Tag Archives: chicken

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.

a skillet of kungpao chicken on a bright blue countertop

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.

5 Fresh Portuguese Dishes to Shake up Your Summer BBQ

Spain is known for its delicious food and wine, but neighbouring Portugal rarely gets the praise they deserve for their equally tasty cuisine. Summertime is the perfect time to celebrate Portugal’s love for fresh ingredients, flavours and passion for grilling. Piri piri chicken is perhaps the most well-known barbecue recipe and rightly so, it’s very tasty. We have a great recipe for it below, but we’re really excited to introduce you to a few the lesser known classics. This summer, bring the flavours of Portugal to your table with these simple, fresh and delicious recipes.

chorizo-portuguese-chicken-bbq

How to Make Piri Piri Chicken

Piri piri chicken, the classic centrepiece of the Portuguese barbecue doesn’t need much of an introduction. It’s barbecued chicken seasoned with a spicy blend of fresh herbs, chillies and spices. Here’s how to make it: In a food processor place 8 red chillies, 6 garlic cloves, a small knob of peeled ginger, 1 Tbsp of dry oregano, 1 Tbsp. of paprika, 1/3 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup red wine vinegar. Pulse until a smooth paste form and rub all over the chicken. You can spatchcock your bird or cut it into parts. Let marinate in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight. Heat the grill to medium-high and cook until chicken is cooked through. Time will depend on the size of your bird. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve.

grilled-tomatoes-with-garlic

How to Make Grilled Garlic Tomatoes

Grilled garlicky tomatoes make an easy side dish. They are bold enough to stand up on their own or great stacked on grilled bread. Eat them with your chicken and let them or let ooze all over. Here’s how to do it: Mince 2 cloves of garlic and stir into 1/4 cup of olive oil. Toss about 3 cups cherry tomatoes in oil. Place tomatoes on a medium-high heated grill for about 2-3 minutes. Remove from grill and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

How to Make BBQ Grilled Bread

Having grilled bread to slather up all the delicious sauces and juices from your barbecue feast is necessary. We top it with a delicious aioli inspired by the classic flavours in Portugal. To make grilled bread with garlic aioli: Mix 1 cup of mayonnaise with 1 minced garlic clove, 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley and 1 tsp smoked paprika. Brush slices of sourdough bread with olive oil. Grill until charred then slather with mayonnaise mixture! Serve alongside your main or eat on it own.

grilled sardines

How to Make Grilled Sardines

With the Atlantic ocean hugging Portugal top to bottom, it’s no surprise that they’re regarded for their fresh seafood. Simple and delicious, grilled sardines are a Portuguese staple. To make them: Rub cleaned sardines with olive oil and salt. Cook over a medium-high heated grill until charred and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from grill. Garnish with thinly sliced red onions and fresh squeezed lemon juice. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

grilled-bbq-chorizo-and-peppers

How to Grill Chorizo Sausage with Peppers

Chorizo sausage is among the most prevalent in Portugal. It’s usually found in a traditional soup called clad verde. Here we grill it with a rainbow of peppers for the summertime. Here’s how: Slice 2 cups worth of assorted bell peppers. Cook 5 chorizo sausage over medium-high heat until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Toss peppers in olive oil, salt and minced garlic. Place on grill until fragrant and tender, about 2 minutes. Place grilled chorizo on a plate and garnish with grilled peppers.

Looking for more great grilled dishes? Try Bobby Flay’s Best BBQ Recipes.

chicken-marinade

5 Make-Ahead Chicken Marinades You Can Freeze Now and BBQ Later

One of the very best things about summer eating is the effortless cooking. And a smart way to make summer cooking simple while keeping it interesting is to marinate chicken and pop it in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat, just defrost the package of your choice and toss it on the grill. To get you started, we’re giving you 5 unique, quick-to-prepare marinade options for a freezer full of winning chicken dinners. 

How to Marinade and Freeze Chicken for the BBQ

The following marinades are great with chicken breasts, thighs, drumsticks and wings. All you need to do is whisk or blend the ingredients listed together, toss them with 1 lb of your favourite chicken directly in an airtight zipper bag, seal and store in the freezer for up to two months. Set in the fridge the night before to defrost and voila: a tasty, weekend-worthy barbecue is possible on even the most hectic weeknight!

Greek Chicken Marinade Recipe

Inspired by fresh Greek flavours, this chicken marinade comes packed with flavour, and is best served with tender veggies, grains or potatoes and a generous sprinkling of crumbled feta.

Whisk to combine ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil with 2 Tbsp each chopped fresh oregano, sun-dried tomatoes and lemon juice, 4 cloves minced garlic and salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Sesame-Orange Chicken Marinade Recipe

Sweet with a bit of heat is all it takes to make this irresistible, Asian-inspired marinade. Whisk to combine 3 Tbsp orange juice, 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, 1 Tbsp sesame oil, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 3 cloves minced garlic, ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes and ground black pepper to taste.

grilled-chicken-marinade

Green Goddess Chicken Marinade Recipe

A super-easy, garden herb marinade that brings tons of fresh, summery flavour. In a blender or food processor, blend ½ cup each chopped fresh parsley and chopped fresh cilantro leaves (with their tender stems), 4 chopped green onions, ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 cloves garlic and salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Sticky BBQ Chicken  Marinade Recipe

So sweet and sticky, you’ll have trouble not licking your fingers! Whisk to combine 3 Tbsp maple syrup, 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, 1 Tbsp tomato paste, 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 tsp hot sauce, 2 cloves minced garlic and salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Honey-Sriracha Chicken Marinade Recipe

The ubiquitous hot pepper sauce strikes again with a homemade chicken marinade made for the BBQ. Stir together 2 Tbsp each Sriracha hot sauce, honey and vegetable oil with 1 tsp garlic powder and salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Every BBQ needs an ice-cold beverage, so here are a handful of fruit-filled sangria recipes to take on that role.

How to Spice Up Your Fried Chicken — Plus Tips for Frying at Home

In the kitchen, it’s often the classics that elude us, as we search for the ultimate chocolate chip cookie, mac and cheese or in the case of the Top Chef Canada chefs, fried chicken. For their latest Quickfire Challenge in Episode 6, the chefs were tasked with creating fried chicken with a twist. Seemingly straightforward, fried chicken can often fall flat on flavour and texture, turning out bland and greasy if not approached with a skilled hand. These chefs were in for a bigger challenge than they thought.

While a classic, buttermilk fried chicken recipe was presented by one of the chefs, the rest of the chefs chose to use their fried chicken and side as a blank canvas for big flavour. A seven-spice take on chicken and waffles garnered praise with its double-crunch factor from fried chicken skin (like a potato chip). And a Southern BBQ-style fried chicken plate brought the heat with a hot oil pour-over. But it was Chef Jinhee Lee’s nod to her mom’s fried chicken that reigned over the rest: an anchovy glazed fried chicken.

But don’t be intimidated by the chef’s impressive dishes. Fried chicken can be easy, crowd-pleasing and well worth the effort. Have a go at home in your own kitchen with these pro tips and recipes that will guarantee success.

Why You Should Marinade Your Chicken Before Frying

Not only will fried chicken be more flavourful when marinated, it will be juicier as well. Buttermilk is traditionally used for this as it’s slightly acidic and salty, which keeps the chicken moist and tender – even the white meat. If you don’t have buttermilk, plain yogurt, kefir, even pickle juice will produce a similar effect. Typically, you’ll want your chicken to marinade for at least a couple of hours, but the chefs didn’t have time for this in their 40-minute Quickfire Challenge.



Get the recipe for Skillet-Fried Buttermilk Fried Chicken

This recipe for fried chicken is a brilliant example of what a slightly acidic, salty and tenderizing marinade can do for your homemade fried chicken.

How to Layer Flavour When Frying Chicken

A marinade is the best way to ensure a juicy outcome, but it’s also a great place to begin building flavour. Add a dry rub of your choice, like a Cajun or BBQ mix to the chicken before letting it hang out in the marinade. Or, skip a step and add your spice mix right in the marinade. The more flavour you impart at this point, the more dynamic the final result will be. One of the chefs built their chicken around a seven-spice blend, which created an exceptional result. Now is the time when you want to go big with spices and seasonings– chicken can take it and much of those tastes will dissipate in the heat.

Fried Chicken with Dill Salt Recipe from Guy Fieri

Get the recipe for Fried Chicken With Dill Salt

This recipe is like a dill pickle chip in fried chicken form, infusing the marinade with dill pickle juice and a finishing salt with fresh dill. A three-layer process ensures a bold end result.

Transform Fried Chicken With the Help of the Spice Cabinet

The chefs used the herb and spice pantry in the Top Chef Canada kitchen to help their fried chicken and sides stand out, and you can do the same. Open your spice cupboard and explore a range of add-ins to jazz up your fried chicken rub, marinade, flour and dip. Almost anything goes.

Chili Powder or BBQ Spice Mix: Add zip to the rub, marinade and flour coating.
Curry Powder: Infuse the flour coating for a gorgeous yellow tint and earthy taste.
Harissa: Stir into the marinade and mix up with orange juice and honey for a sweet and spicy drizzle.
Herbes de Provence: Mix into the flour coating for a hint of freshness.
Lemon Pepper: Mix with flaky salt for a vibrant finishing touch.
Ras El Hanout: Mix the North African spice blend into your rub and coating.
Sriracha: Stir into mayo with lime juice for a fiery sauce.
Sumac: Swirl into buttermilk with lemon juice before marinating.
Za’atar: Add to your flour mix for a pop of flavour.
Pesto: Stir into mayo and yogurt for an herby dip.

Tips for Deep-Frying Chicken at Home

Having everything laid out and ready to go (your mise en place) will not only make things run more smoothly when frying, but it’s also safer and cleaner.

Frying Vessel: If you don’t have a deep fryer, deep-fry in a Dutch oven, deep cast-iron skillet (traditional) or enamel-coated cast iron pot for the best heat control. Deeper pots will reduce splattering.

Thermometer: Keep a deep-frying or candy thermometer in the pot while frying to monitor the temperature. As the chicken goes in, the temperature drops, and you need that sweet spot temperature for crispy, juicy, never-greasy chicken.

Cooling Rack: Set a wire cooling rack over a large rimmed baking sheet and transfer your chicken there when it’s done frying. Chicken can be kept warm in a low oven as you work through the batch this way, and, it reduces a soggy underside, so every corner of the chicken is crispy.

Oil: Choose an oil with a very high smoke point – this is not the place for the fruity extra-virgin olive oil you make salad dressing with. Shortening, lard and peanut oil are the best oils to fry your chicken in and are relatively inexpensive for the large quantity needed.

Contrasting Flavours Make Fried Chicken Delicious

Every chef offered a contrasting side or sauce for their fried chicken dish. The apple, fennel and corn slaw, as well as the compressed cucumber salad, were well received by the Top Chef Canada judges. Something acidic, like lemon or pickles (as one of the contestants chose), helps to cut through the rich fried chicken for a balanced dish. You can achieve this by keeping it simple with a lemon wedge or sweet-and-sour pickle served on the side, or whip up a tangy sauce for dunking, which is yet another place to spice things up.

Spicy Fried Chicken with Waffles

Get the recipe for Bobby Flay’s Fried Chicken and Wild Rice Waffles With Pink Peppercorn Sauce

This recipe speaks to the concept of contrasts perfectly, mixing sweet, heat and sour elements to tease out every ounce of flavour in your perfect fried chicken.

Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup is Fiesta Flavour Without the Fuss

This zesty and warming soup is just asking to be on your dinner menu this week. Toppings of tortilla chips, avocado, cilantro and lime add incredible flavour and texture to a big, comforting bowl of slow-cooked shredded chicken, sweet potato, black beans and tomatoes. To make this into a vegan or vegetarian soup, simply skip the chicken, toss in another can of black beans and replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth.

Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup

Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours on high, 4 hours on low
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes on high, 4 hours 20 minutes on low
Serves: 4  

Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup

Ingredients:

Tortilla Soup
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2-1/2 cups chicken broth
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 small or 1 large yellow onion, diced
1 sweet potato, diced
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt

For Serving
1 lime, quartered
1/2 cup (about a handful per serving) tortilla chips
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1 avocado, pitted and diced

Directions:
Tortilla Soup
1. Stir to combine all tortilla soup ingredients (except for toppings) in a large slow cooker. Replace lid and cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 4 hours.

2. After time is up, shred the chicken using two forks and stir to coat with remaining soup ingredients.

Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup

For Serving:

1. Dish the tortilla soup into bowls and top each one with a squeeze of lime, tortilla chips, cilantro and avocado. Serve hot.

For tortilla soup outside of the bowl, try this family-friendly Chicken Tortilla Casserole (aka Mexican lasagna!) from The Pioneer Woman.

marinated-chicken-breast on a plate with salad

How to Cook Chicken Breasts Perfectly Every Time

Loaded with lean protein and low in calories and fat, boneless, skinless chicken breast have become synonymous with people looking to start or maintain a healthy diet. Baked in the oven, roasted with veggies, stuffed or slow cooked, there are countless chicken breast recipes to choose from. While the versatile protein has a magic ability to take on any flavour you apply to it, the lack of fat means it is easy to overcook, leaving you with dry, bland chicken. Not to worry, it doesn’t have to be that way!
Whether you are starting a healthier diet or simply looking to eat more chicken, learn how to cook chicken breast perfectly every time. These tips will add life and excitement to your baked chicken breasts and ensure maximum flavour.

sliced stuffed chicken breast on a plateGet the recipe for Rachael Ray’s Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Start with Quality Chicken Breast

The taste and texture of chicken starts with how it was raised. Chickens that are raised to free range on pastures are usually healthier and more nutritious. Look for organic chicken that has been humanely raised. The meat might be pricier, but the difference in flavour and texture is worth it.

Season Your Chicken Breast

Sprinkle salt on raw chicken before you even think about pre-heating the oven. This will ensure the meat has time to absorb the salt, flavouring the meat inside as well as out. The result is a more flavourful chicken breast than seasoning after it is cooked.

sliced chicken breast with salad and lemonGet the recipe for Marinated Chicken Breast

Marinate Your Chicken Breast

Chicken breasts are like sponges for flavour – so get creative! Place chicken in a freezer bag with the marinade of choice. Store it in the fridge for hours or overnight before cooking for maximum impact. Pesto makes an easy herby flavour-injection, or try yogurt with Indian inspired spices for a creamy texture.

Don’t Roast Chicken Alone

Chicken breasts are a blank slate for flavour, so consider roasting them with complementary vegetables and herbs. Aromatic vegetables, citrus and herbs help inject flavour into the meat and help give you a tasty side dish to serve alongside.

bowl of chicken phoGet the recipe for Anne Burrell’s Chicken Pho

Try Poaching Chicken for Maximum Moisture

If you are making chicken soup or stew, poaching is an easy way to cook chicken. Simmering it in water or broth will ensure your meat stays moist and helps add flavour to pot. Immerse chicken breasts in simmering stock for about 10 minutes, then shred or slice the chicken into your desired dish.

When in Doubt, Don’t Overcook

We’ve all been there, you’ve left your chicken breasts in the oven a few minutes too long and you’re left with dry, unpleasant meat. How do you know when chicken is done? An instant-read thermometer will help you know what temperature you should cook your chicken to, no more guessing! Inserted into the thickest part of the breast should read no higher than165°F when the chicken is done. Easy, peasy!

Let Your Chicken Rest

Once you’ve cooked your chicken to the perfect temperature, remove it from the oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes before you slice. This will allow time for the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and ensure maximum juiciness. Cut too soon and those juices will escape. Have patience.

Looking for chicken breast recipes?  Look no further than these Popular Chicken Breast Recipes You Need to Try.

slow cooker thai red curry soup in a white bowl topped with cilantro

Slow Cooker Thai Red Curry Soup That’s Easier (and Better) Than Take-Out

Thai curry is all about layering flavours, and slow-cooking the ingredients allows everything to fully meld, creating a rich, complex dish without standing at the stove for hours. Chicken, vegetables, brown rice and roasted peanuts make this bowl a complete meal, while prepared red Thai curry paste keeps things simple. With this spicy, coconut milk and chicken soup, you’ll skip the take-out once and for all.

Slow Cooker Thai Red Curry Soup with Chicken

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours on high, 4 hours on low
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes on high, 4 hours 10 minutes on low
Serves: 4


Ingredients:

Thai Red Curry Soup with Chicken
1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk
1 cup chicken broth
3 Tbsp red Thai curry paste
2 Tbsp coconut sugar
1 Tbsp tamari (a gluten-free soy sauce)
1 large or 2 small yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2-inch piece ginger, minced
1 cup broccoli florets
2 carrots, sliced
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

For Serving
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 lime, quartered


Directions:
1. Whisk the coconut milk, broth, curry paste, coconut sugar and tamari together in a large slow cooker. Add the remaining soup ingredients and stir to combine. Replace lid and cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 4 hours.

2. Once cooked, shred the chicken using two forks and give the soup a good stir.

3. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top each one with cooked brown rice, peanuts, cilantro and a squeeze of lime. Serve warm.

Looking for more Thai curry recipes? Try this Vegan Thai Curry Pumpkin Soup with Coconut Milk.

Slow Cooker Chicken Coconut Curry

Slow Cooker Coconut Chicken Curry is the Easiest Healthy Comfort Food

Are you craving a warming, deeply delicious curry that is slow-cooked to perfection? This coconut chicken curry has the bold, creamy flavours we love in restaurant versions, but is a cinch to make at home, and far healthier. The method is as simple as adding ingredients to your slow cooker and setting the timer – you come home to a beautifully cooked meal that’s especially satisfying to eat as the weather gets chilly. Served on a bed of whole grain quinoa or rice and topped with refreshing cilantro, it’s healthy comfort food done right.

Slow cooker chicken curry 3

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours on high, 8 hours on low
Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes on high, 8 hours 10 minutes on low
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into cubes
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
2 Tbsp mild curry powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp sea salt
1 heaping cup of baby spinach
Warm cooked quinoa, for serving
¼ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Curry ingredients

Directions:
1. Place all ingredients except baby spinach, quinoa and cilantro in a 6-quart slow cooker. Mix well to combine, cover and set on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.

Slow cooker chicken curry-1

2.  When ready to serve, open the lid and stir in baby spinach to wilt. Ladle curry over cooked quinoa or rice with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro. Serve.

Slow cooker chicken curry-2

Spicy-hot curry is all about the cooling condiments. Smooth things out with this refreshing mint, yogurt and cucumber raita.

Looking for more slow cooker ideas? Try these tasty chicken slow cooker recipes.

Pomegranate Ginger Chicken

Pomegranate Ginger Chicken For a Sweet and Fruitful Rosh Hashanah

Sweet, tart and jewel-tone pomegranates are commonly enjoyed during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year celebrations, and there are many theories about what this majestic fruit symbolizes. One explains the fruit’s (supposed) 613 seeds represents the 613 good deeds in the Hebrew Bible. Another refers to pomegranates as a symbol of fertility, representing a happy new year of unlimited possibilities. Though my favourite reason to eat these ruby-red gems is because they’re a versatile fruit that adds sparkle to both savoury and sweet recipes, all season long.

chicken-pom

In this dinnertime treasure, we pair pomegranate molasses and pomegranate seeds with fresh ginger to make a seasonally-spiced chicken bake fit for holiday entertaining. As it bakes, a mouthwatering gravy forms at the bottom the dish, which you can serve with couscous or rice to soak it all up. This recipe is perfect for any occasion, simple enough for weeknight cooking and regal enough for elegant holiday entertaining.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Marinade Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh minced ginger plus 1 (2-inch) piece thinly sliced
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt, more for serving
1 (3 lb) whole chicken broken into 8 pieces or 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts, halved
1 Spanish onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/8 tsp ground pepper
Warm cooked couscous or rice, for serving, optional

Directions:
1. In a large zip-top bag, mix pomegranate molasses, olive oil, 1 Tbsp minced ginger, cinnamon, garlic and salt. Place chicken and onions in bag and massage to coat with mixture. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to 1 day in refrigerator.
2. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place chicken and onions in a single layer in a large ovenproof baking dish. Discard remaining marinade. Place thinly sliced ginger in-between chicken pieces.
3. Bake until chicken is cooked through and onions are tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and garnish with fresh pomegranate seeds, parsley, additional salt and pepper. Serve with warm couscous or rice, if desired.

Add some sparkle to the rest of your plate with our best-ever holiday sides.