Tag Archives: recipes

a hard-boiled egg cut in half on a while background with salt and pepper shaken on top

How to Make Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs (Plus Three Easy Recipes!)

Eggs are a must-stock ingredient, whether you’re meal planning for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This humble, versatile food offers limitless possibilities — be it poached, fried, soft or hard. With that said, it can test even the most experienced chef’s patience when it comes to making the perfect hard-boiled egg. What’s the secret? Turns out, all you need are the four simple steps below.

Master the art of how to make hard-boiled eggs and then whip up these three egg-cellent recipes that’ll become household staples in no time. Get crackin’!

Related: The Best Way to Prepare Eggs Around the World, From France to Japan

perfect hard-boiled egg cut in half with pepper

How to Make Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

●  Fill a pot with enough water to cover eggs by about 2 inches.
●  Bring water to a boil.
●  Once boiled, remove from heat, cover pot and let them sit for 10 minutes.
●  Remove eggs from hot water and place in an ice water bath for a few minutes.

Spoiler alert: You can skip the stovetop option and try Instant Pot Hard-Boiled Eggs and Air Fryer Hard-Boiled Eggs instead.

Related: How to Cook Eggs Perfectly Every Single Time

Rabokki/Tteokbokki (Spicy Ramen and Rice Cake)

When we think of hard-boiled eggs, a comforting bowl of ramen is one of the first recipes that come to mind. After all, there’s nothing quite like a sliced egg perched on top of a steaming bowl of noodles, meat and vegetables to really satisfy our hunger pangs.

If you’re looking to elevate your ramen game, consider this hearty tteokbokki/rabokki recipe inspired by a classic Korean street food. For the uninitiated, tteokbokki is a spicy rice cake dish while rabokki refers to traditional ramen noodles. Pair the two together and you’re in for a treat — just don’t forget to top it all off with a hard-boiled or (or two).

Get the recipe for Rabokki/Tteokbokki (Spicy Ramen and Rice Cake)

Deviled Eggs

We love options as much as the next person, so the next time you’re craving a satisfying bite of deviled eggs, consider whipping up multiple batches. Think: pickles and capers, wasabi and ginger and sesame carrot for a spin of the classic recipe. You can thank us later.

Get the recipe for Valerie Bertinelli’s Deviled Eggs, 3 Ways

Classic Cobb Mason Jar Salad

Portable, make-ahead meals are the stuff dreams are made of — and this adorable mason jar salad is the perfect recipe to fill your belly with hearty chunks of cooked ham, crispy bacon, hard-boiled egg, tomato, avocado and crumbled blue cheese.

Get the recipe for Classic Cobb Mason Jar Salad

Want more how-tos? We give you the lowdown on how to make apple juice and grow fall vegetables.

Feature image courtesy of Pexels

Headshot of Ree Drummond set against a close-up of her broccoli and rice casserole

The Pioneer Woman’s Broccoli Rice Casserole is a Comforting Twist on a Classic Side

There are a few things we all crave when we’re sitting down for that iconic Thanksgiving meal: fall flavours, harvest-inspired platters and plenty of soul-warming, comforting options. With that said — as much as we can’t get enough of seasonal classics like stuffing and cranberry sauce — there’s also plenty of room at the table for new spins on savoury side dishes. Enter the queen of home-cooking comfort food, The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond, and her latest perfect-for-Thanksgiving casserole recipe. 

Made from a delectable mix of long-grain rice, broccoli and a plethora of cheeses, this easy-to-prepare casserole is creamy and oh-so comforting — making it a delicious addition to your Thanksgiving (and everyday, really) dinner table.

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s Must-Try Casserole Recipes

Ree Drummond holding her cheesy broccoli and rice casserole

Best Broccoli Rice Casserole

Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 10 to 12

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) salted butter
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, grated
4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne
3 cups whole milk
4-oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp paprika
8-oz processed cheese, cubed
3 cups grated sharp Cheddar
8 cups small broccoli florets
6-oz diced pimentos, drained
2 1/2 cups cooked long-grain rice

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s Ultimate Comfort Food Recipes

Directions:

 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

 2. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle over the flour, dry mustard and cayenne and stir to mix it in well. Continue to cook for 1 minute.

 3. Next, add the milk, stirring constantly; cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the cream cheese and Parmesan, stirring until totally combined. Stir in the pepper, salt and paprika. Add the processed cheese, stirring until completely melted. Next, add 1 1/2 cups of the Cheddar and stir until melted. Then, fold in the broccoli and pimentos.

 4. In a large baking dish, create a base with half of the rice. Top with half of the broccoli cheese sauce. Repeat with the remaining rice, then the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the rest of the Cheddar evenly over the top of the casserole. Bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes.

Looking for more of The Pioneer Woman’s easy comfort-food meals to warm your dinner table? Try one of these recipes from Ree Drummond this week!

Watch The Pioneer Woman and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.


Sugar Detox: Nutritionist Explains How to Reset Your System (And Fight Cravings!)

Although some cleanses rely on fasting and calorie restriction as the primary focus, that often isn’t the healthiest approach. The main aspect to focus on during a sugar detox is keeping the body well fed and hydrated. Sugar imbalances hormones, mood, energy, blood sugar and suppresses the immune system. It’s well known that sugar feeds bad bacteria, and it has even been compared to cocaine because it’s so addictive—yikes!

It’s now time to crush that sugar habit once and for all. Follow this 3-Day Sugar Detox and you will start feeling the effects immediately.

What to Focus On:

1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Keeping the body properly hydrated encourages oxygen to flow freely throughout the body. This allows you to be more attentive, alert and focused. Water itself is a powerful detoxifier because it assists the kidneys and colon to eliminate waste. Hydration means drinking water (not coffee, caffeinated teas or energy drinks). Although these drinks are comprised of water, they can also be dehydrating for the body. Drink 6-8 glasses (250mL) of water per day. Don’t drink water with meals because it dilutes stomach acid and leads to poor digestion. Add a squeeze of lemon into your water for added benefits and some flavour.

Related: 10 Foods That Can Help Aid Digestion

2. Protein & Fat Are Your Friends

Eating tons of sugar creates a cycle of low blood sugar and intense “hanger” (hungry + angry). One way to break the cycle, besides eliminating sugar, is to eat meals that contain tons of good protein and fat (nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, etc). Protein and fat are more difficult to digest, making you feel full for longer periods of time.

3. Taste the Rainbow

Focus on eating colourful foods. When you eat vegetables and fruits in a rainbow-bright assortment of colours, you are getting a whole array of antioxidants and phytonutrients that all have specific jobs to keep the body healthy, skin vibrant and eyes strong. Again, this detox is not about deprivation, so when you’re hungry, eat! Just make vegetables the star of the plate.

Related: A Nutritionist Reveals 10 Best Natural Foods for Dewy, Glowing Skin

4. Prepare Yourself

The key to any good detox is to be prepared. Look over the menu below and see which ingredients you need to buy, and which foods you need to prep ahead of time. Prepping lunches the night before is a great way to save time in the morning. It’s only 3 days—you can do this!

3-Day Sugar Detox Plan:


Day 1

Wake Up: Drink Lemon Water (250mL)
Breakfast: Celery, Cucumber & Kale Smoothie
*Add a scoop of protein powder or nut butter to increase fat and protein content
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Morning Snack: Chia Pudding Cup
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Lunch: Salmon and Greens with Cumin Dressing
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Afternoon Snack: Hummus with Sliced Carrots, Cucumbers & Celery
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Dinner: Herb Roasted Chicken Breasts with Wild Rice, Artichoke & Kale Salad
Water Break: Hot Water with Lemon

Day 2

Wake Up: Drink Lemon Water (250mL)
Breakfast: Blueberry Ginger Kale Smoothie
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Morning Snack: Handful Roasted Spiced Almonds
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Lunch: Thai Glazed Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Afternoon Snack: Apple with 2 Tablespoons Almond Butter
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Dinner: Oh My Chickpea Goodness Burger (no bun) with Gluten-Free Tabbouleh Salad
Water Break: Hot Water with Lemon

sheet plan chicken dinner with sweet potatoes and fennel


Day 3

Wake Up: Drink Lemon Water (250mL)
Breakfast: Green Smoothie
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Morning Snack: Handful of Strawberries and ¼ cup Almonds
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Lunch: Citrus Roasted Tilapia with Greek Quinoa Salad
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Afternoon Snack: Guacamole with Sliced Veggies
Water Break: Drink Water (250mL)
Dinner: Sheet Pan Chicken and Veggie Dinner
Water Break: Hot Water with Lemon

Looking for more healthy recipe inspiration? Here’s how a nutritionist meal preps every Sunday, plus 20 healthy meal prep ideas to get you through the week ahead!

5 Delicious Ways to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at Home (Including a Taco Bar!)

While you could say the star of a Cinco de Mayo party is the margarita, the celebration wouldn’t be anywhere near complete without a rainbow-bright spread starring all of our favourite Mexican dishes, spices and fixings. And just because we’re stuck at home this year doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate in style just the same (bring on the virtual dinner parties!). We’ve even created a taco-themed Zoom background to get the party started.

It’s time to bring on the guac and tacos (okay, and churros for dessert) with this tasty, sweet and savoury Mexican-inspired menu for a successful Cinco de Mayo fiesta at home this Tuesday, May 5th.

Fresh Salsa Verde

When it comes to classic party dishes, you can’t go wrong with a hefty platter of chips and salsa. And this vibrant version, featuring fresh green tomatoes, mint leaves, garlic and lime juice, is guaranteed to satisfy taste buds everywhere. Don’t have mint? Swap for fresh or dried basil, or any other herbs you have on hand!

Get the recipe for Fresh and Minty Salsa Verde

Classic Guacamole

Where there’s chips and salsa, there should also be an (extra-large) offering of guacamole. Try this super simple five-ingredient recipe and serve with these non-traditional — but incredibly delicious — homemade wonton chips. Cue the drools.

guacamole-with-crispy-chips
Get the recipe for Classic Guacamole and Chips

Related: Creative Ways to Eat Avocados (That Don’t Involve Toast)

The Most Epic Stay-at-Home Taco Bar

Now that you and your household have dipped into the homemade salsa and guac, it’s time for the main attraction. And by that we mean the most eye-catching, drool-worthy taco bar that’ll brighten your menu… and entire week, let’s be honest.

Even better? It’s a cinch to assemble: begin by stocking up on Old El Paso hard shells and soft tortillas. Then opt for protein like grilled flank steak, shredded chicken and refried beans. Next come all your favourite fixings: pickled jalapeños, corn, avocado (or the guac you made!), shredded lettuce, sliced peppers, fresh cilantro and lime wedges. Last but certainly not least: shredded cheddar, sour cream and a whole lot more salsa for good measure. Voila!

Related: Tasty Taco Recipes You’ll Crave Every Day of the Week

Bean Salad

This colourful side dish features a medley of refreshing flavours — corn kernels, bell peppers, red onion, cherry tomatoes, avocado, pinto beans and fresh cilantro — then it’s tossed in a light, garlicky lime dressing before serving.

pinto-bean-salsa-saladGet the recipe for Pinto Bean Salsa Salad

Related: These Delicious Recipes Will Make You Rethink Canned Beans

Classic Churros with Caramel Sauce

Anyone with a sweet tooth will absolutely devour these doughy deep-fried, cinnamon-sugar treats. The best part? They only take 15 minutes to make thanks to using store-bought puff pastry.

cinco-de-mayo-churro-recipe
Get the recipe for 15-Minute Churros with Caramel Sauce

Wash down these eats with a refreshing drink to sip and celebrate. Here are our very best Cinco de Mayo cocktails.

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:

Giada De Laurentiis’ Ginger-Soy Chicken Wings

No-Mess Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Pork Tenderloin with Chipotle-Maple Mop

Flank Steak with Chimichurri

Bobby Flay’s Korean-Style Marinated Skirt Steak

Baked Fish Packets

Anna Olson’s Horseradish Grill-Roasted Salmon

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

Portuguese Chourico and Kale Soup

Asian Noodle Salad with Sweet Ginger Dressing

Marinated Artichoke Salad with Prosciutto and Parmesan

Grilled Turkey, Brie and Pecan Salad

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

4. Make Use of Your Slow Cooker or Instapot

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 Instapots—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

Alton Brown’s Pressure Cooker Chili

Slow-Cooker Enchiladas Two Ways

Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs

Slow Cooker Shrimp Boil

Spicy-Shrimp-Fried-RiceGet the recipe for Spicy Shrimp and Pineapple Fried Rice

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, crab or chicken on hand, as well as lots of stock, tomato sauce and a few protein-filled grains and legumes.

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

Crispy Tuna-Cake Sliders with Citrus Slaw

Stuffed Mozza Peppers

Classic Crab Cakes with Pea Puree

One-Pot Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Farmer’s Market Quinoa Salad

Spicy Shrimp and Pineapple Fried Rice

giadas-Lasagna-Rolls Get the recipe for Giada de Laurentiis’ Lasagna Rolls

6. Find Your Freezer Meals

Remember those freezer 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:

Bobby Flay’s Shredded Chicken and Tomatillo Tacos

Southwestern Sloppy Joes

Ina Garten’s Cheese and Bread Platter

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 20 easy vegan weeknight dinner recipes 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:

Leftover Steak and Potato Salad with Bold Tomato Dressing

Italian Chicken Pasta Salad

Sweet Arancini with Leftover Rice

Leftover Turkey Chili

Leftover Chili Mac and Cheese

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

Chicken tortilla casserole

How to Host a Successful Freezer Meal Swap

From must-make recipes to time-saving tips, we’ve got everything you need to know about hosting the ultimate meal swap party . What’s a meal swap party? It’s a chance to meal prep with your friends and family, so you can all stock your freezers with a dinner stash that will last for months. So call up your friends and get ready for one great afternoon of cooking together.

Start with Freezer-Friendly Recipes

Deciding on recipes that freeze like a dream is the key to any successful meal swap party. While we love casseroles, soups and stews for freezing, this is the time to pull out all the stops. If you’ve been dying to try that recipe for cheesy lasagna made with slow-braised beef short ribs and pork belly, instead of regular ground beef, go for it. Everyone will appreciate the extra effort when they finally dig in to their freezer supply.

If you’re looking for recipe inspiration, start with these 12 Make-Ahead Meals You Can Freeze.

Beef stew and chicken tortilla casserole

Try Ree Drummond’s Chicken Tortilla Casserole or this Stew-Pendous Beef Stew with Biscuits.

Clear Out Space in the Fridge

Before your guests arrive, do an intense fridge and freezer clear out to ensure you’ve got enough space to accommodate all those meals you’re about to whip up. Take the opportunity to use up items you already have on hand, like frozen peas and corn for casseroles, fresh herbs and vegetables and even eggs, cheese and cream.

Have One Person Buy All The Food

Orchestrating a freezer meal swap party takes some next-level organization skills. Keep it as streamlined as possible by having one person do all the grocery shopping. This will minimize
waste and any chance of forgotten ingredients.

Make Work Stations

To run your cooking party with military precision, every recruit will need their own set of tools at their station — think chopping boards, a sharp knife (emphasis on ‘sharp’) and bowls to keep all those pre-chopped ingredients together. It’s also a good idea to ask guests to bring extra cooking vessels like pots and pans, to limit intermittent dishwashing and make the most out of your time.

Strategically Chop Your Veggies

Before you start, comb through each recipe to see how much chopped garlic, onions and fresh herbs you’ll need, and then designate a member of the group to tackle it all at once, making use of appliances like food processors and mandolins. Prepping all the ingredients ahead of time makes cooking and assembly that much faster.

Greta's-Shepherds-Pie

Another scrumptious recipe option is Shepherd’s Pie with “Squashed” Potatoes.

Make Sure You Have Enough Storage Containers

All those meals need to be portable, so ensuring there are sufficient food storage containers is key, especially if you want to maximize the number of meals each person gets to take home. One bonus to meal prep parties is that you often come out with more food than you bargained for, so plan accordingly. If your aim is to cook enough food to stretch into 15 take-home meals per person, it’s a good idea to budget enough containers so that everyone has 20. Also, don’t forget to label your meals clearly and include a simple ingredient list, the date it was made and cooking instructions.

Have Easy Snacks at the Ready

To have a marathon cooking day, you’re going to need sustenance. Ideally, things that don’t need to be cooked and don’t take too much time to prepare. We like the idea of a simple charcuterie board that guests can munch on throughout the afternoon or this idea for a DIY bruschetta bar.

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

10 Perfect Red and White Drinks for Canada Day

If you plan on throwing the ultimate Canada Day bash, you might be stumped as to what to serve when it comes to drinks. With the exception of domestic beer, it can be difficult to think of “Canadian” drink recipes — besides the Caesar of course. Spice up your drink menu by incorporating these red and white cocktails your guests are sure to love.

strawberry-sour

1. Strawberry Sour

Start your Canada Day bash right with this gorgeous red and white cocktail from Chef David Hawksworth. Nothing says summer like strawberries!

cranberry-kir-royale

2. Cranberry Kir Royale

Tyler Florence combines frozen cranberries, orange juice and Champagne for the ultimate summer drink. Bring

shuggieJPG

3. Shuggie

Why is this drink called a Shuggie? Your guess is as good as ours, but we’re certain you and your guests will love this rum-based cocktail infused with rhubarb, ginger, lime and Thai basil flavours.

citrus-berry-spritz

4. Citrus Berry Spritz

This sweet fizzy drink from Giada De Laurentiis is filled with berry ice cubes and a hint of mint for freshness.

WATERMELON-­STRAWBERRY SANGRIA, Bobby Flay, Barbecue Addiction: Bobby’sBasics/Bobby’s Basics: Simply Skewers, Food Network, Watermelon, Strawberries, RoseWine, Vodka, Orange Juice, Orange Liqueur, Orange, Lime

5. Watermelon Strawberry Sangria

Bobby Flay’s sweet, citrus-infused summer drink is ideal for a party or get-together with friends.

lava-flow-mocktail

6. Lava Flow Mocktail

What’s more Canadian than the combination of red and white? These sweet dessert-worthy drinks start with a base of raspberry purée, then a milky topping, a generous amount of whipped cream and finished with sugared frozen raspberries on top. Don’t forget to rim the glasses with red-coloured sugar!

rum-punch

7. Rum Punch

Try this refreshing booze-infused punch filled with tropical flavours and Jamaican white rum from Bobby Flay.

Cranberry-Mojito

8. Cranberry Mojito

To keep with the red and white theme, don’t forget to serve this fizzy bevvy with floating cranberries and fresh, muddled mint leaves.

watermelon-martinis

9. Watermelon Martinis

Sure to quench your summertime thirst, Bobby’s fruity martini is loaded with tons of fresh watermelon and melon liquor for the utmost melon flavour.

Classic Canadian Caesar
10. Classic Canadian Caesar

The ultimate Canadian drink — thanks to our nation’s love of Clamato juice. This classic drink is a must-have for any Canada Day celebration. This version adds fresh sage and lime for a fresh new twist.

Looking for more recipes for your party? Try these Great Canadian Desserts.

How to Spice Up Your Fried Chicken Plus Tips for Frying at Home

In the kitchen, it’s often the classics that elude us, as we search for the ultimate chocolate chip cookie, mac and cheese or, in the case of the Top Chef Canada chefs, fried chicken. For their latest Quickfire Challenge in Episode 6, the chefs were tasked with creating fried chicken with a twist. Seemingly straightforward, fried chicken can often fall flat on flavour and texture, turning out bland and greasy if not approached with a skilled hand. These chefs were in for a bigger challenge than they thought.


Jinhee Lee’s Fried Chicken with Anchovy Glaze and Mango, Carrots and Compressed Cucumber

While a classic, buttermilk fried chicken recipe was presented by one of the chefs, the rest of the chefs chose to use their fried chicken and side as a blank canvas for big flavour. A seven-spice take on chicken and waffles garnered praise with its double-crunch factor from fried chicken skin (like a potato chip). And a Southern BBQ-style fried chicken plate brought the heat with a hot oil pour-over. But it was Chef Jinhee Lee’s nod to her mom’s fried chicken that reigned over the rest: an anchovy glazed fried chicken.

But don’t be intimidated by the chef’s impressive dishes. Fried chicken can be easy, crowd-pleasing and well worth the effort. Have a go at home in your own kitchen with these pro tips and recipes that will guarantee success.

Why You Should Marinade Your Chicken Before Frying

Not only will fried chicken be more flavourful when marinated, it will be juicier as well. Buttermilk is traditionally used for this as it’s slightly acidic and salty, which keeps the chicken moist and tender – even the white meat. If you don’t have buttermilk, plain yogurt, kefir, even pickle juice will produce a similar effect. Typically, you’ll want your chicken to marinade for at least a couple of hours, but the chefs didn’t have time for this in their 40-minute Quickfire Challenge.


Skillet-Fried Buttermilk Fried Chicken

This recipe for Buttermilk Fried Chicken is a brilliant example of what a slightly acidic, salty and tenderizing marinade can do for your homemade fried chicken.

How to Layer Flavour When Frying Chicken

A marinade is the best way to ensure a juicy outcome, but it’s also a great place to begin building flavour. Add a dry rub of your choice, like a Cajun or BBQ mix to the chicken before letting it hang out in the marinade. Or, skip a step and add your spice mix right in the marinade. The more flavour you impart at this point, the more dynamic the final result will be. One of the chefs built their chicken around a seven-spice blend, which created an exceptional result. Now is the time when you want to go big with spices and seasonings– chicken can take it and much of those tastes will dissipate in the heat.

Fried Chicken with Dill Salt Recipe from Guy Fieri
Fried Chicken with Dill Salt

This recipe is like a dill pickle chip in fried chicken form, infusing the marinade with dill pickle juice and a finishing salt with fresh dill. A three-layer process ensures a bold end result. Try the Fried Chicken with Dill Salt recipe and prepare to swoon.

Extra Crispy Fried Chicken Recipe from Tyler Florence
Tyler Florence’s Extra-Crispy Fried Chicken

You can even double-cook the chicken to make it extra flavoursome and crispy. In this recipe for Tyler Florence’s Fried Chicken, chicken is roasted with a range of fragrant herbs, then marinated in buttermilk, hot sauce and sugar and then finally, coated in an onion and garlic flour mix. After deep-frying, it gets sprinkled with flaky salt and spritzed with lemon.

Add Global Spice to Your Fried Chicken

While there’s nothing quite like a timeless Southern fried chicken recipe, the neutral protein can take just about any spice, herb or blend, so explore the range of spices and blends available to you. Just like roast chicken, grilled chicken, stewed chicken, curried chicken or chicken wings, fried chicken is a vehicle for Korean, Southwestern, Indian, Thai, Japanese, French, Scandinavian and North African tastes.

This fried chicken recipe for Confit Five-Spice Fried Chicken gathers inspiration from a few different Asian cuisines, pairing Chinese five-spice rubbed chicken with a Japanese tempura batter and Korean gochujang mayo for dipping, creating a dish that fires on all cylinders.

fried_chicken_rice_balls_with_creamy_plum_vinegar_ginger_sauce
Fried Chicken Rice Balls with Creamy Plum Vinegar Ginger Sauce

You can even take a note from your favourite take-out dishes for an original spin on fried chicken. This recipe from Helloflavour.ca is a mix of Chinese chicken fried rice and chicken balls, Japanese sushi and Italian arancini. Serve up your Fried Chicken Rice Balls with Creamy Plum Vinegar Ginger Sauce as a playful and decadent cocktail party appetizer when entertaining. Get the recipe from helloflavour.ca here.

Transform Fried Chicken with the Help of the Spice Cabinet

The chefs used the herb and spice pantry in the Top Chef Canada kitchen to help their fried chicken and sides stand out, and you can do the same. Open your spice cupboard and explore a range of add-ins to jazz up your fried chicken rub, marinade, flour and dip. Almost anything goes.

  • Chili Powder or BBQ Spice Mix: Add zip to the rub, marinade and flour coating.
  • Curry Powder: Infuse the flour coating for a gorgeous yellow tint and earthy taste.
  • Harissa: Stir into the marinade and mix up with orange juice and honey for a sweet and spicy drizzle.
  • Herbes de Provence: Mix into the flour coating for a hint of freshness.
  • Lemon Pepper: Mix with flaky salt for a vibrant finishing touch.
  • Ras El Hanout: Mix the North African spice blend into your rub and coating.
  • Sriracha: Stir into mayo with lime juice for a fiery sauce.
  • Sumac: Swirl into buttermilk with lemon juice before marinating.
  • Za’atar: Add to your flour mix for a pop of flavour.
  • Pesto: Stir into mayo and yogurt for an herby dip.

Tips for Deep-Frying Chicken at Home

Having everything laid out and ready to go (your mise en place) will not only make things run more smoothly when frying, but it’s also safer and cleaner.

Frying Vessel: If you don’t have a deep fryer, deep-fry in a Dutch oven, deep cast-iron skillet (traditional) or enamel-coated cast iron pot for the best heat control. Deeper pots will reduce splattering.

Thermometer: Keep a deep-frying or candy thermometer in the pot while frying to monitor the temperature. As the chicken goes in, the temperature drops, and you need that sweet spot temperature for crispy, juicy, never-greasy chicken.

Cooling Rack: Set a wire cooling rack over a large rimmed baking sheet and transfer your chicken there when it’s done frying. Chicken can be kept warm in a low oven as you work through the batch this way, and, it reduces a soggy underside, so every corner of the chicken is crispy.

Oil: Choose an oil with a very high smoke point – this is not the place for the fruity extra-virgin olive oil you make salad dressing with. Shortening, lard and peanut oil are the best oils to fry your chicken in and are relatively inexpensive for the large quantity needed.

Contrasting Flavours Make Fried Chicken Delicious

Every chef offered a contrasting side or sauce for their fried chicken dish. The apple, fennel and corn slaw, as well as the compressed cucumber salad, were well received by the Top Chef Canada judges. Something acidic, like lemon or pickles (as one of the contestants chose), helps to cut through the rich fried chicken for a balanced dish. You can achieve this by keeping it simple with a lemon wedge or sweet-and-sour pickle served on the side, or whip up a tangy sauce for dunking, which is yet another place to spice things up.

Spicy Fried Chicken with Waffles
Bobby Flay’s Fried Chicken and Wild Rice Waffles with Pink Peppercorn Sauce

This recipe for Fried Chicken and Wild Rice Waffles with Pink Peppercorn Sauce speaks to the concept of contrasts perfectly, mixing sweet, heat and sour elements to tease out every ounce of flavour in your perfect fried chicken.

Italian Fried Chicken with Lemon
David Rocco’s Amalfi Inspired Lemon Fried Chicken

Or, add lemony zip and lightness to chicken in this simple, Italian-meets-Japanese recipe pairing tempura- and olive oil-fried chicken with sharp lemon juice.

Sponsored by McCormick. For more great recipes that spice up the classics, go to helloflavour.ca.

5 Tasty Waffle Iron Hacks That Go Beyond Breakfast

There’s no denying that fluffy, fresh waffles are pretty much the most heavenly food ever. But who says your waffle maker is limited to breakfast use? The handy appliance can cook far more than your favourite brunch dish, which means they’re no longer relegated to a pre-noon meal in our books.

With a little kitchen creativity the sky’s the limit — so why limit yourself to sweet breakfast waffles topped with berries and cream when you can use your iron for incredible, savoury lunches and dinners, too? Think waffle-inspired sandwiches, pizzas, creative side dishes and more. When you break it down, there’s so much more to this comfort food than syrup and jam. Not that we’d ever complain about those toppings either, mind you.

Take this recipe for a simple Margarita Pizza, for example. Fresh pizza dough is waffled up to crispy perfection, then topped with tomatoes, two kinds of cheese and shredded basil at the very end for a new twist on a classic that’s calling our name. It’s simple, savoury and something outside of your typical slice of pie. The fact that it’s ready in a matter of minutes is just an added bonus.

 

Now how genius is that?

But we don’t have to stop with pizza — swapping out regular old bread for seasoned waffles makes for the perfect sandwich twist.  The Sweet Potato Chronicles gals whip up some tasty examples in the video below, breathing new life into Southwestern Corn Waffles (made with buttermilk and topped with Monterey Jack cheese);  Caprese Waffles (stuffed with fresh mozzarella); and these Thanksgiving Waffles, which take turkey and sweet potatoes to a whole new level.

 

It’s amazing how just a few adjustments to a waffle batter can result in so much goodness. Looking for more waffling inspiration for your next lunch or dinner? Try these recipes on for size.

Breakfast-for-Dinner Savoury Waffles

Who says you can’t have breakfast for dinner? Good old-fashioned cornmeal batter is waffled up to perfection and then served with your choice of fresh eggs, sausage or bacon in this riff on a classic.

Taco Waffles

These cornbread jalapeno waffles are stuffed with more traditional taco ingredients like shredded chicken and pico de gallo for a fun, Mexican waffled twist.

Waffle Maker Quesadilla

Who needs waffle batter when you have wheat tortillas laying around? Stuff yours with some fresh cheese and let the iron do all of the work while you waffle around.

Discover genius hacks for your slow cooker, freezer and more.

 

 

 

Do You Really Need an Instant Pot? What You Need to Know Before You Buy

The Instant Pot is a time-saving, multi-purpose, customizable cooking machine that’s transforming meal-time and building a cult-like following.

But if you’ve received this trendy tool as a gift or you’re thinking of buying on, there are a few things you need to know first. From models to meals, to why they’re so darn popular, our Instant Pot review is your guide to the appliance everyone’s talking about.

instant-pot-pork-recipeGet the recipe for Instant Pot Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwiches

What is an Instant Pot, Anyway?

Like your slow cooker, Instant Pots house an inner pot warmed by an electric element. But the Instant Pot is more than a slow cooker, it’s a multi-cooker. It replaces up to seven common kitchen appliances, like a pressure cooker, rice cooker and yogurt maker, and speeds the cooking process so you can simmer, braise, slow cook, steam, and warm faster. And according to some, you can make wine in it too.

How to Choose an Instant Pot Model

If you aren’t sure which one to buy, Instant Pot model comparison can be a bit overwhelming. That’s because you can select from eight different models within five distinct product series ranging in size (six to eight quarts), and features (from 6-in-1 to 10-in-1).

Beginner (and busy) meal makers can take advantage of the 10 Smart Built-in Programs found in the Lux Series models, while intermediate cooks can play with the 14 programs in the Duo and Duo Plus models. True Instant Pot enthusiasts can wield the Bluetooth enabled, Ultra model and its whopping 16 programs to expand their repertoire to include yogurt, cake, eggs, and even sterilized baby bottles.

Be sure to consider how you cook now. Are you a big batch cooker, or are you more prone to making smaller meals for a family of two? Go through some of your favourite recipes and consider which ones could be made faster or better in an Instant Pot. Do you make a lot of braises, stews, grains, yogurt, legumes already? This will help you decide the model and size best fit for your cooking habits.

If you are in the market to replace your ageing slow cooker, this might be a good option, as it can be used in a variety of ways.

5-Ingredient Instant Pot Mac and CheeseGet the recipe for 5-Ingredient Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

The Pros and Cons of Buying an Instant Pot

Pros
1. Faster Cooking with Pressure

What drives the Instant Pot’s popularity—apart from its ability to make great food—is that it provides users with the most sacred resource of all: Time. Yes, meal prep and warming the machine are required, but the dishwasher-safe Instant Pot dutifully (and silently) cooks two to six times faster than conventional methods. That means you can cook braises like pulled pork, tender stew and roast beef in under an hour, making them weeknight accessible.

2. It Makes Great Rice

When it comes to taste and texture, the machine’s evenly distributed heat and steaming process ensures vegetables keep their colour, and that grains emerge fluffy and soft.

3. The Sauté Function Brings the Flavour

Like your Dutch oven, you can sauté meats, onions or bloom spices right in the Instant Pot. So go ahead and sear that pork tenderloin, then deglaze with wine or stock, pop the lid on and pressure cook it right in the same pot. The result is tender meat without losing any of that beautiful flavour caused by browning right in the pot.

4. There are Tons of Great Instant Pot Recipes

The Instant Pot also delivers variety. Between the app, cookbooks, and innumerable blogs, novel recipes are just a click away. Easy dishes like an Instant Pot whole chicken are great for weeknights while time-saving staples like Instant Pot beef stew or our 5-Ingredient Instant Pot Mac and Cheese are ready in a snap. What’s more, the Intelligent Programming and Save Customized Cooking settings on the LUX and DUO models memorize your preferred settings and learn to cook your meal exactly the way you like it every time.

If you are already making your own yogurt weekly, or are looking for a way to make faster curry, the Instant Pot might be your dream machine.

Instant Pot Chicken AdoboGet the recipe for Instant Pot Chicken Adobo

Cons
1. You Need Counter Space

Fast though it may be, Instant Pots can eat up much needed counter space so be sure it will get enough use to justify its prime real estate next to the toaster or the coffee maker.

2. There’s a Learning Curve

This may be the Swiss army knife of kitchen appliances but mastering the extensive features, double-digit programs, and hefty instruction manual can be time-consuming. Compared to the ease of turning the knob on your trusty Crock Pot, the learning curve can be steep. Also, dealing with high pressure makes some people nervous and you want to feel confident that you’ve sealed it correctly before bringing it to full pressure.
But there is good news: Instant Pot’s website is home to a mountain of getting started and troubleshooting videos, FAQs, and even live support.

3. It May Not be as Fast as You Think

On the practical side, not everything is cooked faster in the Instant Pot. By the time the machine gets up to pressure, cooks, then depressurizes, you could have boiled those potatoes on the stove. Keep in mind how much braising, rice and yogurt-making you do regularity to determine if this will indeed be a timesaver for you and your family. Also, because the pressure and slow cooker functions seal in the steam, you’ll need to give yourself extra time to bubble or boil off extra liquid, so your stews are the right consistency.

Now that you’ve learned about the pros and cons of this trendy multi-cooker, find more delicious recipes here.

Bumble Bee Cake

Bee-utifully Sweet Spring Honey Cake

With whimsical bumblebees swarming around a beehive-shaped cake, this honey and apricot dessert is perfect for a springtime birthday party. The slight tartness of the apricot filling pairs perfectly with the sweet and smooth honey buttercream icing. The simple shape is easy to carve, and just a swirl of buttercream transforms an ordinary layer cake into an edible birthday centerpiece. The best part? The marzipan bumblebees are super fun (and simple!) to make with a few basic cake-decorating tools.

Spring Bumble Bee Birthday Cake

Bumble Bee Birthday Cake

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Makes: 8-10 servings

Ingredients:

Honey Butter Cake
3 cups cake flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup honey
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1-1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs

Honey Buttercream
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3-1/2 to 4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup honey, or to taste
2 tsp vanilla extract
Yellow gel food coloring

Assembly
1/2 cup apricot preserves
6 marzipan bees (See instructions below)

Spring bumble bee cake

Directions:

Honey Butter Cake
1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour four 6-inch cake pans and set aside.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. Measure the milk and honey in a liquid measuring cup and set aside.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth.
5. Add in the sugar and mix until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
6. With the mixer on low, add in the vanilla and eggs, one at a time.
7. Stop the mixer, and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
8. With the mixer on low, add in 1/2 of the flour mixture. Pour in the milk and honey mixture, scraping out any remaining honey if necessary.
9. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix on medium-low until combined.
10. Evenly distribute the batter between the four pans. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
11. Let cool on wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.

Honey Buttercream
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and cream cheese on medium until smooth.
2. With the mixer on low, gradually add in the sugar, honey and vanilla.
3. Once everything begins to combine, turn the mixer up the medium-high.
4. Continue mixing until the buttercream is light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
5. Add in the gel food coloring, a few drops at a time, until desired shade is reached.
6. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap until use.

Bumble bee cake

Assembly
1. Once the cakes are completely cool, trim to tops so that each layer is flat.
2. Fill a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip with some of the buttercream and set aside.
3. Place the bottom layer of cake on a cake board or serving dish.
4. Pipe a ring of buttercream around the top, outer edge of the cake. Fill in the buttercream dam with about 1/3 cup of apricot preserves.
5. Top with the next layer of cake and repeat.
6. Pipe a double ring of buttercream on top of the third layer of cake and fill with about 1/4 cup of apricot preserves.
7. Use any remaining buttercream left in the piping bag to fill in the gaps between the layers of cake. Use an off-set spatula to smooth out.
8. Chill in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes, or until the buttercream firms up a bit.
9. Once chilled, use a serrate knife to carve the cake into a beehive-shape. Taking only a little bit off a time, carve the cake until the top is shaped like a dome.
10. Once carved, crumb coat the cake with the honey buttercream. Chill to set about 10 to 15 minutes.
11. Frost the entire cake with buttercream.
12, Set the cake on top of a cake turntable. Place the tip of a metal spatula near the bottom of the cake. Gently press into the frosting and spin the cake. As you spin, slowly bring the tip of the spatula up the side of the cake and over the top to create the spiral texture.
13. Finish with the marzipan bees while the frosting is still soft.

Bumble Bees

Marzipan Bees

Materials:
7 oz marzipan
Rolling pin
Paring knife
Piping tip
Thin paint brush
Yellow gel food coloring
Black gel food coloring

Bumble Bees How to

Directions:

1. Tint about 3 ounces of marzipan yellow and 1 to 2 ounces black.
Divide the yellow marzipan into about 6 half-ounce balls (about the size of a large gumball) then roll into a bee shape.
2. Use the end of a thin paintbrush to indent two eyes and the large opening of a small piping tip to create a smile. Set aside.
3. Roll out the black marzipan to about 1/8-inch thick.
4. Use the paring knife to cut thin strips. Wrap the strips of black marzipan around the body of the bees and secure by gently pressing the ends into the belly of the bees.
5. Re-roll the remaining black marzipan. Use the large, round opening of the piping tip to cut out one circle per bee. Adhere the black circle to the back ends of the bees.

Bumble Bees
6. Roll out plain (untinted) marzipan to about 1/4 to 1/8-inch thick. 7. Using the large, round opening of the piping tip, cut out two circles per bee. Pinch the tips and elongate the circles slightly to create wings.
8. Press the tips together on the backs of the bees.
9. Roll two tiny balls of plain marzipan per bee to create the eyes.
10 Gently press them into the indented eye markings.
11. Lightly dip the end of the paintbrush in the black gel food coloring and mark the centers of the eyes. Let dry.

Looking for more great birthday party ideas? Check out our Winter Wonderfuland Birthday Party or our 25 Best Birthday Cakes.

Winning Recipes for Your Academy Awards Party

Celebrate the Academy Awards with Oscar-worthy spread that is sure to impress even the toughest critic. Hollywood’s biggest night deserves your best kitchen performance and these recipes are sure to earn you at least a ‘Best Host’ nomination.

Whether you’re channeling old-Hollywood elegance or have a casual evening in mind, we have a slew Oscar party ideas for easy appetizers and cocktails that will keep you well fed from the red carpet through to the credits.

Oscar Party Menu

Champagne Cocktail

Champagne Cocktails

Greet your guests with a celebratory champagne cocktail. Crème de cassis, a dark red liqueur made from blackcurrants gives these bubbly sippers their bright red-carpet shade.

Oysters with Caviar

Oysters, Caviar and Bubbles

Your movie-buff guests may shy away from spoilers, but they won’t mind you spoiling them with these indulgent appetizers that are packed with old Hollywood glamour. Reserve a little champagne from your cocktails for the mignonette sauce, which is seasoned with fresh shallots and bright pink peppercorns.

White Bean Puree on Endive

White Bean Puree on Endive

We’d like to thank Patricia Heaton for this delicious and simple bean dip that gets a fancy flourish when served on individual Belgian endive leaves. Place these apps on a gold tray for an elegant cocktail-party feel. Not a fan of endives? Serve this light dip in a dish with toasted pita points or chips.

Deviled Eggs with Caviar

Devilled Eggs

Party like the stars with these lavish appetizers. The ordinary snack gets a lavish twist with a dollop of salty Sturgeon roe. For a paired-down version, omit the caviar and season each egg with a sprinkle of smoked paprika.

Cheese and Spinach Puff Pastry Pockets

Cheese and Spinach Puff Pastry Pockets

Puff pastry is your best friend when it comes to whipping up a tray full of appetizers in no time at all. These spinach bites are everything you want in an appetizer: golden flaky crust paired with a warm, cheesy filling you can enjoy in two delicious bites.

Maple Sriracha Popcorn

Maple Sriracha Popcorn

No Academy Awards party is complete without popcorn! When those acceptance speeches go on and on, you’ll be happy to have this sweet and spicy popcorn to snack on. Leave out the peanuts and cashews if you want to keep it nut-free.

Caramel Popcorn

While not everyone can go home with a golden statue, your guests can each enjoy their own golden caramel popcorn treat. For added fun, shape each popcorn ball into your own version of the iconic statue and ceremoniously hand them out to your special guests.

Rumarita Cocktail

Rumarita Cocktail

As soon as the credits start to roll, that’s when the real party starts. Kick off your after-party with a rumarita, made with gold rum and fresh citrus.

Looking for more ideas? Try our 20 Best Recipes for an Awards Show Party.

Alton Brown’s Crispy Oven Chicken Wings Will Make You Ditch the Fryer

Where would we be without juicy, crispy, saucy chicken wings? The bar and sports snack staple has taken flight over the years as one of the most popular (not to mention expensive) parts of the bird, a fact that’s hard to believe considering people once tossed wings in the garbage rather than in delicious barbecue sauce.

How to Make Crispy Oven Chicken Wings

If you’re making them at home,  Alton Brown shares his step-by-step method to ensure crispy, perfect wings every single time. You won’t even need a deep fryer;  his fool proof recipe uses the oven. And you have to see Alton’s hacked steamer rack made from a few basic items from the hardware store!

 

So, remember these five simple steps for your crispiest, oven-baked wings:
1. Separate
2. Get Nice and Steamy
3. Chill Out
4. Roast Them Up
5. Toss with Sauce

Voila. Delicious, homemade wings just in time for your next wing night. Serve with some veggies sticks and a creamy dressing for some added flavour and flair.

Got your basic wings down? Great! Now check out some of these other recipes for a new twist on the classic hot sauce flavour.

Try These Great Chicken Wing Recipes

Alton Brown’s Orange Glazed Chicken Wings
Use Alton’s method for oven roasting the wings to crispy perfection then toss them in his Asian-inspired tangy, spicy and citrusy sauce.

Maple BBQ Chicken Wings
This spice mixture works on a variety of chicken cuts, but we love the way it pops when paired with this maple glaze on wings. To use it with Alton’s method, put the spice mixture on the wings before roasting them. Toss the wings with the glaze and roast in the oven for 5-10 minutes more.

General Tao Chicken Wings
Your favourite take-out dish becomes your favourite game day snack. After roasting the wings à la Alton, toss them with this spicy, sweet and sticky sauce.

Lime, Coconut and Chili Chicken Wings
This Asian-inspired spicy, salty, sweet sauce features everyone’s favourite hot sauce – Sriracha. Toss your crispy, roasted wings in the sauce after they come out of the oven.

Looking for more tasty wings? Try these Finger Lickin’ Chicken Wing Recipes.

5 Recipes That Make Your Nacho Dinner Dreams Come True

Nachos may be the perfect food. They’re crispy, cheesy, spicy and a crowd-pleaser — that is if you’re so inclined to share. You can dress them up with fresh veggies like tomato and pepper and bake them to perfection in the oven, or microwave chips with a little cheese and salsa on top and call it a day. Either way, nachos are plain-old delicious.

Yup, aside from pizza, nachos may just be the most perfect food when it comes to satisfying that cheesy, comfort-food craving.

Unfortunately, you can’t always eat nachos for dinner — not if you’re trying to win at #Adulting, at any rate. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them in myriad other forms. Take this recipe for Nacho Chicken Drumsticks, for example. Delicious, tortilla chip-crusted drumsticks are fried and then elevated to a whole new level when baked with some fresh Cheddar and topped with salsa, guacamole and pickled jalapeño peppers.

 

We dare you not to salivate when watching the video. In fact, we may be craving a whole other way to eat “nachos” right about now, and it involves glorious, glorious fried chicken.

But why stop there? There are plenty of other great nacho-inspired recipes that have us totally rethinking our nacho game, especially if you want to take a more “traditional” approach to your dinner.

For example, take these baked potato nachos, which are smothered in delicious toppings like cheese, sour cream and black beans. With some salsa and fresh cilantro, regular old baked potatoes seem so last year, don’t they?

 

Needless to say, potatoes and chicken drumsticks are most definitely going on the shopping list this week.

Want some more nacho inspiration? Check out these great recipes that transform basic dinner staples into dishes of nacho heaven.

Chicken Nacho Soup

On a cold day we can all agree that nothing feeds the soul like hearty chicken soup. (Heck, they came up with an entire line of feel-good books based on that very concept.) But if it’s still nachos you’re craving, this cheesy, tomato-based chicken soup definitely hits varying levels of comfort, and we never, ever want to go back.

Nacho Topped Chili Pot

What’s better than a comforting bowl of chili? Chili topped with an entire serving of fresh nachos, of course. Move over, chili cheese fries and regular old chili nachos. We love the way Rachel Ray tops her pot of chili with chips, cheese and other nacho staples and throws it all under the broiler to serve up complete chili nacho perfection.

Pork Tenderloin Posole with Bottom of the Bowl Nacho Surprise

Posole, a traditional Mexican stew, is another one of those staples that hits the spot when you need a warm bowl of comfort. But again, Rachel Ray takes hers to the next level with an entire layer of nacho goodness stacked into serving bowls first, giving us a whole new level of nacho posole perfection.

Looking for more nacho goodness? You’ll find comfort food perfection in these Tasty Nacho Recipes.

 

 

How to Throw a Burns Night Supper

Don your tartan and get ready to feast on Scottish cuisine with our scrumptious Burns Night menu.

Each January 25, Scots raise a glass to famed poet Robbie Burns, who gave the world Auld Lang Syne and many much-loved poems. In Scotland, the poet’s birthday is marked with lots of whisky, bagpipes, poems and of course, haggis.

Here, we’ve put a Canadian twist on the traditional Scottish celebration, with dinners hosted from coast-to-coast. In Newfoundland, Scottish heritage societies hold roast beef suppers for the community. While in Vancouver, haggis-filled dumplings are served for Gung Haggis Fat Choy, a melding of Chinese New Year and Burns Night.

Whether you have Scottish heritage or just appreciate good poetry, make January 25 a little extra special with a Scottish-inspired dinner.

Cock-a-leekie soupCock-a-Leekie Soup

A Scottish classic, this comforting chicken and dumpling soup is a delicious start to Burns Night dinner. Prunes may seem like an odd ingredient but a touch of sweetness balances out the soup.

haggisHaggis

This traditional Scottish dish is the star of the night. Haggis is quite an endeavour to make but worth the effort. The meaty pudding is made by filling a sheep’s stomach with minced heart, liver lungs and suet. Onions, oatmeal and dried herbs are tucked inside and the stomach is boiled, creating a mouthwatering main. The fun comes when you present the haggis to your guests. Make it extra special by reading Robert Burn’s famed ode to the dish, Address to a Haggis and stabbing it with a knife as traditionally done. For a Canadian twist, try this recipe for deer haggis.

Neeps and Tatties

You might know them better as turnips and potatoes, these root veggies are boiled and mashed and served alongside the haggis.

Kale SaladKale Salad

Kale is a nutritious and hearty veggie that thrives in cool weather, making it a great winter green and a staple in Scottish diets. This salad is the perfect mix of sweet and tart, making it a great addition to your menu.

Raspberry TrifleTipsy Laird

A twist on a trifle, your guests will be delighted with a little bit of sherry, brandy or whisky in their dessert. Try soaking your sponge cake or ladyfinger cookies in a bit of booze as you layer the trifle and let chill in the fridge before serving.

Scottish Pan ShortbreadScottish Shortbread

This simple shortbread is a sweet way to end the meal. So get the kettle going serve these light biscuits with a cuppa tea.

Dry Glaze Pork Tenderloin

4 Recipes That Transform 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.

Dry Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Start with Anna Olson’s Dry Glazed Pork Tenderloin.

Pork Ragu

1. Make a Ragu

This company-worthy pasta dish ticks off all the right notes for a cozy winter dinner. Thanks to pre-cooked pork, it comes 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 to the simmering tomato sauce and let it bubble away until it is 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.

shepherd's pie

2. 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.

Kimchi Fried Rice

3. Whip Up Some Fried Rice

This dish is perfect if you don’t have a ton of 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 kimchi, pork, sliced green onions and a fried egg.

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? Start with these Perfect Pork Tenderloin Recipes.

 

Traditional Acadian Christmas Meat Pie Recipe

There’s a new meat pie in town! We’ve all heard of tourtière, the French-Canadian spiced meat pie. But there’s another French-Canadian meat pie that is just as worthy of your love: an Acadian pie traditionally eaten at Christmas that hails from the Maritimes. I first heard of it through my cousin-in-law’s wife when we were sharing holiday eating traditions. When she said the words “traditional Christmas meat pie,” I had to know everything about it.

acadian meat pie

Not only did I get the recipe, but I also got to make the pie with her parents, Norma and Rufus, who are of Acadian descent and grew up in New Brunswick. We were going to cook her family’s recipe, handed down to her dad by his mother. Rufus has been making this same pie for decades in huge batches for family Christmas gatherings.

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When we first began cooking I asked Rufus: “So this is kind of like tourtiere, right?” I received a firm lesson from Rufus that it is not. Tourtiere is a Quebecois dish, and we were making an Acadian meat pie. The flavours are different and, according to Rufus, better.  The meat is flavoured with onion and most importantly, summer savoury (the stuff from New Brunswick is best). Tourtiere uses ground meat and has a spiced taste from nutmeg, allspice and cloves that is totally different from an Acadian meat pie. Which one is better? They are both delicious in their own way, but I am a bit more partial to the Acadian meat pie since I learned it from a dad who has been carrying on this long Christmas tradition for his family.

acadian meat pie 3

A sincere thank you to Norma and Rufus for sharing their Christmas family recipe and traditions with me and our Food Network Canada readers. Maritimers are so friendly, aren’t they?

Acadian Christmas Meat Pie Recipe

Ingredients:
3 pounds beef blade roast, bone-in (or similar inexpensive cut)
3 pounds pork shoulder picnic roast, bone-in, skin removed (or similar inexpensive cut)
2-3 heaping Tbsp summary savoury
3 medium onions, chopped very fine
1/2 tsp dried ground ginger
6 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
Salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Cut the beef and pork into large chunks, about 2-inches in size.
2. Place the meat in a large heavy pot and add enough water to cover the meat. Stir in the chopped onions, summer savoury and ground ginger.  Bring to a boil and then lower to a sturdy simmer for about 2 to 3 hours or until the meat is tender and comes easily off the bone. Add water if the cooking liquid evaporates too much; the meat should remain covered with liquid when cooking.
3. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes and when fork tender, drain and mash. The potatoes should be finely mashed and have no lumps; the texture of the potatoes must be completely smooth for the filling to turn out correctly. Season the mashed potatoes well with salt and pepper.
4. Once the meat is cooked, use a slotted spoon to remove the meat from the cooking liquid.
5. Shred the meat. Remove any bone and large pieces of fat. However, keep some small pieces of fat for flavour and mash it into the shredded meat.  Set aside about one cup of the cooking liquid. Place the shredded meat back into the remaining cooking liquid. Season the meat well with salt and pepper. Simmer the meat and liquid for another 30 minutes.
6. Mix the mashed potatoes into the shredded meat, one large spoonful at a time. Incorporate each spoon of mashed potatoes well before adding the next. Once all of the mashed potatoes are incorporated, taste for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper if needed.  The meat and potato filling should be moist  – not too dry or too wet. If it seems too dry, add a bit of the reserved cooking liquid. The mixture should not be too wet. If there are pools of liquid in the mixture, it is too wet and the pie crust will be soggy.
7. Using your favourite pie dough recipe or purchased pie dough, roll out the dough and place in a pie pan. Fill the pie pan with the meat and potato filling. Do not over-stuff and pack down the filling. Cover the pie with a second piece of pie crust and crimp the edges, creating a seal. Cut steam vents into the top and brush the crust with an egg wash.
8. Bake in a preheated 350 F oven until the crust is golden brown, about 30 – 40 minutes.

Tips:
This meat pie can be served warm or at room temperature and can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner over the Christmas holidays.
This recipe will make enough filling for approximately 8-10 pies.
If you’re not making that many pies,  freeze the filling and use it at a later time.
This recipe can be scaled up or down; however, the ratio of meat and potatoes needs to remain at 1:1.

Looking for more recipes? Try these great Acadian Recipes.

Your Guide to Grilling Game Meat Like an All-Star

Game on: A spot in the Top Chef Canada: All-Stars finale came down to the competitors knowing their way around wild game and a grill. The grill is easy to master, and eager Canadians cook this way year round. Game meats, on the other hand, are tricky. Unlike beef, pork and poultry, game meats are incredibly lean and, therefore, easy to overcook, which means the difference between a juicy piece of meat and something akin to cardboard are not far apart when it comes to grilling.


Dennis Tay grilling up bison in Episode 9.

Keep a few tricks in mind when throwing these on the grill and you’ll have a winning meal. First, let’s break down the three most common game meats — cooked up on last night’s episode — and some of their best cuts.

Bison, the most common game meat, is easily found in butcher shops and even chain grocery stores these days. In the winter, braised short ribs or slow-cooked roasts are the way to go, but tenderloin and striploin steaks are where it’s at for summer grilling. Of course, the richly flavoured meat also makes a fine burger.

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This bison steak looks very similar to a beef steak.

Like beef, bison steaks are great when grilled. Try this recipe for Grilled Bison with a White Currant BBQ Sauce.

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Grilled Bison with White Currant BBQ Sauce

Short ribs aren’t just for slow braising in colder weather. Bobby Flay shows how to grill up some sweet and spicy bison short ribs, complete with a matching barbecue sauce. Get Bobby Flay’s recipe for Spice Rubbed Bison Short Ribs with Orange Honey Chipotle BBQ Sauce.

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Bobby Flay’s Bison Short Ribs

How about a surf and turf bison burger, topped with crab and a spicy banana pepper jam? Get the You Gotta Eat Here! recipe for the Wild Fennel Bison Burger.

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Wild Fennel Bison Burger

Venison — meat that comes from deer — is often thought to be quite, well, gamey. Meat from wild deer does tend to be, but that from farm-raised venison, which is what we see in butcher shops, is less so. The flavour can be beef-like, but is generally richer. Incredibly lean, when it comes to grilling, it’s best to stick to steaks or the tenderloin.

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This venison steak is extremely lean and has a rich red colour.

Simplicity showcases the meat at its best with this straightforward recipe for a rack of venison. Get Martin Picard’s recipe for Grilled Rack of Deer with Rosemary.

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Grilled Rack of Deer with Rosemary

Summer isn’t the same without at least one round of burgers on the grill. Switch out the standard beef for venison for this recipe from You Gotta Eat Here!

Boar is similar to its relative the pig, in both flavour and texture. The difference is that the meat tends to be darker in colour and is slightly richer. A larger animal than its pig counterpart, expect bigger cuts. Chops are great for grilling.

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These look like well-sized pork chops but they’re actually wild boar chops.

Elk, although not one of the ingredients the final four chefs were tasked to cook with, it’s also a great game meat. While similar to venison — cooking tips are the same for both — elk has a cleaner, almost slightly sweet, flavour. Its meat is dark red, almost like beef, and very tender. Roasts and steaks are some of the best cuts.

For an elk loin, Top Chef Canada Season 2 winner Carl Heinrich uses the technique of roasting the meat in the oven before transferring to the grill. Get Carl Heinrich’s recipe for Roasted Elk Loin.

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Carl Heinrich’s Roasted Elk Loin

Because game meats are lean, the main trick for grilling them is not to cook past rare or medium-rare. When cooked past that point, the meat will become dry and chewy — not a Top Chef Canada-worthy result. For venison and bison, that means taking the meat off when it has an internal temperature of 120°F to 125°F; wild boar should be removed from the grill at 145°F.

Starting the meat in the oven with a quick roast, then using the grill to get that signature flavour and markings are a good way to keep the meat from overcooking. As is brining or marinating first, using wet rubs or wrapping game meats in bacon, which will help keep them from drying out.

Looking for more ideas? Learn the rules of the game from our 11 Tips for Grilling Great Game Meat.

7 All-Star Ways with Watermelon

Watermelon’s ability to masquerade as tuna and tomatoes was a surprise to those of us who only associate the juicy fruit as a summer treat for hot days. But the competitors on Top Chef Canada: All-Stars saw the brightly hued ingredient for its versatility in the unusual trompe l’oeil challenge where the goal was to trick the eyes and the tastebuds of judges.

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Dustin’s Tuna Poke that’s really compressed watermelon.

Dustin Gallagher transformed compressed watermelon into a version of trendy poke, with the melon’s colour perfectly imitating that of deeply pink cubes of raw tuna, while Nicole Gomes created a “cherry tomato” from the melon, stuffing it with feta and topping with balsamic jelly and mint. Taking a cocktail cue, Jesse Vergen compressed his watermelon with beet juice and negroni.
In each of these dishes, the judges were meant to be fooled into thinking they weren’t eating watermelon.

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Nicole’s Cherry Tomato that is actually a watermelon stuffed with feta.

Take a page out of the All-Stars chefs handbook and have watermelon in other ways than just a slice of cool fruit on a hot summer day. From savoury, sweet to boozy, here are a seven delicious dishes to make watermelon the All-Star of the show.

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Watermelon and Haloumi
The watermelon soaks up a vibrant vinaigrette made with garlic, shallots, honey and mint. The haloumi is seared off until it’s hot and melty in the middle and is then served with the cool, savoury and sweetly fresh watermelon.

Watermelon Gazpacho
Gazpacho is not only the realm of tomatoes. This chilled summer soup can also be made with watermelon, as Tyler Florence demonstrates. Just like the more traditional version, it gets some spicy kick from chilies and acidic tang from vinegar, but the fresh watermelon adds an interesting twist.

Arugula, Watermelon and Feta Salad
Peppery arugula, salty feta and refreshing mint combine with cooling watermelon for a fantastic summer salad. Ina Garten tops it with a dressing made with lemon and orange juice for a citrusy punch.

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Watermelon and Strawberry Icebergs
Spiked or Shirley Temple-style for the kids, these Watermelon and Strawberry Icebergs are a sippable way to beat the summer heat. The fruity drinks are topped with cooling slush and flavoured with a hint of summery mint.

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Watermelon Granita
Watermelon is a cooling treat on its own, but when mixed with a bit of sugar and water and then frozen into a granita, it becomes a superior way to chill out. The best part is there’s no need for fancy ingredients or an ice cream machine.

Watermelon Cake
While we usually think of eating watermelon in its natural state – cubed, sliced or pureed – Lynn Crawford has a recipe that takes the fruit and adds it to a baked cake for something completely different. To really bump up that melon flavour, some of the juice is also added to the glaze.

How to Make a Top Chef Canada-Worthy Meat Pie

In a challenge that came down to pie vs. pie in Top Chef Canada All-Stars Episode 4, the winners were most definitely the judges, who were treated to some seriously stunning dishes. Both Nicole Gomes and Connie DeSousa whipped up meat pie creations for the elimination round that challenged chefs to get inspired by cities across the country; their efforts put them both into the top three for the night.

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Nicole’s Montreal-inspired meat pie with bacon, duck, veal, trumpet mushrooms and albufera sauce.

“Holy smokes, this is the best meat pie I’ve ever had in my life,” guest judge Chef Lynn Crawford said after tucking into Gomes’ indulgent, Montreal-inspired, triple-meat pie.

Connie DeSousa’s rustic hunter’s pie, inspired by St John’s, Newfoundland, had a whimsical presentation and judges couldn’t stop raving about the bone marrow chimney. Months later, resident judge Chris Nuttall-Smith can still recall the details and the flavours of it.

“That, to me, was an example of a chef at the top of her game, making beautiful food that people can’t help themselves from eating almost compulsively,” he said. “I could have just eaten the whole thing.”

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Connie’s St. John’s-inspired hunter’s meat pie with bone marrow and roasted root vegetables.

Both chefs found the formula for a compliment-earning, crave-worthy pie: a good, flaky crust; tender, well-seasoned meat; and a rich sauce.

Making a Top Chef Canada: All-Stars-worthy pie can be done by keeping a few simple tips and tricks in mind. First, though, let’s talk about the main types of meat pies.  A standard meat pie typically features flaky pastry above and below, encasing tender pieces of meat, a gravy-like sauce and some vegetables for colour and flavour.

Traditional-Tourtiere
Try this recipe for a classic tourtière.

The Québec classic tourtière has a pastry crust, but is made from ground meat, warmingly flavoured with allspice, cloves or cinnamon and without much sauce to speak of.

Ina-garten-Chicken-Pot-PieIna Garten’s chicken pot pie has moist chicken in a rich sauce and is topped with a tender, flaky crust.

Pot pies, typically reserved for chicken, only get pastry (puff or otherwise) lids, while shepherd’s pie foregoes pastry altogether in favour of fluffy mashed potatoes dolloped atop and then baked until the edges are crisply golden. (Technically, most people serving this dish are making cottage pie, which is made from beef, instead of shepherd’s pie that is traditionally made with lamb or mutton.)

Crust:
It’s no secret that the key to a flaky dough is having a light touch; overworking the pastry will only lead to a tough crust.

A simple trick is to freeze the butter and grate it, right into the flour mixture, on the large holes of a box grater for evenly-sized pieces. You can also blitz the two together using a food processor — just make sure not to over process! The mixture should resemble coarse crumbs.

Watch this video to see how to blend the flour, butter and water in a food process to make the pastry.

Add the minimum amount of liquid and tumble it all onto the counter to press together the loose chunks to form the dough. Work quickly to keep everything cold and give the pastry a chance to chill out in the fridge before rolling out and using. Try Ina Garten’s recipe for the perfect pie crust.

Anna Olson makes her meat pies with a savoury pastry that uses cake and pastry flour, and room temperature butter to form a crust that’s sturdy enough to stand up to the filling, but still tender. For her pastry, she recommends using a mixer as opposed to a food processor. Get Anna Olson’s pie crust recipe here

Filling:
The filling needs to be rich and, well, meaty. Unlike many fruit pies where the filling is just tumbled into the crust, covered and thrown into the oven, meat pie fillings are usually cooked in a separate pot or pan before being encased in pastry and baked. This is a great way to build flavour and ensure the meat is cooked before going into the pie.

Good fillings have some sauciness to them, but they shouldn’t be overly runny; cooking it off first helps get that thick, gravy-like consistency.

Rocket-Bakery-lamb-stout-pie-2A mirepoix of aromatic vegetables add flavour to a sauce made of beef stock and stout in this Lamb and Stout Pie.

For pies with bottom crusts, it’s key to let the filling cool before baking the pie, so a little organization will be necessary. That’s less of an issue for pot pies since a hot filling has no bottom crust to cook too quickly, nor for shepherd’s or cottage pies because there’s no pastry to begin with.

Presentation:
Save the lattice tops for fruit pies; you’ll want a fairly solid pastry lid to keep all that delicious meaty filling inside.

However, you’ll want to give the steam a chance to escape, so make cuts into the top crust or throw in a pie bird or chimney. You can certainly get creative with how you slash.

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A close up of Connie’s pastry decorations on her meat pie.

Connie decorated her chubby little pies with small pastry leaves, which were both pretty and evocative of the woods where hunters would gather game. Pretty pastry decorations are also a great way to use up any last scraps of dough.

Even if pastry isn’t the starch of choice, using the tines of the fork to create patterns in the mashed potato topping of a shepherd’s pie can be beautiful. The peaks of those striations will get deeply golden brown and stand out nicely when served.

Here are some more recipes to get you started on your efforts to make a Top Chef Canada-worthy pie:
Puff-Topped Spiced Pork and Apple Pot Pie
Alton Brown’s Shepherd’s Pie
Chuck Hughes’s Tourtiere
Mini Chicken and Broccoli Pot Pies
Mexican Beef Pie with Cheddar Crust
Tomato Slab Pie