Category Archives: Long Weekend

Our New Favourite Dessert of the Summer: Nanaimo Bar Popsicles

The Nanaimo bar is one of those great Canadian desserts with a name that does not at all describe the deliciousness of what is actually in the bar itself (a sweet coconut and graham cracker base, topped with custard-flavoured buttercream and finished with a thin layer of chocolate ganache).

Well, skip the grocery store. We’re giving the humble Nanaimo bar a refreshing summer makeover just in time for Canada Day. This fudgy, creamy and decadent popsicle recipe consists of three main components that pay homage to the iconic dessert: a chocolate custard base studded with crushed graham cracker pieces and toasted coconut flakes, a vanilla custard centre and a dark chocolate drizzle.

Nanaimo Bar Popsicles

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 12 hours (includes freezing)
Servings: 6-8 bars (depending on size of popsicle mold)

Ingredients: 

Vanilla Custard Layer
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp vanilla

Chocolate Layer
1/3 cup (50 g) dark chocolate, chopped
Crushed graham crackers
Toasted coconut flakes

Chocolate Drizzle
1/3 cup (50g) dark chocolate, chopped
1 Tbsp coconut oil

Directions: 

1. Combine milk, cream and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes until it reaches a gentle simmer. Remove saucepan from heat.
2. Whisk egg yolks, cornstarch and vanilla in a heatproof bowl until well combined.
3. Slowly stream in the hot milk mixture over egg yolk mixture while whisking constantly.
4. Return mixture to saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 6-8 minutes or until custard thickens and coats the back of a metal spoon.
5. Once custard has thickened, transfer the custard into two separate bowls to cool, with 1/3 of the custard in one bowl and 2/3 of the custard in the other (we will be reserving the smaller portion for the chocolate layer).

6. While custard is cooling, place chopped dark chocolate for the chocolate layer over a double boiler. Once chocolate has melted, using a rubber spatula, fold the melted dark chocolate into the reserved smaller portion of the custard.
7. Allow custard to cool before transferring to popsicle molds. Place a piece of saran wrap directly on the custard to prevent a ‘skin’ from forming on top of the custard.

8. Once custard has cooled, transfer custard into popsicle molds. The vanilla custard layer goes in the mold first, taking up the majority of the mold. A thinner layer of chocolate custard goes on top of the vanilla layer.
9. Insert the popsicle sticks, cover and freeze overnight.

10. When popsicles are ready to be served, melt the remainder of the dark chocolate and add coconut oil to create the chocolate drizzle.
11. Drizzle unmolded popsicles with chocolate and sprinkle with crushed graham cracker and toasted coconut flakes. Serve immediately.

Can’t get enough of this Canadian sweet treat? We have 10 more tasty Nanaimo bar recipes that are calling your name, plus 50 red and white desserts to celebrate Canada Day.

One-Pot Campfire Mac & Cheese is the Ultimate Camping Comfort Food

Mac and cheese is one of the easiest recipes to prepare, which is why it’s perfect to make on a camping trip. Perfectly al dente noodles, surrounded in creamy cheese it’s hard to improve on perfection. But the smoky, woodsy flavour from a roaring campfire takes the classic comfort food to a whole new level. This is a meal that feeds a crowd, is simple, fast and best of all, only requires the use of one pot!

Easy Campfire Mac and Cheese Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2-3

Ingredients:

2½ cups whole milk
1 cup water
2 cups macaroni noodles
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2½ cups grated cheddar cheese
½ tsp dry mustard powder
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Get your fire going or turn your grill to medium-high heat.
2. Pour milk and water into a medium pot and bring to a boil, then add the macaroni noodles and stir. Cook the noodles, stirring often, until tender, about 7 to 10 minutes.
3. Take the pot off the fire or grill and immediately stir in butter, grated cheese, mustard powder, salt and pepper. Mix well so the noodles are cheesy, gooey and delicious. Serve hot.

Looking for more camping ideas? Try our Brilliant Camping Food Hacks.

campfire-pizza

How to Make Easy Campfire Pizza in a Cast Iron Skillet

Cooking pizza over a fire adds such incredible flavour, you won’t want to make pizza in a conventional oven again. Our homemade dough is simple and fast, so there’s no “knead” to feel intimidated while quickly whipping it up near the campfire. Pizza will become your new camping staple, especially when you’re with a crowd because everyone can customize a crust with their favourite toppings. Keep it simple or go big with lots of veggies and meats – either way, this campfire pizza is a welcome addition to your backyard fire pit or camping trip.

Easy Campfire Pizza Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Pizza Dough
1 pkg rapid rise instant yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for pan
2½ cups spelt flour or whole wheat flour, plus more for kneading and shaping

Toppings and Assembly
⅓ cup prepared tomato sauce
1 ball buffalo (fresh) mozzarella, sliced into thin circles or 1½ cups shredded mozzarella
¼ red onion, sliced into thin circles
¼ cup black olives, pitted and sliced
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped 

Directions:

Pizza Dough
1. In a large bowl, mix the yeast in warm water and stir for 1 minute, until dissolved. Add the olive oil and flour and mix until a ball of dough comes together. Using your hands, knead the dough until a smooth ball forms. Add more flour to the bowl if the dough is too sticky.
2. Cover the bowl with a towel and let sit, preferably in a warm place, for 15 minutes.
3. Divide the dough in half and make two balls. Set one ball aside in the bowl.

Toppings and Assembly
1. Get your fire going or heat a grill to high.
2. Coat the bottom of a cast iron skillet with additional olive oil and spread 1 of the balls of dough out on the pan. Use your fingers to push the dough to the edge of the skillet and cover the bottom evenly.
3. Cook the dough on the fire for 3 to 5 minutes, until the dough forms a firm crust.
4. Remove the pan from the heat using a heatproof glove, and carefully flip the crust over.
5. Add half of all of the toppings, except basil, on the pizza and place the pan back on the fire. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. If you have lots of toppings, cover the pizza with aluminium foil to help them cook.
6. Once the first pizza is ready, take it off the pan and repeat these steps with the second half of the dough and remaining toppings. Sprinkle basil over top, slice and serve.

Planning a camping trip? Try these Brilliant Camping Food Hacks.

campfire-nachoes-with-cheese

These Campfire Nachos Are the Ultimate Camping Snack

This crowd-pleasing appetizer shouldn’t be reserved exclusively for game day, it also makes a fabulous summertime camping recipe, whether you’re in the backyard or deep in the woods. This is a one-pot wonder recipe where all ingredients are cooked together in a single dish, which then doubles as the serving platter, making for ultra-easy cleanup. If your campfire is in the backyard, we recommend using a cast iron skillet, but if you’re really roughing it, a disposable aluminium pan will do the trick.

Campfire Nachos Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2-3

Ingredients:

Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
1 cup tomatoes, diced
½ bag tortilla chips
1 (14 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 green onions, sliced
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
½ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
½ lime, for serving

Directions:

1. Make your fire or heat your grill or burner to medium-high, and place on your cast iron or aluminium pan. Add a splash of olive oil when the pan is hot.
2. Evenly distribute ½ cup of the diced tomatoes into the pan, followed by ½ of the tortilla chips, ½ cup of the black beans, ½ cup of the grated cheese, ¼ cup of the diced tomatoes and ¼ of the sliced green onions on top.
3. Repeat all layers again until remaining ingredients have been used, except for the avocado, cilantro and lime.
4. Cover the pan with aluminium foil and let cook for 10 minutes, or until the cheese melts.
5. Remove from heat, uncover, top with diced avocado, fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

Planning a camping trip? Try these Brilliant Camping Food Hacks.

10 Perfect Red and White Drinks for Canada Day

If you plan on throwing the ultimate Canada Day bash, you might be stumped as to what to serve when it comes to drinks. With the exception of domestic beer, it can be difficult to think of “Canadian” drink recipes — besides the Caesar of course. Spice up your drink menu by incorporating these red and white cocktails your guests are sure to love.

strawberry-sour

1. Strawberry Sour

Start your Canada Day bash right with this gorgeous red and white cocktail from Chef David Hawksworth. Nothing says summer like strawberries!

cranberry-kir-royale

2. Cranberry Kir Royale

Tyler Florence combines frozen cranberries, orange juice and Champagne for the ultimate summer drink. Bring

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3. Shuggie

Why is this drink called a Shuggie? Your guess is as good as ours, but we’re certain you and your guests will love this rum-based cocktail infused with rhubarb, ginger, lime and Thai basil flavours.

citrus-berry-spritz

4. Citrus Berry Spritz

This sweet fizzy drink from Giada De Laurentiis is filled with berry ice cubes and a hint of mint for freshness.

WATERMELON-­STRAWBERRY SANGRIA, Bobby Flay, Barbecue Addiction: Bobby’sBasics/Bobby’s Basics: Simply Skewers, Food Network, Watermelon, Strawberries, RoseWine, Vodka, Orange Juice, Orange Liqueur, Orange, Lime

5. Watermelon Strawberry Sangria

Bobby Flay’s sweet, citrus-infused summer drink is ideal for a party or get-together with friends.

lava-flow-mocktail

6. Lava Flow Mocktail

What’s more Canadian than the combination of red and white? These sweet dessert-worthy drinks start with a base of raspberry purée, then a milky topping, a generous amount of whipped cream and finished with sugared frozen raspberries on top. Don’t forget to rim the glasses with red-coloured sugar!

rum-punch

7. Rum Punch

Try this refreshing booze-infused punch filled with tropical flavours and Jamaican white rum from Bobby Flay.

Cranberry-Mojito

8. Cranberry Mojito

To keep with the red and white theme, don’t forget to serve this fizzy bevvy with floating cranberries and fresh, muddled mint leaves.

watermelon-martinis

9. Watermelon Martinis

Sure to quench your summertime thirst, Bobby’s fruity martini is loaded with tons of fresh watermelon and melon liquor for the utmost melon flavour.

Classic Canadian Caesar
10. Classic Canadian Caesar

The ultimate Canadian drink — thanks to our nation’s love of Clamato juice. This classic drink is a must-have for any Canada Day celebration. This version adds fresh sage and lime for a fresh new twist.

Looking for more recipes for your party? Try these Great Canadian Desserts.

French-Toast-Bake

How to Master Cottage Meal Planning Like a Pro

When it comes to the dog days of summer, all we want is a little R&R at the cottage. And, of course, we want to eat well while we’re there, but who has time to slave over a hot stove when that gorgeous lakeside dock and campfire are calling? Take the hassle out of hustling to the cabin with these easy ideas for cottage meal planning that will have you relaxing and enjoying delicious dishes, from morning to night, in no time at all.

Map Out Your Staples

Some people are all about breakfasts and brunch, while others like to nibble in the morning and then enjoy a heartier lunch. Figure out your group’s style of eating and plan around that. Maybe it’s easier to let everyone fend for themselves with some toast or cereal at breakfast, and then throw some burgers on the grill at lunch. Or if your group is a big mid-morning brunch type, plan some easy but delicious brunches that don’t require a lot of heavy lifting, like this Italian Sausage and Egg Bake, or this Blueberries and Cream French Toast Bake that only takes 10 minutes to assemble and you can do it the night before.

Figure Out Your Star Recipes

Once you’ve got your staples out of the way, then it’s time to focus on a few cottage-worthy recipes that make you salivate. Not every meal has to be a big affair, but if you can find a couple of star courses to spatter into your overall menu, you’ll definitely feel like you’re eating like royalty. Just don’t confuse slaving over a hot stove with a great meal; when looking for your star recipes, go with elevated classics that are simple to prepare, like Giada’s herb-infused Pasta Primavera, or opt for a drool-worthy, no-cook salad like the Ina Garten’s Arugula with Prosciutto and Burrata salad.

Make Friends with Make-Ahead Meals

After a breezy morning on the lake or a lazy afternoon spent dockside, what’s better than heading inside and pulling out a meal that’s already prepared? Try to plan for a few of these delicious timesaver options, especially for a quick lunch or snack. Whip up some of this one-pot Broccoli with Bow Ties and Peas or Giada’s Orzo Salad to keep in the fridge for when your hunger strikes. For dessert, it doesn’t get much cozier than this Make-Ahead Apple Crisp

Use Up Freezer Meals

We’re always looking for easy weeknight dinners at home, which means we like to prep lots of delicious freezer meals in advance. If that sounds like you, why not just bring one or two of those freezer meals up with you to the cottage? If you have a short drive, you can just pop them in the freezer when you get there, or if it’s a long haul the meal could make an easy opening-night entrée to enjoy after you’re done unpacking. No freezer meals on hand? Consider making some in advance – that way, your freezer will be stocked for when you get home too, making this one a double win!

Bring Your Slow Cooker or Instant Pot

At home, you love programming your Instant Pot or slow cooker so that you just throw a bunch of ingredients together in the morning, and then by dinner you have an awesome meal. So, what’s to stop you from doing that at the cottage? There are myriad ideas for great cottage-friendly slow cooker recipes, recipes that will have you eating well with very little actual cooking at all.

Befriend the BBQ

Who wants to spend time at the stove when you can hang out by the grill with a cold drink in your hand and good company? Barbecued meals are the essence of cottage living! Burgers and sausages are always easy options, but there’s a whole world of grilling recipes out there that take your meal to the next level, most of which are quick to whip up.

Stick to the Basics

If you’re a foodie, odds are you love tinkering around in the kitchen. But, you probably also stress over creating the perfect dish. Some of the best dishes around feature simple ingredients with bold flavours, which is the perfect mandate for cottage living. If it sounds like an easy weeknight dinner you’d try at home, odds are it’s perfect cottage fare too. For something elegant yet simple, this Garlicky Grilled Chicken, Portobello and Radicchio Salad from Tyler Florence boasts that leftovers make great sandwiches for lunch tomorrow, too.

Stock Up on Snacks

One of our favourite things about the cottage is sitting back and enjoying tons of food! That means snacks, snacks and more snacks. And while we love reaching for a bag of chips or digging into an array of pre-cut veggies, don’t underestimate the power of a delicious but simple dip. This Honey Yogurt Dip is always a winner. Or, if you want something with a little more oomph, try Michael Smith’s Avocado Corn Guacamole. Feeling something a little sweeter? Whip up some Power Squares or some (healthy!) No-Bake Chocolate Crunch Brownies if you need a boost before climbing in the canoe, or stir up this addictive, easy, Canadiana-inspired Saltine Cracker Toffee with a Butter Tart Twist.

watermelon-strawberry-sangria

Don’t Forget the Drinks

If you’re eating well, you might as well be drinking well. When it comes to staples, you’re going to want to bring water, wine, beer and juice. But why not add some cottage-inspired beverages for a treat? We’re fans of Bobby Flay’s Watermelon-Strawberry Sangria and this thirst-quenching pitcher of Spiced Maple Iced Tea.

Make a Grocery List

Once you’ve decided on all of the great food you’re going to nosh on during your cottage week or weekend away, then it’s time to put together a grocery list. No one wants to have to make a trip to town when you run out of an ingredient, especially not when there’s a beautiful lake waiting for you.

Co-ordinate Meal Planning with Guests

Want to make meal planning even simpler? Get everyone involved. If you’re heading to the cottage with friends or other families, split up that grocery list or have certain people in charge of different meals – just make sure someone is on duty to make these Peanut S’mores Magic Bars. Sharing is caring, especially when it comes to everyone enjoying some time away together with good views and good food.

So what are you waiting for? Get planning already! Here are 40 cottage-friendly make-ahead dishes to get you going. 

The Ultimate Guide To Campfire Cooking

When we were very young, my sister and I used to canoe camp on our own in the wilderness of the Yukon Territory. From an early age, I learned the ins and outs of campfire cooking and that knowledge is just as applicable today when I’m prepping dinner for my family of five.

Now that I’m older, I still think that the best part of a camping trip is the food, and that cooking over an open fire makes it taste that much better. Camp cooking doesn’t have to be complicated, especially if you’ve put some time into the preparation.

Campfire Cooking

Below are a handful of tips for successful campfire cooking, along with an equipment list that brings your home kitchen to the great outdoors. Just remember to add a measure of patience and a good dose of humour, because things don’t always go according to plan when you’re out in the woods!

Campfire Cooking dutch oven

Campfire Cooking Basics 
Safety First
Always make the area safe by ensuring that there are no branches overhead or dried leaves too close to where you are building the fire. Start your fire with small tinder such as twigs or dried moss and build up to larger logs. If you can, always use dry wood, not green or wet wood.

Keep Heatproof Tools On Hand
Keep a sturdy pair of tongs on hand for cooking, as well as a thick dry kitchen towel or an oven mitt.

Adjust The Temperature
Once the wood has been burning for at least 10 minutes, create the equivalent of high, medium and low heat settings in your fire pit. To do this, use a sturdy stick to maneuver some of the burning wood into a higher level at the back of the fire pit while keeping a bed of coals at the front.

Mise En Place
As much as possible, prep your food in advance of starting the fire, because once your fire hits a sweet spot with both glowing coals and low flames, you’ll want to get cooking right away.

Campfire cooking, sliders beside the campfire

What To Bring: Campfire Cooking Equipment 

Dutch Oven
Packing this one-pot wonder on a camping trip means you have the option to stew, boil, fry or simmer your food. Heap hot coals all around and on top of the Dutch oven to create an oven-like heat. You’re then ready to bake up anything from deep-dish pizza to fruit crisps and cobblers.

Cast Iron Skillet
From bannock to bacon, this handy pan ensures even heat and perfect colouration, every time. Be sure to get the pan smoking-hot before cooking or foods can stick.

Tin Foil
Everyone loves a foil-packaged meal because all the delicious juices are sealed in. To avoid keeping those juices intact, use a rubber-tipped cooking tongs to move and maneuver my foil food packages. This way, the delicious juices stay contained and there’s no soot in my dinner!

Multi-Pronged Stick
Whether you’re sharpening your own green stick or packed a metal one, always choose two or three prongs instead of just one. You’re a lot less likely to accidentally drop your dinner into the fire this way.

Grate Grill
For quick cooking, it’s hard to beat slapping food on a grate grill over an open flame. Choose foods that are improved by a little char on the exterior such as whole fish, whole sweet potatoes or thick steaks.

Campfire Cooking, building a fire

Respect The Woods
Finally, be a conscientious camp cook. You can burn some garbage, such as paper plates, used napkins and food scraps, but never toss in used Styrofoam, plastic or tin foil as these produce highly toxic fumes. And always be sure to douse your fire with water when the last s’more has been consumed.

Happy Camping!

Now that you’ve mastered campfire cooking 101, watch how to cook pretty much anything over the open flames.

Butter-Tart-Beauty-feature

Anna Olson’s Butter Tarts Are the Ultimate Canada Day Treat

Can’t decide on which classic Canadian dish to serve for the nation’s 150th birthday? Look no further, because now you can make Anna Olson’s famous butter tarts for your Canada Day festivities!

anna olson butter tarts canada day

It’s no stretch to say that Anna Olson is a butter tart expert. Even when travelling around the world, the Bake with Anna Olson star is often asked to demonstrate how to make these quintessential Canadian treats. So when teaming up with Kin Community creator Beth Le Manach of Entertaining with Beth for a festive summer collaboration, Anna knew exactly what would be on the menu.

To celebrate this momentous Canada Day, Anna’s sharing her “true Canadian, classic sweet treat”! In this scrumptious video from Anna Olson’s YouTube channel, Oh Yum, you’ll learn the secret to making her irresistibly sweet and flaky butter tarts, just in time for the long weekend!

Can’t wait to get baking?  Get into that kitchen and start whipping up a batch of these Canadian treasures.  Find the recipe to her delicious Canada Day Butter Tarts below.

Anna Olson’s Pecan Butter Tarts

Butter tarts are a Canadian classic sweet treat. While this recipe uses pecans, feel free to use other additions in place of the pecans such as raisins, walnut pieces, chocolate chips or simply leave the butter tarts plain.

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Bake Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 12 butter tarts

Ingredients:

Pastry:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup cool unsalted butter, cut into pieces (does not have to be ice cold)
1/4 cup cool water
2 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice

Filling:
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins, pecans or walnut pieces

Directions:

1. Combine the flour, sugar and salt together. Add the oil and blend in using a pastry cutter, electric beaters or a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until the flour looks evenly crumbly in texture.
2. Add the butter and cut in until rough and crumbly but small pieces of butter are still visible. Stir the water and vinegar (or lemon juice, if using) together and add all at once to the flour mixture, mixing just until the dough comes together. Shape the dough into 2 logs, wrap and chill until firm, at least an hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 200°C and lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin. Pull the chilled dough from the fridge 20 minutes before rolling.
4. Cut each of the logs of chilled pie dough into 6 pieces. Roll each piece out on a lightly floured work surface to about 5 mm thick and use a 12 cm round cookie cutter to cut each into a circle. Line each muffin cup with the pastry so that it comes about 1 cm higher than the muffin tin, and chill the lined tin while preparing the filling.
5. Whisk sugar, maple syrup and butter in a bowl by hand until combined. Whisk in eggs, then vinegar and vanilla. Sprinkle a few raisins, pecans or walnut pieces into each cup and then pour the filling into the shells and bake the tarts for 5 minutes, then reduce oven to 375°F and continue baking until butter tart filling starts to dome, about 20 more minutes. Cool tarts in the tin, and chill the tarts in the tin before removing.

Looking for more yummy treats? Learn the sticky-sweet History of Butter Tarts.

Simple One-Pot Campfire Power Breakfast

The amount of energy we burn while camping with kids requires breakfasts of epic proportions. It’s essential to start the day with plenty of protein, nutritious veggies and big flavours, all accompanied by tons of coffee, of course.

Finished breakfast -1

Made in a Dutch oven, this one-pot power breakfast is super easy to cook, with no chopping required. It does take some time to cook, however, so make sure you have a pot of coffee brewing and a good book on hand while you wait by the fire. Whether you’re fueling up for a hike, wrangling children or just tossing a Frisbee on the beach, this hearty breakfast will keep you full well into the morning.

Note that cooking times will vary as not all campfires are created equal. Just try for an even medium heat and it will turn out just fine.

Ingredients-1

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 organic pork sausages, raised without antibiotics (about 1 lb)
1 green pepper, seeded and quartered
4 green onions, trimmed to fit pot
10 large eggs
Fresh mild herbs, such as parsley or basil
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
5 oz baby spinach
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
A handful of fresh cherry tomatoes
Tabasco, for serving

sausages Step 1-1

Directions:
1. Heat a cast-iron Dutch oven over the camp stove or campfire, then add olive oil and 1 tsp of butter. Add the sausages, green peppers and green onions to the pot. Cook everything together, turning occasionally, until it gets plenty of colouring (a little char means a more flavourful dish).
2. Remove the onion after a few minutes and reserve. Continue cooking the sausage and peppers for a total of about 15 minutes. Remove everything from the pot and keep warm in tin foil.
3. Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat gently with a fork just to break the yolks. Tear up the herbs and add to the eggs; season with salt and pepper. Melt 2 tsp of butter in the pot and add the spinach. Stir until the greens are cooked down, then transfer to paper towel and blot dry.
4. Add the remainder of the butter to the pot and swirl to coat the bottom. Pour in half the eggs; then arrange spinach over the egg. Sprinkle 3/4 of the cheese over the spinach. Pour over the remainder of the egg.

everything in. Step 3-1
5. Return the sausage, green pepper and green onions to the pot, arranging them in a single layer. Sprinkle the cherry tomatoes and the remaining cheese over the top. Add a few herbs if you have any leftover.

Cooking. Step 4-1
6. Cover the pot and place over low heat (low coals, rather than full flame). Carefully, with a pair of sturdy tongs, pile a few embers on the lid. Cook, covered, for about 30 minutes or until the egg is nearly cooked through. Time will vary with campfire heat, so just keep checking under the lid to see how the eggs are cooking.
7. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for about 10 minutes. The eggs will continue cooking during this resting period.
8. Serve hot with hot sauce on the side.

Campfire power breakfast final-1

Looking for more long weekend breakfast ideas? Watch this Lumberjack Breakfast recipe video and check out our 24 Easy Breakfast Casserole Recipes.

Cider Can Chicken is the New (and Better) Beer Can Chicken

We’re all familiar with the classic beer can chicken recipe. We’re taking this fantastic summer staple to the next level by swapping out beer and replacing it with a dry Canadian cider. The result is a juicy chicken with notes of sweet apples. In case that isn’t enough, we finish the recipe by taking all those delicious chicken drippings and making a sweet and savory cider-based gravy that’s so good, you’ll earn the must-deserved title of grill master.

Cider Can Chicken

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1 4lb whole chicken
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 473 mL can of dry cider
2 sprigs rosemary
1 Tbsp grainy Dijon mustard

Cider Can Chicken

Directions:
1. Remove neck and giblets from chicken. Rub entire chicken with olive oil and season with salt.
2. Pour out 1/3 of the cider (or drink it) and place the can into the cavity of the chicken. Arrange the chicken so it balances on top of the can.
3. Place a cast iron pan over indirect heat on a grill preheated to medium-high. Place the can with chicken in the centre of the pan.
4. Place rosemary sprigs in the cast iron pan. Close the lid of the grill and let cook until juices run clear from thigh and chicken is golden brown, about 1 hour.
5. Remove chicken and can from pan and let rest. Move the cast iron pan over direct heat. Let liquid reduce by half, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, remove rosemary and stir in mustard until combined. Remove can from the chicken, carve chicken and serve with gravy.

Cider Can Chicken

 

Want more delicious beer recipes? Watch this video for 5 Things to Make with Beer

 

Chef Michael Smith on How to Throw a Labour Day BBQ

Food Network star Michael Smith is one of Canada’s best-known chefs — and also a barbecue fiend. The Chopped Canada judge recently launched Fireworks, a restaurant celebrating everything barbecue, and is Prince Edward Island’s hottest new eatery.

“We have every live fire cooking method known to man,” he says. “We have a smokehouse, a hearth, and a wood-oven. It allows us to do different techniques, and every single one using live fire and coals.”

If you can’t make it to Prince Edward Island to enjoy the fine barbecue at Fireworks before the end of summer, don’t worry. Chef Michael shares his top tips for throwing an amazing Labour Day barbecue at home. Before you get grilling, read this!

888_michael-smith-labour-day-party

 

Start with the right equipment.

It may seem old-fashioned, but Chef Michael swears by the power of cast-iron cookware for grilling.

“Cast-iron is a revelation to us,” says Chef Michael. “It radiates heat so evenly; things just don’t burn in it! We cook with cast-iron every single thing we do. Dutch ovens, skillets, planchas. That’s one big take-away: consider using cast-iron.”

Cook with live fire (if you can).

Whether you’re a first timer or a barbecue master, Chef Michael encourages those with backyard space to use “real wood fire” for grilling.

“Have one fire that’s generating your coals,” says Chef Michael. “Then sweep the coals over to the other side of the hearth — that’s where you do your cooking.”

The type of wood matters too; always use dried-out hardwood over softwood, which tends to leave an oily film on food, spoiling the flavour. “Hardwood burns hotter, slower, and tastes better,” says Chef Michael.

Maple Planked Salmon

Don’t cook over a flame.

When grilling, avoid direct contact between flame and food. Instead, let the flame die down to a hearty, thick bed of coals, no matter what fuel source you’re using. “We don’t cook over flame,” says Chef Michael. “Flame scorches food, and leads to black.”

Dress to impress (your meats, that is).

Add a gorgeous aroma by smoking meats with fruit wood chips like apple, available at most hardware stores.

“These are the caviar of wood,” says Chef Michael. “The wood has a distinctive flavour, tasting fruity. Reserve this special aromatic wood if you’re smoking food.”

It’s easy; just let the fire burn down to embers, and then top dress with fruit wood at the last minute. Or for a flavour-packed punch, consider brining your meats.

“If you’re really looking to amp up your barbecue game, brine,” says Chef Michael. “Chicken and pork in particular really benefit.”

It’s all in the technique.

To master the art of barbecuing, follow Chef Michael’s essential grilling tips:

  • Pre-heat your grills: “It’s probably the biggest tip of all. Food will not stick to hot metal. It sticks to cold metal.”
  • Sauce at the end: “Never, ever put barbecue sauces on your food before you grill it! Many sauces are packed with sugar, and immediately burn. Brush your sauces on towards the end of the cooking process.”
  • Be patient: “Often, we rush the process and miss the opportunity to fully cook the meat. If there’s a little tugging or sticking, that’s the meat saying, ‘I’m not ready to flip yet!’ Take your time — it’s very much in your favour.”
  • Understand the process: “The whole point of searing meat is to build flavour. Searing meat encourages juices to come out of the meat. If you’re rushing and not pre-heating, then you’re not adding flavour.”

Grilled Pineapple Salad

Have fun with the menu.

Lots of foods are grill-able, and consider broadening the barbey beyond burgers and hot dogs. Chef Michael suggests smoking freshly-shucked oysters on the grill for 2-3 minutes, top dressed with fruit wood. Or make a Grilled Pineapple Salad, Chef Michael’s “all-time favourite.” For drinks, seared lemon or lime make great garnishes, or whip up a pitcher of grilled lemonade. Best of all, barbecued fruits work beautifully as a fiery dessert.

“Use the grilled fruit component as a simple dessert,” says Chef Michael. “Big thick rings of grilled pineapple served with some kind of funky ice cream. I like to grind up fresh cilantro and sugar in a food processor, and then sprinkle it onto grilled pineapple — delicious stuff!”

Chill out.

Last but not least, invite plenty of friends and family, and “don’t worry so much about the food.”

“It’s really about who’s at the table, not what’s on the table,” says Chef Michael.

All this talk of food got you hungry? Check out Michael Smith’s Best Seafood Recipes.

How Chopped Canada Stars will Celebrate Canada Day

Believe it or not, this year Canada is turning 149 years old —but it doesn’t look a day over 100. To celebrate, the stars of Chopped Canada are eager to rejoice in our great nation with cottages, cocktails, and, of course, food.

Lynn Crawford’s Weekend Getaway
“My cottage in the Kawarthas is my little piece of heaven. I’ll be there with my friends and family. We have a pizza oven that always gets fired up. We always make sure there’s dessert pizza, too, with marshmallows, caramel sauce, raspberries and strawberries. Summer fun!”

Eden Grinshpan Keeps it Classic
“I live in New York right now, so I will probably have a couple Ceasars and some poutine to celebrate with my husband.”

Make this classic Canadian drink absolutely amazing with these super patriotic garnish ideas.

Roger Mooking’s House Party
“It’s both my father-in-law and daughter’s birthday that weekend so we’ll be having a party at my house this year.  There may be fireworks, but, shhh, don’t tell anyone!”

Michael Smith’s Berry Canadian Cake
“Canada Day on Prince Edward Island often coincides with the start of our strawberry season so we like to celebrate with Strawberry Shortcake, then as many fireworks as I can round up.”

Strawberry Rhubarb ShortcakeGet Michael Smith’s recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcake.

Massimo Capra Craves International Foods
“Here in Canada, we have incredible diversity in food and people, so we can celebrate with just about anything. The beauty of this country is that we love food from all over the world. We can go back to the old English days and cook up some bangers and mash! But right now I’m craving some beautiful curry.”

Get the recipe for Curry Tofu Chutney Salad. Perfect for summer!

Brad Smith Keeps it Low Key
“This is the first summer I’ll have to myself. Every other summer since I was 21 I’ve had to work, so I’ll go to a buddy’s cottage, relax and enjoy what Canada has to offer.”

John Higgins’ Great BBQ
“Scotland is my birthplace but Canada is definitely my home. My wife has a family of 14 siblings and there’s always people coming over. We do something simple [on the barbecue] like peameal bacon. It has to have spicy honey mustard sauce and a great coleslaw.”


Get the recipe for Maple Bourbon Peameal Bacon Sliders.

Anne Yarymowich and the Great Outdoors
“Always start the day with a Caesar and then have fun with it. Find something local, something that is grown and raised within a 10 km radius of where you live and throw that on the barbecue. We have such a short summer season and Canada Day is at the height of it, so being outside is essential.”

How to Throw a Canada Day Party for Under $50

The birthday of our home and native land is just around the corner, so we’ve got the perfect excuse to plan a stellar red-and-white-themed bash. But you’ll quickly find that a simple celebration can cost a lot more than you’re willing to spend. That’s okay! You can still throw a quaint Canada Day shindig without having to give up on all your patriotic party hopes and dreams.

From simple and reusable décor to snacks that’ll satisfy any true Canadian’s taste buds, learn how to throw a Canada Day party for your friends and family, all for under $50.

Canada Day Party

To begin, gather a few home décor pieces and party supplies you already own. This can include anything from a reusable banner, snack labels (along with a chalk pen), twine for the sandwiches, platters and a crate for the display, and some form of tea lights.

Décor Expenses:
Chip cups: $2
Poutine containers: $2
Napkins: $1
Flowers: $7
Sparklers: $1
Total: $13

For the food, it’s only appropriate to serve every cliché, most-loved food Canada has to offer. This includes BLTs, poutine, ketchup chips, butter tarts and maple doughnuts.

Food Expenses:
Bread, Canadian bacon, lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise for BLTs: $14
Smoke’s traditional poutine: $10
Ketchup chips: $3
Maple doughnuts: $5
Butter tarts: $4
Total: $36

Total Cost: $49

Maple Doughnuts

For the focal point on the table, stack maple doughnuts on a cake stand, sitting on top of a crate. I figured they’re maple, they’re doughnuts — surely they deserve the utmost attention at a Canadian affair, right? If you’re looking to make doughnuts from scratch, try this recipe for Anna Olson’s Maple Glazed Doughnuts.

Canadian BLTs

Make mini versions of our country’s favourite sandwich, the BLT, and line them up on a long platter. Want to opt for a heartier sandwich? Try this Fried Chicken BLT Melt recipe.

Canadian BLTs

Use twine to tie red and white striped napkins around the sandwiches for an al fresco feel.

Smoke's Poutine

And what Canada Day celebration would be complete without our country’s signature food, poutine? Use takeout-inspired boxes to display five mini servings of these gravy-doused, cheese-topped French fries. But if you want to add a little more flair to your poutine, try making your own version of Smoke’s Nacho Grande Poutine.

Butter Tarts

For a dessert that has “Made in Canada” written all over it, butter tarts are the way to go. Made with eggs, sugar, raisins, and of course, butter, this quintessential dessert features a buttery, flaky crust and super-sweet filling. How could we Canucks resist? If you have a little extra time on your hands, try this recipe for Anna Olson’s Pecan Butter Tarts.

Ketchup Chips

Chances are you won’t be able to find ketchup chips outside of the country, so it’s quite necessary to serve Canada’s “exclusive” snack at your little shindig. Set out portions of ketchup chips in red and white striped, easy-to-grab cups.

Canada Day Food Table

Accent the table with some mercury tea lights as vases to hold daisies.

Doughnuts and Sparklers

And of course, to continue with tradition, sparklers can be added for the finishing touch to the celebration.

How to Pack a Cooler Like a Pro

People who claim that travelling is more about the journey than the destination have one thing in common: they’re not hangry. Enjoy your travels with fewer stops using these tips for packing the perfect road trip cooler — the one that helps you stave off snack attacks so you can enjoy a delicious trip.

Watermelon Lemonade

Tip: Freeze water bottles and juice boxes for drinks that double as ice packs.

Once the frozen drinks thaw a little, you’ll have refreshing treats worth their weight in cooling energy. For maximum savings and nutrition, pack reusable water bottles with your favourite smoothie recipe and freeze it the night before your trip.

Whether you pack store-bought drinks or make your own lemonade, juice or smoothies, be sure to leave a few unfrozen — ideally grouped to one side of the cooler — so your car crew can hydrate whenever they need.

Frozen treats can work as snacks, too. Toss your favourite frozen fruits into a container full of yogurt for a quick and refreshing dairy treat that will keep all day in the cooler.

Get the recipe for Watermelon Lemonade.

cooler

Tip: Pack frozen drinks and heavy freezer packs on the bottom, and toss a few light frozen gel packs on the top.

Pack your cooler like this: heavy stuff on the bottom, sturdily packaged items like jars and plastic containers in the middle, and anything that shouldn’t be squished or bruised (bread, sandwiches, fruits and veggies) on top. Toss a few light gel packs on top of it all, and maintain the cooler’s temperature by opening it as little as possible.

Foods that bruise easily fare best at the top, but more importantly, you’ll have the healthiest option at first reach whenever you search the cooler for a quick snack.

888_stacked-salad-nicoise

 Tip: Jarred salads are perfectly portable and make delicious travel meals.

You’ll likely want to pull over to enjoy your salads safely, but layered mason jar salads rival the flavours at any roadside fast food chain or gas station diner. Whatever you put in your jars, pack the dressing first, then add in order of weight, with the heaviest ingredients at the bottom: pasta or grains first, then proteins, then chopped veggies and lettuces or sprouts. Shake to mix when you’re ready to eat.

Get the recipe for Stacked Salad Niçoise.

anna-olson-granola-bars

Tip: Keep your cooler within reach during the drive.

As long as you’ve got a passenger capable of reaching in to dole out treats, you can fend off hanger without having to stop. If you’ve got little ones in the back with the cooler, and don’t trust them to keep it closed, consider putting them in charge of a secondary bag filled with non-perishables treats like granola bars, crackers, energy balls and sturdier, whole fruits like bananas and apples.

Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Granola Bars.

Tip: Don’t forget utensils and napkins. 

Hand sanitizer, wet wipes or a wet washcloth packed in a plastic baggie will ensure clean hands before and after meals. Keep these items in or near the cooler and store utensils in a separate bag. If you’re including a knife or scissors in your kit, wrap them in a tea towel and secure with elastic bands to prevent unwanted pokings.

Looking for car snack ideas? Try one of our 18 Best Foods to Pack for a Road Trip.

S’Mores Bark for the Long Weekend

Oh, May long weekend…the unofficial start of summer. The first gloriously warm long weekend of the year, spent at a cottage enjoying morning hikes, afternoon tanning on the dock, and evening huddles around the campfire.

As lovely as that sounds, it’s not the case for most of us, and we’ll be settling for a little stay-cation in our own ‘hood.

But don’t give up on your lakeside fantasies just yet, because we’ve got a recipe for everyone’s campfire favourite that will totally make your long weekend — we’re talking about s’mores. Well, s’mores bark, to be exact. Think graham crackers, melted milk chocolate, and soft, roasted marshmallows all in one delectable bite.

888_smores-bark-main

With only four ingredients required (and no bonfire needed), you’ll be able to whip up this new take on everyone’s ultimate fireside treat — in under 15 minutes and for under $12!

smores1

Ingredients:
12 graham crackers (broken into quarters)
1 bag milk chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows
¼ cup Skor bits

smores2

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to broil on high, line baking sheet with parchment paper, and lay graham crackers on baking sheet.
2. Pour about 1/3 of chocolate chips into a bowl, and microwave for about 60 seconds. Mix chocolate until smooth and lump free.

chocolate smores

3. Working in sections, pour the chocolate sparingly on top of the graham crackers, and carefully spread it out with a spatula. Repeat steps 2-3 to finish off the bag of chocolate chips, and evenly cover all graham crackers with a layer of chocolate.

smores4

4. Sprinkle the marshmallows on top of the chocolate. Try to keep them within the cracker lines, so it’s easy to separate the pieces at the end.

smores5

5. Place in oven on a rack that is on the third notch from the top. Roast the marshmallows until golden, about 30-60 seconds.

smores6

6. When chocolate is still hot, sprinkle Skor bits sparingly on top.

smoress7

7. Refrigerate until hard, about an hour. Break into pieces and serve.

Playful Poutine Recipes

No other food screams ‘Canadian’ like a plate of steaming hot, delicious poutine, but this Canada Day, switch up your go-to dish with these creative and yummy alternatives. Whether you want to treat your party guests to some gourmet snacking, or you’re looking to get wild by throwing some unexpected ingredients into the mix, these recipes are a perfect way to experiment with the classic Canadian dish.

 

Poutine Baked Potatoes

Who says poutine has to be made with french fries? Instead, the next time you bake potatoes, top them with poutine gravy and cheese curds. Not only is this a smart alternative to french fries, but it’s sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike.

poutine-sweet potato

Sweet Potato Poutine

Feeling a bit guilty about indulging in poutine? Switch it up and use sweet potato fries instead. The result is just as delicious and your waistline will appreciate the change. Plus it’s full of the good stuff like dietary fibre and vitamins.

Gnocchi Poutine

On July 1st, have some fun and combine Italian and Canadian cuisine. The concept is unexpected but so simple: top gnocchi with gravy and cheese curds. The final step? Sit back and watch your guests fall in love with this rich dish.

meatballpoutine1

Meatball Poutine

Poutine may be a classic Canadian dish, but that doesn’t mean it always has to be simple. Add a touch of sophistication to your menu this Canada Day by topping your poutine with meatballs, marinara sauce and chorizo sausage.

Nacho Grande Poutine

Watch your guests go crazy over this hybrid of poutine and nachos. What better way to kick off a Canada Day celebration than with a combination of two of the most popular North American snacks?

foiegraspoutine

Foie Gras Poutine

Let your guests indulge this Canada Day with this ultra-sophisticated and creamy dish. They (and you!) will never look at poutine the same way again.

Dessert Poutine

Okay, so this isn’t technically poutine, but it sure looks like it. End your July 1st bash with this delicious treat and you’ll have your guests lining up for seconds. Top churros with caramel sauce and marshmallows for a fun play on the classic dish.

Grilled Corn Cobs from The Hot Plate

When Canada Day and the 4th of July roll around each year it is impossible to deny that craving for charred corn. We weren’t sure we could top simple cobs, but thankfully we were wrong. When these golden treats come into season they are sweet juicy and way too addictive! Beware, corn lovers, we just took this flavour fest up a couple of notches. Growing up there was always that one person at a BBQ that would eat enough corn to make it a main course. With corn this good, who could blame them? Our recipe is as simple as regular old corn, but with a zesty smokey kick from chili powder and lime. Then there’s the hearty dusting of sharp, nutty manchego cheese. These corn cobs are a must this BBQ season. Make sure you have extra napkins and don’t say we didn’t warn you.

 

GrilledCornCobs_TheHotPlate_Main

 

Grilled Corn Cobs

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 6

 

Ingredients:

6 corn cobs

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 lime

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 cup grated manchego cheese

1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro

salt

 

Instructions:

1. Preheat the grill or broiler to high. Meanwhile, combine the zest of the lime, chili powder and manchego. Slice up the remaining lime in wedges.

2. Brush the corn with butter on all sides.

3. Place the corn on the grill or under the broiler and cook until charred on all sides, 2-3 minutes per side. Season with salt.

4. Remove from the grill, baste with a little more butter and sprinkle with the cheese mixture. Serve with lime wedges and fresh cilantro.

 

Amanda_Garbutt Amanda Garbutt is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients.

Maple on the Menu

Canada Day is always loads of fun and there’s no better way to honour our beautiful country than by throwing a bash for your family and friends, filled with recipes infused with the ultimate Canadian ingredient: maple. From starters and sides, to main dishes and sweets, maple is truly versatile and can easily and deliciously be incorporated into countless recipes.

maple-roasted-soup-corn

APPETIZERS AND SIDES

Maple Pecan Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Baked Maple Brie 

Maple Baked Beans

Sherry Maple Vinaigrette

Maple-Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Crisp Corn and Rosemary Fritters

maple-salad

MAIN DISHES

Smoked Ham with Maple Mustard Glaze

Salad with Maple Pork and Brie Dressing

Maple Soy Salmon with Couscous and Asparagus

Spiced Ground Beef with Grilled Japanese Eggplant and Maple Syrup Sauce

Maple Peameal Roast

maple-pear-clafoutis

DESSERTS

Maple-Baked Apple Bites

Maple Pecan Crumble

Maple Pear Clafoutis

Mini Toffee Apples with Maple Walnut Ice Cream

Sticky Maple Pudding

Canada Day Dessert Ideas

Canada Day is fast approaching and while the Great White North is certainly known for many appetizing and hearty treats (hello, poutine and peameal bacon!), our dessert options are sometimes limited. Until now, that is. There are a plenty of sweet treats that have a yummy Canadian flair, and this Canada Day, why not serve up a few of these delicious options to cap off a great meal?

Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo bars are perhaps the most well-known Canadian dessert. Named after the town of Nanaimo, British Columbia, these sweet and irresistible treats are a Canadian tradition. Made of three layers, these bars are super easy to make and even easier to fall in love with. Start with a wafer-crumb base, top with vanilla or custard-flavoured butter icing  and finish with a layer of melted chocolate. Simple and scrumptious!
mapleptart

Maple Pecan Tart

Who doesn’t love a good, old-fashioned pecan tart? This Canada Day, spice things up and add a touch of Canadian flavour by incorporating maple into the classic dessert. Surprise your guests by mixing a bit of maple syrup into your recipe and you’re guaranteed to see them coming back for seconds.
Whole Grain Crusted Apple Pie with Maple Yogurt Topping

Desserts don’t get much more classic than apple pie, but when it comes to serving treats at your Canada Day bash, the American staple just won’t do. Instead, add some Northern love to the recipe by topping it with maple-flavored yogurt instead of plain old vanilla ice cream. Delicious and health-conscious? Don’t mind if we do.

cchip

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches

A surefire way to put a smile on the faces of the kids (and the kids at heart) at your Canada Day gathering is to serve homemade chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches. The summer staple is always a hit and is simple to make. Whoever came up with the concept of putting a scoop of ice cream in between two chocolate chip cookies deserves some serious gratitude when you’re planning your next backyard bash.

Earl Grey Chiffon Cake with Maple Meringue

This light and fluffy dessert is a great way to end a Canada Day barbeque. Just when you think you’ve eaten as much as you can handle, this yummy chiffon cake will surely tempt you. Thankfully, it’s as light as it is irresistible and you won’t regret sampling a slice (or two!). Flavoured to taste like a cup of earl grey tea with milk, this cake is the perfect way to top off a Canada Day feast in a classy way. The maple meringue adds a truly Canadian touch.

Maple Bacon Cupcakes

Sometimes you just can’t decide between sweet and savory, and with these incredible maple bacon cupcakes, you and your guests don’t have to. This yummy combination of flavours is sure to surprise and delight your guests. Not only are these cupcakes succulent and impossible to resist,  but they are a perfect addition to your Canada Day feast.

Apple Maple Sugar Pie

Sugar pie is one of the most popular French-Canadian desserts and it’s easy to see why. A combimation of delicious flavors, this dessert will definitely fly off the table at your Canada Day bash. The super sweet pie will satisfy your guests after an afternoon barbeque and have them lining up for more.