Maple Balsamic Slaw and Sausage


By Corinne

If ‘coleslaw’ makes you think of mayo- banish it from your mind!  This is not your mayo based coleslaw for sure. Red cabbage is beautiful, inexpensive and an excellent source of vitamins C, K, and A. You could do all red cabbage for this slaw, or all green if that’s all you can find, but I like a combination of the two for the colours. In the middle of winter it can be difficult to find good produce that is reasonably priced. This colourful meal checks a number of boxes- easy, fast, healthy and economical!

RANDOM SCIENCE FACTS AND FUN HOME LAB FOR KIDS– skip this and scroll down if you want to straight to the foods!

You can also make an AWESOME natural indicator with red cabbage. An indicator is a substance that changes colour depending on pH. Red cabbage contains a pigment molecule that is an anthocyanin- this is what is responsible for the colour changes. Want a fun little science lab you can do at home?  I have done the following MANY times with my science students. I usually have them test a variety of ‘mystery liquids’ with both pH strips and a few drops of the red cabbage indicator. They are always surprised with the variety and brightness of the colours produced.

To make the indicator, boil some chopped red cabbage(about a cup or cup and a half) with a half a cup of water for about 5 minutes- it doesn’t matter too much proportions, but you want to end up with a dark purple liquid – that being said, the colour of the liquid will very much depend on the pH of your tap water and how close to neutral your  water is. Strain and cool (keep tightly sealed in the fridge) Once cooled, you can test a variety of household substances.

Start with something you know is acidic- lemon juice or vinegar and something you know is basic- bleach for example, so you have a baseline and know what colours to expect from acids and bases. In science class we use spot plates and pipettes, but you can just place a few drops of your testing liquid onto a plate. You want just a few drops of the substance you are testing, and then place a few drops of your indicator into it and record your observations.

If you drip this liquid into a substance that is basic, it will turn green, and if you drip it into an acid it turns bright pink. (Neutral solutions will stay purple). Have fun checking a variety of household liquids!

Time: 40 minutes for the sausages, about 15 minutes for the slaw or less if you are using a food processor.

Oven: 400F

Serves: 2-3

You will need:

  • 350 g (about 4 cups) red cabbage thinly sliced
  • 200 g (about 3 cups) green cabbage thinly sliced
  • 140 g (1 large) carrot grated
  • 3 salt and pepper sausages (can be found at Maltese if you are in Thunder Bay) or 3 mildly flavoured sausages of your choice
  • 1 clove garlic finely minced
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) safflower or olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp (37 ml) pure maple syrup (don’t use maple flavoured whatever!)
  • 1/2 tbsp (7 ml) toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) smooth dijon mustard
  • 1/2 shallot, finely minced (about 1.5 tbsp)
  • 1 clove of garlic finely minced
  • a few grinds of fresh pepper

Heat oven to 400F while you make the dressing.

Whisk together all dressing ingredients. This makes about 1 cup of dressing.

Thinly slice cabbages and grate carrot. I used a food processor today, but have often just sliced by hand. Dress slaw in half of the dressing and refrigerate and reserve the other half of the dressing. (This is fine made ahead, but ensure you don’t add the toasted sesame seeds until serving)

Add 1 additional clove of garlic to the reserved dressing. Place sausages in a small casserole dish with the half cup of reserved dressing. Bake for 40 minutes, flipping them over periodically and basting in the dressing.

In a small frying pan, add the sesame seeds and toast over medium heat, shaking them up until golden- about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Add a generous amount slaw to each plate. When sausage is thoroughly cooked, slice on the bias and place on top of slaw. Sprinkle with a teaspoon or two of toasted sesame seeds.



Sausage With Split Pea Puree and Browned Butter


By: Julie

Serves:  4-6

Time: 60-80 min

This started out being a recipe from the book Simple by Diana Henry.  It went off the rails quite early in the process when I realized I didn’t have a leek.  Or Caraway Seeds.  Also I was sketchy about the whole yellow split-pea thing… they look like dried rocks.  I have spent most of my life avoiding the legume family because my mother doesn’t like them, which means I didn’t eat them as a child. Other than those brief, terrifying times when she bought a random frozen vegetable mix that contained lima beans.  LIMA BEANS!  Nothing will scare you away from legumes more than freezer burnt, electric green lima beans. However, since it is a new year and resolutions are upon us, I decided I simply MUST have MORE LEGUMES IN MY LIFE. They are actually very good for you, very economical, and in this case, freaking delicious.


Diane uses caraway seeds to flavor her butter, but I just browned it.  I’m super glad I did, it added amazing flavor.

You Will Need:

  • 1 1/2 cups of yellow split peas
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped.  Diane uses a leek here, which I bet is nice too.
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram 6 cups of broth, broth and water, or just water.  I used 4 cups of chicken stock and 2 cups of water.  Diane calls for 5 but I found that it wasn’t enough.  I would start with 5 and add more later.
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper – I used a full tsp and it was awesome.  But start with half because you may not be a pepper person.  If you find it’s missing some pizzaz at the end, it’s under-seasoned
  • generous grating of nutmeg.  I used 1/4 tsp.  I recommend fresh ground here
  • 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 stick butter – Diane specifies unsalted, but I like the salted version as it is a garnish
  • 3/4 lb of sausage.  Diane uses smoked.  I couldn’t find it.  I used honey mustard and it was divine.


In a medium sauce pan add the peas, onion, carrot, celery, marjoram, salt, pepper, broth and water.  Bring it to a boil and reduce heat to simmer.  Diane does not specify to cover here so I didn’t which may be why I needed the extra water.  You need to simmer this for at least an hour, preferably 80 min to reach the right consistency.  I have a toddler so time is sanity.  I did 60 min and there were a few al dente peas but it was lovely.

20 min before your puree is done fry up your chosen sausage in a pan until it’s no longer pink but still juicy.

Lastly, once the sausage and puree is done, take it off the heat.  Brown the butter (about 7 min over med heat until golden brown and nutty smelling).

Plate with the puree down, then sausage (whole or cut, your choice.. I find it goes further if I cut it up ahead of time).  Then drizzle with the browned butter.

Serve with a green salad.  It’s a bit on the heavy side so you really need the salad to lighten it up.



Sausage Stuffed Zucchini and Mushrooms with Watermelon Salad


By Corinne

This is a perfect summer supper. While we had this as dinner, the mushrooms and zucchini would also make a wonderful side or appetizer. I personally dislike mushrooms, but my husband loves them. Cremini are his favourite and what I used here, though I imagine this would work just fine with those white button mushrooms.

Serves: 3-4

Time: about 45 min

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini and/or Mushrooms

You Will Need:

  • 4 italian sausage removed from casing-I used 2 hot, 2 mild because there were no medium about 1 1/4 pound or .665 kg (from Tim’s Meats)
  • 1 onion- chopped
  • 1 clove garlic- minced
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine, I used Grey Fox Chardonnay
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • some combination of zucchini and mushrooms – I used 2 zucchini and 5 large cremini mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup shredded asiago cheese
  • 1-2 tbsp canola for brushing vegetables

Watermelon Salad

You Will Need:

  • 3 1/2 cups cubed watermelon
  • 2 cups thinly sliced cucumber (I used 3 of those mini kirby cucumbers)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced or small dice red onion
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh mint if desired
  • freshly ground pepper

For the zucchini/mushrooms

Place sausages (casing removed) and chopped onion in a heavy bottomed pan. Cook on medium until sausage is well browed with lots of little crispy bits! If your sausage was particularly fatty, you should probably drain off some of the fat before deglazing. I use local sausage that tends to be quite lean and don’t need to drain anything.

Use the 3/4 cup of wine to deglaze the pan- add it a bit at the time scraping up all the browned bits of goodness. Add the minced garlic, lemon zest and juice and let reduce until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, let cool slightly and mix in about half of the grated asiago- the rest will be used to top your zucchini/mushrooms.

White your filling is cooking, prep the zucchini and mushrooms.

Pull the stems out of mushrooms. Chop up stems and use it in omelettes for tomorrow morning, or for pasta sauce if you’re into that sort of thing, or compost them if you’re not:)

Trim zucchini ends, and slice in half length wise. Cut into approximately 2.5″ pieces, and using a melon baller or a spoon, scoop out insides, being sure to leave a ‘cap’ on each end of your section so your filling will stay put! (I ended up with about 12 pieces from my two zucchini) With the leftover inside bits, you can save for another purpose, or compost. If I had just been making zucchini ones, I might have used less sausage and used the zucchini ‘insides’ as part of the filling as well. But I didn’t, and you don’t have to either 🙂

Brush tops and bottoms of zucchini and mushrooms with canola or olive oil. Place them on the grill on high/medium high top side down for only a minute or two until they have some nice grill marks. Remove from grill and fill with sausage, top with cheese.

Return to grill on low for about 5 minutes, until cheese is melted and zucchini and mushrooms are heated through. If you prefer your zucchini softer/more cooked leave them on a bit longer.

For the salad

Chop watermelon, cucumbers, onion add to bowl, mix gently. Crumble feta over top and juice of one lime and mint if using. Stir gently again to mix. Add fresh pepper to taste and serve.


Mini Lasagnes


By Corinne

I would love to add a source for this, as I was inspired by something someone posted on facebook, but then when I searched for it I couldn’t find it again. I tried the google, came up with several recipes that were not quite what I wanted. I wanted to use italian sausage rather than ground beef for all the extra easy flavour. This came together quickly. Two plus a salad is a filling supper. To turn this into an appetizer size portion, I would simply do a single layer rather than a double one.

You Will Need:

  • 24 won ton wraps
  • 1 cup (225g) ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 tsp (1.25mL)each of dry basil and oregano
  • 1lb(454g) mild or medium italian sausage (casing removed)
  • 1 28oz (796mL) can of pureed tomato (or use immersion blender to blend whatever you have)
  • 3-4 tbsp (30-45mL) of tomato paste
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 stalk of celery diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • grated mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

In order for this sauce to reduce quickly, use a large shallow sauce pan with a lot of surface area. Remove casing from sausage and cook on medium with onion and celery until browned. Add garlic, stir until fragrant but don’t let garlic brown- about 1 min. Add pureed tomatoes and tomato paste. Let reduce, stirring frequently until the sauce is a fairly thick paste- you should be able to scoop it up and heap onto your spoon rather fall off.

Mix basil and oregano with ricotta.

Preheat oven to 400F. Line muffin tins with 1 won ton wrap. Full disclosure, I used a stoneware pan that nothing sticks to, if using a regular muffin tin you MAY have to grease it. The won tons are covered in cornstarch though, so that should help with sticking. Add 1 slightly heaping tablespoon of sauce, 1/2 tbsp of ricotta and then a few shreds of mozzarella.

Place another won ton wrap on top of fillings and press down slightly around the filling. Add another tbsp of sauce, ricotta and then top with a generous little bunch of shredded mozzarella.

Bake in 400F oven for 20min. Check at 20 min- pull one part way out of tin to see if sides and bottoms are browned. If they need more browning but your tops are done, cover lightly with tinfoil and return to oven for another 10 minutes.



B.L.T Soup

By: Julie

Time: 60 minutes – 20 min prep, 40 min cook

Serves 6

Adapted from Lentil Soup with Sausage, Chard and Garlic from Smitten Kitchen


Lately I’ve been making soup out of my favourite non-soupy dishes.  BLT soup was born out of my love of hot crispy bacon, cool lettuce, and spicy sweet tomatoes.  Sadly, it’s not tomato season here, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with a can of San Marzano tomatoes, picked at the perfect moment of sun-ripened goodness and packed immediately in a puree of their own yumminess.  Much better than those mushy hot-house things available for a zillion dollars a pound in the store in January, (a bit off topic but I saw a head of cauliflower for $9.99 today… needless to say it’s not in my BLT soup).

You Will Need:

  • 2 Mild Italian Sausage Links with casings removed.
  • 2 slices of thick cut bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds, or diced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 can of San Marzano tomatoes, pureed, or 1 can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup of green lentils
  • 3 cups of chicken broth (that’s 1 carton)
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream for garnish
  • fresh basil and parsley for garnish (optional)


In a dutch oven, over medium heat, render the bacon until crispy and then add the sausage.  Using a wooden spoon, break up the sausage as it cooks until it’s no longer pink and starts to brown.  Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, pepper, and a pinch of salt.  Don’t remove any of the fat, you need it to brown the vegetables and for flavor.  This is a BLT soup after all and it needs that smokey bacon goodness.  There is already salt from the bacon and the sausage so a pinch is good enough for now.  Continue to cook until softened.

Add the lentils and stir them in, letting them soften for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes, broth, water, and bay leaves.  Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.  Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer.  Cook uncovered until lentils are soft, about 40 min.

The soup will be thick, but trust me, it’s delicious.  See the texture in the above photo, that’s what you’re looking for.  Ladle into bowls and add a handful of spinach to each.  Stir it into the soup so it begins to wilt but will not be mushy by the time you serve.  Add a spoonful of sour cream to each bowl (be generous, this is the “mayonaise” part of the BLT and the creaminess is essential to knock this out of the park), garnish with some thai basil and some fresh parsley and enjoy.