Throw a Kickin’ Grey Cup Party

Grey Cup is arguably the biggest game of the year.  Football fan or not, it’s a great excuse to get together with friends and celebrate.  Host an entertaining football themed party with these tips and tricks.

Decorations are always fun but a little goes a long way. Jazz up food tables with a simple green table cloth. Take it to the next level by using white duct tape as the yard lines.  Buy brown disposable plastic cups, and draw football stitching down the side of each one.  Is your team playing in the game?  Pick up napkins, straws and paper plates in your team’s colours to show your team spirit.

 

Don’t be left fumbling when guests need a drink.  Setup a beverage station with a bucket filled with soda or beer on ice so everyone can help themselves.

 

What would a Grey Cup party be without the snacks?  Tackle the munchies by offering a variety of treats and appetizers that can be eaten with your hands.  Dips, hors d’oeuvres served on sticks, or wrapped in phyllo or wontons all top my list of go-to’s.  Not everyone is going to risk missing a play to grab some grub, so set out a small selection of crackers and cheese, chips, or nuts on the coffee table near the action for easy access.

No party is complete without Tre Stelle Cheese, especially my favourite, Feta.  Whip up these Chicken, Feta and Red Pepper Wonton Cups.  They’re easy and impressive and are sure to please football fans.   Check out the Shareables section of the website for other great finger food ideas that use other delicious Tre Stelle cheeses.

 

Chicken, Feta and Red Pepper Wonton Cups

Yields 24 wonton cups

 

1 cup cooked, shredded chicken (store bought rotisserie chicken is a huge time saver)

½ cup chopped roasted red pepper (homemade or store bought)

½ cup cream cheese

½ cup crumbled Tre Stelle Feta, plus more for garnish

1 clove garlic, minced

salt and pepper to taste

24 wonton wrappers

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mold wonton wrappers into the cups of a mini muffin tin.  Bake for 5 minutes, or until the wontons hold a cup shape.  Repeat until you have molded about 24 (I recommend doing a few more, just in case some break).

Remove from the mini muffin tin and set aside to cool.

To make the filling, in a medium bowl, mix together shredded chicken, roasted red peppers, cream cheese, Tre Stelle feta, salt and pepper.  Mix well to combine.

Spoon the filing into each wonton cup.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is hot and bubbly.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle with more Tre Stelle Feta.  Best served warm, but they’re still awesome at room temperature.

 

Barbecue with Tre Stelle

The time for outdoor entertaining, family get-togethers and barbecues has arrived! Sometimes it seems slow in coming, but who can help but feel that sense of anticipation as the days get longer?

No matter what the occasion – whether it’s a dinner for two under the stars or a sun-drenched brunch in the garden – there can be no question that the barbecue will always play a starring role in our summers. It’s the perfect opportunity for get togethers.

The great thing about barbecues is that simple, laid-back, no-fuss atmosphere that allows us to spend time with our guests without having to run off to check something in the oven or put the finishing touches on fancy plating. It’s so nice to be able to keep things simple where we can quickly throw together a variety of unexpected hot dishes, even if you aren’t an expert in the kitchen or a great fan of cooking! There’s no excuse not to give it a try – in fact, some people who never set foot in front of the stove turn into avid chefs in the summer, thanks to the barbecue.

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Beyond the traditional meat, fish and vegetable dishes, you can experiment with recipes that are more elaborate and creative, but still not difficult. So, it’s time to venture into new culinary territory, surprise our taste-buds, swap in some new ingredients, and put a new twist on old favourites. Remember: it often only takes one little addition to make a huge difference, in both taste and presentation.

Keep in mind that most ingredients are perfect for the barbecue, from appies to desserts. Play around with your favourite flavours, choose seasonal fruits and vegetables to add cheerful accents of colour to your menu and turn delicious summer soups into unforgettable experiences.

Time to whet our appetites!

Here are 3 original recipes perfect for the barbecue.

  1. Greek salad with Grilled Feta
  2. Polenta, Prosciutto and Mozzarella Kebabs
  3. Grilled Strawberries with Mascarpone Cream

 

Greek salad with Grilled Tre Stelle® Feta

12-15 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 large English cucumber, finely sliced

¼ red onion, finely chopped

3 tbsp. Kalamata olives

1 tub Tre Stelle® Feta

Olive oil

Salt and oregano to taste

 

Season a piece of Feta Cheese with 2 generous tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of oregano, then wrap the cheese in foil and cook it on the barbecue for 2-3 minutes on either side;  In the meantime, put the tomatoes, cucumber, onion and olives on a platter and season them with a few spoonfuls of olive oil, a pinch of salt and oregano to taste;

Place the unwrapped barbecued Feta with its seasoning on top of the vegetable salad, using two spoons as the cheese will be quite soft.

Serve immediately. 4 servings

 

Polenta, Prosciutto and Tre Stelle® Bocconcini min mini Kebabs

250 mL of water

5 heaped tablespoons of quick-cooking polenta

4-5 thin slices of prosciutto

Tre Stelle® Bocconcini mini mini

A few fresh mint leaves

Salt, olive oil

 

Bring the water to a boil in a pot and add a pinch of salt;

Lower the heat and sprinkle in the polenta, stirring with a whisk;

Let it cook for 5 to 6 minutes, adding a few more drops of water if necessary;

Pour it into an oiled baking pan: you want it to be quite thick. Allow it to cool completely;

As soon as the polenta has cooled and set, cut it into squares;

Brush the squares with oil and put them on the barbecue for about 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side; assemble the kebabs with a mint leaf, a ball of Bocconcini, half a slice of prosciutto and two pieces of grilled polenta.

Serve the kebabs or, if you are preparing them in advance, keep them in the refrigerator. 4 servings

 

Grilled strawberries with Tre Stelle® Mascarpone Cream

3 eggs

6-7 tbsp. of sugar

250 g Tre Stelle mascarpone

A few drops of lemon juice

12-16 strawberries (depending on the size of the berries)

 

Separate the egg whites and yolks into two bowls; Add 3 heaping tablespoons of sugar to the egg yolks and beat until you get a frothy, uniform, pale yellow cream. Set aside;

Gently fold the mascarpone into the egg yolk and sugar mixture;

Add the lemon juice to the egg whites and, using a hand mixer, beat them until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture, taking care to keep it light and airy; Cover the mascarpone cream with plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it; Coat the strawberries with the remaining sugar, put them on skewers and grill them on the barbecue for about 1 minute on either side; Serve the strawberry skewers with the mascarpone cream. 4 servings

 

Making plans for a colourful March Break

Life with kids is full of colour – whether that’s the crayons you find under the couch or the active days of imagination and laughter. And that seems to double during March Break. It’s always good to plan for some downtime and some activities to keep the kids busy. And usually, I find myself gravitating towards the kitchen for these projects. My thought is this: if we’re getting our hands messy, it might as well be for something to eat or leftovers to prep for the freezer. Here’s some ideas to try this March Break:

 

Creative Ricotta Toasts

Break out of a breakfast rut by making a colourful topping bar for toasts. Swap out nut butters or chocolate spreads for Tre Stelle Ricotta packed with protein to ensure the kids get some wholesome calcium with breakfast and then have them top the toast with nutrient-rich veggies or fruits. Make the toasts savoury: top the Ricotta with avocado, bacon, tomatoes or other colourful veggies. Or go sweet: mix the Ricotta with a teaspoon of sugar (or drizzle with honey) and top with plums, strawberries or even bananas. Let the kids go wild mixing flavours and colours, making designs and getting excited about their creations.

 

Freezer-ready DIY Pizza Pockets

Get ready for a few splatters on the kitchen table! Store-bought pizza dough is a great way to easily create calzones, a type of hand pie, full of pizza goodness (in other words a homemade pizza pocket!) Kids can roll out the dough in small circles and then choose their sauce and cheeses. Let them pick from colourful toppings like pesto, tomato or even romesco sauce. Chop up some vibrant veggies like peppers and broccoli. And finally, offer a range of cheeses to finish their creations: Tre Stelle Bocconcini, Mozzarella and Feta make great choices. Fold the small pizzas in half, sealing the edges with a little water and pinching it with a fork. Place the calzones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until golden brown. These “pizza pockets” are great to eat while watching movies on the couch and easy to freeze for lunches when the kids get back to class. So go ahead and make too many!

 

Mascarpone Truffles

A delicious activity everyone will love! Melt chocolate with cream, stir in cookie or cereal crumbs and Tre Stelle Mascarpone until you have a thick consistency that’s ready to roll. What I love about this recipe is that every step is pretty much kid-friendly. They can stir the chocolate safely on a double boiler, watching the change as the ingredients melt and meld. They can crush cookies, or even cereal “o”’s, with their hands (I like placing them in a sealable bag and then let them bash at it with a wooden spoon or the back of a cup measure). They can stir together the ingredients and then get rolling. Amp up the fun with different decorating sprinkles and even package them up to give as gifts to friends or teachers as they return to school. This colourful recipe truly reflects the laughs and fun kids bring to your life… and to the kitchen!

 

 

trestelle_ldamelio_Jan17Kid-Friendly Mascarpone Truffles

4 oz milk chocolate

4 oz table cream

1 1/2 cup cookie or cereal crumbs

135 g mascarpone cheese

 

Over a double boiler, melt chocolate and cream together. When fully combined, remove from the heat and mix in the crumbs and cheese. Chill overnight in the refrigerator.

 

Using a small spoon or ice cream scoop, scoop out balls of the chocolate mixture. Roll briefly in your hands before rolling them in a topping to decorate. Use sprinkles, cookie crumbs, chocolate or anything else that would coat nicely.

Holiday Survival Guide

The Holiday season will soon be upon us! This year make the commitment to slow down, relax and enjoy it! We become extremely stressed by trying to make everything perfect that we miss the true joy and beauty of the Holiday Season. The most important thing about the Holiday Season is spending time with family and friends, not fretting over a huge “To Do List”.

Even the calmest person can become frantic, cooking, baking and planning what to make for Holiday parties, Christmas dinner, breakfast and brunches.  A bit of early planning can take the stress and chaos out of the Holidays!

Here are some great ideas of how to “Stress Less in the Kitchen” during the hectic Holiday Seasons.

  1. holiday-survival-guideGet a holiday planner (a simple notebook will do). I have a beautiful recipe binder that contains all my favourite holiday recipes.  These are tried and true recipes I use year after year. This binder can be used every year and save you valuable time planning as well!
  2. Choose your favourite recipes that have been made many times to avoid the stress of an unfavorable outcome. Want to try something new, test it a few times beforehand. What may have looked delicious on Pinterest could be a recipe disaster Christmas Day.
  3. Make what ever you can ahead of time and freeze it. Most casseroles freeze very well.
  4. Most baking freezes very well, so start early with your holiday baking and freeze it. I usually bake a large batch of gingerbread and sugar cookies, freeze them, and then decorate a dozen or so at a time. It’s great to have cookies ready to decorate with the kids.
  5. Don’t try to do everything yourself! Have every guest bring a side dish, salad or dessert. Plan what everyone will bring so you don’t wind up with 3 green bean casseroles.
  6. Getting ready for the holidays should be a family affair so ask for help, give everyone a job to do. The old saying “many hands make light work” is so true.
  7. Pull out the slow cooker. It’s great when oven space is at a premium. Super for cooking in as well as keeping things warm.
  8. Pre-wash and cut up all your fruits and vegetables the day before. You can even have all recipe ingredients measured, packaged and labeled in containers or plastic zip bags.
  9. Plan the table setting and set it the night before. Make sure you have clean napkins and tablecloths.
  10. Have a plan of which serving dishes and utensils you will use for each dish and label them. This will be very helpful for any of your kitchen helpers.
  11. Set up your bar and drink area, preferably away from the busy kitchen space. Delegate someone to be responsible for replenishing supplies. (Glasses, ice, mix etc.)
  12. Clean out refrigerator to make room for holiday dinner ingredients and leftovers.
  13. Have your dishwasher empty, then wash as you cook so your kitchen doesn’t become a stack of pots and pans. 

    What to put in your planner.

    • A menu plan for dinner, breakfast or brunch, appetizers, drinks, and leftover recipes.
    • Recipe cards with different sections for baking, breakfast, brunch/lunch, dinner, appetizers, desserts and drinks.
    • Make a list of when to put food in the oven, their cooking times and oven temperatures.
    • Ingredient list –what you have on hand and what you need to buy.
    • Wine/refreshments to serve with dinner.
    • Table setting and serving dishes.
    • Centerpiece
    • Detailed preparation schedule

     

    With a little planning, the Holiday Season need not be a stressful time. Take the time to enjoy this special occasion with family and friends. Grab a hot chocolate and spend an evening driving around looking at festive lights and displays. Get some friends together and enjoy an evening of wine, holiday music and cookie decorating.

    Plan an afternoon of baking with the kids. So many fond memories are made doing holiday baking with children.

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    Keep some simple ingredients on hand for making last minute appetizers. Tre Stelle has some fantastic appetizer recipes that can be made quickly and easily. Check out this recipe for Strawberry and Tre Stelle® Feta Bruschetta.

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Be Thankful

We’re coming into my favourite time of year right now. There is nothing that gets me more excited to be in the kitchen than fall, once it’s cool enough to start heating things up again, and when there are so many chances to cook for the ones I love.

We’re a family of five that lives on a budget (especially since I’m a stay at home Mom). The one way I feel like I can truly show everyone just how thankful I am to have them in my life, is to cook for them. Nothing makes me feel better than hosting a big family and watching parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews all laughing and smiling with full plates and glasses.

I’ve learned a few things over the years though, from being at others homes during the holidays, and from hosting at my own. I’ve seen tears of anger, and tears of joy. I’ve heard some horrifically inappropriate comments that have turned into treasured family legends (thanks Nan, we miss you!), and I have seen people work so hard to please everyone else, that they found no time to enjoy themselves.

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Here are my 10 must-do’s to host the perfect Thanksgiving dinner:

 

  1. Make a schedule a week before your meal. It sounds ridiculous, and over the top, and a little crazy. I know. But, it really works. Figure out what time you want to have dinner, then start working backwards. And give yourself a buffer! If you really want to eat at 6, put 5pm on the schedule. Something always going a little haywire (ALWAYS), and that extra hour will leave you feeling a lot more relaxed. And if everything goes perfectly, no one is going to be upset about eating sooner! Doing the schedule this early means it’ll be in the back of your mind for a few days, and you have time to tweak it. Plus, being more organized means you’ll be more likely to enjoy the actual day.
  2. Do as much prep work as you can ahead of time. I used to be NUTS about doing everything the day of because in my head, it was better. It makes no difference. If you can cut up a vegetable the day before, or make a soup and freeze it, DO IT! Make your life easier every chance you get.
  3. Don’t be afraid to say “Sure, that would be great!”. For a while there, I was so obsessed with making everything for everyone else to show that I appreciated them, I didn’t realize that the people asking if they could do or bring something wanted to feel the same. If someone offers to bring something or help, LET THEM! They want to, they’ll be so happy to help contribute, and it will make the day better for you.
  4. Label your dishes. You might think this sounds a little crazy too, but it always makes things easier for me, and easier for everyone else to help me get the food onto the table. Bonus, it lets you set the table the night before and see where everything will fit. Here’s my table last Christmas Eve, all ready for dinner Christmas Day, and the dishes labeled with sticky notes.
  5. Don’t overdo it. I know, judging by the picture above, I’m not good at taking my own advice. You know what Thanksgiving needs? It needs only what you can do in a reasonable about of time, without giving yourself an aneurism. You do not need 17 sides, 3 types of meat, 6 pies, and 3 types of fresh bread. This is what I struggle with the most. Seriously, I had 6 (SIX!!!) cakes for the kids’ family party this year. It’s ridiculous and so unnecessary. While people will love and appreciate what you make, they will love it the same regardless of how many options you give them. And too many different things can seem overwhelming.
  6. Calm down your need to Pinterest – Mom, I’m looking at you on this one. My Mom hosts Easter every year, and every year she goes insane for about 36 hours. She scours the internet and magazines for things that she’s never made before but look good, and then she can’t pick between them so she makes them all. My Mom spends most of the night in the kitchen, making sure the food is perfect for all of us. This means she isn’t actually spending time with the rest of the family, and while we’re all well stuffed when we leave, we missed seeing her.
  7. Have snacks. Snacks are amazing things that put everyone in a good mood, and if something hangs you up in the kitchen and dinner is a little late, they keep everyone from getting hangry. My favourite to make is a feta cheese dip, that I serve with plain rice crackers. Just beat together 1/3 cup miracle whip, ½ block cream cheese, 6 oz Tre Stelle Feta Cheese, ¼ tsp oregano, ¼ tsp basil, 1/8 tsp dill, 1/8 tsp thyme, and 1-2 cloves of minced garlic. Everyone LOVES this dip, but go easy on the garlic if you’ve got some close talkers in your family.
  8. Do something fun to remind everyone why they’re coming over for dinner. You choose where everyone’s going to sit, and then put a little note under everyone’s plate that has one thing written on it about them that you love.
  9. Start a tradition! My Aunt always makes little goodie bags for everyone full of candy for the holidays (Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas). I love seeing them waiting at the table for us no matter who’s house we’re at, and even more, I love digging into it later that night!
  10. Enjoy it. More important than anything else, take the time to actually enjoy the holidays with the ones you love. Be thankful for the time you have together, because time is surprisingly fleeting. I stopped carrying the camera around with me during the holidays two years ago, and I don’t regret it at all. Sure, I don’t have tons of pictures of everyone, but I have the memories, I remember all the hilarious things my kids said and did, and I can picture the way everyone’s eyes sparkled while they laughed.

 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope you enjoy it with the ones you love, good food, and great laughs!

Back to School

Quick and easy meals are essential for staying on a tight schedule. With the kids back in school and weeknights filled with homework and other activities, we all need a few quick, healthy recipes in our repertoire.

I find it helpful to keep my pantry stocked with a few non-perishable staples that can be used to create a variety of quick and healthy meals. At any given moment, you will find canned and dried chickpeas and lentils, canned beans, corn and tomatoes in my pantry. These ingredients are amazingly versatile and are my saving grace on busy weeknights. If you forget to thaw meat, chickpeas and lentils work great as a protein replacement. I often find myself making a quick lentil Bolognese with pasta, or curried chickpeas with rice. In addition to non-perishables, I also keep a variety of cheeses on hand. Feta, Parmesan, Mozzarella and Cheddar are all star players in my cheese arsenal as they go with just about anything.

When it comes to meals in a hurry, tacos are one of my go-to recipes. They are a hit with kids and adults alike, but don’t feel limited to those pre-packed kits you get at the grocery store. When it comes to tacos, anything goes – turkey, shrimp, fish, even ice cream! To keep things quick and healthy, use a few of my favourite pantry staples, and you can whip up a kid-friendly meal and have supper on the table in less than an hour.

In this recipe, I use corn and black beans in place of beef, and instead of grated cheddar cheese, I drizzle a whipped Feta crema on top. It’s cheesy, zesty, and full of good-for-you ingredients that you and your kids love.

 

Tacos headerCorn and Black Bean Tacos with Whipped Feta Crema
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings 4-6 tacos

Whipped Feta Crema
1 tub (150 g) crumbled Tre Stelle Feta
1/2 cup sour cream
1 clove garlic
1 green onion
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
salt and pepper to taste

Corn and Black Bean Tacos
2 tbsp canola oil
1 cup corn kernels
1 cup diced yellow onion
1/2 jalapeno, deseeded and minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups black beans
salt and pepper to taste
roasted red pepper slices
Tre Stelle Feta for garnish
tortillas

Whipped Feta Crema
Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender until its smooth. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Place in the fridge until ready to serve.

Corn and Black Bean Tacos
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add corn and cook until it starts to caramelize, for about 10 minutes.

Add onion and jalapeño while continuing to cook until onions are soft and translucent. Add garlic and black beans and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Assemble tacos by filling tortillas with the corn and black beans, roasted red peppers, whipped Feta crema and extra Tre Stelle Feta.

Summertime Grilling

There is absolutely nothing I look forward to more in the summer than grilling. I am a self-professed BBQ addict, known to be out there through rain, sun, and even snow. Over the years I’ve accumulated some must have’s and make’s for grilling season, and I’d love to share them with you.

1First up is a clean grill. There is absolutely nothing worse than lifting up a lid and seeing all the food still stuck on there from the last time you cooked. I’ve cycled through just about every kind of grill brush and stone out there, but my hands down favorite is this style:

 

It does a really good job of getting in between all of the grates, and deep into the corners of the BBQ. A brush isn’t something that you keep season after season though, I usually go through at least two a year. As soon as the stainless steel bristles start looking a little rough (really bent, gunky, or falling off), it’s time to get a new one. What happens if you’re about to cook though and you realize it’s time for a new brush? Just crumple up a good sized piece of aluminum foil and use your BBQ tongs to brush it around the grill, it’ll do just as good a job cleaning it up for you!

Speaking of BBQ tongs, I am a big lover of tools and gadgets (my poor husband, he’s such a trooper). I’m going to break down my favourites into to two lists: must haves, and love having.

BBQ Tool Must Haves:

1. Long handled tongs
2. Long handled turner
3. Long handled basting brush
4. Instant read thermometer

These tools aren’t the same ones you use in your kitchen (unless you enjoy searing the hair off of your arms). You want some that are made for the grill, with a nice long reach so that you can get to the back with the tool, and not your hand. An instant read thermometer is my best friend both in the kitchen and at the grill. Cooking on the BBQ goes a lot faster than the oven in most cases, so it’s important to keep an eye on where your food is at so you don’t accidently overcook it.

BBQ Tools I Love Having:

1. Pizza Stone
2. Rib Rack
3. Smoker Box
4. Metal Skewers
5. Cast Iron Griddle
6. Metal Basket
7. Foil Pans

2I know, a heck of a list. A pizza stone is a must for me. I pretty much exclusively grill my pizzas. I can get the stone a lot hotter in the BBQ than I can in the oven, and that slightly smoky flavour makes me feel like I’m eating a wood fired pizza. Click the picture above to check out my BBQ jerk chicken pizza with Tre Stelle Mozzarella cheese all done on the grill (you can make this with or without a stone).

3A rib rack is just a great way to cook ribs – standing them up makes for all around heat circulation, and tender juicy ribs every time. A smoker box goes hand in hand with ribs for me. All you do is add some wet wood chips, and put the box on the opposite side as your vents (or at the front if you can when the grill vents are at the back). You want the smoke to be pulled back over your meat on its way out.

Metal skewers are such a great, versatile tool. You can do the obvious shish kabobs, but I LOVE doing tornado sausages on them: just stick a skewer through the center of a sausage, and use your knife to cut a swirl all the way around the sausage (basically turning it into a slinky). The finished sausage has lots of amazing crispy bits, and really pulls in your toppings for every bite. Or do dessert; make a grilled strawberry shortcake, alternating strawberries and pound cake, then top with whipped cream once they come off the BBQ.

4If you have the room, adding a cast iron griddle on one side of you grill can be a great way to cook up some amazing toppings at the same time. Making burgers? Why not fry up some onions and jalapenos on the griddle at the same time. Really want to be a show off? Crack an egg on there at the last second to add to your burger. AMAZING!

Metal baskets and foil pans are a great way to grill sides, like veggies and potatoes. When I’m BBQ’ing, the last thing I want to do is run back and forth, inside and out, to cook the whole meal. I love grilling my sides as well.

Alright, we’ve got the tools out of the way, now it’s time for the fun stuff: FOOD! Nothing is more important to a BBQ than the food you’re cooking on it. Everyone knows the staples: burgers, sausages, steaks, and anything pork. I’m not going to hit you with what you already know. It’s the ingredients that you may not be thinking of for the BBQ, that to me, are absolute musts.

I love using fruit with my grilled dishes, and everyone always thinks it’s so unexpected. Making some quick pork chops? Chop up some pineapple and red onion to throw on top. Make your own BBQ sauce with peaches and bourbon to brush over ribs (add some jalapenos for a surprising kick). Be bold and experiment, and your meals will never be boring.

My hands down, number one thing you need to be grilling with though? Cheese! Hand to my heart, I have yet to find a meal that isn’t made better when Cheese is added to it. I’d love to share a few of my favourite Cheesy recipes with you:

My citrus ginger chicken with three melon salsa is one of the most flavourful pieces of chicken you’ll ever eat. It is made 1,000 times better by adding some crumbles of Tre Stelle Feta cheese on top just before serving.

These bruschetta style BBQ pork chops are great topped with some Tre Stelle Mozzarella Cheese. I love switching it up sometimes though, and swap out that Mozzarella for Arla Smoked Havarti.

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These Cajun stuffed BBQ chicken breasts are bursting with flavour (literally!). That melty, gooey, Tre Stelle Mozzarella Cheese is exactly what this chicken needed to make it anything but a typical BBQ’d breast. Don’t be shy with Cheeses either. I love a bacon wrapped pork tenderloin that’s stuffed with Ricotta and sautéed onion. Throw it on the rotisserie, and you have a delicious, hands-free dinner.

Have fun with your food! Experimenting with different flavours and styles is what makes cooking fun. See you at the grill!

12 Healthy, No-Cook, Family-Friendly Snack Ideas

TreStelle_HealthySnacks_01The idea of snacking can be divisive. Some think you should ban it to avoid overeating, and others consider it essential to keeping your metabolism running consistently throughout the day. If you have kids, you probably consider snacks crucial to a smooth-running day! I personally need snacks to keep my energy levels up between meals, and my toddler son needs them to fuel up between enthusiastic playing, running, and climbing sessions. To avoid falling for salty, fatty snacks (which are so easy to reach for), I try to always have fresh fruits, vegetables, and cheese in the fridge so I can assemble healthy bites as quickly as possible. The snacks I like to make are not only beautiful to look at, attracting the curiosity and interest of little ones, but also nutritious, effectively appeasing hunger pangs without leading to overindulgence.

The following healthy snack ideas don’t require any cooking, making them especially handy for hot summer days, and they won’t keep you in the kitchen for too long. Some chopping is involved, but then it’s just a matter of assembling the bites, which the kids will love helping you do. Each bite features a main fruit or vegetable, a Cheese, a protein, and some flavorings. If you want to take a shortcut, you can skip the flavorings altogether, but they add a delightful complexity and a certain sophistication to the snacks. Each snack idea is great for calming appetites on a busy weeknight while you prepare dinner, but you can also make several of the bites to create gorgeous spreads for brunch, cocktail parties, or special events, such as baby showers. In short, they’re versatile, healthy bites you’ll want to serve all summer long.

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  1. Blueberries + Ricotta + Almonds + Honey
    Halve mini-pitas. Spoon some Ricotta over each piece, top with blueberries and almonds, and drizzle with honey. As an alternative, you could also fill the mini-pitas with the ingredients instead.
  2. Apple + Ricotta + Chicken + Walnuts
    Slice an apple thinly. Core the pieces that need it. Spoon some Ricotta over each slice, then add chopped roasted chicken. Top with a walnut half.
  3. Spinach + Ricotta + Bacon + Pumpkin Seeds
    Transfer some Ricotta in a small bowl. Chop a handful of baby spinach very finely, then mix it in. Spoon the mixture into edible crispy shells or over crackers, then add a piece of cooked bacon and sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds.
  4. Avocado + Chickpeas + Feta + Sunflower Seeds
    Smash the avocado with a fork and squeeze in some lemon juice so it doesn’t brown. Spread over slices of toasted baguette, then top with cooked chickpeas (make sure to rinse canned chickpeas thoroughly before using). Sprinkle with crumbled Feta and sunflower seeds.
  5. Cucumber + Feta + Walnuts + Basil
    Slice a cucumber into thick rounds. Top with cubes of Feta cheese. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts and fresh basil.
  6. Cherry Tomatoes + Feta + Corn + Coriander
    Sprinkle crumbled Feta on tortilla chips. Top with a halved cherry tomato. Add a spoonful of cooked corn kernels over each tortilla chip, then finish with fresh coriander leaves.
  7. Dates + Mascarpone + Prosciutto + Lemon Zest
    Cut open each date to remove the pit. Fill each date with Mascarpone Cheese. Sprinkle with finely grated lemon zest, then wrap each date in prosciutto.
  8. Strawberries + Mascarpone + Maple Syrup + Thyme
    Dice the strawberries. Spread some Mascarpone Cheese over salted crackers. Top with diced strawberries. Drizzle with maple syrup and finish with fresh thyme leaves.
  9. Mushrooms + Mascarpone + Pesto + Toasted Panko
    Remove the mushroom stems and place the caps upside down on a serving plate. In a small bowl, mix some Mascarpone with a spoonful or two of pesto. Fill each mushroom cap with the Mascarpone-pesto mixture, then sprinkle with toasted panko crumbs.
  10. Melon + Bocconcini + Ham + Mint
    Cut the melon into cubes (any melon variety will do). Top each cube with a strip of smoked ham, then add a leaf of fresh mint. Finish with a Bocconcini pearl and secure with a toothpick to serve.
  11. Zucchini + Bocconcini + Hazelnuts + Lemon Zest
    Cut the zucchini into thick rounds and grill lightly, if desired. Let cool, then top each round with a halved Bocconcini. Finish with chopped hazelnuts and finely grated lemon zest.
  12. Figs + Bocconcini + Pistachio + Olive Oil
    Halve fresh or dried figs, then use your finger to lightly press into the center of each fig, so to create a shallow indentation. Grind the pistachios, then roll Bocconcini pearls into the nuts. Press one pearl into each fig, then sprinkle with more ground pistachios. Finish with a drizzle of aromatic extra-virgin olive oil.