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How to Hasselback All Your Veggies

Hasselback potatoes are an incredible way to bring boring potatoes to life. The thin slices, crispy edges and soft, buttery insides make them a show stopper at any event. Why reserve this amazing cooking technique for potatoes when there’s an endless list of fruits and vegetables that benefit from the hasselback treatment. The thin slices help inject flavour into the centre of the veggie, and there are limitless flavour combinations.

Here are some tips on how to hasselback a variety of vegetables at home, plus the best cooking methods and times.

Hasselback 101
The key to hasselback is perfect slices that don’t quite go all the way through the veggie, leaving a beautiful fan, ready to crisp up in the oven.

Start by arranging veggies on a cutting board between two chopsticks. The chopsticks are there to prevent you from cutting all the way through the vegetable. Using your knife, make incisions into the vegetables at 1/8-inch intervals. Brush each vegetable with olive oil, minced garlic, fresh thyme, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at the recommended times and temperatures below.

hasselback zucchini

Zucchini
Follow method above. Roast zucchini on a baking sheet at 400°F until tender, about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese 5 minutes before removing from the oven.

hasselback squash

Butternut Squash
Peel butternut squash and cut in half lengthwise. Remove pulp and seeds. Arrange cut side down on cutting board and proceed with method. Disperse 6-8 bay leaves into the slices of the squash. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic and thyme. Roast in the oven on a baking sheet at 425°F until tender, about 40 minutes. Drizzle maple syrup over squash 5 minutes before removing from the oven.

hasselback beets

Beets
Be sure to peel the beets before scoring. Follow method above. Cover beets with foil and bake in a 375°F. Remove foil after 20 minutes and continue to bake until beets are tender, about another 25 minutes. Serve with fresh basil and ricotta, or creamy horseradish.

Pear or Apples
Cut pears or apples in half lengthwise. Proceed with recipe, omitting olive oil, garlic and salt. Instead, brush pears with melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Place on a baking sheet and roast at 375°F until just tender, about 30 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream or yogurt and chopped walnuts.

Try this recipe for The Pioneer Woman’s Hasselback Potatoes.

The Best Vegan Margherita Pizza

Simple, delicious and comforting, traditional Margherita pizza is made vegan thanks to this tasty, cheese-less recipe that replaces classic mozzarella with non-dairy cheese shreds. The cast iron skillet method is ideal for creating a restaurant-quality pie, helping you get a super-crispy, thin-crust slice without any special equipment.

Whether you’re looking for vegan alternatives or just want to cut back on cheese and dairy, this vegan pizza recipe is a must-try.

vegan-pizza-1

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 33 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:
All-purpose flour, as needed
2 tsp fine cornmeal, for pan
1/2 lb fresh pizza dough (from supermarket or local pizzeria), room temperature
1/2 cup strained tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
1 cup non-dairy shredded mozzarella cheese, such as Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds
1/4 tsp flaky sea salt or fine-grain sea salt
8 fresh basil leaves, torn
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, more for hands

vegan-pizza-2

Directions:
1. Place one oven rack in the very bottom slot of the oven. Preheat oven to 500ºF.
2. Sprinkle a medium (12-inch) cast-iron skillet with a light dusting of all-purpose flour and cornmeal.
3. With a bit of flour, work dough to stretch into a round. Add to prepared cast iron skillet, grease hands and finish pressing into place all the way to the outside (this takes a few minutes, but it’s worth the wait for a thin crust).
4. Cover dough with tomatoes and top with cheese. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until cheese is bubbling and crust is crisp.
5. Remove from oven, decorate with basil and drizzle with olive oil.
6. Slide onto a cutting board, slice and serve hot.

Check out this collection of 40 comforting recipes you won’t believe are vegan.

The Best Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup

When the weather gets chilly and all you want to do is stay cozy inside, we know exactly what you’ll be craving: a steaming bowl of chicken noodle soup! Our favourite childhood meal, this faux chicken noodle soup is made entirely from plant-based ingredients and we promise you won’t notice the difference.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 6-8

888_vegan-chicken-noodle-soup

Ingredients:
1 cup diced yellow onion
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced celery
3 garlic cloves, minced
7 cups low sodium vegetable stock
170 g meatless chicken strips (approximately 2 cups)
200 g fettuccine noodles
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 Tbsp sunflower oil
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp dried sage
1/4tsp ground pepper

888_vegan-chicken-noodle-soup2

Directions:
1. Pull apart the meatless chicken strips with your hands to make smaller pieces that look shredded.
2. In a large pot, heat sunflower oil over medium heat and then add meatless chicken strips and brown for 1 minute.
3. Add basil, thyme, sage, sea salt and ground pepper, and continue browning the strips for another 5 minutes.
4. Add onion and sauté for another 2 minutes, allowing them to soften and sweat, stirring occasionally.
5. At this point, add a bit of vegetable stock to lift up the brown bits off the bottom of the pot, stir in celery and carrots and sauté for 4-5 minutes.
6. Add minced garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.
7. Add all the vegetable stock and noodles (you can use any type of pasta, which may vary the cook time) and stir to combine.
8. Cover pot with lid, lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until noodles are tender and cooked through.
9. In the last 2 minutes of cooking, add in parsley.
10. Serve immediately.

3 Healthy Baked Veggie Fries

Homemade vegetable fries, baked right in the oven, are a healthier way to get your fry fix. Just like potatoes, sturdy vegetables such as rutabaga, carrot, parsnip and zucchini, can withstand the heat of the oven needed for a crispy, golden-brown exterior and tender interior. These nutrient-rich frites offer great flavours and texture, in a healthy-carb package that was made for dipping.

Here are three simple variations of oven-baked French fries, along with a few tips on how to get them crisp, plus tasty dip ideas.

Italian-Zucchini-Fries-2

Veggie Fry Baking Tips
– After slicing, pat vegetables dry with a cloth or paper towel to remove excess moisture.
– Coat veggies in cornmeal or panko bread crumbs to add another layer of crunch to the exterior.
– Use the convection setting on your oven if you have it; baking at a higher heat (400ºF to 425ºF) for slightly less time. Circulating air means a crispier exterior.
– Use a high-temperature cooking oil, such as grapeseed, avocado, camelina or olive oil (not extra-virgin) to avoid smoke in the hot oven.
– Enjoy the fries as fresh as possible – like their deep-fried counterparts, these will soften as they cool.
– Make sure your parchment paper brand can withstand heat up to 425ºF.

Dip Ideas
Classic ketchup
Curry mayonnaise
Tzatziki
Greek yogurt with chipotle and lime
Garlicky honey mustard
Marinara sauce
Homemade cheese sauce

Rutabaga-Fries-1-1

Rutabaga Herb Oven Fries

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1 large rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch matchsticks
2 Tbsp olive oil or grapeseed oil
1 tsp herbs de Provence or dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
Ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Add all ingredients to prepared baking sheet and toss to combine; spread into a single layer.
3. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, or until tender and golden brown on the underside. Serve.

Italian-Zucchini-Fries-3

Italian Zucchini Panko Wedge Fries

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp Italian seasoning or dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
2 zucchini, halved crosswise and lengthwise, cut into thick sticks
1 Tbsp olive oil or grapeseed oil

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combine panko, Italian seasoning or dried oregano and salt on a plate. Coat zucchini in oil. Press zucchini into breadcrumbs and line up on prepared baking sheet.
3. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until zucchini is tender and golden brown on the underside. Serve.

Sesame-Carrot-Fries-1

Sesame Carrot Shoestring Fries

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
4 carrots, peeled, halved crosswise and cut into thin matchsticks
1 Tbsp olive oil or grapeseed oil
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp black or white sesame seeds
1/4 tsp salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, toss carrots with olive oil, sesame oil, tamari and sesame seeds. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and spread into a single layer.
3. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, or until carrots are crisp and beginning to caramelize. Serve.

For more healthy alternatives, check out these 13 baked versions of your favourite fried foods.

Seared Salmon and Crispy Tofu Poke Bowls

The bowl of the moment is most certainly the poke bowl, coming to your kitchen straight from Hawaii.  A spin on the traditional fish salad,  the poke bowl is typically composed of raw ahi tuna, seaweed and rice with a few simple, versatile garnishes. It’s lighter, fresher fare that makes a fun lunch or dinner.

Ahi tuna and sushi-grade salmon is a challenge to come by in regular grocery stores, and specialty markets can be expensive. But, you can make a poke bowl at home that suits your locale and budget by searing some wild salmon, or using vegetarian-friendly tofu. Experiment with the vegetables in this bowl, like avocado and steamed greens, or even some juicy fresh mango.

Enjoy these abundant bowls for a taste of warm Hawaiian sunshine.

Poke-Bowl-5

Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 25 Minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Bowl Components
2 cups cooked short grain brown rice or sticky white rice
1 diced cucumber
1 diced carrot
1 diced cooked or raw beet
1 diced roasted red pepper
1 cup finely shredded kale
1 sheet nori (seaweed)
1 fresh red chili, thinly sliced
Black or white sesame seeds

Dressing
2 Tbsp sweet white miso
2 Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp sesame oil

Poke-Bowl-1

Seared Salmon Poke Bowl
4 oz (per serving) fresh wild salmon (skinned or skinless)
1 tsp black or white sesame seeds
2 tsp coconut oil

Crispy Tofu Poke Bowl
4 oz (per serving) extra-firm tofu, cubed
1 tsp black or white sesame seeds
2 tsp coconut oil

Directions:

Seared Salmon Poke Bowl
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Press sesame seeds into top of salmon. Add oil to hot pan followed by salmon, seed side-down. Sear for 2 to 3 minutes; flip and cook until desired doneness (about 30 seconds to 1 minute for medium-rare). Transfer to a plate. Remove skin from salmon (if it has it) and flake into large pieces. Reserve.

Poke-Bowl-4

Crispy Tofu Poke Bowl
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat tofu with sesame seeds. Add oil to hot pan followed by tofu. Sear for 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Transfer to a plate. Reserve.

Poke-Bowl-2

Assembly
To large serving bowls, add a mound of rice. Add your vegetables of choice, leaving a space for desired protein. Add salmon or tofu (or both) to bowls, sprinkle with sesame seeds and garnish with chili. Serve warm or chilled drizzled with dressing.

Poke-Bowl-6

Looking for more creative takes on sushi? Try making this shareable sushi pizza.

vegan-mac-and-cheese

Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Dairy-free and delicious, a “cheese” sauce made from cauliflower and nutritional yeast (aka “nooch”), hugs macaroni noodles for a classic comfort food made into a modern masterpiece. Enjoy this super-creamy vegan dish, right out of the pot or top with breadcrumbs and bake for a casserole-style of mac and cheese. Either way, it’s family-friendly comfort food with a twist!

vegan-mac-and-cheese2

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
1/2 head cauliflower, roughly chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tsp unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp granulated garlic (not garlic salt)
Pinch, ground nutmeg
1 cup unsweetened soymilk or other non-dairy milk
3 cups dry macaroni noodles
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp Italian seasoning

vegan-mac-and-cheese1

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2. Bring a large pot of water to the boil; salt well. Cook macaroni according to package directions, drain and add back to pot.
3. Steam cauliflower until very tender. Add to a food processor or blender along with 1/4 cup oil, vinegar, turmeric, mustard, salt, pepper, garlic, nutmeg and milk. Purée until smooth and add to cooked noodles, mixing well to combine. Pour into a large casserole dish.
4. In a small bowl, combine panko, Italian seasoning, nutritional yeast and remaining 2 tsp oil. Top macaroni with breadcrumbs and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until hot and crisp on top. Serve.

Great-Canadian-Toque-Cake

Get Cozy with the Great Canadian Toque Cake

This winter, let’s embrace the cold (and even celebrate it) with this chilly-weather inspired cake. Ultra-Canadian both inside and out, this maple and nutmeg flavoured dessert reminds us of bundling up for snowy winter days spent tobogganing or skating on the local rink.

Toque Cake

To create this super cute cake, simply carve a small layer cake into the domed shape before using a few decorative piping techniques to mimic different knit patterns with buttercream icing. Pop a pom-pom on top, and add a few marzipan maple leaves for extra Canadian flair!

This gorgeous cake is a perfect, whimsical showstopper for any party this season.

Toque Cake

Bake Time: 24 to 26 minutes
Total Time: 75 to 90 minutes
Serves: 6 to 10

Ingredients:

Maple Nutmeg Cake
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
Red gel food coloring (optional)

Maple Buttercream
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 to 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 to 2 tablespoons milk

Assembly
2 oz marzipan (or fondant)
Red gel food coloring

Toque Cake

Directions:

Maple Nutmeg Cake

1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 3 6-inch round cake pans. Set aside.
2. In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
3. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add in the sugar and mix on medium until light and fluffy. Add in the maple and vanilla. Mix until combined.
4. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add in the eggs 1 at a time. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
5. With the mixer on low, add in 1/2 the dry ingredients. Once combined, stream in the buttermilk. Add in the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not over mix.
6. Remove 1/3 of the batter and mix in the red gel food coloring until desired shade is achieved. Mix the remaining plain batter by hand until smooth.
7. Place the red batter in one of the prepared cakes pans. Evenly divide the remaining batter between the other 2 pans. Bake for 24 to 26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 to 20 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.

Maple Buttercream
1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in the sugar and maple syrup and mix until combined. Once combined, turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add more sugar and/or milk until desired consistency is reached.

Red Buttercream
1. Make 1/2 the frosting used for our Red Rose Cupcakes.

Toque Cake

Assembly
1. Once the cakes are cool, trim the tops of the red layer and 1 of the white layers. Place the trimmed white layer on a cake board or serving dish. Spread on about 1/2 cup of buttercream with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Top with the red layer and repeat with the last white layer (dome side up, if present).
2. Using a long, serrated knife, trim and carve the cake into a domed shape. Save the cake scraps and set aside.
3. Once the cake has been carved into the shape of a toque, crumb coat the cake with a thin layer of buttercream all over.

Toque Cake
4. Fill 2 piping bags fitted with decorative piping tips with the red and maple buttercream. Stating from the bottom, pipe rows of the maple buttercream 1/3 of the way up (or until the red cake layer appears). Pipe red buttercream where the red cake layer is. Continue on to pipe maple buttercream over the top layer of cake.
5. For the pom-pom on top, gather a portion of the scraps and roll/form into a large cake ball. Place on top of the cake and pipe on red buttercream using a grass piping tip.
6. Tint the marzipan with red gel food coloring. Roll out to about 1/8 to 1/4 inch and cut out maple leaves using a small cookie cutter. Place on the cake as desired.

Toque Cake
7. For the maple buttercream (white) piping details, use a small rose tip (104) to pipe roses of small, interlocking V’s to create the woven pattern. Reverse the direction of the piping every-other row.
8. For the red buttercream piping details, use a small star tip (18) to pipe ropes (spirals) of buttercream. Use a grass tip to cover the pom-pom on top.

Toque Cake

Looking for more Canadian cake inspiration? Try our 15 Cool Canadian Cakes.

 

Vegan Cashew Cheese

Making Vegan Cheese at Home is Easier Than You Think

You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy vegan cheese, but it helps if you crave a rich, creamy spread that’s easy to make and works in a variety of recipes and applications.

If that sounds delicious, well, it is. Just ask Toronto chef Doug McNish. The classically trained chef turned vegan, and author of Vegan Everyday, says that in addition to great flavour and texture, swapping dairy for nut or seed-based cheese carries significant health benefits, too, as they’ve got lower cholesterol and heart healthy fats.

Once-upon-a-grocery-store, waxy, highly processed iterations were giving vegan cheeses a bad name, but these days chefs are concocting ambitious non-dairy cheeses, aging and fermenting them into fanciful creations like vegan Bries and Camemberts, and even vegan blues. They’re delicious, but McNish doesn’t recommend replicating them at home — unless you have a science degree and a cheese cave. For most of us, a simple, spreadable soft cheese is a great starting point.

McNish’s cashew ricotta (see below) is a classic entry level recipe, made by soaking raw cashews until soft, then blending them with lemon juice, sea salt, red peppers, garlic and cheesy tasting, B12-packed nutritional yeast. The resulting spread tastes great on crackers or toast, and makes a hearty, filling lasagna ingredient.

Cashew Vegan Cheese

Experiment by adding herbs or roasted vegetables, or swapping pumpkin seeds for nuts (just be sure to add a glug of olive oil to make up for the lost fat when substituting seeds). Cashews are the easiest, creamiest nut to work with, but any high-fat, raw nut will do.

Doug McNish’s Herbed Cashew Ricotta Cheese 

Ingredients:
4 cups raw cashews, soaked for 30 minutes and divided
1 cup red pepper, roughly chopped
2 tsp dry dill
1/2 cup lemon juice, divided
4 peeled garlic cloves
1 Tbsp fine sea salt
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 cup water, divided

Directions: 
1. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process red pepper, dill, 1/4 cup lemon juice, garlic, salt, nutritional yeast and 1/4 cup water. Process mixture until smooth with no large pieces remaining. Add 2 cups of soaked cashews, and process again until smooth, stopping the machine as necessary to scrape down the sides of the bowl using a rubber spatula. Remove from the food processor and transfer to a mixing bowl.
2. In a blender, combine remaining cashews, lemon juice and water. Blend until smooth and creamy, stopping the machine as necessary to scrape down the sides. Combine the pureed cashews from the blender with the cashews from the food processor. Using a rubber spatula fold the two together until well combined. Refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the cashews to chill and slightly firm up. Serve immediately or store refrigerated for up to 7 days.

Tip: To soak the cashews for this recipe, place in a bowl and cover with 8 cups water. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes or overnight. If storing overnight, refrigerate. Drain, discarding soaking water.

Looking for more delicious recipes? Try these 25 Vegan Desserts Even Non-Vegans Will Love.

Does Chicken Soup Really Cure a Cold?

Cozying up with a bowl of chicken soup certainly feels good this time of year, whether you’re on the mend or feeling in top form. If you happen to catch a cold, you’re probably looking for anything that will help ease those aches, soothe your tender throat and clear your sinuses. And while chicken soup is certainly comforting, can it really help make you feel better?Here, we dive into the facts to uncover the truth behind this old (and tasty) kitchen remedy.

tyler-florence-chicken-noodle-soup

Fact: Chicken soup helps relieve congestion.

Enjoying a bowl of chicken soup can help ease congestion, according to Mayo Clinic. Warm liquids, like the savoury broth in chicken soup, make your nose run (in a good way), working to clear uncomfortable nasal congestion. The more your nose runs, the better, as this means the virus has less contact time with the lining of your nose.

Try this recipe: Tyler Florence’s Chicken Noodle Soup

Fact: Chicken soup can rehydrate you.

Eating and drinking when you have a cold can seem highly unappealing, but staying hydrated is key to a quick recovery. Chicken broth delivers hydration along with a bit of salt so your body retains the liquids more effectively.

Try this recipe: Ina Garten’s Chicken Soup 

Fiction: Chicken soup can boost your immune system.

You can’t truly “boost” you immune system, but you can support it — and chicken soup may help in this area with its rich mineral profile. Your body needs energy (calories) for recovery, and chicken soup brings this in a highly digestible form, especially helpful when you don’t feel like eating. And, the ingredients in chicken soup, like garlic, onion and carrots contain potent immune-supportive compounds.

Try this recipe: Michael Smith’s Roast Chicken Noodle Soup

Fact: Chicken soup has medicinal properties.

Surprisingly, it might. A study published in the journal Chest discussed blood samples of volunteers given chicken soup. These samples showed that the soup lessened the movement of neutrophils, which may be beneficial to the upper respiratory tract (where colds tend to linger). While this is just one study, it may make that soup you’re eating taste just a little better.

Try this recipe: Ricardo Larrivée’s Chicken Noodle Soup

Fact: Chicken soup eases an upset stomach.

A common cold can make your stomach ache, and while inherently flavourful, a classic (not spicy!) chicken soup is mild, cold-friendly food. Homemade versions, made with chicken bones, have the added benefit of gelatin, which can nourish the intestinal tract.

Try this recipe: Chuck Hughes’ Chicken Soup with Ground Chicken Meatballs

Fact: Chicken soup makes you feel better, faster.

While researchers realize there’s a bit of a placebo effect going on, slurping up chicken soup may help to speed up recovery thanks to its rich protein content, a macronutrient needed in larger amount for those who are sick.

Try this recipe: Awesome Chicken Soup for the Lazy Soul

Verdict:

Though it may not “cure” the common cold, research shows promise that the combination of the mineral-rich broth, lean protein and easy-to-digest cooked vegetables helps to make you feel better in an almost magic way.

Even if you’re on the fence about the science, it’s tough to argue about the comfort food factor chicken soup brings in both its aroma and taste. Enjoy one of our many chicken soup recipes and get well soon.

How to Roast a Whole Chicken in Your Slow Cooker

Whole roast chicken is such a comforting food, but turning your oven on, roasting it and letting it rest can be a feat at the end of a busy day. Many people resort to picking up a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store, but there’s a better answer. Toss the whole chicken in your slow cooker in the morning and you’ll come home to the aromas of a mouth-watering home cooked meal. The chicken will be perfectly juicy and tender, the meat will fall right off the bone and you’ll be left with a jus at the bottom of the pot that’s liquid gold. Interested? Here’s how to do it.

Slow Cooker Chicken

Quick and Easy Slow Cooker Chicken
Season a 4-lb chicken with salt and pepper. Place roughly chopped onion, celery and carrot in slow cooker to cover the bottom of the pot. Place chicken on top of the vegetables breast side down. Cook on high heat for 4 hours or low heat for 7 hours. Carefully remove the chicken from the slow cooker. Strain the jus collected at the bottom of pot. Serve chicken with jus.

Tasty Flavour Ideas:

Southwestern Spiced Roast Chicken
Replace the carrot with a green pepper. Rub chicken with a little salt, pepper, smoked paprika and cumin. Cook on high heat for 4 hours or low heat for 7 hours. Carefully remove the chicken from the slow cooker. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro. Serve with rice or baked beans.

Sweet and Spicy Glazed Chicken
Place a roughly chopped onion and a few garlic cloves on the bottom of the slow cooker. Mix together equal parts sriracha, honey and soy sauce and rub onto the chicken. Place chicken, breast down, on top of garlic and onion. Cook on high heat for 4 hours or low heat for 7 hours. Carefully remove the chicken from the slow cooker. Garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onion. Serve with sticky rice or fries.

Rosemary and Citrus Roast Chicken
Place several garlic cloves, a quartered orange and lemon in the bottom of the slow cooker. Rub chicken with orange marmalade. Place a few sprigs of rosemary in the cavity of the chicken. Cook on high heat for 4 hours or low heat for 7 hours. Carefully remove the chicken from the slow cooker. Serve with buttered country bread.

Looking for more delicious ideas? Try our 20 Best Chicken Slow Cooker Recipes.

How to Make Easy Butter Chicken Hand Pies

Take your favourite Indian curry on the go with these mildly spiced hand pies that make a perfect school or work lunch. Flaky, half-moon pastries are stuffed with tender morsels of marinated chicken, smothered in fragrant, creamy sauce seasoned with a blend of ginger, garlic, garam masala and touch of lime juice.

Butter Chicken Hand Pies

Prep: 45 minutes
Total time: 3 hours
Serves: 12

Ingredients:
Marinade
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
1 Tbsp lime juice
3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Butter Chicken Sauce
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp ginger, minced
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 large tomato, grated
1/2 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup heavy cream

Pies
2 10 in. x 10 in. sheets of store-bought, pre-rolled, frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg yolk
1 tsp water

Directions:

Marinade:
1. To make the marinade combine yogurt, lime juice, garam masala, paprika, cumin and salt in a medium bowl. Add in chicken and stir to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

Butter Chicken:
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add in ginger, garlic and onion. Stir while cooking until mixture is golden brown and fragrant, about 2 minutes.
2. Add in chicken with marinade and cook until chicken is white and and almost cooked through, about 4 minutes.
3. Add in chickpeas, tomato, chili powder, salt, and garam masala and stir to combine.
4. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until chicken is cooked through and sauce begins to bind to chicken, about 8 minutes.
5. Stir in cream and cook until sauce has thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Assembly:
1. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment.
2. To make the pies trace 4 circles, 5 inches in diameter, on a sheet of puff pastry. The circles will touch the edges of the dough sheet to ensure 4 equal circles. Using a paring knife, carefully cut out circles. Repeat with remaining sheet.
3. In a small bowl stir egg yolk with water.
4. Preheat oven to 375F. Place 3 tablespoons of cooled butter chicken in the center of a dough circle. Brush egg yolk mixture around the circumference of the dough. Fold the dough over filling to close into a semi circle Continue with remaining dough. Place hand pies on prepared baking sheets.
5. Remove hand pies from refrigerator. Cut 3 small slits on the top of each one. Lightly brush egg mixture over each hand pie and bake until golden brown and flakey, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Weekend Brunch: Black Forest French Toast Roll-Ups

Forks and knives are totally optional when serving this super-fun twist on French toast. This unique brunch dish is easy to make, can be frozen to enjoy later, and the filling options are endless.

Here, we start with soft white bread coated in a homemade chocolate ganache, topped with cherries and rolled up tight. The rolls are then dipped in a cinnamon-spiced, chocolate milk-based French toast mixture, then cooked in a pan until all sides are golden brown. Impressive, satisfying and sure to please a crowd!

black-forest-french-toast-roll-ups

Prep: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Chocolate Ganache:
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tsp butter
1 pinch salt

French Toast Roll-ups:
8 slices white bread, crust removed
1 1/2 cups of whole cherries (pitted)
2 eggs
2/3 cup chocolate milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
1/4 cup chocolate shavings (optional)

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Directions:

Chocolate Cherry Filling:
1. To make the ganache, place chocolate in a medium glass bowl.
2. Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium-high until it simmers with small bubbles along the edges, about 5 minutes. Pour over chocolate. Stir with a whisk until smooth. Add in butter and salt and stir until combined.
3. Coarsely chop 1/4 cup of cherries. Set aside the remaining whole cherries.

French Toast Mixture:
1. Using a rolling pin, flatten out each slice of bread.
2. Spread chocolate ganache towards one side of flattened bread slice. Sprinkle about 2 tsp of chopped cherries over chocolate and tightly roll up the slice of bread. Continue with remaining slices.
3. In a shallow dish beat chocolate milk, eggs and cinnamon to create the mixture dip for your bread.
4. Heat 1/2 butter in a large skillet over medium. Dip each roll into egg mixture and place in skillet. 5. Cook in batches of 3 or 4 and grease skillet with butter as needed. Turn the rolls as they cook until golden brown on each side, about 5 minutes.

The Fixings:
Top with whipped cream, warmed cherry sauce, reserved whole cherries and chocolate shavings.

11 Easy Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget

When you’re off to college or university for the first time, you have to take care of a few things, like tuition and books. But don’t forget to take care of yourself when it comes to a healthy diet. Eating nutrient-dense foods also means better brain health, so you’ll be able to ace those exams with your eyes closed. Of course, eating wholesome, nutritious foods can be quite expensive — unless you follow these nutritionist-approved tips.

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1. Make a Meal Plan
Sketching out a meal plan for the week is essential for focused, affordable grocery shopping. If you don’t have a plan of what you’re going to make for dinner and pack for lunches, you’ll likely run out for convenience food, which costs far more than a homemade meal. If you have roommates or housemates, get them involved as well; this will make the task more fun and you can split the grocery bill.

2. Embrace Plant-Based Protein
Meat and seafood can be expensive to eat every night, so rely on canned beans and dry lentils, both wildly affordable, for a plant-based source of protein a few times a week. Canned beans can be enjoyed in a salad, dressed up with a bit of spice for a salsa or mashed as a quesadilla filling. Lentils cook up in less than 30 minutes, and can cost less than $5 for a large bag at the grocery store.

3. Make Coffee At Home
Make coffee at home throughout the week and save your café-going for weekends and exam season. Depending on your order, you could be saving about $20 per week. You don’t even need a bulky coffee machine, just a kettle and French press. This guide from Detour Coffee shows you how to make a French press coffee at home (or in a dorm room). Pack in a travel mug and you’re all set for that early morning lecture.

4. Cook Once, Eat Twice
Make a double batch of your dinner and stop paying upwards of $8 for lunch tomorrow. Though I’ve been out of university for many years now, I’ve kept to this this habit in my working life. I make a large stew, like this Spicy Red Lentil Vegetable Stew (serves 8!) on Sunday to eat for lunch the following week.

5. Invest in Locking Glass Containers
These can cost a bit more than plastic containers up front, but unless you break the glass (which is very hard to do), you don’t have to replace them as often, if ever. I’ve been using my glass containers for many years and continue to pack them up with homemade meals for affordable days out and about. Pack yogurt, fruit and granola in them for breakfast, grain salads, sandwiches or leftovers for lunch, or snacks for late night cram sessions.

6. Stick to Classic Superfoods
Healthy ingredients like broccoli, bananas, beets, onions, sunflower seeds, raisins, eggs, lentils, black beans and plain yogurt aren’t expensive, and remain some of the most wholesome foods you can eat. You don’t have to eat all those hyped-up superfoods to be healthy, so keep it simple with the classics.

7. Skip the Pre-Packaged and Prepared Foods
You can make a salad yourself for about $1 (maybe even less) and skip the $8-plus pre-made salad from the store. Buy a large pack of lettuce to last the week and garnish with hardboiled eggs, chopped cucumber, sunflower seeds and dried fruit. Olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a bit of salt are all the ingredients you need to dress it up. Some salads, like this hearty Kale and Quinoa salad from Valerie Bertinelli, can be kept pre-made in the refrigerator all week long.

8. Visit the Bulk Food Store
I love getting spices from a bulk food store or bulk bins at the grocery store. I can purchase very small quantities if I know I’m not going to use it very often or I’m just looking to “sample” it in a new recipe. Small quantities of spices, which can really add a load of flavour to a meal, can cost under a dollar, compared to jarred spices, which can run you $5 or more per jar.

9. Your New Favourite Snack
Apples and peanut butter are where it’s at. Go for natural, unsalted peanut butter, and season it yourself. If you have it handy, a sprinkle of cinnamon makes this feel gourmet. Protein, fibre, healthy fats and a bit of salty-sweet crunch make apples and peanut butter a snack that almost feels like dessert.

10. Eat Seasonally
Eat produce that’s in season and local in your area. In-season foods, like apples appearing in fall, for instance, are often more affordable than out-of-season produce or produce flown from across the world.

11. Student Discount Days
Often, university and college towns and cities will have days of the week (usually a weekday), where students are offered a discount. Though you’ll likely face a crowd, this savings can really pay off on your final bill.

vegan churro donuts

Drool-Worthy Vegan Churro Donuts

There’s nothing like biting into a fresh, still-warm donut. But you don’t need to be at the coffee shop at the crack of dawn to enjoy this heavenly treat.

Fresh donuts at home (hold the deep fryer) can be yours in under an hour with this chocolate-filled recipe. This version provides the same warm, cinnamon flavours (and requisite chocolate pairing) as traditional churros, but in a healthier package.

Bonus: This tasty version of the popular cinnamon treat has no eggs or milk, meaning vegans and non-vegans alike can relish in this delicious homemade dessert.

churro donuts

Prep Time: 12 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes
Makes: 12 donuts

Ingredients:

For the Vegan Churro Donuts:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp psyllium powder or ground flax meal
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or water
1/4 cup grapeseed oil or olive oil (not extra-virgin), plus more for pan
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

For the Cinnamon Sugar:
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

For the Dark Chocolate Glaze:
1/3 cup finely chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
2 tsp coconut oil

For the White Chocolate Glaze:
1/3 cup finely chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips
2 tsp coconut oil

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Directions:

Vegan Churro Donuts:
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease a 12-count non-stick mini donut pan with oil. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, psyllium powder, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Stir in almond milk or water, oil and vinegar.
3. Spoon batter into prepared donut pan, filling all the way to the top.
4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until donut are puffed and bounce back when touched. Cool for 5 minutes.

Cinnamon Sugar:
1. In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon.
2. Tap out donuts from pan and roll in cinnamon sugar while still warm (there will be extra, which is used to garnish later). Place donuts on a plate.

Dark and White Chocolate Glaze:
1. Melt dark chocolate and coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat or briefly (20 to 30 seconds) in the microwave. Follow the same instruction for white chocolate.

Assembly:
1. Using a spoon, drizzle either dark or white (or both) glaze over donuts. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar. Serve immediately or let chocolate set. Store leftovers airtight at room temperature.

Long Weekend Dinner Party Menu

Make the most of summer with this long weekend menu that’s a snap to put together when entertaining for a crowd. From grilled steak served on platters to Mexican corn with a built-in husk handle to party-starting tea cocktails, this backyard dinner party menu sets the mood for a stellar warm weather gathering.

grilled corn

The Appetizers

Mexican Grilled Corn with Cotija Cheese and Lime
Nothing quite marks barbecue season like grilled corn on the cob. This version features fresh and salty cotija cheese and a splash of lime. Warning: this appetizer is highly addictive, so plan to make a lot of it.

Ina Garten’s Watermelon and Feta Salad
Kick off the long weekend with a fruity spin on a classic summer menu opener. Ina’s sweet and cool watermelon salad with salty feta cheese and peppery arugula ticks all the right flavour boxes.

The Cocktails

Charred Pomelo Twist
Grill grapefruit until it’s slightly charred and muddle the juice together with cilantro in a cocktail shaker. Add ready-made lemon tea, plenty of ice and shake until well chilled. Garnish with a smoked salt rim and cilantro leaves and don’t share.

Peach Tea-lini
Peach season is short. Make the most of it by indulging in these fresh and easy tea cocktails. The best part? They can be made ahead of time and garnished with wedges of peach just before serving.

grilled flank steak

The Mains 

Grilled Flank Steak with Cilantro Chimichurri
A casually elegant way to stretch steak for a crowd, this grilled flank steak is thinly sliced on the same cutting board it’s served on and paired with a flavour-packed fresh cilantro chimichurri dipper to keep things interesting.

Jamie Oliver Chicken Skewers and Spicy Noodle Salad
We can’t get enough of Jamie’s crowd-friendly, fork-free chicken skewers with a crunchy peanut satay sauce, but it’s this fiery noodle salad that really kicks up the heat.

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The Dessert

Anna Olson’s Lemon Berry Cake with Bumbleberry Sauce
There will be no post barbecue dessert slicing flubs when you serve these gorgeously bright, fruity mini meringue cakes with a sweet and citrusy bumbleberry sauce.

Nanaimo bar pie

How to Make This Irresistible Nanaimo Bar Pie

We love Nanaimo bars and we love pie. So why not combine the best of both worlds? We’ve kept the signature crumb base of the bar, but lightened the filling and softened up the glaze. The result? A dessert that tastes like a Nanaimo bar, but eats like a pie.

Nanaimo Pie

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour plus chilling
Serves: 8 people

Ingredients:

For the Base
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 large egg, lightly beaten

For the Filling
1.5 cups 2% milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
6 Tbsp sugar
3 large egg yolks
3 Tbsp custard powder
1/2 cup 35% cream

For the Glaze
2 ounce semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 cup 35% cream

Nanaimo Pie

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-in pie plate. Combine graham crumbs, cocoa, sugar, coconut, walnuts and salt in a large bowl. Stir in butter and egg until evenly mixed. Press into and up the sides of prepared pie plate. Bake, in centre of oven, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let rest on a wire rack until cool to the touch.
2. In a medium pot, bring milk and vanilla to a simmer. Whisk yolks with sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk in custard powder. Gradually whisk in hot milk. Return mixture to pan and place over medium-high heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a boil, 1 to 2 minutes. Continue whisking until mixture is thick and no cornstarch flavour remains, 1 more minute. Remove from heat. Using a rubber spatula, press mixture through a sieve into a small bowl. Place bowl inside a larger bowl halfway filled with ice and cold water. Stir mixture occasionally until cool. Remove from ice bath and set aside. Beat cream, using an electric mixer, until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Fold into egg mixture. Spread evenly over cooled crust.
3. Microwave chocolate and butter in a small glass bowl until melted, about 1 minute. Stir in corn syrup. Stir in cream, one tablespoon at a time, until evenly combined. Pour over custard, smoothing top. Let set in fridge at least 1 hour before serving.

Looking for more Nanaimo goodness? Learn the delicious history of Nanaimo Bars.

10 Healthy Ways to Use Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is a staple in healthy eating, stepping in as a lean, creamy alternative for breakfast and dessert, as well as a nutritious swap for mayo in savoury dishes. Along with its delicious tangy flavour, Greek yogurt provides protein to keep you fuller longer, calcium and vitamin D for strong bones and teeth, and probiotics for immune support, nutrient absorption and enhanced digestion.

When buying, choose plain, no-sugar added varieties without thickeners (like cornstarch), and a fat percentage that aligns with your personal diet. If you’re looking to get more Greek yogurt into your daily regimen, look no further than these fresh, wholesome recipes.

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1. Smoky Tomato-Greek Yogurt Crema
Capitalizing on Greek yogurt’s blank canvas persona, this healthy salsa and yogurt sauce pairs perfectly with grilled vegetables and fish.

2. Waffles with Greek Yogurt
If you’re looking for a new way to eat yogurt in the morning, give these soft, fluffy waffles a try. A protein-packed stack to carry you through until lunchtime.

3. Healthy Chocolate Muffins
Instead of a muffin with loads of oil, Greek yogurt stands in its place for a rich, moist and chocolatey breakfast on the go that will satisfy even the biggest chocoholic.

4. Banana and Matcha Green Tea Smoothie
Antioxidant-loaded matcha gets the smoothie treatment. Here, it’s combined with Greek yogurt for a protein-loaded breakfast or snack that tastes like a milkshake.

5. Strawberry Kiwi Greek Yogurt Popsicles
Tasting like the most decadent vanilla ice cream and enhanced with vitamin C-rich fruit, these Greek yogurt popsicles make the ultimate after school (or work) snack.

6. Roasted Carrots, Spanish Spices, Yogurt, Harissa
There’s nothing plain about this Greek yogurt recipe. Sweet roasted carrots receive the star treatment with a punchy yogurt cream sauce (hold the cream) bursting with bold spices and fiery harissa.

7. Grilled Vegetables with Cilantro-Yogurt Dressing
A raw veggies and dip makeover, leftovers will be a thing of the past when this lean, mayo-free Greek yogurt dressing comes into play.

8. Souvlaki-Style Nachos with Greek Yogurt Feta Sauce
Greek yogurt contributes a cooling component in lieu of traditional sour cream in these nouveau nachos. Use whole grain pita chips for an even healthier dish.

9. Valerie Bertinelli’s Herbed Mashed Cauliflower
Mashed potatoes are lightened up with cruciferous cauliflower in the humble spud’s place. Instead of tons of cream, Greek yogurt is used for a side dish that won’t weigh you down.

10. Strawberry Rhubarb Greek Yogurt Fool
A tangy treat that skips the saturated fat, this recipe employs Greek yogurt instead of whipped heavy cream. Use frozen fruit when fresh isn’t in season as the health benefits are the same.

How to Make Montreal-Style Bagels

In the bagel world, there’s quite a divide between the classic New York bagel and the sweeter, Canadian counterpart — the Montreal bagel.

Montreal bagels are denser, sweeter and traditionally made in wood fired ovens as opposed to the fluffy-on-the-inside, crisp-on-the-outside, baked bagels made south of the Canadian border.

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Both varieties of bagels are made using yeasted dough and are boiled before being baked. NY-style bagels are dipped in boiling water that has baking soda or lye, whereas Montreal bagels get dunked in boiling water that has honey or malt, creating a sweeter, denser dough.

The sweet and chewy nature of Montreal bagels lends them to eating them plain. So put away the cream cheese, jam and butter because once you make a fresh batch of Montreal bagels, you’ll want to enjoy them just as they are!

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 mins
Makes: 12 bagels

Ingredients:
1 cup warm water
2 *x 8 g pkg quick-rising yeast or 1 tbsp

1 Tbsp sugar
1 egg
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tsp salt
1 cup honey, divided
4 ½ cups flour (or more if dough becomes too sticky)
Poppy seeds, sesame seeds for tops of bagels (about ½ cup each)

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Directions:
1. In a large bowl, mix together warm water, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
2. Mix in egg, vegetable oil, salt and ½ cup honey. Gradually add flour until mixture comes together to form a dough. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes.
3. Pop the dough back into the bowl (no need to clean) and cover with a damp tea towel. Let the dough rise until about doubled in size, about 1 hour.
4. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Fill a large pot with 8-10 cups of water and add remaining ½ cup honey. Bring to a boil while you shape your bagels.
5. Divide the dough into 12 equal sized balls. Shape into bagels by either rolling into long logs and joining the ends together or shaping into rounds and poking holes in the middle using a wooden spoon. Stretch the dough around the spoon handle to make large holes. Make the holes quite large as they will rise and shrink considerably when baked.
6. Preheat oven to 450°F. Put the bagels onto the baking sheets and let rise for about 10 minutes. Place your poppy or sesame seeds onto a plate.
7. Using a slotted spoon dip your bagels, about 2 at a time, into the boiling honey water and leave for about 30 seconds per side. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and dip them straight into the seeds and then back onto the baking sheets, seeds side up.
8. Once boiled, bake the bagels for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.