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Here are the recipes for back to school dinners ideas from Emily Richards

Chef Emily Richards shares back to school dinner ideas on Sept. 20, 2023. Chef Emily Richards shares back to school dinner ideas on Sept. 20, 2023.

Who says food can’t be fun to make? Chef Emily Richards shares back to school dinner ideas that are easy to make and the kids can help cook. 

Broccoli and Bacon Chowder

This simple supper soup is an easy one to put together and get some veggies into your family. When broccoli is on sale, stock up and make the soup. Freeze it and enjoy later, when you don’t want to do much prep work for dinner.


6 slices bacon, chopped 6

1 onion, chopped 1

1 celery stalk, chopped 1

1 head broccoli, chopped (about 6 cups/1.5 L florets and trimmed stalks) 1

1 baking potato, peeled and chopped 1

1/2 tsp dried thyme 2 mL

1/2 tsp black pepper 2 mL

1/4 tsp salt 1 mL

3 cups ready-to-use vegetable or chicken broth 750 mL

1 cup light (5%) cream or whole milk 250 mL

3/4 cup shredded sharp (old) Cheddar cheese 175 mL


In a medium pot, fry bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove ba-con to plate lined with paper towel; set aside. Reduce heat to medium and add onion, celery and broccoli, stirring to coat with bacon fat. Sauté for 3 minutes. Stir in potato, thyme, pepper, salt, broth and cream; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes or until vegetables are very tender. Using an immersion blender, purée soup (or purée in batches in a blender and return to pot). Stir in bacon and cook for about 5 minutes to blend the flavors. Serve sprinkled with cheese, or stir it right into the soup. Serves 4 to 6.

Roast Pepper Cheese Stromboli Rolls

This vegetarian cheese stromboli is great to have on hand in the fridge to pop in the microwave or from the oven to recrisp the dough.


1-1/2 lb pizza or bread dough 750 g

1 tub (1 lb/500 g) ricotta cheese 1

3 large eggs 3

1 cup chopped roasted red bell peppers 250 mL

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 125 mL

2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley 30 mL

1/4 tsp each salt and black pepper 1 mL

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 15 mL


Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC); set aside a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cut dough into 6 equal pieces. On floured surface, roll out each piece to about 6- by 8-inch (15 by 20 cm) rectangles.

In a large bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, eggs, roasted peppers, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Spoon about 1/2 cup (125 mL) of mixture evenly onto one end of each piece of dough. Gently roll up and place on prepared baking sheet. Brush with oil.

Bake in bottom third of oven for about 25 minutes or until crust is golden and filling is set. Serves 6

Tip: Be sure to drain the roasted peppers well and pat dry before adding them to the mixture, to not add more moisture.

Tip: Change up the filling and add other roasted or cooked vegetables for the peppers. For an added gooey texture, add 1/2 cup (125 mL) shredded mozzarella cheese to the filling.

Tip: Looking to serve with a sauce? Use salsa or pizza sauce as a dip.

Chef Emily shows CTV's Will Aiello fun dinner ideas.

Stovetop Mac and Cheese with Bacon

You can skip the step of boiling a pot of water to cook the pasta for this recipe — that means one less pot to wash.


6 slices bacon, chopped 6

1/2 small onion, finely chopped 1/2

3 cups milk 750 mL

1 cup water 250 mL

2 garlic cloves, minced 2

2-1/2 cups dried macaroni pasta 625 mL

1 tsp dry mustard 5 mL

3 cups shredded sharp (old) Cheddar cheese 750 mL

Salt and black pepper to taste


In a 10-inch (25 cm) skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon and onion, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until bacon is crisp and onion is tender. Transfer to a plate. In the same skillet, over medium heat, combine milk and water, then stir in garlic, macaroni and mustard; boil gently, stirring often, for 10 to 12 minutes or until pasta is almost tender. Add cheese, 1 cup (250 mL) at a time, stirring until melted. Remove from heat and stir in bacon mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 5 to 6.

Tip: If you have extra time, use an ovenproof skillet and broil the macaroni for a few minutes, until the top is golden brown.

Tip: You can substitute medium Cheddar cheese, for a milder cheese flavour. Top Stories

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