Tasty Tourtiere Tarts

A make-ahead version of a classic Canadian favourite

by: Paula Roy

Tasty Tourtiere Tarts

Tasty Tourtiere Tarts, the classic French-Canadian meat pie, can be made-ahead and frozen with this recipe for an easy holiday appetizer! | Christmas | YMCFood |

Tourtière, the classic French-Canadian meat pie, is a holiday favourite of many Canadians, including those with and without French roots. Part of a traditional reveillon – a long dinner held on Christmas Eve – tourtière includes a combination of savoury and sweet spices that give it a distinctive and oh so appealing taste. For those who find a mostly-meat version a little on the heavy side, I’ve lightened up the texture a little in this recipe by adding in a lot of chopped vegetables.

Pre-made frozen tart shells are super easy to work with and the filling can be prepared up to a month ahead and frozen. You can also fill and bake the tarts up to three days ahead and reheat gently when serving. Serve these tarts with a variety of condiments, such as chili sauce, salsa or cranberry chutney.

Tasty Tourtiere Tarts


1 lb lean ground pork
2 tbsp canola or olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 1/2 cups finely chopped mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup chicken or beef stock
1 tsp dried savory
1/4 tsp each ground cinnamon and cloves
Salt and freshly ground pepper
premade frozen tart shells
Salsa, chutney, or chili sauce, for garnish



 Cook pork in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until no longer pink.

 Add oil, then add onion, celery and carrot. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes longer, until all vegetables are softened.

 Add stock, savory, cinnamon and cloves. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until almost no liquid remains. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 Let cool for 15 minutes then refrigerate or freeze until you are ready to fill and bake tarts. If frozen, thaw meat carefully before proceeding.

 Preheat oven to 425F.

 Place frozen tart shells on a baking sheet and fill shells with meat mixture.

 Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

 Serve warm.

Makes enough filling for about 30 tarts.

 RELATED: The Perfect Combination Of Tart and Sweet In One Easy Snack


Roasted Sweet-Spicy Mixed Nuts

Be a holiday hero with this fantastically delicious edible gift that takes just minutes to make

by: Paula Roy

Roasted Sweet-Spicy Mixed Nuts

Roasted Sweet-Spicy Mixed Nuts - Be a holiday hero with this fantastically delicious edible gift that takes just minutes to make. | Christmas | YMCFood |

Roasted nuts are always popular over the holidays, though I have to confess I love to make and eat them all year 'round. They're the perfect afternoon pick-me-up at work and keep me from reaching for chocolate or caffeine. They’re also fantastic gifts for hard-to-buy individuals; after all, who doesn’t appreciate a delicious, handmade treat prepared with love?

You could totally win at teacher gifts this year with a bottle of wine and a bag of these beauties! Even very young kids can help out with preparing the nuts; older ones could be supervised to help with stirring the mixture as it bakes. You can double the recipe, but be sure to spread the nuts over two baking sheets so they will roast evenly.

These nuts will keep well at room temperature for about a month. They're perfect for cocktail parties, nibbling by the fire, or as an accessory on a cheese board. As with all edible gifts, look for fun packaging ideas – I found votive holders at IKEA that reminded me of old-fashioned candy dishes. Mason jars or pretty dollar store cellophane bags tied up with a bow work nicely as well!

Roasted Sweet-Spicy Mixed Nuts



1 pound (3.5 cups) mixed raw nuts (I like walnuts, cashews, almonds, pecans)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne (or more if you like things spicier)
3/4 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 tsp fleur de sel



  Preheat oven to 325F.

  Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  Combine nuts in a large bowl.

Roasted Sweet-Spicy Mixed Nuts - Be a holiday hero with this fantastically delicious edible gift that takes just minutes to make. | Christmas | YMCFood |

  Drizzle with maple syrup, and stir well to blend.

  Add vegetable oil and stir again.

  Combine cinnamon, paprika, cayenne in a small bowl.

  Sprinkle spice mixture over nuts then sprinkle rosemary over top as well. Stir gently to combine.

  Pour nuts onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading in a single layer. Be sure to scrape out the bowl so you get all the maple syrup and spices! Don’t worry if there’s a little puddle of maple syrup under the nuts – as the mixture cooks, the syrup will evaporate slightly and stick to the nuts.

Roasted Sweet-Spicy Mixed Nuts - Be a holiday hero with this fantastically delicious edible gift that takes just minutes to make. | Christmas | YMCFood |

  Bake for 20 minutes, stirring carefully but thoroughly every 5 minutes.

  As soon as the nuts have completed baking, remove from oven and sprinkle with fleur de sel. Stir gently.

Roasted Sweet-Spicy Mixed Nuts - Be a holiday hero with this fantastically delicious edible gift that takes just minutes to make. | Christmas | YMCFood |

  Let nuts cool completely before packaging in airtight containers.

Makes one pound (3.5 cups) of irresistable snacks.

Roasted Sweet-Spicy Mixed Nuts - Be a holiday hero with this fantastically delicious edible gift that takes just minutes to make. | Christmas | YMCFood |

 RELATED: Pair These Nuts With The Best Homemade Gift Ever! 


Chewy Dark Chocolate Quinoa Flake Cookies

Cookies made easy with Becel's Anything Goes Cookie Dough

by: Paula Roy

Chewy Dark Chocolate Quinoa Flake Cookies

Chewy Dark Chocolate Quinoa Flake Cookies

I’m often asked why my house frequently smells like freshly-baked cookies. The answer is simple—I always have homemade cookie dough in my freezer so I can quickly bake up sweet treats when cravings hit. Not only do freshly-baked cookies always taste (and smell!) the best, cookie dough stores beautifully in the freezer for several months. My friends and family have become so fond of my frozen cookie dough, they now ask for it as gifts! So, each year I try to come up with something new to surprise them.  

This year, Becel has come up with a great base recipe that lends itself well to limitless interpretations. I plan to use it as the foundation for my holiday baking and cookie dough gifting this year. Becel’s Anything Goes Cookie Dough recipe is super quick to prepare and you can add in whatever goodies suit your fancy—Skor toffee bits, coconut, ginger, butterscotch Chipits, chopped dried fruit...the sky’s the limit!

Soft, non-hydrogenated Becel Buttery Taste is terrific to bake with because it tastes great and it has 80% less saturated fat than butter (it contains zero trans-fat!) Right out of the fridge, it’s really easy to cream together with sugar, making dough preparation simple and fast (no need to bring it to room temperature like butter). Kids could easily mix this recipe by hand! I was also happy to learn that because it’s made from a blend of plant oils, Becel Buttery Taste qualifies as one of the ‘good fats.’

I decided that as an antidote to some of the overly sweet holiday cookies out there, I would create a recipe that was tasty AND healthy. Dark chocolate is always a favourite, and quinoa flakes enhance the texture, flavour, and nutritional value of these cookies. One of the things I love best about this recipe is that it relies primarily on brown sugar for sweetening, making for a soft, chewy cookie—just the way my family likes them.

This cookie dough stores well, so you can prepare it ahead and save for later.

  For short term storage: Shape the dough into one-inch balls and freeze them on a cookie sheet before transferring to an airtight container. Remove them from the freezer while your oven pre-heats and you’ll have fresh, warm cookies in just minutes.

  For long-term storage: Shape the dough into cylinders, about 1-1/2 inches in diameter and 8-inches long, and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. Store in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to three months. When you are ready to bake them, slice the frozen cylinder into quarter-inch rounds and they’re ready to bake.


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup Becel Buttery Taste margarine (Becel Gold in Quebec)
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 large Naturegg Omega 3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
1 cup HERSHEY’S CHIPITS Dark Chocolate Chips

  Pre-heat oven to 375°F.

  Combine flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.

  Beat Becel Buttery Taste margarine, brown sugar, and white sugar in large bowl.

  Beat in eggs and vanilla until blended.

  Gradually add in flour mixture and mix until blended.

  Add the quinoa flakes and chocolate chips. Mix until evenly distributed.

  Use a cookie scoop or a tablespoon to drop (by tablespoonfuls) onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Place them 2-inches apart.

  Bake for 7-minutes or until edges are golden.

  Place cookie sheets on a wire rack and cool for 2-minutes. After the 2-minutes have passed, remove cookies from sheets, place directly on wire racks, and cool completely.

  Tip: Cranberries would be a terrific addition to this recipe, particularly if you want to make an extra festive version. Simply add 1/2 cup of chopped dried cranberries to the recipe when the chocolate chips and quinoa flakes are added.

Makes approximately 5 dozen delectable, healthy cookies


It’s time to stir up some creativity in your kitchen for a chance to win a $625 Baking Prize Pack in the #BakingWithBecel holiday contest!

Step One: Whip up a batch of the ‘Becel Anything Goes Cookie Dough’ recipe like Paula did above.

Step Two: Mix in your favourite add ins (remember...anything goes!)

Step Three: Share a photo of your Becel Anything Goes Cookie Dough creation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest with the hashtags #BakingWithBecel and #contest (along with a few other details!) and you’re entered to win. Find the full contest rules here. Good luck!