Tag Archives: dinner ideas

This Bold 5-Ingredient Sheet Pan Steak Supper From The Pioneer Woman Will Brighten Your Table

When it comes to quick and easy five-ingredient meals, you can rely on The Pioneer Woman for a healthy and scrumptious weeknight option. With fresh cherry tomatoes, crunchy bell peppers and juicy cuts of boneless ribeye steaks, this bright and bold sheet pan wonder from Ree Drummond is everything you need in a well-balanced meat and veggie dish. *chef’s kiss*

Related: Simple and Satisfying Recipes That Use 5 Ingredients or Less

Steak Sheet Pan Supper

Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yields: 2 servings

Ingredients:

2 red bell peppers, cut into thick rounds
2 yellow bell peppers, cut into thick rounds
1 large yellow onion, cut into thick rounds (large rings only)
2 cups whole cherry tomatoes
Two 12-ounce boneless rib-eye steaks, about 1 1/2 inches thick
4 tsp Montreal steak seasoning
4 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp salted butter
1 loaf crusty, artisan-style French bread, for serving

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

Directions:

1. Position an oven rack on the highest level in the oven. Preheat the broiler on high.

2. Arrange the peppers on a sheet pan in a single layer. Do the same with the onions and cherry tomatoes. This will create a bed of vegetables for the steaks to sit on.

3. Lay the steaks directly on the vegetables with an inch or two between the steaks so they aren’t touching. Season the top of each steak with 1 teaspoon Montreal steak seasoning. Drizzle the top of each steak with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Top each steak with 1 tablespoon butter.

4. Broil until the tops of the steaks are nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and use a set of tongs to flip the steaks over. Sprinkle the other side of each steak with 1 teaspoon Montreal steak seasoning. Drizzle each steak with 1 tablespoon olive oil and top each with 1 tablespoon butter. Slide the pan back into the oven and broil the other side for 3 minutes.

5. Plate each steak with half of the veggies from the pan. Serve with a chunk of crusty French bread.

Watch the How-To Video for Steak Sheet Pan Supper


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.

These Pan-Fried Pork Chops With Roast Cabbage Wedges Will Help Your “What’s for Dinner?” Woes

Healthy and budget-friendly, cabbage is one of the most delicious and versatile cruciferous veggies. Anyone who is “on the fence” about cabbage will be converted with this roasted variety — promise! High heat cooking caramelizes the outer cabbage layers and opens up the nutty sweetness, while maintaining a tender, textured crunch. With the addition of the quick and easy pan-fried pork chops, this meal ticks off all the boxes and will become a family favourite.

Pan-fried pork chops and roasted cabbage on white plate

Pan-Fried Pork Chops With Roast Cabbage Wedges

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Cabbage
1 red cabbage (feel free to swap out red cabbage with white cabbage or a medium Savoy cabbage)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¾ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp lemon juice or red wine vinegar

Pork Chops
2 bone-in pork chops (1 ¼ to1 ½-inch thick) (approx. 1 ½ lbs)
½ tsp each kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
6 thyme sprigs
3 cloves garlic, smashed
4 green olives (optional)

Garnish
Chopped parsley
Finely grated Parmesan

Ingredients for pan-fried pork chops and roasted cabbage

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Cut cabbage in half and then each half into 6-8 equal wedges, keeping the core and stem intact. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet; brush with ¼ cup of the oil all over and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. Roast until browned and slightly charred on bottom, about 10 to 15 minutes. Flip and continue roasting until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Drizzle with lemon juice or vinegar.

Cabbage roasting on pan

3. While the cabbage is cooking, sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and cook pork chops until golden brown on one side, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes; repeat flipping and cooking until browned and instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 135°F, about 8 minutes total.

Related: 12 Must-Try Fall Cocktails to Give Thanks for This Autumn

4. Remove pan from heat. Add butter, thyme, olives (if using) and garlic to pan, tilting and spooning the butter mixture over chops, basting the fat cap to brown.

Pork chops in pan

5. Transfer chops to a cutting board; cover and rest for 5 minutes. Cut into thick slices, reserving juices. Sprinkle with parsley or grated Parmesan (if using). Serve with cabbage.

Pork chops and roasted cabbage

Like Soo’s pan-fried pork chops with roast cabbage wedges? Then try her Chinese stir-fried eggplant or pork banh mi burgers.

5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Dinner Ideas: Slow Cooker Beef Bolognese

Ready to make the most comforting dinner with the least amount of effort? Then you’ll love this beef Bolognese. It only required five ingredients, plus a little salt and pepper! It’s the perfect, warming dish to make as the weather starts turning cooler — and is usually loved by all family members, even picky eaters. After a quick sauté of the onion and beef, simply throw all of the ingredients into the slow cooker and voila, you’re done. We like to choose a jar of our favourite store-bought marinara or tomato sauce, since it infuses so much flavour in one simple ingredient. If you would like to add the extra step of making your own, go for it. For the ultimate comfort dinner, serve the Bolognese over a big pile of your favourite noodles.

5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Beef Bolognese

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 to 6 hours
Total Time: 3 to 6 hours
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 lb ground beef
1 x 750 ml jar marinara or tomato sauce
½ cup chicken broth or dry red wine
½ tsp sea salt and pinch of pepper

Directions:

1. Place a wide skillet over medium-high heat and add in the oil. Once heated, put in onion and cook for 3 minutes until translucent.

2. Add in the ground beef, break it up with the back of a spoon and allow to brown.

3. Then place the onion, browned beef, sauce, broth, salt and pepper in the slow cooker.

4. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours.

Like Tamara and Sarah’s slow cooker beef Bolognese? Try their vegan pumpkin soup or their no-bake chocolate layered oat bars.

This Comforting Mujadara Recipe is Our Favourite Way to Cook Rice

Mujadara is a simple and delicious dish of lentils, rice, spices and fried onions. The first-known recipe of this popular Middle Eastern dish can be found in a 13th-century Iraqi cookbook. This vegetarian meal was once considered to be “food of the poor” — as its inexpensive and readily available ingredients can feed many people. It gets its rich, infused flavour by coating the rice in olive oil and spices before cooking it. If you have leftover rice, you can improvise a cheat version of mujadara and fold it in with the lentils and onions at the end. But it’s always best to start with a traditional recipe from scratch before you begin experimenting with shortcuts — so you know how it’s meant to turn out. This recipe is adapted from methods from my favourite Middle Eastern chefs, who bring Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian and Syrian influences to their recipes. I remember trying mujadara for the first time as a little girl and savouring the crispy onions — and now, when I make it for my own children, they also eat the onions first!

Vegetarian Mujadara

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6 (depending on if it’s a main or side)

Ingredients:

1 cup vegetable oil
3 large or 4 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced as evenly as possible
1 ½ cups water
1 ¼ cups brown or green lentils
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 cup basmati rice
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar (optional)
1 bunch of parsley, picked off the stems and roughly chopped (optional)
1 lemon, quartered for serving
Sea salt and black pepper

Serve this mujadara recipe warm or at room temperature, with a side of plain Greek yogurt or labneh, lemon wedges, parsley and a chopped salad of tomato and cucumber.

Directions:

1. Heat the vegetable oil on medium to high in a heavy-bottom saucepan with a lid or a Dutch oven. Once the oil is hot, add half of the onions. Fry for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn a rich golden brown. Some dark bits are fine, that’s where you’ll get the bitterness. If the onions are all the same size, they will cook more evenly. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the onions to a colander or plate lined with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. (Act fast— the onions crisp up quickly at this stage and it’s in the last seconds where they’ll go from brown to black if you’re not careful). Season with salt. Repeat with second batch and set aside.

2. While the onions are frying, add the lentils to a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the lentils are soft, but slightly firm in the centre. Drain and set aside.

Related: 25 Healthy Middle Eastern Recipes You’ll Make on Repeat

3. Drain the oil from the saucepan you fried the onions in and wipe it clean. Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, rice, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to coat the rice with the oil and spices. If you’re adding sugar, now is the time to put it in as well. Bring to a boil before simmering on low heat for 15 minutes. (Be patient and don’t open the lid — you don’t want any of that steam to escape).

4. Remove from heat, take the lid off and immediately cover with a clean tea towel and put the lid back on, sealing tightly. This will allow the mujadara to keep steaming gently. Let rest for about 10 minutes.

5. Transfer the rice and lentils into a large mixing bowl or straight into your serving platter and then gently fold in half the fried onions.
Top with the second half of the fried onions and garnish with parsley.

Like Claire’s vegetarian mujadara? Try her mother’s recipe for seven-vegetable Moroccan couscous.

Recreate the Winning Dish From Junior Chef Showdown

While the sumptuous Wagyu beef needs no introduction, it does require mouth-watering sidekicks to accompany it for a properly balanced – and extra-flavourful – meal. Luckily for us, this season’s Junior Chef Showdown winner, Audrey, has got us covered.

Don’t be deterred by the amount of ingredients and steps required – you don’t have to be an insanely talented kid chef to make this meal at home. This is a deceptively simple dish packed with complex flavours and textures that are sure to satisfy. Bon appétit!

Watch: Junior Chef Showdown Judges Sound Off on How to Get Your Kids to Cook

Junior Chef Audrey’s Wagyu Steak with Grilled Veggie Salad, Garlic Scape Pesto and Potato Crisps

Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes, plus 1 hour soaking time for potatoes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

Fingerling Potato Chips
2 fingerling or small Yukon gold potatoes, sliced very thin
Salt
Oil for frying

Garlic Scape Pesto
6 garlic scapes
5 Tbsp olive oil, divided
½ cup toasted pine nuts
1 cup packed arugula
1 Tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp salt
1 to 2 Tbsp water

Steak
1 Wagyu strip steak, about ¾-inch thick**
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 Tbsp grapeseed oil
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, peeled and slice in half
2 sprigs thyme

Grilled Veggie and Peach Medley
8 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and discarded
2 king oyster mushrooms, sliced lengthwise about ¼-inch thick
1 peach, stoned and cut into 8 wedges
1 bunch of multicoloured radishes, trimmed and cut in half
2 Tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

To serve
2 cups loosely packed arugula

Related: Jordan Andino’s Quick and Comforting Chinese Broccoli & Shrimp Stir-Fry

Directions:

**Remove steak from your fridge 30 minutes to one hour before cooking. This will allow the meat to cook more evenly, yielding a tastier result.

Fingerling Potato Chips
1. Soak potato slices in cold water for 1 hour (optional: if you don’t have time for this step, simply rinse the potatoes once or twice before drying them). Drain, rinse and pat dry thoroughly with a clean kitchen towel.

2. Fit a wire cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet and set aside. Heat an inch of oil in a medium heavy-bottomed pot or deep fryer until a thermometer reads 325°F.

3. Add potatoes in batches and fry until golden and crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon onto prepared sheet. Sprinkle with salt immediately.

Related: Lynn Crawford’s Bacon and Egg Ramen Soup is the Comfort Food You Didn’t Know You Needed

Garlic Scape Pesto
1. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Toss scapes with 1 Tbsp olive oil in a medium bowl. Add to pan and cook until charred and tender, about 5 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove from grill and set aside to cool slightly.

3. Roughly chop the scapes and place into the bowl of a food processor. Add remaining ingredients except for the water and pulse until blended. Add water to loosen, if desired. Taste and season with more salt and lemon juice, if desired.

Steak
1. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Pat steak dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper.

3. Add oil to pan and heat until shimmering. Add steak with the fat cap facing towards you and cook until crusted and browned, about 3 minutes per side. Add butter, garlic and thyme in the last minute of cooking; tilt pan gently towards yourself and quickly spoon butter repeatedly over steak to baste. Remove steak from pan, cover loosely with foil and set aside to rest for 8 to 10 minutes. Slice right before serving.

Related: Anna Olson’s Herbed Avocado Dip Will Take Your Sandwiches and Veggies to the Next Level

Grilled Veggie Medley
1. Heat a cast iron grill pan over medium-high heat.

2. Toss veggies and peach with oil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

3. Add to grill pan and cook until charred and tender, about 5 to 7 minutes, turning occasionally.

4. To serve, spread some pesto onto two plates (reserve any remaining pesto to toss with your favourite pasta and cherry tomatoes for a delicious meal). Top with a handful of arugula, followed by the grilled veggies and peach. Top with the steak and potatoes. Enjoy!

Watch Junior Chef Showdown 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.

Snack Plates Are the Easy Dinner Option You Need This Week

We’ve been at home for months now. We’ve brushed up on our cooking skills, baked enough to open a bakery (are you also a banana bread connoisseur?) — but, some days, the thought of cooking one more meal that ends in a mountain of dishes is too much to handle. And as the weather gets warmer, we’d rather be spending our time outside and not chained to a hot oven. So, here’s the solution: make snack plates for dinner a thing every week.

Snack plates are essentially the way toddlers eat (not a bad thing!) and make perfect sense for adults as a simple, vibrant and ultimately exciting meal option that promises a myriad of flavours, textures, colours and nutrients. Start by selecting items that already live in your fridge or pantry. Remember: the plate is still supposed to resemble a meal, so even though it’s snack-style, ensure there’s colourful fibrous veggies and fruit, protein and healthy fats.

Related: How to Prep Slow Cooker Freezer Meals to Get Through the Week

What to Put on Your Snack Plate

Veggies:
● Choose veggies that have texture (good crunch), colour and can be grabbed easily.
● Some great examples are carrots, cucumbers, celery, radishes, fennel, bell peppers and snap peas.
● You can also BBQ, roast or saute veggies like onion, zucchini, eggplant, broccoli , cauliflower and Brussel sprouts.

Fruit:
● It’s officially the season for fresh fruit, so add it generously.
● Use fresh mixed berries, sliced apples and pears, pineapple, peaches, nectarines — the list goes on!
● Cut everything small enough so it’s easy and quick to grab.

Dips:
● If there are dips in the fridge, use them; if they’re half finished or need a little bit of love, drizzle some oil on top, add toasted seeds or nuts, mix in fresh herbs and even sprinkle some spices on top.
● For example, a half eaten hummus container in the fridge can easily be revived by adding some chickpeas, sesame seeds, parsley, tahini, lemon and za’atar on top.
● Or make dips like pesto, roasted red pepper and beet hummus.

Protein:
● You can keep it vegetarian or use animal proteins (the snack plate is yours to design).
● Ideas include crispy chickpeas, grilled skewers, hard-boiled eggs, sausages, sliders, cooked chicken or fish, lox, tofu or tempeh.

Grains:
● When choosing a grain, try to find one that’s rich in fibre.
● You may want something that acts as a vessel for dip, stuffed with other ingredients or just added for carby-deliciousness.
● Think: crackers, sliced bread, pita, tortillas, chips, cornbread or savoury muffins.

Related: Our Fave Food Trends to Come out of Quarantine, From Pancake Cereal to Bread Art

Extras and Bonuses:
● These are little delicious bonuses that add punchy flavour or satisfying crunch.
● Things like olives, pickles, toasted cashews, tamari almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, dates or raisins.
● You can also add sweetness with dessert-inspired bites like chocolate chips, truffle balls and brownies.

Plate Themes:
● You can theme your plate based on cuisines you love or based on leftovers that need to be revived.
● For example, if you already have leftover falafel or chicken shawarma, you can make a Middle Eastern plate and add hummus, pitas, pickled veggies and crudite with drizzles of tahini and fresh parsley on top.
● Or if you have leftover ginger soy salmon, you can create an Asian-style theme and add nori chips, steamed dumplings, kimchi, sesame crackers, edamame and lettuce leaf wraps.

Related: Middle Eastern Sumac Chicken With Date Syrup, Lemon and Pecans

How to Assemble It:
● Depending on how many mouths are being fed, choose the size of your plate accordingly. It can be a big platter, a few platters or just a normal size dinner plate.
● This doesn’t need to be Instagram- or Pinterest-worthy, but bonus points if it is!
● Start by adding one item at a time, placing each item either in a few different spots on the platter or in one dedicated spot.
● Your snack plate can be as elaborate or as simple as your heart desires. Then, enjoy yourself an easy, clean-up friendly dinner!

Want some more easy dinner ideas? Try this baked salmon with spicy mango avocado salsa and mint and lemon pearl couscous salad.

Kedgeree With Flaked Smoked Trout Will Be Your New Favourite Dish

Kedgeree, an East Indian dish composed of lentils, rice, fried onions, spices and ginger, was promptly adopted (and adapted) by the English in the 18th century and transformed into what is now a popular British breakfast. Here, we’ve swapped the traditional English smoked haddock in favour of tender, flaky smoked trout, and we swear by this recipe for brunch, lunch or any dinner occasion.

The Perfect Kedgeree: Smoked Fish With Rice, Fried Onions and Eggs

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes (includes rice cooling time)
Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

1 cup basmati rice
3 cooked eggs, shelled and quartered (see tip)
3 Tbsp ghee or unsalted butter or vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1 Tbsp medium curry powder or mild curry powder
1 tsp cumin seeds (or 1 tsp each cumin seeds, kosher salt and turmeric)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp turmeric
2 ripe tomatoes, quartered, seeded and chopped
½ cup frozen peas, thawed
190g hot smoked trout or salmon, flaked into chunks (1 ½ cups)
3 green onions, thinly sliced
½ cup torn cilantro leaves
lemon wedges (optional)

Directions:

1. Wash the rice in a bowl covered with cold water, swishing with your hand, or until the water runs clear.

Tip: For the fluffiest grains of rice, wash and drain the rice 3x then cover with cold water for 20 minutes or until the grains are pearly white. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and continue with the recipe.

2. Combine rice and two cups water to a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes; fluff with a fork and spread on a large platter or baking sheet. Let cool.

3. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add butter to melt. Add onions and cook, stirring until almost softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, curry, cumin, salt and turmeric, and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring until softened, 2-3 minutes.

4. Crumble in half of the cooled rice and all the peas. Stir just enough to incorporate the rice; stir in remaining rice, and cook until flavours are combined and just hot. Sprinkle with green onions and cilantro.

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

5. Scrape onto a serving platter and top with quartered eggs and lemon wedges for squeezing (if using).

Tip: To cook eggs, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Using a spoon, gently drop the eggs and cook over a medium boil for 9 minutes. Drain and immerse under cold running water until cool. Remove shells and set aside.

Try these 25 Indian Recipes That Are Even Better Than Takeout or these 20 Healthy Mediterranean Recipes to Bookmark Right Now.

The One Genius Kitchen Product You’ll be Gifting Everyone This Year (Plus More Ideas)

Ah, the joys of shopping during the holidays – scouring the big-box department stores and online shops for the latest and greatest items to gift your loved ones, only to wind up more confused than when you first started.

But there’s never been a better time to surprise an at-home chef or foodie with a gift, considering the current wealth of innovative gadgets that will elevate their food game to the next level.

For the friend or relative who knows their way around the kitchen (and has cooked you more than their fair share of scrumptious meals and party appetizers), there really isn’t a better way to demonstrate how much you appreciate their culinary skills than with the latest appliances that seamlessly marry technology with home cooking.

And if there’s one genius kitchen product that’s been generating all the hype as of late, it’s this one:

The Instant Marinator


Vacu Vin 1/3 Quart Instant Marinating Container, $39.99, Amazon.ca.

What is it?  An Instant Marinator boasts impressive technology that removes oxygen from the container (a vacuum pump extracts the air faster and opens up the pores of the meat to absorb the sauce). This ultimately speeds up the entire marinating process and tenderizes the meat in minutes. Bonus: considering the Instant Marinator comes in a variety of sizes, from half-quart containers (above) to tumbling canisters, there are plenty of options and price points to choose from, making it a refreshingly flexible budget-friendly option if you’re looking to save some cash.

Who needs it? The friend or relative who loves pairing homemade marinades with their favourite cuts of meats or veggies. Also ideal for those who want to save time in the kitchen (read: all of us!) and never think to marinate tomorrow’s dinner the night before.

Related: Marinating 101: How to Flavour Your Meat, Fish and Vegetables

Want more kitchen appliance ideas? Gift one of the handy gadgets below to a loved one, or simply treat yourself (because there’s nothing wrong with that!).

Sous Vide Precision Cooker


Chefman Sous Vide Precision Cooker, $124.99, Amazon.ca

What is it? A method of cooking that involves sealing food – from eggs to fish to meats – in a heat-stable plastic pouch and bathing in water, before cooking to perfection using precise temperature control (no under-cooking or overcooking here!). Fun fact: the term Sous Vide actually means “under vacuum” in French. It also happens to be a healthier way of cooking due to the enhanced flavour and little to no additional salts or fats. The vacuum sealing ensures essential vitamins and minerals don’t dissipate during the cooking process, so you can soak up all those nutrients as you eat. And now the process is easier with the Sous Vide Precision Cooker that heats  up the water that much faster. Bonus: since it’s Bluetooth and WIFI enabled, it connects to your phone or tablet.

Who needs it? The determined home chef who tends to overcook just about everything, or the nervous food preparer who doesn’t want to risk under-cooking or ruining a dish, especially when entertaining. It’ll transform anyone into a kitchen master, we swear.

Never attempted a sous vide dish? These En Sous Vide Baby Back Ribs and Sous Vide Steelhead Trout recipes are perfect for beginners.

Digital Glass Steamer


Cuisinart Digital Glass Steamer, $194, Amazon.ca.

What is it? Skip the stove-top steamer and opt for the modern digital variety that delivers steam from the top down. Because who doesn’t love a beautifully steamed dish – especially since it retains many of the foods original minerals and vitamins? The appliance boasts a dishwasher-safe glass surfaced pot large enough for family-sized portions of veggies, fish, chicken or rice. Foodies can also look forward to everything from specific food settings to a built-in timer.

Who needs it? The health-conscious home chef, or anyone looking to be inspired in the kitchen with an easy and good-for-you cooking solution. We’re all about it!

Related: 15 Bad Eating Habits Experts Recommend Ditching by 2020

Smoke-Less Indoor Grill

Philips Smoke-less Indoor BBQ Grill, $329.00, Amazon.ca.

What is it? Living in Canada means spending a significant chunk of the year curled under a blanket, waiting for the snow to melt. However, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the smoky taste of a summertime BBQ. Cheer everyone up this winter with a SmokeLess Indoor Grill featuring advanced infrared heat technology and minimal side spattering for evenly grilled food that will remind you of warmer days. The non-stick grid also provides those authentic, sought-after grill marks and the constant heat browns your meats without burning them. It’s also ideal for healthy, lean grilling with a grease tray that collects excess fats.

Who needs it? That friend or relative who lives for summer grilling and would love to keep the party going year-round.

For more holiday gift ideas, check out which top kitchen appliances our editors can’t live without.

Jillian Harris Opens Up About Her Granny’s Legacy in the Kitchen (Plus Holiday Tips & Recipes)

Jillian Harris knows a thing or two about crafting a well-balanced meal, which might come as somewhat of a surprise to devoted fans of HGTV Canada’s Love it or List it Vancouver star.  Although the vast majority of the pink-hued photos on the social media influencer’s Instagram account are dedicated to decor and design pieces (and her adorable kids!), Jillian also reveals that food has played a significant role in her life since childhood — thanks, in large part, to her beloved Granny and her family’s Ukrainian heritage.

“I really love wholesome, rich comfort food — the food that makes you want to have a glass of wine and curl up and go to sleep,” she says. “We grew up with meals full of pierogis and cabbage rolls.”

Jillian, who has since switched gears to a mostly plant-based diet in her adult years, recently joined forces with her cousin, dietitian Tori Wesszer, for their first cookbook that was released just in time for the holidays, Fraiche Food, Full Hearts: A Collection of Recipes for Every Day and Casual Celebrations. Given that this time of year is all about spending time with family, it’s fitting that their Granny’s passion for food and loved ones is all over this book.

“She was literally our best friend,” Jillian says of her grandmother, who was bestowed with the nickname Beet Roll Queen, and who passed away this July. Adds Tori, “We were just so sad that she didn’t see this [cookbook] come to fruition. She would have been thrilled to see her legacy and her love for connecting people and family.”

Fraiche Food, Full Hearts takes those same hearty, soothing recipes the cousins grew up with and gives them a healthier, more plant-based spin — although it warmly embraces all dietary needs. “It’s approachable for every family,” Jillian says of the cookbook. “[It gives you the chance] to lean into the whole plant-based diet, but we’ve made it flexible and convertible for everyone.”

So whether you’re expecting a handful of out-of-towners or a slew of extended family this holiday season, there are a few simple hosting hacks that Jillian and Tori suggest you try in order to have a stress-free, dietary-friendly holiday. (Don’t worry — you’ve got this!)

Related: 14 Things You Didn’t Know About Jillian Harris


Get the recipe for Jillian’s Almost Famous Stuffing

Plan Ahead

“Plan out your menu ahead of time, and buy our cookbook!” Jillian says with a laugh. Although this might seem a little obvious, it’s easy to lose track of our schedules during the chaotic holiday season. We always think we have more time than we actually do, but between work, family obligations and shopping for gifts, we’re suddenly left wondering what to whip up in the kitchen for the big day.

Jillian suggests planning early — as in, right now. Be sure to inquire about dietary requirements in advance. No one wants a “food surprise” after you’ve spent the better part of your day cooking the meal. Where possible, make some freezer-friendly recipes in advance for a stress-free holiday.

Related: 20 Holiday Staples You Should Make Ahead This Year


Get the recipe for Jillian and Tori’s Sunshine Muffins

Stay on Top of Dietary Needs

This one is a biggie for both Jillian and Tori — and it’s something that is easy to overlook. “You really want people to feel like [their dietary needs] are as important to you as it is to them,” Jillian says. “They want to know that you’re hearing them. I think it makes people feel really good.”

By way of example, Jillian shares her own awkward, albeit hilarious, common situation. “My parents still don’t quite get [why it’s important],” she says with a laugh. “If I go over and they have hamburger soup, then that’s what you’re getting. But there have been times when they’ll make an extra plate for me and I’m like, ‘thank you for that slice of toast and piece of orange.’ Basically, my dad just thinks my taste buds are messed up.”

Related: 15 Vegan Roast Alternatives for Meat-Free Guests


Get the recipe for Jillian and Tori’s Mushroom Wellington

Stay Calm, Be Flexible

Before your head starts swimming at the thought of creating multiple menus to satisfy those with gluten intolerance or a vegan diet, fear not! “Having recipes that can be flexed either way is important, and it doesn’t mean you have to make an entirely separate menu for people with special dietary needs,” says Tori.

Offer a small variety of side dishes — no one is expecting an entirely separate menu just for them. “Usually people who have special requests don’t expect to be able to eat everything,” Jillian says. “They just want one or two options.”

Another alternative? Host a potluck where guests can bring a wealth of food options that will keep everyone satisfied, and perhaps introduce others to new dietary options.

Related: Our Top 100 Holiday Cookie and Square Recipes

Excerpted from Fraiche Food, Full Hearts: A Collection of Recipes for Every Day and Casual Celebrations by Jillian Harris and Tori Wesszer. Copyright © 2019 by Jillian Harris and Tori Wesszer. Photography copyright © 2019by Janis Nicolay. Published by Penguin Canada, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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.

A Hawaiian Plate Lunch That Goes Beyond Standard BBQ Fare​

A Hawaiian plate lunch is regularly based around a rich protein, mayo-based salad, rice and pickled and/or fresh vegetables. It’s the surrounding countries that have influenced the classic plate lunch for something that is both familiar and truly unique to residents and visitors, echoing Hawaii’s diverse population.

The variations of the key components are as widespread as they are delicious. In this version, the meal is made with a mayo-based macaroni salad, shoyu chicken, pickled cabbage (or coleslaw) and sticky rice. But don’t be tied to what you see here. Try the plate lunch concept with pulled pork, teriyaki beef, fried spam, beef curry, or soft-set eggs. You can even add more than one protein on a plate if that’s what appeals to you. Mayo-based potato salad can replace macaroni salad, and short-grain brown rice or black rice can replace white rice. Kimchi can stand in for coleslaw or pickled vegetables, and so on. Make the Hawaiian lunch your own, and have guests customize their plate at your next BBQ – or luau! 

Hawaiian Plate Lunch with Shoyu Chicken and Macaroni Salad

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

Shoyu Chicken
1 cup water
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp honey
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 (2-inch) piece ginger, sliced
1 red Thai chili, sliced
1 kg boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tsp cornstarch  

Macaroni Salad
8 oz elbow macaroni
Salt
1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp pickle juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 dill or sweet pickles, finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
2 Tbsp finely diced sweet onion
½ tsp granulated sugar
Ground black pepper, to taste

For Serving
Vinaigrette coleslaw, pickled cabbage or pickled vegetables (kimchi, pickled daikon, etc.)
Cooked sticky rice, warm
Fresh herbs or microgreens

Directions:

Shoyu Chicken
1. In a large high-sided skillet, combine water, soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, honey, garlic, ginger and chili. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add chicken in a single layer, submerging in the sauce. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, until chicken is tender. 

2. Transfer chicken only to a foil-lined baking sheet and position oven rack in the top third. Preheat broiler to medium-high. For the sauce, remove large chunks of ginger and garlic. Transfer a spoonful or two of sauce to a small bowl and whisk in cornstarch. Bring sauce to a boil, then, whisking constantly, add the cornstarch mixture and boil for 30 seconds to 1 minute to thicken. Keep warm.

3. Broil the chicken for 5 to 8 minutes, keeping an eye on it if your broiler runs hot, until burnished on the outside. Transfer chicken back into the thickened sauce and keep warm until ready to serve.

Macaroni Salad
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt well. Cook macaroni according to package directions, drain and rinse with cold water to cool. Allow to drain very well.

2. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients, add cooked and drained macaroni, and mix to combine. Season with salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Assembly
To build your plate, add a mound of sticky rice, scoop of macaroni salad, portion of coleslaw or pickled vegetables and chicken thighs. Garnish with herbs or microgreens, and dig in!

For more Hawaiian dish inspiration, check out these 10 tasty places to eat poke in Canada, or whip up Lynn Crawford’s Hawaiian fish tacos and Ree Drummond’s grilled pineapple burger – both summer staples, as far as we’re concerned!

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.

3 Vibrant Vegetarian Dinner Recipes That Make Lemon the Star

If your winter diet consisted of one too many stew and casserole dishes, we hear you, and we bet your current recipe arsenal is due for a spring refresh. Few people know how to celebrate seasonal fare like Jeanine Donofrio, the face behind the plant-forward recipe blog Love & Lemons, where healthy, rainbow-bright dishes take centre stage. That’s why we’re showcasing three mouth-watering vegetarian spring dinner ideas from her brand new cookbook, Love & Lemons Every Day (Available April 2).

The best part? Each recipe brilliantly incorporates lemon in a new way. The star ingredient adds a bright, citrusy finish to each main that denotes the sunny season ahead.

Asparagus, Snap Peas & Chive Blossom Pasta

This stunning pasta dish, featuring seasonal produce like radishes, asparagus, snap peas and chive blossoms, is a staple no matter the occasion; it’s easy enough to cook for the family on busy weeknights, and pretty enough to serve at your next dinner party. The pasta is lightly dressed in a mixture of fresh lemon juice and Dijon mustard, before being garnished with Parmesan cheese and lemon zest. We love how the pasta shape mimics that of the veggies! Get the recipe here!

Spring-on-a-Plate Socca Flatbread

Meet your new favourite healthy pizza alternative that’s the epitome of spring. The flatbread itself is made from chickpea flour, and requires only three ingredients. A cashew-based herb spread featuring fresh lemon juice acts as the perfect base. Topped with red radishes, pickled red onions, frozen peas, preserved lemons, mint leaves and feta cheese, this heavenly main can do no wrong, and is a delicious way to usher in the vibrant season ahead. Get the recipe here!

Cauliflower Steaks with Lemon Salsa Verde

By now, we’re sure you need no convincing that cauliflower is an incredibly versatile vegetable worth celebrating. But in case you still had your doubts, this spring-focused dish is proof on a plate. A flavourful puree of cauliflower florets, garlic cloves, miso paste and lemon juice act as the base, with a perfectly roasted cauliflower steak placed on top. The vegan, dairy-free main is then topped with a zesty salsa verde starring preserved lemons, parsley, pine nuts and capers. Get the recipe here!

Images excerpted from Love and Lemons Every Day: More than 100 Bright, Plant-Forward Recipes for Every Meal by Jeanine Donofrio. Copyright © 2019 Jeanine Donofrio. Photography by Jeanine Donofrio, Christopher Broe, and Jack Mathews . Published by Penguin Canada, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

The Pioneer Woman's Chicken Skillet Lasagna

The Pioneer Woman’s Top Cooking Tips for Easier Weeknight Dinners

Let’s face it: you’ve got enough on your plate during busy weeknights. While we’d all love to be a master chef, the last thing you need at the end of a long day is to improvise an elaborate meal that sucks up your time and energy. Luckily, The Pioneer Woman has some tips and tricks for making weeknight suppers a cinch.

Get the recipe for The Pioneer Woman’s Skillet Chicken Lasagna

Simple Supper in a Skillet

Making a scratch-made lasagna can be a grueling day-long affair that blows through an array of pots, kitchen utensils, and cutting boards. Forget that hassle, and instead, make The Pioneer Woman’s Skillet Chicken Lasagna in a skillet! This one-pot, one-pan Italian favourite not only minimizes mess but cuts the prep time to 10 minutes. Plus, the dish reheats beautifully – just throw the leftovers in the fridge or freezer and it’s ready to go for weeknight meals. For another inspiring skillet dish that can be pulled together in 16 minutes flat, try Ree Drummond’s Pepperoni Chicken recipe.

The Pioneer Woman's Perfect Pot RoastGet the recipe for The Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Pot Roast

One and Done

One-pot meals are a lifesaver! It only takes 15 minutes to prep The Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Pot Roast, and then just “set it and forget it” on the stovetop.  Using a large pot or Dutch oven, let beef simmer in wine, fresh thyme, and rosemary for 3-4 hours until tender. Then, serve pulled or sliced alongside a savoury side, like Grilled Taters with Onion and Garlic. Freeze the leftover meat and make The Pioneer Woman’s Hot Hawaiian Beef Sandwiches for another meal!

DIY Dinner

The Pioneer Woman’s Beef Tacos makes meals easy and fun! Put a tasty taco bar on the table, featuring ground beef sautéed with spicy seasoning and fixings like Cheddar Jack cheese, tomatoes, and lettuce. Then start an assembly line and let the family create their own taco masterpieces.

The Pioneer Woman's Kale Pasta Mason JarGet the recipe for The Pioneer Woman’s Kale Pasta Mason Jar Salad

Mason Jar Salad

Take 15 minutes to prep The Pioneer Woman’s Kale Pasta Mason Jar Salad and you’ve got a speedy side for weeknight dinners. It’s easy: just layer pasta, kale, tomato, pine nuts, mozzarella, and olive oil dressing in a mason jar. When it’s time to dig in, shake up the jar, pour into a bowl, and serve family-style. It also makes a fun, portable lunch that the kids will love.

Make the Slow Cooker Your BFF

Slow cookers make cooking a breeze: just plug it in, flip a switch, and watch dinner cook while you take care of other business (like relaxing!). For a  crowd-pleaser, try The Pioneer Woman’s Slow-Cooker Bolognese. While you’re at the office, let the rich, tangy meat sauce braise for 6 hours in the crockpot, and then all you have to do is serve a scoop over spaghetti and add grated Parmesan, basil, and parsley. It’ll be ready when you get home, and you can freeze the leftovers for future weeknight dinners.

Hot Hawaiian Beef SandwichesGet the recipe for The Pioneer Woman’s Hot Hawaiian Beef Sandwiches

Cook Once, Eat Twice

If you’re making a meal, why not cook once but eat twice? Turn pot roast leftovers into The Pioneer Woman’s Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches. A comfort classic, each sandwich is layered with provolone, sliced beef, and Ree Drummond’s homemade dressing. Pro tip: assemble a batch the night before and refrigerate for the next day’s dinner. Eating with your hands is a guaranteed hit!

Get the recipe for The Pioneer Woman’s Spanish Baked Salmon

Sheet Pan Supper

Meals that use multiple pots and pans make kitchen clean-up a hassle. Minimize mess with The Pioneer Woman’s Spanish Baked Salmon: this lightning-fast feast only requires one sheet pan to turn salmon fillets, croutons, red peppers, and green olives into a Spanish-inspired feast. It’s so easy that you’ll be tempted to use a sheet pan every night.

Breakfast For Dinner

Who says you can’t have breakfast for dinner? The Pioneer Woman’s Potato Hash makes a mouth-watering meal anytime and takes only 5 minutes to prepare. Topped with fried egg, russet and sweet potatoes are mixed with red bell peppers, yellow squash, onion, and zucchini. This tasty hash is everything!

The Pioneer Woman's Potato HashGet the recipe for The Pioneer Woman’s Potato Hash

Save the Scraps

Don’t toss the scraps – save ‘em for your next recipe! With The Pioneer Woman’s Roasted Potato Peels, turn russet potato peels into a roasted side dish, salad topper or snack. Or upcycle pie scraps into crunchy Cheese and Chipotle Scrap Crackers. A cost-saving and green-friendly kitchen hack!

Overnight Cooking

The Pioneer Woman’s Overnight Chicken Broth is so simple that you can make it in your sleep – literally. Before bedtime, put chicken bones, carrots, celery, parsnips, bay leaves, thyme, onion, salt and pepper into a large slow cooker. Cover with water by 2 inches and then cook on low for 10-12 hours overnight. The next morning, strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer and refrigerate in mason jars. You’ve got ready-to-use chicken broth for soups and stews.

Make and Reheat Meal

With The Pioneer Woman’s Brie and Broccoli Quiche, no one will guess that this dish is a reheat. This rich, flavourful quiche uses thick slices of chopped Brie, giving the dish a velvety smooth texture that’ll have everyone swooning. Make it ahead of time and then store in the freezer or fridge until you’re ready to serve it.

The Pioneer Woman's Make-Ahead Thanksgiving TurkeyGet the recipe for The Pioneer Woman’s Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Turkey

Make-Ahead Turkey

Turkey isn’t just for Thanksgiving! It makes a healthy and hearty weeknight meal with Ree Drummond’s ingenious hack: cut the bird into six sections, which will expedite the roasting time, and cook the night before. The next day, just reheat the bird for an hour and you’ve got a gourmet dinner on the table. Save the leftovers for turkey sandwiches, soups,  stir-fries, or casseroles. Get the recipe for The Pioneer Woman’s Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Turkey.

For more great recipes, watch The Pioneer Woman Saturdays at 12:00 PM E/T.

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

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


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

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

No-Fry Sheet Pan Eggplant Parmesan

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

All-Crust Sheet Pan Lasagna

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

Extra-Crunchy Sheet Pan Mac and Cheese

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


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

 

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