Slow Cooker Nuts and Bolts

Nuts and bolts are a holiday cocktail party staple, we can’t imagine the season without them. It’s fun to experiment with different flavours — sweet, spicy, curried — but we also like sticking to this classic, dressed with Worcestershire and plenty of butter. Since our ovens are usually full of cookies, flaky appetizers and other goodies over the holidays, we like turning to the slow cooker to take care of the nuts and bolts. You have to be around to stir the mixture so it doesn’t catch on the bottom of the crock, but they do cook up fairly quickly (compared to other slow cooker recipes at least).

This recipe appears in our book The Family Slow Cooker (which also includes a sweet snack mix) and can be easily adapted to use up whatever cereal or crispy snacks you may have on hand. We often leave out the peanuts out for friends who may have allergies and to keep the mix school safe. Read More

Olive Cheese Balls

There are some recipes that are so essential to individual families’ holidays that the thought of doing Christmas without them is just unfathomable. In Elizabeth’s family, that recipe is for Olive Cheese Balls — little puffs of cheesy shortbread wrapped around green pimento-stuffed olives. Elizabeth’s mom always made them for her annual Boxing Day party and now Elizabeth makes them for her own early December open house to kick off the season.

These were a staple in the ’70s (when Elizabeth’s mom would have first discovered them) — there is indeed a version called Olive Cheese Balls in the very first Best of Bridge cookbook. The original ladies called them Olive Cheese Puffs and suggested using gherkins or cocktail onions in place of the olives and spicing things up with a half teaspoon of paprika (a little bit of cayenne would also work). Whichever way you go, these freeze beautifully — freeze them after they’ve been fully baked and then reheat them until the dough softens up and the olives inside are warm. Read More

Baked Camembert with Herbs & Honey

During the summer months, I’m all about easy appetizers that can be pulled together in a minute and a half and brought out to the patio with a cold bottle of rosé. Cheese is almost always my go-to, and we have so many amazing Canadian cheeses to choose from. I’ve even been known to slide a small wheel of Brie or Camembert into the oven while it’s hot for us to nosh on with a chunk of baguette and plate of charcuterie for dinner al fresco. It’s real fast food.

I thought of this because of the abundance of herbs currently in my garden – you don’t need a recipe so much as an easy formula: slice the top off a small wheel of Camembert or Brie, put it into any sort of ramekin or heat proof dish, top with a few sprigs of fresh herbs (like rosemary and thyme), a drizzle of oil and a good grinding of black pepper.

Slide it into the oven (or onto the back shelf of the barbecue, where you keep buns and such warm) until it’s gooey, and serve with crusty bread, tiny potatoes, or really anything you might eat with cheese. It’s even amazing as a side with a grilled steak. It’s easy being cheesy!

Curried Dal Dip

Dal Dip

It’s Super Bowl weekend, which means many of us will be snacking on the couch, and offerings in the chip and snack aisles have doubled. But snacking doesn’t have to be unhealthy – there are plenty of dips out there that aren’t based on mayo, sour cream and cheese (not that there’s anything wrong with that…) – hummus is perhaps the most familiar, but you can in fact make dips out of other pulses, too. Read More

Sticky Honey-Garlic Chicken Drumsticks

sticky-drumsticks

Chicken drumsticks are my son’s favourite – and if I’m honest, I secretly love them too. They’re inexpensive, perfect for eating with your fingers, and are like a meatier version of chicken wings – more meat, less skin, but still wonderfully, finger-lickin’ sticky. I recently tried a version with honey and garlic – my favourite style of chicken wing – and they were a dinnertime hit.

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Bacon Jam

bacon-jam

We love a good bacon jam — it’s so easy to make in the slow cooker. Make a batch over the holidays and serve it with baguette slices as an easy party food and then spread the leftovers on a flatbread crust for a pre-Christmas pizza night. Read More