The monthly Canadian Living "Make It Tonight" feature helps get you through a busy week by providing recipes you can prepare in advance. Enjoy five carefree evenings with these preplanned menus. We choose the meals and test the recipes; you make sure they get on the table. Easy enough? Here are five more recipes to ease you through the dinner hour PLUS our sweet of the month and our side of the month.
Want to fall in love with cooking? Food and entertaining guru Camille Moore shares her devotion for doing things the long way.
As a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and the culinary expert on CTV's The Social, Camille Moore is passionate about cooking from scratch and helping others find their groove in the kitchen. Like that of Julia Child, her idol while growing up, Moore's enthusiasm is infectious. Her bubbly personality, combined with mad food-prep skills and easygoing recipes, energizes TV viewers to head straight for the fridge, grab whatever's on hand and start creating!
The youngest of four children, Moore fondly remembers spending much of her youth in the kitchen—her childhood playground—cooking for fun. In her early 20s, she began modelling, travelling to Europe and the U.S. for runway shows and photo shoots. But she continued to immerse herself in cooking, and word of her talent spread among friends. That's how, when pondering her next career move, she was asked to cater a party for 60 people as a one-off. Moore immediately said yes, and the event became a turning point—she realized she could take her love of food and cooking for others seriously and make a go of it.
Five years ago, Moore received her Le Cordon Bleu diploma and returned home to Toronto, where she did catering, dabbled in recipe development and even cooked for celebrity chefs' private functions. Since 2013, she has been passing on her culinary skills and inspiring viewers on The Social.
Both in everyday life and when it comes to her cooking philosophy, Moore likes to take a chance, seize the moment and create it herself. Here, she dishes on simple ways to get comfy in the kitchen.
Canadian Living: How do you avoid becoming overwhelmed when cooking for a special occasion? Camille Moore: Keep it real! You want to enjoy the evening as much as your guests, and entertaining doesn't mean extravagant or difficult; good food can be simply prepared. Focus on doing one thing well. Take tacos—they're unpretentious yet delicious, and everyone loves them. The key is to go the extra mile and source good-quality, authentic ingredients (check out Moore's recipe for Chili Chicken Tacos With Mango Slaw). And remember, a great night isn't just about the food—it's the whole experience that counts. Even if it's a casual evening, don't be afraid to use the good dishes or some special treasure that's usually tucked away. I like to mix old with new. I use an antique crystal carafe with a silver stopper as a water jug. Half the pleasure of eating comes from the beauty of how it's served; it shows your guests they're worth the effort.
CL: You spend your days creating recipes. Do you always follow them? CM: I like to think of cooking as a conversation. Don't be afraid to change the recipe if you feel inspired in the moment—or to use what you have in the fridge! The best part of cooking is experimenting; it's how you learn. Once you get comfortable with a dish, swap out a few ingredients. Start with small changes: Try spices or fresh ingredients that are similar in taste and texture to whatever you're replacing. And if it doesn't work, that's OK. There's nothing like a good kitchen flop to make you figure out what you'd do differently the next time.
CL: What's your best advice for choosing kitchen equipment? CM: Take your time and invest in the right tools. Whether it's pots and pans or knives, buy individual items instead of full sets—test-drive what works for you. Like fashion, choose good-quality pieces that will last a long time. You might find you like a variety of brands for different tasks. I recommend starting with three sizes of knives: a chef 's knife for daily chores such as chopping, slicing and dicing; a paring knife for precision tasks and preparing small veggies and fruit; and a bread knife. A serrated blade is essential for breads, but it's also great for cutting tomatoes, oranges and grapefruit. As for pots and pans, begin with one large saucepan with a lid and heavy bottom. And head straight to cast-iron for frying. It's relatively inexpensive and will never let you down! I love how it can go straight from the stovetop to the oven. And because it's so thick and heavy, the pan really holds the heat and puts the best crust on meat or fish when you're searing.
Planning a picnic or family barbecue anytime soon? Give yourself one less thing to worry about and go for one of our easy pasta salad recipes. It's sure to be a hit!
Pasta salads are great to make ahead, and are absolute tops for large groups. They also take the cake for being an extremely versatile dish – with a host of added ingredients, toppings and dressings, simple pasta salads can go from humble side to star entrée in no time.
We asked Test Kitchen food specialist Amanda Barnier to share some top tips for preparing pasta salads, and why they're a crowd favourite. Here's what she had to share:
Pasta salads: the perfect make-ahead dish
"Pasta salads can easily be prepped in advance and can feed a crowd with little effort," Amanda says. "It can be made in advance and cooled immediately after cooking."
One important tip to remember, she adds, is to "add dressing the day it's being served, because it will quickly absorb the dressing."
Pasta salad favourites
"I like using cheese filled tortellini for a hearty salad. Soba and rice noodles are great with Asian dressings, whole grain and coloured pastas," Amanda says.
How to store pasta salads
"Keep salads well wrapped and refrigerated," she says. "Salad has the same storage life as its ingredients. Seafood is best eaten within 2 days, and chicken (within) 2 to 3 days. If traveling, be sure to store pasta salads in coolers packed with lots of ice."
"Proteins should not be within 4 C and 60 C for longer than a four hour period," she adds.
The long and short of it: best pasta shapes
"Short shapes are best with vinaigrettes and creamy dressings, and chunky ingredients such as chopped vegetables and beans," Amanda says.
"Long pasta shapes are better used with thinly sliced vegetables, proteins, herbs, spices and vinaigrettes."
Tips for making pasta salad
"If making a pasta salad in advance, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process and drain well," she advises. "Add dressing just prior to serving. Pasta quickly absorbs liquids; if the dressing is added too soon, the pasta will absorb it."
So whether you prefer chunky pasta salads with a cool, creamy dressing perfect for summer picnics, or entrée-worthy pasta salads with long rice noodles and a tangy vinaigrette, you're sure to find a new favourite with from our collection.
Mediterranean Orzo Salad
This salad highlights many fresh flavours of the Mediterranean and is at its best when made with good-quality olive oil.
Photography by Jeff Coulson
The Best Macaroni Salad
This is a great keeper salad and perfect for a picnic or BBQ. Just make sure you pack it with plenty of ice packs to keep it nice and cold, both during transportation and at the table.
Photography by Annabelle Waugh
Chicken, Broccoli and Bocconcini Pasta Salad
Make this pasta salad for the whole family—the kids will love the mild dressing and round bocconcini cheese, while the adults will appreciate it as a light alternative to a sandwich.
Warm Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Salad
The dressing lends a taste of summer any time of year. The red peppers provide vitamins A and C and potassium. Quick and easy to make, this salad is perfect to take to a last-minute potluck or picnic.
Tuna Pasta Salad
Using tuna packed in both oil and broth means you'll need less oil in the dressing.
Salmon Pasta Salad
Start with melon wedges to whet your appetite for this quick and light dinner.
Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad
Grilled market-fresh veggies meet marinated olives and artichokes in this healthy dish made with whole wheat rotini. So chock full with taste and texture, carnivores won't complain about this vegetarian dish.
Our best cooking tips for making dough and so much more!
When prepping grains (think quinoa, bulgur or rice), enhance their flavour with tea rather than the usual broth or water. Cook with your favourite brew: I prefer a full-bodied tea, such as smoky lapsang souchong, fragrant Earl Grey or aromatic chai, but you can also choose a milder green tea or herbal blend. Before adding the liquid to grains, steep black teas for three to five minutes, green for two to three minutes, and herbal for five to seven minutes—tisanes don't become bitter, so they can take a longer brewing time.
Here's a foolproof way to remove a lingering garlic scent from your hands: Rub your fingers against a stainless-steel object, like your kitchen sink or a spoon, then rinse under cool water. Garlic is packed with sulphur molecules (that's what gives it a lovely taste and a not-so-lovely smell), which scientists say can form a chemical bond with stainless steel.
Out of vanilla? Head to your liquor cabinet—Kahlúa makes the perfect replacement.
Save your parmesan rinds! Store them in the freezer (they'll keep for months), then drop them into simmering soups or sauces for an amazing flavour boost.
The next time you're making dough, instead of using a pastry blender or the two-knife method to cut in cold butter, try grating it over the flour mixture, then tossing to coat. The butter will be more evenly distributed in the flour mixture, resulting in a light, flaky crust.
Tools of the trade
Three must-have items for a well-stocked kitchen.
1. Y-peeler: The wide grip makes peeling easy, plus the blade creates perfect Parmesan shavings and vegetable ribbons.
2. Large canning jar: This kitchen MacGyver doubles as a cocktail shaker and storage for dry goods. It's also a great place to keep fresh herbs—stand your mint or basil leaves in about two inches of water and change the water daily.
3. Kitchen scissors: This gadget is a huge time-saver when it comes to chopping herbs, segmenting a whole chicken or trimming veggies.
Bold and beautiful browspiration (we’re coining it) from the stars.
After years of plucking them to obscurity, all-natural brows are back and they’re kind of a big deal. If eyes are the windows to your soul, then eyebrows are the framework to your face–structured, well-suited brows have the power to alter your entire look and make you look younger. Ranging from dark and bushy, to immaculately groomed we selected our favourite celebrity eyebrows that have us sprinting to our brow technician with some fresh brow inspiration.
Portman has had a strong brow game since she was a child actor, but what she does differently than most is that she opts for a straighter across brow. It’s not just about thickness and colour, which is of course on point, but it’s the length. To get a similar look rather than focusing on creating arches use your pencil to extend the brows towards the outer corners on each side.
If you have the right tools and the know-how, you can create almost any eyebrow shape. Benefit Cosmetics's Jared Bailey and Maddox Lu reveal their tips and tricks for mastering the most iconic eyebrow looks.