Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rigatoni with Swiss Chard and Sausage

This was the cover recipe on of the November issue of Canadian Living magazine. My sister gets the magazine and we made it together on Sunday night while I was visiting her in Halifax. It was healthy, fresh and just right for a lazy (and cold!) fall evening. We added extra sausage and swiss chard, so it probably could have stood a bit more liquid, but over all, it was very good! Because we nearly doubled the recipe, we made two baking dishes of it, ate one and froze the other. Amanda put it in the freezer after assembly, but pre-baking. We'll see how it is when they go to eat it out of the freezer.

Source: Canadian Living

4 c. pasta
1/2 c. salted pasta water
4 italian sausages, removed from casings
1 onion, chopped
8 c. swiss chard, chopped
1/2 c. fresh basil, chopped
1 c. diced tomatoes
1 can navy beans, rinsed and drained
3 cloves of fresh garlic or 3 tsp pickled garlic
red pepper flakes
Mozza cheese
Parm cheese (I just used a package of Kraft 4 cheese Italian)


1. Turn water on to boil pasta. Cook pasta as preparing the sauce.
2. Cook sausage meat, removed from casing, with the chopped onion. Drain fat. Add garlic, basil, red pepper flakes to taste and canned tomatoes. Simmer for 10 mins. Stir in navy beans.
3. Drain pasta, set aside 1/2 c. drained pasta water. Stir in swiss chard, pasta sauce and pasta water. Pour into baking dish. Top with italian cheese.
4. Bake at 350 F covered in foil for 20 mins. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 mins.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lemon Chicken in the Crockpot

I have been having a hankering for chinese food for the past couple of weeks. I remembered seeing this recipe on one of my favorite cooking blogs, a great site FULL of slowcooker recipes ( and decided to give it a go. I made a few modifications, because the recipe didn't include any veggies and I had some peppers to use up. I cut up an onion and green, red and yellow peppers and put them in the bottom of the crock and put the chicken on top of it. I also used 5 chicken breasts, instead of four. Finally, because of the veggies, extra chicken and our general love of sauce, I doubled the sauce recipe, to use up the whole can of lemonade.

This is cooking in the crock right now and it smells DELICIOUS! I just went out to taste the sauce and I know already this is going to be a hit served over brown rice. You could make it without frying the chicken first, to save on calories and time, but you wouldn't get the same take-out effect of crispy chunks of chicken. It will be more shreddy. The blog also said to try this with orange juice concentrate, which I will definitely do in the future!


  • 5 chicken breasts, thawed and cut into strips or pieces
  • 1/2 c. flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Oil (enough to brown the chicken, about 1/4 c., but probably not all at once)
  • 1 can lemonade concentrate
  • 6 tbsp brown sugar
  • 6 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • Chopped onion, peppers, carrots, etc...


1. Coat chicken pieces in flour, salt and pepper mixture. Fry until browned and flour is stuck to the chicken. DO NOT cook all the way through, you want it to actually cook in the crockpot.
2. Put chopped veggies in the bottom of the crock. Put chicken on top.
3. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl to make sauce. Pour over veggies and chicken.
4. Cook in the crock on high for 4 hrs or on low for around 6 hrs. Serve over rice.

**I read on the blog that if you cook this for 8hrs on low, it will likely be overcooked and the sauce will get to dark and tart, especially if you don't double the recipe or add the veggies because you won't have a lot in your crockpot. You can totally cook it on low for 6hrs and then let it switch to "warm" for the rest of the time if you will be away from home during the cooking time.

Photo to come!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


We have our Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday evening. This way, everyone can go to their in-laws on Sunday. The last couple of years, we have gotten the best turnout doing it this way. With 16 adults and a toddler, this year was no exception! We did the meat, potatoes and a carrot cake. Everyone else brought the sides. We had pork, hot potato salad, turnip casserole, sweet potato casserole, green been casserole, salad and homemade rolls. For dessert, there was apple pie, pumpkin pie and carrot cake. Thanks for the pies Barb!

I think everyone enjoyed the meal, considering we were all sacked out on couches and on the floor in the family room for about 2 hrs after!

The pork was a new recipe and didn't disappoint! The carrot cake was too, but not quite as risky as a new main course recipe for a crowd!

Apple-Cranberry Stuffed and Glazed Pork Roast
Source: The internet! Link in the post below.

I doubled this recipe to make it for a crowd of 16 adults. One pork roast will feed around 8-10 people quite nicely. This was really good! The glaze was delicious and the stuffing had a strong, sweet and savoury flavour.

  • 1 2.5lbs pork roast (double butterflied)
  • 1 c. apple cider
  • 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 c. dried apples
  • 1/2 c. dried cranberries
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • Salt and pepper


1. When you buy your pork roast, get them to double butterfly it for you at the meat counter. It is so much easier then trying to do it yourself! Basically, you want it to be 1.5 inches thick the whole way across. When you get it home, before you stuff it, unroll it and pound it out so it will roll up easily. The website below has really good pictures of the pork prep.
2. Combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 mins. The apples should be soft.
3. Drain the mixture using a fine mesh stainer. Set the liquid aside, you will use this for a glaze. When you strain it, use a spatula to push the mixture down really well getting as much liquid out as possible.
4. Put the strained apple/cran mixture in the food processor and puree. This is the stuffing for the pork.
5. Spread out the pork, pound it and season both sides with salt and pepper. Cover it in the filling. You want an edge with no filling about an inch all the way around. Roll it up and tie it with twine.
6. Bake at 350 F for 45-60 mins in a roast pan on a rack. You want the internal temp at around 135-140 F.
7. Glaze the pork with about 1/3 c. of the liquid. Put back in the oven on around 400 for 5 mins or so. This will brown the exterior.
8. Remove from the oven and put it on the cutting board. Cover it in foil for around 15 mins.
9. During this time, put the remaining liquid back on the stove. Bring to a boil then turn down to low and simmer it until it reduces a bit and thickens. Mine didn't thicken a lot.
10. Slice the pork in 1/2 inch thick slices. Pour remaining glaze over the pork and serve!

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Source: Better Homes and Gardens, Best New Baking Book


  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 c. oil
  • 3 c. finely shredded carrots
  • 2 c. flour
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 c. coconut


1. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients.
2. Beat eggs. Mix in oil and carrots.
3. Add flour mixture and stir in.
4. Bake in 2 layer cake pans at 350 F for 30-35 mins. Take out of oven and cool in pan for 10 mins. Remove from pan and cool for an hour, then frost.

Cream Cheese Frosting:


  • 6 oz block of cream cheese
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 1/2 c. icing sugar


1. Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy.
2. Add 2 c. icing sugar and beat. Continue adding icing sugar 1/2 c. at a time until icing is a good consistency.
3. Ice the cake!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Thankgiving is this weekend! Instead of the traditional turkey dinner, I am branching out a bit this year. A while ago, I came across this amazing stuffed and glazed pork recipe. It is always nerve-wracking cooking something for the first time when it is for a crowd, but I think it should turn out well!

My Mom and I are also making hot potato salad, turnip casserole and a carrot cake. Everyone else is bringing the rest! I will definitely post more recipes, pics and reviews next week!

German Chocolate Cake

Last Sunday, we had sweet and sour meatballs in the crock, over egg noodles with broccoli salad. All of these recipes had already been posted, so I had to make something new and amazing for dessert! This german chocolate cake recipe fit the bill. It looked sort of fancy and was DELICIOUS! Honestly, if I were to make it again, I think I would double the recipe and make it a 4 layer cake or at least 3 thicker layers. I made two kinds of icing: coconut-pecan frosting and classic chocolate butter frosting. I frosted the entire thing in the chocolate butter, plus added the coconut pecan between the layers and on the very top. I was also really excited because the chocolate butter frosting actually turned out!! Last time I attempted homemade frosting, it wasn't so great, so this was a huge accomplishment!

Source: Better Homes and Gardens, Best New Baking Book (Where else?!)

  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 4-ounce package of sweet baking chocolate
  • 1 c. shortening
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 c. buttermilk
  • 1 recipe of coconut-pecan frosting
  • 1 chocolate butter frosting


1. Grease and lightly flour two round layer cake pans. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
3. In a saucepan, combine chocolate and 1/2 c. water. Cook and stir over low heat until melted; cool.
4. Beat sugar and shortening with an electric mixer on medium until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beat on low speed until combined, then beat on medium for about a minute. Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately to the mixing bowl, beating on low.
5. Pour batter into pans. Bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes or until toothpick is clean. Cool layers well.

Now, you need to make the coconut-pecan frosting. It starts hot, so you need to let it cool before it goes on the cake. I ended up putting this in the freezer to cool, since I didn't make it right away while the cakes were cooling.

Coconut-Pecan Frosting:


  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 c. evaporated milk
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1 1/3 c. flaked coconut
  • 1/2 c. pecans


1. In a saucepan, lightly beat the egg. Stir in the milk, sugar and butter.
2. Cook and stir over medium heat for about 12 minutes or until thickened and bubbly.
3. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut and the pecans.
4. Cover and cool.

Once the cakes and the coconut-pecan is cooled, make the butter frosting so you can assemble to whole thing!

Chocolate Butter Frosting


  • 1/3 c. butter
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 c. icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 c. milk (and keep the milk handy!)


1. Beat butter until fluffy. Add the cocoa and 1 1/2 c. of the icing sugar. Beat well. Add 1/4 c. milk and vanilla.
2. Gradually add the rest of the powdered sugar, continuously beating and add more milk if necessary.

Now assemble the cake! Put the bottom layer on the cake plate, front with a layer of chocolate and a layer of coconut-pecan. Add the 2nd layer of cake and frost the whole thing in chocolate. Put the remaining coconut-pecan to the top.

Cut and serve!