Tag Archives: dinner

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.

Forget Takeout and Make This Easy Chinese Stir-Fried Eggplant for Dinner Tonight

This umami-rich vegetarian dish gets tons of flavour from light soy sauce, Shaoxing wine (the key to authentic Chinese cooking), ginger and a healthy sum of garlic for an easy-to-prepare dinner rivalling any takeout. Though mastering the cookery of eggplant can be tricky, we’ve unlocked the mystery with a simple soaking and salting technique for the right texture and overall balanced flavour. Added bonus: this vegetarian dish will be ready in just over 30 minutes.

Chinese Stir-Fried Eggplant

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 2 to 4

Ingredients:

3 Chinese eggplants (they are slightly smaller and shorter than Japanese eggplants and can be purchased in Asian markets)
1 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp light soy sauce or regular soy sauce
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp Shaoxing wine
5 ½ tsp cornstarch, divided
1 ¼ tsp dark soy sauce or light soy sauce
3 Tbsp peanut oil or vegetable oil, divided
2 tsp minced ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 dried chilies (optional)
Green onions for garnish

Directions:

1. Halve eggplant lengthwise and then cut into 2-inch pieces. Transfer to a large bowl and fill with enough water to cover; sprinkle with salt and swish around to dissolve salt. Cover with plate to keep eggplant submerged for at least 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Transfer to a large bowl.

2. Make the sauce by stirring together the light soy, water, sugar, wine, 4 tsp of cornstarch and dark soy sauce until smooth. Set aside.

Tip: Shaoxing wine is a fermented rice wine used to add depth of flavour and complexity to marinating meat, to add flavour to stir-fries, sauces and braises in Chinese cooking.

Related: These 25 Simple Stir-Fry Recipes Will Convince You to Cook More

3. Sprinkle remaining cornstarch over eggplant and toss to coat. Heat 2 ½ Tbsp of the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add eggplant in one layer and cook until dark brown, 6 to 8 minutes, flipping after halfway. Move to a large plate.

4. Add remaining oil to pan and add ginger, garlic and dried chilies (if using), stirring for 10 seconds. Return eggplant to pan and stir quickly until warmed, about 30 seconds. Stir in sauce and bring to a boil. Cook until sauce thickens and coats eggplant, 1 to 2 minutes.

5. To serve, scrape eggplant mixture onto platter and sprinkle with green onions if desired.

Tip: For a non-vegetarian version, marinate ½ cup ground pork with 1 Tbsp Shaoxing wine, 2 tsp minced ginger and garlic and 1 tsp light soy sauce. Stir into pan at the beginning of step 4 and cook until browned. Push to one side of the pan and continue with recipe, adding the oil, ginger, garlic and chilies.

Like Soo’s stir-fried eggplant? Try her pork banh mi burgers, gochujang cauliflower popcorn or asparagus and mushroom udon.

BBQ These 30-Minute Low-Carb Mint Lamb Burgers for Dinner Tonight

“This heavenly, satisfying burger is one of the many reasons I look forward to eating dinner at your house.” A true quote from my dear mother, who is also happy being my guinea pig whenever I’m testing meat recipes. These juicy, hot off the grill, zesty mint lamb burgers will have your mouth watering before they even hit your plate. Added bonus: they’re low-carb and can be made in 30 minutes!

Related: Satisfying Weeknight Recipes Where Veggies Replace Carbs

Zesty Mint Lettuce Lamb Burgers

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 burgers

Ingredients:

Burger
1 lb (454 g) ground lamb
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp (6 g) chopped mint leaves
1 shallot, minced
Juice of 1 lime
Pinch kosher salt and ground black pepper

For Serving
1 head butter lettuce
1 red pepper, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
2 cups (400 g) store-bought zucchini chips (optional)

Related: Our 80 Most Popular Burger Recipes

1. To make the burgers, fire up the grill or grill pan to medium heat. I used a grill pan for this recipe. While the grill pan is heating up, mix the ground lamb with garlic, mint, shallot, lime juice, salt and pepper. Form 4 equal-sized lamb patties.

2. Now comes the fun step: grill the lamb burgers for approximately 4 minutes per side, making sure to only turn them once. You can also enjoy listening to the lovely sizzle in the pan while these burgers are cooking.

3. When the burgers are ready, it’s building time. Layer the lamb burgers on the lettuce leaves with red peppers and onions. Serve with zucchini chips, if desired.

Want more summertime grilling recipes? These pork banh mi burgers and grilled stuffed zucchini boats are sure to impress.

Reprinted with permission from 30-Minute Low-Carb Dinners by Valerie Azinge, Page Street Publishing Co. 2020. Photo credit: Valerie Azinge, Yasaman Shafiei and Kabir Ali.

30-Minute Low-Carb Dinners, Amazon, $23.

All products featured on Food Network Canada are independently selected by our editors. For more products handpicked by our editorial team, visit Food Network Canada’s Amazon storefront. However, when you buy through links in this article or on our storefront, we earn an affiliate commission.

scallion pancakes on white and blue plate

Restaurant-Worthy Chinese Scallion Pancakes You Can Make at Home

We’re all spending more time indoors (and in the kitchen) these days, so it would come as no surprise if you’re missing restaurant-worthy cuisine. And the secret ingredient to making these savoury Chinese scallion pancakes worthy of appearing on a menu? Boiling water! It creates the softest, forgiving dough. Plus, the beauty of this recipe lies within a super easy, double roll and coil technique to produce endless, flaky layers, that are so crispy — we’re obsessed!

Scallion pancakes on white and blue plate

Chinese Scallion Pancakes

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Rest Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

Dough
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cake and pastry flour or all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup boiling water
¼ cup cold water
6 Tbsp vegetable oil for frying (approx.)

Filling
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
¼ cup melted lard or melted shortening
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
6 scallions (green onions), finely chopped
1 tsp crushed Szechuan peppercorns or hot pepper flakes (optional)

Dipping Sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Chinkiang vinegar or rice wine vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds or julienned ginger (optional)
Pinch granulated sugar
1 scallion (green onion), finely chopped

Scallion pancakes ingredients


Directions:

1. To make the dough: stir together the all-purpose flour, pastry flour and salt in a large bowl. Using a fork, gradually mix in the boiling water in a circular motion. Stir in the cold water to form a shaggy, wet dough. Turn out onto work surface; knead, scraping and dusting with additional flour until smooth and very soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Place on floured surface and loosely cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel to prevent crust from forming. Let it rest for 30 minutes.

Person mixing scallion pancakes dough

Note: The combination of boiling water produces a soft, easy to roll pancake, while the cold water creates a chewy texture, while also cooling the mixture for easy handling.

Related: This is How to Make The Perfect Chinese Hot Pot at Home

2. Meanwhile, make the filling: in a small bowl, stir the flour, lard, oil and salt until combined. Gently warm in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds to loosen if mixture solidifies. While you’re waiting for the dough to rest, you can also make the dipping sauce: in a ramekin, stir together soy sauce, vinegar, sesame seeds, sugar and scallion.

3. Divide dough into 6 even pieces and roll each into a ball, tucking at the bottom and then covering with a kitchen towel. Roll one ball into an 8 to 9-inch circle, dusting with flour to prevent sticking. Using a pastry brush, paint a thin layer of the filling. Roll up like a jelly roll and twist into a tight spiral, tucking the end underneath. Flatten with hand then roll again into 8-inch circle. Cover with kitchen towel. Repeat with remaining dough.

Scallion pancakes dough on countertop

Tip: To prevent drying out, be sure to cover each rolled dough with a damp cloth or plastic and don’t layer each on top of each other, they will stick together.

4. Working with one rolled dough, brush a thin layer of the filling and sprinkle with 1/6 of the scallions and Szechuan pepper (if using). Roll up like a jelly roll and twist into a tight spiral, tucking the end underneath. Flatten with hand then roll into 6-inch circle and cover with a kitchen towel. This is now ready for frying. Repeat with remaining dough.

Scallion pancakes being made on kitchen countertop

Tip: If you want to make these ahead of time, you can freeze uncooked rolled pancakes for up to 1 month. Defrost, pat dry with paper towel and cook with the following instructions.

Scallion pancakes rolled out on countertop

5. Heat a skillet over medium heat; add 1 Tbsp of the vegetable oil. Carefully add one pancake and cook, swirling to distribute oil until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip, swirling pancake to absorb oil and cover with a lid. Cook until second side is an even golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes, adding more oil as needed. Transfer to a paper-towel lined serving plate and repeat with remaining dough and cooking oil.

6. To serve, don’t cut into wedges, these pancakes need to be torn to fully enjoy the flaky coating. Don’t forget the dipping sauce.

Tip: Reheat pancakes in a skillet with a drizzle of oil and enjoy with a sunny-side up egg, a popular Chinese breakfast.

Craving more comfort food? This asparagus and mushroom yaki udon or this one-pot pasta and chickpea stew might just do the trick.

Baked Salmon With Spicy Mango Avocado Salsa, Because Summer is Coming

Summer is all about simple cooking: few ingredients that are fresh and easy to prepare. That’s why this salsa is about to become a staple in your home. It’s one of the quickest salsas to whip up and it has big zesty flavours. It marries so well with salmon — but, the truth is, this salsa is really versatile and the perfect addition to grilled chicken or shrimp, over a cabbage slaw or even dolloped on top of a coconut curry or stew. A quick tip: if you don’t have access to fresh mango, we tested it with frozen and it worked just as brilliantly!

Baked Salmon With Spicy Mango Avocado Salsa

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Total Time: 31 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients:

Salmon
2 pieces salmon (5 oz each)
½ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp sea salt
Pinch of pepper
Splash of extra-virgin olive oil

Salsa
½ large or 1 small mango, diced (or heaping ½ cup diced frozen mango, defrosted)
1 avocado, diced
3 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
1 stalk green onion, finely sliced or 2 Tbsp finely diced red onion
½ to 1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced
3 Tbsp lime juice
½ tsp sea salt
Pinch of pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.

2. Season salmon with chili powder, sea salt and pepper.

3. Place a pan, that’s also oven safe, on the stove over medium heat and add a splash of extra-virgin olive oil and swirl it around.

4. Once hot, place the salmon in the pan, flesh side down and sear it for 2 minutes, then flip and sear for another 2 minutes on the other side.

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

5. Carefully take the pan off the heat and place it in the oven to cook for 12 minutes until perfectly flakey and tender.

6. While the salmon is cooking, prepare the mango avocado salsa. Start by dicing both the mango and avocado: first score them lengthwise and horizontally, then scoop out the fruit into a bowl.

7. Add the remaining salsa ingredients and mix until well combined.

8. When the salmon is done, remove from the oven and top with fresh mango avocado salsa.

Craving more easy summertime recipes? You can whip up this simple miso chicken and this salad with tuna in almost no time!

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

Looking for something simple and fresh to make this season? Look no further! This vibrant couscous salad utilizes the freshness of mint, citrus and cucumber, as well as pearl couscous. This grain is also called Israeli couscous and is similar to regular couscous, but is much larger in size and yields a chewier texture. However, if you have quinoa or regular couscous in the pantry, that will do the trick.

Mint and Lemon Pearl Couscous Salad

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 ½ cups pearl couscous (Israeli couscous)
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock, store bought or homemade
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 medium shallot, minced
1 Tbsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 Tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
½ cucumber, diced
½ cup crumbled feta or goat cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, add 2 Tbsp of olive oil and the couscous. Continuously stirring, cook until couscous is lightly toasted.

2. Add the chicken stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover with lid and let cook until liquid is absorbed, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl and let cool slightly.

3. To the mixing bowl, add the remaining olive oil, garlic, shallot, lemon zest, lemon juice, mint, cucumber and feta. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

Want more recipes you can whip up quickly? This simple miso chicken and this salad with tuna both come together in a flash!

Molly Yeh’s Chicken Shawarma Tacos Will Satisfy Your Late Night Takeout Craving at Home

When you can’t decide between tacos and shawarma, why not have both? Resist the urge to order takeout and satisfy your craving with Molly Yeh‘s irresistible chicken shawarma tacos. Warm, fluffy flour tortillas are filled with tender morsels of spiced chicken thigh meat and golden fried onion, then topped with a tasty tahini sauce. Once you’ve tried a bite of this fun food fusion, it’ll instantly become your go-to late night snack.

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

Molly Yeh’s Chicken Shawarma Tacos

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Serves:
4

Chicken Shawarma Taco Ingredients:

1 Tbsp curry powder
1 Tbsp garam masala
1 1/2 tsp chicken bouillon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 medium onion
10 6-inch flour tortillas
Tahini Sauce, recipe follows
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped

Tahini Sauce Ingredients:
1/4 cup tahini
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Related: Start Your Day the Molly Yeh Way With These Breakfast Recipes

Chicken Shawarma Tacos Directions:

1. In a large bowl, mix together the curry powder, garam masala, chicken bouillon, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Rub all over the chicken and let marinate for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil.

3. Spread the chicken out onto the lined baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly, then slice into bite-size pieces.

4. Thinly slice three-quarters of the onion and dice the remaining one-quarter. Set the diced onion aside for the topping. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil (or 2 tablespoons of the marinade) in a skillet over medium-high and add the sliced onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 7 minutes.

5. Add the chicken and some of the marinade to the onions and cook until crisp and beginning to brown on the edges, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

6. Warm the tortillas on the stove or in the microwave. To assemble, fill them with chicken, Tahini Sauce, diced onion and cilantro.

Related: Molly Yeh’s Carrot Cake With Spiced Cream Cheese Recipe

Tahini Sauce Directions:

1. In a small bowl, mix together the tahini, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons cold water until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper.

Looking for more fun recipes from the star of  Girl Meets Farm? Try Molly Yeh’s grown-up spins on indulgent childhood favourites!

crockpot-freezer-meals

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

Slow cooker freezer meals are a must for any family and for the budget-savvy home cook. Often referred to as “dump meals” or “dump bags”, what makes it easy, is that you thaw and simply dump the contents of your freezer bag into your Crockpot. Then you let it do its thing as you go about your day. And when it’s dinnertime: your delicious home-cooked meal is ready to devour. This style of cooking awards you some precious time back, and it also happens to be kind to your wallet. Win, win.

To make perfect Crockpot freezer meals, there are a few tips and tricks to getting it just right. You don’t want to end up with a stew that’s way too soupy or vegetables that are mushy and unappetizing. Here’s what you need to know!

Related: These Budget-Friendly Microwave Recipes Are Total Time-Savers

lentil-soup-crockpot-freezer

Get the Right Meal Prep Equipment

Before you start planning which meal to make, you need the right equipment: a slow cooker, freezer bags, a permanent marker and labels (although these aren’t entirely necessary). We recommend buying name-brand freezer bags that are sturdy. The ones that have the slide lock are the easiest.

Always Label Your Freezer Bag First

Once you’ve decided what you’re going to make, it’s important you label your freezer bags. Do not attempt to label once the food is in, not only will the bags be too hard to write on, but the marker often won’t work, or the label won’t stick because of the moisture released from the ingredients inside.

This surefire labelling method will help you remember what you froze, how long it’s been in your freezer and how to cook it. First label what the meal is, for example: “Chicken Tortilla Soup” or “Turkey Chili” and write down the date you made it. Then label it with ingredients that need to be added before cooking as well as cooking instructions. For example: add 1/2 cup broth before cooking, set on high for 6 hours.

Label it with instructions on how you’re going to serve the meal once it’s ready – so you know which ingredients you need to have on hand before slow-cooking. If it’s a chili, maybe you want to serve it with avocado, fresh cilantro and some grated cheese. If it’s a curry, you might want to serve with toasted coconuts, peanuts and fresh mint. Or if you’re making chicken tortilla soup, you will certainly need to have tortillas on hand to crisp up and top your bowl.

Related: This Clever Trick Will Prevent Freezer Burn for Good (And Major Food Waste)

slow-cooker-prep

Time-Saving Tips for Freezer Meal Prep

Take your time chopping up all ingredients first and prepping the sauce or marinade before packing. It’s best if all prep work is done before for efficiency and for easy clean-up. Usually prepping for slow-cooked meals only takes 15-20 minutes.

Some savvy home-cooks like to make several different freezer meals at once, so they’ll prep four different recipes first, then pack all of the bags and freeze. This will usually take a whole day to do.

Some slow cooker recipes call for sautéing or blanching the veggies, or browning the meat beforehand. We’ve found these steps to be unnecessary. Just toss everything in, uncooked.

How to Pack Freezer Bags

To avoid big spills and messes in the kitchen, stand the bags upright to pack. You can buy special baggy rack holders online, or simply place the bag in a big bowl so it won’t fall over as you’re adding the ingredients.

No matter the meal, you can add the ingredients to the bag in any order. Some people prefer veggies and beans at the very bottom, sauces and marinades in the middle, and meat on top; but, once in the slow cooker, it will all meld together.

When closing up the bags, press them firmly to ensure all the air is released. Then lay the bag flat in the freezer (this allows for easy defrosting, and it doesn’t take up as much of your precious freezer space).

Related: Can I Freeze This? How to Freeze Fruit, Cheese, Leftovers and More

crockpot-freezer-packing

Do’s and Don’ts for Slow Cooker Freezer Meals

If you’re making a meat Crockpot meal and your chicken, turkey, lamb, pork or beef is already frozen, don’t defrost it before adding it to your bag. You never want to defrost raw meat and then freeze it again.

Slow-cooked meals tend to release a lot of liquid, especially if you’re cooking lots of veggies. You don’t need to add as much broth or water as you think; otherwise, you’ll end up with a soupy texture and diluted flavour.

Most dairy products need to be added to the slow cooker the day of cooking and shouldn’t be frozen, for example: milk, cream, sour cream and cheese.

If your recipe includes pasta, add it the day-of, don’t freeze beforehand. Pasta tends to get very, very mushy, so unless you’re making a baked ziti, add the pasta 15 minutes before cooking time is up.

Be careful with veggies that get too mushy, like broccoli, asparagus or leafy greens. Add those towards the end of the cook time to preserve some texture. If you don’t mind mushy veggies, then you can add them in with the rest of the ingredients.

Related: 10 Tasty Uses for Leftover Food Scraps to Reduce Food Waste

How to Thaw and Cook Crockpot Freezer Meals

Always thaw the freezer meal first before adding it to the slow cooker… this is important for food safety. You can defrost the freezer bag by placing it in the fridge the night before. The meals tend to store well in the freezer for 3-4 months.

Depending on how much time you have, most meals need to be cooked for 4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.

The Best Crockpot Freezer Meals to Make

The best meals to make in the slow-cooker are soups, stews, curries, chilis, daals, meatballs, ribs, brisket and roasts. We don’t recommend slow-cooked fish, seafood or pasta dishes.

There you have it: the ins and outs of making Crockpot freezer meals for any weeknight dinner!

Looking for some tasty slow cooker dishes to try? Start with our most popular slow cooker recipes.

Published September 1, 2018, Updated April 11, 2020

Refrigerator Rules: How Long Do Leftovers Last?

Remembering you have leftover chicken, pizza or turkey in the fridge can feel like a siren call to happiness. But depending on the type of food you’re dealing with, figuring out whether or not Wednesday’s dinner can safely be eaten as Friday’s lunch can feel like a guessing game. If you too are Googling “how long do leftovers stay good” and asking everyone you know the same question, here’s the complete run-down.

chicken-thighs-slow-cookerGet the recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs

Leftover Chicken

Storage conditions will cause the shelf life of cooked chicken to vary from kitchen to kitchen. If your fridge is exceptionally cold and the chicken is sealed properly, it can last for more than four days. However, a good rule of thumb for the average fridge is to toss cooked chicken after four days, which is when bacteria usually begins to grow. If you’re unsure whether or not the chicken is safe to eat, look for any signs of a sour smell or slightly slimy texture. If you find any of these traits, discard the chicken without tasting it first.

Related: Budget-Friendly Pantry Staples You Should Always Have on Hand

Leftover Stuffing and Gravy

While some might argue that half the fun of popular holiday dinners is the leftovers, both stuffing and gravy have a surprisingly short shelf life. Stuffing — which is often soaked through with meat drippings — shouldn’t be consumed after a maximum of two days in the fridge. The same two-day rule should be applied to the gravy, which should always be brought to a rolling boil to properly kill bacteria before serving again. The good news is that freezing excess stuffing and gravy will extend the shelf life for up to four months.

Leftover Pizza

Any food with meat and cheese that’s left unrefrigerated for more than two hours can cause foodborne illness. This includes the half-eaten pizza box you left out just in case “someone” wanted another slice. Place your pizza in the fridge within two hours of preparation and it will last for up to four days, three days being the recommended shelf life of the average slice. After that, bacteria can begin to grow and lead to food poisoning.

cauliflower-lasagnaGet the recipe for Roasted Cauliflower Lasagna

Leftover Lasagna

Cooked lasagna keeps in the refrigerator for up to five days if stored in a tightly sealed container to keep out excess moisture and other contaminants. The best way to determine whether or not lasagna has turned is to look for dried-out noodles or a sour smell emanating from the tomato sauce and cheese.

Related: 10 Surprising Foods That Boost the Immune System

Leftover Pad Thai and Takeout Noodles

Pad Thai and other popular takeout noodle dishes will generally last up to three days in the refrigerator. Due to heavy sauces that can contribute to a soggy texture, these dishes can sometimes taste bad before they actually go bad. To be safe, always reheat noodles with meat and animal products to a temperature of 165°F or higher in order to kill any outstanding bacteria before eating.

Leftover Beef 

Are you reaching for last week’s beef tenderloin leftovers or prime rib leftovers, but not sure if it’s still good to eat? If properly stored, the general rule of thumb for cooked beef is three to four days in the fridge or up to six months in the freezer. If it is giving off a bad smell or it looks slimy or sticky, it’s definitely time to toss that goodbye.

Looking for more info on food safety? Learn 4 Things You Don’t Know About Expiry Dates.

Published January 5, 2019. Updated April 2, 2020

5 Ways to Fix Over-Salted Food

Salt can be your best friend in the kitchen. It brings forward and enhances flavours, taking a dish from drab to vibrant with just a pinch. But what do you do when you’ve lovingly tended and seasoned a dish and you realize that you’ve added way too much salt? The panic is real.

Firstly, take a deep breath and put down that box of salt! There are lots of ways to rescue over-salted food. Here are your options:

Salt

Related: These Healthy Salt Substitutes Are the Real Deal

1. Make More of Your Recipe 

Let’s start with the most obvious: make more. If you have enough ingredients, double the recipe or make more by half, then mix it in with the salty batch a bit at a time until you’ve reached your desired flavour.

2. Bulk up Your Dish

Bulk up the dish with more of any quick-cooking main ingredients you have, such as vegetables from your crisper drawer. I’ll often add handfuls of greens to dishes with too much salt.

3. Add a Starch

Stir in some cooked (unsalted) rice, barley, quinoa, pasta or couscous. These salt-thirsty ingredients will absorb quite a bit from a sauce. Depending on the dish, simmer or bake it with a splash of liquid to meld the flavours and allow the grains to absorb the excess salt. If it’s a soup, curry or other saucy dish, you can add large chunks of potato to soak up excess salt, then discard once tender.

Related: Easy and Tasty Ways to Use Leftover Rice

4. Dilute Your Dish With Liquid

With this option, you just want to be careful not to dilute all the hard-earned flavours as well as the salt, so don’t reach straight for water. Opt instead for unsalted broth, some unsalted diced tomatoes, or a splash of cream or wine. Make sure you’re adding something that will add to the flavour and not dilute the dish.

5. Last Step: Re-Season, But Not With Salt!

If you’ve mitigated the saltiness by adding liquids or other ingredients, you’ll likely need to bolster the other seasonings so you don’t end up with a perfectly salted but otherwise underwhelming dish. Ground spices and fresh herbs can be added directly, but things like garlic, onions, ginger and whole spices won’t be very tasty if added raw. Here’s the golden secret: borrow a fantastic cooking trick from India called a “tarka” — aromatics such as onions, spices and garlic are sautéed separately and added to the dish at the last minute. The method is like magic, adding a ton of flavour as a final step.

For more kitchen tips, these are the five utensils every home cook needs. Plus tips on how long leftovers last, and foods you can still eat after the expiry date.

The Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Menu With 5 Ingredients Per Meal

Have you ever looked at a gorgeous recipe photo and thought, “I’m definitely making that tonight!” only to become way less enthused when the cooking instructions call for 20 ingredients or more? We’ve been there. So, we’re giving you the opposite: a day’s worth of meals with only five ingredients required for each one. Not only are these breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes a cinch to make, they’re winter-proof (meaning they’ll warm you right up while nourishing you in the process). One housekeeping rule: oil, salt and pepper don’t count toward the five ingredients. Okay, that’s it. It’s time to get cooking!

Breakfast: Maple Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Prep Time: 12-15 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Serves: 1


Ingredients:
¼ cup quinoa
¾ cup non-dairy milk
¼ – ⅓ cup toasted walnuts or almonds, roughly chopped
¼ cup blueberries (or your favourite fruit of choice)
Splash of maple syrup, to taste

Directions:
1. Place the quinoa and non-dairy milk in a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer for 12-15 minutes until fluffy and all the milk is absorbed.
2. Pour the quinoa into a bowl, top with walnuts or almonds, blueberries and a hearty drizzle of maple syrup. Feel free to add more non-dairy milk.
3. You can replace the quinoa with brown rice or oats. If you already have these grains pre-cooked, simply toss them in the saucepan with just a bit of non-dairy milk to heat up.

Lunch: Quickie Grains, Greens & Beans Bowl

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 1

Ingredients:
½ cup cooked brown rice or cauliflower rice
½ cup chickpeas
1 cup baby kale, mesclun greens or baby spinach
½ green apple or avocado, sliced
2 Tbsp creamy tahini
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper

Directions:
1. If you’re using brown rice and it’s not cooked yet, do so according to package instructions. For a grain-free option,  use cauliflower rice.
2. Place the rice or cauliflower on the bottom of a wide bowl or reusable to-go container if you’re taking this lunch with you.
3. Pile the chickpeas together in one area of the bowl.
4. Place the greens in another area of the bowl. Then add the apple or avocado on top to create a picture-perfect meal.
5. Drizzle tahini, olive oil, salt and pepper, then mix. If you’re taking this lunch to-go, you can dress it beforehand or place the dressing components in a container on the side.

Dinner: Sheet Pan Miso Salmon

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:
1 bunch broccoli, chopped in florets
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2.5 oz pieces of salmon
Pinch of sea salt and pepper
2 Tbsp white miso
3 tsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp sesame oil

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375°.
2. Place the broccoli florets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toss with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
3. Push some florets to the side and place the salmon in the middle of the baking sheet, so the flesh is facing up. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Place in the oven to roast for 15 minutes.
4. While the broccoli and salmon are baking, prepare the miso marinade by whisking miso, maple syrup and sesame oil.
5. Take the salmon out of the oven when it’s done (you know it’s done when a fork gently flakes it apart) and immediately brush or spoon the miso marinade over top.

For more easy-breezy recipes, here are our best one-pan dinners with 7 ingredients or less, along with more healthy 5-ingredient lunch ideas and 3-ingredient breakfasts for better mornings.

Spaghetti with Olive Tapenade and Toasted Garlic Breadcrumbs

One of my best friends thinks that I’m Italian. Maybe it’s because I made rigatoni Bolognese during the first cottage weekend I spent with her, or maybe it’s because I really enjoy feeding everyone, have dark hair and an olive skin tone, and happened to grow up in New Jersey. All to say, this is how I inherited the name Nona.

If you’re like me, you always have spaghetti in your cupboard. Spaghetti is one of those pantry items you should always have on hand come Sunday night, when you want carbs. If you’re really like me, you put more carbs on your carbs. In this recipe, it’s in the form of garlic breadcrumbs on top of spaghetti.

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This dish is so simple to throw together and it’s made completely from scratch; big Spanish olives with red peppers are paired up with lemon zest, fresh parsley and anchovy, adding a kick of umami flavour.

My husband and I eat this standing up, right out of the pan, mostly because we don’t feel like doing dishes on a Sunday evening, but I would like to believe that it’s the Italian Nona in me. Enjoy!

Spaghetti with Olive Tapenade and Toasted Garlic Breadcrumbs

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serving Size: 4 servings

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Ingredients:

For the Tapenade:
2 ¼ cups large Spanish green olives with red pepper
2 Tbsp drained capers
3 cloves garlic
¼ cup very roughly chopped parsley
1 anchovy fillet, optional
Zest from 1 lemon

For the Garlic Breadcrumbs:
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 ½ Tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced finely
½ cup breadcrumbs
2 pinches of salt
¼ tsp fresh black pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes
2 tsp chopped parsley

1 lb (454 g) spaghetti
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided in recipe
½ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

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Directions:

For the Tapenade:
1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor.
2. Pulse until coarsely chopped (just a few pulses). Set aside.

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For the Garlic Breadcrumbs:
1. In a small pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the oil.
2. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and sauté until fragrant. About 30 seconds to 1 minute.
3. Add the breadcrumbs and toss to coat them with the garlic-y butter/oil.
4. Cook and toss for about 2 minutes to toast the breadcrumbs, and then season with salt and pepper.
6. Turn the heat off and add the red pepper flakes and parsley, and toss to combine. Set aside.

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For the Spaghetti:
1. Cook the pasta in heavily salted boiling water until just al-dente (9-11 minutes, depending on the brand).
2. Before draining the spaghetti, reserve ½ cup of the cooking liquid then drain the spaghetti.
3. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt 2 Tbsp of butter with the olive oil.
4. Add the tapenade and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
5. Add the spaghetti, 2 more Tbsp of butter, parmesan cheese, reserved cooking liquid, salt and pepper to taste.
6. Cook and toss for about 1-2 minutes until the spaghetti is coated with the tapenade.
7. Turn the heat off and sprinkle the garlic breadcrumbs over top. Serve with extra parmesan cheese and fresh black pepper.

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.

Easy Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese

A comforting bowl of spaghetti bolognese is always necessary on a chilly winter day. No meat is used in this protein- and fibre-packed veganized version of the comfort-food classic. Chewy mushrooms, filling lentils and meaty walnuts add a pleasing texture and flavour contrast to this delectable dish.

Perked up with a bit of balsamic vinegar, the tomato sauce benefits from a slow simmer, resulting in a dish that’s every bit as rich, hearty and flavourful as traditional bolognese.

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 cups finely chopped cremini mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup red wine
1 (28 oz) can diced or crushed tomatoes
2 cups cooked brown or green lentils (if using canned, drained and rinsed)
1 cup raw walnut halves, chopped
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 lb spaghetti or pasta of choice
Fresh basil, for serving

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Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; salt well.
2. In a large high-sided skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onion, carrot, mushrooms, garlic, oregano and nutmeg; sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Add wine, increase heat and cook until most of wine has evaporated. Stir in lentils, walnuts, tomatoes, vinegar and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring a few times throughout.
3. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and add to warm bowls. Top with bolognese and a few basil leaves. Serve.

Looking for more delicious dishes? Try these 20 Vegan Recipes That Will Leave You Satisfied.

Alton Brown's Turkey with Stuffing

The Ultimate Guide to Turkey Cooking Times

The main event during the holidays is serving a perfectly juicy and succulent roast turkey to the ones you love. The last thing you want to do is serve an overcooked (or worse, undercooked) bird. Even if this ain’t your first gobbler, it’s good to have a cheat sheet on hand to ensure you’re on track for dinner time. Follow the chart below for a foolproof way to roast a perfect bird for your holiday feast.

Alton Brown's Turkey with Stuffing

How to Roast a Basic Turkey

Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a large roasting pan, place thawed turkey, breast side up and tent with a piece of aluminium foil. Bake turkey using the chart below. Remove foil during last hour of cook time. Cook until meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 170°F.

Size of Turkey Unstuffed Stuffed
10-12lbs 3 – 3 ¼ hours 3 ½–3 ¾ hours
12-16bs 3 ¼ – 3 ¾ hours 3 ¾ – 4 ¼ hours
16-20lbs 3 ¾ – 4 ¼ hours 4 ¼ – 4 ¾ hours
20-24lbs 4 ¼ – 4 ¾ hours 4 ¾ – 5 ¼ hours

 

Top Turkey Cooking Tips

1. If using a frozen bird, ensure it is fully defrosted if before roasting.
2. Take your bird out of the fridge while the oven preheats.
Juices will run clear when the turkey is done. Look at the juices running from the meat around the thigh bone.
3. If you are using a convection oven, your bird will cook in 25 per cent less time. Take 15 minutes off each hour on the recommended times above.
4. After the turkey is removed from the oven, let it rest for minimum 30 minutes. The juices need to resettle into the meat.

Looking for some delicious inspiration? Try Our Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes

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

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

cabbage-rolls-cut-open

Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls Recipe

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

Ingredients
1 large green cabbage head or 2 small

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

beet-barlotto-in-a-pot

5 Comforting Barley Recipes For an Oh-So-Cozy Fall

Barley is far too often cast as a bland and boring grain – that is, until now. We’ve given this comforting fall grain it a makeover with five exciting recipes where barley is the star. The nutrient-rich grain has a firm texture and subtly nutty flavour, pairing well with savoury fall soups, stews and salads, but it can go beyond those recipe confines, too. From a magenta beet ‘barlotto’ to a sweet breakfast porridge and beyond, these recipes offer a glimpse into barley’s sassier side.

Beet Barley Risotto

Beet “Barlotto” (Barley Risotto)

Rice is swapped out for barley in this risotto-inspired meal made with earthy beets and Parmesan cheese.

Directions: In a medium saucepan, heat 1 L chicken or vegetable stock. Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp unsalted butter in a large high-sided skillet over medium. To butter, add 1 minced garlic clove and 1 finely chopped onion; cook until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add 1 cup pearl barley, 1 cup grated raw beet (about 2 small) and 1/2 tsp salt. Add 1/3 cup white wine and cook while stirring until barley has absorbed all of the liquid, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and begin adding stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring the entire time. Keep adding more stock, 1/2 cup at a time, when previous addition is almost fully absorbed. Continue to cook until barley is tender, but still has some bite to it, about 30 to 40 minutes. To finish, stir in 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Remove from heat and add to warmed serving plates or bowls. Garnish with fresh parsley and more Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve. Serves 6.

Creamy Mushroom Barley Soup 

This hearty soup made with mushrooms and barley is a bowl of pure comfort.

Directions: In a small bowl, soak 1 oz. dried mushrooms of choice in 1 cup recently boiled water for 45 minutes. Drain, reserving soaking water and roughly chop rehydrated mushrooms. In a large pot over medium heat, melt 3 Tbsp unsalted butter. Sauté 170 g sliced fresh cremini mushrooms, 1 diced onion, 1 diced carrot and 2 diced ribs celery. Stir in 3/4 cup pearl barley and rehydrated chopped mushrooms. Add in reserved mushroom rehydrating liquid along with 7 cups chicken or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until barley is tender. To finish, stir in 1/2 cup full-fat sour cream (low-fat varieties will curdle), ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh dill. Serves 6.

barley porridge

Sweet Barley Porridge

Oats aren’t the only grain the can make great porridge. Barley turns into a delicious, subtly sweet breakfast cereal packed with nutrition and comfort food appeal.

Directions: In a medium saucepan, combine 1 L unsweetened almond milk, 3/4 cup pearl barley, 1 tsp ground cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Heat over medium heat, stirring often until mixture comes to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until barley is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed about 40 minutes. To finish, stir in 1/4 cup maple syrup and 1/4 cup golden raisins. Scoop porridge into bowls and serve warm topped with chopped nuts and additional milk. Serves 6.

Autumn Barley Salad

This fall-inspired salad is packed with sweet potatoes, apple, fennel and chewy barley. It’s as good for a weekday lunch as it is tucked next to baked salmon for dinner on the weekend.

Directions: In a large bowl, gently mix to combine 1 cup cooked pearl barley, 1 roasted and diced sweet potato (slightly under-roast and chill for a tidier dice), 1 diced apple, 1 cup shaved fennel and 1/3 cup chopped walnuts. Gently mix in 1 Tbsp ground cumin, 2 Tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and crumbled feta. Serve. Serves 4.

barley tabbouleh

Barley Tabbouleh

Barley replaces bulgur wheat in this refreshing twist on the Middle Eastern salad.

Directions: In a large bowl, mix 1 cup cooked pearl barley with 1 bunch finely chopped fresh parsley and 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint. To the barley and herbs, add 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes, 1/2 finely diced cucumber and 2 thinly sliced green onions. For the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk to combine 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 Tbsp lemon juice and salt and pepper, taste. Add dressing to barley mixture, toss and serve. Serves 4.

Now that you’ve mastered barley, reinvigorate another blank canvas-grain with these fast and healthy quinoa recipes.

Pumpkin Fettuccine Alfredo

Still craving pumpkin everything this fall? I know I am. So I made a comforting meat-less pasta dish that you can throw together in no time. Consider this a fancy mac and cheese of sorts; creamy, cheesy, smooth…I’ll take one bowl of comfort, please!

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For this recipe, I use canned organic pumpkin purée to make it a quick weeknight meal. But if you have time to make your own pumpkin purée, I would recommend roasted a kabocha or butternut squash to really elevate the dish. Both are the perfect amount of sweet, and roast and purée beautifully. This dish is a great way to hold on to that fall feeling before winter arrives!

Pumpkin Fettuccine Alfredo

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

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Ingredients:
1 lb (454 g) fettuccine
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 ½ Tbsp unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 Tbsp flour
15 oz can organic pumpkin puree
1 cup table cream or half & half (10%-18%)
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp fresh black pepper
½ tsp fresh thyme
¾ cup grated parmesan cheese

Shaved parmesan
Thyme leaves
Fresh black pepper

Directions:

1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Cook the fettuccine until al dente, about 8-9 minutes depending on the brand.

2. Before straining, reserve 1 ½ cups of pasta water. Drain into a colander and run cold water over fettuccine until cool to the touch.

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3. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add olive oil, butter and garlic cloves. Sauté garlic for about 2 minutes until fragrant.

4. Add the flour and cook for another 2-3 minutes until it begins to brown and smell nutty.

5. Transfer all of the contents from the skillet into a blender. Add pumpkin purée and table cream to the blender, and purée until smooth.

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6. Transfer the sauce back to the pan and place over medium-low heat.

7. Add the salt, pepper, thyme, and parmesan cheese to the sauce and cook until bubbling and thickened.

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8. Add the fettuccine and combine. If the sauce is too thick, thin it out with the pasta water (I added about ¾ cup). It will continue to thicken after turning off the heat, so it’s OK if it’s slightly thin. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

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9. Serve immediately. Plate the fettuccine and garnish with shaved parmesan, thyme leaves and lots of fresh black pepper.

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10 Great Canadian Restaurants Where You Can Dine for a Good Cause

This fall, indulge in some exquisite Canadian eats while supporting a worthy cause! If you’ve been dying to try Antonio Park’s paella, Nicole Gomes’ fried chicken or Chuck Hughes’ lobster poutine, this is your excuse. Not only can you savour a delicious, memorable meal, you’ll feed your soul by helping those in need.

On October 17, 2018, more than 75 restaurants in 19 Canadian cities are taking part in Restaurants for Change. An initiative of Community Food Centres Canada, a national non-profit organization, this annual event benefits healthy food programs in low-income communities across the country.

Visit the Restaurant for Change website to find a restaurant near you, and make those reservations for October 17th. Bring your appetite to one of these 10 tantalizing dining establishments, or one of the 75+ eateries participating from coast-to-coast.

 

Lavanderia (Montreal, QC)

This Westmount eatery from Chopped Canada judge Antonio Park taps into the South American flavours of his childhood. Serving elevated Argentinean cuisine, diners can feast on ceviche, grilled meats and even paella.

 

Chew (Winnipeg, MB)

Located in River Heights, Chew offers an intimate dining space where you can savour rustic fare such as crispy duck breast, potato gnocchi and bison. Chef Tyrone Welchinski recently took the reins in the kitchen, creating sumptuous shareable plates that showcase local farmers and producers.

Cluck N Cleaver (Calgary, AB)

Top Chef Canada: All-Stars winner Nicole Gomes and her sister, Francine, are chicken connoisseurs. Whether you prefer your poultry southern fried or rotisserie grilled, this Calgary hotspot’s sandwiches, poutines and meals are sure to satisfy.

Richmond Station (Toronto, ON)

A vibrant downtown Toronto restaurant from Top Chef Canada’s Season 2 champ, Carl Heinrich, Richmond Station focuses on serving up the finest seasonal offerings. Whether you opt for shareable dishes like beef tartare and rabbit & pork pate en croute, or go straight for mains like roasted black cod or Berkshire Pork, it will be a memorable meal.

Mallard Cottage (St. John’s, NL)

Not only will you enjoy a scrumptious meal inspired by the flavours of Newfoundland and Ireland, you’ll be dining in a Canadian National Historic Site located in picturesque Quidi Vidi Village. Chef Todd Perrin, a Top Chef Canada: All-Stars alumnus, celebrates the province’s wild game, seafood and produce in beautifully crafted dishes that feature cod cheeks, lobster, foraged mushrooms and more.

 

Burdock & Co. (Vancouver, BC)

The Canadian Pacific Northwest’s bounty is the star at this Mount Pleasant eatery. Chef Andrea Carlson carefully selects her ingredients from locally-sourced growers, foragers and farmers and prepares them in a way that allows them to shine. Heritage wheat spaghetti with a hearty pork ragu, buttermilk fried chicken, and house-milled sourdough bread are some of the culinary delights that await diners.

Garde Manger (Montreal, QC)

Located in Old Montreal near the Old Port, Executive chef Chuck Hughes (of Chuck and Danny’s Road Trip ) serves up indulgent eats like lobster poutine, razor clams, porchetta and more. The menu changes daily, so there’s always something new and exciting to try.

The Canteen on Portland (Dartmouth, NS)

Just steps from the Alderney Ferry Terminal in downtown Dartmouth, this warm, welcoming restaurant boasts a menu with dishes influenced by traditional Nova Scotian cuisine with some classic French and Italian flourishes. Owner and chef Renée Lavallée will treat you to unpretentious fare like herb-crusted haddock, seared scallops and beef brisket prepared with her secret ingredient — love.

Ruby Watchco (Toronto, ON)

This Leslieville restaurant from Chefs Lynn Crawford and Lora Kirk has been offering prix-fixe dinners made with seasonal Canadian ingredients since opening in 2010. With a menu that changes each day, you could be surprised with seared rainbow trout, grilled flank steak or BBQ chicken, along with inspired salads, artisanal cheeses and decadent desserts.

RGE RD (Edmonton, AB)

Canadian farm-to-table cuisine is an art at this Edmonton hotspot that places an emphasis on Western Canadian providers and flavours. Chef Blair Lebsack dishes up fresh local fare including Alberta beef, bison and pork with unique twists that will please adventurous diners.