Spring Pastel M&M’s Cookies

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I have a bit of an obsession with limited-edition holiday-themed snack foods. Spotting Pumpkin Spice Oreos or Snowflake Ritz Crackers at the grocery store definitely makes my heart beat a little faster.

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So when I came across Spring Pastel M&M’s in the candy aisle a few weeks ago, I couldn’t help myself. I knew they’d would make cute cookies for Easter, so I threw a bag into the cart when Adrian wasn’t looking and hid them away until the snow (finally) melted.

M&M’s are  an excellent cookie mix-in because they don’t melt or burn easily, the colours are really fun, and they’re not too sweet in small quantities.

Use a stand mixer (or handheld mixer) to cream the butter and sugars, and take your time — spending several minutes on this step helps ensure that your dough is well-aerated, which will help you achieve a great texture in your final cookie.

A note: this recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies, which is adapted from Ashley Rodriguez’s original recipe. It’s my favourite cookie recipe and never lets me down. If you’ve never had a salted chocolate chip cookie, the idea of sprinkling salt on top may sound a bit weird, but don’t skip it; I promise the end result is delicious. Continue reading “Spring Pastel M&M’s Cookies”

Slow Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowls

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Confession time: if left to my own devices, I would eat burrito bowls every day of the week. There’s just something about the combination of flavours and textures that you get from a burrito bowl that keeps me coming back. Besides, I always make sure to load it up with lots of vegetables, so I don’t feel too badly about all the sour cream and cheese.

I love any excuse to pull out my slow cooker and have it do the work for me. This is a great meal prep recipe to tackle on the weekend and enjoy all week. You can use this chicken in a variety of ways — stirred into pastas, added to salads or sandwiches, or whatever you prefer. What I prefer is a burrito bowl heaped high with toppings that makes lunchtime more exciting, so here’s how to make that: Continue reading “Slow Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowls”

Fancy Weeknight Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts

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A few years ago, I had some people from work over to my house for dinner. I was worried about what to serve — I wanted something that seemed fancy, tasted good, and could be assembled easily in just a few minutes, preferably while drinking a glass of wine or two. After a series of increasingly complex Google searches (“what can I serve to my colleagues so they’ll think that I’m a good cook and won’t secretly judge me?”), I settled on tomato and goat cheese tarts. They vanished as soon as I put them on the table, and I’ve had this recipe in my back pocket ever since.

This is an Ina Garten recipe, and while I would never pretend to improve upon the Barefoot Contessa’s work, I did make a few changes to suit my own tastes. First, I cut the individual tarts into rectangles, rather than circles — it seemed easier to manage, and I didn’t have to waste any pastry dough this way. It was wintertime, so I used tiny, flavourful grape tomatoes rather than a large watery one. And finally, I followed my sister’s recipe for beer and honey onion jam instead of cooking them in wine. Okay, fine, I made tons of changes to Ina’s recipe, but sometimes you have to make a recipe work for you, rather than go out of your way to follow it perfectly.

There are two parts to this recipe: the onion jam and the tarts themselves. There are a few steps, but I promise this is easy and totally doable with minimal grocery shopping. The onion jam can also be prepared a few days in advance to speed up the process on the night of your party. Continue reading “Fancy Weeknight Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts”

Squash Soup for the Shortest Day of the Year

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December feels like it has flown by. I’m leaving town for the holidays tomorrow morning and there’s still so much to do — baking, packing, and assorted errands that somehow get edited out of Christmas movie montages, like getting new keys cut or going to the dentist. (That scene didn’t make it into The Holiday, for some reason …)

It’s also freezing in Toronto, which adds a layer of complication to running errands. I keep arriving home covered in slush and frozen to the core, and I have a craving for soup that cannot be denied. I’m also trying to use up all the food in the house before I leave, so I set out to make a version of my mom’s Thanksgiving squash soup that would use up all my orange vegetables and up my vitamin count before I spend a week in a house with ten other people.

I was not disappointed by the resulting soup. It requires some prep work, but the end result is so worth it. It’s so easy, keeps well, and reheats like a dream. You can freeze leftovers, if you have any, and eat soup anytime you like. Besides, it’ll be dark out by 4pm today. What else are you going to do? Continue reading “Squash Soup for the Shortest Day of the Year”