Our 6 Favourite Kitchen Designs and Crowd-pleasing Recipes

Sorbara Gold and pink kitchen wide angled

Gold accents complement the neutral setting with whispers of pink. It’s about the calmest palette you can cook in!

Do you find yourself going to the kitchen way more than you need to these days? Are you inspired by what you see? If not, check out our 6 favourite kitchen designs. We not only wanted to show off these fresh, newly renovated designs, we asked the homeowners to provide some insight into how the new spaces impacted them.

Of course, we also had to ask, “What’s your most trusted crowd-pleasing recipe?”

Sure, you may not have a crowd to feed right now, we decided we want to post their recipes because they all sound delicious and we think these recipes may be just what you need to enable your isolation eating habits. So, please enjoy!

1. Diane’s New Open Concept Kitchen

open concept kitchen

The wall between the kitchen and dining room was removed to open up the entertaining kitchen space.

Diane loves the openness and free-flow of her new kitchen and dining room. It now makes prepping, serving and entertaining a dream come true. She and husband, Michael were always known for their amazing dinner parties before but this new layout will help kick them up to a Michelin 5-star level!

Five burner cook top in renovated kitchen

The five-burner cooktop leaves lots of storage space for pots and pans underneath.

Her favourite appliance is the five-element gas cooktop. The speed and larger cooking surface makes meal prep a breeze and it’s more convenient to have the built-in microwave and convection oven at the right height. Her crowd-pleasing recipe is also her family-pleasing go-to recipe.

Wall down between kitchen and dining room

With the wall down, there is an open flow from the dining room to the kitchen. Entertaining is now a breeze.

Diane’s Crowd-pleasing Penne Alla Vodka

1 lb penne pasta
2 tbsp olive oil
4 thin slices pancetta
2 green onions, finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
5 tbsp tomato sauce
2 to 3 cups whipping cream
2 cloves garlic minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp finely chopped parsley
4 tbsp vodka
Freshly grated parmesan cheese


  1. Cook pancetta, onions and tomatoes in a pan for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add tomato sauce and cream; simmer until slightly thickened. Stir in parsley, salt, pepper and vodka
  3. Cook pasta until al dente about 8-10 minutes in boiling salted water.
  4. Drain pasta and pour the sauce over cooked pasta.
  5. Blend together until all the penne is coated with the sauce.
  6. Garnish with parmesan cheese.

Makes 4-5 servings. Enjoy!

2. Val’s Expansive and Airy Kitchen

Long kitchen island and cabinetry with separate table

The kitchen island and cabinetry are aligned to take advantage of the light streaming in from the long bank of windows.

This is Val’s entertainment-ready kitchen.  The open and airy design allows the expanse of custom cabinetry and island to embrace the light coming in from the wall of windows.

She loves her  Steam/Convection oven from Wolf. She uses it every day. It is the perfect size and it heats up really quickly which makes it a great option when you are short on time. She even reheats food in it rather than the microwave.

Kitchen island to pantry off kitchen

The pantry/servery is seen in the background of this expansive kitchen.

She’s never had a big island before. Now there is space for entertaining and room for everyone to work and help out in the kitchen. There’s enough space to move around without tripping over one another. The kitchen is the heart of our home, not just for Val’s immediate family but for her extended family and friends. Here’s Val’s crowd-pleasing recipe from Woman’s Day Magazine:

Val’s Crowd-pleasing Cinnamon-Spiced Sweet Potato Soup with Maple Croutons

4 tbsp. olive oil
1lb carrots (about 4 large), cut into ½” pieces
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
6 cups of water
1 lb sweet potatoes (about 2 medium), peeled and cut into ¾” pieces
2 tbsp chicken or vegetable bouillon base
2 dried basil leaves
2 slices leftover crusty bread, cut or torn into 1″ pieces
1 tbsp maple syrup


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the carrots, onion and garlic and cook stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are starting to brown at the edges, approx. 8-10 minutes. Add the spices and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
  2. Add sweet potatoes, bouillon base, bay leaves and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, approx. 10-12 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bread and cook, tossing occasionally until golden brown. Remove from heat, drizzle the maple syrup over the top and toss to coat.
  4. Discard the bay leaves. Using a blender (or immersion blender), puree the soup until smooth.  Serve with maple croutons.


3. Sherri’s New, Family Sized Kitchen

Contemporary renovated kitchen

This contemporary, renovated kitchen is large enough for the whole family to enjoy.

This family-sized kitchen is built for entertaining. Warm touches of walnut and gold work beautifully with the crisp white cabinetry and marble tiled backsplash in a lovely chevron pattern. This is the gathering place for food, family, friends and fun.

Cooking is one of Sherri’s passions and she loves trying new recipes and making comforting food. She is particularly fond of her new induction cooktop for its sleekness and colour. It’s great for everyday cooking, the temperature is accurate, it heats up quickly and maintains a simmer. Her family is particularly fond of the holidays and Sherri’s grandmother’s turkey stuffing.

Sherri’s Grandmother’s Crowd-pleasing Turkey Stuffing

1½ loaves of bread (white or whole wheat), torn
1 package sausage meat (frozen in meat department)
3 medium onions, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp each savoury and sage
2 eggs


  1. Fry sausage meat, onion and celery,  simmer 30 minutes.
  2. Pour on top of torn bread. Add 2 raw eggs, salt and pepper and spices. Stir.
  3. Stuff cavity of turkey.
  4. Extra stuffing can be put in baking dish sprayed with Pam.
  5. Add 2 tbsps of butter and chicken stock as needed.
  6. Bake 30 minutes in a 350-degree oven.


4. Linda Gill’s Blue Ribbon Kitchen

Blue new traditional kitchen

This new blue kitchen features custom cabinetry, stained glass and hand-painted wall tiles.

Blue kitchen cooktop vignette

The cooktop offers its own artistic flair with a hand-painted backsplash and custom-designed vent hood.

When Linda’s kitchen was finally completed, the first thing she made was Christmas dinner for the entire family. Talk about putting it to the test! The meal was a success and the new kitchen design worked beautifully.

Corner Banquette with feminine flair

A cozy nook is a perfect perch for intimate dinners or coffee breaks

Everything functions beautifully including her new Sub Zero Refrigerator. She likes that it holds so much and keeps everything fresh, longer. The breakfast nook has transformed into an intimate space for dinner, or coffee in the morning while watching TV. Linda’s favourite recipe is from Canadian Living.

Linda’s Crowd-pleasing Chocolate Toffee Brownies

115 g semisweet dark chocolate, chopped
28 g unsweetened chocolate, chopped
½ cup butter, cubed
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
½ cup flour
Pinch of salt
3 Skor bars, chopped


  1. Melt together chocolate and butter over medium-low heat, let cool 10 mins.
  2. Whisk in sugar, vanilla and eggs, one at a time
  3. Stir in flour and salt
  4. Fold in Skor bars
  5. Scrape into an 8″ square pan lined with parchment
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 mins. Cool and cut into bars.


5. Suzanna’s Foodie-Friendly Kitchen

Contemporary kitchen with traditional style

An elegant, contemporary kitchen makes you want to be a great cook!

This family-sized kitchen is built for entertaining. Touches of dark wood and chrome work beautifully with the marble-tiled backsplash in a lovely chevron pattern.

Contemporary kitchen with formal eat-in dining

The dining room is incorporated in the kitchen, all part of the same design style.

Suzanna’s favourite part of the kitchen is a broccoli game changer. It’s the Miele combiner’s steam oven. She uses it every day because she can cook anything from the smallest side dish to a whole turkey. She originally wasn’t convinced a steam oven was something she wanted, now she doesn’t know how she went years without it. The one recipe that everyone asks her for is from the Barefoot Contessa.

Suzanna’s Crowd-pleasing Summer Garden Pasta

4 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
Good olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
18 large basil leaves, julienned, plus extra for serving
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound dried angel hair pasta
1½ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving


  1. Combine the cherry tomatoes, ½ cup olive oil, garlic, basil leaves, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, and the pepper in a large bowl.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature for about 4 hours.
  3. Just before you’re ready to serve, bring a large pot of water with a splash of olive oil and 2 tablespoons salt to a boil and add the pasta.
  4. Cook al dente according to the directions on the package (be careful – it only takes 2 to 3 minutes!).
  5. Drain the pasta well and add to the bowl with the cherry tomatoes.
  6. Add the cheese and some extra fresh basil leaves and toss well. Serve in big bowls with extra cheese on each serving.
Summer Garden Pasta {Ina Garten

Summer Garden Pasta From Ina Garten


6. Jeff’s Genius Kitchen Design

Sorbara Gold and pink kitchen straight on

An island and a dining room together? Why not. It’s an invitation to a great, entertaining experience no matter where you sit.

Jeff is our senior designer and yes, we believe he is a genius. He created this beautiful kitchen for a model home, and he is a real gourmet cook. Some people are afraid of complicated recipes but Jeff would say, “Challenge accepted”. He makes his own bread, cans his own pasta, so you know if you’re invited for dinner it will be remarkable.

Jenn Air stove gold bezels

Gold is sprinkled throughout this kitchen, even the bezels on the Jenn Air Rise cook top are gold.

Here is one of Jeff’s favourite recipes, he says it’s rich, creamy, flavourful and looks and tastes like a much more difficult dish to make than it actually is.

(If you can pronounce it, you can make it!)

Jeff’s Crowd-pleasing Chicken Bouillabaisse with Garlic Saffron Aioli

1 (4-5 lb) chicken, cut into 10 pieces (or just get two big chicken breasts and 6-8 thighs)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
olive oil
1 large head garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
1 (15 oz.) can tomato puree (passata)
1½ cups chicken stock
1 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons Pernod
1 pound baby Yukon gold potatoes, halved

Garlic Saffron Aioli:

4 large garlic cloves
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon saffron threads
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup olive oil


Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season it generously with salt, pepper, and the rosemary. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven and brown the chicken pieces in batches until nicely browned all over, about 5 to 7 minutes per batch. Transfer the browned chicken pieces to a plate and set aside.

Lower the heat to medium-low and add the garlic, saffron, fennel seeds, tomato puree, chicken stock, white wine, Pernod, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper to the pot. Stir and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until the garlic is very tender, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Carefully pour the sauce into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade (or use an immersion blender). Puree until smooth. Return the sauce to the Dutch oven and add the sliced potatoes and browned chicken pieces with their juices. Stir carefully.

Cover the pot and bake for 45-55 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the chicken is done. Check the seasonings and serve hot in shallow bowls with big dollops of garlic saffron aioli and slices of crusty bread.

Garlic Saffron Aioli Directions:

Yield: 1 cup

Place the garlic and salt on a cutting board and mince together. Transfer the mixture to a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the egg yolk, lemon juice, saffron, and red pepper flakes. Process until smooth.

With the machine running, pour the olive oil in a thin, steady stream through the feed tube to make a thick mayonnaise emulsion. Transfer the aioli to a serving bowl and store it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

If you’re craving more gorgeous kitchen inspiration visit the Jane Lockhart kitchen portfolio. Bon appetit, everyone!