Tag Archives: dinner

Tea- and Orange-Brined Roasted Turkey

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.

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.

Ina Garten's Red Wine Braised Short Ribs served with a crusty baguette

Ina Garten’s Braised Short Ribs Have a Boozy Secret Ingredient

The Barefoot Contessa’s hearty stew may be time-consuming, but it will be well worth the hours of braising when you taste the rich flavours. Perfect for a special-occasion supper or to make-ahead for a week’s worth of dinners, Ina’s braised short ribs are full of secret ingredients and absolutely bursting with flavour.

Ina Garten Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs

Ina starts this rich main by braising short ribs on a sheet pan instead of a stovetop. No need for a messy oil splatter sear with this method that cooks up her four pounds of short ribs without the time or mess. Ina then starts with a mirepoix of celery, carrots and onions before adding her secret weapon to the dish — an entire bottle of red wine (Ina’s pick is a Cotes du Rhone which she likes for the full-bodied flavour).  After adding in beef stock, crushed tomatoes and thyme, Ina finishes the stew with a bottle of Irish stout beer. The yeasty, hoppy flavour complements the red wine to add incredible depth.

See More: Dinner Etiquette Tips That Would Make Ina Garten Proud

Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs

Total Time: 3 hours and 15 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients:

5 lbs very meaty bone-in beef short ribs, cut into 2-inch chunks
Good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (3 leeks)
3 cups chopped celery (5 to 6 ribs)
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
2 cups chopped unpeeled carrots (6 carrots)
1 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic (5 cloves)
1 (750 mL) bottle Burgundy, Cotes du Rhone, Chianti or other dry red wine
4 cups beef stock, preferably homemade
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes, such as San Marzano
1 (11.2-oz) bottle Guinness draught stout
6 sprigs fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
Toasted baguette, for serving

Related: Ina Garten’s Classic Cocktail Recipes, From Margaritas to Mojitos

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the short ribs on a sheet pan, brush the tops with olive oil, and sprinkle with 1 1/2 tablespoons salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Roast for 20 minutes and remove from the oven. Reduce the temperature to 325°F.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large (12-inch) Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset, over medium heat. Add the leeks, celery, onions, and carrots and cook over medium to medium-high heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the wine, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the liquid is reduced. Add the stock, tomatoes, Guinness, thyme, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper.

Overhead shot of bowl of Ina Garten's red wine braised short rib stew

Related: Ina Garten’s Best Soup and Stew Recipes

3. Place the ribs in the pot, along with the juices and seasonings from the sheet pan. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook in the oven for one hour. Uncover and cook for one more hour, until the meat is very tender.

4. Remove the short ribs to a plate with a slotted spoon and discard the thyme bundle and any bones that have separated from the meat. Simmer the sauce on the stove for 20 minutes, until reduced. Skim some of the fat off the top and discard. Return the ribs to the pot, heat for 5 minutes, and taste for seasonings. Serve hot in shallow bowls, with a toasted baguette and extra sauce on the side.

Watch Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics 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.

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

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!

easy-pasta-pumpkin-sausageGet the recipe for Pasta with Pumpkin and Sausage

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:

Pasta with Pumpkin and Sausage

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

Ina Garten’s Bow Tie Pasta with Broccoli and Peas

korean-steakGet the recipe for Korean-Style Marinated Skirt Steak

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

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

chourico-kale-soupGet the recipe for Portuguese Chourico and Kale Soup

3. Soup and Salads are Your Friends

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

The Pioneer Woman’s Cheesy Cauliflower Soup

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Marinated Artichoke Salad with Prosciutto and Parmesan

The Pioneer Woman’s Lighter Asian Noodle Salad

Instapot-Pulled-Pork-recipeGet the recipe for Instant Pot Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwich

4. Make Use of Your Slow Cooker or Instant Pot

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:

Instant Pot Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwich

Instant Pot Chicken Adobo

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs

The Pioneer Woman’s Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

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

5. Stock up on Easy-to-Assemble Ingredients

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:

The Pioneer Woman’s Classic Tuna Melts

The Pioneer Woman’s Tuna Noodle Casserole

One Can of Chickpeas, Six Different Meals

10-Minute Spicy Sautéed Cauliflower and Chickpea Dish

One-Pot Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce

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

Get the recipe for The Best Homemade Veggie Burger

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.

Turkey-Burger-Patty-Melts-recipeGet the recipe for Guy Fieri’s Turkey Burger Patty Melts

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

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:

The Pioneer Woman’s Sloppy Joes

Mushroom Lovers’ French Bread Pizzas

The Pioneer Woman’s Shrimp Tacos

Guy Fieri’s Turkey Burger Patty Melts

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

8. Make One Night a Meatless Night

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 for beginners to get you started.

Leftover-Turkey-Chili-recipeeGet the recipe for Leftover Turkey Chili

9. Plan a Designated Leftover Night

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

The Most Genius Ways to Use Leftover Rice

Weeknight Dinners That Taste Even Better as Leftovers

Looking for more meal planning tips? Try these hacks that will help you plan like a pro.

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: These Healthy Salt Substitutes Are the Real Deal

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: 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.

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

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 10+ spices every kitchen needs.

The Perogie Recipe 85 Years in the Making

Mary Didur was born in 1925 on a farm in Wakaw, SK, about 90 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon. The child of Ukrainian immigrants, she grew up eating — and cooking — dishes with Eastern European flavour. At 18, Didur attended cosmetology school in Saskatoon, then found work at the local hair salon. After the war, she met her future husband, John, at a community hall dance. A modern woman, she continued to work after getting married and having two children, eventually opening her own salon, La Chez Marie. Here, this Saskatoon grandmother shares with us her famous recipe for perogies.

perogies on blue platter with side of sour cream

“The first time I made perogies, I was probably five or six years old,” says Mary. “I learned in the old-fashioned kitchen of the farmhouse where I grew up one of eight children: two girls and six boys. There was a spare table where we used to roll out the dough. I found it fun; kids like to work with dough.”

“The recipe has gone through so many changes,” Mary explains. I actually got my basic recipe from a friend and she got it from somebody else. Each time it has changed hands, it has been improved. My mother probably got her recipe from her mother, in Ukraine.”

Related: Tasty Dumplings Recipes From Around the World

“When my mother was making the dough, she used just flour, water and salt. Today, I use milk and oil and sometimes an egg, too, and that makes a difference; you get a richer dough. My mother taught me that the dough must be soft, and not pasty; we used to work with it to make it smooth with good elasticity.”

“At that time, my mother made her own cottage cheese, and we’d use it as a stuffing, mixed with potatoes and onions sautéed in butter. Now, I do a mix of cottage cheese and cheddar. Mother wouldn’t have had access to cheddar; she used what she had. We now eat them with mushroom sauce and sour cream, or bacon bits and onions. They accompany a meal, like you could have fried chicken with perogies and mushroom sauce instead of potatoes.”

“You can stuff perogies with all kinds of things. It was a tradition in our family to have poppyseed rolls at Christmastime, and one time I had leftover poppyseeds, so I tried making a perogie filling with those and some honey. They didn’t go over so well! I’d say Saskatoon berries or plums are especially delicious as a filling. Perogies are just a bit harder to make with fruit, because of all the juices.”

“We’d eat regular perogies at least once every two weeks when I was growing up. It was lively at family dinnertimes with all those people at the table. And the next day, if there were any leftover perogies, we’d fight about who could deep-fry them to eat as a snack.”

“With all those unmarried boys still living at home there were a lot of perogies to make for one sitting. When boys over the age of 15 eat them, they’ll eat at least 20 each. Today, my granddaughter is married to a man who has a 15-year-old boy, and the last time they were here, they had a competition to see who could eat the most perogies. He ate 32. Still, 20 is the average.”

“My two sons didn’t ever learn to make perogies; they just ate them. But my granddaughter, who is now in her 30s, learned in her teens. Every time she used to come over, she’d say, “Grandma, no perogies?” So one day, I told her she’d better learn to make them with me the next time she visited. And she did. She really loves them.”

Grandma Mary’s Perogies With Potato-Cheese Filling

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 ¾ hours
Total Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Servings: 100 small perogies

Watch the how-to video here:


Ingredients:

Dough
4½ cups flour
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk, room temperature
1 cup boiling water
1 tsp salt

Potato-Cheese Perogie Filling
6 large red-skinned potatoes (not baking potatoes), peeled and halved
4 to 6 oz medium cheddar cheese
1 medium onion, diced, sauteed in butter
Salt and white pepper to taste
½ cup dry cottage cheese (“not the sloppy kind” says Mary)

Directions:

Dough
1. Mix together flour, oil, milk, water and salt. Knead dough until smooth. Let stand for 30 to 60 minutes.

2. With rolling pin, roll out really thin. Cut dough into squares. (I prefer to make smaller perogies, so they’re 2 x 2 inches/5 x 5 cm.) Spoon about 1 tbsp (15 mL) of potato-cheese filling onto each square. Fold dough into triangle and pinch edge closed to seal in filling.

3. Add to pot of boiling water. Once floating, cook for 1 to 1½ minutes.

Potato-Cheese Perogie Filling

1. Boil potatoes as you would for mashed potatoes. Drain.

2. While potatoes are hot, stir in cheddar. Cover until cheese is melted, about 1 minute.

3. Stir in sautéed onion; using potato masher, mash until smooth. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Using clean cloth, squeeze out all moisture from cottage cheese. Stir into potato mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Published September 21, 2015, Updated February 1, 2020

shepherd's pie on table with creamy mashed potatoes on top in casserole dish

4 Recipes That Will Transform Your Pork Tenderloin Leftovers

So you’ve mastered the art of cooking the so-called filet mignon of pork, moist and delicate pork tenderloin, and now you’re staring down a load of luscious leftovers. Whether it’s a next-day ragu or an elegant take on the classically rustic shepherd’s pie, here are four ways to savour your scraps, because those succulent pieces of pork tenderloin are about to have their second coming.

Recipe Ideas That Will Transform Your Pork Leftovers:

 

1. Build a Quickie Shepherd’s Pie

Kick your recipe for humble shepherd’s pie up a notch by swapping in shredded pieces of leftover pork tenderloin. Start with a base of peas and corn in a broth gravy, then layer with leftover pork tenderloin and top with creamy mashed potato. Bake until the top layer browns and forms a gentle crust.

Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Shepherd's Pie

Get the recipe for Rachael Ray’s 30-Minute Shepherd’s Pie

2. Make a Ragu

Whip up a company-worthy pasta dish for a cozy stay-at-home Friday night dinner. With pre-cooked pork, it can come together in virtually no time. Start the sauce by frying up some bacon and then sautéing garlic, onion, carrot and celery in some of the reserved fat. Add a splash of red wine, canned plum tomatoes, fresh rosemary and bay leaf. Throw chopped pork into the simmering tomato sauce and let it bubble away until it’s melt-in-your-mouth tender. Serve over tagliatelle or pappardelle pasta or even creamy polenta. Finish with chopped fresh basil, parsley and a drizzle of your best olive oil.

Related: Make These Soft and Fluffy BBQ Pork Bao Buns

3. Whip Up Some Fried Rice

This dish is perfect if you don’t have much leftover tenderloin, since it won’t take much to make a hefty portion of fried rice. Fry any mix you like; we like a combination of rice mixed with eggs, sliced green onions, ginger and even tofu. You can swap the hot dogs in the below recipe for leftover pork tenderloin.

hot dog fried rice in skillet with wooden spoon

Get the recipe for Hot Dog Fried Rice

4. Shred in a Taco

As if you needed an excuse, leftover pork tenderloin practically insists you celebrate Taco Tuesday (or Wednesday). Use the prongs of two forks to shred cold pork tenderloin for a quick carnita-style taco. Heat the pork quickly in a pan and then pile it high on a warm corn or flour tortilla. Top with shredded cabbage, chopped tomatoes, a few sprigs of fresh cilantro, your favourite hot sauce and a generous squeeze of lime.

Looking for more tasty ideas? These juicy pork chop recipes are ready in less than 30 minutes!

brine turkey

How to Brine a Turkey and Why You Should Try It

If you’ve ever had unbelievably flavourful and juicy chicken at a restaurant, chances are it was brined before it was served to you. You can get that same tender result at home by brining your Thanksgiving turkey before roasting it. Besides adding flavour through aromatics like garlic and bay leaves, brining helps meat retain moisture through the cooking process, resulting in unbelievably tender turkey and lots of compliments to the chef. Whether it’s a wet or dry brine, it’s a real easy technique that is good to have in your repertoire. Here’s how to make both wet and dry turkey brines, along with some pros and cons for the two methods.

Turkey brine

Wet Brining

Pro: Soaking your bird in a saltwater solution allows you to easily infuse it with different flavours, such as bay leaves, citrus peels, whole peppercorns or onions. Just strain them after the brining is complete.

Con: Wet brining can be a bulky process. Because there is a lot of liquid involved, this method requires a large container to hold the turkey and the brine, which can mean rearranging your refrigerator ahead of the big day.

Con: For extra crispy skin, you need to remove the turkey from the brine and return to the fridge uncovered for several more hours to dry. With the dry brine, you can just roast straight away for golden, crispy results.

Simple Wet Brine for Turkey

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 12 hours

Ingredients:

1 L water
1 cup sea salt
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Peel of 1 lemon
3 L cold water
1 tall, large pot or container
1 large turkey, gizzards and neck removed from cavity

Directions:

1. Place 1 litre of water and all aromatics in a medium pot. Turn the stove to medium heat and stir until the salt has completely dissolved.

2. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes while aromatics infuse. Combine with remaining water.

3. Place turkey in the pot and add saltwater mixture. Cover with lid or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for approximately 12 hours or overnight.

Related: Tasty Ways to Use All That Leftover Turkey

4. When ready to roast, strain saltwater from the pot and discard any remaining aromatics.

5. Rinse turkey in cold water, including inside the cavity, to remove excess brine.

6. Place turkey on a clean towel or sheets of paper towel and pat dry.

7. Roast as desired.

Dry Brine

Pro: With no added liquid and just a medley of salt and spices rubbed directly on the bird you give the salt an opportunity to draw moisture from the bird. Once the salt dissolves,  the moisture is reabsorbed, salt in tow, tenderizing the meat and maintaining its flavour without watering it down.
Pro: Since there is no extra liquid used, roasting will yield a beautifully brown and crispy skin.

Con: The dry rub isn’t for those who hate getting hands-on with meat. You need to make sure this salt rub is rubbed in evenly for it to fully work its magic.

Simple Dry Brine for Turkey

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 8 to 12 hours

Ingredients:

2 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp black peppercorns
½ cup sea salt
2 Tbsp cane sugar
1 large turkey, gizzards and neck removed from cavity

Directions:

1. Place the first 5 ingredients in a food processor and pulse several times until a chunky paste forms.

2. Add salt and sugar and continue to pulse until a grainy paste forms.

3. Pat turkey dry with paper towel and then liberally rub the salt mixture all over the skin and inside of the cavity.

Related: Turkey Cooking Tips to Roast the Perfect Bird Every Time

4. Place in refrigerator and let sit for 8 to 12 hours.

5. Remove from refrigerator and rinse in cold water to remove the rub.

6. Place turkey on a clean towel or sheets of paper towel and pat dry.

7. Roast as desired.

Looking for more Thanksgiving recipes? Try these make-ahead recipes for a stress-free Thanksgiving feast.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Published September 29, 2017, Updated October 1, 2019

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.

888_Tapenade-Spaghetti-4

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

888_Tapenade-Spaghetti-3

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

888_Tapenade-Spaghetti-2

Directions:

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

Tapenade_Spaghetti-7

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.

Tapenade_Spaghetti-8

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.

Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin

Your Weeknight Needs This Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin Recipe

Perfect for a gathering or a simple weeknight dinner, this meat-and-veg meal always impresses. Slow cooker pork tenderloin is incredibly tender and moist so you can forget all about dryness.  What’s more, the leisurely braising brings on a sweet, caramelized flavour as the balsamic vinegar and maple syrup work their magic on the pork tenderloin. Finally, seasonal vegetables add pops of colour and a welcome earthiness to this hearty meal. While oven baked pork tenderloin is delicious we’ll be making this easy Crock Pot dinner all winter long.

Slow-Cooker-Pork-Tenderloin-2

Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin with Winter Veggies

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours on high, 4 hours on low
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes on high, 4 hours 10 minutes on low
Serves: 4
Slow-Cooker-Pork-Tenderloin-3

Ingredients:

1 (2 lb) pork tenderloin (see Notes below)
3 red potatoes, cut into 2-inch cubes
3 stalks celery, chopped into 2.5-inch pieces
2 carrots, sliced into 1-inch circles (we used a mixture of purple and orange carrots)
1 red onion, sliced into 1-inch half-moons
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp grainy mustard
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
ground black pepper, to taste
fresh thyme leaves, to taste
fresh chopped parsley, for serving

Directions: 
1. Add all ingredients except parsley to a large slow cooker, positioning the pork tenderloin in the centre and surrounding it with the vegetables. Replace lid and cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 4 hours.

Food-Network-pork-tenderloin-2

2. Once the cook time is up, transfer pork to a cutting board and slice into medallions.
3. Dish up the vegetables along with those delicious slow cooker juices onto plates or into shallow bowls, top with pork tenderloin medallions, then garnish with parsley. Serve warm.

Slow-Cooker-Pork-Tenderloin-Recie

Notes:
To enhance the caramelized flavour in this stew, you can sear the pork in a skillet before it goes in the slow cooker. To do so, add olive oil to a skillet set over medium-high heat, then brown each side of the pork tenderloin until desired colour; continue with the remainder of the recipe.

Soak up all of those mouthwatering juices on your plate with a warm slice of Chef Michael Smith’s Pot Baked Bread with Homemade Butter.

Leftovers in plastic container in fridge

The Best Ways to Reheat (and Reuse) Leftovers

Wouldn’t the world be an amazing place if we had time to cook a delicious family meal every single night of the week? It certainly would. But since many of us have evening commitments and strict daytime work schedules, dinnertime (and prep) always seems to be cut short. Leftovers are a natural result of busy lives and they don’t always have to be ho-hum after a quick nuke in the microwave. Here are six popular homemade dishes and how to revive them into tasty next-day dishes.

Pasta

Have you ever noticed that pasta is a lot more firm once it’s been sitting for a while? The extra sauce that was sitting on your pasta dish gets absorbed by the leftover noodles. To get the flexibility and sauciness back in a pasta, heat about ¼ cup of tomato sauce, heavy cream or chicken broth, let it come to a simmer then add leftover pasta from the fridge, stir and allow to heat through. Top with a little Parmesan if you have it because, well, it always goes with pasta.

Leftovers in plastic container in fridge

Pizza

Sure, a microwave does (sort of) do the trick with day-old pizza. The result may be decent enough with hot toppings and revived cheese, but it gives the crust an almost soggy, spongy texture. For freshly-made pizza flavor, preheat your oven to a low broil, place two pieces of pizza into a cast iron skillet and let cook in the oven. The cast iron does an amazing job or crisping up the crust, while the low broil gets the cheese bubbly again. For more than an individual serving, use a large pizza stone for the same effect.

Chicken and Fish

To be completely honest, it’s nearly impossible to get the same juicy, tender qualities from cooked poultry and most types of fish the next day. For best results, heat up your protein in a moderately hot oven (about 375°F) in a small baking dish. Add a few spoonfuls of water or stock, cover with tinfoil and bake until warmed through. Giving leftover meats like this a quick chop make them easy additions to simple noodle or cream-based soups.

Related: Sunday Dinners That Promise Leftovers Throughout the Week

Pork and Steak

Much like chicken and fish, big cuts of pork and beef are hard to bring back to life after sitting in the fridge overnight. That being said, there are still ways to make them these leftovers taste pretty delicious. First, let the meat come to room temperature, then slice it into pieces (somewhere between ¼ to ½” thick). This is a much better way to reheat because cooking a larger piece of meat (like tenderloin or roast) will result in an overcooked exterior and too well-done interior. Heat a spoonful or two of butter in a large pan on medium heat, add the sliced meat and let it cook, stirring frequently until warmed through.

Rice

You can easily reheat leftover rice in the microwave in a covered container, but that will generally give you a slightly overcooked, mushy texture. Instead, preheat your oven to 350°F and evenly spread cold rice into a medium-sized baking dish. Loosely cover with tin foil, poking a few holes to allow the steam to escape and let it bake for approximately 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, stir gently with a fork and let bake, uncovered, for 5 more minutes.

Vegetables

This is quite a broad category, so right off the bat, the more tender vegetables like beans, snow peas, asparagus and wilted greens (spinach, Swiss chard, etc.) don’t lend themselves well to reheating after a first cook. If you have leftover corn (if it’s on the cob, cut off the kernels), peas or any sort of legume (chickpeas, beans, lentils), you can give them new life with a quick fry in a large pan with some broth and spices. Root vegetables like butternut squash, yams, potatoes and beets benefit well from a quick re-roast in the oven. Preheat oven to 350°F, lay them out on a baking sheet and let them roast for 12 to 15 minutes. Once removed from the oven, dress them lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Published September 26, 2016, Updated September 1, 2019

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

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

Gochujang Glazed Korean Chicken Skewers with Quick Cucumber Salad

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

Ingredients:

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

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

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

Directions:

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

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

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

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

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

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