Category Archives: Comfort Food

Thai Curry Chicken Pot Pie is Your New Favourite Winter Comfort Food

Thai green curry is wildly popular for a reason. It’s rich and delicious with just the right amount of spiciness. But here, instead of its classic rice pairing, we’ve created a comfort food mashup that marries palate-awakening Thai green curry with classic chicken pot pie. The result is anything but ordinary. Whether you whip this up as a vacation from all your holiday feasts or you bookmark this new dish for the new year, we promise you won’t be disappointed.

Recipe Notes:
– Spicy food fans can add fresh Thai chili to taste when blending the peas and herbs
– Make this recipe vegan by replacing the chicken with the same amount of extra-firm tofu, chicken broth with vegetable broth and all-butter puff pastry with a dairy-free version

Thai Curry Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cooling Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Serves: 5 to 6

Ingredients:
Thai Green Curry:
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces
2 cups chicken broth
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
1 cup frozen peas, room temperature
½ cup loosely packed fresh mint
½ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
2 Tbsp coconut flour
2 Tbsp Thai green curry paste
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 lime, zested and juiced (about 3 Tbsp of juice), plus more lime slices for serving
1½ Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
To taste, fine grain salt

Crust:
1 sheet all-butter puff pastry, rolled to 1/4-inch thickness
1 Tbsp milk of choice or beaten egg
1 tsp black or white sesame seeds
Pinch, flaky sea salt

Directions:
1. In a large pot, add chicken, sweet potatoes and broth. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook over very low heat until chicken is cooked through and sweet potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Do not boil or the chicken will be tough. The sweet potatoes may fall apart and become very tender; this is normal. Stir in coconut milk. Remove 1 cup of the liquid only and place in a medium bowl or blender.
2. To the medium bowl or blender, add peas, mint, cilantro, coconut flour, curry paste, ginger, lime zest and juice, fish sauce and sesame oil. Puree mixture with an immersion blender or blend on high in your blender until smooth and creamy. Stir pea mixture into chicken mixture, taste and adjust seasoning with salt if needed. Add to a medium cast-iron skillet or other deep oven-safe dish.

3. Cool mixture completely (this is important so that the mixture can thicken with the coconut flour and so the puff pastry won’t turn greasy and melt before it goes in the oven). Cooling will take about 2 hours. You can also cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Make sure the mixture is almost room temperature before baking. Alternatively, you can increase the bake time 5 to 10 minutes if the mixture is cold.

4. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
5. Once the curry base is cooled, fit the puff pastry on top, tucking under the sides to fit your pan or baking dish. Using a sharp paring knife, gently slice a few steam slits in the top. Brush pastry with milk or egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds and flaky salt.
6. Bake for 40 to 55 minutes, until mixture is bubbling and crust is browned and puffed. Garnish with additional cilantro and lime wedges.

Craving more curry? Here are 22 warm and comforting winter curries.

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Your Cheesy Stuffed Chicken Breast Needs Creamy Cajun Sauce

With winter in full swing, it’s important to have a few heartwarming, rich and comforting dishes in your dinner line-up. This recipe for Cheesy Spinach-Stuffed Chicken Breast with Creamy Cajun Sauce is the ultimate dinner indulgence. Packed with just the right amount of cheese, cream and Cajun spice, it’s bound to become a family favourite. The Cajun spice blend which is the star of this recipe,  features paprika, garlic powder, thyme and many more fragrant spices. To save time, I used a favourite store-bought spice blend but you can add your own special touch by making a Cajun spice blend of your own.

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Cheesy Spinach-Stuffed Chicken Breast with Creamy Cajun Sauce

Ingredients:
2 large chicken breasts
2 Tbsp cajun seasoning

Filling:
3 Tbsp of cream cheese
2 Tbsp of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
¾ cup of chopped spinach
Sauce:
2/3 cup of chicken broth
3 Tbsps cajun seasonings
1 ½ cup of cream
¼  white onion finely chopped

stuffed-chicken-ingredients

Directions:
1. Cut chicken breast in half lengthwise, without cutting all the way through. Open the chicken breast up and place wax paper on top (the wax paper will act as a barrier). Use a rolling pin or another round hard object to pound the chicken breast into a thin, even layer.
2. Remove the wax paper and season both sides of the chicken breast with Cajun seasoning and set aside.
3. Chop spinach into thin pieces and place into a bowl, then finely chop 1 clove of garlic and add it to a bowl of cream cheese. Mix mozzarella cheese and spinach with cream cheese until everything is evenly distributed.

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4. Spread the cream cheese mixture inside the chicken, being careful not to over-stuff.
5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Add oil to a hot pan placed on medium heat. Add the stuffed chicken breasts to hot pan and sear each side. Once the chicken breast has a nice brown crust on each side, remove it and place on a baking sheet. Reserve pan and drippings for later.
6. Bake the stuffed chicken breasts in the oven for 25 minutes or until it has cooked all the way through.
7. Return to the pan and add a bit more oil to the pan drippings if necessary, then add onion. Cook onions until translucent. Add chicken broth and bring the mixture to a simmer then add cream slowly, stirring as you add. Once the mixture has thickened, remove from heat.
8. Serve with the stuffed chicken breast and garnish with parsley.

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Looking for more recipes? Try these Must-Try Chicken Breast Recipes.

Greek-Style Baked Beans With Tomato Sauce and Feta

Dried beans are a hidden treasure. Well, I guess they’re not really hidden, but you should know that they’re like gold. They’re cheap, healthy, easy to make and have the longest shelf life ever. You can find so many kinds too — red kidney, beautiful borlotti AKA cranberry beans, orca beans, chickpeas… the list goes on and on. For this recipe, I was able to find dried Greek gigante beans. Naturally, they were begging for an herby tomato sauce full of dill and oregano. If you can’t find dried gigante beans, large white lima beans work just as well here. The sauce is simmered and added to the boiled beans, then covered in feta cheese and baked into a bubbly gorgeous casserole, which can be served as a side dish or appetizer with crusty bread. If there are any leftovers (I’d be surprised if there were), you can heat the beans up in a pan and serve with an egg for breakfast.

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Greek-Style Baked Beans With Tomato Sauce and Feta

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Soak Time: 12 hours
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 13 hours, 15 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

2 cups dried gigante beans (or large white lima beans)
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp olive oil + some to finish
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
26 oz can or box strained tomato sauce
1 cup chopped dill
¼ cup chopped parsley
2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano OR 1 Tbsp dried oregano
½ tsp salt
½ cup water
⅔ cup crumbled feta cheese
Chopped parsley, to garnish
Crusty bread, to serve

Directions:

1. Rinse the dried beans to remove any dirt or impurities, and then place them in a large bowl and cover with tons of water. Leave on the countertop overnight or at least 9 hours to rehydrate.

2. Drain the beans and transfer them to a large pot. Cover the beans with at least 3 inches of water and add in the bay leaf. Bring the water to a boil over high heat.

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3. Once the water is at a rolling boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remember: the time will depend on the kind of bean and how long you’ve soaked them for. Check the doneness of the beans after 10 minutes. They should be soft, but not mushy. Drain the beans and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.

4. In a medium sauce-pot with lid, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add in the onions and saute until softened and slightly browned, about 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce, dill, parsley, oregano, salt and water. Once the sauce is simmering lightly, turn down the heat to low and cover the pot with the lid. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt.

Related: Healthy Mediterranean Recipes to Bookmark Right Now

5. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Transfer the cooked beans with bay leaf and herb tomato sauce into a casserole or baking dish and combine.

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6. Bake for 25 minutes until bubbly. Remove for the oven and add crumbled feta cheese on top. Return the dish to the oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. The sauce will be bubbly and hot.

7. Let it rest for 5 minutes before serving. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with crusty bread on the side.

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Published November 2, 2015, Updated December 22, 2018

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This French Onion Grilled Cheese is Made for Chilly Saturday Afternoons

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

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French Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe

Serves: 2

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

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

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

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

french-onion-grilled-cheese

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

The Best Slow Cooker Chicken Breast Recipe has a Tasty Moroccan Twist

Do you feel like chicken tonight? We hope so, because we have the best slow cooker chicken recipe to share. Chicken for dinner is a staple in most households, including our own.  And, although there are many, many ways to cook chicken, often times it can end up dry and unappetizing. No one wants to sit down to a meal with an ill-seasoned, rubbery chicken breast staring back up at them. Here we’re going to teach you the ins and outs of juicy slow cooker chicken breasts that are perfect for salads, meal prepping for the week ahead or even for dinner tonight.

slow-cooker-chicken-breast

Go Skinless

Remove the skin from the chicken breasts before placing in the slow cooker. When cooked too long the skin will become rubbery and dry – think shoe leather. If you are planning to shred the chicken at all, this is a step you must follow.

No Need to Sear

Although searing adds major flavour, if your plan is to use the chicken shredded for chicken salad or tacos, there is no need to sear the breasts. Skip the step and save yourself time.

Set it to High

Chicken breasts don’t have very much connective tissues or fat, so cooking them for hours and hours in the slow cooker won’t get you the result you want. Really tough cuts of meat, with lots of connective tissue are perfect for slow cooking because they break down over time and become oh-so tender. When slow cooking chicken breasts, set to high for 2-2.5 hours, you don’t need to go beyond that. Of course, you can use your meat thermometer to check when the chicken is fully cooked on the inside when it reads 165°F.

Make it Easy and Saucy

The whole idea behind the slow cooker is to make things easy. If you have any sauces or marinades on hand like salsa, tomato sauce, pesto or BBQ sauce you can easily toss them in with the chicken breasts and voila you’re done. Remember to season the chicken breasts separately with salt and pepper before you start cooking to enhance flavours.

chicken-breast-in-slow-cooker

Go Light on Liquids

Chicken breasts will release quite a bit of liquid as they cook so go easy on adding liquids like broth or sauces.  You don’t want the chicken to be drowning.

Prep Ahead

Slow cooking chicken on a Sunday (or any day) is a great way to have your protein ready to go for lunches and dinners all week. You can make what we like to call “blank slate” chicken, which is chicken breasts seasoned with salt and pepper and slow cooked with broth. You then have tender chicken breasts that can be sliced, shredded or cubed and used for any dish like salads, tacos, pastas, sandwiches, wraps, and quinoa or rice pilafs. Simply add a marinade or sauce on top after and you’ve got yourself a meal.

Moroccan Slow Cooker Chicken is one of our go-to recipes when we want a nourishing and delicious slow cooked meal that can be warming in the winter and refreshing in the summer. Add rice, quinoa or cauliflower rice for a hearty dish or place it on top of a slaw or enjoy as is.

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Moroccan Slow Cooker Chicken Recipe

Ingredients:
1 lb. chicken breasts (3 to 4 chicken breasts)
1 tsp coriander
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp sea salt
Pinch of black pepper
¼ cup chicken stock
¼ cup pitted green olives, sliced
¼ cup currants
½ lemon, sliced into thin discs

Directions:
1. Mix the spices, except for the salt and pepper, together in a small bowl.
2. Season the chicken breasts with sea salt and pepper.
3. Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of the slow cooker so that they are flat and not overlapping and pour in the broth.
4. Sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over top of the chicken breasts.
5. Add the chopped olives and currants to the slow cooker, they can be spread over top of the chicken breasts and alongside.
6. Place thin slices of lemon over top of the chicken breasts.
7. Cook on high for 2.5 hours.
8. The chicken breasts will be tender. Carefully transfer out of the slow cooker and onto a cutting board. You can slice the chicken into pieces with a knife or shred the chicken with your hands, whichever you prefer.

Looking for more great recipes? Try these Popular Chicken Breast Recipes.

Potato Latke Eggs Benedict is Our New Brunch Favourite

Eggs Benedict is a weekend brunch recipe that will dirty more than a few dishes – but the results are well worth it. This version uses classic latkes as the base, instead of the more common English muffin, and skips the ham for rich smoked salmon. A buttery, bright and oh-so-easy Hollandaise, along with perfect poached eggs, completes this delicious Benny variation. The steps are plentiful, though very simple, so this recipe is absolutely doable for a special holiday breakfast or brunch with family and friends.

Latkes-eggs-Benedict-top

Latke Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Makes: 4

Ingredients:

Easy Blender Hollandaise
2 egg yolks, egg whites reserved for latkes
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp water
200 g (about 1 cup) salted butter, melted, still warm
Kosher salt, to taste

Potato Latkes
2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled
1 small yellow onion, peeled
2 egg whites (reserved from hollandaise), whisked
3 Tbsp matzo meal or potato starch
2 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp baking powder
High-temperature vegetable oil, for frying

Poached Eggs
1 Tbsp distilled white vinegar
8 large eggs

To Assemble
2 Tbsp fresh dill fronds or minced chives
400 g smoked salmon
Lemon wedges

Latkes-eggs-Benedict-ingredients

Directions:    

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, reduce to a simmer.
2. Preheat oven to 200ºF. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Bring the smoked salmon out of the refrigerator to take the chill off.
4. In a medium bowl or blender, add egg yolks, lemon juice and water.
5. With an immersion (stick) blender or regular blender running, add melted butter in a slow, steady stream until mixture is thick and pale yellow. Taste and season with salt, if needed.
6. To keep warm, transfer mixture to a smaller bowl to fit into a large bowl, and fill a larger bowl with just-boiled water (do not allow any to get into the hollandaise). Stir the hollandaise a few times when you’re ready to serve. Alternatively, transfer hollandaise to a thermal container (just make sure it doesn’t smell like coffee!).
7. Using the finest shredding attachment on your food processor, process potatoes and onions (or grate both with a box grater). Transfer mixture to a fine mesh sieve, lined with cheesecloth, set over a large bowl. Squeeze cheesecloth to remove excess starch and water from the potatoes and onion. Then transfer potatoes and onion to a large bowl.

8. To the potatoes and onion mixture, stir in whisked egg whites, followed by matzo meal or potato starch, salt and baking powder.
9. Fill a large skillet with ½ inch of oil. Heat to medium-high. Do not allow oil to smoke. The potato mixture should sizzle immediately when added to the pan; if it doesn’t, wait until the oil comes up to temperature. Fun alternative: try adding the uncooked latke mixture to your waffle iron instead of a skillet, for a fuss-free, extra-crunchy base.
10. Working in batches, without crowding the pan, scoop ¼ cup of potato mixture into hot oil and carefully flatten with a spatula. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a prepared baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you finish the latkes. If you have leftover latkes from another meal, just reheat in oven at 200ºF.
11. To simmering water, add vinegar. One at a time, working quickly, crack eggs into a small bowl and gently add to simmering water. Poach for 3 to 5 minutes, until whites are set but yolks are still runny. Remove from water using a slotted spoon and place on a warmed plate.
12. On plates, add stacks of latkes, and then top with slices of smoked salmon, poached eggs and spoonfuls of Hollandaise. Garnish with dill or chives and lemon wedges. Serve immediately.

Looking for more holiday brunch inspiration? Here are 30 Boxing Day brunch recipes.

We’ll be Making Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls All Winter Long

Stuffed cabbage is an Eastern European favourite and depending on where you’re from there will be tons of variations on this comforting, classic recipe. Some swear by a sweet sauce, or insist on using raisins while others follow the sweet and sour tradition. Some stuff with pork and beef, while others keep it simple and vegetarian. No matter how you make them, this classic dish will always satisfy, but our recipe means you can make-ahead. Come home to a meal that’s been slowing cooking and will definitely warm you up in those colder months.

cabbage-rolls-cut-open

Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 4-8 hours
Servings: 6

Ingredients
1 large green cabbage head or 2 small

Sauce:
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, diced
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
½ tsp sea salt
Pinch of pepper

Filling:
½ cup uncooked brown rice
1 lb lean ground beef
1 yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, grated
½ bunch fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp sea salt
Pinch of pepper

cabbage-rolls-how-to-roll

Directions
Cabbage:
1. Boil a pot of water and toss in a little sea salt. Prepare a large bowl or pot of cold water.
2. Turn your cabbage upside down, carefully slice around the core and pull it out. There may be some parts of the core still inside, do your best to cut them out so you have a hole in the bottom of the cabbage.
3. Once the water is boiling, place the cabbage down into the water with the core-end down. After about a minute, use your tongs and begin turning the cabbage in the water. Allow to boil for 5 minutes and then plunge the whole head of cabbage into the bowl of cold water or simply run it under cold water from your tap.
4. Once slightly cooled, gently remove 12 cabbage leaves, being careful not to break.

Sauce:
1. Heat a pot on medium heat and drizzle oil. Add the onions cool until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
2. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, sea salt and pepper. Cover and allow to simmer while you prepare the filling.

Filling:
1. Place all filling ingredients in a bowl and mix so everything is well combined.

cabbage-rolls-in-crockpot

Assembly:
1. Place about ¼ – ⅓ cup of filling into each cabbage roll. Fold in the sides and end of the leaf and then continue to roll until it’s closed. Repeat until all the leaves and filling have been used.
2. Place a little bit of sauce on the bottom of the slow cooker and then place the cabbage rolls in, seam side down.
3. Pour the rest of the sauce on top. Turn on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

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Looking for more comforting recipes? Try our Must-Make Slow Cooker Recipes that will keep you full and happy all season long.

How to Make the Perfect Croissant Croque Madame

This is going to be the fanciest ham and cheese sandwich you will ever have. Leave it to the French to take something so simple and humble and top it with tons of cheese and toast it until golden brown. And to top it off, let’s put a fried egg on it. Typically made on basic white bread, I’ve taken this dish even further and made it on a croissant. There’s one thing that will happen after having this: you’ll never be able to go back to a regular ham and cheese sandwich.

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Croissant Croque Madame

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

Béchamel
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
¼ cup + 1 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 cups milk
½ tsp salt
Fresh black pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
½ cup grated Gruyére
¼ cup grated Parmesan

Sandwich
6 croissants
Grainy mustard or Dijon
400 g black forest ham
⅔ cup grated Gruyére
⅓ cup grated Parmesan
Salt
Fresh black pepper
6 fried eggs
Chopped chives, garnish
Maldon salt, garnish

Directions:

1. Heat the butter over medium-low heat in a medium sized saucepot. Once the butter is completely melted and begins to bubble, add the flour and whisk until combined. Switch to a heat-proof rubber spatula and continue stirring until the mixture is a light golden colour and smells slightly nutty. Be sure to scrape all around the sides and bottom to ensure nothing is sticking or burning.

2. Whisking constantly, slowly pour the milk into the pot. Switch back to the rubber spatula and cook, constantly stirring and scraping the sides and bottom, until thick and bubbly. About 6-8 minutes.

3. Turn the heat off and stir in the salt, black pepper, nutmeg, Gruyére and Parmesan until cheese has melted. Set aside to cool.

Related: Creative Ways to Use Croissants, From French Toast to Bread Pudding

4. Pre-heat the oven to broil and set the rack in the middle of the oven. Slice the croissants open and spread a generous amount of mustard on each half. Lay the ham on the top halves of the croissants and top with the bottom halves. This will give the béchamel a nice flat surface to sit on. Transfer the sandwiches onto a sheet pan.

5. Top each sandwich with lots of béchamel spreading it to the edges of the croissant. This will prevent the edges of the croissant from burning in the oven. Combine the Gruyére and Parmesan and top each sandwich with the cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

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6. Place sandwiches under broiler for 1 to 2 minutes, rotating pan halfway through, until cheese and béchamel are melted and bubbly.

7. Remove from the oven, plate each sandwich with a fried egg, garnish with chopped chives, fresh black pepper and Maldon salt.

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Published November 5, 2015, Updated October 29, 2018

This Slow Cooker Butternut Squash is Beyond Easy

Butternut squash is by far the most popular of the squash family, that’s probably because it’s fairly user-friendly, versatile and the perfect balance of sweetness and earthiness. This delicious carby vegetable is also packed with a spectrum of vitamins and minerals that all work to protect your body, especially in the colder months as cold and flu season move in.

Although butternut squash is becoming more commonplace, many people get overwhelmed or confused about how to prep it, use it or cook it. Do you peel it? How do you cut it safely so it doesn’t roll around or worse, so you don’t injure yourself? Should you keep the seeds? Here we give the easiest way to cook butternut squash – in your slow cooker!  Literally, your only job is to buy one, no need for a peeler or a knife. This slow cooker method, which can easily be done in an electric pressure cooker (like an Instant Pot), comes out perfectly tender and sweet, just the way it should be.

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How to Cook Butternut Squash in Your Slow Cooker (or Instant Pot)

Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: Slow cooker: 8 hours,  Pressure cooker: 35 minutes
Servings: 2-3

Ingredients:
1 butternut squash, choose a size that will fit into your slow cooker or Instant Pot
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp cinnamon

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Directions:

Slow Cooker:
1. Place your squash in the slow cooker. Do your best to find one that fits right inside without needing to slice it.
2. Put the lid on, cook it on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

Instant Pot:
1. Pour 1 cup of water into the Instant Pot. Place the steam rack on the bottom and then put the butternut squash on top. Again, choose one that fits into the pot without needing to cut it. If you find one too large, slice it in half widthwise so you have two round circles and scoop out the seeds.
2. Lock the lid, turn the pressure release valve to sealed and cook on high pressure for 25 minutes. Turn the valve open to release steam for 10 minutes.

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Assembly:
1. Allow the squash to cool slightly, then gently scoop out the seeds with a spoon. The squash will be so tender so this will be an easy job.
2. Cut the squash into large cubes and drizzle with maple syrup and cinnamon.
3. Now that you have a beautifully steamed squash you can also do whatever you want with it, make a mash, blend it with coconut milk into a soup, make it into a hummus, place cubes of it on top of a salad or eat it as is.

Looking for ideas? Try the Brilliant Ways to Eat Butternut Squash.

Apple-Brie Pumpkin Soup Season is Here

Now that soup season is upon us, we’re looking to jazz up our old fall favourites, like classic, creamy pumpkin soup. In this mouthwatering version, we’ve added Gala apples to give the soup just a hint of sweetness, then we gave it the full French onion treatment, with a beautiful topping of crispy baguette and melty Brie. This stick-to-your-ribs soup is just what you need to feel like you’re living your best fall life.

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Photo by Lindsay Guscott
Lindsay Guscott

Baked Brie Pumpkin and Apple Soup Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp. butter
1 small onion, sliced, about 1 1/2 cups
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 small pie pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-in pieces, about 6 cups
2 Gala apples, peeled and cut into 1/2 pieces, about 3 cups
1 sprig rosemary, plus more for optional garnish
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 cup dry hard apple cider
900 ml vegetable stock
1/2 cup whipping cream
8 slices baguette
150g double cream Brie, rind removed and thinly sliced

sugar-pumpkins

Photo by Allison Day
Photo by Allison Day

Directions:
1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook until softened, 5 to 7 min.
2. Increase heat to medium-high, then stir in pumpkin and apples. Season with salt. Sauté until vegetables are lightly golden-brown, 5 to 7 min.
3. Add spices and cook until fragrant, 1 min.
4. Pour in cider. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up any brown bits from bottom of pan. Allow cider to evaporate, 1 to 2 min.
5. Add stock and rosemary sprig. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender, about 15 min. Remove and discard rosemary.
6. Working in small batches, purée soup in a blender. Return to pot. Stir in cream and cook until heated through, 1 to 2 min.
7. Ladle into oven-safe bowls, then top each with 2 slices of baguette and 2 slices of cheese. Broil on high until cheese has melted and is just starting to brown, about 1 to 2 min.
8. Sprinkle with finely chopped rosemary, if desired, and serve immediately.

pumpkin-apple-soup-with-brie-crouton

Photo by Lindsay Guscott
Photo by Lindsay Guscott

Tip: If you don’t own oven-proof bowls, assemble your Brie toasts on a foil-lined baking sheet instead. Once broiled, simply transfer the toasts to your bowl.

Looking for more fall recipes? Try our Brilliant Ways to Use Butternut Squash.

classic-brisket-sliced-with-sauce

An Easy, Tender Brisket Recipe That is Sure to Impress

Brisket is a staple dish for many Jewish celebrations, with recipes that can differ from family to family. While some families prefer a sweet sauce, others love savoury. Some use brine; some don’t bother. Some prefer to sear their meat before braising, while others put their brisket straight into the oven. No matter your family’s preference, the most important part of brisket is that it is cooked low and slow, which is the key to juicy, melt in your mouth meaty goodness.

My recipe is a crowd-pleaser, being a little sweet and a little savoury. It can be made with ingredients you likely already have in your pantry, but that doesn’t mean you can rush this no-fuss recipe. The key to great flavour is giving the brisket the time to marinate and then to cook. It takes about 20 hours from start to finish, so make sure you plan ahead when embarking on this Jewish classic.

brisket-cut

How to Make a Classic Brisket

Ingredients:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup ketchup
1 cup water
1 cup apricot preserves
4-5 lb brisket
3 onions, quartered

classic-brisket-recipe

Directions:
1. Mix the soy sauce, ketchup, water, apricot preserves in a bowl. Pour into a roaster or casserole dish large enough to fit the brisket. Place brisket in roaster or dish and coat with marinade. Place onions in the dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
2. Remove brisket from the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 325F. Place in oven covered with lid or aluminium foil. Cook for 3 hours then remove foil. Continue to cook uncovered for 30 minutes.
3. Remove from oven and let cool on the counter. Once cool, place in refrigerator until completely chilled, about 1 hour. This will help slice the brisket. Skim the fat off the surface of the sauce and discard. Slice the brisket into thin slices and place back into the dish with sauce.
4. When ready to serve, preheat your oven to 350F. Place brisket with sauce back in the oven and cook uncovered until heated through about 30 minutes. Spoon sauce over slices every 10 minutes.

Easy 2-Ingredient Vegan Peanut Butter Cups

This concept is nothing new, but I have yet to find an easier peanut butter cup recipe. So here ya go! (And personally, I think these cups taste way better than the brand name store-bought variety.) Note: We used Earth Balance Creamy Coconut & Peanut spread (crunchy) which is sweetened with agave nectar. Using a natural peanut butter on its own works as well — and you can add in your own sweetener if you like.

vegan-peanut-butter-cups

Easy Vegan Peanut Butter Cups Recipe

Makes: 12

Ingredients:

1 bag of vegan chocolate chips (approximately 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup peanut butter

vegan-peanut-butter-cups-1

Directions:

1. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or use a silicon muffin tray
2. In a double boiler melt the chocolate chips until silky smooth. Put 1 teaspoon of melted chocolate into the bottom of the muffin liners and then spread it out evenly with your finger or a spoon. Refrigerate this for 10 mins.
3. Then take 1 teaspoon of peanut butter and put that on top of the hardened chocolate. Don’t spread this out with your finger as it will settle itself and stay mostly in the centre. Refrigerate this for 10 mins.

2-ingredient-peanut-butter cups

4. If your chocolate has become sludgier while you were waiting just put it back on the double boiler quickly to re-melt it. Then take 1 to 2 teaspoons more of melted chocolate and put that on top of the peanut butter. The peanut butter won’t be super hard but it will hold up for the rest of this process. If you’re rushed you don’t really have to put the peanut butter part in the fridge again.
5. You can push the melted chocolate into the sides a bit with your teaspoon to ensure it runs down to cover the peanut butter. This won’t necessarily happen, especially if you don’t refrigerate the peanut butter part, but I don’t mind them looking a little rustic and oozy anyway!
6. Smooth the top of the cups if you desire, but they might just settle nicely on their own. Then refrigerate this for at least 20 minutes before serving. Store in the fridge in an airtight container or at room temperature if you want softer cups.

Looking for more vegan treats? Try our Vegan Desserts Even Non-Vegans Will Love.

Instant Pot Turkey Chili is Healthy Comfort Food in a Flash

The Instant Pot, the electric pressure cooker,  allows you to create dishes that usually take hours, in just a matter of minutes. This easy turkey chili recipe is a weeknight dinner perfection. It has loads of hidden vegetables, lean protein and best of all, comes together in a snap without forfeiting that must-have slow-cooked taste we all know and love in a big bowl of comforting chili. It’s perfect for busy weeknights and weekends, and best of all, leftovers freeze well, too.

instant-pot-turkey-chili-1

Healthy Instant Pot Turkey Chili

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
2 lbs ground turkey
2 Tbsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp chili powder
1½ tsp salt
1 onion, peeled and quartered
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups kale, destemmed and finely chopped
1 (19 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup Greek yogurt, for serving
¾ cup grated cheddar cheese, for serving
¼ cup sliced green onions, for serving
lime wedges, for serving

chili-turkey-instant-pot

 

Directions:

1. Set Instant Pot, (or your electric pressure cooker) to sauté. Add turkey, cumin, chili powder and salt. Break up turkey and mix with spices to combine. Let turkey and spices brown, about 8 minutes, stirring intermittently.
2. Meanwhile, add onion, celery, carrot and garlic to a food processor. Pulse until vegetables turn into a smooth paste. Add vegetable paste to turkey and spices and stir to combine. Stir in tomato paste, followed by crushed tomatoes and kale.
3. Close lid and set Instant Pot to “Chili;” cook for 30 minutes. Allow pressure to release for 10 to 15 minutes until fully released or quick release using the vent. Stir in beans and allow to heat through.
4. Ladle chili in bowls and garnish with yogurt, cheddar cheese, green onions, and lime wedges for seasoning. Serve.

Slow things down in the kitchen and use your multi-cooker to make a warming Slow Cooker Irish Stew.

a hearty bowl of slow cooker irish stew on a stone countertop

This Slow Cooker Irish Stew Recipe is a Classic Restored

Irish beef stew is a cozy, family-friendly dinner, and it can be incredibly easy to make, especially when all you have to do is toss everything in a slow cooker. Our recipe uses beef, however, if you’re a true lover of lamb, feel free to use that instead. Of course, a hearty Irish stew isn’t complete without earthy root veggies and here, Yukon gold potatoes, parsnips, carrots and celeriac shine in a hearty medley. Make this easy version in your slow cooker or Instant Pot for St. Patrick’s Day or a chilly, yet busy weekday. It’s classic comfort food for contemporary schedules.

Irish-Slow-Cooker-stew-in-bowl

Slow Cooker Irish Stew

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours on high, 8 hours on low
Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes on high, 8 hours 10 minutes on low
Serves: 4 to 6

Irish-Slow-Cooker-stew-ingredients

Ingredients:

2 lbs stewing beef, cut into 1-inch pieces (see Notes below)
3 Yukon gold potatoes, cubed
1 celeriac (celery root), peeled and cubed
3 medium carrots, sliced
1 medium parsnip, sliced
1 yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups beef stock
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
salt, to taste (check the saltiness of your beef stock before adding)
ground black pepper, to taste
chopped fresh parsley, for serving

Irish-Stew-in-the-Slow-Cooker

Directions:

1. Add all ingredients except parsley in a large slow cooker and stir to combine. Replace lid and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.

2. Once your cook time is up, give the stew a stir, spoon into bowls and top with fresh parsley. Serve warm.

Notes: 
If you have time, brown the beef first by searing the cubes in a skillet with a splash of olive oil over medium-high heat – it adds a great depth of flavour.

Serve something cool and creamy for dessert while keeping with the Irish theme and mix up this Guinness Ice Cream Float.

4 Comforting Sheet Pan Dinner Recipes for Easier Cooking and Clean-up

When we’re in a rush and looking for shortcuts in getting dinner on the table, sheet pans are a life saver. They let you roast your main and sides together (like in this Glazed Chicken and Broccoli Sheet Pan Dinner) saving you time and clean-up.  What if we told you that economy-sized sheet pans can also be used to bake up some of your favourite comfort foods, and in some cases even give them a slightly healthier twist? Think classics like lasagna or meatloaf, all baked up to perfection in a short enough time to get dinner done on a weeknight.


This eggplant parmesan is baked, saving you the mess and stress of frying. 

Okay, so you may have to do a couple of extra dishes during prep, but considering how hearty and wholesome these recipes are, we’d say it’s worth the extra effort. Check them out:

No-Fry Sheet Pan Eggplant Parmesan

Trade in your fryer for a sheet pan and whip up this easy comfort food with a healthier twist. Crispy eggplant is topped with a quick, homemade marinara sauce and then smothered in mozzarella and Parmesan until it bakes up into a bubbly pan of yum.

All-Crust Sheet Pan Lasagna

If you’re a fan of those crispy lasagna edges then this recipe is most definitely for you. Pre-cooked noodles are assembled on a sheet with delicious ricotta, sausage and a homemade sauce. It all culminates in not just the perfect lasagna flavour, but it also allows the edges to cook evenly, giving you crispy perfection with every bite.

Extra-Crunchy Sheet Pan Mac and Cheese

Want to take your regular old bowl of macaroni and cheese to the next level? Spoon it out into a pan sheet and cover it with deliciousness like panko and butter. In the oven, the top will crisp up and the noodles will bond together in all of their cheesy glory, creating little squares of mac ‘n’ cheese heaven that will have you coming back for more.


Sheet Pan Glazed Meatloaf
What’s not to love about savoury, caramelized meatloaf the way your mom or grandma used to make? What we enjoy most about this sheet pan version of the comfort food staple is that thanks to its wider surface area, you’re guaranteed that each bite comes with that glazed goodness from the top that we all know and love.

 

Looking for more easy dinners? Try these Hearty Sheet Pan Dinners That Make Clean-up A Breeze.

5 Recipes That Make Your Nacho Dinner Dreams Come True

Nachos may be the perfect food. They’re crispy, cheesy, spicy and a crowd-pleaser — that is if you’re so inclined to share. You can dress them up with fresh veggies like tomato and pepper and bake them to perfection in the oven, or microwave chips with a little cheese and salsa on top and call it a day. Either way, nachos are plain-old delicious.

Yup, aside from pizza, nachos may just be the most perfect food when it comes to satisfying that cheesy, comfort-food craving.

Unfortunately, you can’t always eat nachos for dinner — not if you’re trying to win at #Adulting, at any rate. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them in myriad other forms. Take this recipe for Nacho Chicken Drumsticks, for example. Delicious, tortilla chip-crusted drumsticks are fried and then elevated to a whole new level when baked with some fresh Cheddar and topped with salsa, guacamole and pickled jalapeño peppers.

 

We dare you not to salivate when watching the video. In fact, we may be craving a whole other way to eat “nachos” right about now, and it involves glorious, glorious fried chicken.

But why stop there? There are plenty of other great nacho-inspired recipes that have us totally rethinking our nacho game, especially if you want to take a more “traditional” approach to your dinner.

For example, take these baked potato nachos, which are smothered in delicious toppings like cheese, sour cream and black beans. With some salsa and fresh cilantro, regular old baked potatoes seem so last year, don’t they?

 

Needless to say, potatoes and chicken drumsticks are most definitely going on the shopping list this week.

Want some more nacho inspiration? Check out these great recipes that transform basic dinner staples into dishes of nacho heaven.

Chicken Nacho Soup

On a cold day we can all agree that nothing feeds the soul like hearty chicken soup. (Heck, they came up with an entire line of feel-good books based on that very concept.) But if it’s still nachos you’re craving, this cheesy, tomato-based chicken soup definitely hits varying levels of comfort, and we never, ever want to go back.

Nacho Topped Chili Pot

What’s better than a comforting bowl of chili? Chili topped with an entire serving of fresh nachos, of course. Move over, chili cheese fries and regular old chili nachos. We love the way Rachel Ray tops her pot of chili with chips, cheese and other nacho staples and throws it all under the broiler to serve up complete chili nacho perfection.

Pork Tenderloin Posole with Bottom of the Bowl Nacho Surprise

Posole, a traditional Mexican stew, is another one of those staples that hits the spot when you need a warm bowl of comfort. But again, Rachel Ray takes hers to the next level with an entire layer of nacho goodness stacked into serving bowls first, giving us a whole new level of nacho posole perfection.

Looking for more nacho goodness? You’ll find comfort food perfection in these Tasty Nacho Recipes.

 

 

How to Make Everyone’s Favourite Swedish Meatballs At Home

When the weather cools down and you want a good old-fashioned comfort food, meatballs always seem to do the trick — especially if they’re Swedish meatballs. Whether you whip up a batch to freeze, serve them at a potluck or dole them out over a bed of buttered egg noodles with that delicious, creamy Swedish meatball sauce, there’s no denying that these little balls of deliciousness are an instant hit.

That’s probably why Ikea’s Swedish meatballs are the stuff of legend. Seriously, when’s the last time you went into the store and didn’t either sit down for a plate of them or take a pack of frozen meatballs home with you to enjoy later on? In our case, we often do both — they’re that memorable.

So that means it’s hard not to crave them. Köttbullar, as they’re called in Sweden, have a unique flavour of mixed savoury meats, cream and butter, and have long been served as a staple food back in Sweden. Traditional Italian or sweet-and-sour meatballs just don’t always hit the spot the same way.

Well here’s the good news: thanks to this recipe for Almost Famous Swedish Meatballs, you can now have savoury pork- and beef-filled meatballs with a creamy gravy and Lingonberry jam any old time you want.

 

Sure, sure—these balls may be designated as “almost” famous, but that’s just because they aren’t the actual meatballs you’d buy from the furniture store. But we dare say they’re even better; especially since you have the satisfaction of knowing you whipped them up yourself.

Serve them at your next shindig but be sure to make a little extra for yourself, because these meatballs will go like hot cakes.

Looking for other great Swedish meatball recipes? We’ve got a few suggestions that even the Swedish Chef would approve of.

Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs

If you’re looking to take the muss and fuss out of dinner, this recipe is brilliant in that you can cook and serve your meatballs in the very same pot. Lazy? No. Brilliant time-management? Of course!

The Pioneer Woman’s Swedish Meatballs

If meal-prepping is your thing, you can’t go wrong with this batch-cook recipe for all-purpose meatballs from The Pioneer Woman (one batch makes 125 meatballs!). Make them fresh or ahead of time, and then pair them with her lip-smacking gravy and egg noodles for a weeknight treat.

Alton Brown’s Swedish Meatballs

If you want to add a little more richness to your plate, Alton Brown’s recipe calls for his meatballs to be pan-seared until they’re nice and golden-brown. He then douses them with a luxurious beef broth gravy for a little plate of meatball perfection.

squash-risotto-in-pot

No-Stir Baked Risotto with Chicken, Mushrooms & Squash Was Made For Weeknights

There’s nothing I love more than a home-cooked meal at the end of the workday. But spending a lot of time in the kitchen isn’t exactly what you’re looking for after a long day. What to do then? Comfort food for cold weather without all the fuss. Can it be done? I say, yes! Risotto, for example, is one of my favourite comfort foods, but many people are put off the idea of making this for a weeknight meal, placing it firmly in the category of Too Time-Consuming.  All that stirring and the need to stand by the stove the entire time it cooks is off-putting. The good news is that this recipe, while not the risotto of a purist, will change your mind.

Risotto on a weeknight is made doable when it’s oven-baked. There are a few minutes’ prep at the start (even easier if you have pre-chopped squash on hand), but the bulk of the work is done in the oven, leaving you around 30 minutes to prepare a salad, or just relax before dinner is on the table. I’ve chosen chicken and mushrooms to go with the classic fall flavour of squash, though this is a very flexible recipe and lends itself to many different interpretations. Once you’ve oven-baked one risotto, you’ll be a convert.

Squash Risotto

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Serves: 6 

Ingredients
Roasted Squash
1/2 butternut or red kuri squash, peeled and seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme or Herbes de Provence
1/8 tsp flaky sea salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Baked Risotto
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 clove garlic, minced
500 g boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
1-1/2cups white mushrooms, finely sliced
1-1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups warm chicken stock, more as needed
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only, stems discarded
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
3/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan
Fresh thyme leaves
Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season

Directions

DSCF4436

Roasted Squash:

1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
2. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper and spread the squash pieces over the tray evenly. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with thyme or Herbes de Provence, salt and pepper and toss to combine.
3. Bake for 15 minutes, or until your risotto is ready to go in the oven, whatever’s fastest, until squash is just starting to get tender. The squash will go back in the oven alongside the risotto and will finish cooking at the same time.

Baked Risotto:
1. Heat oil in a large ovenproof dish or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until it’s just starting to get soft (remove from heat if garlic is browning).
2. Add chicken pieces and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until beginning to brown. Mix in rice and stir to combine until the rice is glossy and coated in oil.
3. Add wine and cook until evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes, then add stock and thyme. Stir well.
4. Bring mixture to the boil, then cover, remove from the heat and place in the oven. Bake risotto in same oven as tray of squash for 25 minutes.

Baked Risotto

Serving:
1. Remove risotto and tray of roasted squash from the oven. If the risotto is looking a little dry, add up to 1/2 cup of warm chicken stock (you may need less), stirring until it’s no longer dry. To the risotto, stir in the Parmesan and lemon zest, followed by half of the roasted squash, stirring carefully (so it doesn’t, well, get squashed!)
2. Serve the risotto immediately, topped with remaining roasted squash, salt, pepper and fresh thyme leaves.

Keep the effortless Italian theme going and serve up this arugula and radicchio salad on the side.

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Cornbread Chili Pot Pie

Two Comfort Foods, One Glorious Cornbread Chili Pot Pie

Chilly weather calls for chili, and chili calls for cornbread. But doesn’t chilly weather also call for pie? Like a pot pie? Well, how about combining these three classic comfort foods into one with a cornbread-topped chili pot pie? It makes the ultimate in cold-weather comfort food, even better. You could even make the chili on its own, enjoy it one night and make the pot pie the next night – cook once, eat twice! 

Cornbread Chili Pot Pie

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Serves: 6 to 8

Ingredients:
Chili
1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided
1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb stewing beef cubes
2 small onions, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium  tomatoes, chopped
2 cups beef stock
4 Tbsp tomato paste
1 to 2 Tbsp chili powder, to taste
1 (540 mL) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Cornbread Topping
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup corn kernels, drained if canned

Note: Chili Powder is a mix of chili pepper and other spices like garlic, cumin and oregano, not pure chili pepper

Directions:
Chili:
1. In a large pot or large Dutch oven, heat 2 Tbsp of the oil over medium heat. Cook the ground beef completely and drain on a paper towel-lined plate, about 10 minutes. Next, cook the stewing beef until just browned and drain on another paper towel-lined plate, about 5 minutes.
2. Heat remaining 2 Tbsp of oil in same pot (no need to clean) over medium heat, and cook onions until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until fragrant.
3. Add drained ground beef and stewing beef back to pot and stir to combine with onion mixture. Cook on medium-high heat until the beef is evenly browned, about 5 minutes.
4. Add tomatoes, stock and tomato paste and combine well, followed by chili powder. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Add the beans and continue to simmer, uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Spread cooked chili evenly into a deep ovenproof baking dish with a capacity of 4 cups (1 quart). Set aside while you prepare the cornbread topping.

Cornbread Chili Pot Pie

Cornbread Topping:
1. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the milk, eggs and melted butter. Gently stir in the corn kernels.
3. Add the milk and corn mixture to the flour mixture and stir until dry ingredients are just incorporated.
4. Working quickly, spread the cornbread batter over top of the chili, trying to make the batter reach the edges.
5. Bake for 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the bread comes out clean. Scoop into bowls and serve.

Cornbread Chili Pot Pie

We’ve also got the vegetarians covered with our top 10 hearty meat-free chili recipes.

Slow-Cooker-Root-Vegetable-Cider-Stew-feature-image

Slow Cooker Root Vegetable Cider Stew From The Simple Bites Kitchen

If your slow cooker has a permanent place on the counter during these chilly fall days, you’re doing things right. It doesn’t get any better than coming in from the cold and sitting down to a bowl of hearty, homemade soup or stew.

A resolution to cook more from my pantry inspired this autumn dish. It combines many ingredients I keep on hand, such as canned chickpeas, tomato sauce, onions and spices, along with root vegetables, into a comforting vegetarian stew. Turnips and parsnips are some of the most underrated fall vegetables. They are not as vibrant as Brussels sprouts or as versatile as butternut squash, but they play nicely with other flavours. I love the earthiness they bring to a dish as well as their robust texture.

In this dish, cubes of turnip and parsnip are simmered slowly in a sauce seasoned with fragrant garam masala. They turn into buttery bites that hold their shape nicely, while a handful of golden raisins plump up to become almost as big as the creamy chickpeas. Nearly a pint of fresh-pressed apple cider adds both acidity and sweetness to the dish and a sprinkling of pistachios completes the hearty stew.

Serve it up as is or add a dollop of yogurt for good measure. It’s even better on the second day after the flavours have had an opportunity to mingle. Don’t forget the basket of crusty bread on the side.

Tip: For a vegan version, simply use olive oil in place of the ghee.

Slow-Cooker-Root-Vegetable-Cider-Stew-recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 4 to 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours, 15 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
2 medium turnips (about 1/2 pound)
2 large parsnips
2 tsp ghee or unsalted butter,  divided
1 medium sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp sea salt, divided
1 can (19 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1-1/2 cups fresh-pressed apple cider (unfiltered raw apple juice)
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup golden raisins
Chopped pistachios, for garnish
Full-fat plain organic yogurt, for topping (optional)

Directions:
1. Peel the turnip and cut into 1/2-inch (1 cm) cubes. Peel the parsnips and cut them slightly larger. In a medium saucepan, melt 1 tsp (5 mL) of the Golden Ghee over medium heat. Slide in the onion, then stir and cook for 5 minutes, until softened. Sprinkle in the garlic and garam masala and cook for an additional minute.
2. Push the onions to the side of the pan and melt the remaining 1 tsp (5 mL) Golden Ghee. Tumble in the turnips and parsnips and stir to coat with the ghee. Toss in a pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.
3. Transfer the vegetables to a slow cooker. Add the chickpeas, cider, tomato sauce, raisins and remaining salt. Stir well. Cover with the lid and cook on low for 5 hours. Slow cookers vary, so check the stew after about 4 hours. The stew is ready when the turnip is tender but not mushy. Serve with a sprinkling of chopped pistachios and a spoonful of yogurt if you wish.

Simple Bites Kitchen cover

Excerpted from The Simple Bites Kitchen: Nourishing Whole Food Recipes for Every Day. Copyright © 2017 by Aimée Wimbush-Bourque. Photos copyright © Tim and Angela Chin. Published by Penguin, an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.