Tag Archives: weekday meals

We Tested 4 Popular Canadian Meal Delivery Kits. Here’s How They Compared

I have a confession to make: When it comes to cooking, I have a love/hate relationship with the entire process. In theory, I love the idea of whipping up a home-cooked meal – the gathering of fresh ingredients, discovering new recipes and enjoying the scrumptious finished product. More often than not, however, it’s an often harried battle wherein my husband and I arrive home late from work and we’re just looking for the shortest, fastest route to getting food on the table.

Many of my friends swear by meal delivery services, referring to them as complete game-changers that ultimately expanded their recipe repertoires and drastically cut down the amount of time spent sweating over the stovetop. Perhaps this was the solution I was looking for, even if only on weeknights when time was short and my patience was thin.

If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, meal delivery kits are essentially boxes of raw ingredients with easy-to-follow recipes that typically feed up to four people. You don’t have to be home to receive the box; they can be left on your doorstep or at your condo’s front desk, since they’re stocked with reusable ice packs. Each recipe and its wealth of ingredients are individually packaged in their own brown paper bags and come with printed card stock with all the relevant directions and health information. In an effort to reduce the food waste that accumulates from the typical family meal, these services provide their ingredients in pre-measured amounts – although it often results in a lot of packaging. (Note: pantry staples, such as olive oil, salt and pepper, are not included.)

So, I decided to give it a shot, testing out four of the major Canadian companies that provide fresh meal ideas and ingredients to thousands of hungry fans across the country. Here’s how it went.

Hello Fresh

Availability: A 95 per cent delivery reach in Canada, including Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland and the Maritimes.

Average price per person: As low as $10.31/serving.

Packaging: With its paper-based packaging, the boxes are made from 100 per cent recyclable and biodegradable cardboard. Even the insulation and ice packs are made of sustainable cardboard and recyclable plastic, respectively. Hello Fresh has also eliminated single-use packaging for any produce with its own natural skin or peel (for example, potatoes, garlic and limes).

Dietary Variety: A diverse selection of recipes that will satisfy both vegetarians and carnivores. In addition, you can customize your Meal Preferences online or via the app by clicking on such options as No Beef Meals, No Fish Meals, No Pork Meals, etc. They’re also the first meal kit service in Canada to partner with Beyond Meat, which was only recently announced this summer.

Convenience: The average meal takes approximately 30 minutes, including prep time, and when ordering online or via the app you can choose from options such as quick family-friendly meals to vegetarian dishes.

Favourite Recipe: One-Pot Mexican Quinoa and Black Beans with Cilantro-Lime Crema

Overall Experience: Each meal comes with a detailed, one-page summary that includes total cooking time, ingredients and thorough instructions that are clear and easy to follow. Although the finished product never looked quite as good as advertised (which is on me: I was never good at plating meals), I don’t have any complaints in the taste department. I was genuinely surprised by how flavourful and tender the dishes were. Although the meals are certainly quick and easy to prep, one thing I discovered was that I was often left with a stack of dirty dishes, as some of the recipes required multiple pots, pans and other kitchen utensils. Incidentally, my favourite meal wound up being a one-pot dish, which made clean-up a breeze. The One-Pot Mexican Quinoa and Black Beans with Cilantro-Lime Crema (say that three times fast!) was so delicious that I could have polished off a second bowl in one sitting. The recipe also did something I previously never thought impossible: It made me fall in love with sour cream. I’d debated whether I should even add the dollop of cilantro-lime crema to the dish, but I wanted to try the recipe in all its glory and I’m so glad I did. This dish was such a hit with both myself and my husband that I’ve actually made it a second time already.

Best For:
● Offering Beyond Meat options
● Customizing your Meal Preferences

Chefs Plate

Availability: Currently delivers in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, with plans to expand.

Average price per person: As low as $8.99/serving.

Packaging: All packing is 100 per cent recyclable and can be easily broken down once all the ingredients and ice packs are removed from the box. Many of the containers used to house Chefs Plate‘s ingredients are also ideal for leftovers, so don’t be in such a hurry to dispose of them.

Dietary Variety: Each recipe includes a detailed description of ingredients and instructions in a handy booklet with chef’s notes, portion sizes and caloric intake. Chefs Plate also offers gluten-free and dairy-free options, although they aren’t available every week. You can edit your Taste Preferences profile online or via the app to default to recipes that don’t include meat or fish, for example.

Convenience: For those with hectic work weeks, the fact that Chefs Plate is currently the only meal delivery service that offers an option for 15-minute meals will be vastly appealing to many.

Favourite Recipe: Beef and Black Bean Chili

Overall Experience: Similar to its sister company, Hello Fresh, I found the instructions easy to follow thanks to a clear and concise booklet containing the week’s recipes and ingredient list. I appreciated that the simple and flavourful Beef and Black Bean Chili meal (my favourite of the bunch) provided a handy lunch option made from the leftovers, including the additional provision of six soft shell tacos that helps transform the recipe from beef chili to beef taquitos. I particularly enjoyed the seasoning that came with the meal and appreciated that it listed all the spice blends on the packaging so I knew what it contained. Similar to the other meal kit delivery services, however, I found that there were more dishes to wash afterward than was the norm in our household (although, when cooking for myself and my husband, I typically opt for one-pot or sheet pan meals because I hate washing dishes). I appreciated the wide selection of meals to choose from and was surprised by how fresh the ingredients were when I reached into their bags.

Best For:
● Offering dairy-free and gluten-free options
● Providing 15-minute meal selections for hectic weeknights


Availability: Currently delivers in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and the Maritimes.

Average price per person: As low as $5.85/serving.

Packaging: The GoodFood cardboard boxes, insulation liners, bags, bottles and baskets are all 100 per cent recyclable. Tip: Use the ice packs to keep food cool during a family picnic. My freezer is now fully stocked with them.

Dietary Variety: Choose your weekly meals from a variety of categories such as Clean15 (low-carb) and Vegetarian.

Convenience: The average meal takes approximately 30 minutes to whip up, while those looking to incorporate more smoothies in their daily routine will be thrilled to discover that GoodFood offers fresh ready-to-blend Breakfast Smoothies (starting at $4.99/each) that can easily be stored in the freezer.

Smoothies: Initially, when I learned that GoodFood had recently introduced a series of ready-to-blend smoothies, I scoffed a little. Who can’t chop a few fruits and veggies and toss them into a blender? Little did I know how much easier mornings could be when all I had to do was reach into the freezer, dump the contents of the smoothie into the blender, add a little milk and hit the Power button. In addition, each delivery comes with easy-to-clean reusable straws. Members can choose from 16 original recipes chock-full of superfood chunks and farm-frozen fruits and veggies. I also appreciated that GoodFood included ingredients I typically wouldn’t have on hand at home (acai, hemp, maca, goji, etc.), making for an even sweeter smoothie experience. My husband, in particular, was obsessed with them – he wasn’t much of a smoothie drinker before this experience so I can thank GoodFood for his newfound love.

Favourite Recipe: Butter-Poached Lobster Fra Diavolo over Fresh Fettuccine with Pine Nut-Basil Gremolata

Overall Experience: This rich, buttery pasta dish was just the type of carb overload I needed on the night I decided to prep it. I was expecting a flimsy lobster portion given how pricey the shellfish can be, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that the meaty chunks were as plentiful as they were flavourful. I also appreciated that the Fra Diavolo spice blend had a list of its ingredients. Again, clean-up was a bit more chaotic than I’d like, but nothing quite beats the feeling of being able to simply reach into your fridge for one of those brown paper bags with everything you could possibly need for a well-balanced meal.

Best For:
● Those who want to incorporate more smoothies in their diet
● Introducing more Clean15 (low-carb) meals to your routine

Cook It

Availability: This Montreal-based company is currently only available in Quebec and Ontario but it’s looking to expand. All packaging and instructions come in both French and English.

Average price per person: As low as $7.89.

Packaging: All the ingredients come inside a chilled, 100 per cent recyclable and reusable cardboard box. Of all the companies I tested, Cook It had the most manageable box in terms of size (the majority are pretty bulky and I don’t quite have the wingspan to carry them comfortably) and was the easiest to break down and discard.

Dietary Variety: Members can choose from a diverse selection of meat and vegetarian options.

Convenience: There are a couple of unique features here. Unlike the other meal delivery services I tested, Cook It offers a Pantry section on their website where customers can order local products to add to their box, such as smoothies, milk or granola bars – which is ideal if you’re looking to get in a little grocery shopping as well. They also offer a Ready-to-Eat selection each week that allows you to select from cooked meals that are ready to go once you’ve popped them in the oven or microwave for five minutes.

Favourite Recipe: Curry-Spiced Chicken and Peach Salad

Overall Experience: These were probably the simplest recipes of all the meal delivery kits I tried, both in terms of easy-to-follow instructions and minimal ingredients. The Curry-Spiced Chicken and Peach Salad was a lot easier to prep than I first anticipated and it was savoury and refreshing simultaneously. In fact, all the meals were consistently delicious, including the ready-to-eat beef lasagna that I just needed to heat up in the microwave. I’m leery of pre-cooked packaged meals because I tend to associate it with awful plane food, but the lasagna tasted homemade – my husband, who arrived home late that night, didn’t even realize it wasn’t freshly-prepped. (Airlines might want to consider hiring Cook It to prep their in-flight meals.) In addition, because the recipes I received were so low-maintenance, it also meant the least amount of clean-up afterward, compared to the other companies.

Best For:
● Offering a Pantry section and a selection of ready-to-eat meals
● The most manageable boxes in terms of size and break-down

Final Verdict

There are plenty of pros when it comes to trying out a meal delivery service. It’s ideal for people short on time, who hate meal planning or dread making regular trips to the grocery store. An added bonus is that it truly does help cut down on food waste as everything is so expertly measured out in advance that nothing gets left behind. I loved being able to reach into my fridge each night, pull out a brown paper bag and know that everything I could possibly need for my meal was all in one place.

At the same time, things start to add up and it’s likely going to be more costly overall to rely on meal delivery kits (unless you’re not planning on doing it every single week). Also, be prepared for more of a clean-up than you might be accustomed to and lots (and lots!) of boxes and recyclable materials to take out to your bins.

Healthy High-Protein Oatmeal, Dressed Up 3 Delicious Ways

You’ve heard it before and we will say it again: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But the kicker is, your go-to morning meal should feature nutrients to keep you satiated and satisfied (sugar-laden cereals just won’t cut it). Today, we’re sharing three protein-packed oatmeal recipes that promise to keep you full. It’s a healthy – and delicious – start to the year that belongs in your breakfast rotation. And with three exciting variations to choose from, you’ll never get bored.

Winter Citrus Oatmeal

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2


3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup orange juice, store-bought or freshly squeezed
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1 Tbsp vanilla protein powder (optional)
1 Tbsp hemp seeds, plus more for topping
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup, plus more for topping
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch fine salt
1/2 tsp orange zest
Orange slices, for topping
Blueberry jam, for topping
Chopped pecans, for topping


1. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the almond milk, orange juice, oats, protein powder, hemp seeds and maple syrup.

2. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for an additional five minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla, salt and orange zest. If oatmeal appears thick, add an additional splash of almond milk.

4. Stir in orange slices, blueberry jam, pecans and maple syrup.

Cranberry, Coconut & Chia Oatmeal

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2


1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1 Tbsp vanilla protein powder (optional)
1 Tbsp chia seeds
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup, plus more for topping
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch fine salt
Fresh cranberries, for topping (can substitute dried)
Flaked coconut, for topping
Roasted almonds, for topping
Maple syrup, for serving


1. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the coconut milk, oats, protein powder, chia seeds and maple syrup.

2. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for an additional five minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and salt. If oatmeal appears thick, add an additional splash of coconut milk.

4. Stir in cranberries, coconut, almonds and maple syrup.

Chocolate, Banana & Peanut Butter Oatmeal

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2


1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1 Tbsp vanilla protein powder (optional)
2 Tbsp honey, plus more for topping
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch fine salt
2 Tbsp natural peanut butter
1 banana, sliced
2 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 pinch flaked salt, for topping


1. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the almond milk, oats, protein powder and honey.

2. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for an additional five minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and salt. If oatmeal appears thick, add an additional splash of almond milk.

4. Stir in peanut butter, banana and dark chocolate. Top with flaked salt.

Restore your relationship with breakfast with this vegan apple pie oatmeal bake or these creative chia puddings 3 ways. These 3-ingredient breakfasts will also make mornings a breeze.

Best-Ever Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwich

Packed with all the components of a classic chicken Caesar salad pressed between bread — can you really ask for more? Maybe just a side of fries or salt and vinegar chips, otherwise, nope!


This is my version of a Caesar salad turned delicious sandwich. To really take it to the next level, the ciabatta bread is treated and toasted as garlic bread before all the fixings get layered inside. Garlic and parsley compound butter is generously spread over the bread and toasted under the broiler until crispy and fragrant. Don’t be afraid of colour on the bread…believe in the char! It adds a deeper flavour that goes really well with the smooth avocado and creamy Caesar dressing spread.

This is a great recipe for the grill too. Prepare the components ahead of time, then grill the chicken and the bread and let everyone assemble their own sandwich. If you’ve had it once, I feel like you will be making this again.


Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

For the Caesar dressing spread:
1 clove garlic
2 anchovy fillets
1 egg yolk
3 Tbsp grated parmesan
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and fresh black pepper to taste

For the garlic compound butter:
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cloves garlic, minced finely
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 tsp salt

1lb (454g) boneless skinless chicken breast
Olive oil
Salt and fresh pepper

1 loaf Ciabatta

4 to 6 romaine heart leaves
1 avocado, sliced
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
Shaved or grated parmesan


For the Caesar dressing spread:
1. Place the garlic, anchovy fillets, egg yolk, parmesan, lemon juice, Dijon and Worcestershire into a blender or food processor.
2. Blend until smooth and combined.
3. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while the blender/processor is going to emulsify the oil into the spread.
4. Season with salt and fresh pepper to taste.

For the garlic butter:
1. Combine the softened butter with the garlic, chopped parsley and salt. Set aside.

For the grilled chicken:
1. Slice the chicken into 2 or 3 thin fillets per breast by slicing into it as if you were to butterfly the breast and then just continue to cut through so you have 2 thinner fillets. If the chicken breast is thick enough you can get 3 out of it!
2. Pound each fillet with a mallet until about 1/4 inch thick.
3. Season the fillets on both sides with a generous amount of salt and pepper.
4. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat.
5. Oil the grill and sear the chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through.

For the garlic Ciabatta bread:
1. Heat the broiler on to high and place a rack in the upper third of the oven.
2. Cut the ciabatta open and spread the garlic butter on both halves. Use it all!!
3. Place the buttered ciabatta onto a sheet pan and broil on high for 2-3 minutes until fragrant and slightly charred.

1. Spread the Caesar dressing over the garlic bread.
2. Layer the romaine on the bottom half of the sandwich.
3. Place the grilled chicken on top of the romaine and then top with the sliced avocado, hard boiled eggs, and tons of shaved or grated parmesan. TONS!
4. Top the sandwich with the other half of the garlic bread and cut into 4 servings.

Roasted Root Vegetable Pasta with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

In addition to being packed with protein, fibre, and many other nutrients, this comforting pasta dish requires less than an hour of prep and cooking time from start to finish. Parsnips, beets, carrots and butternut squash are tossed in a mixture of balsamic vinegar, mustard, honey, garlic and spices, and are then roasted to a tender perfection. These hearty veggies pair well with the creaminess of the goat cheese, while the walnuts add a nice crunch to the mix.

Whole-wheat-speghetti-w-roasted-root-veg-061-Edit (1)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Serves: 6

1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon honey
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
1 red onion, cut into chunks
2 cups butternut squash chunks
4 beets, peeled and cut into wedges
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 pound whole-grain spaghetti
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Whisk oil with vinegar, mustard, honey, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. Measure out half and set aside.
  3. Toss remaining with carrots, parsnips, red onion and squash. Arrange on a foil-lined tray. Add beets to the same bowl and toss until evenly coated in the residual oil mixture.
  4. Arrange on one side of the baking sheet. Roast, tossing occasionally, for 45 minutes or until tender.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare spaghetti according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup cooking liquid and drain well.
  6. Toss with reserved oil mixture and as much of the cooking liquid need to achieve desired consistency.
  7. Garnish with goat cheese and walnuts.

3 Perfect Workday Salads

Every morning we’re faced with two nagging thoughts: the first, of course, being “What am I going to wear?”  and the second: “What could I possibly scrounge together for lunch today (that I’m not entirely sick of already)?”

Although we may not be able to help you decide between those two shirts, we can definitely help your morning run a little smoother with three recipes that are bound to help you save time, money and calories.

With a simple list of groceries, you can create our amazing Vegetable Salad with Grapes and Chickpeas, Everything Green Salad, and Strawberry Arugula Salad that are so good, you’ll be looking forward to your lunch all night and morning (even more than you already do).

workday salad

1. For an excellent source of protein, try this Vegetable Salad with Grapes recipe, which includes protein-rich chickpeas.


2. We all know the many health benefits of eating your greens, so why not try this delicious Everything Green Salad recipe. (Note: For a healthier, more efficient option, opt for a store-bought, low-cal creamy salad dressing.)


3. Strawberry Arugula Salad (see recipe below).


Ingredients: (for two servings)
4 strawberries, hulled and cut in half
5 cups baby arugula
¼ cup chopped walnuts
3 Tbsp goat cheese
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp  balsamic vinegar

In a large bowl, mix strawberries, arugula and walnuts. Pour in olive oil and balsamic vinegar and toss. Plate the salad and top with goat cheese.

renee-headshot Renée Reardin is a lifestyle writer and stylist living in Toronto. To learn more about her, visit www.reneereardin.com, and follow her on Twitter @reneereardin.  

No-Cook Stuffed Red Bell Pepper Salad

Fresh and satisfying, stuffed red bell peppers are vibrant to look at and a snap to whip up if you have a food processor. The filling mixture keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days. If preparing in advance, store filling separately; then slice and stuff peppers immediately before eating.


Makes: 4
Total Time: 10 minutes

2 cups almonds
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup water
2 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 green onion (chopped)
1/2 cup mushrooms (chopped)
1/2 cup carrots (shredded)
2 whole red bell peppers (to stuff)

1. To make the filling, process almonds and sunflower seeds in food processor until powder-like.
2. Add water, turmeric and sea salt and process again until mixture forms a smooth paste.
3. Transfer processed ingredients to a large bowl. Add chopped mushrooms, shredded carrots and green onion. Stir gently with a spoon until combined. Filling is now complete.
4. Slice bell peppers in half, remove seeds and stem. Stuff peppers with filling.
5. Enjoy immediately.

100x100_laura-jane-rawtarian Laura-Jane The Rawtarian is a leading creator of simple, satisfying raw vegan recipes.

Chicken Curry Fried Rice Ready in Under 20


My dad is one of those cooks who looks at an empty fridge, claps his hands and can make a meal from almost nothing. With habitual ease, he pulls from the fridge first, then moves to the cupboard, back to the fridge and then to the spice cabinet. The result is always a delicious meal bursting with bold flavours — my dad isn’t one for delicate tastes.

Chicken curry is his ol’ time classic. He rarely repeats any dish he makes, but his curry is one that we always asked for. I’ve taken the basic gist of my dad’s chicken curry and made it my own by turning it into a fried rice dish. Fried rice is something you throw together on a Sunday night when you want to clean out your fridge. I make a version of it almost every week. Also, it’s super easy to shovel into your mouth while sitting in front of the TV watching True Detective intensely.

This chicken curry fried rice is simple and very flavourful. I use coconut milk to get a really nice creamy texture. If you don’t want to buy a whole can — if you won’t end up using it for anything else — feel free to substitute the coconut milk with some whipping cream (35 percent). This recipe calls for lots of curry powder so make sure it’s a kind that you like! Curry powders are all different. Try to find a nice bright yellow one that is mild on the hot scale. Switch out the string beans for cauliflower or even potatoes! Whatever you got in the fridge will work!


Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 18 minutes


2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 red onion, diced finely
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1lb (454g) boneless skinless chicken thighs or breast, cut into 1/2” strips
4 to 5 tablespoons mild yellow curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
200g green string beans, cut into 1” pieces
3 large eggs
3 cups cooked basmati rice
2/3 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
fresh black pepper, to taste

chopped cilantro
plain yogurt
Sriracha, optional



1. Heat the sesame and canola oil over medium heat in a large wok or skillet.
2. Add the diced red onions and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until the onions are translucent and have softened.
3. Stir in the garlic and ginger and continue to sauté for a minute or so until fragrant.
4. Add in the strips of chicken along with the curry powder and salt. Toss to combine.
5. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes until the chicken has cooked through make sure to toss every few minutes so the chicken cooks evenly.
6. Stir in the green beans and cook for about a minute.
7. Push the chicken and green beans to the outside of the wok to create a well in the center. Crack the eggs into the center of that well and scramble using a wood spoon.
8. Scramble for about 2 minutes until the eggs have cooked through. Try not to incorporate any of the chicken or green beans.
9. Once the eggs have been cooked, add the rice and coconut milk and mix everything all together. Be sure to thoroughly mix leaving no rice white! The rice should be a beautiful deep yellow.
10. Stir in the peas and continue cooking for a minute or two.
11. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and season with fresh black pepper.
12. Turn the heat off and spoon a good heap of fried rice into each serving dish.
13. Top with chopped cilantro, a good dollop of cooling yogurt and a drizzle of Sriracha. Enjoy!


100x100_Danielle-Oron Danielle is a chef, bakery owner, and food blogger who thinks she’s Korean, but is actually Israeli. Also, Danielle does not eat like a lady.

Simple Garlic Clams and Breadcrumb Pasta

It was on a night while crewing on a boat for four days that my inspiration for this dish happened. We had limited provisions on board and I was craving some comfort food. I managed to rummage up some pasta, olive oil, garlic powder, a tin of clams and some day-old bread. With these few simple ingredients we tucked in to a meal that was not only a satisfying carb fest, but also a delicious combination of textures and garlickiness. To what did we owe this texture? Breadcrumbs! Breadcrumbs are a fantastic and under-appreciated addition to pastas that I highly recommend.


Simple Garlic Clams and Breadcrumb Pasta

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound linguini
2 shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 tin or 2 pounds pasta clams
pinch crushed red chili flakes
salt and pepper
1/2 cup unseasoned Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped



1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add one tablespoon salt and cook until al dente, about eight minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, add one tablespoon of the extra virgin olive oil and warm over medium heat. Once hot, add half the garlic and fry until just golden, about one minute. Add the breadcrumbs and toast until golden, about two minutes. Transfer breadcrumbs to a plate and set aside.
3. Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, remaining garlic and chili flakes, and stir for one minute. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for five minutes until they begin to burst.
4. Add the clams and one cup of the starchy pasta water. Cover the skillet and cook until the clams open, about five minutes.
5. Drain the pasta and stir into the clams. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Immediately before serving, sprinkle with fresh parsley and toasted breadcrumbs.

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.

Food Trend: Why Gourmet Toast is the New Jam (plus a must-try recipe)

Fancy, trendy, artisanal, hipster, ridiculous… However you want to describe it, toast is quickly becoming the food trend of the year in Canada.

A small cafe in San Francisco, Trouble Coffee and Coconut Club,  is credited with starting the initial ripple of this North American culinary wave, offering good quality bread, toasted and topped with butter and cinnamon. (The story behind the cafe’s owner, Giulietta Carrelli, was documented on the popular podcast, This American Life, and well-worth the listen.)

Sourdough with labneh, roasted hazelnuts and honey at Monogram Coffee

Now all across Canada you can find similar offerings. Independent cafes like Vancouver’s Matchstick Coffee Roasters and Monogram Coffee in Calgary are baking their own breads or partnering with neighbourhood bakeries, slicing the loaves and keeping things basic with butters and preserves or taking it a step further and piling ingredients on top.

I don’t think anyone truly knows why this love of toast has spread so steadily, but it just might have something to do with the fact that it’s one of the first comfort foods most of us can remember. And now we’ve embraced this first food love and transformed it into a grown-up dish.

Kale toast at Monogram Coffee

Here’s how it’s done:

The Bread

You may have already guessed it, but heading to an amazing local bakery in your city is a great way to begin. Sourdough, focaccia, ciabatta, rye, whole grain, hell, even plain white bread that’s locally made is a beautiful thing. All of these different loaves offer different textures (inside and out) and flavours that can go with any toppings.

The Spreadables

Even the best piece of bread needs a little somethin’ somethin’ on it to be truly enjoyed. A delectable spread helps lay the groundwork for just about any of the toppings that your heart desires. Aside from the standard butter, here are some ideas for a good base.

For savoury: garlic aioli, grainy mustard, olive tapenades, Greek yogurt, pesto.

For sweet: cream cheese, labneh, preserves, marzipan, nutella, tahini.

The Toppings

The sky is the limit here, but like any dish you are assembling at home, it’s always good to strive for a balance of flavours and textures. Toast can be an open-faced affair too, so grab some colourful ingredients and make things pop. Here are a few ways to do it:

-Rye with grainy mustard, shaved radishes, shaved fennel, shaved cucumber and crushed almonds
-White bread with garlic aioli, iceberg lettuce, roasted prawns
-Sourdough with labneh, roasted hazelnuts and honey

Or try my personal favourite…


Ciabatta with Sautéed Apples, Bacon and Salted Caramel Recipe

Serves 4 to 5
Total Time: 25 minutes


2 teaspoons canola oil
5 bacon strips (thinly sliced)
1 loaf ciabatta (sliced into 8-10 pieces, approximately 1” thick)
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon creamed honey
2 teaspoons Asian five spice powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
3 Spartan apples (cored, halved and thinly sliced)
Greek yogurt (enough to spread on toast)
½ cup salted caramel sauce (try this easy recipe from Anna Olson here: http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipe/whole-apple-tart-with-salted-caramel-sauce/10875/)


1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
2. Heat oil in a medium pan on medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chopped bacon and cook until very crispy, about 4 to 5 minutes.
3. Remove pan from heat and transfer bacon onto paper towel to absorb any excess grease.
4. Place ciabatta slices onto a large baking sheet. Once the remaining bacon fat in the pan has cooled slightly, brush onto the top of each slice of bread and let bake in the oven until they become crispy and begin to brown slightly, approximately 10 to 12 minutes.
5. Next, heat butter in a large pan on medium-high heat. Once melted, add honey and spices and stir until well-combined. Add in apple slices and cook until tender, stirring regularly, about 6-8 minutes. Keep warm on stove until ready to assemble.
6. Place warm toast on a platter, spread Greek yogurt liberally on each slice, followed by a spoonful of the apple mixture and crispy bacon. Finish with generous drizzles of the salted caramel sauce.

Note: The sautéed apple and bacon combination makes for a great pie or tart filling too!


Dan-Clapson-Avatar Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.

Spicy Fried Shrimp: 1 Dish, 2 Ways

Every time I fry up a batch of shrimp, I vow to make it a regular part of my dinner rotation. They need very little embellishment and will bend to just about any culinary whim. That, on top of the fact that they literally take less than 5 minutes to cook, you really have to wonder why you’re not eating more shrimp.

Like the name implies, I dialed up the heat with these spicy shrimp with a whack of fresh Thai chilis. This is where the dish can really become your own. If you only want a breath of spice, ease into it with one or two chilis and leave out the seeds. On the other hand, if you like to sweat a little while you’re chowing down your food, leave the seeds in and ramp up the chili count to as high as you dare.

For a more subtle version, the Sriracha butter sauce has a mellower heat, as the fat content in the butter transforms the Sriracha into a buffalo wing-like flavor — I particularly like a generous squeeze of fresh lime juice to help brighten it up. Feel free to toss your cooked shrimp right in the bowl, or keep it on the side for dipping.

Both of these spicy shrimp dishes can be eaten with rice, over noodles, in a salad or on their own as an appetizer with a cold drink. Napkins not included.

Cook Time: 5 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 2

Spicy Fried Chili Shrimp

Spicy Fried Shrimp with Thai Chilis

16-20 medium to large shrimp, shell on
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, think sliced
3 green onions, chopped
3-4 Thai chilis (more or less, depending on how spicy you like it)

1. Rinse and pat shrimp dry. In a large saucepan or wok, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add ginger and garlic and stir constantly, being extra careful not to burn the garlic, about 1 mi-nute.
2. Add shrimp and chilis and stir fry until almost cooked, about 4 minutes.
3. Add green onions and cook for another 30 seconds.


Spicy Shrimp with Sriracha Butter

16-20 medium to large shrimp, shell on
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup butter
1 cup Sriracha
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp salt
½ tsp sugar

1. Rinse and pat shrimp dry. In a large saucepan or wok, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add ginger and garlic and stir constantly, being extra careful not to burn the garlic, about 1 mi-nute.
2. Add shrimp and stir fry until almost cooked, about 4-5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile in a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat.
4. Combine Sriracha, lime juice, salt and sugar in a blender and whiz for about 30 seconds, slowly adding the melted butter.
5. Toss in a large bowl with cooked shrimp or keep on the side as a spicy dipping sauce.

BonnieMo Bonnie Mo is a Toronto-based editor and the face behind Food Network Canada’s 1 Dish, 2 Ways column. She’s also a contributing editor over at slice.ca. For more recipe ideas, visit bonniemo.ca, or catch her on Instagram @bonniemo.

Pesto Pizza with Mushrooms and Smoked Gouda

Delicious fresh pesto, juicy mushrooms, savoury red onion, finished off with the smokey flavour of creamy smoked gouda. A pizza that not only looks great, but tastes awesome too!


Pesto Pizza with Red Onions, Mushrooms and Smoked Gouda

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Serves: 3


No-Knead Pizza Dough:
250g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
? teaspoon active dry yeast
180ml water

Pizza Toppings:

Red onion
Smoked gouda cheese


1. In a bowl, combine dry ingredients, slowly mix in water while stirring with a wooden spoon.
2. Once dough begins to form, work it into a roughly shaped ball with your hands, leaving it in the bowl, and covering with plastic wrap.
3. Allow dough to rise at room temperature for around 18 hours or until doubled inside.
4. After 18 hours, remove dough from bowl and place on a floured work surface.
5. Cut the dough into three even pieces for personal sized pizzas.
6. Knead each piece of dough into a ball and allow to rise for another hour covered with a damp towel, or wrapped in plastic wrap. If you won’t be using all the dough right away, refrigerate it, and remove it from the fridge 1 to 2 hours before cooking allowing it to warm to room temperature.
7. While dough is resting, if using a pizza stone, place it in the cold oven and turn the heat to 500F (or as close to that heat as possible), allowing the oven to heat for about an hour.
8. If you don’t have a pizza stone, arrange the pizza dough on a baking sheet, and just preheat the oven to 500 to 550F.
9. Once the dough has finished resting, on a floured surface, stretch it thinly to your preference (without breaking the dough).
10. Spread pesto on the dough, top with sliced mushrooms, red onions, and slices or shredded smoked gouda.
11. If using a baking sheet, bake at 500 to 550°F, or if using a pizza stone turn your oven to broil, and cook the pizza for 5 to 10 minutes until desired doneness.

100x100_BS Carlene and Bob Deutscher are the dynamic sibling duo behind BS’ in the Kitchen. While Carlene leans towards the sweeter side of things, baking up delicious desserts, you can count on Bob to cook up something savoury! Aside from blogging on BS’ in the Kitchen, Carlene works in marketing & communications, and sidelines as a lifestyle & wedding photographer, while Bob operates his own media company, with a focus on food photography, and videography!

Carlene and Bob Deutscher are part of the Lifestyle Blog Network family.


1 Dish, 2 Ways: Easy No-Bake Weeknight Lasagna

In these final halcyon days of winter, I’ve mentally set fire to my coat and am two seconds away from dragging the BBQ out of the garage and starting an herb garden. And while these extended sunny evenings don’t exactly put me in the mood for cranking up the oven, I’m not quite ready to give up comfort food just yet.

Enter the no-bake lasagna. This dish boasts all the flavours of this heartwarming dish —homemade tomato sauce, melty cheese and succulent ground beef — in a fraction of the time.

While there’s no shame in simply breaking up plain old lasagna noodles for this recipe, I opted for prettily-shaped fiorelli pasta, which has lovely petal-like edges that not only reminded me of lasagne noodles, but expertly capture the sauce.

The best part of this dish is that you can stretch your leftovers to make a killer soup. A spoonful of ricotta on top is an unexpected topping that mimics the richness of your typical baked variety and the beefy tomato broth helps satisfy your inner cold-weather soup addict.

So go ahead and embrace winter just a little longer.


Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Serving Size: 6


For the sauce:
1 can, San Marzano tomatoes
1 Spanish onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 large fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the lasagne:
3/4 package fiorelli pasta
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 yellow onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons, olive oil
kosher salt, to taste
fresh ground pepper, to taste

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup spinach, chopped
1/2 cup ricotta

For the soup:
All of the above ingredients, plus…
6 cups beef broth
1 cup homemade tomato sauce (see above)
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Directions for No-Bake Lasagna:

1. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sweat onions and garlic until onions are translucent, about five minutes.
2. Add canned tomatoes and gently stir, being careful not to break the tomatoes (it can make them bitter). Stir occasionally. Let simmer for at least 30 minutes. Add basil and puree with immersion blender. Set aside.
3. In a large skillet, add olive oil, onions and garlic and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, letting the oil get infused with the flavours. Add ground beef and break up with a wooden spoon. Cook until there is no more red in the ground beef, about 12 minutes. Drain fat from beef.
4. Ladle prepared tomato sauce into skillet with the beef and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Add cooked noodles directly to skillet and stir to combine. Stir in tomatoes, spinach and gently stir.
5. Serve in individual bowls and garnish with a spoonful of ricotta, grated mozzarella and basil.


Directions for Lasagna Soup:

1. Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. In a large saucepan, bring broth and tomato-ground beef sauce to a boil.
3. Add cooked noodles and stir. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a spoonful of ricotta, grated mozzarella and basil.

BonnieMo Bonnie Mo is a Toronto-based editor and the face behind Food Network Canada’s 1 Dish, 2 Ways column. She’s also a contributing editor over at slice.ca. For more recipe ideas, visit bonniemo.ca, or catch her on Instagram @bonniemo

BS’ in the Kitchen’s Chicken and Dumplings

So I’ve been thinking, rather than trying to cook things off the top of my head, throwing this and that together, I should pick a few recipes to try cooking each week from magazines, blogs, and cookbooks. I’m hoping it not only gets me cooking with different ingredients, but just gets me cooking more in general! I have been eating too many sandwiches for supper lately…

To start it off, gracing the cover of the February issue of Bon Appetit is a delicious looking meal of Chicken & Dumplings, something I have never cooked before. Since I had all the ingredients on hand, I thought it would be the perfect start! But I quickly realized that the last step calls for 2.5 hours of simmering and seeing as I’m cooking for myself, I can’t possibly dedicate that much time to my supper. So naturally, I made a few modifications and put the whole process on fast forward. Of course, it was still delicious, but if you really want to develop those flavours, follow the full Bon Appetit recipe, simmering and all!


Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Serves: 2-4


3 slices of bacon
1/4 cup flour
4 small chicken thighs
Salt & pepper
2 handfuls mushroom
1/2 a medium yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
4 cups chicken broth


1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Pinch of ground pepper
1 large egg
1/8 cup whole milk



1. In a deep pan on medium heat, cook bacon until crisped. Remove to paper towel lined plate.
2. Season chicken thighs with salt & pepper, toss in a bowl with flour, dredging the chicken. On medium heat, cook the chicken skin side down until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. Flip and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Remove chicken from pan.
3. Add chopped mushrooms to pan, cooking until beginning to soften, about 5-7 minutes. Add chopped onion, cooking until onion is soft and translucent.
4. Add crushed garlic to pan with mushrooms and onions, cooking for about 2-3 minutes until beginning to brown, but not burning.
5. Add wine, broth, thyme, bay leaf, and place chicken thighs, skin up, back in the pan. Simmer on just above medium heat.
6. While liquid is working towards a simmer, prepare dumplings. In a bowl, combine dumpling ingredients, mixing together to form a slightly lumpy batter.
7. Once broth is simmering, add in teaspoon-sized bits of dumpling batter, cooking until they have doubled in size, about five minutes. If you don’t have enough room for all the dumplings, remove the cooked ones with a slotted spoon, and prepare the rest.
8. Once your dumplings have been made, and the liquid is thickening up, place the whole pan in the oven and broil for about 5-7 minutes, until the chicken skin gets crispy again.
9. Remove from oven and serve!

100x100_BS Carlene and Bob Deutscher are the dynamic sibling duo behind BS’ in the Kitchen. While Carlene leans towards the sweeter side of things, baking up delicious desserts, you can count on Bob to cook up something savoury! Aside from blogging on BS’ in the Kitchen, Carlene works in marketing & communications, and sidelines as a lifestyle & wedding photographer, while Bob operates his own media company, with a focus on food photography, and videography! Carlene and Bob Deutscher are part of the Lifestyle Blog Network family.


BS’ in the Kitchen: Rustic Italian Pizza

Along with my insatiable desire for pizza, these posts were also motivated by my insatiable desire for food props and new photography equipment, and I just had to test everything out. Wanting to try a couple different styles, I went about making three different pizzas (you can find the other two recipes here), for three different styles of photos, all of which I am very happy with!

Now let’s get to the good part—pizza!


Rustic Italian Pizza

Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Serves: 2


No-Knead Dough
(makes 3 10 to 12-inch pizzas)

3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
11/2 cups water


2 Italian sausage (cooked)
2-3 slices Bacon (cooked & chopped)
3-4 Tablespoons pizza sauce
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup cheddar cheese
4 Brussels sprouts (thinly sliced)
1 carrot (shaved into ribbons)
1/4 large red onion (sliced)
1 tomato (sliced, seeds removed)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 Tablespoon dried oregano
Red wine vinegar
Olive oil



No-Knead Dough

  1. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, slowly add the water, whisking until ingredients are well combined. Gently mix the dough with your hands until a ball is formed.
  2. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, allowing the dough to rest at room temperature for around 18 hours, or until it roughly doubles in size.
  3. Once dough has rested, cut into 3 portions. On a floured work surface, gather 4 corners to the center of the dough, creating 4 folds.
  4. Place seam side down, gently form dough into a ball, dust with flour, wrap in plastic, or cover with damp towel and let rest for 1 hour. If storing in the fridge, lightly coat ball of dough with oil, and wrap in plastic wrap, taking dough out of the fridge at least an hour before using for pizza.
  5. Before cooking the pizza, turn oven to its hottest setting (500°F), allowing to preheat for 1 hour. If using a pizza stone, place it in the oven before preheating.
  6. To form the discs, flour whatever surface you will be transferring the pizza into the oven with (I use a large pizza paddle). Using the back of your hands, gently stretch the dough into 10-12 inch discs, then place toppings on pizza.
  7. If using pizza stone, place pizza on the stone, turn the oven to broil, and bake for 5-7 minutes until pizza is cooked to your liking.
  8. If you don’t have a pizza stone, place pizza on a floured baking sheet, and cook for about 10 minutes on the oven’s hottest setting.


  1. In a bowl, combine sliced Brussels sprouts, ribbons of carrot, red onion, oregano and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and a bit of red wine vinaigrette, followed by salt & pepper to taste, toss to coat.
  2. Once pizza dough is formed, spread on an even coating of pizza sauce, followed by chopped bacon, along with a little bit of cheddar and mozzarella cheese.
  3. Spread brussel sprouts, onion, and garlic mixture onto pizza, then top with sliced Italian sausage, tomato, and the rest of the cheese.
  4. Bake according to directions above.
  5. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

100x100_BS Carlene and Bob Deutscher are the dynamic sibling duo behind BS’ in the Kitchen. While Carlene leans towards the sweeter side of things, baking up delicious desserts, you can count on Bob to cook up something savoury! Aside from blogging on BS’ in the Kitchen, Carlene works in marketing & communications, and sidelines as a lifestyle & wedding photographer, while Bob operates his own media company, with a focus on food photography, and videography!

Carlene and Bob Deutscher are part of the Lifestyle Blog Network family.


Top 14 Lasagna Recipes


On July 29th we celebrate National Lasagna Day—an entire day dedicated to the layers of tender pasta, hearty meat and lots of cheese, all baked to perfection. There are many variations of this indulgent comfort food; whether it’s a classic pasta-filled dish, or a healthy, vegetarian version, pick your favourite and get cooking tonight!

Butter Chicken Lasagna & Autumn Lasagna with Chicken, Squash and Sage


Lasagna Grilled Cheese & Gluten-Free Spinach Lasagna


Homestyle Mushroom Lasagna & Lobster Lasagna Di Carnevale


Blue Cheese Lasagna & Chicken Fajita Lasagna


Lasagna Roll-Ups & Bolognese Lasagna


Vegetable Lasagna with Homemade Pasta and Jalapeno Bechamel & Creamy Seafood Lasagna with Herbs from DFC


Prairie Harvest Lasagna & Pasta-less Eggplant Lasagna




Top 7 Alternatives to Chicken


chicken alternatives

People LOVE chicken. Need proof? Chicken it is THE top searched term of all time here at Foodnetwork.ca!

But the price of chicken has skyrocketed recently due to the devastating drought in the States, which has wiped out 1/6 of the country’s corn crop.

Corn, my friends, makes up 70 per cent of chicken feed. Farmers are paying more for chicken feed, which means we’re paying more for chicken—a lot more.

But fear not chicken-lovers, here are some tasty meat (and a few veggie) alternatives to your favourite white meat that’s easier on your wallet!

1. Pork shoulder: the picnic roast and the Boston butt are some of the least expensive cuts of pork you can buy.
Try: Cider-Braised Pork Shoulder with Apples or Southwestern Pork Stew

2. Ground turkey: ground meat in general is fairly inexpensive, plus you can never go wrong with a burger!
Try: Turkey Burger with Potato Salad or Turkey Mini Meatloaves

3. Flank Steak: put some flanks in a marinade over night and throw them on the grill for a perfect Sunday dinner.
Try: Wine Marinated Flank Steak or Flank Steak Fajita

4. Lamb shank: since one lamb shank can be used as a single serving, find out how many people you’ll be serving, and braising those bad boys ahead of time will be a cinch!
Try: Braised Lamb Shank Shepherds Pie with Sweet Potato Mash or Michael Smith’s Braised Lamb Shanks

5. Beef Brisket: untrimmed beef brisket is one of the most inexpensive cuts of meat you can buy—just cook it low and slow for a delicious end result.
Try: Southern Style BBQ Beef Brisket with Rice and Snap Peas or Brisket Sandwich

6. Sausage and Chickpeas: sausages are always a popular economical meat option, throw in some chick peas, and you’ve got a hearty meal that’s sure to satisfy.
Try: Chickpeas with Chorizo SausageSausage and Rice Frittata or Chickpea Sandwich

7. Tofu: Here’s a quick and tasty dish that celebrates the flavours of Szechuan made of tofu and a little bit of pork.
Try: Mapo Tofu or Chili and Tamari-Marinated Tofu and Soba Noodle Salad



Summer BBQ: All About Rubs and Marinades

Sweet Spicy Pork Chop

We all look forward to summer and the warmer weather… and also getting out the grill! Using rubs and marinades is one of the best ways to maximize the flavours of meats and proteins. There are tons of herbs and condiments to infuse into rubs and marinades; executive Chef Tawfik Shehata of The International Centre shares his favourite recipes for grilling season. Chef Shehata combines many ingredients (sometimes unconventional ones like tea or coffee) to create flavourful infusions that can be used on a wide variety of meats, perfect for grilling. Although rubs and marinades are similar in that they add more flavour, they’re actually quite different. Chef Shehata created four delicious recipes for the grill (2 marinades and 2 rubs) that you’ll definitely be adding to your BBQ line-up. If you want to achieve perfect grill marks, you don’t have to venture outdoors; opt to stay indoors and use a cast-iron, portable grill like STAUB’s Square American Grill — suitable for all cook tops for year-round grilling!

Rubs add flavour and colour without overpowering the meat or protein’s natural taste. Common spices used in rubs are cayenne, chili powder, paprika, and cumin. It’s important to find a good balance between mild and strong flavours and spices to ensure the rub isn’t too overpowering. When using spicy ingredients like chili powders, be sure to mix it with a mild paprika or brown sugar to tone down the level of heat. Adding coffee or loose-leaf tea to a rub is a popular way to boost flavour and variety to your grilled meats. Chef Shehata blends the tea, Lapsang Souchong Star from DAVIDsTEA with smoked Spanish paprika, chipotle chili powder and onion powder, for his Smoked Tea-Rubbed Duck Breast to create a delicious wood-smoked flavour. Chef Shehata also combines coffee with spicy cayenne, ancho chile and dark brown sugar, for his perfectly balanced Sweet & Spicy Rubbed Pork Chop.

A marinade not only enhances the taste of protein, but tenderizes it as well. A marinade differs from a rub in that it can be used on the meat hours (or even days) prior to grilling, to maximize the taste. Marinades are ideal for tougher cuts of meat to create a more tender texture. Marinades also provide protection from high heat, making it an ideal seasoning method for grilling. Chef Shehata adds oil to his combination of dry ingredients in order to create a smooth consistency. Spice level is also something to note when creating a marinade, as it’s easy to spoil the recipe with too much heat. Chef Shehata says that a marinade should lose some of its heat when cooked, so not to worry if it ends up being too spicy when made. Incorporating a tasty hot sauce, like Sriracha, is also a great way to add some flavourful heat. These Stout and Sriracha-Marinated Beef Skewers and Jerk Chicken Marinade are sure to please the spicy food lover!