Tag Archives: everyday cooking

5 Cheap and Tasty Cuts of Pork to Make for Dinner Tonight

It’s easy to fall into a routine at the meat counter — after all, pork chops and steaks are simple and guaranteed crowd pleasers. For something a little more interesting, however, follow the lead of chefs across the country and look at off-cuts such as cheek, shoulder, hock, feet and tails, all of which, with a little preparation and care, yield great flavour. Or, if you’re set on pork tenderloin, try taking it one step further with savoury stuffings. Either way, stretching your imagination (and your dollar) a bit will land you a meal that’s a cut above the rest.

Rolled Pork Florentine

Get the recipe for Rolled Pork Florentine
Food Network Canada

Tender, My Love
Typically sold boneless, tenderloin is easy to portion out into individual medallions if you don’t want a larger roast, and is a good size for a smaller family.

How to Cook Pork Tenderloin: Lean and solid meat without much fat or sinew, fast-cooking tenderloin can be butterflied, rolled around savoury seasonings and roasted for a special occasion dinner or any time that warrants celebrating. Since pork tenderloin is relatively tender, it doesn’t need the low and slow cooking that tougher cuts require (in fact, overcook tenderloin and it will be dry and stringy). Prepare your filling ahead of time, and make sure it’s cooled before stuffing the tenderloin if it’s going to be sitting before cooking.

Tackle a crisp and crackling Stuffed Porchetta With Epic Homemade Gravy, spinach and bacon stuffed Rolled Pork Florentine, fly the Italian colours with Tricolore Stuffed Pork or go German with a Cauliflower and Caper Gratin With Pork Rouladen. If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, make succulent sandwiches or try one of these recipes.

instapot-pulled-pork-recipe

Get the recipe for Instant Pot Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Food Network

Shoulder Season
Pork shoulder (or its alter ego, pork butt) is a more heavily marbled area than tenderloin, and can be prepared with the skin on or off, and can come bone in or boneless. You’re more likely to see blade cut shoulder (which comes from the area closer to the tenderloin) at the supermarket.

How to Cook Pork Shoulder: Pork shoulder can be cooked low and slow as a roast, or, when thinly sliced into chops, grilled on the barbecue.  Cubed and seared off in a hot pan before adding to liquid, pork shoulder makes an excellent dish with lentils, adding flavour to braised dishes as it simmers away. Left whole, it’s the ideal vehicle for strong seasonings such as the vibrant herb and citrus marinade for harissa-spiked cider braised pork with apples. Or, pull the fork-tender pieces apart to shred for that summertime favourite, pulled pork sandwiches, best enjoyed with loads of smoky barbecue sauce.

Try making Pulled Pork Sandwiches (or one Mega Pulled Pork Sandwich), Cider Braised Pork Shoulder With Apples or Braised Pork Shoulder With Lentils.

Roasted-Pork-Hocks

Get the recipe for Roasted Pork Hocks
Food Network Canada

Hock It To Me
Meaty pork hocks come from the front or back legs of the pig between the foot and shoulder. You may also see smoked hocks in German or Polish supermarkets, which can be used like ham bones to flavour soups.

How to Cook Pork Hocks: Settle in: you’re going to need patience with this one. Due to the fibrous tissue and sinew in hocks, longer cooking times are a necessity. Pork hocks can be braised in liquid with vegetables for a complete meal, or, for a true lesson in crispy carnivorousness, brined and roasted for crackling that puts chicharrones to shame.

Try a relatively light hock preparation in a Pork Hock Terrine, or keep it crispy with simple Roasted Pork Hocks. If you’ve picked up a smoked hock, try the whimsically named Pig and Pea Soup.

Crispy-Pork-Cheek-Latkes

Get the recipe for Crispy Pork Cheek Latkes 


Food Network Canada

Turning The Other Cheek
Pork cheeks come from the often used face muscles of the pig, which have sinew running through them but not much fat. When cooked, pork cheeks are soft, yet maintain enough structure that they can be used to stuff ravioli, pulled apart for ragu or simply served whole on top of mashed potatoes or a purée of parsnips. Most butchers should be able to set some aside for you if you call ahead of time or put in a special order.

How to Cook Pork Cheek: A quick pan sear on each side of the cheek, then a covered braise in flavoured liquid, will make pork cheeks fall-apart tender. Unlike the time commitment needed for cuts such as shoulder, however, cheeks cook relatively quickly — in under half an hour for most preparations. Combined with shredded potatoes for a crispy latke and a powerful salsa verde, pork cheeks can be a hearty lunch or appetizer with a crunchy exterior yielding to soft and luscious meat.

Give Crispy Pork Cheek Latke a try.

Happy Feet (and Tail)
North Americans may be more familiar with pig’s feet and tails through the gustatory delights of Oktoberfest (such as the revelry in Kitchener-Waterloo’s annual celebration) or the lively culinary tales of Mennonite cuisine in Canada’s doyenne Edna Staebler’s Food That Really Schmecks. These off-cuts are part and parcel to many cuisines, from spicy Jamaican stew peas with pig’s tails to Chinese red braised pig’s feet, redolent with soy, black vinegar and ginger.

How to Cook Pig’s Feet and Tails: The natural gelatinous goodness of both tails and feet add body and gloss to stocks, leading to that jello-like consistency much prized among soup connoisseurs. Traditional preparations of both tails and feet often begin with a boiling step to soften the meat, which can be picked off the bone and used to punch up the flavour of meatballs or croquettes. Pig’s tails can also be slathered with your favourite sauce or glaze and crisped under the broiler or on the grill for a sweet and sticky treat that will add a twist to your next barbecue.

Ready to take that next step? Try Foie Gras Stuffed Pig’s Feet, Pig’s Feet Meatball Ragout or Pig Tail Croquette.

So remember, pork chops aren’t the only cut in town — from cheek to tail, the entire pig is your playground. If you’re intrigued and want to check out more common pork cuts, as well as recommended cooking times and other info, check out this check out this handy chart and trot off to your butcher counter right away.

Roti

The Tasty History of Roti in Canada

Here’s some good news for Canadians from coast to coast: you don’t have to travel 11,000 kilometres across the ocean to get your roti fix. “Everywhere we go [in Canada], there is a roti shop to be found,” say Marida and Narida Mohammed, co-owners of Twice De Spice. Born in Trinidad, sisters Marida and Narida Mohammed grew up eating this delicacy on a daily basis, calling it the “equivalent of what sliced bread is to Canadians.” But with a gazillion and one ways to make and eat this warm, chewy flatbread, what exactly is “roti?”

Mona's Roti in Toronto

“In the [Indian] subcontinent, ‘roti’ is a generic word for bread and is often a synonym for chapatti,” says Richard Fung. “In Trinidad, [the word] is used generically also: Indo-Trinidadians eat sada roti, alu puri and paratha, also known as ‘busupshut.’ Dal puri [generally refers to] what Canadians call ‘West Indian or Caribbean roti.’”

Fung should know: he grew up eating roti in Trinidad and produced Dal Puri Diaspora, a documentary exploring the roots of roti in Trinidad, India and Toronto. Eating his way across the “roti trail,” Fung’s film showcases just how diverse the dish can be.

Related: Want Layers of Flavour? This Flaky, Crunchy Guyanese Roti is a Meal-Time Must-Try

Many food historians believe that this ancient flatbread originates from the Indian subcontinent, where even today, no meal is complete without a side of roti. “In India, puris are deep fried — so what we call dal puris in the diaspora might perhaps more correctly be a dal paratha,” says Richard. “The cooking method and the ingredients (white flour, split peas) are the results of conditions on the plantations.”

The dish began to reach all corners of the earth in the 19th-century, when indentured workers from India introduced the recipe to southern Caribbean colonies of Britain and the Netherlands. Over the decades, the dish gradually garnered its own Caribbean flare.

“Caribbean roti is a large flatbread made with white all-purpose flour and stuffed with ground, seasoned split peas and cooked on a griddle,” says Richard. “In its commercial form, it’s wrapped in a style similar to a burrito around curried meat or vegetables.”

Cooking roti

Much like the origins of roti, the roots of roti in Canada are a bit fuzzy. With waves of immigration in the 1960s, the wrapped roti from Trinidad arrived in North America, where it was popularized in big cities like Toronto and New York and became known as “Caribbean” or “West Indian” roti. “A lot of people migrated [to Canada] from [Caribbean] islands and Guyana,” says  Marida and Narida. “Coming to Canada and the US, they brought their culture here to North America. As it travels, it changes and the spice levels.”

According to Richard, Ram’s Roti Shop was the first roti eatery in Toronto, opening in the 1960s (now closed) and serving Indian-style roti. Today, roti restaurants are scattered across the Greater Toronto Area and there are plenty of choices for hungry hordes eager to sink their teeth into this satisfying dish. “Toronto has a huge West Indian population,” say Marida and Narida. “In the Caribbean-populated areas like Scarborough, West Etobicoke, Brampton and Mississauga, you’re going to find a roti shop tucked in somewhere.”

While Marida and Narida name Ali’s Roti and Drupati’s as being among their favourites in Toronto, you can also mosey over to Mona’s Roti — a Scarborough eatery visited by Great Canadian Cookbook host Noah Cappe and that’s famed for serving mouth-watering roti. Here, the bread is stuffed with a slew of delicious fillings, such as tasty curries (chickpeas and potato, chicken, goat and shrimp), stews (beef and king fish) or veggies. The chicken curry is a bestseller!

Mona's Roti in Toronto

Of course, Toronto isn’t the only place to enjoy this delicious dish. As Marida and Narida say, no matter where you go in Canada, you’re bound to find “a roti shop tucked away somewhere.” Snag a spot at Calabash Bistro in Vancouver, where you can indulge in six types of Caribbean-style roti. A must try is the goat curry wrapped in a fresh busup roti served with organic mixed greens.

Plus, it’s impossible to tire of eating this favourite dish. There is no shortage of chefs across Canada who are making endless and ever-evolving variations on roti. As Richard points out, some Toronto chefs are adding new flavours and ingredients not found overseas. “Immigrants directly from the subcontinent began marketing rotis with fillings typical of North Indian cuisine, such as saag panir or butter chicken,” says Fung. “Places like Mother India Roti and Gandhi sell hybrid rotis that one wouldn’t find in India or the Caribbean, but are very much a result of an encounter in Toronto.”

Marida and Narida are kickstarting “dessert roti,” which they predict will be “the next big thing.” “You can never go wrong with Nutella and bananas with whipped cream on any kind of warm bread,” they say. “Sweet rotis — that’s a trend that we’d like to put out there!”

Photos courtesy of Great Canadian Cookbook/Moni’s Roti

S'more Cookie Pizza Featured Image

5 Genius Ways to Hack Store-Bought Cookie Dough

Chocolate chip cookies deserve praise for their modesty and simplicity, but sometimes you want to shake up your dessert game. We’ve got five recipes that use store-bought chocolate chip cookie dough and surpass the humble beginnings of just a plain ol’ cookie. So grab a log of that dough and get ready to give your chocolate chip cookies a new groove.

Cookie smore tart pie

Chocolate Chip Cookie S’more Tart
Press a log of cookie dough into a 9-inch pie plate and up the sides in an even layer. Chill in freezer for 10 minutes. Bake in a 350°F oven for 20 minutes. Let cool. Set oven to broil. Place marshmallows over cookie base to fill the pie. Place under the broiler for 10 seconds. Immediately sprinkle chocolate chucks over top of marshmallows to melt.

Oreo Cookies

Oreo-Centered Cookie
Wrap 3 Tbsp of cookie dough around an Oreo cookie. Bake in a 350°F oven on greased cookie sheet until edges are golden, about 10 minutes.

banana cookie muffins

Banana-Chocolate Chip Muffins
Let a log of cookie dough come to room temperature. Line a 24 cup mini muffin tin with paper liners. Mash 2 ripe bananas into dough and stir to combine. Divide mixture into liners and bake in a 350°F oven  for 15 minutes or until golden and baked through.

Cookie brownies

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies
Prepare the batter of boxed brownie mix as per package directions. Pour into a 9×9 inch baking pan. Break up log of cookie dough into 2 inch pieces. Disperse throughout brownie dough. Bake as per brownie directions, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

cookie dough pizza

Milk and Cookies Pizza
Roll out cookie dough into a large circle 1/2-inch thick and bake in a 350°F oven until cookie is cooked through and edges are golden, about 15 minutes. Beat 1 stick of butter with 1/4 cup malted milk powder and 1 1/3 cup icing sugar. Smear over cooled cookie leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Top with chocolate, or toppings of choice.

Looking for more delicious ideas? Learn 5 Ways to Hack a Can of Cinnamon Rolls.

Chicken pie

5 Easy Ways to Make Freezer Foods Gourmet

Growing up, frozen foods were more of an exotic novelty rather than the norm in our household. Nonetheless, when the occasional packaged or boxed item made it on to the table, my mother would never have dreamed of heating and serving it without an added flourish. Canned tomato soup would get extra grindings of black pepper, a dollop of Worcestershire sauce and a poached egg, and even humble packaged ramen noodles were always garnished with roasted pork goodness in the form of char siu (sometimes home made), steamed greens and eggs, and the noodles were cooked separately to avoid added starchiness in the broth.

Now, in my own kitchen, I follow the same principles on those nights when even takeout seems too complicated. Here are five tips to get the best out of your freezer forays to turn those frosty treats into gourmet goodies.

Chicken Pot Pie

1. Think fresh
Add fresh ingredients, whether a sprinkling of garden herbs, some chopped tomatoes or even a squeeze of citrus to take away that freezer aroma from your frozen lasagna or cannelloni. A quick perusal of your crisper and a couple of minutes with a knife will give you a myriad of choices: think hot or sweet peppers, green onions or zucchini for crunch.

2. Texture contrasts
It’s a sad, but true; the freezer can bring out the worst in foods in terms of texture, making things soggy, mushy or, in the worst case, slightly freezer burned. A crunchy topping such as chopped nuts, coconut, bacon or panko crumbs sauteed with garlic and butter can make a huge difference to that creamy casserole or tikka masala chicken. If your entrée of choice is crispy, such as a freezer pizza, think of adding a creamy element before tossing it in the oven, whether it’s fresh mozzarella or even an egg cracked (gently!) on top.

3. Sweet and sour
A little splash of acid can brighten up a frozen stew or hearty pasta main: red wine or sherry vinegar will add a piquant touch. If a marinara or tomato-based sauce is too acidic, a basil purée or even a tiny bit of sugar will help balance it out. For a final flourish, pour on a touch of luxury with a good olive oil or some truffle oil.

4. Get saucy
Lean proteins, such as chicken, turkey, shrimp or fish, or frozen vegetables such as edamame or peas can be eaten by themselves, but why not give them the benefit of a simple sauce? For a go-to favourite, try Laura Calder’s Basic Béchamel Sauce, which can be the foundation for herbs, cheese, Dijon mustard or other flavourings. Or, layer your proteins or vegetables over rice and make your own topping with ponzu or soy sauce, sesame oil, hot sauce, rice wine vinegar or whatever you pull out of your fridge door. For bite-sized morsels such as chicken nuggets, those items can be combined in different proportions or added to mayonnaise to make your own dip creation.

5. Add starch
Need to make a meal? Add pasta, rice or noodles — or why not whip up a batch of biscuits to drop onto your frozen stew or casserole to add some starch? Alternatively, you can combine freezer foods such as frozen pie crust and creamy chicken a la king with fresh chopped vegetables, to make a “homemade” pot pie. For starchy side dishes such as macaroni and cheese or cheese pierogies, make them into an entrée by adding fresh or frozen vegetables and flavour-packed toppings such as fried bacon, shallots or onions.

Inspired to see your freezer in a new light? Try 12 Make-Ahead Meals You Can Freeze, stock your freezer according to our 11 Delicious Ways to Use Freezer-Friendly Foods, and make the most of your space with 20 Life-Changing Freezer Hacks.

Tomato-Pizza-feature-image

How to Make the Best Homemade Pizza

Saturday nights are made for pizza parties, but instead of doing the same-old delivery it’s a lot more fun to make one yourself. You don’t need a wood-fired oven or pizza stone to make perfectly crispy, chewy pizza at home. A large, square pan is a perfect base for your custom creation and we have a few tips to help get your pizza party started.

sausage and broccoli pizza

Start with the dough
When it comes to making good pizza, it all starts with the dough. Warm water and a teaspoon of honey will help activate the yeast. Pay attention when measuring your flour; it’s important not to use too much or too little so your pizza has the right texture.

Roll with it
Roll out the dough starting at the centre and work your way out. It doesn’t need to be a perfect circle. To transfer your dough onto the pan, use Giada de Laurentis’ genius trick: gently roll the dough around your rolling pin and unroll it right onto your pan. Easy-peasy!

Get saucy
Purée canned tomatoes, salt and basil for a simple and flavourful pizza sauce. No need to pre-cook it — the sauce will finish cooking in the oven. Have fun adding your favourite pizza toppings. Try pan-fried veggies, cooked chicken and fresh herbs.

Say cheese!
So much about pizza is about the melted cheese! Here’s the time to experiment and up your game by using other cheese varieties, such as smoked scamorza, a soft cheese made with both cow and goat’s milk. It’ll add a strong smoky flavour to your homemade pie. Prefer a traditional pizza? Drop fresh mozzarella on top your pie. For more cheesy flavour, grate a bit of Parmesan overtop.

We’ve chosen Giada de Laurentiis’ pizza dough recipe to help bring a little taste of Italy to your kitchen.

giada's pizza dough

Ingredients
1 tsp honey
1 tsp active dry yeast
2-1/4 cups flour, plus more if needed
1 tsp kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil

1. Add the honey and yeast to 1 cup warm water. Stir to dissolve. Let the mixture to sit for 3 minutes to make sure the yeast is alive; it should foam and start to bubble.

2. Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the yeast mixture and mix on low speed until the mixture starts to come together. Turn the speed up to medium and mix for 8 minutes. The dough should start to pull away from the sides but still remain soft and slightly sticky at the bottom of the bowl. Add 1 extra tablespoon of flour if needed. Coat your hands in a bit of olive oil and form the dough into a ball. Place the dough in a bowl that is coated in olive oil. Cover with a towel and proof the dough in a warm place until it doubles in size, 1 hour.

3. Knock down the dough and cut into 4 equal pieces if making small pizzas or simply reform into a ball if making one larger pizza and proof the dough for an additional 1 hour.

Ingredient Inspiration
Not sure what to put on your pizza? Find all the inspiration you need in these scrumptious recipes.

All Dressed PizzaAll-Dressed G-Style Pizza

Olives, salami, spinach and two types of cheese make this an indulgent pizza pie!

Cheese pizzaQuebecoise Sausage and Cheese Pizza

Try mixing some traditional sausage with soft brie and hard cheeses for a burst of French flavour.

Tomato PizzaBuffalo Mozzarella and Tomato Pizza

Keep it classic with torn basil and buffalo mozzarella.

Pizza BiancaPizza Bianca
Ditch the tomato sauce and make a simple, cheesy pizza with fresh lemon zest and thyme.

4 Tasty Ways to Use Leftover Tomato Sauce

Take the time to boil and bubble a pot of homemade tomato sauce on Sunday, then reap the delicious benefits all week as you find yourself reaching for that jar of leftovers to deliver an unexpected shot of flavour.

Ricardo's Tomato SauceStart with Ricardo’s 3-Step Tomato Sauce.

Shakshuka with Crumbled Feta

Shakshuka
Also known as Eggs in Purgatory, this tomato and egg dish gets a whack of flavour from sautéed onions and red bell peppers stewed in leftover tomato sauce that’s be flavoured with bold cumin and smoked paprika. Simply crack in a few eggs and simmer until set. Serve with a flourish of chopped fresh parsley, crumbled feta and thick wedges of buttered toasted baguette or pita.

Winter Minestrone

Winter Minestrone

Boxed broth combined with a half cup of leftover tomato sauce creates the flavourful base for a super quick, super healthy bowl of belly-warming minestrone. Just mix low sodium beef or vegetable broth and about a cup of your leftover sauce with Giada’s flavour-boosting combination of diced carrot, celery, pancetta, Swiss chard and cannelloni beans and finish with fresh-grated Parmesan.

almond crusted baked eggplant parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan

Crispy almond crusted baked eggplant casserole gets doused with your best homemade leftover sauce and a generous lid of gooey melted mozzarella. Eat with a side of pasta for a heartier dish or simply serve with a leafy green salad dressed with vinaigrette to help balance out this indulgent winter dish.

Shrimp and Chorizo Kebabs with Rice

Shrimp and Chorizo Kebabs with Red Rice

Dip your threaded shrimp and chorizo skewers in leftover sauce and then add another splash to make a fast and flavourful rice. This stir-fry like saucy rice dish gets jazzed up thanks to a mash up of red onions, garlic, chili powder and smoked paprika.

Looking for more leftover ideas? We have lots of recipes to help you transform pork tenderloin, meatballs and chicken breast.

1 Meatball Recipe, 4 Mouthwatering Leftover Ideas

No matter which way you roll them, meatballs are a versatile mealtime staple worth hoarding. Whether you chose to make them with classic Italian flavours, Middle Eastern or even vegetarian, here are four ways to turn your little balls of joy into a brand new meal.

Orecchiette-with-Mini-Chicken-Meatballs

Start with Orecchiette with Mini Chicken Meatballs.

Italian Wedding Soup

1. Italian Wedding Soup
Soup season dictates that once the temperature dips below the freezing point, a steaming bowl of broth should be consumed at least once a week. Thanks to your stash of leftover meatballs, this quick and easy version of Italian wedding soup comes together in mere minutes. Simmer chicken broth and add the cooked meatballs until heated through. Add roughly one cup of spinach and simmer until just wilted. Ladle hot broth to bowls filled with cooked couscous, or any small pasta like ditalini or orzo and finish with a dusting of grated Parmesan.

Meatball Sub

2. Sandwiches
If you’ve got dinner rolls or a sliced baguette, the time is nigh to create what’s perhaps the most beloved of all the meatball leftovers: the meatball sandwich! Heat cooked meatballs in a saucepan with your favourite tomato sauce, assemble the sandwich and top with any quick-melting cheese like mozzarella. Bake until the cheese is bubbly. Make it fancy by adding fried onions, pepper and even some jalapeño for heat. If your leftover meatballs happen to be flecked with Asian flavours, make a version of Banh Mi by topping your sandwich with pickled carrots and daikon, sprigs of fresh coriander and fiery chilis.

potato hash

3. Make a Breakfast Hash
Who says you can’t have meatballs for breakfast? For this riff on a classic brunch time hash, sauté onions together with peppers until soft. Add cooked potatoes and fry until they become crispy and form those glorious craggy bits and add the chopped meatballs until heated through. Serve with a fried egg on top and a squirt of hot sauce.

4. Meatball Calzones
Hot and gooey melted cheese is the food equivalent of cozy knit throw and a crackling fire. Quickie homemade calzones using store-bought pizza dough and leftover meatballs are your cheese delivery du jour. Divide the dough into roughly eight equal portions and roll each section off into a circle, spreading on tomato sauce before filling with chopped meatballs, shredded cheese and any vegetables you have laying around.

Chicken and Rice Soup

1 Chicken Breast Recipe, 4 Delicious Leftover Ideas

Pan roasted, baked or even poached, there’s nothing quite like the ease and convenience of fast-cooking chicken breast. From Korean lettuce wraps to a nutrition-packed grain bowl, here are four quick ways to make dinner happen in a matter of minutes with your chicken breast leftovers.

Pan Roast Chicken Breast

Start with Pan Roast Chicken Breast with Baby Spinach.

1. Try Korean Style Lettuce Wraps

When constructing these deeply-satisfying butter lettuce wraps, consider gochujang—the fiery red Korean paste—your flavour-boosting glue. Mix one tablespoon of gochujang with an equal amount of white miso paste, a splash of sesame oil and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Then, smear a dab on each leaf, pile on the chicken and garnish with sliced scallions and matchstick cucumbers. Dinner is done!

Naan Bread

2. Make a Homemade Naan Pizza with Chicken

From-scratch pizza dough is definitely doable, but it’s also a time-consuming treat for when you’ve got the time. When you want dinner in 10 minutes, store-bought naan bread makes a great base for pizza in a jiffy. Spread on any tomato or marinara sauce, leftover cooked chopped chicken breast and sliced vegetables like mushrooms or peppers. Top with grated smoked mozzarella or lumps of torn burrata cheese. The best part? The pizza is done when the cheese is bubbly.

3. Make a Fully Loaded Chicken Grain Bowl

Don’t let sad desk lunches happen to you. Perfectly packable and loaded with nutrition, make 2016 all about the grain bowl. Toss leftover chopped chicken with a cooked grain like quinoa, barley, farro or brown rice together with fresh herbs like parsley, mint or basil, some grated carrot or beet and a handful of toasted nuts for crunch. Bring it together with a quick lemon vinaigrette.

Chicken and Rice Soup

4. Put it in a Soup

Long simmered chicken soup is a winter staple but you can still get fast flavours with a little help from leftover chicken, a whack of sautéed veggies and ready-made broth. Start by sautéing the vegetables together with some garlic and onion and toss in the vegetables. Add the broth and bring to a gentle simmer, tossing the chicken near the end and simmering until just heated through. Finish with fresh herbs like dill and lemon wedges, or coriander and hot chilies for some spice. Fill it out with rice, orzo or Asian-style noodles.

brunch ideas for kids

10 Ideas for a Kid-Friendly Brunch

Make weekend mornings more fun with these 10 scrumptious brunch ideas that kids will adore.

Pancake Snowman

1. Snowmen Pancakes
When making pancakes drop three small circles of batter in your pan so each one touches. When you flip it over you will have a snowman pancake ready to be decorated. Serve with bacon strips (to use as a scarf), berries for decorating the face, chocolate chips for the jacket and marshmallows to look like snow.

2. Egg in a Star Toast
Toast a few slices of bread. Use a cookie cutter to cut out star shapes from the bread. Place the bread in a large frying pan with butter. Fry eggs in star holes. Serve with ketchup!

3. Christmas Morning Fruit Bowl
In a large bowl mix together a selection of green and red fruit – try strawberries, raspberries, pomegranate seeds, cherries, sliced kiwis, grapes, apples and pears. Mix orange and lime juice with citrus zest and toss with fruit.

4. Reindeer Waffles
Take a round waffle that has been toasted and cut a triangle into one end (this will be the chin of the reindeer). Use scrap pieces to place at the top of the waffle to look like antlers. Use blueberries for the reindeer eyes, strawberries for a Rudolph nose and maple syrup to serve!

5. Red & Green Fruit Muffins
Make your favourite muffin recipe and mix in ¼ cup Christmas sprinkles as well as a big handful of pomegranate seeds and one mashed banana. Once you scoop your muffin batter into the tins, top with a mixture of red and green sprinkles.

6. Festive Fruit Parfaits
In tall glasses layer up yogurt, berries and granola to create a healthy, festive breakfast. Start by adding a layer of vanilla yogurt, topped with a layer of granola, sprinkle in some raspberries and blueberries and top with a small handful of yogurt. Continue layering until the glasses are full.

7. Santa Claus Strawberry Hats
Use strawberries and whipped cream to make mini Santa Claus hats. Clean and hull your strawberries. Dip the hulled end of the strawberry in cream and place on a plate or on top of brownies, muffins or pancakes. Place another dollop of cream on the pointed end of the strawberry to complete the Santa hat.

8. Cookie Cutter Pancakes
Use your favourite cookie cutter to make pancakes. Simply butter your pan and place the cookie cutter in the melted butter. Pour batter into the cookie cutter and wait until one side has set. Push the pancake out of the cutter to flip. Continue with a variety of shapes and sizes. Serve with maple syrup and sprinkles!

9. Christmas Fruit Tree
Use a large platter or cutting board to spread out chopped fruit in the shape of a large Christmas tree. Use sliced kiwis, green grapes and apples to look like the tree. Use red berries like raspberries or strawberries to string across the tree like lights. Top with a pineapple star! Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

10. Red & Green Christmas Morning Smoothie
Make a layered smoothie by first making a red berry smoothie using milk, yogurt, raspberries, strawberries and a banana. Set aside and mix your green smoothie using milk, yogurt, celery, spinach and apples. Layer your red and green smoothies in tall glasses and serve with straws.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 clever ways to use frozen puff pastry

5 Clever Ways to Use Frozen Puff Pastry

Store-bought puff pastry is the ultimate freezer staple to have on hand to whip up quick and impressive treats in a pinch. And now that it’s sold in pre-rolled sheets, you don’t need flour or a rolling pin to get baking.

From savoury snacks to guest-worthy treats, puff pastry can do it all! So try one of these 5 clever ways to use it next time guests drop by.

Savoury Tarts

Thin Mint and Dark Chocolate Pastries
Arrange racks in top and bottom thirds of oven. Preheat to 400F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

Beat 1 egg with 1 Tbsp water in a small bowl until combined. Slice 9 thin dark chocolate mints, such as After Eight, diagonally in half. Unroll 450-g pkg thawed puff pastry sheets. Using a 2 ½-in. round cookie cutter, cut out 9 rounds per sheet. Arrange rounds on baking sheets.

Brush each round evenly with egg wash, then arrange 1 piece chocolate mint on one half of each round. Fold other half over chocolate mint, pressing edges down to seal well. Brush tops with remaining egg wash.

Bake in top and bottom thirds of oven, switching halfway through, until golden and puffed, 20 min. Dust generously with icing sugar before serving.

Mini Cinnamon Rolls
Brush thawed puff pastry sheets generously with melted butter. Sprinkle evenly with granulated sugar and cinnamon. Roll tightly from the bottom to the top to form a log. Freeze until slightly firm. Slice each log into 1-inch rounds. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cut-side down, and bake, following package directions, until golden and puffed. Drizzle with a glaze or top with cream cheese frosting.

Buttery Cheese Straws
Brush thawed puff pastry sheets with egg wash. Sprinkle with coarsely grated cheese, such as Gruyère or Parmesan, gently pressing down to adhere. Cut into ¾-inch strips, then twist both ends in the opposite direction to form a straw. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake, following package directions, until golden and puffed.

Cheaters Gingerbread Men
Using a small gingerbread man cookie cutter, cut out men from thawed puff pastry sheets. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake, following package directions, until golden and puffed. Whisk icing sugar with a touch of milk and ground ginger to make a glaze. Drizzle over cooled gingerbread men and let stand until dry to the touch.

Savoury Tarts
Brush thawed puff pastry sheets with egg wash. Sprinkle evenly with cheese, such as sliced mozzarella or crumbled goats cheese, then top with vegetables, such as caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms or spinach. Sprinkle with fresh herbs. Fold over edges, creating a 1-in. border. Brush border with additional egg wash. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake, according to package directions, until puffed and golden.