Tag Archives: side

Make-Ahead Baked Stuffing

By Amy Bronee

I learned from a very young age that it’s not a proper turkey dinner without bread stuffing on the table. Forget the cranberry sauce and you might be forgiven. Do roasted potatoes instead of mashed and my dad would probably thank you (he never liked mashed anyway). But don’t make stuffing and you’ll suffer the sad, empty eyes of everyone around the table. After all, what exactly is the point of a turkey dinner without stuffing?

When I made my first turkey dinner, I learned pretty quickly that the turkey cavity is just not big enough for the amount of cubed bread, diced veggies and spices that can be consumed in one sitting. I saw the empty eyes that year. I have been making stuffing outside the bird with my own recipe ever since.

This moist, delicious stuffing can be made ahead of time to free up oven space for that great big side dish – the turkey. The best part is that doing the stuffing outside the bird means I can make a whole lot of it. That way my holiday table is always surrounded by people with satisfied bellies and happy eyes.

Simple Oven-Baked Stuffing

Courtesy of Amy Bronee, familyfeedbag.com, Victoria

Make this stuffing the day before Thanksgiving to save yourself some precious time – and sanity!


Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 40 minutes
Yields: 8-10 servings

1/2 cup (125 mL) butter
2 cups (500 mL) diced yellow onions
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) diced carrots
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) diced celery
2 tbsp (30 mL) poultry seasoning
2 tsp (10 mL) dried rosemary (or 2 tbsp/30 mL chopped fresh rosemary)
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper
18 cups (4.5 L) white or brown sandwich bread, cubed (no need to dry it out first)
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) chicken or turkey stock

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180° C).
2. Melt butter in large soup pot or stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until beginning to soften.
3. Stir in poultry seasoning, rosemary, salt and pepper. Continue cooking 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.
4. In two batches, add bread cubes to pot, stirring to evenly distribute seasonings and veggies. Pour in stock and stir. Transfer to large baking dish, such as lasagna pan. Cover with foil.
5. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes. Serve immediately or, if making ahead, cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat before serving.

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Family Feedbag
Amy Bronee is the writer and photographer behind the award-winning home cooking blog FamilyFeedbag.com. Amy has earned several awards and recognitions, including a Jamie Oliver blog of the month award, and being named one of Canada’s “Top 40 Foodies Under 40” by Western Living magazine. Amy’s first cookbook, The Canning Kitchen: 101 Simple Small Batch Recipes, was published by Penguin Canada in June.

Super Crispy Salt and Vinegar Potatoes

When I was a kid, I used to eat salt and vinegar chips until my tongue hurt — and that salty, acidic crunch is still just as addictive in my adult life.

If you’re just as keen on this indulgent snack, you can satisfy that craving for tangy, salty chips in the form of roasted potatoes! And the best part is that they can be served as a part of your breakfast, lunch or dinner.


Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4-6

1/4 cup vinegar, plus 2 Tbsp
1 Tbsp salt
2 lbs baby potatoes, such as Yukon gold or red skin
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
Pepper, to taste


1. Preheat oven to 425°F. In a large sauce pan, combine vinegar, salt and potatoes. Add water just until potatoes are covered. Heat sauce pan on high until mixture reaches a boil, reduce to a simmer and continue to cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 10 minutes.
2. Drain liquid. Cut potatoes in half and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Combine butter and olive oil and pour mixture over potatoes, shaking the baking sheet to coat potatoes.
3. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown and crispy, about 30 minutes, shaking the pan every 10 minutes.
4. Remove from oven and immediately drizzle remaining 2 Tbsp of vinegar over potatoes. Garnish with sea salt and season with fresh ground pepper.

Want more tasty tater recipes? Check out these 10 ways Canadians are eating potatoes.

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.


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
Greek yogurt with chipotle and lime
Garlicky honey mustard
Marinara sauce
Homemade cheese sauce


Rutabaga Herb Oven Fries

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

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

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 Panko Wedge Fries

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

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

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 Shoestring Fries

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

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

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.

Spring Vegetable Panzanella Salad

What’s better than a light, fresh spring salad? A light, fresh spring salad with a ton of toasted bread soaked in dressing, obviously. The panzanella salad originates in Italy and is said to date back to the 16th century. I know nothing of history. But what I do know is that I love a good crouton salad.

This salad is composed of fresh spring veggies that you can find in farmers’ markets this time of year, and really showcases the vegetables. Be sure to buy local and organic when possible, but if you can’t, just be sure to find the best quality veggies near you. It really makes a world of a difference.


This salad is dressed really lightly with dill-mustard vinaigrette, which brightens and accents the asparagus, favas, grilled scallions and radishes perfectly. I’ve used pumpernickel bread in the recipe to add a deeper flavour to the salad, and pea shoots for a subtle earthy sweetness. You can always substitute those out for whatever bread and tender greens you can find — this dish is super refreshing and versatile.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Makes: 4 side servings or 2 large servings



For the croutons:
5 thick slices pumpernickel bread, about 1” thick
Olive oil

For the dressing:
2 Tbsp chopped dill
2 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp grainy mustard
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp salt
Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil

For the grilled scallions:
5-6 scallions
Olive oil

1 bunch asparagus, tough ends snapped off
1 cup shelled fava beans, fresh is preferred
4 radishes, sliced thinly
1 cup pea shoots




For the croutons:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with tin foil for easy clean up.
2. Cut the pumpernickel slices into 1” thick cubes.
3. Place them in a large bowl and drizzle with a very, very generous amount of olive oil. You want it to completely cover the bread.
4. Transfer the bread onto a baking sheet and spread out in one layer.
5. Season with a bit of salt and bake for 12 minutes, tossing the croutons halfway through.

For the dressing:
1. In a small bowl, whisk together the dill, vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and fresh cracked pepper until combined.
2. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking. Set aside.

For the grilled scallions:
1. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-low heat.
2. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the scallions and season with a bit of salt.
3. Grill for 2-3 minutes on each side until nicely charred and softened.
4. Cut the scallions into 1” long pieces.

For the asparagus:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare an ice bath in a bowl.
2. Once the water is at a rolling boil, drop in the asparagus.
3. Cook for 1 1/2 – 2 minutes, then immediately transfer them to the ice bath. They should still have some crunch to them.
4. Allow them to cool in the ice bath for 1 minute and then place onto a paper towel. Dab away any extra water. This will prevent the asparagus from getting waterlogged.
5. Cut the asparagus into 1” long pieces.


Dressing the salad:
1. In a large bowl, toss the croutons with 2 Tbsp of dressing and allow them to soak it up while dressing the remaining components.
2. In a separate bowl, toss the scallions, asparagus, fava beans, radish slices and pea shoots with 1 1/2 – 2 Tbsp of dressing. Don’t drown the delicate veggies.
3. Transfer the veggies into the bowl with the croutons and toss gently to combine.
4. Plate and enjoy with extra dressing on the side.


Notes and Shortcuts:
– Use whatever vegetables are fresh and in season — get creative!
– The veggies and croutons can be made and prepped ahead of time, then dressed before serving. This is super helpful when you have guests coming or if you would like to take this salad as a work lunch.
– Change it up: grill the asparagus and change out the scallions for thinly sliced red onions. And if you can find ramps, it’s your lucky day. Definitely use them.
– Substitute the pea shoots for pea tendrils, micro greens or even sorrel — whatever you can find!


The Best Latke Recipes for a Happy Hanukkah

There are so many reasons to love the humble potato; french fries, hash browns, tater tots… The list goes on. But there are only eight days to celebrate the tasty spud, so we’re fixin’ to fry.

The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah commemorates the miracle of oil (another fabulous ingredient worth saluting!), fueling a long-lasting flame in the Second Temple with a fry-fest of potato latkes. Gather the family, fire up the skillet and get clicking through our favourite ways to serve up this Hanukkah classic.


Just Like Bubby Used to Make
Potatoes and onions are bound together by flour and eggs then fried to golden perfection. While it may seem straightforward, there are two distinct types for patty prep: a rosti-style grated latke or smooth, creamy mashed potato pancakes. To keep the peace, we’ve got recipes for both, along with an oven-baked option for the traditionally flavoured holiday treat.

New Spins on an Old Favourite
Give your Bubby’s recipe a fresh approach — fresh produce, that is. Supplement (or even replace) the potatoes in your latke mixture with seasonal root vegetables like carrots, squash and parsnips. Up the nutrition factor of this holiday staple by swapping white flour for fibrous ingredients such as bran flakes or white potatoes, with richly coloured veg like zucchini. Click through these surprising options for your holiday get-together:

Cheesy Grit Fries with Old Bay Mayo

Southern cuisine is definitely on the rise and more often than not, you’ll find that grits are big part of this good ol’ comfort food. Today you can find grits at trendy restaurants all over Canada, so keep an eye out for them!

Grits are usually stone ground to achieve a fairly coarse corn meal similar to polenta. You’ll often find them served as a side, but there are a few dishes, like New Orleans’ style BBQ shrimp and grits, which really showcase their creamy goodness. Sub out those average mashed potatoes for grits in your next family meal. Trust me, they go with almost everything.

Here I decided to cook them in a classic way, but then I refrigerate them, cut them, and deep-fry them into fries! This goes perfectly with some Old Bay-flavoured mayo dip to really transport you down to the country.


Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Serves: 6 – 8


For the Old Bay Mayo:
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tsp old bay seasoning
½ tsp white vinegar

For the Grit Fries:
1 cup medium ground white grits
2 ½ cups water
1 ½ cups heavy cream
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
¾ cup grated Gruyère
¾ cup grated sharp cheddar
½ cup cornstarch
1 ½ tsp smoked paprika
Peanut oil or canola oil, for frying
Finishing salt (such as Maldon Salt)
Chopped parsley, garnish


For the Old Bay Mayo:
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and set in the fridge until ready to serve.

For the Grit Fries:
1. Place the grits, water, heavy cream, butter, salt and pepper in a sauce pot, and place over medium heat.

2. Once it comes to a boil, turn the heat down to low, cover and simmer for 20-22 minutes, stirring very often until the grits are thick and super creamy.


3. Turn the heat off and add the Gruyère and cheddar. Stir until all the cheese as melted into the grits. Taste and adjust for seasoning.


4. Prepare a sheet pan by spraying with a light coating of cooking spray. Pour the grits onto the sheet pan and spread until level.

5. Cover with plastic wrap and leave on the counter for 20 minutes to cool. Transfer the pan to the fridge and allow to set for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.


6. Carefully turn out the grits onto a cutting board. Cut into ¾” x 3” long pieces that look like fries.

7. Combine the cornstarch and paprika in a shallow bowl, and season with a bit of salt and pepper.

8. Heat a large skillet with 1/4” of oil over medium-low heat. Once the oil is rippling, dredge the grit fries in the cornstarch mixture shaking and patting off the excess cornstarch, then place them in the oil.


9. Fry for 1 ½ – 2 minutes per side and transfer onto a cooling rack or paper towel lined plate.

10. Season with finishing salt when the fries come out of the oil.


11. Arrange nicely on a serving tray and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with Old Bay Mayo.

5 Great Dressing Recipes for Any Summer Salad

As the weather gets warmer, we start to crave those raw, fresh and cooling foods. The solution? A light and refreshing salad.

While iceberg and romaine may be the usual stars to your favorite salad, don’t be afraid to branch out with your lettuce repertoire. A great mesclun mix, butter lettuce, kale, dandelion, frisee or radicchio all provide tons of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals. Adding in different greens will help maintain overall health and prevent degenerative diseases.

But the real key to amplify any summer salad is a great dressing — and the best dressings tend to be simple — so try your hand at one of these easy and delicious dressings below.


Classic Balsamic
(best paired with a mesclun mix or a kale salad)

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 tsp honey
Pinch sea salt

1. Mix by hand or use blender.

Strawberry Vinaigrette
(best paired with baby spinach or a frisee salad)

5 strawberries
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp maple syrup
Pinch sea salt

1. Mix by hand or use blender.

Spicy Cilantro
(best paired with dandelion or a red leaf lettuce salad)

1/2 cup cilantro
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, squeezed
2 tsp  honey
Pinch sea salt
1/8 – ¼ teaspoon chili flakes

1. Mix by hand or use blender.

Seedy “Caesar”
(best paired with a dandelion, butter lettuce, kale or radicchio salad)

½ cup raw sunflower seeds (soaked for 2 hours, rinsed & drained, if possible)
1 lemon, juiced
3 dates, soaked
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
? tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
? cup water to thin out

1. Use a blender or a food processor to get the creamy consistency.

Sesame Mediterranean
(best paired with baby spinach, frisee or kale salad)

3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup creamy tahini (sesame paste)
1 glove garlic
1 lemon, squeezed
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1-2 Tbsp honey
1/8 tsp ground cumin
Pinch sea salt

1. Mix by hand or use blender.

Remember: a good dressing makes all the difference, so try to experiment. Use different flavours, spices, vinegars, fruits and seeds to make a wow-worthy salad for your family, dinner guests and most importantly, you!

tamara-green-living-kitchen Tamara Green is co-founder of The Living Kitchen, and a Holistic Nutritionist and Natural Cook. She combines her knowledge of nutrition and passion for cooking good food to work with clients to create lasting changes in their lives.

Sweet Potato Wedges with Chipotle Dipping Sauce

Sweet potato wedges make a fantastic snack or simple side dish, especially when paired with a tasty sauce for dipping. Sweet potatoes are packed with Vitamin A and fibre, among other health benefits, and their naturally sweet flavour and crispy exterior (once baked) makes them a fan favourite you can feel good about serving your friends and family.


Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 4

2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean and cut into wedges
1 tsp canola oil
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp pepper
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tsp honey
½ tsp cumin
1 tsp adobo
1 tsp minced chipotle

1. Preheat oven to 425°F with a baking sheet in the centre of the oven.
2. In a bowl, gently toss sweet potato with oil, salt and pepper. Arrange sweet potato wedges in a single layer on the preheated baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, turning once midway through until browned on all sides.
3. Meanwhile, whisk together mayonnaise, honey, cumin, adobo and chipotle. Serve wedges alongside chipotle dip.

amanda riva Amanda Riva is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients. Amanda Riva is part of the Blog Network family.