4 Mary Berg recipes that are perfect for holiday hosting

Stay calm in the kitchen this holiday season with these four delicious dinner recipes from Mary Berg's new cookbook, In Mary's Kitchen: Stress-Free Recipes for Every Home Cook.

Mary Berg recipes | Roast Beef Bourguignon recipe

The holidays seem to turn even the most unflappable cooks into a puddle of broken dreams and burnt carrots. However, one person who seems impervious to cooking anxiety is Canadian celebrity chef and all-round ray of sunshine, Mary Berg.

From MasterChef Canada winner to TV chef and daytime talkshow host, the Pickering native known for her red bangs and snazzy specs has released yet another cookbook to give beleaguered home chefs a helping hand. And if we can get dinner on the table with even an ounce of Mary Berg’s pep, we’re all ears.

In Mary's Kitchen: Stress-Free Recipes for Every Home Cook arrives just in time for hosting season with 100 recipes that guarantee an anxiety-free festive period (for the cooking end of things, at least).

In Mary's Kitchen: Stress-Free Recipes for Every Home Cook

In Mary's Kitchen: Stress-Free Recipes for Every Home Cook

$35, Penguin Randomhouse Canada

In addition to mealtime inspiration, Berg gives tips and tricks to help home cooks create flavourful dishes time and time again. The no-nonsense recipes have scribbled notes in the margin to provide the building blocks and techniques needed to crush it in the kitchen, whether you’re making a weeknight dinner or a feast for the whole family.

Between squash stuffed with curried lentils, a fresh salad with lemon anchovy dressing and a sprinkling of breadcrumbs, roast beef bourguignon and a festive spiced apple cheesecake, we’ve got a meal worth celebrating. For a foolproof guide to serving delicious dishes this season, tuck into In Mary’s Kitchen.

In Association with IWBC

The Iconic Wineries of British Columbia (IWBC) is a collection of winemakers who are passionate about winegrowing in the rugged, beautiful Okanagan Valley. They farm in that part of the world not because it's easy, but because the high stakes, glacial and volcanic soils, and cool climate combine to make some of the most exciting wines on earth. From Mission Hill Family Estate Winery, renowned for its 40+ years of winemaking excellence, to the Winery of the Year-winning CedarCreek Estate Winery in North Okanagan, these wineries champion organic and sustainable practices, resulting in exceptional wines with a sense of place.

Mary Berg's Romaine and Endive Salad

This Romaine and Endive Salad with Anchovy Lemon Dressing and Crispy Breadcrumbs is a light, easy-to-prepare salad that you can serve before or beside a heavier main.

Mary Berg recipes | Romaine and Endive Salad with Anchovy Lemon Dressing and Crispy Breadcrumbs

Serves 4–6

Preparation time 10 minutes

Cooking time 5 minutes

"Even in all the excitement of buying and moving into our first home, there were some bittersweet feelings involved. Aaron and I loved our old neighbourhood and, having lived there for 10 years, we had our spots. We knew where to go for a quick bite, a good pint of beer, cheap diner breakfasts, and, most importantly, we had our go-to date night spot.

Luckily, within the first few days of moving, we found our new place. This is my attempt at the rich and creamy lemon anchovy dressing and crispy breadcrumb topper that adorns our new favourite salad," says Mary Berg in her cookbook, In Mary's Kitchen: Stress-Free Recipes for Every Home Cook.

Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay

In Association with IWBC

The zesty, creamy flavours in this fun salad will love the citrusy, baking spice notes in this silky smooth chardonnay. 


  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 3 anchovy fillets, very finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp capers, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated, divided
  • ½ cup finely grated pecorino, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 head Belgian endive
  • 1 romaine heart or 2 heads baby gem lettuce
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 slices stale bread, torn into small pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley

Note: For a creamy vegan version of this or really any caesar-ish dressing, use 2 Tbsp of tahini, 2 Tbsp of oil and a splash of water instead of the mayo and leave out the anchovies and pecorino altogether. The tahini will give a nice savoury funkiness that works well to replace the funk of pecorino and the umami of anchovies.


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon zest, lemon juice, anchovies, capers and 1 clove of garlic. Whisk in ¼
    cup of the pecorino and season with lots of black pepper.
  2. Trim the ends off the endive and lettuce and separate the leaves. Add them to the bowl of dressing and set aside.
  3. Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and bread pieces and cook, stirring and tossing frequently, until golden and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the remaining garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook for another minute to take the raw edge off the garlic. Add the remaining pecorino and cook for 30 seconds to crisp the cheese. Stir in the parsley and set aside.
  4. Toss the salad well, then serve scattered with the breadcrumbs.

Note: The dressing and breadcrumbs can be made up to 3 days in advance. Transfer both to airtight containers and store the dressing in the fridge and the breadcrumbs at room temperature.

Mary Berg's Curried Lentil Stuffed Squash

So many winter flavours are woven into this creative dish, and it's aptly coloured for the festive season.

Mary Berg recipes | Curried Lentil Stuffed Squash

Serves 4

Preparation time 20 minutes

Cooking time 40 minutes

"When Aaron and I first started dating, he’d always pitch stuffed bell peppers as a dinner option. Since he was so committed to this idea, I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I just don’t really like cooked bell peppers enough to warrant eating a whole one for dinner, no matter how good the stuffing is.

I can’t fully explain how much this very strange and innocuous little thing fills my heart, but this stuffed squash is my olive branch to that pepper-obsessed twenty-something, offered about twelve years late," says Mary Berg in her cookbook, In Mary's Kitchen: Stress-Free Recipes for Every Home Cook.

Mission Hill Reserve Merlot

In Association with IWBC

Cozy dishes deserve a full-bodied dance partner. This structured merlot, aged for 15 months in French oak barrels, delivers.  


  • 2 acorn squashes, halved lengthwise
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup brown lentils
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 medium red onion, finely diced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 1 green apple, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup dried apricots, finely diced
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 ½–5 oz crumbled feta

Note: If you have another variety of dried lentils, swap them in. Red lentils cook the fastest, taking about 20 minutes, and green lentils such as
the fancy French Puy variety take 40 to 45 minutes. And if you’re looking for instant lentils, just open a can.


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 F and place the acorn squash halves in a baking dish, cut-side up.
  2. Drizzle the flesh with about 1 Tbsp of oil followed by the maple syrup. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 35 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the squash, until fork tender.
  3. Meanwhile, rinse the lentils in a fine-mesh sieve, inspecting for any bad lentils or debris. Transfer them to a saucepan and add the vegetable broth. Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid, reduce the heat to a low simmer, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender but not mushy. Drain the lentils, transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
  4. While the lentils cook, heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and apple, season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until tender and lightly caramelized. Stir in the garlic and curry powder, cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute then stir in the lemon juice, scraping the bottom of the pan to pick up any burned-on bits. Stir in the spinach and transfer into the lentil bowl.
  5. Add the cranberries, apricots, walnuts, cilantro and parsley, and mix well to combine.
  6. Divide the mixture into the roasted acorn squash and scatter with the feta. Drizzle the top with the remaining Tbsp of oil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the feta is golden brown.

Mary Berg's Roast Beef Bourguignon

A go-to for holiday hosting, this classic crowd-pleaser delights with a unique sauce for drizzling and dipping.

Mary Berg recipes | Roast Beef Bourguignon recipe

Serves 4–6

Preparation time 35 minutes

Cooking time 2.5 hours

"Whenever I’m spending a lot of money on an ingredient, it has to make at least one of my jobs in the kitchen easier. Whether it saves on dishes or requires less effort or time, it needs to do a good amount of heavy lifting for me.

With this prime rib recipe, while it takes a little forethought and a relatively long time in the oven, the roast itself involves little to no effort, giving you more than enough time to make a quick bourguignon-inspired sauce. This recipe looks wordy, but it’s a cinch to make," says Mary Berg in her cookbook, In Mary's Kitchen: Stress-Free Recipes for Every Home Cook.

CedarCreek Pinot Noir

In Association with IWBC

This estate-grown pinot noir is bursting with fresh cherry and earthy notes. Pair the fruit-forward wine with this meaty main. 


  • 4 lbs prime rib roast
  • 3 Tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 1 ½ tsp herbes de Provence
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper


  • 3 slices regular cut bacon, diced
  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms, halved or quartered
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp thyme, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup cocktail onions, drained
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • ¾ cup dry red wine, preferably burgundy
  • 1 ½ cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 tsp packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped


  1. For the beef: The day or night before you are going to cook and serve the roast, unwrap the beef, dry it off with a piece of paper towel and place onto a small baking sheet or roasting pan lined with a wire rack. For easier cleanup, line the pan with aluminum foil. Return the roast to the fridge and allow it to sit uncovered for at least 8 hours. This process will greatly increase the roast’s browning potential and help the flavourful butter stick to the outside.
  2. Remove the roast from the fridge and place it on the counter for at least 2 hours or up to 4 hours to come up to room temperature.
  3. Preheat your oven to 500 F and, once heated, set a timer for 30 minutes. With the oven sear method, you want your oven to be smoking hot, and allowing it to sit at temperature for half an hour will help ensure a good golden-brown colour.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the butter and herbes de Provence. Spread the butter all over the roast and season well with salt and pepper. If using a digital probe thermometer (and I do highly recommend using one), insert it into the center of the roast, avoiding the rib bones if using a bone-in roast, and set the temperature alarm for 130 F. Transfer the roast to the oven and set a timer for 20 minutes for a 4-lb roast. When the timer goes off, turn the oven off and set another timer for 2 hours. Without opening the oven door, allow the roast to sit in the oven for the full 2 hours, or until the probe thermometer reaches 130 F.
  5. In the last 30 minutes of roasting, prepare the sauce.
  6. Place the bacon in a large skillet set over medium heat and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon to a plate, leaving the fat behind, and add the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and cook until lightly golden, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Add the thyme and cocktail onions, and continue to cook until the mushrooms are golden brown and the onions pick up a little colour, about another 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then transfer the mushroom mixture to the plate with the bacon and set aside.
  8. Place the pan back over medium heat, melt in the butter and sprinkle in the flour. Whisk together, then add the tomato paste and cook for about 1 minute. While whisking, slowly pour in the wine followed by the beef broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes to thicken slightly. Add the sugar as well as the mushrooms, onions and bacon to the sauce and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes to thicken and heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper, stir in the parsley and turn the heat down to low to keep warm.
  9. When the timer or thermometer goes off, remove the roast from the oven. Cut off the ribs, if using a bone-in roast, and slice. Like with a reverse-sear method, this oven-off cooking method does not require resting the roast before serving. Serve the roast topped with the bourguignon sauce.

Mary Berg's Spiced Apple Cheesecake

This sweet and savoury soul warmer is worth the effort to make, and is the perfect midnight snack days later.

Mary Berg recipes | Spiced Apple Cheesecake

Makes 1

Preparation time 30 minutes

Cooking time 1.5 hourse

"I’m not gonna lie, classic baked cheesecakes can be finicky, and making a perfect one without any cracks is not the easiest thing in the world.

Sure, there are things you can do like adding a bit of cornstarch to the batter, not over-beating the eggs, and using a water bath to protect the delicate custard from the direct heat of the oven, but sometimes, even after following every precaution, your cheesecake splits.

But have no fear! All is well! That’s what the spiced apple topping is for. Just pile it on, and no one will be any the wiser," says Mary Berg in her cookbook, In Mary's Kitchen: Stress-Free Recipes for Every Home Cook.

Liquidity Viognier

In Association with IWBC

This white from the Okanagan has tons of juicy acidity. Match the notes of jasmine, honeysuckle and apricot with this sweet and savoury dessert. 



  • 7 oz crispy spice cookies, such as Biscoff or gingersnaps
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 6 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar, divided
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 3 cups brick-style cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup 35 per cent whipping cream


  • 4 green apples, peeled and cored
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp apple brandy, optional
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1–2 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F, grease a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray and wrap the outside of the pan with aluminum foil. Set inside a larger baking pan and put a kettle on to boil.
  2. For the cheesecake: In a food processor, blitz the cookies into fine crumbs. Add the flour, salt and melted butter and pulse to combine. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the crust to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together ½ cup of sugar with the cornstarch and cinnamon in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 1 cup of cream cheese and beat on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the remaining cream cheese and sugar and beat on medium speed until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beat in the eggs, one at a time, on medium speed followed by the vanilla. Add the cream and continue to beat just until completely smooth, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed.
  4. Pour the filling onto the cooled crust. Pour the hot boiled water into the larger pan until it comes about halfway up the side of the springform pan to create a water bath. Carefully transfer to the oven and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until the edge of the cheesecake is set but the centre still has a wobble.
  5. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and allow it to cool completely to room temperature. Cover and transfer to the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours or up to 4 days.
  6. For the topping: Slice the apples into thin wedges and squeeze the lemon juice over them, tossing to coat.
  7. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium heat then add the apples. Cook, stirring frequently, until slightly softened, 2 to 4 minutes.
  8. Deglaze the pan with the brandy, if using, and allow it to simmer for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and salt and continue to cook until sticky and the apples are quite soft but still holding their shape, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat to cool slightly. The topping can be served warm on top of slices of chilled cheesecake or cooled to room temperature and spooned over the whole cheesecake and chilled in the fridge until ready to serve.

Note: Whenever cutting a dense dessert like a cream pie, fudgy brownies, or cheesecake, warm your knife under hot water and dry it before slicing, and wipe the knife between each cut. This ensures clean and even edges on each slice.