbsp brandy (optional)
8 sprigs fresh thyme, plus some for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
8-12 slices baguette
1 ½ cups grated Swiss cheese

Directions:

1. Place sliced onions, butter and sugar in a 6-quart slow cooker. Stir to combine.

Related: This Vegan Pumpkin Soup Has a Super-Secret Immune-Boosting Ingredient

2. Cover and cook on high for 6 to 7 hours, removing the lid and stirring from time to time. Many recipes suggest doing this overnight, but as all slow cookers are different, it’s best to be around when these are cooking so you can keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. The onions should be deep brown before you put the rest of the ingredients in.

3. Add the stock, brandy, thyme and pepper. Cover again and cook on high for approximately 2 hours.

4. Remove the lid, scoop out the thyme sprigs and stir.

5. Pre-heat your oven broiler to high. Prepare your oven-safe soup bowls by placing them on a parchment-lined tray. Top each bowl of soup with 2 slices of baguette and approximately ¼ cup grated cheese.

6. Broil for approximately 5 minutes or until the cheese is melty and golden brown. Top with a few fresh thyme leaves to serve.

Like Mardi’s slow cooker French onion soup? Try her oven-baked zucchini and corn fritters or her easy mixed berry galettes.

These Oven-Baked Zucchini and Corn Fritters Are the Perfect Dinner Side Dish

Got too much summer zucchini and corn? Don’t quite know what to do with it? This recipe combines two of summer’s greatest hits and uses the oven to bake crispy vegetable fritters without all the hassle of deep frying. Lots of corn fritter recipes use only corn, but by adding grated zucchini, you’ll add a different texture (and a pop of colour!). The fritter is perfect on its own, served with a little sour cream and some pesto for the ultimate light summer meal. However, they’re also a great side dish, served with roast chicken or as an accompaniment to a summer BBQ. These will be on repeat in the summer and can just as easily be made in winter using frozen corn.

Oven-Baked Zucchini and Corn Fritters

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Servings: 16 fritters

Ingredients:

2 medium zucchini, washed and grated (approx. 2 cups grated)
1 ½ cups corn kernels (from 3 small cobs or thawed and drained if frozen)
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
1 cup shredded cheese (use something sharp, like Cheddar)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp flaky sea salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
Sour cream and pesto to serve

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Line two baking trays with parchment paper. Place a few layers of paper towel on your countertop.

2. Squeeze the water out of the grated zucchini with a cheesecloth or tea towel. Place the squeezed zucchini on the paper towel in a single layer. Place a few more paper towels on top and gently pat dry.

3. Once dry, place the zucchini in a large bowl with the corn kernels, breadcrumbs, cheese, eggs, salt, pepper and optional red pepper flakes and mix well to combine, using a wooden spoon or your hands.

Related: 50+ Zucchini Recipes You’ll Absolutely Love

4. Using a 3-Tbsp cookie scoop and packing the mixture in tightly, scoop out mounds of the mixture and place them about 1 inch apart on the baking trays. If you don’t have a cookie scoop this size, use a ¼ measuring cup filled ¾ full of the mixture. If you notice lots of liquid in your mixture, make sure to drain it before you place on the tray.

5. Bake for 15 minutes, then use an offset spatula to carefully flip the fritters flattening them slightly as you do. Be careful, they are a bit fragile still!

6. Bake a further 10 to 15 minutes, until the fritters are crispy and golden on both sides. Serve with sour cream and pesto. Enjoy!

Like Mardi’s fritters? We also love her cheesy, comforting butternut squash tartiflette and mixed berry galettes for a sweet treat.

You Can Make These Mixed Berry Galettes With Easy Pantry and Fridge Staples

Galettes were my introduction to the world of pastry and are still one of my favourite things to make. These single-crust pies are so easy that most kids can make them with very little supervision — and the fact that they are supposed to look rustic is a bonus for those who don’t feel confident making a pie crust. The possibilities for filling a fruit galette are endless, but I’ve chosen mixed berries because they bake up so well and are so pretty. Added bonus? You can bake these galettes with fridge and pantry staples you likely already have on hand: frozen berries are great and the pastry just uses a few items. Once you’ve made one galette, you’ll be hooked!

Mixed Berry Galettes

Prep Time: 50 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Servings: 8 galettes

Ingredients:

Pastry
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp fine sea salt
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp heavy (35%) cream

Filling
2 cups mixed berries (fresh or frozen) such as raspberries, blackberries and blueberries
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (not needed if you use frozen berries)
1 Tbsp lemon zest (1 lemon)

Assembly
1 large egg, lightly beaten for egg wash
Granulated sugar, for sprinkling

To Serve
Vanilla ice cream or Chantilly cream (optional)

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s Most Popular Cake and Pie Recipes

Directions:

1. Whisk the flour, salt and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the cubed butter and using your fingertips, lightly rub the butter into the flour until it resembles large breadcrumbs with some pieces the size of small peas. You can also use a pastry blender for this job. Make a well in the middle of the flour mix and add the egg. Using a wooden spoon, mix the egg into the flour until they are completely combined.

2. Add the cream and mix until the dough is firm enough to form a ball when you press the mixture together with your fingers. It might be a little crumbly, but form the dough into a ball and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.

3. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour or up to 3 days, in the fridge. You can also freeze the dough, tightly wrapped in plastic, for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the fridge before you roll and bake.

Related: How to Make The Perfect Banana Bread Every Time (Plus Freezing Tips and a Recipe!)

4. Combine the berries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice (if using) and zest in a small bowl. Stir to coat the berries thoroughly and set aside.

Tip: If your berries are quite large, you can cut them in half. If you do that, you might not need as much of the lemon juice, since cut berries may give off more juice.

5. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.

6. Divide the pastry into eight pieces and roll each piece out to a rough circle about 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. If necessary, trim the rolled-out shapes with a pizza cutter so they are more or less round. Place the circles of dough on the parchment-lined baking trays. They should not be touching.

Related: Can I Freeze This? How to Freeze Fruit, Cheese, Leftovers and More

7. Use a ¼ cup measure to divide the berry mixture evenly between the dough circles. Place the berries in the centre of the dough and use the bottom of the measuring cup to flatten them slightly. You should leave a border of about 1 ½ inches around the edge.

8. Working with one circle at a time, fold the uncovered edges of dough up and around the filling, working your way around the circle. You’ll end up with pleated edges that are a little rough and you might need to trim some uneven parts to ensure you don’t end up with a thick area of just crust.

9. Brush the edges of each galette with a little egg wash and sprinkle the pastry with sugar.

10. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the berries are cooked. Remove from the oven and place the galettes on wire racks to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or Chantilly cream.

This is an excellent entry-level dessert for novice bakers. Since the dough circles won’t be perfect and the berries will leak some juice out onto the baking  trays, they will all look a little mismatched, but they are meant to be “rustic” (this is what I call anything I make that doesn’t turn out perfectly!). Whenever I make these with my boys’ cooking club, nobody cares how they look — the boys think they are delicious and the parents are impressed their child made pastry from scratch!

Excerpted from In the French Kitchen with Kids by Mardi Michels. Copyright © 2018 Mardi Michels. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved. Photographs Copyright © Kyla Zanardi.

3 freezer bags of prepped fruits and vegetables

This Clever Trick Will Prevent Freezer Burn for Good (And Major Food Waste)

Your freezer is your friend in the fight against food waste. But have you ever opened the freezer to retrieve a carefully prepared meal or frozen item only to discover ice crystals blanketing the container? Or meat that looked a little too “off” in colour? If you’re nodding in agreement, you’ve encountered a simple case of freezer burn.

Many people don’t realize that they can burn frozen food. It sounds wrong, doesn’t it? How can something that’s frozen burn? Freezer burn is damage to frozen food caused by moisture in the food evaporating, leaving dry “pockets” of air and/or ice crystals. The good news is that, while the food won’t taste all that great, it is still edible. The better news is that freezer burn is totally preventable!

Related: Stop Wasting the Most Tossed-Out Food in Canada with These Recipes

The One Thing You Should Always Do to Prevent Freezer Burn

The most important thing you can do to prevent freezer burn is to reduce the food’s exposure to air: make sure you have an airtight, moisture-proof barrier between the food and the container it’s in. Simple tricks like wrapping foods in double layers of wax paper or aluminum foil before storing them in freezer-safe containers or bags will go a long way to making sure your food doesn’t go to waste.

Note that no food will last indefinitely without developing freezer burn, so another way to make sure you’re avoiding those pesky ice crystals from developing is to rotate the food in your freezer so you’re eating the oldest items first, which are the most at-risk of catching freezer burn.

Related: How to Freeze Fruit, Cheese, Leftovers and More

Top Tips for Avoiding Freezer Burn on Commonly Frozen Foods

1. If you’re serious about keeping frozen foods as fresh as possible, buy a vacuum sealer. This is a surefire way to make sure the packaging is completely airtight.

2. Buy too much bread? Slice loaves and store the slices in a large plastic freezer bag, making sure to remove as much air as possible. You’ll have fresh bread to toast for weeks to come! 

3. Found yourself with too much produce? It can be frozen, but most vegetables benefit from a quick blanch or steam prior to freezing. Once cooked, shock with cold water, then dry and freeze in airtight containers or freezer bags.

Related: Effortless Instant Pot Freezer Meals for Easy Weeknights

More Tips to Keep in Mind When Freezing Food

1. Never freeze hot food. Instead, allow it to come to room temperature before you freeze.

2. If you’re freezing liquid-heavy foods (think soups and stews), make sure you leave some room in the containers, as liquid expands when frozen. Place plastic wrap touching the liquid/food before you close the lid to avoiding potential freezer burn.

Related: The One Healthy Soup That Should Always Be in Your Freezer

3. Broth and stock are super useful things to have on hand, but how often does a recipe call for a small amount, leaving you with leftovers? Solution? Freeze it in ice-cube trays! As soon as it’s frozen, transfer to an airtight bag or container to ensure a constant supply that’s practical in size.

4. Do you have slightly past-their-prime produce lingering in your crisper? Put your freezer to work. Frozen fruit is perfect for smoothies, and frozen vegetables can be used in cooked dishes. No one will ever know they were anything other than fresh!

3 freezer bags of prepped fruits and vegetables

5. Many people don’t think to freeze butter, but if you have a few sticks about to expire, pop them into the freezer to keep it fresh for longer. Note that it’s best to use quickly once thawed, making it perfect for baking!

Related: Building a Zero-Waste Kitchen is Easier Than You Think. Here’s How to Make it Happen

6. Cookie dough is a perfect candidate for freezing, so you’ll never be far from a freshly-baked treat! Scoop dough and freeze directly on baking trays. Once frozen solid, place the dough in airtight bags, or wrap them tightly in plastic and just bake however many you need. The dough will last in the freezer for up to three months.

Related: Anna Olson Explains How to Properly Freeze Just About Everything

7. Portion items when you freeze them so you can easily select the right amount of food to thaw, avoiding unnecessary waste.

8. Label all foods with the date you froze them, and don’t forget to rotate items and use older foods up first.

Related: How to Prep Slow Cooker Freezer Meals for Busy Nights

While freezing items is a great way to avoid waste, there are some other foods that you should never freeze.

5 Foods That Never Belong in Your Freezer (And Why):

1. Open packages of coffee beans (and ground) will absorb freezer smells. Make sure it’s stored in an airtight container, not the bag you bought it in.

2. Cooked pasta, like spaghetti, will not hold its structure when frozen and thawed, it will turn to mush (baked pasta dishes like lasagna, however, are perfect candidates for freezing).

3. Raw potatoes turn black when frozen due to a chemical reaction, so make sure to quickly blanch chopped potatoes before you freeze them.

4. Melon will turn mushy when frozen and thawed due to its high water content, so while it’s fine to use frozen in drinks, for example, it won’t be any good for a fruit salad.

5. Raw eggs in their shell will explode when frozen. If you find yourself needing to freeze eggs, crack them and lightly beat them before freezing them in an ice cube tray or muffin tin. When completely frozen, you can put them in a freezer bag where they will keep for up to six months.

Want to make the most of your freezer? Watch this video on how to prep food for freezing.

Feature image courtesy of Getty Images. 

Can I Freeze This? How to Freeze Fruit, Cheese, Leftovers and More

Ever wondered, ‘Can I freeze this?’ Or, do you find yourself with leftovers you can’t eat before its best before date? From meat to cheese to bananas to cakes and beyond, your food freezing questions are answered with this comprehensive guide. We’re here to help you reduce food waste, save money and time and make the most of this under-appreciated appliance.

how to freeze cheese

How to Freeze Cheese, Milk and Eggs

Of all the food groups, dairy is perhaps the one people have the most questions about. Can you freeze cheese? What about milk? Can you freeze whipping cream? The good news is that a lot of dairy can be frozen, as long as it’s properly packaged.

Butter: If you get a good deal on butter but couldn’t possibly use it up before its best before date, you can certainly stash it, still wrapped, in your freezer for up to 12 months. Flavoured and compound butters can also be frozen when tightly wrapped.

Cheese: Wrap hard cheeses (like cheddar, Parmesan) tightly in plastic and they’ll keep for up to 6 months. You can also shred hard cheese, freeze it, store it in an airtight container and use it from frozen. Soft cheeses like goat, ricotta or cream cheese won’t freeze well, as there’s too much moisture in them.

Eggs: Don’t try to freeze eggs in their shells – they’ll explode! Instead, crack them into muffin tins, lightly beat them with the tines of a fork, and freeze. Once frozen solid, pop the eggs out and place in freezer bag for up to 6 months.

Related: The Tastiest Ways to Eat Eggs for Dinner

Milk & Cream: Milk and cream can be frozen, but make sure they’re in a container with some room at the top as the liquid expands when frozen. Thaw in the fridge or in a large bowl of cold water. They may separate slightly once thawed, nevertheless, they’re perfectly safe to consume.

Yogurt: Yogurt can be frozen, but it might separate as it thaws, so it’s best to use yogurt from frozen in smoothies or baking as opposed to thawing it and eating it on its own. To freeze yogurt, spoon into ice cube trays; then, once it’s frozen solid, place the cubes in airtight zip-top bags and use as needed for up to 3 months.

Related: Our Best Healthy (And Tasty) Smoothie Recipes

How to Freeze Bread and Grains

Bread, Rolls and Buns: Slice fresh loaves you know you won’t be able to eat before they go stale, then place in a zip-top bag, being careful to remove all the air from the bag to avoid freezer burn. You can toast the slices directly from frozen. Keep whole rolls and burger buns in an airtight zip-top bag, defrosting at room temperature before slicing and warming. 

Grains: Cooked rice, whole grains and pasta will freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating, or enjoy cold in a grain salad.

Related: Easy and Tasty Ways to Use Leftover Rice

frozen-mixed-berries

How to Freeze Fruit (Like Bananas)

Well-packaged, many fruits can keep frozen 6 to 12 months. Apples and pears don’t freeze well from fresh, but applesauce, apple butter or pear puree (or any other fruit preserve) can be frozen, likewise blanched peeled and pitted peaches.

Bananas: Bananas can be frozen whole or chopped into small pieces and frozen flat in freezer bags for easy additions to smoothies. Thaw them to add to banana bread or muffins.

Related: Brilliant Ways to Use Overripe Bananas

Avocado: Avocado can be frozen, although you’re never going to be able to preserve the texture of a perfectly ripe avocado in the freezer. If you just want to use them in smoothies or guacamole, peel them and remove the pit, then wrap in plastic and place in an airtight container or freezer bag.

Berries: Berries freeze very well. Wash, dry and chop (if necessary)  strawberries, blueberries or raspberries and then place them flat in plastic freezer bags, making sure to remove all the air before sealing so you don’t get freezer burn. Great for baking, smoothies and spooning over yogurt.

Grapes: Frozen grapes make a delicious snack and healthy dessert straight from frozen, tasting like sweet sorbet. Take them off the vine, wash and dry, then add to a freezer bag or airtight container.

frozen-veggies-in-freezer-bags

How to Freeze Vegetables

Many vegetables are suitable to freeze for up to 6 months. Onions, garlic, peas (shucked) and corn (sliced off the cob) can be frozen raw, chopped or minced (in the case of onions and garlic) and stored in an airtight container or zip-top bag, but most vegetables benefit from a quick cooking before being frozen.

Related: The Most Delicious Ways to Use Freezer-Friendly Foods

How to prepare fresh vegetables for freezing: Blanch chopped vegetables by dropping in boiling water or steaming until tender-crisp, then shock with cold water. Pat dry, then freeze in serving-sized portions in airtight containers or freezer bags. This way, you can freeze veggies like zucchini, potatoes, spinach and carrots without tampering with their texture.

How to Freeze Meat and Fish

Meats and fish can be frozen for between 3 and 12 months, tightly wrapped in plastic, then placed in freezer bags so they don’t get freezer burn. Thaw overnight in the fridge.

Chicken or turkey parts: 6 months
Cooked ham: sliced and portioned, 2 months
Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines): 3 months
Lean fish (tilapia, halibut): 3 months
Ground meats or poultry: 3 to 6 months
Lamb: 6 to 12 months
Pork: 4 to 6 months
Sausages: 2 to 3 months
Uncooked beef steaks: 6 to 12 months
Whole chicken or turkey: 12 months

How to Freeze Casseroles and Soups

Soups, broths, casseroles, chilis and stews can be frozen and will keep for about 3 months. Pour into plastic airtight containers (portioned, so you can grab a meal for however many people you need), leaving a little room at the top to allow for expansion in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the fridge or at room temperature, then heat on the stovetop or in the oven and eat.

Related: Warm Up with The Pioneer Woman’s Best Soups and Stews

chocolate-chip-cookie-dough

How to Freeze Baked Goods and Desserts

Don’t need to bake all that cookie dough? You can scoop them out and freeze directly on baking trays. Once frozen solid, place the portioned dough in ziplock bags, or wrap them tightly in plastic and just bake however many cookies you you need. They’ll be good in the freezer for up to 3 months. Baked cookies can last 6 to 8 months tightly wrapped in the freezer.

Here are some other desserts from Anna Olson you can make, bake (or not) and freeze.

Cakes (unfrosted): 3 months
Cheesecakes: 6 months
Fruit pies (unbaked): 3 months
Fruit pies (baked): 6 months
Muffins and quick breads: 12 months

Preparing and Packing Food for the Freezer

• Make sure all packaging is airtight to avoid freezer burn.

• Label all foods with the date you froze them.

• Portion your foods so you can easily select the right amount of food to thaw, without wasting.

• Leave room at the top of liquids (milk, soups) for expansion as they freeze.

• Keep your frozen food “fresh” with more of our top Tips to Prevent Freezer Burn.

How to Make Vietnamese Bun Cha, The Rice Noodle Salad Your Lunch Bowl is Craving

This vibrant rice noodle salad boldly features Vietnamese-spiced pork patties, thin rice noodles, fresh vegetables and herbs, spring rolls and a salty-sweet sauce. It’s the lunch bowl you’ll be returning to again and again. The best part? You can meal prep all the components on the weekend, pack them up and enjoy throughout the week. You’ll be the envy of your co-workers!

Vietnamese Noodle Bowls (Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio)

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Pork Patties
1 lb ground pork (use regular or lean for the most flavour, not extra-lean)
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp lemongrass paste
1 Tbsp honey

Nuoc Cham Dressing
½ cup warm water
¼ cup honey
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ cup fish sauce
1 small red chili pepper, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced

Noodle Bowl
Approx. 4 cups cooked rice noodles
4 large (or 8 small) cooked spring rolls, cut into small pieces
1 lettuce head (like Boston), with some leaves intact, some shredded
1 large red pepper, cut into matchsticks
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 large English cucumber, cut into matchsticks
approx. ½ cup chopped, unsalted peanuts
large bunch fresh cilantro, for garnish
large bunch fresh mint, for garnish
limes, quartered, for garnish

Directions:

Pork Patties
1. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and use your hands to mix to make sure ingredients are well combined.

2. Use a 3-tablespoon cookie scoop to make 16 patties, flattening them slightly with your hands.

3. Place patties on a plate, covered in the fridge, until ready to cook.

4. Pre-heat a non-stick frying pan (preferably one with griddle marks) over medium heat.

5. Cook patties until a meat thermometer inserted in the middle reads 160˚F.

6. If not using straight away, set patties aside to cool to room temperature before refrigerating.

Nuoc Cham Dressing
1. Whisk all ingredients in a small jug until combined. Some honey will produce a dressing that’s a little cloudy – that’s fine! Set aside until using (can be refrigerated).

Noodle Bowl Assembly 
1. Gently reheat pork patties and spring rolls in a slow oven or microwave.

2. Line the bowls with one large lettuce leaf each.

3. Add shredded lettuce, cooked noodles, vegetables, pork patties and spring rolls.

4. Sprinkle over peanuts, cilantro and mint.

5. Serve with the lime quarters and dressing on the side and allow people to season with these to taste.

Tip: You can prepare all ingredients in advance and simply assemble when you’re ready to eat. For an amazing desk lunch, pack separate containers with noodles, vegetables, dressing and pork patties/spring rolls, and simply assemble for a meal to remember.

Here, we reveal the healthiest meal-prep lunches that won’t get soggy, plus our best no-heat lunch ideas to avoid that dreaded office microwave line.

Your New Favourite Shortbread: Petits-Beurre (French Butter Cookies)

If you’ve travelled in France, you might be familiar with the ubiquitous Petit-beurre cookie. It has been around since 1886, when it was invented by Louis-Lefèvre Utile in Nantes. The cookies are still imprinted with his initials (LU) and are the best-known product of all the Lefèvre Utile range. This recipe is the closest I can get to my store-bought favourites.

Butter Cookies (Petits-Beurre)

Active Time: 45 minutes
Chilling Time: 1-3 hours
Bake Time: 11- 13 minutes
Servings: 50 cookies (approx.)

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups (225 g) all-purpose flour
½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp fine sea salt
½ cup (113 g) cold salted butter, cut into small cubes
¼ cup (60 mL) heavy (35%) cream

Read: 20 Delicious French-Canadian Dishes to Make at Home

Directions:

1. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse a few times to combine.

2. Add the cubed butter and pulse until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

3. Add the cream and continue to pulse until the dough comes together. The dough will be fairly soft.

4. Gather the dough into a ball, divide in half and form each half into a disk. If you don’t want to use it immediately, you can wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days. Roll each disk between two sheets of parchment paper until it’s 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick. Keeping the dough flat and between the two sheets of parchment, place it in the fridge for 1 to 3 hours.

Read: These Classic French Dishes Are the Definition of Comfort Food

5. Preheat the oven to 350˚F (175˚C). Line two large baking trays with parchment paper. Remove one of the rolled-out pieces of dough from the fridge and allow it to sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes.

6. Cut out cookies using a rectangular cookie cutter that measures 2 1/2 x 2 inches (6 x 5 cm). Place the cookies on the parchment-lined baking trays. They will not spread, so you can place them fairly close together—just make sure they are not touching.

7. Repeat with the second sheet of dough.

8. Place one tray in the top third of the oven and the other in the bottom third of the oven, and bake for 11 to 13 minutes, switching the trays from the top to bottom rack and turning them from front to back halfway through the bake, until the cookies are golden around the edges but still pale in the centre.

9. Remove the cookies from the oven and, using an offset spatula, immediately place them on wire racks and allow to cool completely. You can store these in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

For more irresistible baked goods, check out these 20 make-ahead options for your holiday bash, Anna Olson’s very best cookie recipes, or our most popular cookies of all-time.

Excerpted from In the French Kitchen with Kids by Mardi Michels. Copyright © 2018 Mardi Michels. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

3 Vegan Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Recipes to Steal the Spotlight

Instead of serving your plant-based dinner guests various vegan side dishes, offer them a hearty and healthy main meal instead. These three easy stuffed portobello mushroom recipes (think Mediterranean-style and chili lentil!) are ideal for any diet, and certainly all palates. They’re also perfect for the holiday season because you can prep the elements in advance, and simply warm them up before serving. Bonus: they’re a cinch to make, too!

Portobello Preparation:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400˚F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
2. Take 6-8 portobellos and remove the stems and gills (the dark brown part underneath the mushroom cap) and discard.
3. Lightly brush the undersides of the mushroom caps and place them on the baking tray, undersides facing up.
4. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside while you prepare the fillings.

See below for each filling recipe and directions:

1. Mediterranean-Style Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6-8 mushroom caps

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small (130 g) onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small (150 g) zucchini, diced
1 small (130 g) bell pepper, diced
1 small (250 g) eggplant, diced
2 teaspoons dried Herbes de Provence or thyme
Flaky sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup canned, diced tomatoes in their juice
Panko breadcrumbs
Fresh thyme sprigs, to garnish

Directions:
1. Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Fry the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent and just starting to soften.
3. Add the zucchini, pepper and eggplant and stir thoroughly to coat with the onion mixture.
4. Season with the herbs, salt and pepper and cook a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Add the tomatoes and mix to combine. Cook for around 5 more minutes, stirring and seasoning with more salt and pepper, to taste. 6. Allow to cool slightly before filling the mushroom caps.
7. Pre-heat the oven to 400˚F and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Place the mushroom caps on the parchment paper.
8. Use between 1/4 and 1/3 cup of the mixture per mushroom cap, depending on their size.
9. Top each mushroom with a sprinkle of Panko breadcrumbs and bake for 5-7 minutes.
10. Allow the mushroom caps to cool slightly and remove them from the tray with a spatula.
11. Serve with a sprinkle more breadcrumbs and a few fresh thyme leaves.

Related: These Are the 5 Best Meatless BBQ Skewers You’ll Ever Eat

2. Rice and Salsa Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6-8 mushroom caps

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup corn kernels, drained
1 cup cooked, canned mixed beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup of your favourite store-bought salsa
1 cup cooked rice
Cilantro, to serve
Pumpkin seeds, to serve
Green onions, to serve

Directions:
1. Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Add the corn and the mixed beans and cook 3-5 minutes, stirring well.
3. Add the salsa, stirring thoroughly to combine.
4. Add the cooked rice and stir well.
5. Cook a further 2-3 minutes until mixture is heated through. Set aside to cool slightly.
6. Pre-heat the oven to 400˚F and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Place the mushroom caps on the parchment paper.
7. Use between 1/4 and 1/3 cup of the mixture per mushroom cap, depending on their size.
8. Bake for 5-7 minutes.
9. Allow the mushroom caps to cool slightly and remove them from the tray with a spatula.
10. Serve with a sprinkle of cilantro, green onion and some green onions.

Related: Easy Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese in Less Than an Hour

3. Chili Lentil, Mushroom and Tomato Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6-8 mushroom caps

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 oz (113 g) white or cremini mushrooms, finely diced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 cup cooked lentils (1×398 mL can), drained and rinsed
1 cup canned, diced tomatoes in their juice
Flaky sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Curly parsley, to serve

Directions:
1. Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Add the mushrooms and cook approximately 5 minutes until they begin to release their juices.
3. Add the chili powder and stir to coat thoroughly.
4. Add lentils and tomatoes and stir to combine.
5. Cook a further 4-5 minutes until mixture is heated through. Set aside to cool slightly.
6. Pre-heat the oven to 400˚F and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Place the mushroom caps on the parchment paper.
7. Use between 1/4 and 1/3 cup of the mixture per mushroom cap, depending on their size.
8. Bake for 5-7 minutes.
9. Allow the mushroom caps to cool slightly and remove them from the tray with a spatula.
10. Serve with a fresh, chopped curly parsley.

Looking for more satisfying vegan mains? Check out these easy vegan weeknight dinners and vegan recipes for a festive feast.

This Cheesy, Comforting Butternut Squash Tartiflette is a Cold-Weather Must

Tartiflette is a dish from the Savoie region of France, popular in the Alps because it’s so hearty. A rich and comforting layered dish featuring potatoes, onions, lardons (bacon) and, traditionally, Reblochon cheese. Here, we’ve substituted butternut squash for some of the potatoes, making for a slightly sweeter bake that works well with the strong cheese. If you can’t find Reblochon, swap for any soft cheese with a washed rind (think Brie, Époisses or Cru du Champlain).

Pair the decadent dish with a simple green salad, or, if serving as a side, sprinkle a little chopped parsley on top – it’s not traditional, but it adds a hit of freshness (and colour!).

Comforting Butternut Squash Tartiflette

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Serves: 8

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb (227g) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch (2cm) cubes
1/2 small butternut squash (approx. 3/4 lb/ 350g), peeled and chopped into 1-inch (2cm) cubes
8 slices bacon (approx. 7oz/ 200g), roughly chopped in small cubes
1 large onion (approx. 7oz/ 200g)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
14oz (400g) Reblochon cheese (or alternative variety)
Salt and pepper, to season
Curly parsley, for garnish

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 400˚F.
2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet (big enough to hold all your potatoes and squash cubes). Shallow fry the potato and squash cubes until they start to colour, stirring occasionally (watch the squash, it will caramelize faster than the potatoes). This will take around 5-7 minutes.
3. Remove the potatoes and squash from the skillet and drain on paper towels.
4. Add the bacon to the skillet and fry until it’s just starting to colour (approx. 3-5 minutes, depending on how small you’ve cut the bacon). You want it fully cooked but not crispy. Remove the bacon from the skillet and drain on paper towels.

5. Add the onions and garlic to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Remove the onions from the pan and drain on a paper towel.
6. Cut the Reblochon in half horizontally and cut one half into small strips. Cut the other half into small cubes.

6. In an oven-proof dish large enough to hold all the ingredients, layer half the onions, garlic and bacon.

7. Top with half the squash mixture and dot with some of the cheese cubes.
8. Repeat the process, layering the rest of the onions, then bacon, then the squash mixture.

9. Top with the strips of cheese, alternating the rind facing in and out with each strip. The cheese will not cover the top of the dish entirely (you will have some gaps and be able to see the squash and potatoes underneath).

10. Bake for 25 minutes at 400˚F, then turn the broiler on high and broil for approx. 5 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and golden.
11. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving. Garnish with the parsley. Bon appetit!

For more cheesy, melt-in-your-mouth recipes that’ll warm your insides, try these 18 classic french dishes that are the definition of comfort food.

College Grocery List: The Only 5 Ingredients You Need to Make Multiple Meals

Headed to college this fall? Wondering how you’re going to feed yourself with a limited budget, equipment and facilities? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with this list of five ingredients you’ll want to keep on hand, so you’ll only be 30 or so minutes away from an ultra-tasty meal. You can stretch these ingredients into a multitude of simple dishes that’ll keep you well-fed and satisfied throughout the school year (no cafeteria required).

1. Spaghetti

A staple item in most households, spaghetti is something you’ll want to always have on hand because it’s so versatile. Worried about the dishes? Did you know that with many pasta dishes you can cook the spaghetti right in the sauce? Less cleanup is always a good thing!

● Make Cacio e Pepe, a classic dish where all the ingredients are cooked together in one pot, and the sauce reduces while the pasta cooks, no draining necessary. You don’t even need to wait for the water to boil!

● You can’t go wrong with Spaghetti and Meatballs, a dependable dinner staple that’ll fill you right up. Do yourself a favour and make a big batch of Meatballs and Sauce to keep in your freezer, so you’ve got a proper meal at your fingertips any time!

● Looking for something different? This Spaghetti and Meatball Bake lets you eat spaghetti and meatballs by the slice instead of the bowl! Each slab of this easy-to-prepare casserole has tiny meatballs and pockets of cheese. Change it up by using cooked sausage slices, or add extra veggies if you have them on hand.

● Got extra cooked spaghetti? No problem – this Genius 20-Minute Spaghetti Frittata is a great way to disguise leftovers as a completely new meal!

2. Eggs

If you’re going to keep one “fresh” food on hand, it has to be eggs. They’re so versatile: you can use them in breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes for an easy, tasty protein fix. Hard or soft-boil them, fry them or use them in these recipe suggestions – the possibilities are endless!

● A classic way to use eggs and all the “bits and pieces” in your fridge is in a Veggie-Filled Frittata. Not only are they simple to make, it’s a “one and done” dish that cooks up in less than 30 minutes. It also makes for tasty leftovers.

● Looking for something a little more substantial? Whip up a Quick Quiche. If you use store-bought pie crust, this meal could not be any easier. Once again, you can customize the filling according to which ingredients you have on hand. It’s excellent to make on the weekend for meals throughout the week, and pairs perfectly with a Simple Green Salad.

● Eggs are also a staple ingredient for brunch. Dishes like Eggs Benedict that you might enjoy in a restaurant are actually fairly simple to make at home. Got eggs? Got English muffins? You’re halfway there! Even that fancy sounding Hollandaise sauce is simple to make at home.

● Lastly, all students need a reliable on-the-go meal that can stand-in for breakfast, lunch or as a healthy between-class snack hack. These Prosciutto-Wrapped Egg Cups are here for you.

3. Canned Tomatoes

Canned tomatoes should be a staple in anyone’s pantry, but particularly in a college student’s, because of how versatile they are. A simple can of tomatoes can transform into any number of dishes. Bonus? If you have an immersion blender or mini blender, you can make your own tomato juice!

● Are you a fan of breakfast for lunch or dinner? Shakshuka should be a go-to meal of yours. Stewed veggies with poached eggs makes an excellent quick, healthy meal for one, but it’s easy to batch up if you’re cooking for a crowd! Use a Quick Ratatouille as a base for even more flavour. You can also make the Ratatouille on its own for a quick and easy meal to serve over rice, or with crusty bread to soak up the sauce.

● A foolproof way to transform a can of tomatoes is to make Tomato Soup (with grilled cheese, obviously). This tasty version features mini bacon grilled cheese sandwiches, taking things up a notch to create the ultimate comfort food pairing.

● Get inspired by the flavours of Middle Eastern cuisine and whip together a Moroccan Vegetable Couscous Dish in just 30 minutes. Canned tomatoes are used as the base, together with frozen squash and a can of chickpeas.

● Why let a can of tomatoes sit untouched on your shelf, when Skillet Chicken Parmesan could be in your future? Use crushed canned tomatoes, or tomato puree for the base for a quick, comforting dinner that certainly beats the cafeteria.

4. Frozen Mixed Vegetables

Trying to eat healthy on a college student’s budget isn’t always easy, especially when you factor in the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables. One way around this is to substitute frozen veggies where possible. Flash frozen when in season, they’re the next best thing compared to fresh, and also budget friendly. If you have these in your freezer, there are so many ways you can feed yourself!

● A classic way to use frozen vegetables is in a Quick Fried Rice. Add a splash of soy sauce for flavour and you’ve got yourself a healthy meal in a flash. Incorporate chicken, beef or tofu for extra protein if desired, or simply make a Plain Omelette and chop it into the rice and veggies for a restaurant favourite that’s easy to replicate at home.

● Looking to batch cook a recipe to enjoy throughout the week? If you’ve got frozen veggies on hand, you’ve got the makings of a tasty Vegetable Soup. Add cooked leftover turkey or chicken for a complete meal in a bowl!

● Hankering for some comfort food? Ramp up your Casserole game by adding a medley of frozen veggies into the mix. This drool-worthy recipe by Alton Brown is a creative (and easier) take on chicken pot pie.

● Grill your frozen vegetables, then add them to hearty Vegetarian Burritos. Serve with rice or salad on the side for a satisfying meal in a flash!

5. English Muffins

While you might not always have fresh bread on hand,  if you have a small freezer, store English muffins, which are the perfect base for so many great recipes! The obvious way to use these is toasted with butter and a sweet or savoury topping, but there are plenty of creative ways to fancy them up and make them all the more meal-worthy.

● We’ve already seen how muffins can be used for Eggs Benedict, but how about for a proper Breakfast Sandwich or even in place of a Burger Bun? They’re arguably the most versatile bread product there is, so keep an extra frozen pack in the fridge for when you’re in a meal pinch!

● Craving French Toast, but don’t have any bread on hand? Opt for English muffins instead, served alongside fresh fruit, eggs and bacon for a hearty meal that’ll keep you full and energized through all your morning classes.

● We’re a bit obsessed with these Easy English Muffin Pizzas (read: no need to worry about wasting precious time making the dough!), which can be assembled ahead and kept in the freezer for a satisfying anytime snack or meal. They’re perfect for those late-night study sessions.

● Other creative uses for English muffins include subbing them to make a sweet Bread Pudding, using them as the base for Tuna Melts, or even chopping them and drizzling with oil to make Crispy Croutons!

For more quick cooking tips and hacks, see these 35 budget-friendly recipes with canned beans, our best affordable chicken dinners and 25 cheap dinner ideas for two that won’t break the bank.

30-Minute Pasta with Green Garlic Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

It’s always exciting when the farmers’ market stands start to show signs of spring and summer. Often, though, this produce doesn’t stick around for very long, so you need to take advantage when it’s available. One way of making spring last a little longer is to make pesto from some of the best seasonal offerings – in this case, green garlic (also known as young garlic that boasts a milder, more delicate flavour) but you can easily substitute for garlic scapes or ramps – then freeze to relish the flavours even when they’ve disappeared from the market.

The best thing about this recipe? Even though it features a few different components, if you multitask, it’s ready in about 30 minutes – leaving you more time to enjoy those lovely longer daylight hours we’re all so grateful for this time of year.

Spring Pasta with Green Garlic Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients: 

Pasta
250g dried bucatini pasta

Roasted Tomatoes
3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
Olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pesto
6-8 green garlic shoots
1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated (approx.)
⅓ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
½ – ¾ cup olive oil
½ tsp salt

Assembly
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil leaves

Directions:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400˚F.
2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and lay the tomatoes in a single layer on the tray.
3. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
4. Roast the tomatoes for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and set aside.
5. While the tomatoes are roasting, prepare the pasta. Cook according to the directions on the package. Drain and set aside.
6. Make the pesto: Clean and trim the green garlic, and roughly chop.
7. Place the green garlic in a food processor with the Parmesan and the pumpkin seeds.
8. Start processing the mixture, slowly pouring in the oil until you reach your preferred consistency. Season to taste with salt.
9. Add approximately ½ cup of pesto to the pasta, using tongs to toss so the pasta is completely coated. Season with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
10. Divide the pasta between four bowls, and top with the roasted tomatoes. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan and fresh basil leaves.

Notes:
● This makes approximately 1 cup of pesto, which is more than you’ll need for this recipe.
● If you won’t use the pesto immediately, place it in the fridge with a piece of plastic wrap touching the surface. You can also freeze the pesto for up to 2 months (in ice cube trays for convenient portioning!)

Looking for more easy and ultra-satisfying pasta recipes for spring? This 15-minute three-cheese pasta with peas is a seasonal must-make. We’ve also rounded up 25 spring dinners ready in 30 minutes or less.

15-Minute Cheesy One-Pot Pasta to Reclaim Your Weeknights

The weather may be warming, but we’re still all about indulging in comfort food with a fresh, seasonal upgrade. This dish is a twist on mac ‘n’ cheese that literally takes the same (or less!) amount of time to cook as the boxed variety. Bonus: Though it features three different types of cheese, it also contains peas, which lighten the dish and really make it pop (in colour and flavour). This one-pot recipe is a great choice make on those nights when there’s “nothing to eat” in the house – all the ingredients are fridge and pantry staples!

15 Minute Three-Cheese Pasta with Peas

Serves: 4

Ingredients:
225g (1/2 box) medium shell dry pasta
2 cups vegetable broth, warm but not boiling
1/2 cup spreadable cream cheese
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups frozen peas
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Flaky sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Place all ingredients except peas, Parmesan, salt and pepper in a large pot.

2. Mix gently to start melting the cream cheese.
3. Place the pot on the stovetop over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
4. Lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly for 7 minutes.
5. After 7 minutes, add the peas and Parmesan, stir well and cook, continuing to stir, a further 2 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.

6. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The sauce will thicken as the pasta sits, so if you prefer it more thick and creamy as opposed to saucy, let it sit for a few minutes, stirring from time to time.

For more one-pot wonders, browse these 55 Quick and Easy One-Pot Recipes and 15 One-Pot Chicken Dinners Ready in 30 Minutes or Less.

grilled-cheese-stacked

This French Onion Grilled Cheese is Made for Chilly Saturday Afternoons

When the temperatures start to dip, there’s nothing more comforting than a warm bowl of soup accompanied by a grilled cheese sandwich. One of my favourite soups in the cold weather is French Onion because it combines both of those elements in one bowl. Here, we’re flipping that soup on its head and combining a grilled cheese with rich, decadent caramelized onions for the ultimate winter comfort food.

french-onion-layered-grilled-cheese

French Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe

Serves: 2

Ingredients:
For the Onions:
2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup beef or mushroom broth
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp light brown sugar

For the Sandwich:
6 thin slices bread
4 Tbsp salted or unsalted butter
6 slices Swiss cheese

Directions:
Onions:
1. Heat the butter and oil a heavy skillet over medium-low heat.
2. Add the onions and cook for around 15 minutes, until the onions start to turn golden, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the broth, scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the skillet and cook for a couple of minutes until most of the liquid evaporates.
4. Sprinkle sugar and the balsamic vinegar over top, and stir to coat the onions.
5. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, over low-medium heat for approximately 10 minutes until all the onions are dark and caramelized.
6. Set aside and cool (refrigerate if necessary) until you are ready to use them.

onions-on-grilled-cheese

Sandwich:
1. Pre-heat the broiler to high and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
2. Toast two of the slices of bread (these will be your middle slices) in a toaster.
3. Butter the remaining four pieces of bread.
4. Heat a skillet (preferably one with a ridged base so you’ll get “grill” marks on the bread) over medium-high heat.
5. Place the slices of bread butter-side down (you might have to do this in batches depending on the size of your skillet) and cook until the bread is golden. Remove from the heat.
6. Place all the bread (making sure you know which slices are the top and bottom slices – with the grill marks) on the baking tray and top with one slice of cheese each.
7. Broil until the cheese is bubbling and melted.
8. Spread the caramelized onions on the cheese on each “top” and “bottom” slice of bread.
9. Now construct your sandwich – place the extra slice of bread in between top and bottom slices and close the sandwich.
10. Serve with lots of napkins and maybe a knife and fork!

french-onion-grilled-cheese

Looking for more cheesy goodness? Try Our Cheesiest Recipes Ever.

How to Make a Classic Manhattan Cocktail

With the holiday season in full swing, thoughts are turning to what to serve at festive parties. What better cocktail than a classic Manhattan – easy to make (and customize according to how sweet or dry your guests like it)?

perfect-manhattan-cocktail-recipe

It’s said the Manhattan was created in New York in the late 1800s. According to some, Sir Winston Churchill’s mother was throwing a party at The Manhattan Club in honour of Samuel J. Tilden (a presidential candidate at the time) and a guest was making a cocktail from rye whisky and sweet vermouth which was so popular the club made it theirs (many say this story, although entertaining, can’t possibly be true as Churchill’s mother would have been in Europe and pregnant at the time). Others believe the cocktail was invented in the 1860s by a bartender named Black who worked at a bar on Broadway. No matter who invented it, it’s become a classic all over the world and you’ve probably got all the ingredients in your liquor cabinet already.

cocktail-manhattan-in-glass

The Classic Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

Ingredients:
2 oz rye whisky or bourbon
1 oz sweet vermouth (You can use ½ oz sweet and ½ oz dry vermouth)
A dash of bitters (Angostura)
Cocktail or Maraschino cherry for garnish
Ice

Directions:
1. Place the ice in a mixing glass, add the bitters.
2. Pour over the whisky and vermouth then slowly stir the drink until chilled.
3. Place the cherry in the bottom of a chilled serving glass, add more ice then slowly pour the cocktail over the ice.

Looking for more drink ideas? Try these Sensational Canadian Cocktails.

gluhwein-in-cup

How to Make Traditional German Glühwein

Glü-what? Glühwein is a spiced red wine that’s traditionally served at Christmas markets in Germany and Austria. Translated roughly as “glowing wine” which refers to the temperature the wine is heated to, this holiday drink is meant to warm you up as you make your way around the market stalls, chatting and shopping and will ensure you won’t get cold.

Mulled wine, as we call it in English, is actually really simple to make and even better, it’s easy to make large batches which makes it perfect for entertaining over the holidays.

Making mulled wine is simple but it does involve a little bit more than just heating the wine – it’s a delicate balance of spices (cinnamon, star anise, cloves), citrus fruits, alcohol and sugar. Play around with the ratios to see what you like best. Mull your wine early to fill your house with the wonderful smells of the season to greet your guests as they arrive. Keep the pot on very low heat through the party and keep an eye on it – you’ll surely need to make more at some point!

cup-of-gluhwein

Glühwein Recipe

Makes: Approximately 2L (enough for 12-24 depending on if you are serving tasting portions or full serves)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cinnamon stick
8 cloves
2 clementines or small oranges
peel and juice of 1 lemon (approx. 1/4 – 1/3 cup)
peel and juice of 2 clementines or small oranges (approx. 1/2 – 3/4 cup)
2 x 750 mL bottles fruity red wine
1/2 cup port
1/2 cup Grand Marnier or Cointreau
1/2 cup brandy
clementine or orange slices, for garnish
cinnamon sticks, for garnish

cup-of-holiday-german-gluhwein

Directions:
1. Place the sugar and cinnamon stick in a large (2 litre) pot.
2. Stick 4 cloves into each whole clementine and place them in the pot with the sugar.
3. Add the lemon and clementine peel and juice (you should have around 3/4 – 1 cup juice in total) to the pot.
4. Pour in just enough wine to cover the clementines and heat over medium heat until it boils. Simmer for around 5 minutes.
5. Add the rest of the wine, the port, the Grand Marnier (or Cointreau) and brandy and stir well. Heat for around 15 minutes on low-medium heat. Do not allow the wine to boil.
6. Serve hot with a slice of orange or clementine and perhaps a dash of cinnamon or cinnamon stick as garnish.

Looking for more seasonal drinks? Try these 10 Tasty Mulled Wine Recipes.

root vegetable gratin in a vintage serving dish

The Delicious Difference Between Potatoes Au Gratin and Dauphinoise

There’s something irresistible about a dish of creamy, bubbly potatoes. And while we enjoy scalloped potatoes as much as the next carb-lover, we can’t help but wonder if the mouthwatering layers of taters au gratin are really just dauphinoise potatoes in disguise. Gratin potatoes – Dauphinoise potatoes, they’re the same thing, right? Wrong.

ultimate-potatoes-gratinGet the recipe for Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Potatoes au Gratin

Gratin is a French word that means the crust that forms on top of a dish when you brown it in the oven or under the broiler. The term originally comes from the French word “gratter” (to scrape) which refers to the need to scrape the crunchy bits of cooked food off the bottom of a dish so as not to waste it. In the case of a potato dish, the crunchy topping is usually from breadcrumbs or cheese and nowadays, “au gratin” is often used to refer to a dish topped and broiled until crunchy. Potatoes au gratin are slices of pre-cooked (usually boiled) potato cooked in cream and topped with cheese which makes the gratin.

Gratin Dauphinoise, on the other hand, is a dish made of thinly-sliced (not pre-cooked) potatoes that cook in cream. Dauphinoise traditionally does not contain any cheese. The starches in the potato mix with the cream to thicken the creamy sauce which contrasts with the crispy topping that comes from finishing the dish in a hot oven or a broiler.

Whichever way you cook your crunchy-topped potatoes, with cheese or without, it’s the perfect dish to ease into the cooler weather – the side dish that goes with absolutely everything! Here are a few different variations on creamy and/ or cheesy potatoes that will see you through the winter!

Nancy-Cheesy-Potato-GratinGet the recipe for Cheesy Potato Gratin

Bertinelli-Root-Vegetable-GratinGet the recipe for Valerie’s Root Vegetable Gratin

Squash-and-Potato-GratinGet the recipe for Spaghetti Squash and Cheesy Potato au Gratin

Looking for more tasty sides? Try more of our Perfect Potato Side Dishes.

This Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Galette is the Perfect Meatless Main

Thanksgiving and the holiday season can often be a challenge if you’re a vegetarian – or if you’re entertaining vegetarian guests.  I always like to make sure my non meat-eating company is offered more than a “meal” consisting of a bunch of side dishes. The good news? This hearty and appetizing galette is sure to please. An all-butter pastry filled with roasted butternut squash, onions, sage and goat cheese is both filling and festive, and would make the perfect addition to any holiday table. It’s actually a wonderful main dish for both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike! It’s also great to prepare ahead of time – and to make things even easier, you can substitute a store-bought shortcrust pastry.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Galette

Prep Time: 15 minutes (plus chilling time)
Cook time: 65 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

Pastry:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch flaky sea salt
1 stick (8 Tbsps) unsalted butter
1 large egg
2-3 Tbsps ice cold water

* You can also substitute for store-bought pastry crust

Filling:
1 lb (450g) peeled and cut into 1-inch (2 cm) cubes butternut squash (approx. 1/2 medium butternut squash)
3 Tbsps olive oil
Flaky sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large onions (approx. 200 g each), thinly sliced
6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

Assembly:
150 g firm goat cheese, sliced into 1/2 cm rounds
1 large egg, lightly beaten, for egg washing the edges of the tart
1 cup baby arugula, loosely packed
4 Tbsps pine nuts
Olive oil, for drizzling

Directions:

Pastry:
1. Whisk the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the cubed butter and, using your fingertips, lightly rub the butter into the flour until it resembles large breadcrumbs with some pieces the size of small peas. You can also use a pastry blender for this job.
2. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add the egg. Using a wooden spoon, mix the egg into the flour until completely combined.
3. Add the water and mix until the dough is firm enough to form a ball when you press it together with your fingers—it might be a little crumbly, but form the dough into a disk and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.
4. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 3 days in the fridge. You can also freeze the dough, tightly wrapped in plastic for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the fridge before you roll and bake.

Filling:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 425˚F.
2. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper and spread the butternut squash in a single layer on the tray.
3. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with the flaky sea salt and pepper.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the squash starts to brown.
5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
6. In a small skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.
7. Cook the onions for about 5 -6 minutes until they start to soften and colour slightly.
8. Stir in the chopped sage and allow to cool.

Assembly:
1. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
2. Remove pastry from the fridge and let it sit for about 10 minutes so it’s easier to work with.
3. Roll out the pastry to approximately 14-inches (35 cm) in diameter. Place the pastry on the parchment-paper lined baking tray.
4. Spread the cooked onions evenly around the pastry base, leaving approximately 2-inches (5 cm) around the edge.
5. Layer the cooked squash in a single layer over the onions.
6. Tuck the goat cheese rounds around the tart (some of them underneath the squash).
7. Fold the pastry up and around the edges of the filling, crimping slightly with your fingers as you go, and brush the edges of the galette with the egg wash.
8. Bake until the cheese is melted, the edges of the tart are golden brown and the bottom is cooked through, 45 minutes.
9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly on a wire cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature topped with the arugula, pine nuts and a drizzle of olive oil.

Looking for more crowd-pleasing vegetarian dishes? See these 24 Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes (Including Stuffing!). And since the holidays are nothing without dessert, we’ve got you covered with these Vegan Thanksgiving Desserts Everyone at Your Table Will Love.

Turn Your Kitchen into a French Bakery with Palmier Cookies

Palmier cookies: fun to say, fun to make and delicious to eat! The name means “palm tree” in French and if you look carefully you can see they are kind of shaped like the fronds of a palm tree (though puff pastry can be unpredictable – but know that no matter what shape yours end up, they are scrumptious!)

These puff-pastry based cookies are found in many boulangeries across France and are a staple of the after-school “goûter” snack. The classic version that you’ll find in In the French Kitchen with Kids contains just two main ingredients – puff pastry and sugar – so they couldn’t be easier to make, especially now you can buy pre-rolled puff pastry in most supermarkets. They are very versatile though and lend themselves to other fillings, both sweet and savoury – here we’re filling them with jam for a sweet treat, but spreads like pesto and tapenade work well too for a delicious savoury snack.

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This is a really fun baking project for kids during the school holidays – experiment with different fillings and remember that practice makes perfect with the rolling technique!

Jam Palmier Cookie Recipe

Active Time: 15 minutes
Chilling Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 15 to 18 minutes
Makes: About 20 cookies

Ingredients
1 x sheet store-bought puff pastry (8 oz), thawed but chilled
1/3 cup of your favourite jam (jelly works well here as large lumps of fruit can make rolling the pastry a bit of a challenge)

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Directions:
1. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper and set aside. Place a piece of parchment paper larger than 10 x 10 inches on a work surface.
2. Roll your pastry out on the parchment paper until it’s about 10 x 10 inches. Many store-bought puff pastry rolls are already this size, check yours with a tape measure if you’re not sure.
3. Spread all but 3 Tbsp of your jam evenly over the surface of the pastry.
4. Fold the left and right sides of the pastry inwards so they meet in the centre, like you’re closing a book.

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5. Spread about 2 Tbsp of jam on one half of the folded pastry.
6. Fold the left and right side of the pastry inwards again, so they meet in the centre again.
7. Spread the remaining jam on the pastry roll, then fold the pastry in half lengthwise.

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8. Wrap the pastry log tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes.
10. Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
11. Remove the pastry log from the fridge and place it on a cutting board.
12. Using a very sharp knife, cut the log into about 20 slices, each one 1/2 inch wide. Lay the slices flat on the baking tray about 2 inches apart.

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13. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, then flip them over and bake for a further 8 minutes, until they are golden and crispy and the jam is starting to caramelise. Keep an eye on them in the final minutes of baking as they can go from perfect to scorched in a matter of seconds.
14. Remove from the oven and place the tray on a wire cooling rack until they are cool enough to touch.
15. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

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About the author: Mardi Michels is a full-time elementary school French teacher, cookery teacher, food and travel writer, recipe developer and the author of eatlivetravelwrite.com. A full-time francophile, she and her husband operate a vacation rental home in Southwest France. Her first cookbook, In the French Kitchen with Kids (Appetite by Random House,) publishes on July 31, 2018.

The Great Canadian Salad

Make this Canadian Summer Salad Packed with Home Grown Ingredients

In this salad, we’re combining classic Canadian ingredients, bacon and maple syrup, with two great Canadian-grown ingredients, lentils and mustard. Did you know Canada is the world’s largest exporter of lentils and mustard seeds? Really! Here, they come together in a great Canadian salad that’s a little bit sweet and a touch salty with a nice earthy crunch from grated beets and peppery bite from tender greens. Canadian pride never tasted so good.

Great Canadian Salad

Lentil, Bacon And Feta Salad With Maple Dijon Dressing

Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
Maple Dijon Dressing

3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1½ Tbsp maple syrup
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper 

Lentil, Bacon And Feta Salad
2 cups cooked lentils (from 3/4 cup dry or canned)
100 g (approx. 1/2 cup) roughly diced cooked peameal bacon
100 g roughly chopped feta cheese
2 large handfuls greens, such as arugula
1/4 cup grated beets

Great Canadian Salad

Directions:
Maple Dijon Dressing:
1. Place all dressing ingredients a small jam jar, place the lid on and shake well. Refrigerate until ready to dress the salad.

Lentil, Bacon And Feta Salad:
1. In a large bowl, mix to combine lentils and bacon. Add the feta and stir gently to distribute evenly though the salad. Add the greens and beets and mix gently to avoid bruising the green leaves.
2. When ready to serve, dress the salad with your prepared dressing, to taste. Portion into bowls and serve.

Keep the Canadiana theme going and treat yourself to a little post-salad dessert in the form of butter tart monkey bread.