Tag Archives: chicken

We Tried the KFC Cinnabon Dessert Biscuits — Are They Worth the Hype?

Is it possible that two popular food chains have crafted the dessert pairing we didn’t know we needed? KFC Canada has joined fast-food forces with Cinnabon for a dessert that is so 2020 — chaotic.

As of December 2, KFC Cinnabon Dessert Biscuits are available across Canada while quantities last. It’s the perfect holiday treat for those who love trying the latest food crazes — or simply want to travel back (in their minds) to warm weather and carnival eats.

So, is this dessert mashup worth the buzz? You needed answers, so we gave it a try on your behalf. (You can thank us later).

Related: We Tried Popeyes’ Famous Chicken Sandwich That Finally Arrived in Canada – Is It Worth the Hype?

So, what exactly are KFC Cinnabon Dessert Biscuits?

This savoury treat is essentially a Frankenstein’s monster of a dessert (which is totally on-trend), combining KFC’s signature buttermilk biscuits with Cinnabon’s cinnamon brown sugar glaze, cream cheese frosting and chocolate bow tie toppers. To be honest, it reminds us of must-try summer carnival foods, like the ones that garner headlines at the CNE every year.

Customers can order them individually ($1.99), as a four-pack ($6.99) or as part of KFC’s Festive Buckets — the Festive Mighty Bucket for One ($11.99) and the Festive Double Bucket ($35.99).

Related: Meatball Fans Rejoice! IKEA Canada Restaurant Now Offers Takeout

First Look

“Soggy” is the first word that comes to mind. We opened a box of the four-pack and were met with gooey, melted chocolate on top — and maybe it’s just us, but we’re not really fans of desserts that look super… wet? But we’re going into this with entirely open minds. Sure, it doesn’t exactly look appetizing, but it can’t be that bad, right?

Related: We Tested 4 Popular Canadian Meal Delivery Kits. Here’s How They Compared

Digging In

At first bite, the dessert biscuits taste exactly how they look: soggy. The biscuit is mediocre at best — it was a lot more crumbly and dense than we would have expected and it had a weird aftertaste.

The silver lining in all this: it’s worth noting that the little chocolate bow ties on the top (which actually resemble little melted stick figures, don’t you think?) were the least offensive part of the entire dessert — so chocolate fans can rejoice in that part, we suppose?

The Verdict

Honestly, if you’re craving KFC’s fan-favourite biscuits, just straight-up buy one of them, sans goopy cinnamon sugar and chocolate stick figures/bow ties. If you’re craving Cinnabon, just go to Cinnabon — and the two shall never meet.

KFC Cinnabon Dessert Biscuits are available exclusively at KFCs across Canada.

Here are some famous recipes we’re making at home — from McDs hash browns to IKEA meatballs. You can also check out these recipes from hit movies and our favourite songs!

The Pioneer Woman’s Fast White Chicken Chili Will Become a Weeknight Staple

When it comes to quick and easy meals, you can rely on Ree Drummond for an instant classic family staple. With a plethora of diverse palate-pleasing spices and hearty beans and cheeses, this one-pot wonder from The Pioneer Woman is everything you need from an easy chicken-forward chili recipe. Bon appetit!

Related: Ree Drummond’s Best Holiday Desserts (From Cookies to Cheesecake)

The Pioneer Woman’s Fast White Chicken Chili

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp olive oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (1 ½ to 2 pounds total)
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
½ cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp masa harina
Two 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Two 4-ounce cans chopped green chiles, drained
One 10-ounce bag frozen corn
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 avocado, diced
4 to 6 lime wedges

Related: 100 Popular Chicken Breast Recipes You Need to Try

Special Equipment: Pressure cooker

Directions:

1. Mix the coriander, cumin, oregano, paprika, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper together in a small bowl.

2. Add olive oil to a pressure cooker, set to saute and add the chicken. Sprinkle the spice mix over the chicken and toss. Cook until the chicken has started to sear on the outside, then add the broth.

3. Place the lid on the pressure cooker, set the valve to sealing, and cook on manual for 6 minutes. Release the steam using the quick-release cycle. Remove the chicken to a board and shred with two forks.

4. Put the heavy cream and masa harina in a small bowl and mix until smooth with a whisk or fork.

5. Switch the pressure cooker to saute and return the chicken to the pressure cooker along with the masa and heavy cream mixture, cannellini beans, green chiles and corn. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until the chili has thickened and the corn is warmed through, about 10 minutes.

6. Ladle the chili into 6 bowls. Top with cheese and avocado. Serve with lime wedges.

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s Cheesiest, Most Comforting Recipes Ever

Watch the How-To Video:


Want to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your family? The Pioneer Woman’s top cooking tips for easier weeknight dinners will help you get started.

Watch The Pioneer Woman via 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.

Lemon spatchcock chicken on roasting pan

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

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

Spatchcock chicken on sheet pan with roasted veggies

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

Related: How to Grill the Perfect Piri Piri Spatchcock Chicken

Lemon Spatchcock Chicken With Roasted Apples, Parsnips and Leeks

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

Ingredients:

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

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

Garnish
Fresh thyme sprigs
Freshly chopped parsley
Lemon wedges

Spatchcock chicken ingredients on kitchen counter

Directions:

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

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

Spatchcock chicken marinade in glass bowl

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

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

Lemon spatchcock chicken with veggies on roasting pan

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

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

Cooked spatchcock chicken and roasted veggies on serving tray

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

We Tried Popeyes’ Famous Chicken Sandwich That Finally Arrived in Canada — Is It Worth the Hype?

It doesn’t happen every day, but — every once in a blue moon — people lose their minds over a hype-worthy food. For a bite to reach that level of foodie fervour, a few things have to happen: it has to be hard to get your hands on, it has to be photo ready (a la charcoal soft serve) and it has to be totally tasty. Enter the collective Canadian craving for the infamous Popeyes’ Chicken Sandwich.

You might be asking: why all the hype over a fried chicken sandwich? Can’t you get fried chicken plenty of places? Yes… and no (until recently). Popeyes’ Chicken Sandwich (often referred to audaciously as “The Sandwich”) was released to attention-grabbing crowds in America in 2019 — but it only arrived in Canada as of September 14th.

So is this sandwich worth the buzz? Or can we chalk up this chicken frenzy merely a case of wanting what you can’t have? Obviously, we needed answers, so we gave The Sandwich a try.

Recipe for Success

First thing’s first: what exactly is a Popeyes’ Chicken Sandwich? The Sandwich (which will set you back between $5.99 to $6.49 depending on which province you’re in) consists of an all-white fried chicken breast fillet topped with barrel-cured pickles and mayonnaise (either classic or spicy) — all assembled on a toasted brioche bun.

The chicken itself follows the company’s signature fried chicken formula. The chicken is marinated in a blend of Louisiana seasonings, battered by hand, breaded in a buttermilk coating and then fried. So, if you’re already a fan of their fried chicken, this will almost definitely be for you.

 

First Looks

If all the fanfare has you picturing some sort of over-the-top chicken-fried behemoth, then you’ll likely be a bit disappointed to feast (your eyes) on The Sandwich. However, if you’re expecting a classic fried chicken sandwich, then you’re in luck! Visually, there are no big surprises: The Sandwich is straightforward looking, with a generous piece of fried chicken and chartreuse-hued rounds of those cured pickles neatly sandwiched between the halved brioche bun.

Related: I Tried “Beyond Meat” Meals at 5 Popular Canadian Chains. Here’s How They Stacked Up

Digging In

At first bite, the chicken hit a lot of the targets we were looking for in fried chicken: it was crispy on the outside (without being super greasy — always a risk with fried chicken), tender on the inside and had good flavour (thanks, likely, to those Louisiana seasonings).

It’s worth noting that the chicken-to-bread ratio was good. The toasted brioche bun was soft with a nice chew (it almost melted in your mouth).

In terms of toppings, The Sandwich keeps things pretty simple, in a good way. It’s really just the mayo (more on that up next) and the pickles. Luckily, we love pickles and these were perfect: crunchy, tangy and delicious!

Related: What It’s Honestly Like Dining out Right Now ⁠— and What I’ll Never Take for Granted Again

The Spicy Scenario  

As I mentioned earlier, the Popeyes’ Chicken Sandwich comes in two versions: classic and spicy. How to choose? If you can always go for a little more flavour, you’ll prefer the spicy version (the spicy mayo tastes like chipotle mayo and leaves behind a nice little kick that lingers). If, however, you’re a fried chicken purest, stick to the classic.

The Verdict

Overall, the Popeyes’ Chicken Sandwich is a really good fried chicken sandwich. If we were craving a fried chicken sandwich, it would definitely be on our list — but it wasn’t life-changing. Still, if you’re a fan of fried chicken on any level, our advice is to give it a try.

Here are famous recipes we’re making at home — from McDs hash browns to IKEA meatballs. Also, here are recipes from hit movies!

You’ve Been Making Couscous All Wrong. Here’s the Right Way to Prepare It

Couscous is a staple of North African cuisine and it’s undeniably Morocco’s most recognized dish around the world — yet chances are that until now, you’ve been eating and serving it all wrong. The following is my mother’s recipe for seven-vegetable Moroccan couscous. She grew up in Casablanca and learned the traditional technique from her own mother. Note that while many authentic versions of couscous use smen (a fermented butter), our Sephardic Jewish family makes a kosher version with olive oil instead.

Seven-Vegetable Moroccan Couscous Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 90 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

8 chicken thighs or 4 whole legs or substitute with a homemade chicken or vegetable broth
1 large onion, peeled
1 cup dried chickpeas (soaked overnight) or 1 can of chickpeas
1 small butternut squash, seeded and cut into large wedges (no need to peel)
6-8 celery stalks, quartered
5 medium to large carrots, peeled, cut in half lengthwise
1 green bell pepper, seeded and quartered
1-2 ripe tomatoes, whole
1 bunch of parsley and/or cilantro, tied with cooking twine (reserve and chop 2-3 Tbsp for garnish)
¼ cup saffron water (dry out ½ tsp crushed saffron threads in a warm skillet, crush again and add to 1 cup of hot water, not boiling)
1 ½ Tbsp of coarse salt
¾ tsp turmeric, divided
2-3 zucchinis, half peeled, cut in half lengthwise
1 large sweet potato
2 turnips, cut in large chunks
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 pound dried, medium-grain couscous
1 ½ Tbsp olive oil
½ cup of blanched almonds, sliced

If you want to know how to make real couscous, you’re going to have to forget everything you know about the quick-cooking and soaking method. Authentic Moroccan couscous involves slowly and lovingly steaming it to fluffy (never clumpy) perfection in a couscoussier, the North African cookware which looks like a double boiler or stackable steamer. The lower pot is used to make the broth that will both steam the couscous and be served on top of it. The perforated upper pot is for the couscous grains. If you can’t get a couscoussier, you can use a metal colander or perforated steamer that fits snugly over a stock pot. You’ll want to line it with a later of cheesecloth.



Directions:

Broth
1. In the bottom vessel of a couscoussier or a stock pot, add the chicken, onion, soaked chickpeas (if using), squash, celery, carrots, green pepper, tomatoes, parsley/cilantro bouquet, saffron water, salt and ½ tsp turmeric.

2. Fill with water to cover the vegetables and chicken, leaving room at the top for the broth to bubble up.

3. Cover pot and bring to a rapid boil, then simmer for about 30-45 minutes until the vegetables soften and the chicken is fully cooked through, skimming any impurities from the broth as it cooks.

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

4. Add zucchini, sweet potato and turnips to the broth and canned chickpeas (if using). Cook for another 15-20 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender. Add black pepper to taste.

Couscous
1. While the broth is cooking, dump the couscous grains in a wide and shallow pan, cover with two cups of water and let stand for 1 minute. Stir and then pour out any excess water. Let sit for about 15 minutes for the grains to dry out a bit.

2. With wet hands, lift the grains while rubbing them gently between your fingers and the palms of the hand to release any clumps, letting the couscous fall back into the bowl, 2-3 times.

3. Drizzle the couscous with olive oil (or rub the oil on your hands) and sprinkle the grains with ¼ tsp of turmeric and season with salt. Start to separate and gently work the grains again until the turmeric, olive oil and salt are well incorporated and the couscous is uniformly golden, about 1-2 minutes. Then rake the couscous with your fingers, which will plump up the grains. (This is how the couscous gets soft and fluffy).

4. Gently place the couscous grains in the top vessel of the couscoussier or colander. Place it over the bubbling soup and let it steam for 15 minutes, uncovered, making sure that the broth in the bottom pot doesn’t come into direct contact with the couscous grains while steaming. To help the couscous steam evenly and prevent it from clumping, toss with two forks every 5 minutes.

5. Now, transfer the steamed couscous back into the pan and spread grains out evenly. Pour a couple ladles of the hot broth over the couscous and gently mix with two forks. Let stand for 10 minutes.

6. Transfer couscous grains back to the top of the couscoussier or colander for its second steaming for another 5-10 minutes until light, fluffy and heated through.

7. Dump the finished grains directly from the couscoussier or colander onto a large, shallow dish or serving platter. Discard herb bouquet, onion, tomatoes and green pepper that were added for flavour. Top the grains with remaining cooked vegetables from the broth. Optional to include the cooked chicken, separated from any bones.

Related: This Mint and Lemon Pearl Couscous Salad is What Every Dinner Table Needs

8. Garnish with sliced almonds and chopped cilantro/parsley. You can also serve with a side of broth, so guests can moisten as desired.

Optional: Make a quick North African red pepper sauce by combining 1-2 tsp of prepared or homemade harissa paste with 1 cup of the broth, a couple pinches of cumin and fresh lemon juice and olive oil to taste. In Morocco, this is a classic and delicious accompaniment to spoon over the couscous.

Besseha!

Craving more? Here are some recipes that prove harissa paste belongs in all your meals.  You might want to try these top food trends for 2020, too.

Ina Garten’s Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken is a Game Changer for Weeknight Meals

Roast chicken isn’t just for Sunday dinners any more thanks to this easy recipe from The Barefoot Contessa. Using a cast-iron pan, nestle an herb-marinated, butterflied chicken on a bed of lemon slices, onion and garlic and roast at a high temperature. In just under an hour, you’ll have perfectly tender chicken with golden, crispy skin. With a little help from Ina Garten, you’ll be channelling your inner chef in no time at all!

Related: Ina Garten’s Quick Recipes Using Store-Bought Ingredients

Ina Garten’s Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken

Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes (includes resting time)
Serves:
3

Ingredients:
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp whole fennel seeds
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup good olive oil
1 lemon, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 yellow onion, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 (4-lb) chicken, backbone removed and butterflied
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
Juice of 1 lemon

Related: Ina Garten’s Best Chicken Recipes: From Roast Chicken to Pot Pie

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.

2. Place the thyme, fennel seeds, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a mini food processor and process until ground. Pour the olive oil into a small glass measuring cup, stir in the herb mixture, and set aside.

3. Distribute the lemon slices in a 12-inch cast iron skillet and distribute the onion and garlic on top. Place the chicken, skin side down, on top of the onion and brush with about half the oil and herb mixture. Turn the chicken skin side up, pat it dry with paper towels (very important!), and brush it all over with the rest of the oil and herb mixture.

4. Roast the chicken for 30 minutes. Pour the wine into the pan (not on the chicken!) and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 155 to 160°F.

5. Remove the chicken from the oven, sprinkle it with the lemon juice, cover the skillet tightly with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Cut the chicken in quarters or eighths, sprinkle with salt, and serve hot with the pan juices, cooked lemon, and onion.

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

For more kitchen inspiration from The Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics, check out the 15 Cooking Techniques That Ina Garten Wants You to Know.

Watch Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics 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 Cook the Perfect Grilled Chicken Every Time

Moo-ve along burgers and other beef cuts, crowd-pleasing chicken is the perfect protein for grilling.

What is the best way to grill chicken?

Different cuts, myriad marinades and lots of cooking styles mean you’re never at a loss for ideas about what to make. With all these options, though, can come many questions. Dark meat or light, can you treat them the same? (Short answer, no.) What do I need to beware of before I get started? And how long does it need to cook
for?

A few simple tips and tricks will serve you well when it comes to grilling chicken, ensuring a delicious meal every time.

The Pioneer Woman Perfect Grilled Chicken
Get the Recipe: The Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Grilled Chicken

How long do you cook chicken on the grill?

Just as some people prefer barbecued chicken thighs over drumsticks or breasts, the grill doesn’t treat all these cuts equally either. The size and thickness of the pieces and whether they’re boneless or not affect both the cooking time and the minimum safe internal temperature that indicates when the chicken is fully cooked and ready to eat.

Using an instant-read meat thermometer is the only way to know for sure if it’s time to take your chicken off the heat. But there are some rules of thumb when it comes to gauging just how long that should take.

Related: You’ll Love These BBQ Side Dishes

Grilled Chicken Breast with Spicy Peach Glaze
Try it: Grilled Chicken Breasts with Spicy Peach Glaze

Bone-in cuts need to cook longer than boneless breasts or thighs. If you’re looking to save some time, feel free to opt for cuts without the bone. Those with them, though, will stay juicier throughout grilling.

Boneless chicken breasts — a blank canvas for all sorts of dishes and flavours— are ready to eat the fastest. They need only about five or six minutes per side and you’ll want to pull them off just before they’re cooked all the way through. The residual heat from the grill will continue to cook them as they rest. Their internal temperature should be between 160°F and 165°F.

The dark meat of chicken thighs doesn’t dry out as quickly, making it your juiciest (and, arguably, most flavourful) option for grilling. Boneless thighs are as fast to cook as breasts — give them about five minutes on each side. You’re looking for an internal temperature of 165°F.

Grilled Chicken Wings with Spicy Chipotle Hot Sauce and Blue Cheese-Yogurt Dipping Sauce
Get the Recipe: Grilled Chicken Wings with Spicy Chipotle Hot Sauce and Blue Cheese-Yogurt Dipping Sauce

A snacking and game day favourite, chicken wings need to be turned a few times while they’re on the grill and you’ll want to plan a little further ahead because they take between 25 and 30 minutes to fully cook. They’re ready to go — maybe after a little toss in some buffalo sauce or spices — when an instant-read thermometer indicates 165°F.

For drumsticks and bone-in thighs or breasts, patience is needed. Turn them occasionally over their 40 to 50-minute cooking time and watch for an internal temperature of 160°F to 165°F.

Of course, you’re not limited to pieces alone. The perennial crowd favourite, Beer Can Chicken and similar recipes are popular for a reason. A whole chicken should take about an hour on the grill —
depending on its size, of course.

Bobby Flay's Beer Can Chicken
Get the Recipe: Bobby Flay’s Beer Can Chicken

How do you marinate chicken?

Infinitely adaptable chicken does well on the grill after it has been marinated in any number of saucy options. These can be as simple as oil and some summery herbs or more complicated versions using dairy products like yogurt or buttermilk and spices.

Related: Flavour-Packed BBQ Sauces, Marinades and Condiments

No matter what the recipe, keep the chicken in the fridge, for as little as 30 minutes or, even better, up to overnight, while it soaks up the flavours. Don’t forget the salt!

How do you grill chicken?

Once you’re ready to go, pull the chicken from the fridge so it has time to come up to room temperature before it hits the grill. This ensures the meat cooks evenly. Use that time to preheat your grill to medium — the ideal temperature for cooking the chicken through without drying it out. (Nothing spoils a meal like chewy chicken!) Also, prepare your grill by cleaning and oiling the grates to keep the meat from sticking or tearing during the cooking process.

See More: 65 Drool-Worthy Grilled Chicken Recipes

Do you close the grill when cooking chicken?

Just as steaks are better when they’ve been grilled with the lid open, chicken benefits from a closed lid. This creates an oven effect inside the grill, which helps cook the chicken all the way through. If you still want nice grill marks — and who doesn’t? — start by searing the cuts on both sides before closing the lid to finish cooking.

Your patience will be tested, but avoid opening that lid to see what’s happening. Every time you do, heat escapes, which could make the cooking uneven or take longer.

Barbecue Grilled Chicken
Get the Recipe: Valerie Bertinelli’s Barbecue Grilled Chicken

When do you add sauce to chicken?

Tangy barbecue sauce is truly the taste of summer. Apply it too early, though, and you’ll end up with a sticky, burnt mess. Since most barbecue sauces, especially those from the grocery store, are high in sugar, they tend to burn quickly.

Save the sauce for close to the end — about 10 minutes before the chicken is ready to come off the grill — to get it nice and caramelized. And, of course, you can always get even saucier once the chicken is ready to eat.

How long do you let chicken rest?

Don’t sit down to the table just yet! Letting your cooked meat rest for 10 to 15 minutes means juicier chicken from the first bite to last. While you wait, all those juices redistribute and that’s what’s going to keep it moist and tasty.

For even more great grilled recipes, check out 10 Easy Grilled Dinners That Go Beyond Burgers and 12 Tantalizing Grilled Chicken Thigh Recipes.

Watch Fire Masters Thursdays at 11ep 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.

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

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

Simple Miso Chicken With Glazed Carrots

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

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Middle Eastern Sumac Chicken with Date Syrup, Lemon and Pecans

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

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

Sumac Chicken with Date Syrup, Roasted Lemon Wedges & Pecans

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

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Slow Cooker Chicken Shawarma with Nigella-Seed Cabbage Slaw

Traditional chicken shawarma is slow cooked on a vertical rotisserie spit (it’s delicious, but not ideal for home cooking). If you’re craving the same tender, Middle Eastern dish that can easily be made in your own kitchen, this is the recipe for you. The chicken is dressed up with warming spices like cinnamon, turmeric and cumin, and pairs perfectly with a light and airy slaw. The slaw is topped with the mighty nigella seed. It may look like a black sesame seed, but it gives off an amazing, nutty flavour that’s a cross between oregano and toasted onion. The slaw can also be made in about 10 minutes flat. How’s that for a quick and easy side dish?

Slow Cooker Chicken Shawarma with Cabbage Slaw

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours up to overnight
Total Time: 2 to 8 hours
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Chicken Shawarma
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp coriander
½ tsp cinnamon
Pinch of cayenne
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp sea salt
1 ½ lbs chicken thighs
½ cup veggie or chicken broth
¼ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Cabbage Slaw
2 cups purple cabbage, sliced
2 cups savoy or green cabbage, sliced
2 carrots, grated
¼ cup parsley, roughly chopped
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, squeezed
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ tsp sea salt
Pinch of pepper
1 Tbsp nigella seeds

Directions:

Chicken Shawarma
1. Add the spices in a bowl to combine.

2. Coat the chicken in the spices, ensuring every crevice is marinated.

3. Place the chicken in the slow cooker and pour broth over top. Cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 6 hours.

4. When the chicken is done, roughly shred it into uneven pieces. If you want these pieces to be crisp, place them in the broiler for 5 minutes, or quickly saute in a pan with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil.

5. Place the shawarma on (or beside) the cabbage slaw and finish with a sprinkling of roughly chopped parsley.

Cabbage Slaw
1. While the shawarma is cooking, slice up the cabbage slaw. You can shred the cabbage and carrots in a food processor, using the grater attachment, or slice by hand, and use a box grater for the carrots. Both options work well.

2. Place the sliced purple and green cabbage, grated carrots and chopped parsley in a bowl.

3. Combine the dressing ingredients (olive oil, lemon, garlic, salt and pepper) in a separate bowl. Pour the dressing over the cabbage, and toss well. Finish with a sprinkling of nigella seeds on top.

Continue your cooking streak with these satisfying slow-cooker chicken dinners. For something quick, this 30-minute Instant Pot curry dish can do no wrong.

Easy One-Pan Crispy Chicken and Rice, 3 Delicious Ways

A cold-weather favourite, crispy chicken and rice delivers as a complete meal in one. Juicy chicken thighs are seared and then finish cooking in the oven on top of flavour-infused rice. The variations below take notes from cuisines around the world, using what’s fresh, in season or in the pantry. You can choose your own adventure once you get a feel for the formula, substituting what’s available or appealing to you and your family. These cozy recipes can even transmute from busy weeknights to casual entertaining on the weekend.   

One-Pan Chicken and Squash Risotto

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1½ tsp kosher salt, divided
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 (1½ lb) kabocha, buttercup or butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
¾ cup arborio rice
2 ½ cups chicken stock
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
Handful fresh basil, to serve
Handful grated Parmesan, to serve  

Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. In a large high-sided pan (preferably with a lid), heat oil over medium-high heat. Season the skin side of chicken with ½ tsp salt and place in the hot oil skin-side down and sear for 8 to 10 minutes, until chicken releases easily from the pan and skin is golden. Sear on the second side for 2 minutes and then transfer to a plate. 

2. Reduce heat to medium and add squash, thyme, remaining 1 tsp salt and pepper. Sauté for 8 minutes, until squash is beginning to soften, then stir in garlic and cook for another 1 minute. Stir in rice followed by stock and vinegar. Place chicken skin-side up on top of rice mixture; the chicken should be submerged in the broth with the skin visible. 

3. Cover with lid or tight fitting foil and bake for 45 minutes, remove lid or foil and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes to lightly crisp up the chicken skin again and finish cooking the risotto. Garnish with basil and Parmesan, and serve immediately. 

One-Pan Chicken, Rice and Barley with Capers, Olives and Arugula

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Serves: 4


Ingredients: 

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1½ tsp kosher salt, divided
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 clove garlic
½ cup green olives such as Castelvetrano, pitted and halved
3 Tbsp capers, drained
½ cup pearl barley
½ cup long-grain white rice
2 cups chicken stock
¼ tsp ground black pepper, plus more to serve
1 lemon, halved, divided
2 cups baby arugula 

Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. In a large high-sided pan (preferably with a lid), heat oil over medium-high heat. Season the skin side of chicken with ½ tsp salt and place in the hot oil skin-side down and sear for 8 to 10 minutes, until chicken releases easily from the pan and skin is golden. Sear on the second side for 2 minutes and then transfer to a plate. 

2. Reduce heat to medium and then stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Stir in capers and olives followed by remaining 1 tsp salt, barley, rice, broth and pepper. Squeeze over the juice of half of the lemon. Place chicken skin-side up on top of rice mixture; the chicken should be submerged in the broth with the skin visible. 

3. Cover with lid or tight fitting foil and bake for 45 minutes, remove lid or foil and bake for another 5 minutes to lightly crisp up the chicken skin again and finish cooking the grains. Slice the remaining lemon and use to decorate the top of the dish along with arugula and additional black pepper. Serve immediately. 

One-Pan Indian Chicken and Rice with Raisins, Yogurt and Lemon

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients: 

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1½ tsp kosher salt, divided
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1½ tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes, more or less to taste
1 clove garlic
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed and drained
⅓ cup sultana raisins
2 cups chicken broth
1 lemon, halved, divided
1 cup frozen peas
½ cup whole-milk yogurt
Handful cilantro leaves
½ tsp nigella seeds (black onion seeds)  

Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. In a large high-sided pan (preferably with a lid), heat oil over medium-high heat. Season the skin side of chicken with ½ tsp salt and place in the hot oil skin-side down and sear for 8 to 10 minutes, until chicken releases easily from the pan and skin is golden. Sear on the second side for 2 minutes and then transfer to a plate. 

2. Reduce heat to medium and then stir in garam masala, cumin, turmeric and crushed red pepper flakes, stirring for 1 minute, until spices are fragrant and toasted. Stir in garlic followed by rice, raisins and broth. Squeeze over the juice of half of the lemon. Place chicken skin-side up on top of rice mixture; the chicken should be submerged in the broth with the skin visible. 

3. Cover with lid or tight-fitting foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven, remove lid or foil and sprinkle over frozen peas and then transfer back to oven with the lid or foil off. Bake for another 5 minutes to lightly crisp up the chicken skin again and finish cooking the rice and peas. Slice the remaining lemon into wedges and use to decorate the top of the dish. Dollop over yogurt and sprinkle with cilantro and nigella seeds. Serve immediately. 

We have even more comforting one-pot recipes to choose from, plus 15 one-pot chicken dinners ready in 30 minutes or less.

30-Minute Harissa Tofu, Broccoli and Carrot Sheet Pan Dinner

Sheet pan dinners are unfussy and virtually mess-free, with no pots and pans to deal with after a long day. The trick to cooking an entire meal on a baking sheet is choosing the right vegetable and protein combination for even cooking. All that’s left to do? Sit back, relax and dig right in. This 30-minute healthy dinner, that’s vegan-friendly and jam-packed with flavour, will have you doing just that. We even paired it with a tangy cucumber salad that can be whipped up while the tofu, broccoli and carrots get all crispy in the oven. Dinner is served.

30-Minute Harissa Tofu & Broccoli Sheet-Pan Meal with Sumac Cucumber Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Sheet Pan Meal
350g firm tofu, patted dry and cut in 8 slices
5 carrots, halved or quartered lengthwise
¼ cup olive oil, divided
4 Tbsp jarred harissa
4 Tbsp white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
¾ tsp kosher salt or flaked sea salt, divided
1 head broccoli, trimmed and cut into quarters with stem
¾ red onion, cut in wedges
Half lemon, halved

Sumac Cucumber Salad
5 baby cucumbers, cut in chunks
¼ tsp kosher salt or coarse sea salt
½ cup parsley leaves or mint leaves
¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
2 Tbsp olive oil
Half lemon
¾ tsp sumac + more

Directions:

1. Position racks in top and bottom thirds of oven. Preheat to 425°F.
2. Lay tea towel or double layered paper towel on work surface. Layer with tofu; top with another tea towel or double layered paper towel. Press with a baking sheet to absorb liquid.
3. Whisk together 4 Tbsp of the olive oil, harissa, vinegar, and all but the pinch of salt, in a casserole dish.
4. Add tofu and marinate for 5 minutes, turning often. Remove, and arrange on one side of a baking sheet. Repeat with carrots; arrange to other side of baking sheet. Reserve remaining harissa mixture.

Tip: Harissa, a spicy chili condiment, is widely used in North African and Middle Eastern cuisine. Made of crushed chilies, garlic, cumin, coriander, caraway, mint and olive oil, it can be purchased as a paste in a tube or as a jarred sauce. Harissa paste is concentrated, to use in this recipe, reduce to 2 Tbsp and whisk in remaining ingredients.

5. Add broccoli and red onion to another baking sheet. Brush with remaining 2 Tbsp oil, turning to coat and sprinkle with remaining pinch of salt. Roast tofu and vegetables, switching racks after 15 minutes; flip tofu and vegetables and roast until vegetables are tender crisp, about 5 minutes.

Tip: Cut your vegetables into even pieces or you’ll end up with mixed tender and mushy results.

6. Sumac Cucumber Salad: Meanwhile, make the salad. In a medium bowl, sprinkle cucumbers with sumac and salt; stir to combine. Add onion, parsley and squeeze lemon over top. Drizzle with olive oil.
7. Transfer to serving plate and sprinkle with more sumac and parsley if desired.

8. To serve, brush broccoli and tofu with reserved harissa mixture and serve with additional prepared harissa. Divide tofu and vegetables among plates and serve with Cucumber Salad.

Keep the summer sheet pan meals coming with this 25-minute citrus rainbow trout recipe, paired with broccolini and bok choy. We’ve also rounded up 15 sheet pan breakfast bakes to feed a crowd.

These 30-Minute Gochujang Korean Chicken Skewers Are Straight-Up Delicious

Sweet and sticky with chili heat: Gochujang chicken skewers are a popular street food in South Korea, and you may become an instant convert with this quick and easy grilling sauce. Switch things up and brush the homemade sauce on grilled beef, pork, firm tofu or mushrooms – the applications are endless.

Gochujang Glazed Korean Chicken Skewers with Quick Cucumber Salad

Prep Time: 20 minutes (includes marinating time)
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes (includes soaking skewers)
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Chicken Skewers
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut in 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 Tbsp white vinegar or cider vinegar
4 tsp canola oil
1 Tbsp sodium-reduced soy sauce
½ tsp each salt and pepper
6 green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces
¼ tsp toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Gochujang Sauce
4 Tbsp gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp sodium-reduced soy sauce
1 Tbsp white vinegar or cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced

Cucumber Salad
2 baby cucumbers, cut into thin coins
¼ English cucumber, cut into thin coins

Directions:

1. Soak 8 wooden skewers in a pan of hot water for 15 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, combine chicken, vinegar, oil, soy sauce, salt and pepper, tossing to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes, stirring a few times.
3. Preheat grill over medium heat. Grease grill.
4. Gochujang Sauce: In a small bowl, stir together gochujang, honey, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar and minced garlic until smooth.

5. Reserve 2 Tbsp of Gochujang Sauce, and mix into bowl of cucumbers for a quick cucumber salad.
6. Alternately thread chicken and green onions onto skewers.

7. Cook chicken skewers in closed grill, turning once and brushing with remaining Gochujang Sauce halfway through until juices run clear when chicken is pierced, about 10 minutes.
8. Brush with remaining sauce, and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.

Tip: Gochujang or Korean hot pepper paste is made of fermented soybeans, glutinous rice and sweeteners. Often referred to as the backbone of Korean cooking, this shelf-stable ingredient can be found in Asian grocery stores or on Amazon. Look for the number of chilies on the package to find the right heat for your taste, 1 chili for mild and 3-5 for medium to spicy.

For more inspiration, check out our 25 most popular skewer recipes for summer grilling, or whip up one of these 20 vegan BBQ dishes that pack a flavour punch.

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

When it comes to food trends these days, there’s a plethora of constantly evolving options to test out, whether you’re heading to your favourite local haunt or whipping up a meal at home.

From za’atar to sumac, spices are essential to many international cuisines – and bringing different blends to your own kitchen can lend a certain authenticity to your dishes and provide more inspiration (not to mention bragging rights if you nail a new recipe).

According to Forbes, the average American home kitchen in 1950 contained only 10 spices, seasonings and extracts on average. Today, that number is more than 40. Considering we’re neighbours, I would imagine that number rings true for Canadians as well.

It speaks volumes as to how far we’ve come in North America when it comes to branching out and trying new foods. Where once we might have expressed reluctance, we’re now at the stage where we’re looking for fresh, healthy and exciting ingredients to add to our favourite recipes, expanding both our horizons and our palates.

Related: 15 Anti-Inflammatory Herbs and Spices

For this experiment of sorts, I kept an open mind. I looked into some of the most popular spices being searched online with the intention of trying them all. Some, such as baharat and asafoetida, proved elusive and difficult to track down while others – *cough* saffron *cough* – would have put a significant dent in my wallet. In the end, I found a solid list of six spices to test out at home.

With the exception of turmeric,  I hadn’t tried any of these trending spices before. And, considering how much I love a meal that quite literally sets my mouth on fire, I didn’t want to leave a world of flavour untapped by missing out.

So, if you’re building a chef-worthy pantry of dried spices, start with these top trendsetters. Here’s why.

1. Shichimi Togarashi

Brief history: This popular Japanese spice medley dates back to the 17th century when it was originally produced as a tasty condiment by herbalists in what is now modern day Tokyo. It’s a seven-spice blend that typically contains ground red chili pepper, sansho powder, roasted orange peel, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, ground ginger and nori seaweed. Other variations may substitute certain ingredients for poppy and/or hemp seeds instead.

Health benefits: Clear some space in your spice cabinet because, in addition to its great taste, Shichimi Togarashi packs a hefty nutritional punch. Thanks to its salt-free blend of various ingredients, it contains both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, fibre, calcium, iron, zinc and vitamins A, C and E.

Common uses: Sprinkle this versatile condiment over steamed rice, vegetables, udon noodles, grilled meats and soups or use to season popcorn, crackers, dry rubs or salad dressing.

The dish I made: Rice Bowl with Shichimi Togarashi-Spiced Sesame Chili Oil

Taste: I love spice – it was one of my favourite things about eating my way through Thailand a few years back. So chalk up my complete surprise at the hotness level of Shichimi Togarashi to my arrogance. I dipped my index finger directly into the finely ground blend to better give me an idea of how much to include in the recipe. Granted, I may have ingested too much at once: it was HOT. Since it had more of a kick than anticipated, I opted for a recipe where it was mixed in with a few other ingredients to help temper the level of spice. I wanted something that allowed Shichimi Togarashi to be the star of the dish without overpowering everything else in the bowl. In the end, I chose wisely, because mixing the store-bought blend with minced garlic, finely chopped shallots, slivered roasted peanuts and freshly grated ginger made for one unexpectedly addictive chili oil dressing. When I’m really hungry (which is most of the time), I still find myself thinking about it.

Not sure which additional spices to add to your pantry? Try these must-have kitchen spices.

2. Sumac

Brief history: The vibrant reddish-purple sumac shrub (one of about 35 species of familial flowering plants) is native to the Middle East and parts of Africa, and boasts gorgeous deep red berries that are dried and ground up into a coarse powder. In the past, sumac was commonly used to treat a variety of physical ailments. While the jury is still out on whether it actually worked for medicinal purposes, sumac definitely has plenty of health benefits.

Health benefits: Sumac has a reputation as an antioxidant powerhouse, above even fellow champion spices like oregano and cinnamon. Thanks to its antioxidant properties, it can help prevent heart disease and treat osteoarthritis in addition to lowering blood sugar levels. Sumac, when juiced, is also high in vitamin C.

Common uses: Mixes well with other spice blends, dry rubs, marinades and sprinkled over salads. It pairs best with chicken, fish and vegetables. Thanks to its deep red hue, it also adds a beautiful pop of colour to any dish.

The dish I made: Sheet Pan Sumac Chicken Thighs with Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli

Taste: With its tangy, lemony flavour, I’m convinced sumac can pair nicely with just about any dish. I found it so surprisingly rich in lemon flavour, in fact, that I sprinkled it generously over both the chicken thighs and the roasted potato and broccoli side combo. It was like a mini citrus heaven. Less tart than an actual lemon, it’s a great substitute for those who have a citric acid intolerance like my husband. I can’t count the number of times I’ve tried a new spice or herb in a recipe only to find its flavour gets overpowered by other items on the plate. My next experiment will involve sprinkling sumac over fish to see if it really can provide the same great taste as lemon zest. If so, I’ll never have to worry about being out of lemons again.

Looking for a delicious sumac-flavoured side dish for your dinner main? Try this Grilled Corn on the Cob with Sumac Butter.

3. Za’atar

Brief history: Throughout history, housewives in the Middle East and North Africa concocted their own variations of za’atar. Therefore, much like Shichimi Togarashi, there can be a variety of blends to choose from. In fact, there are so many ways of mixing together all the herbs and spices that make up this popular condiment that a definitive origin mixture has proven illusive to historians and chefs alike. What we do know, however, is that it has been a staple in Arab cuisine since medieval times and only continues to increase in popularity worldwide.

Health benefits: Za’atar contains various properties that can help soothe inflammation, increase energy levels, clear the respiratory tract and can also be added to food as a preventative if you feel a head cold coming on – so keep it in stock during winter’s dreaded cold and flu season.

Common uses: It makes for great seasoning on meat and vegetables or sprinkled over hummus. Za’atar is often eaten with labneh (a drained yogurt that forms a tangy cream cheese) and is sometimes served with bread and olive oil for breakfast in Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Syria and Lebanon.

The dish I made: Za’atar Roasted Tomatoes

Taste: Funnily enough, sumac is usually the star of za’atar blends. Dried sumac often makes up a significant portion of the mixture, along with toasted sesame seeds, thyme, oregano, marjoram and salt. In reading up on it, I’ve come across references to it being called “slightly sour and nutty” in taste, which I didn’t find was the case in my experience. This could be attributed to the fact that there is no “right way” to make za’atar and, while I definitely found it to be nutty in taste (“woodsy” is what I said to my husband), I noticed a hint of lemon (albeit much more herbaceous in taste) which makes sense given the sumac connection.

Za’atar also pairs well with chickpeas, like in this Smoky Chickpeas on Grilled Toast with Poached Eggs and Za’atar recipe.

4. Moringa

Brief history: Earlier this year, I’d gotten into a conversation about moringa with the lovely lady I buy my loose leaf tea from here in Toronto, so I was thrilled to discover it’s trending upward in culinary culture as it gave me an excuse to introduce it in this experiment. Moringa oleifera, also known as a drumstick tree, is native to India, Pakistan and Nepal. It’s fragile leaves are the most popular part of the plant and can be eaten whole in salads or dried and ground up to drink as tea or used in soups, curries and sauces. According to some sources, in developing countries the leaf powder is sometimes used as soap for hand washing.

Health benefits: It’s time for kale and matcha to move over and make room for a new supergreen superstar. Moringa leaves contain significant amounts of vitamins B, C and K, as well as protein and other essential nutrients. Despite being caffeine-free, it’s nature’s natural energy booster. It’s even been likened to a “miracle tree.” According to a study from the US National Library of Medicine, moringa trees have proven to be remarkably drought-resistant, making them a “critical nutritional resource” in areas affected by climate change.

Common uses: Dried into tea leaves, or have the powder sprinkled into yogurts, juices and smoothies.

The dish I made: Moringa Tea

Taste: Although it smells like a peppery version of green tea, don’t let your nose fool you. Despite a slightly bitter taste on the first sip, it reminded me a lot of, well, salad. It’s like plucking the leaf off a tree and dropping it directly into your tea mug. My tea lady sings the praises of moringa, telling me that as a child growing up in India she would often eat the leaves as a midday mini-salad snack.

5. Harissa

Brief history: This Tunisian hot chili spice typically consists of roasted red peppers, serrano peppers, coriander seeds, garlic paste, saffron and olive oil – so it’s definitely only for those who like it hot. Harissa is sometimes referred to as “Tunisia’s main condiment” and it’s the North African country’s biggest export. It’s posited that chili peppers were first introduced to Tunisians during Spanish occupation in the 16th century, so it’s accurate to say the condiment has been a main cuisine staple in the area for ages.

Health benefits: It’s usually made with red chili peppers that are rich in vitamins E, C, K, B6, iron, magnesium and copper, which means it’s high in both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as well as provides relief from symptoms of rheumatism, osteoarthritis and head colds. In addition, it has been known to boost metabolism.

Common uses:  Traditionally served alongside stews and couscous dishes, harissa can also lend its spicy taste to roasted veggies, salad dressing, dry rubs, hummus or sprinkled on eggs for a fiery breakfast.

The dish I made: Harissa Chicken with Roasted Chickpeas

Taste: Every bite is like fire and garlic, and I loved every minute of it, even as my tongue felt like a flame. Fully aware that this would be considered the spiciest spice on this list – Shichimi Togarashi paled in comparison – I was cautious with how much harissa I sprinkled over my chicken. I kept the roasted chickpeas harissa-free just to give my mouth a break in between bites. I’d recommend using it only if you’re craving a hot dish. But trust me when I say it’s worth the literal sweat that will pour off your brow.

Start enjoying some of harissa’s great health benefits with this Harissa-Marinated Chicken Skewers with Couscous recipe this weekend.

6. Turmeric

Brief history: Bold and beautiful, turmeric is a flowering plant from the ginger family whose roots are used for cooking purposes. A native to India and Southeast Asia, it’s a stunning addition to any dish thanks to its deep orange-yellow colouring. Although many begrudge its innate ability to stain just about anything in its path – farewell, Hudson’s Bay dish cloth – its rich flavour more than makes up for that ruined wooden spoon or your discoloured fingertips.

Health benefits: There are plenty of healthy positives to introducing more turmeric into your diet, although it bears mentioning that it’s the curcumin (the bright yellow chemical produced by the flowering plant) in the turmeric that does all the heavy lifting, and contains significant anti-inflammatory properties and is a rich source of many vitamins and minerals, including lowering the risk of heart disease, potentially helping prevent certain cancers and soothing arthritis pain.

Common uses: Toss it with roasted vegetables, sprinkle it over frittatas, add it to rice, use it in soups, sip it as a tea or blend it in a smoothie. The possibilities are endless, really.

The dish I made: Fast-Grilled Garlic Shrimp with Turmeric Rice

Taste: Despite the fact that it looks like ginger’s identical twin, turmeric tastes nothing like its relative. Its earthy-sweetness is far milder. Some have said they’ve noticed a bitter edge to turmeric, but I didn’t pick up on it even after dousing my rice in it.

Curious about trying it in a drink? Whip up this caffeine-free Turmeric Latte the next time you’re feeling thirsty.

And the winner is …

My biggest takeaway from this assignment is that even for someone like myself who enjoys a variety of spices, herbs and other flavours, I’ve merely scratched the surface as to what is available and how it can be incorporated into my weekly meal planning. If I had to choose a favourite from the six spices I recently tried, my pick would be Shichimi Togarashi for the mere fact that it blended so beautifully with the other ingredients that made up the sesame chili oil. I love a spice that you can clearly taste but doesn’t overpower all the other rich flavours in the dish.

How to Grill the Perfect Piri Piri Spatchcock Chicken

Piri piri is a fiery, bright orange hot sauce with roots in Portugal, Angola and Mozambique. You can buy the bottled stuff at most grocery stores, but the homemade version is world’s apart. You can slather it on just about anything, but there’s no better pairing than chicken. There are many variations of piri piri chicken, but we’ve based this one on the dishes found in Canada’s many Little Portugals. To ensure the chicken cooks evenly, we’ve used a technique called spatchcocking (also referred to as butterflying). It may seem intimidating at first, but it’s actually quite simple, you just need a good pair of kitchen shears.

Piri Piri Spatchcock Chicken

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients:
1 500-ml jar roasted red peppers, drained
5 to 6 Thai chilis, stems removed
4 large garlic cloves
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp kosher salt, divided
1/4 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup + 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil, divided
1.5-kg whole chicken, at room temperature
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions:
1. In the top of a blender, whirl peppers with chilis, garlic, oregano and salt until smooth. Scrape into a small saucepan and set over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer to cook out any raw flavours, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool 10 minutes (do not skip this step, as it can be dangerous to blend hot liquids). Return mixture to blender. Add lemon juice and whirl on low to combine. With the motor still running, carefully remove the blender lid and slowly stream in oil. Scrape into a liquid measuring cup, you should have about 2 1/2 cups. Reserve 1/2 cup for basting chicken.

2. Meanwhile, oil the grill, then preheat to medium-high.

3. Position chicken breast side-down on a clean cutting board. Using sharp kitchen shears, cut along either side of the spine to remove the backbone. Flip chicken over and spread legs apart. Gently but firmly push down on the breastbone until you hear the wishbone snap. Tuck wings behind the breast, then transfer chicken to a baking tray. Pat dry with paper towel. Brush with remaining 1 Tbsp oil, then sprinkle with 1 salt, smoked paprika and pepper.

4. Place chicken skin-side down on grill. Lower heat to medium and cook, with lid closed, until lightly charred, about 10 minutes. Brush with reserved piri piri sauce, then carefully flip chicken. Continue to cook, brushing with sauce every 10 minutes, until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 165°F, about 40 minutes.

5. Set aside until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Carve away legs and place on a clean cutting board. Find the joint connecting the thigh and drumstick and slice between it. Repeat with other leg. Remove breasts and cut in half width-wise. Remove wings. Transfer to a platter, and serve with remaining piri piri sauce.

Kitchen Tip: Every barbecue performs differently, so adjust heat levels to maintain a temperature between 300°F and 350°F. Keep a close eye on your chicken to avoid flare-ups!

Looking for more barbecue inspiration? We’ve rounded up 25 Quick and Easy Barbecue Dinner Recipes, plus 45 Easy Leftover Chicken Recipes.

The Keto Kung Pao Chicken Recipe That is Better Than Takeout

Whether you’re a keto follower or not, this weeknight chicken dish will satisfy protein lovers and healthy veggie seekers alike. At first glance, the ingredient list may seem daunting, but you’re really just re-using the same pantry staples with a few extra options. Better than takeout, you won’t need to invest in a wok, we’ve made this delicious meal in a large cast-iron pan, and no one was the wiser.

30-Minute Keto Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes (this includes marinating. While the chicken is marinating, prep the vegetables and sauce).
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
450g boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1-inch chunks
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 tsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp olive oil or sunflower oil, divided
4-6 dried red chilies
4 green onions, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 red finger chili (optional)
1 bunch asparagus, cut in large pieces
1 sweet bell pepper, halved, cored and cut into cubes
4 tsp each minced garlic and ginger
2 mini cucumber, cut in small cubes
1/3 cup roasted salted peanuts or cashews
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Sauce:
3 Tbsp cold water
1 Tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 Tbsp each soy sauce and white vinegar
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Asian chili-garlic sauce (optional)

Directions:
1. In a bowl, combine chicken, 2 tsp soy sauce, 2 tsp rice wine and 2 tsp cornstarch; stir to combine. Let stand to marinate 15 minutes.

2. In large cast-iron pan, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add dried chilies, green onions and finger chili (if using) and cook, stirring until green onions are slightly charred, about 1 minute. Transfer to a baking sheet or large plate.
3. Heat 1 Tbsp of remaining oil in the pan. Add asparagus and bell pepper and cook, stirring until slightly charred, 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Transfer to baking sheet. Add remaining 11/2 tsp oil to pan; working in 2 batches, stir-fry chicken until browned, 3 to 4 minutes per batch, repeating with remaining oil.

5. Sauce: In small bowl, stir together water, rice wine, soy sauce and cornstarch until smooth. Return the chicken, vegetables and chilies to the pan. Sprinkle with salt; stir in the sauce and cook until liquid is bubbling and thickened, 30-45 seconds. Stir in cucumbers, peanuts and chili-garlic sauce (if using); sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Tip: For evenly browned chicken, avoid crowding in the pan, and don’t stir immediately. Check one piece before turning the remaining with a spatula.

Looking for more healthy recipe inspo? We’ve rounded up 20 Easy Keto Dinners to Make This Week, plus 15 Recipes Packed with Healthy Fats to Keep You Full

The One Healthy Soup That Should Always Be in Your Freezer

This immune-boosting soup is one that you should always have on hand. It’s the perfect cure when you have a cold, are battling the flu or simply need to warm up in the wintertime. This soup has so much going for it: shiitake mushrooms, turmeric, garlic and chicken bones, to name a few of the nutrient-rich ingredients. Each ingredient has a specific job to detox the body, regulate the immune system, lower inflammation, protect from aging and help prevent cancer.  

Shiitake mushrooms are nutrition powerhouses. They have a little something called beta-glucans, which support the growth of good bacteria in the gut. When the gut is populated with good bacteria, your immune system is stronger and better able to handle whichever illness gets thrown your way. A study found that eating four ounces of shiitakes a day for four weeks enhanced immunity and reduced inflammation. In addition to that powerhouse ingredient, this healthy soup would not be complete without homemade bone broth; the chicken bones provide collagen and gelatin to the soup, which helps strengthen the gut lining. A strong gut lining aids digestion and prevents bad bacteria and viruses from getting in. So, yes, this is definitely a soup you want to batch cook ahead of time.
 

Immune-Boosting Bone Broth, Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Ingredients:
1 whole chicken (2-3 lbs) or 2-3 lbs of chicken bones
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 bulb garlic (about 6 cloves)
3 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 ½ cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced (about 12 mushrooms)
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 inch fresh turmeric, peeled and roughly chopped (or 2 tsp dried turmeric)
1 bunch of parsley
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp peppercorns
10 cups water
Few handfuls baby spinach (optional)

Directions:
1. Place all the ingredients, except for the water, in a large pot.
2. Then, pour the water in the pot until almost everything is submerged, but do not overflow. You will likely use around 10 cups of water.
3. Bring to a boil, then cover the pot and simmer.
4. After about half an hour, skim the top of the soup with a wide slotted spoon to discard the scum that’s risen to the top.

5. Allow to simmer on low heat for minimum 2 hours and up to 6 hours.
6. Place the soup through a sieve to catch the veggies and chicken (you can use some of the extra chicken meat to make other delicious dishes). Place the sieve over top of another large pot for the broth to go into.
7. You can serve the soup as this nutrient-rich broth. Or, you can add the carrots, mushrooms and chicken meat back into the broth. You can also stir in some baby spinach if you’d like.
8. Store the soup in airtight jars, containers or sealed bags.  Freeze them in individual portion sizes.

Looking for more nourishing winter dishes? Check out these 15 Best Vegan Soup and Stew Recipes and 15 Flavour-Packed Recipes to Boost Your Gut Health.

Nashville Hot Chicken Wings With a Sweet Canadian Twist

Reader be warned: these wings are not for the faint of heart. Nashville Hot Chicken is notorious for its blow-your-socks-off heat. Fiery cayenne gets the heart pounding while an extra hit of hot sauce will set your taste buds alight. We made this recipe our own with the addition of maple syrup, adding a dash of welcome sweetness. No doubt about it, this chicken hurts, so consider swapping your game day beer for a cold glass of milk!

Nashville Hot Chicken Wings

Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
vegetable oil for frying (about 10 cups)
6 Tbsp cayenne
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp garlic powder
4 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup hot sauce, divided
3 lbs whole chicken wings
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1 cup sliced pickles

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 250°F. Place a wire rack over a baking sheet.
2. Pour oil into a large heavy-bottomed pot to measure about 2-inches up the sides. Heat over medium until an instant read thermometer registers 350°F.
3. Meanwhile, in a very large bowl, whisk together 5 Tbsp cayenne, paprika, garlic powder, and 1 Tbsp salt. Set aside.
4. Mix flour, black pepper, remaining 1 Tbsp cayenne and 1 tsp salt in a shallow dish.
5. Whisk buttermilk and 1 Tbsp hot sauce in a large bowl until combined.
6. Working in small batches, toss wings in flour mixture until coated. Shake off excess flour, then transfer to buttermilk mixture. Turn wings to coat, then toss for a second time in flour mixture. Transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining wings.

7. When oil reaches temperature, carefully add 1/3 of wings. The temperature will dip once wings are added. Adjust heat to maintain temperature between 315°F and 330°F. Fry, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown and cooked through, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer to prepared rack using a slotted spoon. Keep warm in oven. Allow temperature to return to 350°F before repeating with remaining batches.
8. Carefully whisk 1 cup hot fryer oil, maple syrup and remaining 3 Tbsp hot sauce into spice mixture. Add wings and toss to coat. Transfer to a plate. Drizzle with more sauce, if desired, and garnish with pickles.

Craving more chicken dishes to add to your repertoire? Here are 40 Easy Chicken Dinners Done in Under 30 Minutes along with Our Most Popular Chicken Breast Recipes

cream-cheese-stuffed-chicken

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.

stuffed-chicken-covered-in-cajun-cream-sauce

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.

spinach-cheese-stuffing-in-bowl

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.

stuffed-chicken-breast-with-sauce

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

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.

slow-cooker-chicken-breast-on-cutting-board

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.

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