All posts by Tamara Green and Sarah Grossman

Sarah Grossman and Tamara Green are holistic nutritionists and the co-founders of The Living Kitchen in Toronto. They combine their nutrition knowledge and love of cooking to develop healthy recipes. Their cookbook The Living Kitchen (Appetite by Random House) is now available.
Lemon spatchcock chicken on roasting pan

You’ll Love This Easy Lemon Spatchcock Chicken With Roasted Apples, Parsnips and Leeks

We are big fans of sheet pan-style meals where everything cooks together — especially when they’re a show-stopping dish like this. This is one of our favourite ways to cook a whole chicken, because when you spatchcock it, it cooks more evenly and you’re not left with overcooked breasts and undercooked thighs. Roasting apples, parsnips and leeks together with woodsy herbs like thyme has an incredible warming appeal that offers tart, sweet and earthy flavours.

Spatchcock chicken on sheet pan with roasted veggies

To spatchcock your chicken, flip the chicken so the back is facing up and cut along one side of the backbone from the top to the bottom. Now cut along the other side of the backbone, take it out. Flip the chicken over so it’s laying open in front of you. Using a knife, slice the cartilage that’s found between the breasts and then pull on both sides of the chicken to really open it up. And that’s it! Or if you don’t want to do the heavy lifting here, ask your butcher to do this for you.

Related: How to Grill the Perfect Piri Piri Spatchcock Chicken

Lemon Spatchcock Chicken With Roasted Apples, Parsnips and Leeks

Prep Time: 20 to 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

Chicken
1 whole spatchcocked chicken
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped finely
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt
Pinch black pepper

Apples, Parsnips and Leeks
3 parsnips, chopped into 1-inch cubes
2 large pink lady apples, chopped into 1-inch cubes
2 leeks, washed thoroughly, halved and sliced into 1-inch thick pieces
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
A few cracks of pepper

Garnish
Fresh thyme sprigs
Freshly chopped parsley
Lemon wedges

Spatchcock chicken ingredients on kitchen counter

Directions:

1. Spatchcock your chicken if you did not buy one pre-spatchcocked. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

2. Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl: garlic, parsley, thyme leaves, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, sea salt and black pepper.

Spatchcock chicken marinade in glass bowl

3. Chop the fruit and veggies and lay them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss around to ensure all pieces are seasoned well.

4. Push the fruit and veggies to the side and create space in the middle for the chicken. Lay the spatchcocked chicken down and then nuzzle it with the fruit and vegetables.

Lemon spatchcock chicken with veggies on roasting pan

5. Spread some of the marinade under the skin of the chicken and then spread the rest mostly on top of the bird. Rub a small amount on the underside. Roast in the oven for 1 hour.

6. When you’re ready to eat, garnish with fresh thyme, fresh parsley and lemon wedges.

Cooked spatchcock chicken and roasted veggies on serving tray

Like Tamara and Sarah’s spatchcock chicken recipe? Try their sumac-spiced roasted delicata and their 5-ingredient beef Bolognese.

Nothing Says Fall More Than This Sumac-Spiced Roasted Delicata With Tahini Lemon Drizzle

When there’s a dish that incorporates all of our favourite things — squash, tahini and sumac — we know it’s a good one. Delicata squash is a fall delicacy — it’s only available in the autumn months, so take advantage now! You don’t have to peel it (woohoo!), and since it’s on the smaller side, it cooks fairly quickly, unlike other heartier squashes. It’s sweet and earthy and so perfectly takes on the natural lemony flavour of sumac. Once roasted, grab some kale and tahini drizzle — and for pops of juicy, fruity flavour, some craisins or pomegranate seeds. This dish is the epitome of fall flavours we love.

Sumac-Spiced Roasted Delicata With Tahini Lemon Drizzle

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

2 delicata squash, halved, de-seeded and sliced into ¼ -inch thick semi circles
1 red onion, sliced into strips
1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tsp sumac
½ tsp sea salt, divided
Pinch of pepper
¼ cup tahini
¼ cup cold water
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, minced
3 cups chopped kale
½ cup toasted walnuts
½ cup craisins or pomegranate seeds
Few Tbsp freshly chopped parsley

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prep the squash and onion, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

2. Drizzle olive oil on top and season with sumac, ¼ tsp salt and pepper. Toss around. Then roast in the oven for 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, prep the tahini sauce in a bowl. Mix together tahini, cold water, lemon juice, garlic and ¼ tsp salt.

4. On a long platter or in a big bowl, place the chopped kale. Add a pinch of salt and a small drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Begin massaging the kale (basically, just squeezing the kale in your hands) to help make it more digestible and easier to eat.

5. Layer the roasted squash and onion on top. Scatter the toasted walnuts, craisins and parsley on top, then drizzle the tahini sauce.

Like Tamara and Sarah’s sumac-spiced delicata? Try their slow cooker beef Bolognese or their no-bake chocolate oat bars.

5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Dinner Ideas: Slow Cooker Beef Bolognese

Ready to make the most comforting dinner with the least amount of effort? Then you’ll love this beef Bolognese. It only required five ingredients, plus a little salt and pepper! It’s the perfect, warming dish to make as the weather starts turning cooler — and is usually loved by all family members, even picky eaters. After a quick sauté of the onion and beef, simply throw all of the ingredients into the slow cooker and voila, you’re done. We like to choose a jar of our favourite store-bought marinara or tomato sauce, since it infuses so much flavour in one simple ingredient. If you would like to add the extra step of making your own, go for it. For the ultimate comfort dinner, serve the Bolognese over a big pile of your favourite noodles.

5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Beef Bolognese

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 to 6 hours
Total Time: 3 to 6 hours
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 lb ground beef
1 x 750 ml jar marinara or tomato sauce
½ cup chicken broth or dry red wine
½ tsp sea salt and pinch of pepper

Directions:

1. Place a wide skillet over medium-high heat and add in the oil. Once heated, put in onion and cook for 3 minutes until translucent.

2. Add in the ground beef, break it up with the back of a spoon and allow to brown.

3. Then place the onion, browned beef, sauce, broth, salt and pepper in the slow cooker.

4. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours.

Like Tamara and Sarah’s slow cooker beef Bolognese? Try their vegan pumpkin soup or their no-bake chocolate layered oat bars.

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

Pumpkin soup is the quintessential autumn dish. It’s sweet and creamy with earthy tones and can be pantry-friendly or not, depending if you’re using canned or fresh. This vegan pumpkin soup recipe is a bit different because we’ve snuck in immune-boosting foods inside. Most soups start with a base of onions, garlic and ginger, just like this one — but did you know, these ingredients have antiviral, antibacterial and antioxidant properties? They’re also loaded with nutrients like vitamin C, selenium and zinc. But the super-secret immune-boosting ingredient here is… turmeric. That golden, bright spice has been heavily studied for regulating the immune system. It’s important to add a pinch of black pepper when cooking with turmeric to make it more absorbable in the body. This soup will warm you up in cooler weather and definitely send you back for seconds and thirds.

Vegan Pumpkin Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 bowls of soup

Ingredients:

Soup
1 medium pumpkin (red kuri or kabocha squash also work well) or 3 cups unsweetened pumpkin puree (2 x 398 ml canned pumpkin)
2 tsp coconut oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 heaping tsp minced ginger
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ to 1 tsp sea salt, depending on taste
Pinch pepper
2 carrots, sliced
1 cup coconut milk
1 ½ cups veggie broth

Optional Garnish Toppings
2 tsp maple syrup
Drizzle of coconut milk
Squeeze of lime or lemon
Fresh cilantro, mint or parsley
Pinch of unsweetened shredded coconut
Small handful chopped walnuts

Directions:

1. If you’re using fresh pumpkin or squash, peel it, de-seed it and cut it into chunks.

2. Place a large pot over medium-high heat and add the coconut oil.

3. Toss in the onions, once they become golden, add in the garlic, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, salt and pepper.

Related: 20 Hearty Vegetable Soup Recipes Just in Time for Sweater Weather

4. Mix everything around so it’s coated in the spices. If your pot is becoming too dry, add a bit more coconut oil.

5. Drop in the carrots and if you’re using fresh pumpkin, add in the chunks. Toss to mix.

6. If you’re using canned pumpkin, spoon it in now, then pour in the coconut milk and broth. Stir. Bring to a boil, cover the pot and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

7. After 20 minutes, blitz the soup until it’s creamy. If you’re using a blender, be very careful as the soup will be scorching hot.

8. Once blended, taste and re-season with salt and pepper if needed. For an extra hit of sweetness add a few tsp of maple syrup. Top each bowl with a drizzle of coconut milk, a squeeze of lime or lemon, fresh herbs, shredded coconut and chopped walnuts if you’d like.

If you enjoyed Tamara and Sarah’s vegan pumpkin soup recipe, be sure to check out their simple miso chicken or no-bake chocolate oat bars.

These No-Bake Chocolate Layered Oat Bars Are Sinfully Healthy

If there is ever a reason to eat chocolate for breakfast, now is the time. These healthy oatmeal bars will be your new favourite dessert, snack and morning meal. There’s a bottom layer of oat shortbread cookie, topped with smooth chocolate and almond butter and finished with oat cookie crumbs. You can give them your own spin by swapping out almond butter for peanut butter, tahini or your favourite nut/seed butter. And you can use flavoured chocolate like coffee, salted caramel or toasted almond to give even more depth and flavour. Who says your next sweet treat needs to be unhealthy or even require the use of the oven?! You can thank us later.

No-Bake Chocolate Layered Oat Bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Freeze Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes
Servings: 8 bars

Ingredients:

Oat Layer
½ cup coconut oil or butter
¾ cup almond butter
⅓ cup coconut sugar
1 ½ cups rolled oats
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 Tbsp cocoa powder or raw cacao powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp sea salt

Chocolate Layer
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or 150 gram chocolate bar
¼ cup almond butter or peanut butter

Directions:

1. Place a pot over medium-low heat. Add in the coconut oil and almond butter and as they soften and gently melt, pour in the coconut sugar and mix.

2. Toss in the rolled oats, shredded coconut, cocoa powder, vanilla and sea salt, turn heat to low and stir well to fully combine. After 3 minutes remove from the heat.

Related: 65 Vegan Desserts Even Non-Vegans Will Love

3. Combine the chocolate and almond butter in a double boiler and stir until melted and creamy.

4. Lightly oil an 8 x 8 inch pan and place parchment paper in it. Ensure the parchment comes up slightly over the sides so that once the bars are done, they pull out easily.

5. Take ¾ of the oat mixture and press it down into the pan. Use your hands and/or the back of a measuring cup to push it down into a nice even layer.

6. Then pour most of the chocolate mixture over the oat layer and cascade the rest of the oat mixture on top, no need to press in, just crumble over.

7. Then drizzle over the remaining chocolate with the back of a spoon. You can also top with shredded coconut, toasted almonds and/or chocolate chips.

8. Place in the fridge for 2 hours until solidified. Gently pull them out of the pan and slice into bars. Store any leftovers in the fridge.

Like Tamara and Sarah’s creation? Try their epic waffle platter or their vegan brownies (where they test five vegan egg substitutes!).

Bread Baking for Beginners: How to Make the Perfect Sourdough Loaf

There’s nothing like the smell of homemade bread in your kitchen, and the taste of a fresh sourdough loaf is always so much better than store-bought. While there are some bakeries that sell traditionally made sourdough bread, it’s not always common to find. Besides, it’s actually easy to make your own bread at home. With a few readily available ingredients and a little bit of time, you can learn the basics of working with sourdough. The slow fermentation process of sourdough makes the bread easier to digest, and tastes absolutely delicious. We know you’ll love it!

Sourdough Bread Recipe: Bread Baking for Beginners

The Perfect Fermented Sourdough Bread

Prep Time: 20 hours
Cook Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:
1 ½  cups sourdough starter
½  cup water
1 cup spelt flour
½  cup rye flour
½  cup white flour
1.5 tsp sea salt
1 cup white rice flour for sprinkling

Related: Can’t Find Yeast? 12 Yeast-Free Bread Recipes You’ll Love

Directions:
1. Combine the starter with water and the different flours in a large bowl. Gently mix with a wooden spoon until incorporated evenly. The dough should be a bit sticky.

How to Make Sourdough Bread

2. Let the mixture sit in the bowl for 30 minutes, covered with a towel. You’ll want the room temperature to be warm, around 25°C (78°F).

3. After 30 minutes, add in the sea salt. You can gently rub the salt into the dough with your fingers.

4. Place the dough on a clean counter or a large cutting board, and lightly flour the surface. Here’s where you’ll do a technique that’s called “slap and fold” for around 5 minutes: Stretch out the dough into a rectangular shape and slap this against the surface.

Related: 15 Things You Can Make With Your Leftover Sourdough Starter

Once the dough is laying flat on the surface, fold the bottom end over into the center. Stretch out the dough again and repeat several more times in the 5 minute period. You’ll find that the dough starts to hold together better and is smoother after this process.

5. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes. Place it back in the bowl, and cover with a towel for this resting period.

6. After 30 minutes of resting, you’ll do a set of what’s called “stretch and fold.” This is more gentle than the “slap and fold.” Stretch the dough into a rectangular shape and fold the bottom edge into the centre. Then fold the upper edge into the centre.

7. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with the towel to rest for another 30 minutes. Repeat another set of stretch and fold after the 30 minutes.

8. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with the towel to rest for another 30 minutes. Repeat a third set of stretch and fold after the 30 minutes.

9. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with the towel, and this time let it rest for 2 to 2.5 hours. During this time you should see the dough rise, about 30-50%.

Related: Our 16 Carbiest Breakfast Recipes, From Croissants to Pancakes

10. After resting, place the dough on your clean countertop or cutting board again and lightly shape into a round. Experienced sourdough bakers call this the pre-shape step. You can let this rest for 20 minutes. While the dough is resting, line a colander or bowl (or use a proofing basket known as a banneton, if you have one) with a towel and lightly flour it.

11. Gently reshape the dough into a round and then place this into the lined strainer, bowl or banneton. Cover with a towel and place in the fridge overnight for around 14 hours.

12. In the morning, preheat the oven to 450°F, placing a Dutch oven with its lid (without the dough) inside the oven for 1 hour.

13. Take the dough out of the fridge. Place a piece of parchment paper (you’ll want to trim the paper to make sure it fits in the Dutch oven) on top of the dough, and then invert the strainer, bowl or banneton to flip over so the dough is resting on top of the parchment. Use a small sifter to sprinkle white rice flour over top of the dough. Then score the top of the bread, using a razor blade, bread lame or really sharp knife. You can do one simple line down the centre, or you can try doing other more creative scores (simply look online for “how to score sourdough”).

14. Carefully transfer the dough into the heated Dutch oven and cover with the lid. Be careful, since the Dutch oven and lid will be very hot.

15. Bake for 20 minutes. Then uncover and turn the heat down to 400°F. Bake for another 30 minutes, or until the crust is a nice golden colour.

16. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 2-3 hours before slicing.

For more must-bake bread inspiration, browse these brilliant banana bread recipes, or try your hand at this no-knead olive za’atar bread.  And don’t toss that sourdough discard! Instead, make these easy five-ingredient sourdough discard crackers.

Grilled Stuffed Zucchini Boats With Roasted Cherry Tomatoes is the Vegan Summer Recipe You Need

Grilling isn’t just for carnivores. And this grilled stuffed zucchini boats with roasted cherry tomatoes recipe proves it. It’s not only healthy, it’s a visually gorgeous dish that has a hearty, yet summery vibe. The recipe incorporates vibrant red cherry tomatoes, dark green zucchini and mineral-packed lentils and rice. We promise — this is certainly the summertime vegan recipe you need right now.

Grilled Stuffed Zucchini Boats With Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Total Time: 75 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Shallots
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
Pinch of sea salt and pepper

Tomatoes
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
¼ tsp sea salt
A few cracks of pepper

Mixture
¼ cup green lentils
½ cup brown rice
1 ½ cups water
4 Tbsp parsley, divided and roughly chopped
2 tsp lemon juice
Pinch of sea salt and pepper

Zucchini
4 zucchinis
3 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp sea salt
A few cracks of pepper
¼ cup walnuts, chopped and toasted

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Thinly slice the shallots. Place a pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Add oil and once it’s hot, toss in the shallots, salt and pepper. Let them cook for 7-8 minutes until they get browned and crispy, then transfer them to a towel or paper towel.

3. Place the cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, toss with oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes until blistered and bubbling.

Related: Grilled Za’atar Carrots with Halloumi & Mint

4. While the cherry tomatoes are roasting, place the lentils, rice, water and a pinch of salt in a pot, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

5. Once cooked, toss the lentils and rice with 2 Tbsp of parsley, lemon juice, salt, pepper and ½ of the crispy shallots.

6. Turn your grill to medium heat or if you’re using a grill pan over the stove, wait until the zucchinis are prepped then turn to medium heat.

7. Slice the zucchinis in half lengthwise, then scoop out the seeds using a spoon to create a hollowed out well down the middle.

Related: 10 Veggie-Forward Grilled Skewers and Kebabs to Try This Summer

8. Rub the zucchini with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill hollowed side down for 5-7 minutes, then flip and grill for another 5-7 minutes.

9. Stuff the zucchini with the lentils and rice mixture, topped with the roasted cherry tomatoes, crispy shallots, chopped parsley and walnuts.

Want more summertime recipes? These vegan sloppy Joe sliders and strawberry chia frozen yogurt pops will surely be a hit.

How to Always Make the Perfect Veggie Burger (Plus One Easy Recipe!)

Regardless if you’re vegetarian or not, veggie burgers are the perfect main to accompany any side dish (especially french fries!). They can usually be made with pantry staples you already have on hand and are filled with whole ingredients. But, there is an art — or rather a science — to making a good veggie burger. You’ve likely eaten or made a veggie burger before that was too mushy or fell apart immediately after taking a bite. Or maybe it was too dry or completely bland and flavourless (read: cardboard patty). Veggie burgers require more thought than typical beef burgers, because you need to consider texture and flavour that much more. So we’re offering up tips to crafting the perfect patty, as well as one of our favourite recipes: The Southwest Burger! We also adore the Crunchy Sunshine Burger and Cashew Mushroom Slider.

Veggie Burger Rules

1. You Need a “Binder” and a “Dry” Component
● If you want a veggie burger that holds together, use binding agents like cooked grains (rice, quinoa, millet), eggs, flax eggs, bread crumbs, oats, flour or nut/seed flours like almond flour.
● The amount of grains or flour will depend on the recipe, but it’s usually anywhere from ¼ to 1 cup.

2. Any Bean Will Do
● Truly any bean you use will be great, whether it’s chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, white beans, mung beans, lentils or a melange of beans.

Related: Dinners That Start With Frozen Veggies (But Don’t Taste Like It)

3. Choose the “Right” Veggies
● Water and excess moisture will drown your burger in mushy sorrows, so choose veggies that have a low water content, like sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beets, broccoli or cauliflower.
● If you choose veggies like zucchini, grate them first, then squeeze out the excess water. This is a must!
● Or if using mushrooms, cook them first to release the moisture.
● It’s always good to start a veggie burger with onion and garlic as the flavour-base.

4. Make it Flavourful
● It’s really easy to wind up with a bland veggie burger. Beans don’t have a high fat content, like ground beef, which is where most of the flavour comes from in a traditional burger.
● It’s important to rely on flavour-bombs like:
– Spices (cumin, coriander, garam masala, curry powder, chili powder, paprika, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, turmeric).
– Fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley, mint, dill, thyme, rosemary, basil).
– Nut or seed butters (tahini, almond butter, pumpkin seed butter).
– Condiments (balsamic vinegar, tamari, hot sauce, mustard). Tip: use these sparingly if liquid so you don’t add more moisture.
– Others (sun-dried tomatoes, olives, feta, nutritional yeast, roasted red pepper).

Related: 10 Veggie-Forward Grilled Skewers and Kebabs to Try This Summer

5. Resting and Cooking
●  Once shaped into patties, let the burgers rest in the fridge, if only for a few minutes, this will help them stick together.
● Most veggie burgers are not grill-able, because their texture is fragile. They may fall through the grates, so we recommend baking or pan-frying. If you desperately want to grill, bake them first then finish them on the BBQ once they’re a bit more solid.

6. Toppings
● Of course, toppings only add more flavour, crunch and excitement.
● Obvious ones are pickles, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, mustard and ketchup.
● Not as obvious ones are avocado, guacamole, BBQ sauce, cashew mayo, salsa, sprouts, sauerkraut and caramelized onions.

Related: 20 High-Protein Vegan Meals That Are Beyond Tasty

The Southwest Burger

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Rest Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 75 minutes
Servings: 4 burgers

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp ground flax
2 Tbsp water
½ yellow or red onion, roughly sliced (about ½ cup)
1 garlic clove
1 small sweet potato (about 1 cup chopped)
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp granulated garlic
1 x 19 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups cooked beans)
½ cup cooked brown rice
3 Tbsp oat flour
Olive oil for brushing the burgers

Directions:

1. Combine the ground flax with water to make a vegan “egg.” Let it sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients so it congeals.

2. Using the S-blade of a food processor, run the onion through. Then move it to one side or take it out and squeeze it to release excess liquid. If there is liquid pooled in the food processor, gently pour it out without losing any onion.

3. Turn the processor back on and run the garlic and sweet potato through. Pulse it a few times until the sweet potato resembles little rice kernels.

4. Next, add the spices, beans, rice, oat flour and flax egg. Pulse until everything is combined. If you like a more “textured” burger, then you can leave some of the beans unprocessed and whole.

5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Take out 4 equal parts of the burger mixture and shape them into 4 patties.

6. Place the uncooked burgers in the fridge for a minimum of 15 minutes. During this time, preheat the oven to 375°F.

7. Brush the tops of the burgers with olive oil and bake for 20 minutes, then flip, brush the other side with oil and bake for another 15 minutes.

8. Let them sit for 5 to 10 minutes so they can harden. Top with your favourite toppings.

Want more summertime recipes? These vegan sloppy Joe sliders and strawberry chia frozen yogurt pops will surely be a hit.

Snack Plates Are the Easy Dinner Option You Need This Week

We’ve been at home for months now. We’ve brushed up on our cooking skills, baked enough to open a bakery (are you also a banana bread connoisseur?) — but, some days, the thought of cooking one more meal that ends in a mountain of dishes is too much to handle. And as the weather gets warmer, we’d rather be spending our time outside and not chained to a hot oven. So, here’s the solution: make snack plates for dinner a thing every week.

Snack plates are essentially the way toddlers eat (not a bad thing!) and make perfect sense for adults as a simple, vibrant and ultimately exciting meal option that promises a myriad of flavours, textures, colours and nutrients. Start by selecting items that already live in your fridge or pantry. Remember: the plate is still supposed to resemble a meal, so even though it’s snack-style, ensure there’s colourful fibrous veggies and fruit, protein and healthy fats.

Related: How to Prep Slow Cooker Freezer Meals to Get Through the Week

What to Put on Your Snack Plate

Veggies:
● Choose veggies that have texture (good crunch), colour and can be grabbed easily.
● Some great examples are carrots, cucumbers, celery, radishes, fennel, bell peppers and snap peas.
● You can also BBQ, roast or saute veggies like onion, zucchini, eggplant, broccoli , cauliflower and Brussel sprouts.

Fruit:
● It’s officially the season for fresh fruit, so add it generously.
● Use fresh mixed berries, sliced apples and pears, pineapple, peaches, nectarines — the list goes on!
● Cut everything small enough so it’s easy and quick to grab.

Dips:
● If there are dips in the fridge, use them; if they’re half finished or need a little bit of love, drizzle some oil on top, add toasted seeds or nuts, mix in fresh herbs and even sprinkle some spices on top.
● For example, a half eaten hummus container in the fridge can easily be revived by adding some chickpeas, sesame seeds, parsley, tahini, lemon and za’atar on top.
● Or make dips like pesto, roasted red pepper and beet hummus.

Protein:
● You can keep it vegetarian or use animal proteins (the snack plate is yours to design).
● Ideas include crispy chickpeas, grilled skewers, hard-boiled eggs, sausages, sliders, cooked chicken or fish, lox, tofu or tempeh.

Grains:
● When choosing a grain, try to find one that’s rich in fibre.
● You may want something that acts as a vessel for dip, stuffed with other ingredients or just added for carby-deliciousness.
● Think: crackers, sliced bread, pita, tortillas, chips, cornbread or savoury muffins.

Related: Our Fave Food Trends to Come out of Quarantine, From Pancake Cereal to Bread Art

Extras and Bonuses:
● These are little delicious bonuses that add punchy flavour or satisfying crunch.
● Things like olives, pickles, toasted cashews, tamari almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, dates or raisins.
● You can also add sweetness with dessert-inspired bites like chocolate chips, truffle balls and brownies.

Plate Themes:
● You can theme your plate based on cuisines you love or based on leftovers that need to be revived.
● For example, if you already have leftover falafel or chicken shawarma, you can make a Middle Eastern plate and add hummus, pitas, pickled veggies and crudite with drizzles of tahini and fresh parsley on top.
● Or if you have leftover ginger soy salmon, you can create an Asian-style theme and add nori chips, steamed dumplings, kimchi, sesame crackers, edamame and lettuce leaf wraps.

Related: Middle Eastern Sumac Chicken With Date Syrup, Lemon and Pecans

How to Assemble It:
● Depending on how many mouths are being fed, choose the size of your plate accordingly. It can be a big platter, a few platters or just a normal size dinner plate.
● This doesn’t need to be Instagram- or Pinterest-worthy, but bonus points if it is!
● Start by adding one item at a time, placing each item either in a few different spots on the platter or in one dedicated spot.
● Your snack plate can be as elaborate or as simple as your heart desires. Then, enjoy yourself an easy, clean-up friendly dinner!

Want some more easy dinner ideas? Try this baked salmon with spicy mango avocado salsa and mint and lemon pearl couscous salad.

Baked Salmon With Spicy Mango Avocado Salsa, Because Summer is Coming

Summer is all about simple cooking: few ingredients that are fresh and easy to prepare. That’s why this salsa is about to become a staple in your home. It’s one of the quickest salsas to whip up and it has big zesty flavours. It marries so well with salmon — but, the truth is, this salsa is really versatile and the perfect addition to grilled chicken or shrimp, over a cabbage slaw or even dolloped on top of a coconut curry or stew. A quick tip: if you don’t have access to fresh mango, we tested it with frozen and it worked just as brilliantly!

Baked Salmon With Spicy Mango Avocado Salsa

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Total Time: 31 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients:

Salmon
2 pieces salmon (5 oz each)
½ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp sea salt
Pinch of pepper
Splash of extra-virgin olive oil

Salsa
½ large or 1 small mango, diced (or heaping ½ cup diced frozen mango, defrosted)
1 avocado, diced
3 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
1 stalk green onion, finely sliced or 2 Tbsp finely diced red onion
½ to 1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced
3 Tbsp lime juice
½ tsp sea salt
Pinch of pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.

2. Season salmon with chili powder, sea salt and pepper.

3. Place a pan, that’s also oven safe, on the stove over medium heat and add a splash of extra-virgin olive oil and swirl it around.

4. Once hot, place the salmon in the pan, flesh side down and sear it for 2 minutes, then flip and sear for another 2 minutes on the other side.

Related: Middle Eastern Sumac Chicken With Date Syrup, Lemon and Pecans

5. Carefully take the pan off the heat and place it in the oven to cook for 12 minutes until perfectly flakey and tender.

6. While the salmon is cooking, prepare the mango avocado salsa. Start by dicing both the mango and avocado: first score them lengthwise and horizontally, then scoop out the fruit into a bowl.

7. Add the remaining salsa ingredients and mix until well combined.

8. When the salmon is done, remove from the oven and top with fresh mango avocado salsa.

Craving more easy summertime recipes? You can whip up this simple miso chicken and this salad with tuna in almost no time!

This Simple Miso Chicken With Glazed Carrots Recipe Comes Together in Just 45 Minutes

This is a favourite meal of ours because it’s quick to pull together and has big flavour thanks to the magical marinade that’s sticky, sweet and salty. Whenever you mix miso, sesame oil and honey, you get pure deliciousness. Here, we slather it all over chicken breasts, but thighs would be just as perfect and much juicier. The glazed carrots are also divine. This is a quick one-pan meal with little mess.

Simple Miso Chicken With Glazed Carrots

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 33 minutes
Total Time: 43 minutes
Servings: 2-4

Ingredients:

¼ cup white miso
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp avocado oil
1 tsp minced ginger
2 carrots, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
4 cloves garlic
2 chicken breasts or 4 chicken thighs (about 1 lb), skinless and boneless
¼ cup fresh cilantro or parsley, roughly chopped (optional)
Sesame seeds (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.

2. In a bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients (miso, sesame oil, honey, rice vinegar, avocado oil and ginger).

3. In a wide, oven safe dish, add a splash of extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil to coat the bottom.

Related: Here’s How to Organize Your Tupperware Drawer Once and for All

4. Place the carrots and whole garlic on the bottom of the dish and then the chicken on top.

5. Pour the marinade over the chicken and carrots, ensuring the chicken gets the majority of marinade.

6. If the carrots seem too dry, add a splash of avocado oil and make sure they’re coated so they cook well.

7. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes and broil for 2-3 minutes at the end, so the marinade gets bubbly and caramel in colour. Make sure you watch the chicken as it broils because the miso can burn easily.

8. Top with fresh herbs and sesame seeds and serve with brown rice, if you like.

Want more delicious chicken recipes? This slow cooker chicken shawarma and Middle Eastern sumac chicken are must-makes.

Celebrate Mom With This Epic Mother’s Day Brunch Waffle Platter

Your Mother’s Day plans may look a little different this year: whether you’re celebrating in person or virtually, we have an epic, inspiring, gorgeous spread that screams “we love you, mom!” It’s a beautiful brunch platter, similar to how you would construct a cheese or charcuterie board, but this time, it’s centred around waffles. The batter in this recipe calls for gluten-free buckwheat flour (one of our favourites) but you can easily swap it for spelt, whole wheat or all-purpose if that’s what you prefer or have on hand. Now, it’s time to learn how to make the sweetest morning spread for that special lady in your life. (Don’t forget the card!).

Gluten-Free Buckwheat Power Waffles

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes per waffle
Total Time: 14 minutes
Servings: 3 waffles

Ingredients:

1 cup buckwheat flour
1 Tbsp coconut sugar
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch sea salt
1 egg
¼ cup melted coconut oil
1 cup dairy-free milk (or milk or water)

Related: These Waffle Recipes Will Make You Jump Right Out of Bed

Directions:

1. Plug in your waffle iron.

2. Mix the dry ingredients into a bowl.

3. Mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.

4. Pour the dry into the wet and whisk until a batter comes together.

5. Once the waffle iron is hot, scoop about ⅓ cup batter onto the iron, close it and let it cook for about 3 minutes. Or whenever your waffle maker tells you it’s ready! Ours has a handy green light that lets us know the waffle is cooked.

Select Your Toppings

This is where you can let your creativity shine, adding your favourite toppings and bringing as much colour and texture onto the board as possible. If you have little ones, include them in the process too, let them pick their favourite ingredients to cascade around the board.

Remember to include both sweet and savoury toppings and to cut everything into bite-sized pieces (or put out knives so they can be sliced!). You want this to be captivating for the eye but you also want everything to be edible. We once went to a party where they placed whole apples on their charcuterie board — who was going to chomp on a whole apple at a party?! Be realistic and mindful of portion size.

Related: 20 Simple Make-Ahead Brunch Recipes That’ll Still Impress

Here are examples of toppings we think would be amazing, but just choose a few, there’s no need to go overboard.

Fresh Fruit and Veg: Apples, pears, mango, pineapple, bananas, kiwi, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, purple and green grapes, oranges, radishes, carrots, cucumbers, capers, olives, cherry tomatoes with feta, fresh basil or mint leaves.

Protein: Hardboiled eggs or soft-boiled eggs in cups, sausage or bacon, lox or smoked salmon, cheese (like gouda, goat, crumbled feta).

Pantry Items: Dried fruit (like mango, dates, raisins, craisins), chocolate chips or cacao nibs, coconut chips, roughly chopped nuts (like pecans, almonds, cashews, walnuts), pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, granola.

Spreads/Syrups: Maple syrup, honey, peanut butter, almond butter, tahini, jams, chocolate spread, yogurt.

Assemble Your Board

1. To assemble the board, get all of your ingredients ready first, including waffles, toppings and the dishes you want to place ingredients in, like small bowls, cups and spoons.

2. Find a big board and start with the waffles, place them in different areas around the board and stack a few to create levels.

3. Next, add the fresh fruit in small piles around the board. You can also mix some of the fruit together.

4. Then, add in the protein, if you’re using any. Find open spaces and add some cheese over here and a few eggs there. If you’re using lox or something that’s very overpowering and you don’t want it to touch the other ingredients, place it in a bowl or on a plate and then onto or next to the board.

5. Fill the gaps with the pantry items like dried fruit, nuts and seeds.

6. Finally, add the little cups or bowls of syrups and spreads. These can be on the board or beside the board depending on how much space you have. Remember to include appropriate knives or spoons with the dishes.

7. If you still feel like it’s not complete, add a bit more colourful fruit, which will most definitely seal the deal.

Want more recipes that’ll impress mom? Whip up a batch of fudgy sweet potato brownies or lemon meringue cupcakes.

We Tested 5 Vegan Egg Substitutes — This One is the Winner

There are so many options these days when it comes to replacing eggs in your vegan baking. So, we decided to test a whole bunch of substitutes to see which ones went boom and which ones went bust. We chose to test them all with the same brownie recipe, since we know brownies can be quite forgiving and almost always delicious (and it meant we got to eat a lot of brownies!). We deliberately left out commercial, store-bought brands and tested the most common egg replacements you probably already have stocked in your kitchen pantry. Let’s introduce you to our five vegan egg contenders.

Chia Egg

Both flax and chia eggs are classic substitutes used in vegan baking. We find them to be quite interchangeable so we only tested this recipe with chia. To make a chia egg, add 1 Tbsp of whole or ground chia seeds to 3 Tbsp of water. Whole chia seeds can easily get stuck in your teeth, so we recommend using ground unless you’re in a pinch (you can blitz them in a coffee grinder!). Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, until it becomes gelatinous and thick. The reason why this works well in most baked goods, like muffins, cakes, breads and brownies, is because it adds moisture while also acting as a binder and not imparting any flavour. The downside is that because both chia and flax are darker in colour, they’ll change the colour of certain baked goods that are lighter, like cookies or cakes.

Result: The chia brownies came out gooey, fudgy and resembled a more traditional brownie texture.

Related: Common Ingredient Substitutions That Will Bring Your Recipes to Life

Aquafaba

Aquafaba is newer on the vegan baking scene. It’s the reserved liquid from a can of chickpeas. So once you drain your can of chickpeas, keep the liquid and measure out 3 Tbsp to replace one egg, then whisk it until it becomes frothed. If you put this into a stand mixer for about 3-5 minutes it will become whipped and resemble whipped egg whites with stiff peaks. When it’s that whipped, it’s more ideal for making meringues or macarons. So, we just frothed it. Aquafaba doesn’t tend to give off much moisture, sometimes leading to a drier baked good.

Result: We were really excited to see how the aquafaba would turn out, mainly because it’s so weird and interesting. But unfortunately, it was a bust. The texture was tough and lacked any sort of fluffiness. It also didn’t rise and had a layer of tiny holes on top. This may be because too much air was incorporated into the batter while mixing and became trapped, making it dense and bubbly on top. This is possibly because aquafaba acts more like egg whites, rather than a whole egg.

Arrowroot Starch/Powder

If you don’t have arrowroot, you can replace it with potato starch, cornstarch or tapioca starch. Arrowroot is gluten-free, grain-free and vegan. To replace one egg, make a slurry by combining 2 Tbsp of starch with 3 Tbsp of water. Arrowroot acts as a great binder and thickener, which may change the texture of your baked good to be a little on the drier side.

Result: This was the best looking brownie, but it had a drier, cakier texture and wasn’t as fudgy. If you like a cakier brownie, this is a great egg substitute for you.

Applesauce

Applesauce is a classic substitute for a few different baking ingredients: eggs, sugar, butter and oil. The reason why it works well as an egg replacement is because it adds a lot of moisture, making for a fudgy texture. Use ¼ cup of applesauce to replace one egg.

Result: The applesauce made a great fudgy brownie, but not quite as gooey as the chia brownie. Sometimes applesauce can impart a strong flavour, but we didn’t find that at all and found it was barely detectable. It also had a bit more rise than the chia brownie.

Mashed Sweet Potato

Mashed sweet potatoes are an amazing egg substitute, they offer a natural sweetener, while adding moisture to create a fudgy texture and are thick enough to act as a binder. You’ll need ¼ cup of mashed sweet potato to replace one egg.

Result: The sweet potato brownie came out fairly similar to the applesauce one in terms of fudgy texture and rise, but you could definitely taste the sweet potato, which may or may not be appealing to you.

Related: You Won’t Believe These Fudgy Sweet Potato Brownies Are Totally Gluten-Free

Overall the Winner is…

The chia egg brownie! It had the best texture, was moist, had a good amount of rise and tasted sweet, decadent and chocolatey. If you want to make the brownies yourself, here is the recipe we used.

The Best Vegan Brownie Recipe

Prep Time: 7 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 37 minutes
Servings: 9 brownies

Ingredients:
2 vegan eggs
½ cup coconut oil, melted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup coconut sugar
⅓ cup cocoa powder
½ cup spelt flour
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking powder
½ cup chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8-inch brownie pan with parchment paper.

2. Prepare your vegan eggs and combine them with the coconut oil and vanilla in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Then add the dry into the wet until well combined, but not over-mixed. If you like, you can fold in chocolate chips.

4. Pour the batter into your brownie pan, shake the pan around until the batter is evenly spread out.

5. Bake it in the oven for 30 minutes, allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

Want more vegan baking ideas? This carrot cake recipe and this raspberry cheezecake recipe are so good even non-vegans will love them.

Here’s How to Organize Your Tupperware Drawer Once and for All

Our Tupperware drawers used to stress us out. Seriously. Just opening them up and seeing the chaos that lurked inside was enough for us to toss leftover food away instead of packing it up — it was so wasteful, we know! The thought of spending more than 10 minutes in an archeological dig to find a matching top and bottom was too much of a feat. It’s like trying to find a matching pair of socks while sifting through an enormous pile of clothes in the dryer: it’s frustrating, it wastes time and there are far better things to be doing. So, we came up with a system that now has our Tupperware drawers looking glorious. Now we proudly package up leftovers anytime, looking at the orderly drawers with awe and admiration. This system will change your life. OK, maybe it won’t change your life, but it will change the function of your kitchen, which will inevitably make you calmer and a little bit happier.

Step 1: Empty it Out
Take a deep breath and open the drawer. Take every single item out of the drawer: all lids, all containers and any other random objects that might be stashed away in there. Make sure to look behind the drawer to see if any lids or containers have fallen back there. Have a clear space ready to transfer all the items onto, like a section of the countertop, the kitchen table or even a clean space on the floor. This is the messy part.

Step 2: Partner and Purge
Often times food storage container drawers will be filled with mismatched lids and containers that are just a waste of space. Start finding partners by stacking all of the same-sized container bottoms together. Push all the lids to the side and work on just the containers first. You will inevitably have singles of some containers or ones that are incredibly large or small, don’t stack these ones with the others, just place them to the side. Once you’re done, move onto stacking all lids that are the same shape and size and ensure they have a matching bottom container. Simply count the number of bottom containers and matching tops to see if the numbers add up.

Now, for the purge. If you have lids with no matching bottoms or bottoms with no matching lids, recycle those, unless you have another use for them. If you have containers that are stained, broken or just plain gross, recycle those too. If you find any other items that are not food storage related, find their appropriate home (that may very well be the garbage).

Step 3: Tame the Lids
In a food storage container drawer, often times it’s the lids that like to go rogue and crazy. It’s time to tame them by placing an elastic band around the stack of ones that are the same shape and size. Then organize them into storage containers that will fit into your drawer. You can find these online or at any kitchen store or dollar store. If your drawer doesn’t have room for the storage containers, you can lay the lids on top of their matching bottoms, but they must be contained with an elastic band.

Related: The Leftover Chicken Recipes You’ll Look Forward to Devouring

Step 4: Clean the Drawer
Before the organized containers can go in, give the drawer a good clean and wipe down. You don’t know what dust, crumbs or yuckiness have been living in there.

Step 5: In With the New
Start putting the stacks of container bottoms into the drawer. If some of the single ones are big, place them in first and stack similarly shaped ones inside of it. Do the same with smaller singles and stack those into similarly shaped larger ones. Make space for the storage containers of lids or place the matching lids on top of their partnered bottoms.

Step 6: Beam With Pride
You did it! You now have a chaos-free Tupperware drawer that is actually user friendly! Aren’t you excited for packing leftovers and snacks now? Your job is not done though — now it’s time to pass this article along to those who desperately need it, you know who they are.

Related: 35 Weeknight Meals That Taste Even Better As Leftovers

Step 7: Maintenance
This is the most important step of them all. Once all your food storage containers are washed and clean, you must put it back properly. Let us repeat. You must put it back properly! That means you don’t just toss it back in the drawer, you stack it where it needs to go. You don’t throw your cutlery all willy-nilly in a drawer, you spend time organizing it into sections. Similarly, you don’t throw your clothes in a drawer, you spend time folding it first. Take this same care and a bit of extra time with your Tupperware drawer. And if you are someone who just throws cutlery in a drawer — we need to talk. Happy organizing!

Ready to use up your leftovers? These fried mashed potato balls and this pasta frittata with salad will help you reinvent the wheel.

crockpot-freezer-meals

How to Prep Slow Cooker Freezer Meals to Get Through the Week

Slow cooker freezer meals are a must for any family and for the budget-savvy home cook. Often referred to as “dump meals” or “dump bags”, what makes it easy, is that you thaw and simply dump the contents of your freezer bag into your Crockpot. Then you let it do its thing as you go about your day. And when it’s dinnertime: your delicious home-cooked meal is ready to devour. This style of cooking awards you some precious time back, and it also happens to be kind to your wallet. Win, win.

To make perfect Crockpot freezer meals, there are a few tips and tricks to getting it just right. You don’t want to end up with a stew that’s way too soupy or vegetables that are mushy and unappetizing. Here’s what you need to know!

Related: These Budget-Friendly Microwave Recipes Are Total Time-Savers

lentil-soup-crockpot-freezer

Get the Right Meal Prep Equipment

Before you start planning which meal to make, you need the right equipment: a slow cooker, freezer bags, a permanent marker and labels (although these aren’t entirely necessary). We recommend buying name-brand freezer bags that are sturdy. The ones that have the slide lock are the easiest.

Always Label Your Freezer Bag First

Once you’ve decided what you’re going to make, it’s important you label your freezer bags. Do not attempt to label once the food is in, not only will the bags be too hard to write on, but the marker often won’t work, or the label won’t stick because of the moisture released from the ingredients inside.

This surefire labelling method will help you remember what you froze, how long it’s been in your freezer and how to cook it. First label what the meal is, for example: “Chicken Tortilla Soup” or “Turkey Chili” and write down the date you made it. Then label it with ingredients that need to be added before cooking as well as cooking instructions. For example: add 1/2 cup broth before cooking, set on high for 6 hours.

Label it with instructions on how you’re going to serve the meal once it’s ready – so you know which ingredients you need to have on hand before slow-cooking. If it’s a chili, maybe you want to serve it with avocado, fresh cilantro and some grated cheese. If it’s a curry, you might want to serve with toasted coconuts, peanuts and fresh mint. Or if you’re making chicken tortilla soup, you will certainly need to have tortillas on hand to crisp up and top your bowl.

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

slow-cooker-prep

Time-Saving Tips for Freezer Meal Prep

Take your time chopping up all ingredients first and prepping the sauce or marinade before packing. It’s best if all prep work is done before for efficiency and for easy clean-up. Usually prepping for slow-cooked meals only takes 15-20 minutes.

Some savvy home-cooks like to make several different freezer meals at once, so they’ll prep four different recipes first, then pack all of the bags and freeze. This will usually take a whole day to do.

Some slow cooker recipes call for sautéing or blanching the veggies, or browning the meat beforehand. We’ve found these steps to be unnecessary. Just toss everything in, uncooked.

How to Pack Freezer Bags

To avoid big spills and messes in the kitchen, stand the bags upright to pack. You can buy special baggy rack holders online, or simply place the bag in a big bowl so it won’t fall over as you’re adding the ingredients.

No matter the meal, you can add the ingredients to the bag in any order. Some people prefer veggies and beans at the very bottom, sauces and marinades in the middle, and meat on top; but, once in the slow cooker, it will all meld together.

When closing up the bags, press them firmly to ensure all the air is released. Then lay the bag flat in the freezer (this allows for easy defrosting, and it doesn’t take up as much of your precious freezer space).

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

crockpot-freezer-packing

Do’s and Don’ts for Slow Cooker Freezer Meals

If you’re making a meat Crockpot meal and your chicken, turkey, lamb, pork or beef is already frozen, don’t defrost it before adding it to your bag. You never want to defrost raw meat and then freeze it again.

Slow-cooked meals tend to release a lot of liquid, especially if you’re cooking lots of veggies. You don’t need to add as much broth or water as you think; otherwise, you’ll end up with a soupy texture and diluted flavour.

Most dairy products need to be added to the slow cooker the day of cooking and shouldn’t be frozen, for example: milk, cream, sour cream and cheese.

If your recipe includes pasta, add it the day-of, don’t freeze beforehand. Pasta tends to get very, very mushy, so unless you’re making a baked ziti, add the pasta 15 minutes before cooking time is up.

Be careful with veggies that get too mushy, like broccoli, asparagus or leafy greens. Add those towards the end of the cook time to preserve some texture. If you don’t mind mushy veggies, then you can add them in with the rest of the ingredients.

Related: 10 Tasty Uses for Leftover Food Scraps to Reduce Food Waste

How to Thaw and Cook Crockpot Freezer Meals

Always thaw the freezer meal first before adding it to the slow cooker… this is important for food safety. You can defrost the freezer bag by placing it in the fridge the night before. The meals tend to store well in the freezer for 3-4 months.

Depending on how much time you have, most meals need to be cooked for 4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.

The Best Crockpot Freezer Meals to Make

The best meals to make in the slow-cooker are soups, stews, curries, chilis, daals, meatballs, ribs, brisket and roasts. We don’t recommend slow-cooked fish, seafood or pasta dishes.

There you have it: the ins and outs of making Crockpot freezer meals for any weeknight dinner!

Looking for some tasty slow cooker dishes to try? Start with our most popular slow cooker recipes.

Published September 1, 2018, Updated April 11, 2020

Not Your Average Tuna Salad: Refresh Pantry Cooking With This Oh-So Garlicky Dish

As many of us begin our venture in pantry-style cooking, two go-to canned items are always tuna and beans. But, instead of a lackluster tuna or bean salad, we paired them together and created something that’s vibrant, fresh and oh-so garlicky. You’ll already have the majority of these ingredients in your pantry or fridge, and if you’re missing something and can’t get your hands on it, swap it for what you do have, or simply leave it out. The garlic chips are really the star of this dish anyways, and every kitchen has a supply of garlic, right?

Tuna Salad With Tomatoes, Basil, Beans, Kale and Garlic Chips

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Servings: 2-3

Ingredients:

6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 can tuna, drained
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
5 cherry tomatoes, halved or ¾ cup chopped tomato
½ cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
1 small shallot or ¼ red or yellow onion, slivered
3 cups kale, chopped
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp sea salt
A few cracks of pepper


Directions:

1. In a skillet, heat 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil over medium. Add in the garlic slices and toss around until they become brown and crisp, this will only take a few minutes.

2. Place them on a towel to drain some of the oil and dry up. You can save the oil that’s left in the pan and use it for dressings or sauces.

Related: 3-Ingredient Salad Dressing Combos That Will Save Your Lunch and Dinner

3. Put the tuna, chickpeas, tomatoes, basil, shallots and kale into a bowl.

4. Whisk together 2 Tbsp of oil, along with the apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper and pour over the ingredients in the bowl.

5. Top with garlic chips and enjoy.

Cooking with more pantry staples lately? Try these creative canned salmon recipes and macaroni dish ideas.

This Chocolate Tahini Coffee Granola Will Make You a Morning Person

It just might be the case that three of the very best ingredients in the world are tahini, chocolate and coffee. So naturally, we were committed to finding a way to stir them all together into one delectable healthy breakfast that can’t be beat. Enter this creamy, flavour-forward granola with a kick of coffee and cacao powder. These three ingredients marry well together because they heighten each other’s bitterness, sweetness and richness, making this granola such a treat. Sprinkle it onto yogurt (or a non-dairy equivalent) for added texture and creaminess… and while you’re at it, double the batch.

Related: Bright and Beautiful Breakfasts That’ll Get You Excited for Spring

Healthy Chocolate Tahini Coffee Granola Recipe

Servings: 6 ½ cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup almonds
1 cup pecans
1 cup pumpkin seeds
2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup rolled oats
¼ cup raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
⅓ cup ground decaf coffee (or caffeinated if you want an extra kick!)
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp sea salt
½ cup tahini
¼ cup maple syrup
½ cup coconut oil, butter or avocado oil

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl. If you like, you can roughly chop the nuts and seeds by hand or in a food processor.

3. Place a saucepan on medium heat and whisk together the tahini, maple syrup and coconut oil until velvety.

Related: How to Make Oat Milk 5 Ways (And Why It’s the Best Non-Dairy Option)

4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry, and mix until well combined.

5. Spread the mixture out onto a baking sheet. Use two baking sheets if needed, as you don’t want to overcrowd the granola.

Related: Healthy High-Protein Oatmeal, Dressed Up 3 Delicious Ways

6. Bake for 25 minutes, stirring at the 15-20 minute mark (we stirred at 20 minutes) then allow to cool for at least 10 minutes so the granola has the opportunity to harden.

7. Enjoy with dairy or non-dairy yogurt or milk, or by the handful.

Keep morning meals a priority and whip up a batch of these healthy loaded breakfast cookies or nourishing pancakes made with “green banana” flour.

No-Knead Olive Za’atar Bread That Looks Fancy (But is Super Easy)

Trust us: This no-knead bread recipe will make you feel like a professional baker. The secret? It’s a super simple, fool-proof recipe that you really can’t mess up, unlike other breads out there. While it does require a bit of time to allow the dough to rise, all good things take time, right? After that, you’ll be off to the races. You can flavour this bread however you please, but we find the combination of our favourite Middle Eastern spice, za’atar, with salty kalamata olives is the perfect marriage of flavours. 

We chose spelt flour because that’s our preferred healthy flour of choice, but you can use a combination of whole- and unbleached-wheat flour, or AP flour. When made only with whole-grain, the bread will be dense, so we recommend combining a light or unbleached variety to give it airiness and levity. Now go impress yourself and your friends, and get baking!

Related: How to Make the Perfect Sourdough Loaf (Bread Baking for Beginners)


No-Knead Olive Za’atar Bread Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Proofing Time: 6-18 hours
Bake Time: 75 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups light spelt flour
1 cup whole spelt flour
1 ½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp za’atar
½ tsp dry active yeast
1 ½ cups room temperature water
¼ cup coarsely chopped kalamata olives

Directions:

1. Place dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl, including the yeast.

2. Make a small well in the middle of the ingredients, and pour in the water. Mix slowly to incorporate, then fold in the olives. A shaggy dough will begin to form. Do not over-mix. 

Related: Conquer Brunch With This Make-Ahead Veggie Strata and Sourdough Bread

3. Once the dough mixture is shaggy, cover the bowl with a towel and let rest anywhere from 6-18 hours. The longer you wait, the better the dough.

4. After the resting period, the dough will have doubled in size.

5. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Place a large oven-safe pot with a tight lid into the oven. We prefer a dutch oven. Leave it there for 30 minutes. 

Related: How to Make Everything Garlic Bread Knots

6. While the dutch oven is heating up, take the dough out of the bowl and place it onto a floured surface. The dough will be very sticky, so be generous with the flour. Begin to roll it into a ball, but remember, this is no-knead, so there is “no need” to start pounding it or folding it. Simply round it into a ball and leave it alone.

7. Lightly oil the bowl and place the dough back into the bowl. Cover it with a towel and let sit for the remainder of the 30 minutes that your pot is heating up.

8. After 30 minutes, remove the pot from the oven (it will be hot so be careful!). Remove the lid and place a piece of parchment paper into the pot and drop the dough in. Put the lid back on and bake for 30 minutes.

9. Once the 30 minutes is up, remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes.

10. Then, take the freshly baked bread out of the oven and place it onto a cooling rack. You will be so impressed at how artisanal it looks, not to mention that you actually made it yourself, from scratch!

11. Enjoy with butter, ghee, olive oil or on its own.

Now that you’ve conquered bread from scratch, pair it with one of these healthy Middle Eastern recipes you’ll make on repeat.

Middle Eastern Sumac Chicken with Date Syrup, Lemon and Pecans

We love easy Middle Eastern dishes that look like you put a lot of effort into them when you didn’t, and this is one of them. If you’ve never cooked with sumac before, this is the perfect recipe to start. You can find it at most conventional grocery stores in the international aisle. It has a natural tangy, lemon flavour with a vibrant purple colour, that pairs really well with other citrus fruits, like roasted lemons. Roasting a lemon only amplifies the fruit’s juiciness and sweetness, transforming it into a little yellow flavour bomb. Topping the chicken with fresh herbs brightens the dish, while the date syrup rounds out the meal, and the toasty pecans add crunch. You’ll be greeted with a delectable combination of textures and flavours with every bite. Not to mention, this dinner staple is easy on the eyes, making it a reliable repeat when entertaining.

Related: One-Pot Chicken Dinners Ready in 30 Minutes or Less

Sumac Chicken with Date Syrup, Roasted Lemon Wedges & Pecans

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 70 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ lemon, squeezed
1 heaping Tbsp sumac
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 tsp date syrup
½ tsp sea salt
1½ lbs chicken thighs (or 4 chicken thighs)
1 leek, diced or 1 red onion, quartered
1 lemon, sliced into wedges
½ cup pecans
Fresh parsley or cilantro, roughly chopped
Date syrup

Directions:

1. Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, sumac, garlic, date syrup and sea salt in a big bowl. Place the chicken in the bowl, get it covered in marinade and let it sit for 30 minutes, if you have time.

2. Preheat oven to 400ºF. In your roasting pan, scatter leeks around the bottom and place the chicken inside. Then scatter the lemon wedges around.

Related: I Cooked With 6 Trending Spices to See if They’re Actually Worth the Hype

3. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes. At the 20 minute mark, add in the pecans to toast. Broil for 3-5 minutes to lightly crisp the chicken.

4. Take everything out and finish with a scatter of fresh cilantro or parsley and a big drizzle of date syrup.

For more ideas, these healthy Middle Eastern recipes are worth making on repeat. And for an on-theme dessert, might we suggest this halva ice cream cake (with a waffle cone crust!).

How to Make Momos: South Asian Steamed Dumplings Filled With Chicken and Shrimp

We first fell in love with momos while travelling through Nepal. Momos are steamed dumplings traditionally from the Nepal and Tibetan regions. They’re warm, light, extremely flavourful and very filling (especially when you eat a ton of them, which you inevitably will). Here, we wanted to bring out the punchy Asian flavours that work on all the taste receptors: salty tamari, sweet sesame oil and honey, spicy ginger and sour rice wine vinegar. By combining shrimp and chicken as the filling, you achieve a lighter texture with a stronger depth of flavour.

Bunching up the momos into little packages is also half the fun. You can make your own dough, but for this recipe, we opted for pre-made wrappers from the grocery store. We find wrapping the dumplings to be a fun social experience if done with friends and family, or it can be quite meditative if you’re cooking alone. Achieving the perfect fold may take a few tries, but you’ll get there. For an easier alternative, make the classic crescent moon shape by folding the wrapper in half. Here, we went a little fancy and created a round version secured together with cinched pleats. Go ahead and try out these petite parcels of perfection for yourself!

ginger-chicken-dumpling-recipe-5

Shrimp & Chicken Ginger Tamari Momo Dumplings

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Wrap Time: 1 hour
Steam Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 45 momos

Ingredients:

1 inch piece of ginger, peeled
½ small red onion
2 garlic cloves, peeled
¼ cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
½ cup shiitake mushrooms (about 6 mushrooms)
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined (cooked or uncooked)
1/2 lb ground chicken
1 egg
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp tamari
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp honey
45 momo/dumpling wrappers

Directions:

1. Turn on your food processor, and as it’s running, toss in the ginger, red onion and garlic through the feeding tube.

2. Once these aromatic ingredients have had a few spins, add in the cilantro and mushrooms. Pulse until well chopped, then add in the shrimp until it’s minced into pieces.

3. Take out the mixture and place it in a large bowl. Add in the ground chicken.

4. Whisk the egg on one side of the bowl, or whisk separately and pour into the food processor.

5. Then pour in the sesame oil, tamari, rice wine vinegar and honey. Now begin combining everything so the entire mixture is well seasoned.

6. Take out the momo wrappers and cover with a damp cloth to keep from drying out.

7. Hold one wrapper in the palm of your hand. Have a bowl of water nearby, and wet the perimeter of the wrapper with your finger.

8. Place one tablespoon of filling into its centre. Slowly pinch the dough together, moving around in a circular motion, until the wrapper is securely closed into a parcel shape. Dip your fingers back in the water and pinch the top together.

9. Repeat the above steps for each momo. The first few dumplings may look messy, but practice makes perfect! *If you prefer to prep ahead, freeze the momos at this step, prior to steaming.

10. To steam, you’ll require a steamer basket, steamer pot or bamboo steamer. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Brush the steamer with oil, or if you’re using a bamboo steamer, line it with parchment paper or cabbage leaves, and brush with oil.

11. Place the momos inside the steamer. Don’t overcrowd them or they’ll stick together. Place the steamer onto the pot of boiling water. Cover with a lid and steam for 15 minutes.

12. Take out the dumplings and repeat until all the momos are steamed. Enjoy with tamari or your favourite hot sauce.

Still hungry? These Indian recipes are even better than takeout. You’ll also love these healthy dishes from around the world, and a must-try coconut shrimp taco recipe (trust us, it’s cheaper than taking a vacation).