No-knead Pizza Dough

It’s back-to-school time, when schedules tighten up and there’s suddenly less time to get dinner on the table, but I have good news for you: the no-knead bread that took over the internet a few years ago also makes amazing pizza dough. You can mix it up the night before, and make pizza in minutes when everyone gets home and is ready to eat.

It makes for a wonderfully chewy, bulbous pizza crust – the dough itself is fairly sticky, so use flour to keep it from sticking to your fingers, and parchment or a silpat mat on your baking sheet, unless you have a pizza stone to cook it on.

No-knead Pizza Dough
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting (or use whole wheat, or half and half)
  2. 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast (instant or regular)
  3. 1 tsp. salt
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl stir together the flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 1/2 cups of water, and stir until blended; the dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover the bowl with a plate or plastic wrap and let it rest on the countertop for 18-24 hours at room temperature.
  2. After that time the surface of the dough will be dotted with bubbles. Generously flour a work surface and scrape the mixture out onto it, gently folding it over itself once or twice, then transfer to a rimmed baking sheet that has been sprinkled with flour or cornmeal. Spread it out with your fingertips until it's a rough oval or rectangle (you may need to sprinkle the top with a little flour too, to keep it from sticking to your fingers), and set it aside while you get your toppings together and preheat the oven to 450°F.
  3. Spread the crust with tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, pesto or anything else you'd like to sauce it with, then top with your choice of toppings and grated cheese.
  4. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until bubbly and golden.
The Best of Bridge http://www.bestofbridge.com/

Best of Bridge Hamburger Soup Slow Cooker Style

Best of Bridge Hamburger
This slow cooker version of one of the most popular Bridge recipes of all time is just as easy and just as delicious as the classic. And (sacrilege!) we’ve phased out the can of cream of tomato soup. But not to worry, we’ve also included instructions on doing it the much loved, old-fashioned way if you’d still like to use the  tomato soup. 

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Almond and Cherry Granola

Almond and Cherry Granola
Slow cooking makes it easier to avoid burnt granola than with traditional oven versions
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup whole almonds 250 mL
  2. 5 cups large-flake (old-fashioned) rolled oats 1.25 L
  3. 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 250 mL
  4. 1⁄2 cup packed brown sugar 125 mL
  5. 1⁄4 tsp salt 1 mL
  6. 1⁄4 cup butter 60 mL
  7. 1 tbsp vanilla 15 mL
  8. Nonstick cooking spray
  9. 1 cup dried tart cherries 250 mL
Instructions
  1. Coarsely chop almonds, aiming to cut each almond into only 2 or 3 pieces (so they won’t burn as easily).
  2. In a large bowl, combine almonds, oats and coconut. In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together brown sugar, salt and butter. Bring just to a boil, then remove from heat and let cool for 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Drizzle butter mixture over oat mixture, tossing until everything is well combined and evenly coated.
  3. Spray the bowl of a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Pour in the oat mixture. Cover and cook on high for 30 to 60 minutes or until granola is hot throughout. Stir and cook, uncovered, on high for 1 to 11⁄2 hours, stirring every so often so the edges don’t get too brown. Toward the end of the cooking time, you’ll need to stir more often. Once everything is a couple of shades darker, stir in cherries. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and let cool completely. Store in a glass jar at room temperature for a few weeks. Makes about 8 cups (2 L).
Notes
  1. Tip: The granola will toast a little faster if you push it up against the side of the slow cooker, leaving a well in the middle.
  2. Variations: Granola adapts well to almost endless variations. Try pecan halves or whole hazelnuts in place of the almonds, or other dried fruits, such as cranberries or chopped dried apricots, instead of the tart cherries. You can even add chunks of dark chocolate to the finished (and completely cooled) granola.
  3. “A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money. Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns into wine, something Brussels sprouts never do.”
  4. — P. J. O’Rourke
The Best of Bridge http://www.bestofbridge.com/

Hoisin Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Hoisin Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  2. 2 to 3 green onions, chopped
  3. 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
  4. 1 garlic clove, crushed
  5. 2 tsp grated fresh ginger 10 mL
  6. 1⁄2 cup hoisin sauce 125 mL
  7. Butter or leaf lettuce leaves
Instructions
  1. Combine chicken, green onions, red pepper, garlic, ginger and hoisin sauce in the bowl of a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours or until chicken is very tender.
  3. Shred the chicken with two forks. Serve in a bowl, with lettuce leaves alongside to fill, wrap and eat.
Notes
  1. Serves 4 to 6
  2. Variation
  3. Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps: Ditch the ginger and swap 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) Buffalo-style hot pepper sauce (such as Frank’s RedHot) and 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) butter for the hoisin sauce.
The Best of Bridge http://www.bestofbridge.com/

Watermelon Salsa

Watermelon-Salsa

In case you haven’t tried it, finely chopped watermelon is a great addition to salsa – juicy, crunchy, slightly sweet; a refreshing contrast to the chilies, black beans, corn and spice. It tames the heat, and lightens it – it’s a great way to use up that enormous watermelon that might be taking up space in your fridge or on your kitchen counter. Serve it with tortilla chips or over grilled chicken or fish.

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Nicole Gomes’ Apple Beer Mac & Cheese

mac & cheese
For the 2016 edition of the Grate Canadian Cheese Cook-Off, our friend Chef Nicole Gomes was one of four of Canada’s top chefs to battle it out with their best gourmet Mac & Cheese recipe. The contenders all look amazing, but we gave Nicole’s a try – a 5 cheese version made with a splash of beer and a unique twist: grated apples, sauteed in butter. It was delicious, of course, and fed the family very well tonight. Thanks Nicole – and thanks Canadian cheese!

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