Tag Archives: cheese

crispy air fryer brussels sprouts in a serving bowl

Crispy Air Fryer Parmesan Brussels Sprouts

If you are looking for a simple holiday side dish made in everyone’s favourite air fryer, this recipe is for you! A recipe sure to change even the pickiest of eaters mind about brussels sprouts, these crispy sprouts are loaded with garlic and parmesan flavour. The best part? They come together in minutes and don’t use up any oven space. Easy enough for a weeknight dinner too, these might just become your new favourite side dish.

Crispy Air Fryer Parmesan Brussels Sprouts

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients
1 lb Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp balsamic glaze
¼ cup freshly grated parmesan, plus more to garnish

ingredients for crispy air fryer brussels sprouts

Directions:
1. In a large pot of salted boiling water blanch the brussels sprouts for 1 minute. Immediately submerge into an ice bath to halt the cooking process. Strain the sprouts and pat dry before transferring to a mixing bowl.

washed brussels sprouts in a colander

2. Toss the sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper. Transfer to a preheated air fryer at 375°F degrees and cook for 5 minutes.

Related: Curried Brussels Sprouts Are the Fall Side Dish You Need Right Now

brussels sprouts in an air fryer

3. Mix in the garlic. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, until crispy. Remove from heat. Add the balsamic glaze and parmesan.

brussels sprouts in an air fryer

4. Transfer to serving plate and garnish with additional parmesan if desired. Serve immediately.

a bowl of crispy parmesan brussels sprouts

Love these air fryer Brussels Sprouts? Try this vegan scalloped potatoes recipe next!

a bowl of curry chicken poutine

West Indian Curry Chicken Poutine is a Must-Try


With the vibrance and spice of a West Indian chicken curry and the comfort of a Canadian classic, this Chicken Curry Poutine features stacks of fresh baked french fries from the Eat With Us Cookbook, a sprinkling of squeaky cheese curds, spicy chicken and a drizzling of curry gravy. It’s a Menu Mashup that really packs a punch.

a bowl of curry chicken poutine

Chicken Curry Poutine

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients
1 ½ lbs french fries (homemade or store-bought)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 green onions, chopped and divided
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 wiri wiri peppers (or Scotch Bonnet)
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 Tbsp curry powder
1 Tbsp garam masala
1 Tbsp geera
¼ cup olive oil
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp flour
2 cups chicken stock
12 oz cheese curds

ingredients for curry chicken poutine

Directions
1. Preheat the oven and cook fries as directed on the package.

2. Make a green seasoning by placing the chopped onion, 2 chopped green onions, garlic, wiri wiri, and thyme in a blender. Add a quarter cup of water and pulse for 5-10 seconds. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

3. In a medium bowl toss chicken thighs with 2-3 tablespoons of the green seasoning, until coated, then set aside.

Related: West Indian Egg Curry and Roti

chicken thighs marinating in a glass bowl

4. Combine curry powder, garam masala, and geera with the remaining green seasoning.

5. Heat a deep skillet or Dutch oven on medium-high. Add oil and once it begins to smoke, carefully add the green seasoning. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until deep brown and fragrant. Add a splash of water if the spices begin to stick to the bottom of the pan.

west indian curry being whisked in a pot

6. Arrange the chicken in the pan and cook for 5 minutes, adding a splash of water as necessary so the spices don’t burn on the bottom of the pan. Flip the chicken, cover the pan and cook and additional 5 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Related: Karaage Chicken and Green Onion Waffles

west indian chicken curry in a pot

7. Transfer the chicken to a bowl to rest then add the tomato paste to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly, then stir in flour, and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock and whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until it reaches a gravy consistency, about 5 minutes.

8. For assembly, arrange a portion of fries in a shallow bowl and sprinkle with cheese curds.

french fries in a bowl surrounded by ingredients for curry chicken poutine

9. Chop the chicken and arrange on the curds then smother with the curry gravy. Sprinkle with remaining green onions.

a bowl of curry chicken poutine

Love this curry chicken poutine? Try these bulgogi cabbage rolls next!

Nachos loaded with armstrong cheese on a serving platter

The Easiest, Cheesiest Nacho Recipe to Make Tonight

The key to any good plate of nachos is ooey gooey cheese, and lots of it! To ensure you get that melty cheese pull you’re looking for, be sure to load up on Armstrong Tex Mex Shredded Cheese. Well-seasoned ground chicken, roasted red peppers, fiery jalapeno and a final sprinkle of fresh cilantro and chives take this nacho plate to supreme levels.

Related: Cheesy Chorizo and Potato Bites Are the Ultimate Crowd Pleaser

Nachos loaded with armstrong cheese on a serving platter

Cheesy Tex Mex Nachos

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients
1 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup cooking onion, diced
1 Tbsp garlic, finely chopped
1 lb (454 g) ground chicken
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne
1 bag (250 g) nacho chips
1 cup roasted red pepper, diced
1 fresh jalapeno, thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh chives, chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 package (320 g) Armstrong Tex Mex Shredded Cheese

Directions
1. Drizzle olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until transparent, about 3 minutes.

2. Add ground chicken, and use a spatula to break it up into small pieces. Let the meat brown without moving it for about 3 minutes. This gives the meat more contact to the pan and will result in a better sear. Sprinkle meat with cumin, coriander, paprika and cayenne. Continue to brown the chicken, stirring every minute or so until all the moisture has evaporated, about 4-7 minutes. Make sure there are no signs of pink and break up any large pieces.

Related: This Cheesy Peameal Breakfast Sandwich Will Make You Excited to Wake Up in the Morning

3. Heat broiler to high and move rack to the middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place nacho chips in an even layer. Spread cooked chicken mixture over the nacho chips, layer with roasted red peppers, jalapeno and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Broil for 2-4 minutes, watching closely.

4. Garnish with chives and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Love Roger’s cheesy nachos? Try his mac and triple cheese next!

cheesy chorizo bites stuffed with armstrong cheese on a wooden serving board

Cheesy Chorizo and Potato Bites Are the Ultimate Crowd Pleaser

When it comes to feeding a crowd, cheese is always a good idea. With a creamy inside and delectably crispy outside, these cheesy chorizo balls are guaranteed to be a hit. Armstrong Mexican Fiesta Marble Cheddar with Jalapeno provides these tasty morsels with a complex hit of spice that balances well with the buttery potato filling.

cheesy chorizo bites stuffed with armstrong cheese on a wooden serving board

Cheesy Chorizo and Potato Bites

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Servings: 4-6 (makes 24 balls)

Ingredients
2 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1” pieces
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
Kosher salt, to taste
2 fresh chorizo sausages
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
3 eggs, divided
Freshly ground black peppercorns, to taste
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil, for frying
Large crystal sea salt, to taste
2½ cups Armstrong Mexican Fiesta Marble Cheddar with Jalapeno

Directions
1. Place the peeled and chopped potatoes in a large pot. Fill water to 1” above the potatoes. Bring the water to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer, continuing to cook for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender. You can test this by poking a piece of potato with a fork, paring knife, or skewer. If the utensil slides easily all the way to the center, the potatoes are done.

2. Strain potatoes and cool on a clean dry tray, until room temperature. Mash with a potato masher or process through a potato ricer, stirring in butter and seasoning with salt to taste. You should yield about 2 cups of mashed potato total. Set aside.

Related: Mac and Triple Cheese Topped with Grilled Chicken is the Comfort Food You Need

3. Heat a medium-sized frying pan over medium-high heat. Cut chorizo casings down the middle and squeeze the chorizo into the hot pan. Break the sausage apart into pea-sized crumble using a wooden spoon and turn the heat down slightly to medium, continuing to move sausage around the pan. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until cooked through. Chorizo should be dull red or light brown when cooked.

4. In a large bowl, combine the room-temperature mashed potatoes, cooked chorizo, cilantro, Armstrong Mexican Fiesta Marble Cheddar with Jalapeno and 1 egg. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Form the mashed potato mixture into compact balls using a small ice cream scoop or 2 spoons, make 24 balls total. The balls should be similar in size to golf balls and weigh about 30g each.

Related: This Jalapeno Appenzeller Bread is a Cheese Lover’s Dream

6. Prepare 3 shallow plates: 1 with flour, 1 with remaining eggs beaten and 1 with panko breadcrumbs.

7. A few at a time, roll the balls first into the flour, then dip them in the beaten egg and finally roll them through the panko, making sure they are completely covered. Place them on a plate or tray until ready to fry. Repeat this step until all balls are coated.

8. Add vegetable oil to a large pot, at least a couple inches deep, and heat over medium-high heat until a thermometer reaches 350°F. Fry balls in batches of 4 or 5 at a time. Using a slotted spoon, roll them around to ensure they are golden all over, about 2-3 minutes. Once crispy and golden, place on a towel-lined tray to cool. Garnish with a large crystal sea salt. Serve warm or cold.

Love Roger’s cheesy chorizo bites? Try this cheesy peameal breakfast sandwich next.

mac and cheese in a casserole dish made with armstrong cheese

Mac and Triple Cheese Topped with Grilled Chicken is the Comfort Food You Need

Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food, and using Armstrong Triple Cheddar Shredded Cheese is an easy way to reduce prep time without compromising on flavour. Topped with juicy grilled chicken breast, this velvety mac and cheese is the comfort you’re craving, and it only requires 15 minutes of prep time!

mac and cheese in a casserole dish made with armstrong cheese

Mac and Triple Cheese Topped with Grilled Chicken

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients
2 large skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground black peppercorns, to taste
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley, divided
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano, divided
4 cups macaroni pasta
¼ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup cooking onion, diced
1 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
3 cups 2% milk
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 package (320g) Armstrong Triple Cheddar Shredded Cheese

Directions
1. Heat grill to 500°F.

2. Rub chicken all over with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp fresh parsley and 1 Tbsp of fresh oregano. Grill chicken, 4 minutes per side or until cooked through. To test if chicken is done, use an instant-read thermometer and ensure that it reads at least 165°F. Alternatively, you can cut into a breast and see if it’s white all the way through, not pink. Chicken breasts should be golden brown with nice char marks when they’re done. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

3. Cook macaroni according to package directions, then drain and set aside.

Related: Macaroni Recipes That Will Satisfy All Your Pasta Cravings

4. Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium-high heat, add butter, onion and garlic. Sauté until transparent, about 3-4 minutes. Whisk in flour and continue to cook for another 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, whisking constantly until mixture thickens. Slowly add milk, 1 cup at a time and continue whisking. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Whisk in smoked paprika. Take the pot off the heat and stir in Armstrong Triple Cheddar Shredded Cheese. Add cooked macaroni and mix to combine.

5. Dice the chicken and serve over the cheesy macaroni. Sprinkle with remaining parsley and oregano.

6. Serve immediately.

Love Roger’s mac and cheese? You have to try his cheesy breakfast sandwich next.

a breakfast sandwich with armstrong cheese on a yellow plate

This Cheesy Peameal Breakfast Sandwich Will Make You Excited to Wake Up in the Morning

Skip the drive-through and start your day off right with this hearty homemade breakfast sandwich. Layered with a perfectly runny fried egg, thick peameal bacon, tangy chipotle mayo, delicate avocado and blanketed in melty Armstrong Marble Cheddar Cheese Slices, you’ll have an extra good reason to hop out of bed in the morning.

a breakfast sandwich with armstrong cheese on a yellow plate

Cheesy Peameal Breakfast Sandwich

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients
4 hamburger buns, split
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 slices peameal bacon
4 Tbsp store-bought chipotle mayonnaise
1 avocado, thinly sliced
1 tsp vegetable oil
4 eggs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black peppercorns, to taste
4 Armstrong Marble Cheddar Cheese Slices

Directions
1. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Butter each half of the buns on both sides.

2. Toast buttered buns in the hot pan, cut side down, pressing slightly until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Set aside on a tray.

3. In the same pan, cook peameal bacon until lightly golden and cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, generously spread chipotle mayonnaise on both inner sides of the buns. Top the bottom bun with sliced avocado and peameal bacon.

5. Heat oil in a small non-stick pan over medium heat. Add eggs and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes and then flip over using a heatproof rubber spatula. Continue to cook eggs until mostly set but still slightly runny on top, about 2 more minutes.

6. Top eggs with slices of Armstrong Marble Cheddar Cheese. Allow the cheese to melt on the eggs, about 1 minute.

7. Place eggs on peameal bacon, top with the bun lids and enjoy immediately.

Looking for more breakfast inspiration? See our guide to cooking eggs perfectly, every time.

cheesy croque madame rolls on a white plate

Wait ‘Til You Try These Cheesy Croque Madame Rolls Drizzled with Hollandaise


In this edition of Menu Mashup, classic cinnamon rolls are combined with a savoury croque madame to create these seriously epic Croque Madame Rolls. Stuffed with ham, Emmental, and a sweet Dijon filling, and then finished with a drizzle of quick hollandaise sauce and chives, every bite is perfectly sweet and savoury. It’s a show-stopping dish that’s sure to impress on any brunch menu.

cheesy croque madame rolls on a white plate

Croque Madame Rolls

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Rising Time: 90 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Yield: 12 Rolls

For the dough:
¾ cup whole milk, lukewarm (110° F)
2 ¼ tsp dry active yeast
¼ cup salted butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
3 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
¼ tsp salt
Olive oil to grease bowl

For the filling:
¼ cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp salted butter, melted
¾ lb sliced ham
¾ lb sliced Emmental cheese

For the sauce:
4 egg yolks
1½ Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ tsp salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
¾ cup salted butter, melted
Chopped fresh chives, for garnish (optional)

ingredients for cheesy croque madame rolls

Directions:
1. For the dough, pour the milk into a medium bowl. Stir in the yeast and let stand for 5 minutes, or until the yeast becomes bubbly on top of the milk. Whisk in the melted butter and eggs.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt, then pour in the wet ingredients and stir until it forms a dough. Lightly dust your countertop with flour and turn the dough out. Knead for 3 to 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Grease a large bowl with oil and place the dough in the bowl, turning and flipping it to ensure it is coated. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and keep in a warm spot for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

dough for croque madame rolls in a glass bowl

3. Once dough has risen, punch to release the air. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a rectangle. Roll the dough to a 9 by 14 inch rectangle.

Related: These Mexican-Inspired Taco Burgers Are Bringing the Heat

dough for croque madame rolls rolled into a flat rectangle

4. For the filling, in a medium bowl, make the filling by combining brown sugar, Dijon mustard and salted butter. Pour over the dough and spread out until evenly coated. Lay slices of ham overtop just barely overlapping each other, then arrange emmental slices over the ham.

dough for croque madame rolls topped with emmental cheese and ham

5. With the long end of the dough facing you, roll the dough into a log. Cut the ends off so that you are starting with a flat edge, and cut the log into 12 even slices (approximately 1-inch).

Related: This Epic Karaage Chicken and Green Onion Waffles Recipe is Sweet, Spicy and Savoury

a croque madame roll being rolled up

6. Arrange the dough rolls in a lightly greased 8 by 13-inch baking pan. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes, until the rolls expand leaving little-to-no space between each other.

unbaked croque madame rolls in a baking dish

7. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Bake the rolls for 22 to 25 minutes, until lightly golden.

Related: Leftover Fried Chicken + Pineapple + Nacho Chips = The Game-Day Meal of Your Dreams

croque madame rolls in a baking dish

8. For the sauce, while rolls are cooling, place egg yolks in a large-mouth mason jar, along with lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, cayenne pepper. Blend for 5 seconds, then while continuing to blend, slowly pour in the butter until thickened and smooth. If the sauce is too thick, add warm water, 1 tablespoon at a time, blending until desired thickness is reached.

9. To serve, drizzle hollandaise over the top of rolls and sprinkle with finely chopped chives.

cheesy croque madame rolls on a white plate

Love Philip and Mystique’s croque madame rolls? Try their Spicy West Indian Shepherd’s Pie next!

halloween charcuterie board with cheese, meat and fruit

How to Make a Spooky Delicious Halloween Charcuterie Board

Cheese and charcuterie, but make it spooky! This easy Halloween-inspired charcuterie board is the perfect crowd-pleaser for your gatherings this year. There’s something for everyone, from white cheddar pumpkins to BOO brie cheese to pepperette witches fingers, and so many other wicked treats.

Tip: When building a holiday-themed board, keep in mind the colours of the season, textures and shapes to inspire you.

halloween charcuterie board with cheese, meat and fruit

Spooky Delicious Halloween Charcuterie Board

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2-4

Ingredients:
1 small wheel double cream brie
3 Tbsp red pepper jelly
8 slices of your favourite cheese (we used white cheddar)
6 pepperettes
Handful pistachios, shelled
1 Tbsp honey
5 black olives, pitted
12 slices Genoa salami
1 block spicy gouda, cubed
1 large cluster of black seedless grapes
3 black mission figs, sliced in half
Handful strawberries, cut in half
2 clementines, peeled
1 cup stuffed olives
1 cup beet and sweet potato chips or crackers
6 sandwich cookies
Edible googly eyes, for decoration

ingredients for a halloween charcuterie board

Directions:
1. Grab a large circular or rectangular board and ready all of your ingredients. Wash and thoroughly dry your fruit.

2. For the BOO-Brie: Slice the brie wheel in half horizontally. With letter or shape cutters, punch out cheese on one half. Place the wheel back together and spoon jelly into the holes.

brie cheese being cut for a halloween charcuterie board

3. For the White Cheddar Pumpkins: Using your preferred sliced cheese and a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter, punch out the different shapes.

Related: These Easy Sourdough Discard Crackers Come Together With Just 5 Ingredients

cheese slices being cut into pumpkins for a halloween charcuterie

4. For the Pepperette Witches fingers: Cut pepperettes in half. Dip pistachio in honey (to act as the adhesive) and place on the tip of the pepperette.

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

pepperettes being prepped for a halloween charcuterie board

5. For the Black Olive Spiders: Cut one pitted black olive in half. Cut one half into 6 long pieces. Arrange the 6 long pieces on the board to resemble legs and place the remaining half cut side down for the spider’s body.

6. Place the different cheeses on the board, spaced apart. Fold the salami into quarters and place them standing up to create height. Arrange the pepperette fingers so all “nails” are  pointed outwards. Scatter the fruit throughout to add a hint of sweetness and pops of colour. Fill in any gaps with stuffed olives, chips, crackers and cookies. Add creepy googly eyes on cookies and grapes for a playful finishing touch.

halloween charcuterie board

Related: This Spooky S’mores Bars Recipe is the Perfect Halloween Treat

Headshot of Afrim Pristine over various cheeses

How to Build a Better Cheese Board: Ask a Cheese Master

The world of cheese is ever-evolving and Afrim Pristine is a lifelong student of its multitude of flavours, textures and potential. Now, he’s hitting the road in an epic global journey on Cheese: A Love Story to check out some of the ways chefs celebrate cheese in all its forms.

For years, Afrim, who co-owns Cheese Boutique along with his brothers Agim and Ilir, has been gradually taking over the public-facing elements of the family business from father Fatos, now retired. Although he’s got the credentials — he’s a maître fromager (as part of the Guilde Internationale des Fromagers) and has a knighthood conferred by the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Taste Fromage de France — Afrim’s main skill is making cheese accessible and understandable to the general public along with the chefs who he counts as regular customers and friends. As the person behind the counter at Cheese Boutique, he’s spent 25 years figuring out how to assess peoples’ tastes and what to offer them, and we’ve asked him for his best techniques in figuring out the best cheese board to please your guests.

Afrim Pristine answers questions at his shop, Cheese Boutique in Toronto

Related: Secrets From a Cheese Master

Ask the Right Questions

If you ask Afrim to make you a cheese board, be prepared for two things: to sample a lot of cheese and to answer a bunch of questions, from what you’re eating and drinking for dinner to what cheeses you like and dislike. “My job is to know what people want before they know they want it,” says Afrim. “The more I know about their tastes, the more I can factor into the decision about showcasing whatever cheese I think they’re going to like.”

Consider Seasonality

We vary our food and drink to the seasons, but when it comes to cheese, one thing that’s often forgotten is the weather outside. “It’s summertime right now. In my opinion, I think a super fat, pungent French Burgundy Normandy style cheese is too much: it’s too heavy, aromatic, and pungent,” he says. For warmer weather, Afrim suggests lighter options such as delicate buffalo mozzarella, whipped herbed ricotta, a fresh young youthful goat cheese or a semi-soft, mild-mannered Ontario gruyère.

See More: Afrim Pristine’s Jalapeno Appenzeller Bread

Be Willing to Experiment

Although people tend to cling to a few tried and true favourites and formulas when assembling a cheese board, Afrim encourages people to take their cheese exploration to a new level. “I don’t think there should be any hard and fast rules when it comes to cheese,” he says. On the show, Afrim was taken aback by chef and “Sorcerer of Entlebuch” Stefan Wiesner at Michelin-starred Gasthof Röessli, who served him Emmental baked with charcoal. At home, trying a curveball or an unexpected surprise on a cheese platter can bring a similarly memorable experience to the table. Afrim likes to astonish people with a piece of monte enebro. “It’s covered in greyish mould, like if you left a loaf of bread for a few days, and it’s goat’s milk unlike the majority of cheeses made in Spain from sheep’s milk. It’s creamier and funkier,” he says.

Make Smart Choices

Although variety is key to cheese boards, get creative with sizing according to your budget. “Have five to seven cheeses, but consider getting some smaller pieces to squeeze in a few extra flavours,” says Afrim. Having more choices allows your guests a better chance of finding something that they will enjoy, without necessarily raising the cost for you. “Not everyone is going to love a blue, but try to have a goat, sheep, semi-firm, a firm, blue, and a fresh cheese, hitting every category,” he says. “You can’t make everyone happy, but if someone walks away loving five of the seven cheeses, that’s all they’re going to remember.”

Various cheeses on a wooden board

Related: Baked Camembert From Cheese: A Love Story

Don’t Buy in Bulk

Buying smaller quantities has other advantages when it comes to crafting a cheese board. “I never buy, or I never tell my customer to buy cheese in bulk. It has a life, and it does go off, especially if it is going in and out of the fridge, so buy what you’re going to enjoy,” says Afrim. “The maintenance, love, and care you give to cheese is equally important to it being made well with good quality milk and good technique. And a consumer’s job is not to store cheese, unless they happen to have a cheese cave—like we do. It’s my job here is to handle the cheese.”

However you construct them, cheese boards are both a unique expression of individual tastes and a way to share them with friends and family. Afrim sees cheese as a near-universal language that translates around the globe, bringing people together. “I love cheese, and I think a big part of this is showcasing the respect for such a simple ingredient: an ingredient we all love,” he says. “In this industry, like-minded people make magic.”

For more of Afrim’s great tips, check out how to buy, store and eat cheese or watch some of the most magical cheese moments from the show.

Watch Cheese: A Love Story and stream all your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

 

 

Halloumi cheese on top of salad

This Grilled Halloumi Salad Will Be Your Go-To Summer BBQ Side

Putting cheese on your salad is the best way to elevate your next meal. Grilled halloumi cheese adds a wonderful salty/savoury element to this salad and after grilling, it develops a crispy golden exterior and a soft gooey interior. It goes perfectly with a bed of greens, crunchy elements like cucumber and almonds and bursts of sweetness from fresh juicy pineapple. Make it a main or a side dish!

Halloumi cheese on top of salad

Grilled Halloumi Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

250g halloumi cheese, sliced into ¼ inch thick slices
3 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice (one lemon)
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp salt
2 cups packed spring greens
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 ½ cups chopped pineapple
⅛ red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup toasted almonds (or any other nuts)

Grilled halloumi cheese salad ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. Slice halloumi into ¼ inch slices and grill on a stovetop grill pan or regular pan. Cook on medium heat for a few minutes on each side. If using cast iron pan, brush each side of halloumi cheese with olive oil to avoid sticking.

Halloumi cheese being grilled in pan

2. Mix together all of the dressing ingredients: olive oil, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and salt.

Related: Best Summer Salads for BBQs, Picnics and More

3. Assemble the salad by layering the greens, cucumber, pineapple, onions, halloumi cheese and almonds. Drizzle the dressing on top.

Like Amina’s grilled halloumi salad? Try her 20-minute salmon or her Middle Eastern bulgur, pomegranate and almond salad.

A bowl containing cripsy pasta chips

Meet Your Next Favourite Crunchy Snack: TikTok Pasta Chips

If you’ve spent anytime at all online, you’ve likely seen any number of the recent (and tasty!) recipe hacks circulating on TikTok and beyond. Add an air fryer to the mix, and well, in comes the latest: TikTok pasta  chips.

Crispy pasta chips in a bowl alongside some dip

Serve with your favourite dip, and you’re ready to enjoy this simple and crunchy snack!

Related: Food Network’s Rigatoni Pie is the OG TikTok Honeycomb Pasta (and Now We Want Both!)

TikTok Pasta Chips

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20-24 minutes
Total time: 29 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

200 g rigatoni pasta (or pasta of choice)
2 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
½ tsp granulated garlic
¼ tsp granulated onion
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp cayenne (optional)
Kosher salt to taste

Related: This Feta Tomato Pasta Trending on TikTok is as Easy as 1-2-3

Rigatoni in a bowl alongside mixins

Directions:

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Season with salt. Cook the pasta according to package directions.

2. Drain pasta and season with olive oil, grated parmesan cheese, granulated garlic, granulated onion, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. Toss until the pasta is well coated.

Cooked rigatoni pasta in a bowl with parmesan on top

3. Place the pasta in one single layer in the air fryer basket, fry in two batches. Air fry at 400F for 10-12 minutes, shaking halfway, until golden and crisp.

Pasta chips in an air fryer basket

4. Serve with your favourite dipping sauce.

Related: I Tried Meghan Markle’s “Filthy, Sexy” Zucchini Pasta Sauce — Here’s How It Stacked Up

Cheese Shopping Mistakes

Advice From a Cheese Master: How to Buy, Store and Eat Cheese

Weekly trips to the grocery store just aren’t complete without a stop at the cheese counter. Whether feta for your Greek salad, sharp cheddar cheese for a vegetarian quiche, smoked gouda for homemade pizza night, there’s a cheese that will improve your dish in a way that your taste buds will thank you.  We sat down with a maître fromager (AKA cheese master) and Cheese: A Love Story host, Afrim Pristine for his dos and don’ts for buying cheese. 

Don’t Forget to Plan Ahead

Overbuying cheese is one of the most common rookie mistakes people make, Afrim says. First of all, cheese needs about two to four hours to breathe before being enjoyed. “If you overbuy, store it in your fridge, and take it back out again, the integrity of the cheese isn’t quite the same.”

Related:  The Facts You Never Knew About Cheese

Do Buy in Smaller Quantities

With this in mind, Pristine recommends buying four or five different cheeses but purchasing them in smaller amounts.  When you purchase the right amount of cheese that you need, you don’t need to worry about unintentional food waste.

Four different cheeses on a white countertop with garnishes

Don’t Store Cheese in Plastic Bags

Afrim recommends wrapping cheese in a layer of wax or parchment paper with another layer of tinfoil. This technique will help cheese have the proper amount of moisture it needs, he explains.

“Creamy cheeses can stay in the fridge for a maximum of 7 to 10 days.  Hard cheeses have a longer shelf life, but won’t be as enjoyable after more than a few weeks,” he says.

Do Seek Out Local Canadian Cheese

Did you know that provinces like Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and even Nova Scotia make world-class cheese? Make the most out of living in Canada’s unique cheese culture by trying out different local cheeses.

As a proud Torontonian, one of Afrim’s favourite Canadian cheese is a Mountainoak gouda from Ontario. “Mountainoak gouda is a pretty complex cheese. It’s very salty and nutty, kind of like butterscotch or a bar of very dark chocolate.”

Related: Meet a Toronto Chef Making His Own Cheeses

Three pieces of parmigiano reggiano

Don’t Stick to the Same Cheese Every Time

It can be all too easy to get into a cheese rut. You already know that grated Parmigiano-Reggiano will taste phenomenal over your legendary risotto or go-to Caesar salad, but why not mix it up and try new recipes centered around your favourite cheeses?

Curb any chance of cheese boredom by experimenting with new unique pairings regularly.  For example, if you like Parmigiano-Reggiano, try it how Afrim’s family recipe: a salad with aged Parmigiano-Reggiano, aged balsamic vinegar, strawberries and basil.

Related: This Jalapeno Appenzeller Bread is a Cheese Lover’s Dream

Cheese counter with several wheels of cheese

Do Be Adventurous

“The best thing about cheese is that it’s personal,” Afrim explains, adding that’s what makes cheese so unique. “There’s so much variety, but I think it’s really up to you on the individual on what you like.”

In other words, don’t be afraid to get out of your element at your local cheese counter and test out a few unique combos in the kitchen. Or you can just try new options for beloved recipes, like these  perfect cheeses for grilled cheese sandwiches. Trust us: the flavour payoff of going out of your comfort zone will be so worth it.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images.

Watch Cheese: A Love Story with Afrim Pristine and stream all your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

Golden gooey monte cristo cut into half

This Clever TikTok Breakfast Hack Now Has Us Craving Monte Cristo Omelette Sandwiches

If you’ve seen the TikTok tortilla fold hack, then the breakfast challenge TikTok sandwich should come as no surprise. Where the wrap hack has @cookingwithayeh showing users how to divvy up a tortilla into quadrants for the ultimate fold, @foodqood‘s breakfast challenge sandwich similarly shows how to make an egg-and-cheese-based sandwich in the pan, with a few clever flips.

While that’s certainly one way to make a decadent, cheesy breakfast sandwich, it isn’t the only way. Known as the more savoury cousin to French toast and little brother to the béchamel-and-Gruyere-based croque monsieur, the Monte Cristo similarly offers delicious crisp on the outside and gooey-melty cheese on the inside. While this recipe includes both confectioners sugar and sliced ham, feel free to forgo or substitute either ingredient. It’s quick to make and easy enough for novice home cooks and pro chefs, alike.

A golden gooey monte cristo sandwich split in half

Related: Molly Yeh’s Bright, Spinach-Packed Spin on Eggs Benedict is Your New Brunch-Time Fave

Monte Cristo Omelette Sandwich

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 1 sandwich

Ingredients:

3 large eggs
Kosher salt
2 slices Swiss cheese
½ tsp Dijon mustard
½ Tbsp confectioners’ sugar
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 slices sourdough or white bread
2 large slices ham

Directions:

1. Add the eggs, 1 Tbsp water and ¼ tsp salt to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Spread each cheese slice with ¼ tsp of the Dijon and set the slices mustard-side-up on a flat surface. Put the confectioners’ sugar in a small fine-mesh sieve set over a plate.

2. Heat the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until melted and starting to brown around the edges of the pan. Add the egg mixture and swirl the pan to coat the bottom. Working quickly, dip 1 slice of the bread in the eggs, then flip the slice and place it so the top edge of the slice is near the edge of the pan furthest from you. Repeat with the remaining slice of bread, setting it across the pan from the first bread slice. The bottom edges of the two slices should be in a straight line, with eggs all around.

Related: Mother’s Day Breakfast in Bed Recipes You Can Drop Off to Mom

3. Continue to cook the eggs until they are completely set on the bottom and mostly cooked on the top, 1 to 2 minutes more. Slide a large nonstick spatula under the bread and flip the whole omelet in one single motion. Set the cheese mustard-side up on top of the omelet, covering the bread. Lay the ham on top of one of the slices of cheese. Using the spatula, fold one side of the omelet (but not the bread side) over the cheese and ham, then fold over the other side. Fold in half so the bread slices meet and form a sandwich.

Related: Kitchen Skills Parents Should Teach Their Kids By Age 10

4. Cook until the bread on the bottom is golden brown and the cheese is beginning to melt, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce the heat if the bread begins to darken too quickly before the cheese melts. Flip and cook until the other side is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.

5. Set the sandwich on a plate and dust with the confectioners’ sugar.

Watch the how-to video here:

Food Network’s Rigatoni Pie is the OG TikTok Honeycomb Pasta (and Now We Want Both!)

You might’ve seen the honeycomb pasta hack that has gone viral on TikTok, in which Anna Rothfuss AKA @bananalovesyoutoo stuffs string cheese in rigatoni pasta, layering on sauce, ground meat and grated cheese for good measure. We daresay this popular quick meal evokes a Food Network Canada eye-catching favourite: our very own 20-minute, 10-ingredient Rigatoni Pie. While slightly more elevated in flavour (no string cheese here), this vegetarian version is equally melty and gooey and just as straight-forward to make for a quick weeknight meal — all with simple pantry ingredients you likely already have on hand.

rigatoni pie on white plate

Looking to save additional time? Instead of making your own tomato sauce, swap in four cups of store-bought marinara. For meat-lovers, you can mix things up too by adding cooked ground meat to the sauce (just note: you’ll need less of the sauce). This delicious budget-friendly comfort food will be a fan favourite at home, and the good news is the yield is high, so there will be plenty to go around.

Watch the how-to video here:


Rigatoni Pie Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Rest Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients:

6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
9 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes in juice
1 15-oz can whole peeled tomatoes in juice
1 cup loosely-packed fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lb(s) rigatoni
1 lb(s) part-skim mozzarella, grated
⅔ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Heat 4 Tbsp of the olive oil with the garlic in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Once it begins to sizzle, cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is soft and just beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes, then add the tomatoes and 1 ½ cups water. Increase the heat to high and bring the tomato sauce to a boil, crushing the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced and thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper. Let the sauce cool for 10 minutes then puree in a blender until smooth.

Related: This Feta Tomato Pasta Trending on TikTok is as Easy as 1-2-3

2. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with 1 Tbsp olive oil and bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until it is slightly less than al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta, spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil.

3. Stand the rigatoni on their ends in the prepared pan until it is completely filled (you might not use all the pasta). Place the pan on a foil-lined baking sheet to catch drips. Pour the sauce over the noodles, spreading it with the back of a spoon (You might not use all the sauce.) Sprinkle the pasta with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Related: I Tried Meghan Markle’s “Filthy, Sexy” Zucchini Pasta Sauce — Here’s How It Stacked Up

4. Cover the pan with foil, doming it slightly to avoid touching the cheese. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover the pan and continue cooking until the top is golden brown and bubbly, about 30 minutes more. Let the pasta cool for 10 minutes, then carefully remove the sides of the pan, cut into wedges and serve.

Leftover Grits, Ham & Gruyere Cheese = The Ultimate Fried Snack From Kardea Brown

Can a bite-sized fried recipe really be the snack of your dreams? As Kardea Brown proves time and time again with her mouth-watering comfort food on Delicious Miss Brown, the answer is yes with a capital Y.  Ready in 45 minutes, these crispy balls have all the goods thanks to the combo of ham, cheese, paprika, breadcrumbs and leftover cooked grits. It’s the afternoon snack we’ve all been waiting for.

Related: Kardea Brown’s Pan Fried Collard Greens Are the Garlicky, Bacon-y Vegetable Side Dish of Your Dreams

Kardea Brown’s Cheesy Country Ham Grit Balls

Total Time: 45 minutes
Yields: 10 to 12 servings

Ingredients:

Canola oil, for frying
1/2 cup diced country ham
2 1/2 cups leftover cooked grits
1 cup grated smoked Gruyere cheese
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Kosher salt

Miss Kardea Brown rolls her Cheesy Country Ham Grit Balls with Spicy Mayo in breading, as seen on Delicious Miss Brown, Season 3.

Related: 32 Easy Air Fryer Recipes That Are Simply Delish

Directions:

1. Fill a large Dutch oven two-thirds full with oil and heat over medium-high heat to 360°F.

2. Add 2 tablespoons oil to a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ham and cook just until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Add the grits and cheese to the bowl and stir until combined. Using wet hands, scoop 1/4 cup of the grit mixture, roll it into a ball and place on a platter or large plate. Repeat until all the grit mixture is used.

3. Whisk together the flour, paprika and cayenne in a shallow bowl. In a separate shallow bowl, add the eggs. Add the panko to another separate shallow bowl. Dip each grit ball into the flour mixture and shake to remove any excess before dipping into the eggs and then into the panko, spinning to coat completely.

4. Add the grit balls to the Dutch oven in batches, frying until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove to a sheet pan lined with a wire rack and immediately sprinkle with salt.

Looking for a Southern-style finish to your fried snack? Kardea Brown’s Caramel Apple Cake should hit the (sweet) spot.

Watch Delicious Miss Brown and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

Watch the how-to recipe video here:


Kardea Brown’s One-Pan Cheesy Baked Eggs Make Brunch a Breeze

Looking for a new recipe to add to your regular brunch rotation? As Kardea Brown shows us with this mouth-watering cheesy baked dish, it’s easy to elevate the humble egg with just a few basic ingredients. Chopped mustard greens, hash browns and various cheeses are tossed into a casserole dish alongside eggs for a hearty comfort food that’ll leave you belly full.

Related: Kardea Brown’s Pan Fried Collard Greens Are the Garlicky, Bacon-y Vegetable Side Dish of Your Dreams

Kardea Brown’s One-Pan Cheesy Baked Eggs

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Yields: 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups chopped mustard greens
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup baking mix, preferably Bisquick
2 cups grated sharp yellow Cheddar
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
2 cups frozen hash browns

Related: Kardea Brown’s Beef and Okra Stew is the Warming Dinner You Didn’t Know You Were Craving

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon softened butter.

2. Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the mustard greens, garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper and saute just until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.

Miss Kardea Brown finishes her Cheesy Baked Eggs as seen on Delicious Miss Brown, Season 3.

3. Whisk together the eggs, milk, baking mix, 1/2 teaspoon salt and some pepper in a bowl until well incorporated. Stir in the mustard greens, cheeses and hash browns. Pour into the greased baking dish. Bake until puffed lightly, golden brown and soft-set in the middle, 45 to 50 minutes.

4. Cool slightly before slicing and serving warm.

Related: The Best Ways to Prepare Eggs Around the World, From France to Japan

Watch Delicious Miss Brown and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

How to Make Bruschetta in 15 Minutes (Plus the Best Bruschetta Bar for Nights Inside)

Nothing says staying indoors quite like a delightful seasonal spread bursting with fresh ingredients. We absolutely love to use the best of the season, and one summer and early fall favourite is tomatoes. Fresh, juicy and perfectly ripe at the end of summer, we’re always looking for ways to make them a star. Our new favourite is to assemble a quick and easy bruschetta bar when spending time inside with loved ones (because we’re desperate to switch things up these days!).  With a few simple ingredients, you can showcase the bright, herbaceous flavours of this beloved app and present an impressive spread in just a few minutes.

How to Make Bruschetta (And the Best Bruschetta Bar!)

bruschetta-bar-spread

Related: From Homemade Bread to Pickles, 20 Recipes to Master While Indoors

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
4 tomatoes, seeded and diced or 12 cocktail tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup Vidalia onion, minced
1 clove garlic, grated
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3/4 cup labneh or Greek yogurt
3/4 cup ricotta
3/4 cup hummus
1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped basil
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 Tbsp za’atar
1 baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices
Olive oil

bruschetta bar assembled

Related: Ranking Canadian Retailers Offering Grocery Delivery Right Now, by Price

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.
2. Place labneh, ricotta, hummus, walnuts, parsley, basil, parmesan and pine nuts into small bowls and place on platter.
3. Sprinkle labneh with za’atar and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle ricotta with herbs, if desired.
4. Assemble all items on a platter and serve with plates for guests to assemble their appetizers.

Looking for more easy peasy recipes? Trust us: these snack plates are the easy dinner option you need this week!

Celebrate Oktoberfest at Home With These Soft Pretzels, Done Two Ways!

These soft pretzels remind me of going to the carnival (or Oktoberfest celebrations!), but since we can’t go in person this year, I’m bringing the party home with my jalapeno smoked-cheddar stuffed pretzels. Yes, you read that right! These pretzels are soft, golden brown and stuffed with a creamy filling. Alternatively, you can skip the filling (but why would you?!) and toss them in a sweet cinnamon sugar mix. Serve with salsa, cheese sauce or even butter — or try them with my favourite decadent cream cheese icing recipe.

Soft Pretzels

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Rest Time: 55 minutes
Bake Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 90 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients:

Pretzel Dough
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp instant yeast
1 cup warm water
¼ cup ( ½ stick ) butter, melted

Jalapeno Cheddar Filling
¼ cup cream cheese
½ cup smoked cheddar, grated
⅓ cup jalapenos, diced
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp granulated garlic

Cinnamon Sugar Topping
½ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

Other
¼ cup baking soda, for boiling
¼ cup melted butter, for brushing
Coarse salt, for topping

Directions:

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, water and melted butter. Knead for 7-10 minutes on medium-low speed until the dough is soft and smooth. Place on the counter, cover with the mixing bowl and let rest for 45 minutes until the dough doubles in size.

2. Meanwhile, make the jalapeno cheddar filling. Mix together the cream cheese, smoked cheddar, jalapenos, salt and garlic. Set aside.

Related: 15 Must-Try German Dishes to Celebrate Oktoberfest

3. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Boil 8 cups of water on the stovetop.

4. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions and roll each piece into a smooth ball. Starting with one piece — keeping the rest covered so they don’t dry out — roll the dough into a log about 12 inches long. Flatten to about 2 inches wide. Add about 2 Tbsp of the jalapeno cheddar filling in the centre lengthwise. Pinch the dough together to close the seams, making sure to push out any air. Gently roll the dough with your hands until it’s about 24 inches long.

5. To shape the pretzels, take the left side and cross over the right, cross over the right again and flip the ends up and pinch to seal.

6. Add the baking soda to the boiling water. Boil the pretzels 2 at a time for 30 seconds, remove with a spider strainer and place on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the filled pretzels lightly with coarse salt and let rest for 10 minutes until the pretzels dry out.

7. Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush liberally with the melted butter. Enjoy warm. If you’ve opted to skip the filling and go the cinnamon sugar route, now brush the pretzels with melted butter and toss in cinnamon sugar mix to coat.

Like Sabrina’s soft pretzels? Check out her no-bake key lime pie icebox cake, dessert wontons and easy peach plum cobbler.

Seasonal Produce Shines in Ina Garten’s Tomatoes and Burrata Recipe

Foodies looking for an easy lunch or light dinner recipe that plays with taste and texture can rely on the creamy wonders of burrata cheese. It’s soft shell can be pierced with a fork, revealing a buttery  centre that aligns with the sweet tomatoes and fresh basil on your plate. For the uninitiated, why not start with this simple and classic version  from The Barefoot Contessa.

Creamy burrata cheese, ripe mixed heirloom cherry tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and aged balsamic vinegar are perfectly paired with Ina Garten‘s crunchy homemade four-ingredient garlic toasts. It’s exactly the sort of bold and beautiful dish that’ll brighten your late-summer, early-fall dinner table. *Chef’s kiss*

Related: Ina Garten’s Greek Salad is a Classic for a Reason

Ina Garten’s Tomatoes and Burrata

Total Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 2 servings

Ingredients:

1 (8- to 10-ounce) ball of fresh burrata cheese
1 pint mixed heirloom cherry tomatoes or 8 to 10 (2-inch diameter) heirloom tomatoes
Good olive oil
Aged balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 fresh basil leaves, julienned
Fleur de sel or sea salt
6 Garlic Toasts, recipe follows

For the Garlic Toasts:
1 baguette
1/4 cup good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, halved lengthwise

Related: Any Hour is Cocktail Hour With Ina Garten’s Classic Cosmopolitan

Directions:

1.Cut the ball of cheese in half crosswise and place the halves, cut side down, on 2 salad plates. Cut each tomato in half through the stem end and distribute them around the burrata. Drizzle the tomatoes and burrata generously with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Scatter the basil on the salads, sprinkle with fleur de sel, and serve with Garlic Toasts.

Related: Ina Garten’s 25 Easiest Weeknight Dinners

For the Garlic Toasts:
Yields: 20-25 toasts

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Slice the baguette diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Depending on the size of the baguette, you should get 20 to 25 slices.

3. Lay the slices in one layer on a baking sheet, brush each with olive oil, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Bake the toasts for 15 to 20 minutes, until they are browned and crisp. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, rub one side of the toasts with the cut side of the garlic. Serve at room temperature.

Watch Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics and stream all your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

Comforting Three-Cheese Cacio e Pepe in Spaghetti Squash Form

Cacio e Pepe translates to “cheese and pepper”, and is the ultimate no-nonsense pantry pasta consisting of freshly ground pepper, noodles, and good quality cheese. Spaghetti squash presents much like spaghetti noodles and is generally available all year-round, making for an excellent alternative for gluten-intolerants (more gluten-free dinner inspiration here) or those looking for a healthy low-carb twist on the classic. So grab your cheese grater, and start prepping tonight’s dinner.

Three-Cheese Cacio e Pepe Baked Spaghetti Squash

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 80 minutes (includes squash roasting time)
Servings: 4 (raw veg = 5 cups before mixing in cheese)

Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
1 ½  tsp coarsely ground black pepper, divided
2 Tbsp olive oil or butter
¾ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
¼ cup mascarpone cheese or smooth ricotta (optional)
Chopped parsley or basil

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and strands with a spoon. Brush inside with 1 Tbsp oil and sprinkle with ¼ tsp each salt and pepper. Place cut side down on the prepared pan.

Tip: Don’t forget to save the squash seeds and roast them as a snack. Here’s how to roast tamari and sea salt pumpkin seeds (follow the same instructions).

3. Roast until a paring knife is easily inserted in the centre, about 45 minutes. Let cool.

4. Using a large spoon, spoon out and shred into long strands. Spread on a double layer of paper towel or clean kitchen towel to absorb any liquid.

5. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and then the squash, remaining ¼ tsp salt and remaining 1 ¼ tsp pepper and toss. Stir in mascarpone (if using), stirring until just melted and combined. Remove from heat and sprinkle with the Parmesan and Pecorino cheese, tossing to combine.

Tip: Like its namesake, this dish is all about pepper and cheese. For the best pepper flavour, toast whole black peppercorns in a skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant, shaking the pan, 2 to 3 minutes. Let cool and crush with the bottom of a heavy bottom pot or skillet.

6. Divide among plates and sprinkle with parsley and more cheese, if desired.

Another cheesy pasta recipe with a twist: this winter greens mac & cheese will make you feel healthy. You’ll also devour this vegetarian spaghetti puttanesca with cauliflower. Lastly, test out these weeknight dinners where veggies replace carbs.