8 Oscar-Inspired Meals

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If you’re planning on having people over this weekend to view the Academy Awards, serve up one of these show-stopping dishes.

In honour of this year’s eight nominees for Best Picture, we curated these recipes to wow your tummy!

The Big Short Ribs
(The Big Short)

These tasty ribs don’t necessarily have the most to do with this nominee, but it’s fun to say and should solicit a chuckle or two from your friends.

Serves: 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total time: 2 hours 45 minutes


2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil
2 1/4 lb (1 1/4 kg) beef short ribs, cut 2” thick and in portions with 2 bones each
1 can (540 mL/19 oz) Aylmer Accents Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1 bottle VH Medium Garlic Rib Sauce
3 cups (750 mL) water
2 cups (500 mL) chopped, peeled carrots
3 cups (750 mL) chopped, peeled potatoes
4 tsp (20 mL) corn starch


Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). In Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. In batches, sear beef until browned on all sides, about 4 minutes per side.

When beef is browned transfer to large pot along with the fire roasted tomatoes, the garlic rib sauce, and 1 cup (250 mL) water. Bring to boil; cover and place in preheated oven, cook for 1 hour.

Remove pot from oven; stir in carrots, potatoes and 2 cups (500 mL) of water. Return pot to oven; cook for another 1 1/2 hours, or until meat and vegetables are tender.

In small bowl stir together corn starch and 1/4 cup (50 mL) water. Pour mixture into pot; bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Cook until liquid has thickened to sauce consistency. Serve.

For more recipe ideas visit www.VHsauces.com. No time to cook? No problem. Ready in five minutes, VH Steamers Kung Pao Chicken is the perfect solution for busy weeknight meals. Grab one in the frozen aisle of your local grocery store.

Source: www.newscanada.com

Up Next: Bridge of Spies

Chicken Pot (s)Pie
(Bridge of Spies)

Chicken pot pie

If you’re feeling extra crafty, you can also make these into mini-pies and build a bridge to place them all on — so you would have a Bridge of Pies. Too far?

Prepared pastry and pre-sliced mushrooms make this tasty meal quick to prepare. For even faster preparation substitute left over cooked turkey cubes for the chicken.

Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Baking Time: 25-30 minutes

1 lb (500 g) boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4)
2 tbsp (25 mL) vegetable oil, divided
2 large leeks, white part only, sliced (2cups/500 mL)
1 lb (500g) sliced Fresh Mushrooms
1 tbsp (15 mL) dried tarragon
2 tbsp (25 mL) all purpose flour
3/4 cup (175 mL) chicken stock
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper
1 9”/22 cm deep dish frozen pie shell, thawed

Cut chicken into 3/4-inch (2 cm) cubes. In large non-stick saucepan or deep skillet, heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken until lightly browned but still pink inside, about 3-4 minutes. Spoon into 6 cup (1.5 L) baking dish or deep pie plate.

Reduce heat to medium and add remaining oil to same pan. Sauté leeks, mushroom and tarragon for 2-3 minutes; cover and cook about 3 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Sprinkle in flour and stir to blend. Gradually stir in chicken stock, salt and pepper. Bring to boil and stir until thickened, about 3 minutes. Spoon mixture over chicken. Invert thawed pie shell over casserole pressing pastry edge to baking dish and crimp or flute the edges. Cut 3-4 slits in pastry.

Bake in 425°F (220°C) oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and pastry is brown.

Makes 4 servings.

Tip: To thaw pie shell, leave at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. If desired, brush pastry with beaten egg before baking to give a browner top.

Variation: Substitute 3 cups (750 mL) cubed cooked turkey or chicken for 1 lb ( 500g ) chicken breasts; decrease oil to 1 tbsp(15 mL) and omit browning. Place cooked meat in casserole and continue as directed above.

Nutritional Information Per Serving: Calories: 440, Protein: 30.4 g, Fat: 21.6 g, Carbohydrates: 30.7 g, Dietary Fibre: 2.9 g

More information about the nutrition and health benefits of mushrooms as well as some delicious recipe ideas can be found online at www.mushrooms.ca.


Up Next: Brooklyn

Guinness Irish Beef Stew

This traditional dish will be a hit, and fits in perfectly with this movie.

Makes 8 servings.

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 3 1/2 hours


  • 4 large carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 3 large potatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small rutabaga (500 g/1 lb), peeled and chopped (also called waxed turnip)
  • 250 g (8 oz) button mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 beef eye of round roast (about 1 Kg/2 lb)
  • 25 mL (2 tbsp) dried Italian seasoning
  • 15 mL (1 tbsp) dried oregano leaves
  • 10 mL (2 tsp) dried basil leaves
  • 5 mL (1 tsp) dried tarragon leaves
  • 2 mL (1/2 tsp) freshly ground black pepper
  • 900 mL (1 box) reduced sodium beef broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 125 mL (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 125 mL (1/2 cup) Guiness Beer


In a large roasting pan, combine carrots, celery, potatoes, rutabaga, mushrooms, onions and garlic; set aside.

Trim any visible fat from beef roast and cut into 2.5 cm (1-inch) pieces; add to vegetables.

Sprinkle Italian seasoning, oregano, basil, tarragon and pepper over beef and vegetable mixture and using hands, toss to distribute herbs evenly.

Pour stock over mixture and add bay leaves.

Cover pan with foil or lid and roast in 180°C (350°F) oven for 3 hours.

In small bowl, whisk flour and water together until smooth.

Uncover pan and, using spoon, push beef and vegetable mixture over to one side.

Whisk flour mixture into pan juices until combined. Stir into beef mixture to spread evenly.

Return to oven, uncovered for 30 minutes or until thickened and beef and vegetables are very tender.

Remove bay leaves before serving.

Nutritional information per serving

  • Calories: 328
  • Protein: 31 g
  • Total fat: 4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Cholesterol: 48 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 43 g
  • Fibre: 6 g
  • Sodium: 370 mg
  • Potassium: 1,201mg

How Heart&Stroke dietitians reduced the fat content in this recipe
We used a leaner cut of beef, which saved us about 3 g fat per serving. We made our own sauce that replaced a salad dressing with more 8 g fat per serving just from this one change.

How Heart&Stroke dietitians reduced the sodium in this recipe
We omitted the gravy powder and store-bought salad dressing, which saved about 500 mg of sodium. We did need to use a sodium-reduced beef broth,  which provided 280 mg of sodium. The sodium savings in the total recipe was 240 mg of sodium.

Take home tips

  • For a more tender beef stew and to cook more evenly, purchase a beef marinating roast like an inside or outside round or eye of the round and trim any visible fat and cut into bite size pieces for your stew. Each piece will cook evenly and taste absolutely delicious. It may cost a bit more but the results are priceless.
  • Use lots of spices to enhance the flavour without needing to add salt.
  • Make your own sauces. Don’t rely on store-bought dressings.

Recipe provided by the Heart and Stroke Foundation. To receive more exclusive heart-healthy recipes, please sign up for Healthline, the Foundation’s free monthly e-newsletter at www.heartandstroke.ca/subscribe.

Up Next: Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Mac ‘n Cheese
(Mad Max: Fury Road)

Macaroni cheese, close-up

In case you haven’t seen this movie, no spoiler, but there is an importance put on milk, so this cheesy main is a perfect tie-in!

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 20m
Cook Time: 20m


Nonstick spray for the pan
1 1/2 cups lowfat milk
1/2 pound whole wheat elbow macaroni
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dry mustard
A big pinch or two garlic powder (optional)
Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (packed) grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 3 ounces)
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce)
A big dash of cayenne pepper
2 slices (2 ounces) whole wheat bread, crumbled
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped


Spray a 1-quart gratin pan or baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside. Set the oven rack high in the oven (highest rung) and preheat the oven to 350°F.

Heat the milk until it is very hot (fine to do this directly in the measuring cup in a microwave, if the cup is microwave proof.) Do not let the milk boil. When it is hot, set aside near the stove.

Put a pot of lightly salted water to boil. When it reaches a boil, add the macaroni and let it cook until tender. When it is tender, toss in the chopped broccoli and wait about 30 seconds, then drain the entire potful into a colander in a sink.

While the macaroni is cooking, place a medium-large saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil, and use a narrow, closely-tined whisk to beat in the flour, mustard, and garlic powder. Keep whisking until it forms a thick paste (this will happen within seconds!) and then slowly drizzle in the hot milk, still vigorously whisking, so it becomes smooth as the milk is incorporated. Turn the heat to low, and switch to mixing with a wooden spoon. Keep cooking and stirring until it is velvety, thick, and smooth.

Add the salt, half the cheddar, the parmesan, and the cayenne, and stir until the cheese is fully blended. Remove from heat. Add the cooked macaroni and broccoli to the cheese sauce, also adding the remaining cheddar. Stir until all the pasta is well coated. Transfer to the prepared pan, top with the bread crumbs and walnuts, and bake uncovered in the high part of the oven for about 20 minutes, or until bubbly around the edges and crisp on top. Serve warm.

Nutrition Information: Calories: 375, Total Fat: 18 g, Saturated Fat: 6 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 12 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 22 mg, Sodium: 440 mg, Total Carbohydrate: 41 g, Dietary Fiber: 6 g, Protein: 16 g

Recipe courtesy of the California Walnut Commission. For more recipe ideas and information about the health benefits of walnuts, visit www.walnutinfo.com.

Up Next: The Martian

Double Stuffed Potatoes
(The Martian)

If this movie didn’t make it to your must-see list, all you need to know is that Matt Damon is stranded on Mars trying to cultivate potatoes. Luckily on earth, we don’t need to work quite that hard to make this recipe!


6 large baking potatoes
2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


1) Preheat oven to 400°F.

2) Scrub each potato and pat dry. Use a fork to pierce each potato in several places. Bake the potatoes directly on the oven rack for 50-60 minutes or until tender and easily pierced with the tip of a knife.

3) Remove from oven and cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Using a small spoon carefully (don’t go too deep or you’ll rip the skins) scoop out the flesh from inside the potatoes and place in a medium bowl.

4) Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Arrange potato shells on baking sheet and return to oven until they are slightly crisp, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, using a potato masher or fork, mash potato flesh and stir in sour cream, cheddar cheese, butter, salt and pepper.

5) Spoon potato mixture back into the potato shells mounding them high and sprinkling each potato with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 15 minutes.

Serves 8-10

Like the skins but not the stuffing? Try these incredibly easy and delicious Crispy Potato Skins. Courtesy of Bite Me More.

Up Next: The Revenant

Bear Claw
(The Revenant)

Bear Claw

Don’t mistake this for The Danish Girl, this savoury and tasty desert is in a league of its own. Traditionally it’s made with simple butter pastry, but to cut corners Pillsbury buttermilk biscuits are a good fill in. If you want to be authentic to the movie, you could always serve bison liver, like the one Leo eats (yikes!), however this dish might be more welcomed by your friends!


1 Can Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuits
1 Cup Raisins
3 Tsp Shredded Coconut
1/4 Cup Almond Butter
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
Cinnamon (to taste)

1/2 cup Icing Sugar
1/4 Cup Water
Vanilla Extract
Chopped Almonds

1. Preheat oven to 375°F

2. To make filling, combine brown sugar, raisins, coconut, cinnamon, and almond butter in a bowl.

3. Take biscuits out of container and use a rolling pin, or your hand, to flatten until they are about half an inch thick.

4. Fill with a table spoon of the filling, leaving a half inch space around the edges

5. Fold over, like a dumpling or perogie and press down edges. Get a Knife and cut the edge to resemble a paw.

6. Place in the oven and cook for 15 mins, or until golden brown.

7. After letting them cool, mix icing sugar, water, vanilla extract. Sprinkle almonds on top.

Up Next: Room

Spinach stuffed MushROOM‘s
(The Room)

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

This is a bit of a stretch, we know! But once your guests take a bite out of these tasty fungi’s you won’t be hearing any complaints!

The larger mushrooms make an excellent vegetable accompaniment for dinner or use smaller mushrooms for appetizers.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes

8 large jumbo or stuffer fresh Mushrooms

2/3 cup (150 mL) fresh bread crumbs

1/3 cup (75 mL) shredded Swiss or old Cheddar cheese

½ cup (125 mL) chopped, well drained, cooked spinach*

2 tbsp (25 mL) crisp cooked bacon bits or diced sundried tomatoes

2 finely minced, cloves garlic

1 tsp (5 ml) dried basil

¼ tsp (2 mL) salt

2 tbsp (25 mL) light mayonnaise

1/4 cup (50 mL) olive oil

1 tbsp (15 mL) grated Parmesan cheese

Remove the stems from the mushrooms and finely chop. In a medium bowl, combine chopped stems, bread crumbs, Swiss cheese, spinach, bacon, garlic, basil, salt and mayonnaise; mix well. Brush oil on outside of mushroom caps. Spoon filling evenly into caps, mounding as necessary and place in shallow baking pan. Sprinkle Parmesan on top. Bake in 425°F (220°C) oven for 15-20 minutes or until mushrooms are heated through.

Makes 4 main course or 8 appetizer servings

*Use frozen, thawed chopped spinach or cook fresh in microwave; be sure to press out the moisture.

Tip: Mushrooms could be cooked on a rack or in a pan on the barbecue.

Variation: Substitute about 16-20 large mushrooms for jumbos or stuffers.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 248, Protein: 6.9 g, Fat: 20.9 g, Carbohydrates: 10.3 g, Dietary Fibre: 2.5 g,

More delicious recipe ideas are available online at www.mushrooms.ca.


Up Next: Spotlight

Fish and Chips
wrapped in Newspaper

Fish and chips

Go classic British style with this fish and chip recipe! Make the newspaper the star, or Spotlight with this dish!


5 Fillets of your favourite white fish
2 Cup Flour
1 Cup Water
1 Egg
2 Cups Panko Crumbs
Sea Salt
Garlic Powder
Olive Oil
Fresh Parsley


1.In a mixing bowl, add together the flour, water, egg and seasoning.

2. Rinse the fish and cut into single serving pieces, sprinkle some sea salt on top.

3. Place panko crumbs on a plate, sprinkle some more seasoning in and mix together.

4. Using one hand, place the fish in the egg wash, giving it a liberal coat.

5. Using your other hand, place it in the bread crumbs and flip over till it’s well coated.

6. Heat a little bit of olive oil in a skillet and add fish, cooking for 5-8 mins on both sides, or until golden brown.

7. Remove from oil and let sit on a paper towel to remove excess oil.

8. Serve with fresh french fries placed in newspaper wrap.