Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Chef Jeff Review: Canadian Living Make It Tonight PLUS CONTEST!

Canadian Living Make it Tonight
by the Canadian Living Test Kitchen
Transcontinental Books (Random House Canada)

ISBN: 978-0-9813938-6-5
Buy From Indigo

Description: Canadian Living: Make It Tonight has been a trusted resource for home cooks since it was first published in 2007. Now it's time for a new look and some fresh inspiration. The 2nd edition features a selection of the outstanding recipes from the first edition, plus all new photos and 30% new recipes that are as easy to cook as they are tasty.

When you're in a rush to put dinner on the table, you don't have to sacrifice flavour, quality or nutritional value by turning to takeout or a frozen entrée. Whether you're cooking a simple weeknight meal or a more-relaxed entertaining menu, Canadian Living Make It Tonight has what you need to put dinner on the table with a minimum of fuss. Chapters are organized around a specific real-life need, such as speed (dinners in 15 to 20 minutes, under 30 minutes), cooking method (slow cooker, barbecue, toaster oven, freeze ahead) or situation (for company, from the pantry, five or so ingredients).

Each page is packed with delicious recipes, helpful hints and time-saving tips. Sidebars cover a range of subjects, from kitchen equipment to techniques to solutions on using up leftovers. There’s something for every cook, from beginners who need a helping hand, to seasoned cooks who just want a little inspiration.

• 13 recipe chapters, organized around specific cooking needs, situations, cooking methods, etc.
• 50 colour photographs
• Helpful sidebars and tips sprinkled throughout
• Simple substitutions and variations to make cooking flexible

Changing the format a little for Jeff's Reviews as he writes his notes in sentences instead of points like I do. This way you get a better idea of his opinion

Jeff's Review: Canadian Living does it again. As I read their book from cover to cover, all I can think about is - ooh I'd like to make that, and that -- and well you get the idea.  We tested three different recipes from the book. Jen made a slow cooker Beef and Mushroom Stew and I made the  Spaghetti Carbonara and the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Cake.  The Spaghetti Carbonarra was a household fave.  Our oldest son hates sauces so this was the perfect recipe for him -- as well it was so easy to make, I whipped it together in next to no time before his baseball game. It's the perfect healthy recipe to whip up before the kids go out to their various sporting events.  We made the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Cake after our Toddler went to bed and our oldest son and I whipped it together while Jen sat on  her lazy butt and read -- she said she had to finish the book so she could review it the next day -- but I don't really believe her.  The recipe only took 10 minutes to put together and only 30 minutes later this delicious dessert was in a bowl with vanilla ice cream melted on top and the three of us took turns gobbling it off.  Yes it was 11:00 at night and we were feeding our 9 yr old chocolate -- but it is summer holidays so it was totally ok.  Note to self don't do it again as it took him forever to go to bed and we only got one episode of Burn Notice watched.  Jen decided to make the Crockpot Mushroom and Beef Stew since our crock pot gets very little use since most of the recipes for it involve tomato based recipes which are too acidic for Jen and our oldest boy hates tomatoes.  This recipe has too of our oldest sons favorite things Beef and Mushrooms -- seriously the boy would live on it if he could.  It was easy to make and turned out delicious. Our oldest boy even asked for seconds. Think we will be making some of this ahead of time to keep in the freezer.  There are tons of helpful hints highlighted in yellow throughout the book which is a nice added bonus.  There is plenty of variety in terms of types of meals and cultures.  Everything from snacks to full menu and even party ideas.

The Not so Good Stuff
  • Could use more pictures.  As we like to compare our finished product with that of the recipe book. Plus hey if it looks good in the recipe book it makes you want to make it
Favorite Recipes
  • Slow Cooker Beef and Mushroom Stew Pg 116
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Cake Pg 218
  • Spaghetti Carbonara Pg 26
Who should/shouldn't read
  • Perfect for busy families
  • Great for both beginning and experienced cooks
  • Even recipes my wife can make (Jen's note: Hmm thinking some exlax in his next meal)
  • The perfect cook book for  day to day cooking
5 Dewey's

We received this in exchange for an honest review -- and trust me Jeff's honest -- painfully at times.  He once told me the pants I had on looked like something his dead grandma wouldn't even wear

Contest Time

Random House has generously donated TWO copies of the Cookbook for a contest

Rules: Canada Only (Sorry my US Peeps -- Publisher Rules)
Ends: July 16th
In Comments  Just put the name of your favorite quick go to meal - Just the name you don't have to put the actual recipe in unless you really want to (Please put email so I can contact you if you win). You don't have to be a follower, but would love it if you were since Publishers like it when you got tons of followers : )

Pictures From Jake

Chef Jeff and Ingredients for Chocolate and Peanut Butter Pudding Cake
Just Before it went in oven

Mere seconds before we scooped it up and put ice cream (Sorry to impatient to eat it we forgot to take picture)

Jake the helper
Oreo seconds before he was busted for jumping on counter - don't worry cake was already in oven


  1. YUM!
    I love Canadian Living!
    My favourite go to meal?
    It's so simple.
    Grilled cheese sandwich (use whatever bread and cheese you have) with a slice of ham, and honey mustard spread inside.
    LOVE it!
    Add a salad or I will sometimes grab some popcorn from Kernels and call it a meal!
    natasha AT

  2. Delish- Do ribs count ;-)
    My go-to easy meal? Don't even need to think about it - scrambled eggs with mushrooms and cheese. I could eat this any time of the day or night.
    jhplayca AT

  3. I really need some help in the kitchen, this looks great! We just started using our slow cooker (which I've had for about 10 yrs!) and that beef stew sounds yummy!
    My favorite quick thing to make is chicken & rice with cream of mushroom sauce, so easy even I can make it :D

    Thanks for the giveaway,
    hefollowedmeATgmail DOT com

  4. Thanks guys you are now making me hungry

  5. Yum, this entire post is making me drool!
    Go-to easy meal? Spinach and cream sauce pasta, made easy with frozen spinach in the freezer!

  6. My favourite go to meal is fettucine alfredo!
    cool_beans2000 at

  7. Breakfast is my go-to meal. My little ones are 19 months and 6 months and I really, really having a hard time cooking--especially with the heat.

    And our grill is dead.

    I've been using the slow cooker, too, for the past two weeks. Wished I had used it sooner!