Tag Archives: dinner

Pieces of lechon kawali and lechon sauce

Expert Tips on How to Make Lechon Kawali, Filipino Crispy Fried Pork Belly

Filipino cuisine has been shaped by centuries of Chinese, Malaysian, Spanish, Indian, and Western influences. As a small South-Eastern country compromised of approximately 7,600 islands and with eight different major dialects, Filipino food is as diverse as its geography, history and culture. Despite each province’s distinct cooking preferences, there’s one particular dish that’s almost always the centre of every special celebration: Lechon. 

Related: 10 Popular Filipino Recipes, From Chicken Adobo to Halo-Halo 

Lechon is a whole roasted young suckling pig known for its juicy and fatty meat and irresistibly crispy skin, Chef Kuya P, the head chef at Toronto-based Filipino restaurant Lamesa, explains.

From Christmas to graduations and weddings, the difference between a get-together and a party is whether or not Lechon will be served as the main dish.  

“In the Philippines, every region has their method of cooking lechon. Some people would even fly out Lechons from different regions of the country for big celebrations like their wedding just because they like that particular type of Lechon style so much,” says Chef Kuya P.  

In other words, Filipinos are as passionate about Lechon as Italians are passionate about pasta.

Due to the size of a whole Lechon, many people opt for Lechon kawali. Lechon kawali is a crispy deep-fried pork belly made in a pan for a more accessible way to enjoy everyone’s favourite special Filipino dish. Here are five simple tips for cooking the best Lechon kawali: 

Choose the Perfect Cut of Pork Belly

The most important part of cooking Lechon kawali is the cut of your pork belly. 

Make sure you have a good fat to meat ratio,” Chef Kuya P explains. Pork belly is a boneless cut of meat and is topped with a thick layer of fat. If you’re making Lechon kawali, you’ll want to find a cut that’s at least 20 to 30 per cent fat. The higher the fat content, the longer it takes to render, but that melt-in-your-mouth tenderness will always be worth the wait.

See Also: Fried Pork Belly Pairs Perfectly With Crunchy Papaya Salad in This Traditional Thai Dish
Raw pork belly with salt and pepper

Add in Your Aromatics While Brine Boiling

Boiling your cut of pork belly until tender is an essential part of making your Lechon kawali as juicy as can be. Infuse flavour into your Lechon kawali and create a bine boil by turning to classic aromatics found in Filipino cuisine, such as garlic, bay leaf, chilis and peppercorn, Chef Kuya P recommends. Doing this step is an easy way to enrich the dish, and this step will ensure that your Lechon kawali will retain moisture during the frying process. 

Related: How to Make Vietnamese Bun Cha

Garlic and bay leaves on a brown cutting board

Thoroughly Dry Your Pork Before Frying

After your pork belly is cooked, drain the brine and add some salt and vinegar to the cut of meat. This step helps the pork belly dry out thoroughly while still retaining moisture, Chef Kuya P explains. Let it sit at room temperature for a minimum of two to three hours until the pork belly has dried completely.

You Might Also Like: Restaurant-Worthy Chinese Scallion Pancakes

A splatter screen and silver frying pan

Use The Right Equipment

Once the pork belly is thoroughly dried, it’s time to start frying. Divide your pork belly into batches and fry pork in the hot oil for approximately 3 to 5 minutes until the pork belly is golden brown and the skin is crispy. We recommend using a deep non-stick frying pan and only covering the pan partially while cooking. Additionally, don’t skip out on using a grease splatter screen while making Lechon kawali.

Don’t Forget the Lechon Sauce

Lechon kawali isn’t the same without a side of Lechon sauce. “Lechon sauce is a liver sauce made with breadcrumbs that’s sweet, acidic, and garlicky,” Chef Kuya P explains. Although there are many different ways to make Lechon Sauce, most Filipinos prefer using a bottle of Mang Tomas All Purpose Sauce instead.

 Similar to how you might think of Heinz when you think of ketchup, the particular taste of Mang Tomas All Purpose Sauce is a fan-favourite for Lechon sauce.  “Everyone who knows lechon sauce knows this brand, and if they ask for it, they will ask for it by the brand name Mang Tomas,” he explains. You can purchase Mang Tomas All Purpose sauce at your local Asian grocery retailer. 

Looking for a healthy side for your hearty Lechon kawali? Try serving it alongside this silky, tender Chinese eggplant.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images. 

close-up of tuna noodle casserole

Garlicky and Creamy, This Tuna Noodle Casserole Is Seriously Delicious

To beat Bobby Flay on his own hit show Beat Bobby Flay, Damaris Phillips knew she had to think outside of the box and be bold. Which is why she chose a dish she knew Bobby Flay would never eat, let alone cook: “I thought there was exactly a zero percent chance that this debonair chef has ever or will ever eat a casserole famous for using canned tuna and soup… I was right. Bobby Flay makes a terrible tuna noodle casserole, but this winning recipe is delicious!” It’s no surprise that Bobby Flay decided to feature this smoky, creamy tuna noodle casserole in his book. Damaris’s take on this classic uses Gruyere cheese, loads of garlic, homemade chicken broth and smoked cheddar to wow taste buds – and win over the best of chefs, including Bobby Flay.

Pan of tuna casserole

Related: What Beats Bobby Flay? 5 Dishes That Cost Him The Win

Damaris Phillips’ Tuna Noodle Casserole

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours and 20 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours, 40 minutes
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

Tuna Casserole:
Kosher salt
12 ounces campanelle pasta
3 cloves roasted garlic (recipe below), mashed to a paste
2½ cups mushroom stock
Light
chicken stock or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock or broth
2 cups heavy cream
2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
7 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup medium-diced Spanish onion (about 1 medium)
½ cup medium-diced celery (about 2 stalks)
12 ounces wild mushrooms, stems discarded, caps coarsely chopped
¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup all-purpose flour
8 ounces smoked Gruyère cheese, grated
1 cup sour cream
10 ounces frozen peas
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley|
1 pound smoked tuna fillets in oil, flaked
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup plain fresh bread crumbs
½ cup crushed potato chips
½ cup coarsely grated smoked cheddar cheese

Related: Healthy and Easy-To-Make Casseroles From Our Favourite Food Network Canada Chefs

Roasted Garlic:
4 heads garlic
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Tuna Casserole:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt.  Add the noodles and cook for 6 minutes. Drain well, rinse with cold water, and drain well again. The noodles will be very al dente but will continue to cook as the casserole bakes.

3. Whisk together the garlic paste, mushroom stock, cream, vinegar, and soy sauce in a large bowl.

4. Melt the butter in a large (14-inch) cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and mushrooms and cook until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the pepper flakes and cook for 15 seconds. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly whisk in the mushroom stock mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 7 minutes.

5. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the Gruyère, sour cream, peas, and half of the parsley. Add the cooked noodles and the tuna and stir well. Season with salt and black pepper.

6. Melt the remaining butter. Combine the melted butter, bread crumbs, potato chips, and cheddar in a medium bowl. Sprinkle over the casserole.

7. Bake until the center is hot and the top is golden brown, about 17 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with the remaining parsley. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Directions

Roasted Garlic:

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Using a serrated knife, slice off the top quarter of the garlic heads, exposing as many cloves as possible. Arrange the garlic heads, cut-side up, in an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish (make sure the garlic heads sit flat).

3. Drizzle the oil over each head and season with salt and pepper. Cover the dish tightly with foil and roast until lightly golden brown and soft, about 1 hour. Let cool slightly.

4. From the bottom up, squeeze each head to push out the garlic cloves (peel skins from any completely enclosed cloves). Transfer the garlic and cooking oil to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Reprinted with permission from Beat Bobby Flay. Copyright © 2021 by Boy Meets Grill, Inc. Photographs copyright © 2021 by Ed Anderson. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

 

 

Beat Bobby Flay: Conquer the Kitchen with 100+ Battle-Tested Recipes: A Cookbook, Amazon, $40

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.

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cocoa-orange fish being prepared

Cocoa-Rubbed Fish with Fresh Oranges and Crunchy Benne Seeds

Cocoa powder transforms both savoury and sweet dishes. Its luxurious earthiness adds depth to proteins, like the fish in this recipe. Be sure to use unsweetened cocoa powder; swapping out the benne seeds with sesame seeds and maple sugar with light brown sugar is fine. Any variety of hot chile flakes works here, too. Other fish fillets, such as wild Alaskan salmon or snapper, can be substituted for catfish.

cocoa-orange fish being prepared

Cocoa-Orange Fish

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients
For the cocoa rub
2 Tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp benne seeds
¼ tsp dried bird’s eye chile flakes
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp maple sugar
½ tsp caraway seeds

For the fish
1 pound oranges (about 2 medium)
2 pounds catfish fillets
5 Tbsp olive oil

Directions
1. To make the rub: In a large bowl, combine all of the rub ingredients and mix well. This seasoning can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container.

2. To prepare the fish: Slice the oranges into 12 slices and set aside.

Related: This Beef and Bean Chili Contains an Unsuspecting Secret Ingredient

3. Adjust the oven rack to the top position and preheat the oven to 400°F.

4. Carefully rinse the fish and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel. Place the fish on a large sheet pan and liberally sprinkle both sides with the rub. Drizzle with the oil, then place the orange slices on top of the catfish fillets.

5. Place the sheet pan on the top rack and roast until the catfish is moist and gently flakes, about 8 minutes. (If using a thicker variety of fish such as salmon, the cooking time will be about 12 minutes.)

Black Food by Bryant Terry Cookbook

Reprinted with permission from BLACK FOOD: Stories, Art, and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora edited by Bryant Terry, copyright © 2021. Published by 4 Color Books, an imprint of Ten Speed Press and Penguin Random House.

Photographs copyright © 2021 Oriana Koren

Black Food:  Stories, Art, and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora, Amazon, $54

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.

Love this cocoa-orange fish recipe? Try this West Indian egg curry recipe next!

Sesame Soba Noodles with Kale and Edamame

Super Easy Sesame Soba Noodles with Kale and Edamame

Soba noodles are quick to cook and they work well at room temperature, making them a natural choice for a quick or make-ahead vegan lunch. You could even whip up this dish before leaving the house, as it comes together in one pot in under 10 minutes. Although it includes only a few ingredients, it is very flavourful— soy sauce and sesame oil bring so much to the table.

Sesame Soba Noodles with Kale and Edamame

Sesame Soba Noodles with Kale and Edamame

Ingredients
6 oz soba noodles
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
¼ cup soy sauce
1 ½ Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp Sriracha or other chili-garlic hot sauce (optional)
2 cups finely chopped kale

Directions
1. Boil the noodles and edamame together until both are tender, 3 to 4 minutes (double check your packages to make sure this is the correct cooking time, as there may be some variation). Drain and rinse under warm water to prevent clumping.

2. Toss the cooked noodles and edamame with soy sauce, sesame oil, hot sauce (if using), and kale. Taste and adjust the flavours.

3. Refrigerate any leftovers for up to 2 to 3 days.

The Vedan Family Cookbook by Anna Pippus coverExcerpted from The Vegan Family Cookbook by Anna Pippus. Copyright © 2021 Anna Pippus. Photography © 2021 Anna Pippus. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

The Vegan Family Cookbook, Amazon, $30

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.

Love this soba noodle recipe? See our guide to alternative pasta for more noodle options.

spicy lentil curry on a white plate with a side of pita

Easy Spicy Lentil and Vegetable Curry

Cooler temperatures call for hearty soups, stews and curries, but who says they have to be meat-based? For a vegetarian twist that’s as easy as it is satisfying, serve up a bowl of this spicy veggie lentil curry. It’s full of flavor with a dash of heat, and comes together in just 30 minutes.

spicy lentil curry on a white plate with a side of pita

Spicy Lentil Veggie Curry

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Yield: serves 8-10

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, chopped
1 tsp ground ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small scotch bonnet, or jalapeno, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp sea salt
2 cups water
1 ½ cups red lentils
1 (14oz) can full fat unsweetened coconut milk
2-3 cups baby spinach, chopped
Pita, to serve

ingredients for spicy lentil curry

Directions:
1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté shallots, ginger, garlic and scotch bonnet until brown, about 1 minute. Add in zucchini, cumin, coriander, turmeric and salt and stir for 1 minute.

Related: Vegan West African Peanut Lentil Stew

2. Add in water, lentils and coconut milk, then stir. Cover the skillet and cook for about 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. When ready, turn the heat off, then stir in the spinach into the hot curry until withered. Serve with a side of fresh pita.

spicy lentil curry in a pan

Looking for more veggie-based dinner ideas? See our 15 Best Vegan Soup and Stew Recipes You’ll Crave All Winter.

garlic scape gremolata in a cast-iron serving dish

9 Easy Weekly Meal Plan Ideas That Really Work

Between busy schedules and a family full of picky eaters,  the dinner struggle is real. Finding inspiration for quick, budget-friendly and (at least somewhat) healthy meals can challenge the best of home cooks, never mind those whose plates are already heaped pile-high.

That’s where meal planning becomes a lifesaver—if you can take the time to actually do it. If you don’t have the means to sit down weekly and plot out your favourite fare, we’ve got your back with this simple guide that will help you plan your meals and grocery list, too. These meal ideas and recipes (one for every night of the week, plus two bonus ideas to swap in and out) makes preparing a weekly meal plan  or menu easy while helping you to create dishes that are anything but routine.

How to Start Meal Planning? Try These No-Fail Meal Planning Ideas!

garlic scape gremolata in a cast-iron serving dishGet the recipe for Sweet Potato and Zucchini Noodle Pasta with Garlic Scapes and Grilled Shrimp 

1. Start with Pasta

Pasta is an affordable universal favourite, so why not make it a weekly thing? Having a designated pasta night is genius because you can essentially pair any kind of pasta with whichever sauce, protein and veggie you feel like, and then you can do something completely different the following week.

Looking for some inspiration other than another plate of spaghetti and meatballs? Try these recipes instead:

Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese

15-Minute Three-Cheese Spring Pasta with Peas

Sweet Potato and Zucchini Noodle Pasta with Garlic Scapes and Grilled Shrimp 

Anna Olson’s Beef Stroganoff

Spaghetti with Olive Tapenade and Toasted Garlic Breadcrumbs 

Pappardelle Duck Ragu

If you’re off gluten or looking for a pasta option that packs extra protein, see our guide to alternative pastas.

2. You Can’t Go Wrong with Protein and Veg 

kimchi chicken patties being cooked in a frying panGet the recipe for 30-Minute Kimchi Chicken Patties

A  barbecued, baked or even pan-fried cut of meat or fish always pairs well with some steamed or baked veggies. Switch up your marinades and cooking methods for even more variety, and then throw in some rice, lentils or potatoes for a complete meal.

Want some new ideas? Check out these simple-to-prepare recipes:

30-Minute Kimchi Chicken Patties

No-Mess Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin With Veggies

The Best *Vegan* Steak Recipe Ever 

10-Minute Blackened Trout With Green Beans

Dill Salmon Burgers With Dairy-Free Tzatziki

3. Soup and Salads are Your Friends

immune boosting chicken soup in a bowl with bread on the sideGet the recipe for Immune-Boosting Bone Broth, Chicken and Vegetable Soup

There are so many hearty salads and filling soups out there these days that it’s easy to make either one a meal in itself. If the weather is nice, plan on eating an elevated salad one night of the week with some fancy ingredients to make it interesting. Or, for those weeks when you need something a little more comforting, plan on having a hot soup and some crusty baguette to go with it.

Get started with these recipes:

Immune-Boosting Bone Broth, Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Marinated Artichoke Salad with Prosciutto and Parmesan

Slow Cooker Thai Red Curry Soup 

Herby Green Goddess Soup with Avocados and Feta 

Grilled Halloumi Salad

4. Make Use of Your Slow Cooker or Instant Pot

Get the recipe for Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

Who doesn’t love a meal that you can throw together and then forget about until it’s ready? That’s the beauty of slow cookers and Instant Pots—they do all of the heavy lifting for you. Figure out which night of the week will be your busiest, and then plan to use either tool to help pull dinner together in a breeze.

Need a new Crockpot or pressure cooker recipe? Check out any of these delicious dishes:

30-Minute Instant Pot Curry 

Instant Pot Turkey Chili 

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

Slow Cooker Irish Stew 

Slow Cooker Saag Paneer 

Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken Breast

5. Stock up on Easy-to-Assemble Ingredients


Get the recipe for Greek-Style Baked Beans With Tomato Sauce and Feta 

Having a well-stocked pantry is always key when it comes to throwing together last-minute dinners, or figuring out how to use up fresh ingredients that have been sitting in your fridge for a few extra days. Make sure to keep things like canned tuna and lots of stock, tomato sauce and a few protein-filled grains and legumes on hand.

Check out these simple ideas to elevate your basic pantry staples:

Tuna Salad With Tomatoes, Basil, Beans, Kale and Garlic Chips 

One Can of Chickpeas, Six Different Meals

10-Minute Spicy Sautéed Cauliflower and Chickpea Dish

Greek-Style Baked Beans With Tomato Sauce and Feta 

One Can of Tomatoes, Six Different Meals

Vegan Sloppy Joe Sliders

6. Find Your Freezer Meals

Remember those meals you made a few months ago that have been sitting in your freezer just waiting to be eaten ever since? Well, make use of them already, especially if you know you have an evening coming up where preparing dinner is just going to be another thing to worry about. And if you haven’t gotten on the freezer meal train just yet, you may want to think about starting. Whether it’s doubling up on your next pasta sauce or cobbling together a second lasagna or tray of enchiladas, there are plenty of freezer meals that you can make ahead of time to enjoy on those hectic nights when cooking is the last thing you want to be doing.

7. Have an Eat-With-Your-Hands Night

Get the recipe for The Best Homemade Veggie Burger

Whether it’s a burger, pizza or taco, it’s always fun to eat with your hands. That’s probably why these are the same fast-food items we tend to usually order throughout the week. If you want to save money, use better ingredients and still have a meal in a matter of minutes for a well-deserved Eat-With-Your-Hands night!

From pizza and tacos to sloppy joes and charcuterie boards, there are plenty of hands-on dishes to choose from here:

Halloumi Burgers and Colourful Veggie Slaw 

Georgian Cheese Bread 

Sourdough Toasties, 3 Ways

Double Stacked Patties with Secret Sauce

Mexican-Inspired Taco Burgers

How to Make the Perfect Veggie Burger (Plus One Easy Recipe!)

8. Make One Night a Meatless Night

cauliflower-pot-pieGet the recipe for Vegan Shepherd’s Pie with Crispy Cauliflower Crust

We’ve heard of Meatless Mondays, but really any night of the week is a good excuse to go meatless—especially when you incorporate foods like whole grains, quinoa and barley that fill the tummy and soul. Stir yourself up a creamy risotto, build a yummy Buddha bowl with all the things, or stuff an eggplant or squash with some whole grains and nuts. Keep it simple and hearty, and before long, you won’t even remember a time when you didn’t incorporate a meatless dish into your meal planning. Check out these easy vegan recipes  to get you started:

Silky, Tender Chinese Steamed Eggplant 

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms 

Baked Falafel Sliders With Tabbouleh and Tahini Sauce 

Classic Middle Eastern Eggplant Casserole With a Vegan Twist 

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie with Crispy Cauliflower Crust

Hearty 20-Minute Vegan Zucchini Ramen Noodle Soup 

9. Plan a Designated Leftover Night

A leftover pasta frittata topped with tomatoes and basil
Get the recipe for Easy 20-Minute Leftover Pasta Frittata With Radicchio Salad 

Last but not least, it’s always a great idea to make one night an evening of no planning. That’s right, we’re talking leftovers. Once a week, throw whatever leftovers you have in the fridge on the table for everyone to enjoy, or reimagine them into a creative, brand new dish that requires very little effort.

Check out some of our favourite ways to use up leftovers here:

The Best Leftover Turkey Pizza 

Our Favourite Leftover Chicken Recipes

Easy 20-Minute Leftover Pasta Frittata With Radicchio Salad 

The Crispiest Leftover Potatoes

Leftover Turkey Dinner Hand Pies

5 Delicious Ways to Use Broccoli Stems 

Looking for more meal planning tips? Try these tips for prepping slow cooker meals.

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.

Related: 5 Tips to Prevent Freezer Burn

Salt

Here are your best options for fixing over-salted food:

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: All the Ways to Cook Bacon For That Perfect Crisp

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.

Related: 8 Vegetables You’re Probably Washing Wrong

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 how to properly dispose of cooking oil.

A variety of pasta shapes and sizes on a grey countertop

The Definitive Guide to Alternative Pastas

Whether you prefer it smothered in a hearty Bolognese or kissed with a delicate cream sauce, pasta is a comfort food favourite for good reason. Many of us turn to pasta when we’re in the mood for a quick, soul-warming dish, but it probably doesn’t top your list of better-for-you meal options. When nothing but noodles will do, however, a growing range of pasta made from flour alternatives is making it possible to enjoy your favourite recipes regardless of your health goals and dietary restrictions. From gluten-free noodles to high-protein varieties made from lentils, these are some of the best pasta alternatives to try the next time a spaghetti craving strikes.

A variety of pasta shapes and sizes on a grey countertop

Chickpea Pasta

Try it in: Pumpkin Fettuccine Alfredo

Made from ground chickpea flour, these nutrition-filled noodles can contain up to double the fibre and double the protein of wheat-based pasta. In addition to these potential personal health benefits, legumes like chickpeas have a low ecological footprint, making chickpea pasta a more sustainable meal choice than its grain-based counterparts. Chickpea pasta’s mild, slightly nutty flavour goes best with creamy carbonara and alfredo sauces, as well as with dishes featuring plenty of veggies.


Get the recipe: Pumpkin Fettuccine Alfredo

Black Bean Pasta

Try it in: 30-Minute Pasta with Green Garlic Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

Another protein-packed alternative that’s ideal for fitness-minded eaters, black bean pasta has a distinctive dark colour and a pleasantly earthy taste. It’s typically made from dried black soybeans beans and its high fibre content makes it extra filling, so it’ll keep you feeling satiated for longer than wheat-based noodles (no late-night, post-dinner snacking needed). Black bean pasta is also gluten-free and high in iron. Try mixing it with simple, classic sauces like pomodoro or pesto. As with most gluten-free pasta, black bean pasta tends to become mushy when overcooked. It’s therefore best not to completely rely on the cooking time recommended on the packaging and, instead, start testing the pasta a few minutes before it’s supposed to be done in order to get the texture right.

Related: The Best Non-Dairy Milks to Meet All Your Needs (From Baking to Latte Frothing)

Brown Rice Pasta

Try it in: 5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Beef Bolognese

Like chickpea pasta, brown rice pasta offers higher levels of fibre and protein than traditional noodles. Nutritionally, brown rice pasta is similar to whole wheat pasta but, unlike whole wheat pasta, it’s also suitable for those with gluten sensitivities. With a fairly neutral flavour and a chewy texture, it’s a great go-to when you’re looking for a no-fuss nutritional boost on pasta night. Brown rice pasta takes a little more time to cook than classic pasta, with its naturally al dente consistency helping it to hold up particularly well in hearty sauces and noodle soups.


Get the recipe: 5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Beef Bolognese

Quinoa pasta

Try it in: Spaghetti Puttanesca with Cauliflower

Containing all nine essential amino acids, as well as high levels of magnesium, iron, riboflavin, and calcium, quinoa is a health-conscious foodie favourite for good reason. Quinoa pasta delivers the better-for-you benefits of the classic grain plus its dense texture makes it less likely to turn into a sloppy mess if you overcook it by a minute or two. Many types of quinoa pasta are blended with other bases, such as white rice flour or corn flour, so take a good look at the ingredient label if you’re hoping to get the full nutritional benefits of a quinoa serving or have dietary sensitivities to consider.

Related: Gluten-Free Dessert Recipes That Are Seriously Delicious

Spelt pasta

Try it in: Pappardelle Duck Ragu

Spelt is a form of wheat that’s high in protein, fibre, magnesium, and B vitamins. Many people find it easier to digest than the durum wheat flour used to make traditional pasta, but keep in mind that spelt pasta does contain some gluten (although less than classic noodles) and it’s fairly high in carb content. Spelt pasta’s nuttier flavour pairs best with bold, meat- and tomato-based dishes, rather than creamier sauces. It’s also good at retaining its al dente texture when used in soups like minestrone or chicken noodle.

Corn pasta

Try it in: 15-Minute Cheesy One-Pot Pasta

Gluten-free and high in fibre, corn pasta has a subtle flavour with a touch of sweetness. Its texture tends to be a bit grainier than traditional pasta, but it holds up well in sauces and can therefore be substituted easily into a range of different pasta dishes. Le Veneziane (italianmarket.ca, $2.99) is a non-GMO option that’s made in Italy, giving it that authentic Bel Paese-feel in spite of its non-traditional corn flour base. You can play up corn pasta’s natural flavour by adding it to a dish featuring fresh corn kernels or draw inspiration from corn’s frequent culinary partners-in-crime by creating a Southwestern-inspired pasta dish.

cheesy one pot pasta in a blue pot
Get the recipe: 15-Minute Cheesy One-Pot Pasta

Looking for more pasta inspo? Check out these Macaroni Recipes That Will Satisfy All Your Pasta Cravings.

Close-up image of braised beef and red chilies on a plate

The Pioneer Woman’s Braised Beef and Red Chilies is the Comfort Dish You Need Right Now


Using four different types of red chilies, this braised beef with red chilies recipe is perfect on top of tacos, for a make-ahead meal or to be paired with your favourite carb for a more filling dish – any day of the week.

Related: Weeknight Dinners That Taste Even Better as Leftovers

Close-up of braised beef stew on top of a taco with cilantro

Braised Beef and Red Chilies

Prep time: 55 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours and 55 minutes 
Yield: 6 to 8 

Ingredients:

8 to 10 dried New Mexico chilies
4 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp olive oil
One 4 to 5-pound chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp ancho chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 large onion, sliced
2 cups beef stock
2 Tbsp sugar
2 bay leaves
Warm tortillas, shaved cabbage, sour cream, lime wedges and fresh cilantro, for serving 

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s Tex-Mex Recipes Will Satisfy Your Cheesy, Meaty Cravings

Directions:

1. Add the chilies and garlic to a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and steep for 20 to 30 minutes. Pour off half the cooking liquid. Using an immersion blender, puree the peppers, garlic and remaining liquid until smooth. (Alternatively, you can use a regular blender. Be careful when blending hot or warm ingredients.)

2. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

3. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the chuck roast with the salt, pepper, chili powder and cumin. When the oil is hot, add the meat to the Dutch oven and brown on all sides, about 3 minutes, then remove to a plate.

4. Add the tomato paste and onion to the pot and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the stock, sugar, bay leaves and pepper puree to the pot and stir to combine. Return the beef to the pot and cover. Roast until the meat is fall-apart tender, 2 ½ to 3 hours.

5. Remove the bay leaves. Shred the meat in the pot and serve on warm tortillas with shaved cabbage, sour cream, lime and cilantro.

Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond.

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

mac and cheese in a casserole dish made with armstrong cheese

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

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

mac and cheese in a casserole dish made with armstrong cheese

Mac and Triple Cheese Topped with Grilled Chicken

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

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

Directions
1. Heat grill to 500°F.

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

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

Related: Macaroni Recipes That Will Satisfy All Your Pasta Cravings

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

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

6. Serve immediately.

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

Lap Cheong (Chinese Dried Sausage) on a plate

Getting To Know Lap Cheong (Chinese Dried Sausage)

Biting into a piece of lap cheong, or Chinese sausage, brings a flood of tastes and textures to the palate: the slight snap of the thin casing quickly yields to a wash of fatty meatiness and a vaguely soft salty flavour that lingers in the mouth.

See More: The Most Creative Ways to Cook Sausage for Dinner

As with much of the cuisines of China, lap cheong varies by region and the generic Cantonese term can even cover dried sausages from different countries in Asia. In North America, lap cheong commonly refers to the pork variety with a deep pink colour, while yun cheong is made with pork and duck liver and is darker brown with a deeper, more savoury flavour. Both types are made with coarsely ground or chopped meat in casing using a salt and sugar cure before being air dried (or, poetically, “wind dried”). The result is a firm, slightly sweet sausage that must be cooked before consumption, much like a raw chorizo.

Air dried lap cheong and yun cheong

These two varieties can be sold individually or packaged together with a dried, bacon-like pork belly product, and can be found in most Chinese supermarkets or grocers.

Related: Our Most Popular Pork Recipes

Storing Chinese Sausages

Although lap cheong and yun cheong are shelf-stable and sold vacuum-packed on store shelves, once the packaging is opened it is best to keep them in the refrigerator. Lap cheong has a relatively long shelf life (weeks in the refrigerator and months in the freezer) but should be cooked before the expiry date on the label and before it shows any sign of mold.

Chinese Sausage Cooking Methods

As versatile as bacon (try these sweet and savoury ways to enjoy bacon) with the same fat and salty notes, lap cheong and yun cheong have similar cooking methods and can be enjoyed on their own simply steamed or used as a flavouring in small quantities for rice, noodles or stir-fried dishes. In recipe books ranging from the iconic All Under Heaven to my mother’s well-worn book of Chinese-American recipes from the seventies, the best methods for enjoying Chinese sausage are often the simplest. 

Steaming Chinese Sausage

Steaming the sausages, either by themselves or over rice, is a traditional way to enjoy the purity of the flavours and the plump texture of the meat. Although the instructions on the packaging may differ, an easy way to steam the sausages is to lay them in a single layer on a heatproof plate, then put the plate on a metal rack over simmering water. Steam for at least 20 minutes, although if you forget them for an hour, as a family member discovered by accident, the sausages will still turn out fine.

Related: The Best Rice Recipes for Dinner and Dessert

Steamed lap cheong on blue plate

Steaming Chinese Sausage on Rice

For something slightly more substantial, but no harder, bring white rice to a boil (using this method for a perfect pot of rice on the stovetop), then place the uncooked sausages on top of the rice before reducing the heat to low for the final simmer. Want to ante up the flavour some more? Bite-sized pieces of uncooked chicken, green onions or pre-soaked shiitake mushrooms are also savoury additions to this easy rice dish that make for a cozy meal for winter months. (While you’re soaking the mushrooms, the chicken can be tossed in a marinade of equal parts of soy and rice vinegar, with slightly less white sugar.) If you’re set on a sauce, use light soy, ginger and sesame oil to finish it off, or for lovers of spice, a non-traditional dollop of gochujang, sriracha or chilli crisp would add a bit of heat.

See More: Learn how to Prepare The Perfect Pot of Rice on the Stove

steamed lap cheong and Chinese greens on rice

Chinese Sausage Stuffed Vegetables

In love with stuffed squash? Some Chinese cooks put a North American spin on Chinese sausage by cooking the rice, frying it quickly with sliced lap cheong and cooked chestnuts and then filling butternut or kabocha squash with the mixture for a substantial side dish or entree.

Related: Brilliant Ways to Use Butternut Squash

Chinese Sausage Stir Fry

Speaking of stir fries, lap cheong and yun cheong are perfect additions to add a little savoury, salty umami to all manner of wok-based dishes. Slice the uncooked sausages thinly on a bias to increase the contact ratio on the heat for added crispiness and use them to flavour vegetables from boy choy to gai lan. They can also be added to pan-fried noodles such as e-fu mein, chow mein, rice or egg noodles. Think of flavour pairings and contrasts — the slightly sweeter lap cheong can be a nice contrast to slightly bitter or acidic greens, while the darker, more savoury liver based yun cheong stands up well to more aggressively flavoured ingredients and sauces. Learn about Chinese greens with this guide on How To Shop, Prep and Cook Chinese Greens

However you prepare your Chinese sausages, the best way to figure out your preferences is to buy a pack and experiment with techniques and flavours. From simple to sophisticated plates, these versatile ingredients are well worth adding to your arsenal of cooking techniques.

*Note: All Chinese names in this article are English phonetic translations of the Cantonese terms and may vary in terms of spelling, depending on the recipe, producer or grocer.

Images courtesy of Getty Images

Feature image of Japanese chicken curry with fresh apples in a bowl with rice and pickled vegetables

The Secret Ingredient in This Japanese Chicken Curry is Fresh, Crisp Apples

Japanese curry is sweet and mild, making it a perfect gateway version to introduce children and spice-shy adults to the delicious world of curries. This recipe makes for mouth-watering leftovers, too (though you may need to thin it out a touch with water when reheating as the sauce thickens with time). This Japanese chicken curry is so delicious and a major hit at our house.

Japanese chicken curry with fresh apples plated in a bowl with rice

Related: Slow Cooker Curries That Deliver All the Flavour

Japanese Chicken Curry With Fresh Apple

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Total Time: 1 hr 30 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients:

Curry Roux
3 Tbsp (42g) unsalted butter
5 Tbsp (42g) all-purpose flour (or sub 1:1 gluten-free flour if needed)
1 Tbsp S&B curry powder *See note
⅛ tsp sweet paprika

Chicken Curry
2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs cut into 1-inch pieces
1-2 tsp kosher salt (2 tsp if using Diamond Crystal brand, 1 tsp if other)
1 large white onion, sliced thinly (about 2 cups)
3 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
4 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken broth
1 8g package instant vegetarian kombu dashi granules *Optional, see note
1 sweet red apple (Gala, Honey Crisp or Fuji), peeled and grated
1 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari for gluten-free
1 Tbsp mirin
2-3 Tbsp honey, to taste
Neutral high heat oil for cooking

For serving
Steamed rice
Fukujinzuke (Japanese pickled vegetables such as radish, eggplant, cucumber)

Mise-en-place of ingredients for Japanese chicken and apple curry

See More: Our Top Make-Ahead Chicken Recipes

Directions:

1. Season the chicken pieces with salt to taste and set aside.

2. In a small pot over medium-low heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until it has turned golden brown (but not very dark brown). Add curry spice and mix well. Cook for 30 seconds more. Remove from heat.

Raw ingredients for Japanese chicken curry

3. Heat a large Dutch-oven or heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add oil and brown chicken in 2-3 batches so as not to overcrowd the pot. Set aside.

4. Add a drizzle more oil, then add in the onions, carrots and potatoes. Season with salt to taste and sauté about 10 minutes. Add broth, dashi, grated apple and the reserved chicken.

5. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Give it a taste and season with additional salt depending on salt content in your broth and your taste. Cover and let simmer on low for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender and the grated apple has pretty much dissolved into the sauce. Check occasionally and skim off the scum on the surface and discard.

6. Add in the curry roux, soy sauce and mirin. If the curry roux hardened after cooling, scoop a ladle of sauce into the pot to thin it out enough to scoop. Simmer and stir until curry roux is completely incorporated with no lumps remaining. Taste and add honey as needed (how much honey is needed depends on your spice blend. I like adding 2-3 tablespoons to mellow out the slight bitter edge of the S&B curry powder). Simmer low uncovered 5-10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Serve over steamed rice with a side of Japanese pickles.

Japanese chicken curry being cooked

Notes: Many households make this dish using store-bought Japanese curry roux ‘bricks’ which are tasty and convenient. But you will see in this recipe that homemade roux is not difficult to make at all and nicely eschews all the additives in the purchased bricks.  What’s great is you can scale up the roux recipe to keep a few portions on hand in the freezer—then defrost and use in the recipe just like you would the store-bought bricks.

You’ll see this recipe calls for the S&B brand of “oriental curry powder”, which is a Japanese spice blend containing some of the usual suspects like turmeric, coriander, fenugreek, cumin, chili pepper, ginger, etc. plus mandarin orange peel which is perhaps a little bit different. It can be purchased at Japanese or other well-stocked East Asian supermarkets, as well as online. If you can’t source S&B specifically, substitute with your favourite mild “curry powder” blend and it will work well. Instant vegetarian kombu dashi powder is another very Japanese ingredient in this recipe.  It is made from dried kelp (different from the standard version made with fish). It adds a uniquely Japanese flavour and umami to the curry that I love but is not an absolute must so I have listed it as optional.

JApanese chicken curry with apples cooking on stovetop

Want more comforting dinner recipes? Check out satisfying slow cooker recipes that are perfect for any night of the week.

tea and orange brined turkey on a serving platter

The Ultimate Guide to Turkey Cooking Times

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

Related: The Best Leftover Turkey Recipe You’ll Ever Need (We Promise!)

Get the recipe for Tuscan Turkey Roulade

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 aluminum 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


Related: How to Brine a Turkey and Why You Should Try It

turkey cut in half on a plate with green leaf garnish and orange slices

Get the recipe for Tea- and Orange-Brined Roasted Turkey

Top Turkey Cooking Tips

1. If using a frozen bird, ensure it’s fully defrosted 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’re 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 more delicious inspiration? Here are the perfect side dishes to pair with your holiday turkey.

steamed chinese eggplant recipe on a white plate

This Silky, Tender Chinese Steamed Eggplant is Topped with Aromatics and Drizzled with Sizzling Hot Oil

Everyone needs at least one reliable and reproducible recipe for entertaining. This is mine, because it’s easy, unique, and universally pleasing. This dish can be prepared ahead of time, with ample time in the fridge to cool down. I find that eggplant can be a polarizing vegetable—some people dislike the texture, but others have no problem with it. I used to dislike eggplant until I discovered the steaming method. Eggplant is often fried with a lot of oil and ends up being too heavy for my tastes, but steamed eggplant is light and a wonderful vessel to soak up sauce. It’s a fast way to cook eggplant, and even more important, the texture transforms and becomes silky soft, tender, and creamy.

steamed chinese eggplant recipe on a white plate

Seasoned Steamed Eggplant

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Rest Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35-40 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
2 Chinese or Japanese eggplants
2 tsp white vinegar
2 Tbsp light soy sauce
1½ tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp black vinegar
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
2 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp neutral cooking oil, such as canola or grapeseed oil
2 tsp red chili oil, optional
1½ tsp toasted white sesame seeds
Handful cilantro leaves

Directions:
1. Cut off the base of each eggplant, then cut each eggplant into 3 segments. Halve each segment lengthwise so that you have 6 pieces total per eggplant.

2. Add the white vinegar to a large bowl of water. Add the eggplant pieces and let them sit in the vinegar water for 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Set a bamboo steamer over 2 inches (5 cm) of water in a wok, and bring the water to a boil over high. Place a layer of eggplant skin side down in the steamer, then pile the remaining pieces on top (see Note), working in batches if necessary.

4. Cover and steam the eggplant over high for 5 to 7 minutes, until soft and easily pierced with a chopstick. The texture should be silky soft and creamy but still firm enough to hold its shape. Set the steamed eggplant aside in a colander to cool slightly.

5. Meanwhile, mix together the light and dark soy sauces, black vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, and white pepper. Set the sauce aside.

6. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, tear each piece lengthwise into strips about 3/8 inch (1 cm) wide. Arrange the eggplant strips on a plate. Pile the ginger, half of the scallions, and the garlic in the center of the eggplant.

7. In a small saucepan, heat the cooking oil until it bubbles when a chopstick is inserted, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the hot oil over the aromatics. They should sizzle and release a gorgeous fragrance.

8. Drizzle the soy sauce mixture and chili oil, if using, over the egg- plant. Top with the remaining scallions, the toasted sesame seeds, and cilantro leaves. Serve immediately at room temperature.

Note: Step two is a trick to keep that gorgeous purple on the eggplant, otherwise it will turn brown. You can omit this step, though; it has no effect on the taste. When layering eggplant in the steamer, I’ve found that piling the pieces yields the best result. Place the bottom layer skin down to prevent oversteaming, then pile the other eggplant segments on, crisscrossing them to create air pock- ets so steam can reach every piece.

the cover of my shanghai by betty liu

From the book MY SHANGHAI by Betty Liu. Copyright © 2021 by Betty Liu. Published by Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permissions.

MY SHANGHAI: Recipes and Stories from a City on the Water, Amazon, $41

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.

herb crusted roasted chicken with lemon garlic orzo on a blue and white patterned plate

This Whole Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Orzo Makes Meal Prep So Easy

Roasting a whole chicken is easier than you think, and provides endless leftovers (and meal-prep opportunities!) for the week ahead. First, a chicken is liberally seasoned with fresh herbs and lemon, then roasted to perfection with the breasts served fresh out of the oven over a fabulous lemon-garlic orzo. The wings, legs, and thighs can be set aside for to make anything from chicken pot pie to an immune-boosting soup.

herb crusted roasted chicken with lemon garlic orzo on a blue and white patterned plate

Herb-Crusted Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Orzo

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Rest Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
Servings: 2-3

Ingredients:
For the Herb-Crusted Roasted Chicken
1 (3½- to 4-pound) whole chicken
4 Tbsp (½ stick) salted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp fine sea salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

For the Lemon- Garlic Orzo
12 ounces dried orzo
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ small red onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp fine sea salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Directions:
1. To roast the chicken, preheat the oven to 400ºF.

2. Remove the giblets from the cavity of the chicken and pat the chicken dry with a paper towel.

3. In a small bowl, mix the butter, oregano, rosemary, and thyme until well combined.

4. Rub about half the herb butter over the outside of the chicken. Using your fingers, gently lift the skin from the breast and smear the rest of the herb butter under the skin.

5. Place the chicken in a roasting pan or on a rimmed baking sheet. Tuck the wing tips under the joint where the wing meets the chicken’s body. Using about 6 inches of kitchen twine, tie the ends of the drumsticks together.

6. Season the chicken with the salt and pepper. Roast for 1 hour 10 minutes, or until the juices run clear and/or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165ºF. If the skin starts to brown too deeply, simply tent the chicken with a piece of aluminum foil.

7. Meanwhile, make the lemon-garlic orzo: Cook the orzo according to the package instructions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

8. Add the tomatoes, onion, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper to the orzo and stir to combine.

9. Remove the chicken from the oven, tent it with foil (if it’s not already tented), and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve the legs, thighs, and wings from the chicken, transfer to an airtight container, and refrigerate to use for leftovers. Carve the breasts from the chicken and slice them.

10. Divide the chicken breasts and orzo between two plates. Garnish with the parsley and serve.

cook once dinner fix cookbook cover

From COOK ONCE DINNER FIX by Cassy Joy Garcia. Copyright © 2021 by Cassy Joy Garcia. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

COOK ONCE DINNER FIX, Amazon, $30

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.

food from heydays restaurant at the june motel sauble beach

We Tried The June Motel’s Heydays Restaurant, Here’s Everything You Need to Order

It’s undeniable that motels are having a moment right now – their convenient COVID-safe accessibility (no shared elevators or indoor hallways!) means that escaping the work-from-home life in favour of a countryside motel has never been more appealing. Enter: The June Motel in Sauble Beach, Ontario’s answer to your getaway dreams, and the subject of Netflix’s latest docuseries Motel Makeover.

After the major success of their first June Motel in Prince Edward County (an influencer’s oasis that boasts a Rosé All Day vibe), moteliers April Brown and Sarah Sklash set their sites on Ontario’s Sauble Beach, known for its glorious sunsets and beachy small town feel. Motel Makeover follows the duo as they transform a 40-plus year-old motel and restaurant in Sauble Beach into an easy, breezy, perfectly Instagrammable destination.

The patio of Heydays restaurant at The June Motel Sauble BeachThe patio of Heydays restaurant at The June Motel Sauble Beach

Naturally, we had to see what all the hype was about, so we took a road trip to The June Motel in Sauble Beach to see the motel and eat at the restaurant for ourselves. Read on for our comprehensive thoughts.

Related: 3 Things You Need to Order From Viaggio in Toronto

What You Need to Know About Heydays, The June Motel’s Restaurant
Helmed by Chef Fred Laliberte (previously the creative visionary behind popular Toronto spots like Bobbie Sue’s Mac + Cheese, Poutini’s House of Poutine and Hawker Bar), Heydays Sauble Beach is an indoor-outdoor restaurant that serves elevated beach casual cuisine with a strong spotlight on seafood. In true June Motel fashion, the décor of the restaurant matches the aesthetic of the rest of the motel – with a sunbaked colour scheme, relaxed bohemian touches and hipster décor undertones, both the motel and restaurant feel like a Pinterest board come to life.

The exterior of Heydays restaurant at The June Motel Sauble BeachThe exterior of Heydays restaurant at The June Motel Sauble Beach

Must-Order Dishes

New Brunswick Oysters

Oysters at Heydays restaurant at The June Motel Sauble Beach

Our dinner started with New Brunswick Oysters served with lemon, cocktail sauce and freshly grated horseradish. Truthfully, we’ve had some bad oyster experiences in the past, so we were skeptical, but these were the best oysters we’ve ever had – they were delicate, briny, and had that delightful shock of freshness we’re always looking for.

Related: Tasty Indigenous Restaurants in Canada That You’ll Love

Charred Broccoli Caesar

Charred broccoli caesar salad at Heydays restaurant at The June Motel Sauble Beach

Next, we tried the Charred Broccoli Caesar; it had the right level of char and just the right amount of bite to the broccoli. Plus, no good Caesar is complete without shaved parmesan and they were extremely generous with the cheese (just the way we like it!).

Hot Lobster Roll

A hot lobster roll at Heydays restaurant at The June Motel Sauble Beach

The signature Hot Lobster Roll tasted as satisfying as it looked; lovely chunks of lobster meat and crunchy leaves of lettuce were loaded into a soft, buttery, toasted bun. The charming vintage feel of the dish felt perfectly suited to the retro ‘70s vibes of the restaurant.

Crispy Skin Local Trout

Crispy local skin trout at Heydays restaurant at The June Motel Sauble Beach

The Crispy Skin Local Trout was equally as delicious – it sat on a bed of green lentils, capers and fresh herbs with a side of charred lemon. We’re addicted to crispy skin on fish, so we were happy that each bite had that crisp that wasn’t overdone but rather a lovely texture contrast to the inside of the fish.

Related: The Owner of Toronto’s Craig’s Cookies Shares His Secrets to Sweet Success

The Bevvies

No trip to The June Motel would be complete without a glass of wine, and the wine selection at Heydays is a delightfully curated range of high and low options. They also serve up a great selection of canned drinks and cocktails perfectly suited for the hot weather. We had the Planters Punch to start, Heydays’ version of a rum punch made with fresh fruit – it was lovely and tropical. Then we switched to Map Maker’s Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, a creamy, dry, fresh white with flavours of lime, gooseberry and passionfruit. It was a perfect companion to our meal.

 

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A post shared by Heydays (@heydaysrestaurant)

Bonus: Brunch!

After a memorable dinner, we couldn’t resist going back to Heydays the next morning to try their weekend brunch menu. The Lobster Benedict (sweet lobster on an English muffin with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce) was the perfect way to cap off a sunny weekend, and the buttermilk pancakes with fresh berries was the sweet treat we needed to balance out the luscious savoury dish. Heydays nails it when it comes to serving up high quality comfort food.

Photos courtesy of Lauren Miller.

a stuffed portobello mushroom on a white plate

These Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms are Jam-Packed with Sweet Potato and Black Beans for a Hearty Vegan Main

Grilled portobello mushrooms are the star of this filling vegan dish that comes together in just 30 minutes. With a nourishing filling of sweet potatoes and black beans, you’ll be hooked on the satisfying mix of textures. Plus, the salsa verde herb sauce lends a tangy hit of acidity to the dish that’ll have you scraping your plate clean.

a stuffed portobello mushroom on a white plateSweet Potato Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Salsa Verde

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients:
Salsa Verde:
1 cup cilantro leaves
½ cup mint leaves
1 tsp capers
Juice from 1 lime
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1½ tablespoons honey dijon mustard
2-3 mini pickles, or 1 regular sized pickle
Salt and pepper to taste

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms:
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
3 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup canned unsalted black beans, drained and rinsed
2 large portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed
Avocado, to serve
Arugula, to serve

Mise en place for stuffed portobello mushrooms on a marble countertop

Directions:
1. In a food processor, combine all ingredients for salsa verde. Puree until smooth and set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes.

3. Once sweet potato is cooked, drain the black beans and season with salt to taste. Place sweet potato and black beans in a large bowl, then add in salsa verde and toss gently until the sweet potato and black beans are coated. Set aside and keep warm.

Related: This Easy Ethiopian Mushroom Stir-Fry Will Be Your New Fave Weeknight Meal

A mixture of sweet potato and black beans in a white bowl beside a small bowl of salsa verde for stuffed portobello mushrooms

4. Brush both sides of portobello mushrooms with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat a grill pan over medium heat and brush the pan with olive oil. Grill for 3-4 minutes on each side.

5. To serve the portobello mushrooms, top with avocado slices and arugula, finishing off with sweet potato and black bean filling.

Related: One Humble Can of Black Beans, Six Different Meals to Remember

A stuffed portobello mushroom on a white plate

Like Valerie’s stuffed portobellos? Try her vegan steak or vegan spinach and artichoke dip next.

sweet corn arepas on a grey plate

Make the Most of Corn Season with These Sweet Corn Arepas

Sweet corn arepas, or chocolo arepas, are sweet and cheesy. I lean toward adding both queso fresco and Manchego cheese to the dough for a more interesting taste, rather than mozzarella. But I leave it up to you… The key is to get your griddle very hot so that a nice crusty outer layer forms. In my desire to make this a full meal — breakfast for dinner, that is—I toss together a tomato and avocado salad to cut through the richness.

sweet corn arepas on a grey plate

Sweet Corn Arepas

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Rest Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Arepas
1 cup sweet yellow corn kernels
1 cup pre-cooked yellow cornmeal or Masa Arepa
3 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup quesito or fresh ricotta cheese
½ cup grated Manchego or Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons butter, melted, plus 2 tablespoons
¾ cup 2% milk

Raw Tomato & Avocado Salad
2 cups ripe cherry tomatoes, halved crosswise
2 Hass avocados, pitted, peeled, and cubed
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve
4 ounces quesito or queso fresco, crumbled
½ cup cilantro leaves

Directions:

1. Grind the corn in a food processor until the kernels break apart and the mixture is smooth. Transfer the ground corn to a large bowl and add the cornmeal, sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, the ricotta cheese, and Manchego cheese. Using a wooden spoon, mix the ingredients to combine. Add the 3 tablespoons butter and the milk and stir until the mixture comes together. Do not overmix. In the beginning, your mixture will look like a very loose pancake batter. Don’t fret, the cornmeal will take a few minutes to absorb
the liquid and achieve a better consistency. Allow the dough to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the raw tomato and avocado salad: In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes and avocados. Add the lemon juice and olive oil and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

4. Preheat a large cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Melt the 2 tablespoons butter until bubbles form. Measure ½ cup of the batter and pour into the pan — pancake style. You can fry the arepas 2 at a time or more, depending on the size of your skillet. Do not crowd the skillet. Cook the arepas until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. You may need to turn down the heat as you go so that the pan doesn’t get too hot from batch to batch. Place the finished arepas on the baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining batter.

5. To serve, plate each arepa and top with a spoonful of the tomato and avocado salad, the crumbled quesito, and cilantro leaves

From the book COLOMBIANA by Mariana Velásquez Villegas. Copyright © 2021 by Mariana Velásquez Villegas. Published by Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission. Photos by Gentl & Hyer.

COLOMBIANA: A Rediscovery of Recipes and Rituals from the Soul of Colombia, Amazon, $40.

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.

Placing Strawberries into a Freezer Bag

5 Tips to Prevent Freezer Burn

So you hit a great sale and stock your freezer up. But a few weeks or months later, you pull out your edibles and they’re covered in ice crystals. The sad phenomenon that causes unappealing, dried-out, discoloured food happens to the best of us. 

We have five useful tips to make sure you never feel the (freezer) burn again.

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

Frozen Strawberries

1. Wrap your freezer-bound fare twice, with as little air as possible. First wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then in a freezer bag, squeezing out as much air as you can.

2. Keep your cold storage well organized. That way, you don’t have to keep the door open for five minutes every time you look for something, avoiding temperature fluctuations as much as possible. If you’re shopping for a new unit, keep in mind that self-defrosting models are worse for freezer burn.

Related: This is the Right Way to Freeze Vegetables and Fresh Herbs

3. Don’t put hot foods directly in the freezer; let them cool first. 

4. Keep your freezer full, but not too full. At about three-quarters capacity, the freezer is most efficient at maintaining its cool. 

5. Invest in a vacuum-sealer.  It sucks out all the air around the food before freezing, which makes a big difference in longevity.

Related: 35 Easy Freezer Meals You Can Make Ahead (And Devour Later)

Although colour, texture and taste all suffer when freezer burn strikes, it does not render the food inedible — it’s still perfectly safe. To rescue freezer-burnt provisions, try concealing it in flavourful mixed dishes with lots of liquid, like stews, a bolognese, or barbecue sauces.

Looking for more kitchen tips? Learn our top 20 Life-Changing Freezer Hacks.

a bowl of spicy shrimp and mango salsa

You’re Just 15 Minutes Away From Spicy Shrimp Mango Salsa

For sunny backyard brunches and late summer evenings where you’re craving something delicious, tropical, and quick, this Spicy Shrimp Mango Salsa is just the ticket. With sweet chunks of mango, juicy pink shrimp and a generous squeeze of lime that ties it all together in under 15 minutes, you’ll want to eat this salsa with everything. And the best part is, you can!

a bowl of spicy shrimp and mango salsa

Spicy Shrimp Mango Salsa

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

Ingredients:

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice from 1 lime, divided
1½ cups diced mango chunks
¾ cup red bell pepper, diced
½ cup white onion, diced
1 jalapeno, sliced
¼ cup chopped cilantro
Salt to taste

mise en place for spicy shrimp and mangosalsa

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, season shrimp with salt and pepper, then heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with olive oil.

2. Add in the shrimp and cook for 4 minutes, about 2 minutes per side. Once you flip the shrimp, add in garlic and cook for the remaining 2 minutes until the shrimp is pink.

Related: Delicious Dinners That Start with Frozen Shrimp

3. Remove from heat and squeeze in ½ of lime juice, then set the shrimp aside and keep warm.

A bowl of spicy mango salsa beside a plate of cooked shrimp

4. In a large bowl, combine mango chunks, remaining lime juice, red bell pepper, onion, jalapeno, cilantro and sea salt. Toss until combined.

5. Serve on its own, with cauliflower rice, as a taco, or with grilled fish.

Spicy shrimp mango salsa served three ways: with fish, over cauliflower rice and in a taco

Like Valerie’s shrimp salsa? Try her sriracha-honey oven-fried chicken or sweet chili chicken wings.