Donut Pancakes - Accidental Discovery!

Sometimes I'm a little preoccupied. Enough to put too much oil in a pan for my pancakes, and to let it get too hot.

To make a long story short, I ended up with donut pancakes this morning. It was actually fairly good - I wouldn't recommend making these EVERY time you make pancakes, but give them a try. You might be pleasantly surprised.

They were golden brown on both sides but crispy, not "cake-like". I cooked them on each side until I saw the traditional "bubbles in the batter" flip indicator, pulled them out, and served. They were much heavier than normal pancakes, so don't eat too much of these or you might feel sick, but they were tasty!

Pannuts? Docakes? I don't know ...


Fantastic Shepherd's Pie!

This recipe is a mishmash of different Sheppard's pie recipes I've followed. I think it combines simplicity with flavour, to give you the best trade off between cooking/prep time versus how good it tastes.

  • Ground beef (one package, extra lean)
  • Onion (1/4 cup)
  • Ketchup (1/4 cup - 1/2 cup, use your judgment)
  • Montreal steak spice (2 tsp.)
  • Garlic powder (1 tsp.)
  • Water (1/4 cup)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Basil (1 tsp)
  • Chili Powder (optional - for bite, a "light dusting")
  • Baking potatos (5-6)
  • Sour cream (1/4 cup)
  • Milk (1/2 cup)
  • Butter (2 tbsp.)
  • "Niblet" Kernel corn (small can)
  • Cream corn (small can)

We will be preparing 3 different dishes; the meat, the potatos and the vegetables. The order you do them in doesn't matter because they will all be combined in the end. I think I've layed them out in a pretty effecient manner, but feel free to break the mold.

The Potatos
  1. Peel and cook the potatos until they're ready to mash.
  2. Add butter, milk.
  3. Mash potatos well.
  4. Add sour cream.
  5. Add salt to taste.
  6. Add pepper to taste.
  7. Mash potatos well, again. No lumps or your fired.
The Corn
  1. Open both cans of corn
  2. drain as much water from the niblets as you can.
  3. Drain a slight amount of the watery juice from the cream corn.
  4. Combine in a small pot and cook at very low heat until simmering.
The Meat
  1. In a large saucepan, brown the ground beef with the onion, basil, and the steak spice.
  2. Once brown, add the garlic powder and mix well.
  3. Add the ketchup along with 1/4 cup of water.
  4. Cover and keep on low heat. The meat should have a small amount of "sauce" coating it.
The Dish
  1. Layer the meat in the bottom of a glass oven-dish.
  2. Layer the corn mixture on top of the meat.
  3. Layer the mashed potatos on top. Use a fork to make those fancy decorative lines on the top of the mash potatos, and garnish with basil.
  4. Bake covered at 400F for 45 minutes.
  5. Broil for 5-7 minutes, or until light golden brown on top.



I remember growing up watching Garfield cartoons. He could scarf entire lasagna's in a matter of seconds, cutting a small piece out then eating the rest of the lasagna. I never really thought about how strange a lasagna-eating cat was, but, it was entertaining nonetheless.

Since then, I've learned how to make a few different types of lasagna! While the following one probably isn't the most gourmet, its definitely the easiest and fits my "student cooking" theme pretty well.

  • Ground beef (1 package, lean)
  • Oven-ready lasagna noodles
  • Tomato sauce (1 large can)
  • Basil (1 1/2 tsp.)
  • Onion (1/2 cup)
  • Cottage Cheese (4% large container)
  • Mozzarella Cheese (1/2 - 3/4 brick depending on how much you like)
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Water (1/2 cup)
  1. In a large saucepan, cook the ground beef and onion together.
  2. When the ground beef is browned, add the tomato sauce, onion, and basil, add water and simmer lightly for 10 minutes.
  3. Layer thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a large glass oven dish.
  4. Layer lasagna noodles on top of sauce.
  5. Layer thin layer of sauce on top of the noodles, and then spread a layer of cottage cheese and sprinkle mozzarella and parmesan on top.
  6. Continue layering like this until you're out of ingredients. Make sure your top layer is sauce and cheese!
  7. Bake for 30-45 minutes at 350F.
  8. Serve with a fresh caesar salad!


Bleugh! It never fails!

Have you ever sat down for a quick bite at The Spoke and ordered everyone's favorite, the CLT? I don't know what it is about the CLT, but it's an extremely addicting wrap they serve with lettuce, tomato, marble cheese and chicken. Don't forget the special mayo sauce they serve with it!

How many of you actually sit down and plan to add a little more aluminum to your diet? I sure don't, but that's what happens EVERY TIME.
The foil wrap the CLT comes in always ends up getting chewed on, even when you're being most careful not to!

This afternoon I sat down at The Spoke to enjoy a CLT while waiting for my group members to show up and was actively thinking to roll the tin foil down after every bite.

Minutes later I was gnawing on a fair sized chunk of aluminum...

Maybe CLT's are just so good that you can't help but eat them quickly, and therefore get to the tin foil faster than you can roll it down, I don't know, but I think I'm just going to have to start accepting the foil as a part of the CLT.


Parmesan and Romano Artichoke Dip

I like dips and/or dipping. Try this chopped artichoke and Parmesan & Romano dip when you have company.

  • Chopped artichoke hearts (14 oz can, jar, whatever)
  • Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup)
  • Romano cheese (1/8 cup)
  • Mayonnaise (1 cup)
  • Garlic salt (1/2 tsp.)
  • Lemon juice (a few splashes)
  1. Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well.
  2. Transfer contents of mixing bowl to serving dish.
  3. Bake at 350F for 12 minutes.
  4. Serve with baked tortilla chips, crackers, or toasted pita.


Baked Cream Cheese Crab Dip

I always find myself looking for something quick to grab and snack on. Unfortunately, anything good will take time to make, and if I ate anything frozen, somewhere on the planet, a kitten might be sacrificed.

This crab dip recipe I'm about to share solves those problems! I usually make two or three at a time and refrigerate or freeze them
(worst case) before they're baked.

  • Cream Cheese (8oz package will suffice, let it warm to room temp)
  • Onion (2 tbsp, chopped)
  • Salt
  • Crab Meat (1 can)
  • Horseradish (1 tsp.)
  • White Wine / Cooking Sherry (2 tbsp.)
  1. Mix.
  2. Bake at 325F for 15 minutes.
  3. Garnish with any available spices, parsley, bay leaves, paprika, etc.
Awesome eh? I like to toast pita bread until it just gets crispy, and serve those with it. Otherwise, get some thick restaurant tortillas, and bake them in the oven for 5 minutes along with the dip.


Willies Chili Flank Steak

The way this flank steak is prepared is simple, not very time consuming and in my opinion, one of the most tender, and flavorful ways to prepare beef. It'll knock the socks off of anybody who you make it for.

  • Flank Steak (try to get a medium thickness cut, ask the butcher)
  • Kraft BBQ Sauce (1/2 bottle)
  • Willies Chili Sauce (1/2 bottle)
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine BBQ sauce and Chili sauce. Mix well.
  2. On a cutting board, score the flank steak diagonally and lightly to provide crevices for marinading.
  3. Line a large baking sheet with foil, and spread enough of the chili sauce mix to cover the bottom of the flank steak.
  4. Set the flank steak on top of the foil sheet, and spread a good amount (leave a tiny bit) of the chili sauce mix to cover the top of the flank steak.
  5. Marinade for 3 hours.
  6. When ready to cook the flank, set oven to BROIL and place the flank in the oven. It's going to get somewhat smokey, so open a window and take the battery out of your fire detector!
  7. Cook for 10 minutes on each side. When you flip the flank steak, add the remaining chili sauce mix to the freshly exposed side. If your flank is pretty thick, add 2-3 minutes per side.
  8. Done! My favorite sides to serve with this are green beans and baked potatoes.


Simple Bruschetta

Bruschetta is tasty! I made up a batch a few nights ago and put it over some baked salmon and drizzled some balsamic vinegar on it. It's really easy to make, all you need are 5 simple ingredients. The key to good bruchetta is being able to chop things very finely, so get out your best knife!

  • Tomato (1 large)
  • Garlic (1-2 cloves, depending on size)
  • Minced onion (1/2 cup)
  • Dried Basil (1/2 tsp)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (1 tsp)
  1. Cut the tomato into fine slices. If I had to give a measurement to the thickness of each slice, I'd say about 0.5 cm.
  2. Take each tomato slice and cut it into strips, then cut the strips across at a 90 degree angle. Repeat this until you're done. Place diced tomato in a bowl. Check out this link for a similar technique.
  3. Mince the garlic.
  4. Mince the onion.
  5. Combine garlic, onion, tomato and basil in a bowl and toss until it's well mixed.
  6. Add the olive oil and mix well.
If you like your bruschetta a bit stronger, increase the amount of garlic and onion ... but be careful ... the strength of the garlic and onion can get out of hand quickly!


Culinary Catastrophes...

Ever wonder what it looks like when food goes wrong? The most disgusting and unappetizing creations are born, that's what!

Ever feel like having a extra double stuff Oreo:

I think this culinary catastrophe is fairly obvious ... Can you count how many layers are in it?

If Oreo's aren't your thing, how about a "garbage plate":

This creation allows you to choose from a combination of cheeseburgers, hamburgers, Italian sausages, steak, chicken, white or red hots, a grilled cheese sandwich, fried fish, or eggs, served on top of one or two of the following: home fries, fries, beans, and mac salad. Mmmmmm!

Doesn't that sound so good?

If you're extra hungry, check out the rest of these works of art at this is why your fat.


My top 8 recommended places to fill up!

1. Talltrees (Huntsville)

This cute little restaurant is an old victorian home converted into a fine dining restaurant. Its nestled atop a hill overlooking the lake in Huntsville. Choice menu items are their Cesar salad (Dare I say it, it has more garlic than the ones they serve at Garlics!), their Fillet Mignon, and Strawberry Gratinee.

2. Fellini Koolini's (Albert Street)

This local Italian restaurant, manages to keep a "just like Nona's" style of cooking, but manages to pull off serving many people without turning into a "spaghetti factory". The food is fantastic, and the staff are very friendly. Personal favorites are the Brie and Raspberry coolie appetizer, three Italian cheese stuffed chicken breasts with spinach.

3. Garlics (Richmond)

This restaurant is known for massive amounts of garlic in pretty much every dish you can think of. Its been a while since I've gone, but, being a huge fan of garlic, pretty much everything on the menu is appetizing. My favorite would have to be the braised lamb shank, though, I don't know if they serve it any more because their menu changes monthly.

4. The Cottage Bar and Grill (Huntsville)

Perched right along the Muskoka river in Huntsville, this restaurant is a nice afternoon place to dock your boat, sit in the sun and have drinks while enjoying some of their pub fare. Favorites are the "Cottage Club" with pesto, mayo, and grilled chicken. Also delicious is the chicken cesar wrap! God, I miss summer.

5. The Keg Station (Richmond)

A classic place to enjoy a perfect steak, I've come to enjoy going here more and more. Although, other Keg's don't really seem to compare to the one on Richmond that was built inside the old train station. Maybe its the atmosphere, or maybe its the staff, but I prefer this location over others!

6. Bangkok Garden (Toronto)

This restaurant is located next to the Delta Chelsea in downtown Toronto, and serves a plethora of delicious dishes. I've only eaten there once, but by far it was the best Thai food I've ever tasted! It's the most fun to sample different items, so ordering food tapas style, you get the most selection for about the same amount of money.

7. Mill St. Brew Pub (Toronto)

This awesome little brewery is a good place to park yourself in the afternoon or evening after a day in Toronto. They have several different kinds of beer they make right there on location, and you can see all the brewery equipment as decor. Quite an interesting place to be. They serve the staples, but truely delicious is the Melted Brie and Grilled Chicken Panini. If you go, go for the beer. The food just happens to be there too.

8. Spageddy Eddies (London)

If you ever are out of ideas but feel like you have enough room to fit a herd of cattle in your stomach, go to Spageddy Eddies. Its buried in an alleyway in front of Carling street (for those of you familiar with Up on Carling ...). Just like the name says, they serve spagetti. Well, "spageddy", but LOTS of it. For 7-8 dollars, you get a MASSIVE bowl of pasta that will last you for 2 meals. Mixed drinks are also $4.25, so its a students dream come true.


Can you hear me now?? GOOD!

This isn't really cooking, but I was wasting some time today and found this:

Best part: "I didn't even know you were real, I thought you were like.... Unicorns, and stuff.... You know?", lmao.


Honey-Teriyaki "Exam" Stir-Fry

When you need to maximize your time but also need to keep your brain nourished (Kraft dinner only goes so far, I'm sorry), then try out this quick chicken recipe for a stir fry. Here's what you need:

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts (1-2)
  • Garlic, minced (1 clove)
  • Onion (1/2)
  • Green pepper (1)
  • Red pepper (1)
  • Mushrooms (1 sm. quart.)
  • Honey (2 tbsp.)
  • Thick Teriyaki sauce (200 ml. Can find your preferred one at any grocery store)
  • Lemon juice (1 .... squirt?)
  • Old El Paso Fajita mix (1/2 package)
  • Rice (1 cup)
  • Water (1/2 cup)
  • Your favorite kind of oil
  1. Cut / chop the green pepper, red pepper and onion into strips, half the mushrooms, and mince the garlic.
  2. Mix half of the Old El Paso fajita powder with 100 ml of water. Set aside.
  3. On a medium-low heat, combine rice and water in a pot and cover. Add a teaspoon of margarine / butter for flavor. You can pretty much ignore this pot until the end... Don't forget to stir, though!
  4. In a wok, heat 1 tsp. of oil on medium heat.
  5. In a small frying pan, heat 1 tsp. of oil. Begin frying chicken breasts on a high heat setting. Have a cover handy for spattering oil!
  6. Add garlic to the wok. You want it to be hot enough that it starts sizzling when you add the garlic!
  7. Add the onions when the garlic is lightly browned, and add a LITTLE splash of the water to steam cook the onions.
  8. Add the red and green pepper to the wok, and cover.
  9. When the chicken is finished cooking, remove from pan and cut into bite-sized strips. Put the strips back in the pan, and on a medium-low heat, combine with the old el paso mix for flavour. Cover and let simmer.
  10. Add another splash of water to the veggies and cover. Keep checking them if they're tender.
  11. Add the mushrooms to the wok.
  12. THE RICE IS BURNING, just kidding, but seriously, check the rice.
  13. Add the Teriyaki sauce to the vegetables and toss so it's well mixed in.
  14. Add a "squirt" for a lack of a better measurement of lemon juice.
  15. Add the honey to the veggies and mix it in well.
  16. As soon as all of the water has boiled down from the old el paso chicken mixture, add that to the stir fry and toss well.
  17. As soon as the veggies reach desired tenderness, turn off heat and serve over the rice.

For this stir-fry, I like sticking with the chicken theme and tend to go for the "Uncle Ben's roasted chicken and wild rice" flavour of rice or whatever its called. Experiment with this! I'm sure there are lots of creative combinations.

Wow, now that I type that out, it actually looks like a lot of work. I guarantee you, though, that it goes faster than that looks like it might. Well, it most definitely goes faster and better than studying does, that's for sure. Enjoy your stir fry!

Good luck on your midterms!


Chicken Casserole – Onion and Orange

This next chicken recipe is a low maintenance recipe which gives you time to do other things, when you're extremely busy like me! If this were an infomercial, I'd say this is a "Set it and forget it" kind of recipe! Remember when you were 12, sitting in front of the TV during afternoon prime time, and you saw Ron Popeil and his famous rotisserie machines? This recipe is kind of like that!

  • Uncooked rice (1 ½ cup)
  • Boneless skinless chicken breast (4-5)
  • Sliced Mushrooms (as many as you like)
  • Lipton Onion Soup Mix (1 pkg.)
  • Orange Juice (½ cup)
  • Campell's Mushroom soup (1 can)
  • Cooking Sherry (½ cup)
  1. Combine the mushroom soup, orange juice and cooking sherry in a bowl. Mix thoroughly. It's not going to look pretty.
  2. Spread uncooked rice in bottom of greased glass casserole dish, evenly.
  3. Pour orange juice / mushroom soup mixture over top.
  4. Spread sliced mushrooms on top of rice and mix.
  5. Place the uncooked chicken breasts chicken on top.
  6. Sprinkle Lipton Onion Soup mix on top of chicken.
  7. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 1 ½ hrs. at 350F.
Set it, annnnnnnnnnnnnd FORGET IT! But seriously, this is a good, hearty and quick meal that will last you 2-3 days, if you're the only person trying to make it disappear! Enjoy.


Chicken of Russia

Allow me to share of timeless recipe, but fast when time is running out. Recipe come from generations of Russia cooks, who are #1 best in world. Here are what you need:

  • Salad dressing of Russia of Kraft
  • Apricot Jam
  • Four bone and skin remove chicken breast
  • Onion soup package mix
  1. Get large bowl of mixing.
  2. Cut top off salad dressing of Russia, bottle should be used half in bowl.
  3. Empty jam of apricot into same bowl, Russian cooks again say half.
  4. All onion soup mix go into bowl too.
  5. Cooks rotate mix until is smooth like Russian vodka tastes.
  6. Put mix and chicken together. Oven pan is needed for it. Make sure pan is deep or mix will boil over side and you will be bulging with angry.
  7. Bake in oven for 400 degree at 1 hour.
  8. Serve with rice, vegetables. Sometime Russian cooks serve grade-A potato. Russia farms makes best ones.


In a blogosphere where anyone can proclaim themselves the ruler...

I'd like to begin with a small comic, which I believe nicely sums up the attitudes/personalities expressed on blogs by their owners:

(Thanks goes to xkcd.com for this comic)

Owning a blog makes everybody feel empowered! I feel full of power right now. I'm writing something that could potentially have authority/influence over somebody's opinions or ideas. You could agree, you could disagree, but when all the water boils down (I had to toss some cooking lingo in), each blog is its owners atomic instance of power, separate from everything else in existence.

So, then, who's the ruler of the Blogosphere, if everybody is feeling empowered, and declaring themselves as the one?

Technorati says its them! According to Technorati, they are assuming the position of being at the center of the Blogosphere.

We also help social media publishers to find the people formerly known as their audience. And they all converge, as a result, on Technorati.

We're proud of this position, of course, but also humbled by the responsibility it imposes.

This is how blogs MAKE MONEY
. They start with a small idea that doesn't currently exist (or is not quite popular yet) and they capitalize on it and declare themselves as the winner. Actually, when you think about it, this is the oldest business model in existence.

Every four months, Technorati presents a quarterly report (smells like a business to me), which has several pretty graphs with the "Technorati" watermark all over it, and some obvious observations are extracted from some data. The thing is - they're only the best and the authority until somebody has pretty graphs, obvious observations ANNNNND free popsicles. Then that will be the new self-declared authority. Ok, well, it might take more than free popsicles, but I hope you get the idea.
On a side note ... Technorati got the Law of Large Numbers wrong. Just thought I'd be a good blogger, and point out the inaccuracy.

Technorati did make a good observation, though. Tags! Social tagging, Wiki tagging, graffiti tagging, laser tagging... each new Web 2.0 platform allows the author the ability to easily categorize and label their works. This works wonders for SOE
(I hope you're still not looking this up?) for your blogs. It helps you and other bloggers reciprocate. But wait, wasn't everybody their own center of the universe?

AZ Blogging says the ruler of the blogosphere is ... wait for it .... reciprocity! ... Wait what?? I have to comment and reciprocate on other peoples blogs, rather than just be an atomic entity? THIS RUINS EVERYTHING.

But seriously, I wholeheartedly agree with AZ's post! It's why planetary blog posting rates have ballooned to 17 posts per second (collectively), and the number of blogs to over 70 million. Like they say, you might not have time to return every single comment, or read every single blog post, but this is how all the magic starts, and it's why Technorati is able to capitalize on you, me and the blogosphere.


Mushroom & Carrot Chicken Dinner

Today's recipe will use the most magical flavour of condensed soup you've ever set your eyes on... Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup! Its flavour is pretty diverse and can serve as a base in many sauces, which makes it perfect for what were going to cook up!

  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I'm down to 27 now!)
  • Carrots (2 large)
  • Mushrooms (1 small quart)
  • Rice (1 1/2 cup) or Pasta (match servings to number of chicken breasts)
  • Campbell's mushroom soup (1 can)
  • Oil (1-2 tbsp.)
  • Butter (2 tsp.)
  • Milk (1/4 cup)
  1. Chop your veggies. You want to cut the carrots into matchsticks (after peeling of course). Slice the mushrooms. Set aside.
  2. Put some oil in a LARGE non-stick frying pan. Turn heat to medium.
  3. Prepare a small pot with water for the rice / pasta.
  4. Spread the oil around when its hot, and put the chicken breasts in the pan.
  5. Start boiling the rice / pasta. Add 1 tsp of butter, and stir occasionally.
  6. Fry the chicken breasts, flipping every so often until they're cooked through. You can test by cutting them if you're not sure.
  7. When the chicken is 3/4 done, start preparing the sauce. In a medium/large sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Empty contents of mushroom soup can, add the milk, and add the carrots. Whisk every 3-4 minutes.
  8. When the chicken is done, you may turn off the heat, and set aside.
  9. Let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes or until carrots are beginning to become tender, then add the mushrooms and add the chicken breasts. Simmer for 4-5 more minutes.
  10. Check the rice. When it's finished, turn it off and remove it from the heat.
  11. Check the sauce, the carrots and mushrooms should be tender. Turn off the heat when veggies are tender, or at your desired consistency.
  12. Layer the rice on serving dishes, and place a chicken breast on each serving. Cover with sauce.
  13. Serve.
PS. I'm looking for a better name for this. If anybody can think of one I'd love to hear it...