Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

So, I was watching Chuck’s Day Off on the Food Network and he was making this really yummy looking spinach dip. Going on about the different cheeses that go into it, and the beer base and I slowly started to check out mentally. A beer based spinach dip sounded great, but when you’re lactose intolerant and they talk about how great the flavors of the different cheeses are, and the boost that they give to the recipe, you just sort of lose interest. But for whatever reason I decided I was going to make it work with my ingredients, I was going to make it dairy free, and it was going to be excellent…I was right!

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Los Ingredientes

  • Round loaf of bread (I find Sourdough works best)
  • 1 bottle of beer (We swear by Stella) (here’s a list of Gluten Free Beer to use instead. Note that I have not tried these, but have friends who drink Redbridge)
  • 1 pkg Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds (amazing dairy free cheese, best I’ve found)
  • 1/2 yellow pepper
  • 4-6 mushrooms
  • 1/2 medium sized onion
  • roughly 4 cups of chopped spinach
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Sea Salt & Herbs

Before I get into this, I have to expand on the Sea Salt & Herbs as it can be found in almost every recipe I make. It’s a mixture of, you guessed it, sea salt & herbs that can be purchased at the Bridgewater Farm Market from Rumtopf Farm for $5 a bag. If you live in my general area I strongly suggest picking up a bag and trying it for yourself. I barely make a meal without it.

First thing’s first, put your cheese in a bowl with the 2 tablespoons of flour and mix to make sure its all coated so they don’t clump together and put it to the side.

Next, take a bread knife and cut the top inch or so off the top of the loaf of bread and, taking a paring knife, cut out the inside of the loaf, leaving about an inch the whole way around. Scoop out the bread from inside the loaf as you would a pumpkin when making a Jack-O-Lantern and chop them up into little cubes doing the same with the top you cut off earlier. Spread them out on a baking sheet and drizzle olive oil, along with salt & pepper over top and mix to make sure they are all coated. Make room for the newly formed bread bowl and put them all in the oven at 350 for 5 minutes. Afterwards, take your cubes and put them on a plate, or tray, or in a basket if you’d prefer but keep the bread bowl on the pan, you’ll need it again .

While all this is going on you can fry up the yellow pepper, mushroom, and onion in a frying pan with a bit of olive oil and whichever spices you prefer. Keep it at a low heat, you won’t need them until after the spinach goes in with the beer & cheese.

In a pot, bring the beer to a very warm temperature without bringing it to a boil and add in the cheese. This will take longer with the dairy free cheese than normal cheese just because it’s a different consistency. Add in the Sea Salt & Herbs, or your go to seasoning, and with a wooden spoon keep mixing it slowly until it becomes completely melted, then comes the audience participation. Get the person who’s been standing there holding up the counter while you’ve been working to slowly add the spinach to the pot while you keep stirring.

Now is the moment you’ve been waiting for since I mentioned it, I know you have! The veggies you fried up earlier can now be added into the pot too! Once it’s all had a chance to get properly acquainted, take the contents and pour it into your bread bowl. Then it’s back into the oven for another 15 minutes, still at 350, and you can dig in and enjoy.

Remember, if you run out of the cubes, you can always start ripping the bowl apart!

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Be sure to check out the other recipes on the blog too, as all of them are dairy free! =)

PS – If you want to make this more of a meal, you can always fry up some ground chicken or turkey, or stick with the veggie theme and double up on the mushrooms. peppers, and onion. Zucchini is also a nice addition =)

All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast. – John Gunther

Due to seemingly VERY popular demand, I’m going to jump ahead a recipe or two and give you, loyal readers, my newest creation…Breakfast Pizza!

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This one came about very abruptly. Basically while frying up omelet innards I remembered that the pan was oven safe up to 400F, so rather than make an omelet as I had planned I decided to see what would happen if I poured the egg into the pan and baked it. It was a definite success and took about 30 minutes total from prep to table.

The Insides

  • Mushrooms
  • Chicken Bacon
  • Garlic
  • Sea Salt  & Herbs
  • Daiya Dairy Free Cheese
  • Green Onions
  • Eggs (obviously)

Now this is a recipe where the amounts are entirely up to you, mine was made in a 12 inch pan so I had a bit more room to roam. As the picture shows, it made 8 good sized pieces. All that needs doing is the frying of your veggies and the scrambling of your eggs in a separate bowl. I personally leave the green onions out and sprinkle them over the top as I find it allows for more flavour from them. So, fry up the garlic, mushrooms, and chicken bacon (we diced ours) in the pan, and once they get to your desired level of doneness (totally a word), pour on the egg, toss the cheese on top and put it in your oven which has been preheated to 350 for 15 minutes.

These next 15 minutes are crucial, these were a gift handed down to you by the Gods of Breakfast Prep, you have your meal in the oven and nothing else to do. This is the time given to you to clean up your dishes (5-7 minutes tops) and then sit down with your cup of coffee/tea/milk/BBOC (Breakfast Beverage Of Choice) and wait for the timer to let you know that breakfast is served. My pan is non stick so after I took it out of the oven, I just slid it right out of the pan and onto the cutting board with ease, divided it up, plated it, and sprinkled on the green onion.

That’s all there is to it, ladies and gentlefolk.

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Enjoy, and as always, let me know how it turns out/any tweaks you made to the recipe =)

Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are. – Bertolt Brecht

As with any recipe, there are changes over time. Either you want to try some new twist or you are out of an ingredient, you sub something in and never look back. They are ever changing and, as such, some of the recipes from earlier posts aren’t made the same way anymore. This can only mean one thing……..

RECIPE REVAMP!!!!

First up we have the Lasagna Cupcakes, which have become a big hit in this house. As I mentioned with that recipe, Josh Lyons (@JoshLyonsPhotos) suggested a game changer. He suggested folding the corners in on top of it and making it a parcel almost. We went a step further and decided to add in another layer entirely. Start with the wonton wrapper, meat, sauce, cheese method same as always. then put another wonton wrapper on top and press down the middle. This gets meat and sauce, then fold the four corners in and stick them to the sauce. This keeps them in place and allows the cheese to cover the top. We tried it once and haven’t looked back, it kicked the recipe up to a whole new level. Also, even though I haven’t tried it yet, you can also switch out the meat for pan fried veggies just as easily and make this a vegetarian dish. I would suggest zucchini, mushroom, and peppers as they are what I use when making meat free lasagna.

This is what I love about cooking, there’s always a new way to do it, and it brings people together.

For those visual learners, this is what you’ll end up with

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Yes, the cheese looks different than yours, I use Daiya Dairy Free Cheese. Honestly, even if dairy was tolerable, I think I’d still use it. I love the stuff.

Next on the docket is the Make Ahead Potatoes and that is as simple as taking the risk and leaving it in for a bit longer, or turning up the heat to 375. This does require a bit of a close eye, but the results are well worth it. We also added green onion and mixed it throughout. But, unlike the rest of the veggies, the green onion went in raw, which I believe yields a better and sharper flavor.

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When I first made the Any Meal CasSurreal I said that it you can really put anything in it. It’s a culinary building block and a lot of fun to experiment with. My favorite tweak to date was when we have some of the Loaded Chicken Burgers in the fridge, so we broke them down and fried them up and used it as the base for the CasSurreal. Since all of the veggies we normally put in are already a part of the burgers it cut down on prep time. Everything else is done the same. We also made one with the shrimp that is in the same entry as the burgers, its a long entry, which turned out quite good too. My houseguests at the time preferred the shrimp version, whereas I really liked the chicken burger base, so enjoy experimenting with it!

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To date, these are the tweaks and modifications that have been made to the recipes within the blog. As I make changes, I’ll post them here. As well as new recipes.

Also, there seems to be a small but loyal group of readers, so I thank you immensely as I would be the only one reading these otherwise & I already know what I do, I don’t need updates.

I would also like to ask you all to take a look at this blog and send me any questions/complaints/criticisms/suggestions that you may have.

Either e-mail me  iam@tonylantz.com or simply leave a comment below.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Also, tattoo is fully healed.

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A tattoo is something permanent when you’ve made a self-discovery, or something you’ve come to a conclusion about. – Angelina Jolie

Going to do a few entries today, bring everything up to date. I’ve had houseguests and a change of employment status so my updating has been slack, but rest assured, I am back in the command chair and ready to blog!

As you can gather by the title of this entry (Don’t worry, there will probably never be another one from Angelina), if they ever had any relation to the post, it has to do with a tattoo. I got my 4th two weeks ago today and it has almost healed.

This is the quickest turn around time from getting the idea to getting it in ink. I’ll post all the pics then explain the meaning behind it.

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Design.

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The last time this arm will ever be bare.

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Stencil.

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Outline.

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Finished Product.

Explanation.

When talking with Marc Wright, my amazing artist, it started out as an owl with a frying pan, then became an owl sitting on a rack of pots and pans, like you would see over an island in a kitchen. The pots and pans were then switched out for forks and spoons. Then Marc came up with the final suggestion that was perfect.

My dad’s favorite animal is an owl, my mom is/was always in the kitchen cooking and has all these wooden utensils. Owls also symbolize knowledge and they both taught me how to cook, and so many other things about life and family….they’re also occasionally perched looking over my shoulder =P

To avoid crazy long posts, I’m going to keep this one tattoo centric and keep the food posts to the following two.

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

Considering I told everyone I would update with more fun stuff yesterday, I felt that today was a good day to do it. Not that I thought it would be a good laugh to get all your hopes up, but yesterday was my dad’s birthday and it was a jam packed day of running around and cooking.

In an effort not to forget things, I’m going to jump back to where my last post and move forward. That means you’ll have to read all about it before you find out the AWESOME gift I got for my dad. I mean, you could just scroll to the end, but then you’d be cheating yourself out of a good read now, wouldn’t you?

I had gotten up much earlier than my other cohorts, so I was chatting with Josh and Emily (@JoshLyonsPhotos & @Emily_Ellyn on Twitter) about food, and Josh’s band Fell on Deaf Ears (definitely suggest checking them out!)

Emily had posted a photo of some amazing cupcake on Facebook andwhen I shared it, Sara, my houseguest, commented that we should have cupcakes for breakfast, then she came upstairs. My brain immediately started working and within a few minutes I had a recipe MOSTLY figured out in my head. I told Sara that her wish was granted and we’d be making Breakfast Cupcakes.

The Good Stuff

  • asparagus, cooked (follow recipe below)
  • leftover Make Ahead Potato, or some sort of potato (hashbrowns, mashed, fried)
  • 7-8 eggs depending on how many other ingredients make it into the muffin tins
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 coloured pepper
  • 1-3 stalks of green onion
  • Daiya dairy free cheese
  • Sea Salt and Herbs

So, the asparagus (pronounced Ass-Par-Agus forevermore, due to Sam’s dad). I have a very simple method and it turns out consistently tasty. set the oven to 400, lay the asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle olive oil being a bit more generous in coating the tip (adds awesome crunch) and sprinkle some sea salt and pepper. I prefer using a coarse grinder for both S & P as I find it kicks up the taste a bit. Then it’s just a simple 15 minutes in the oven and you are off to the races.

This is a fairly simple recipe and great for making while still half asleep or while the coffee you’re drinking works its way into your blood stream.

the onion and peppers get a quick fry in a pan with some olive oil. Leave the green onions aside as they have more flavour going in raw.

The potato goes into the muffin tin first, to cover maybe 1/4 of the tin. Once again, the Make Ahead potatoes from the previous post work splendidly as a base and depending on the size of the group you served with it initially.

cut the asparagus halfway up the stalk and stick it in the middle of the potato so the tip sticks out like a flagpole once everything is added into the tin. You may need to poke a hole in the potato and then fill it back in around the asparagus.

The eggs and fried veg mixture can be mixed together in a bowl and poured into the tins evenly. Then sprinkle the green onion and cheese over top of each one and it’s into the oven at 350 for about 20-30 minutes.

it should end up looking something like this:

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Sam missed out on the initial creation and consumption as she was working. Once we did the dishes, we took the leftovers to her, which means we each had three AND all the asparagus we had left over. good hearty breakfast.

The downside to missing a few days of blogging is the events in between photos becomes a bit blurry….OH! Nevermind, I remember.

I could delete the above sentence, but then you may feel less involved in the process, and we can’t have that.

Sara, B, and I decided to buy some outdoorsy stuff since we were already at Walmart (Sam works there). We got a football, dog frisbee (they were cheaper), and a bocce ball set. We spent the bulk of the day at the soccer field playing and getting burnt by the giant fiery orb in the sky, all in all a great afternoon.

We got back and it was back into the kitchen for me. Sara had never had poutine before so we had to rectify that. But, as usual, I couldn’t just make a normal poutine, I had to be difficult.

Back on the 30th I attended a Heritage Party that featured all things Canadian, including poutine. Being lactose intolerant, I made my own and enough for others to try, cooked it all, put it in a casserole dish, and covered it with foil. When we got there it was tossed in the fridge and then into the oven when we were ready to eat. What resulted was the recently dubbed Poutinserole.

I replicated it, and I think it’s a keeper.

The Inner Workings

  • Fries
  • Gravy
  • Daiya Dairy Free Cheese
  • Sea Salt & Herbs
  • Ingenuity

with a bit of olive oil in the pan, & the temp low-medium toss in your fries, and once they thaw, throw on the Sea Salt & Herbs. keep frying them until they get a bit crispy, or your desired fry texture. In a pot bring whatever gravy you’re using to temperature (I used a can of mushroom gravy, which was excellent). Combine the gravy and fries in a casserole dish and then mix in the cheese. Make sure everything is mixed well, then cover the dish with foil and, as per usual 350 for about 18-20 minutes. You’re not cooking anything, you’re basically making it more awesome.

I’m giving you fair warning, Poutinserole is not photogenic, but tastes excellent.

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Baking allows it to be cut into squares and, if you wish, you can add some more gravy drizzled over top.

Given that we did a lot of running and jumping and such we were quite hungry and the Poutinserole takes some doing. As such I had an appetizer in mind that doesn’t take too long to throw together, but tastes like a lot of work went into it.

The Essentials

  • Shrimp (cooked and deveined)
  • Sea Salt & Herbs
  • Margarine
  • Garlic or Garlic powder (Not Garlic salt)

In a pan, toss in some olive oil on low-medium and once that heats up a bit toss in your shrimp, and once those get comfortable, hit them with a healthy dose of Sea Salt & Herbs, and keep them going on a low-medium temp.

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While they’re in the pan, mix your margarine (or butter if you prefer) with either minced garlic or powder and melt it down, either in a small pot, or microwave (which we opted for). Once it’s liquid pour it over the shrimp and keep tossing it in the pan until they are completely coated.

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Once they get a good coat of garlic butter, plate them and enjoy. Make sure you also have a little bowl of plate for the tails.

The reason for keeping it at a low temp is that these lovelies are already cooked and you are basically heating them up and locking in the flavours you have added.

This is where there I take a bit of a break from cooking as there wasn’t much time, we did a whole lot of running around those few days. Not only that but Sara made us an excellent breakfast one morning and gave me time to get some work done.

You’ll have to ask her what all went into it, but it tasted so friggin’ good!

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What I do know is that the sourdough had some becel underneath a heaping spread of homemade strawberry freezer jam my mother had whipped up the day before.

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Should last us a few days 😉

During the time away from the kitchen we went to Peggy’s Cove

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I get my picture taken with this sign each and every time I go to Peggy’s Cove

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spent another day at the field playing with our new toys, Sam was able to come this time.

(No pictures available)

Sam had to go to work, and we three that remained were way to hot to cook so we went to Waves. We ordered Sweet Potato Fries and Chipotle Mayo to start and I got the same thing I get every time. Chicken Clubhouse without cheese or bacon.

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Waves has the best fries in town, and their sweet potato fries are no exception.

The following day the 4 of us were up early and off to Halifax, Sam and I played tour guide as we hit up the essential shops on Barrington. Renaissance (they sell Chucks), Rock Candy (Rock shop that I can never leave without buying something, Freak Lunchbox (candy store to end all candy stores), & Oddjects (wacky fun shop that can’t be explained unless you visit).

Dad’s birthday was yesterday and I KNEW I could find him something at Rock Candy. For a while, each gift giving event I would give him a Beatle’s CD, then I shot myself in the foot, gave him the gift of all gifts and presented him with the entire Beatles collection in stereo that they released a few years back. Ever since I try to find unique and inventive gifts, sometimes thinking very far outside of the box.

Normally any time you find something related to The Beatles and there are four of them, it’s very simply one for each member of the band. I found a set of four pint glasses with that exact motif, and it just didn’t do it for me. I thought it was too predictable and something I could have picked up anywhere with little to no effort and that, does not, a good gift make. One the other side of the store, under a Misfits alarm clock, I found THE gift. Again a set of four pint glasses, but instead of each being the face of one of the members, each was a different album cover. It was perfect, Beatles related, yet not something you could find anywhere, it was a treasure and would go splendidly with his Jimi Hendrix coffee mug.

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I also got him a M*A*S*H 4077th keychain, because we used to watch it together all the time when I was growing up.

Next we went to Oddjects and I found this black and white polka dot cookie jar that stood on four legs with green and orange leggings and little black boots/shoes with a tag reading $15. I couldn’t see a matching lid anywhere and assumed that was why it was cheaper. Now, my mother has a rather odd cake plate that this would compliment, it was originally given to her as a gag gift and she uses it proudly. As such, I knew the cookie jar was perfect. When I took it to the counter the lady told me it had a lid, I told her I must have missed it. When she went and got it for me, I knew why I missed the lid… It doesn’t match at all, it’s like two different people made the two halves….it’s AWESOME.

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Is this not the best cookie jar you have ever seen?!?!?!!

If you have a better one than this, please post a pic in the comments.

Dad loved the birthday gifts and mom loved the cookie jar and couldn’t stop laughing.

Yesterday was Dad’s birthday, we did it, we made it to yesterday!

We didn’t do much during the day, went downtown, talked to Marc, our tattoo artist. Sam, B, and I made an appointment for Monday (pics to come). Then we went to get donairs, Sam and I told B and Sara that they HAD to get a proper donair while they were here. In Vancouver we never could find one that tasted as good as they do here, with real donair sauce.

I can’t eat them anymore because of IBS and I’ve yet to try to make a Tony Friendly version, but I’m sure it will come.

When we got back from getting donairs I had to start making dinner. It can take a bit of time, but the result is well worth it.

I call them Loaded Chicken Burgers, and they are aptly named.

Components

  • chicken bacon, 7-8 strips diced
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 3/4 a good sized harder apple (not a mac), cubed
  •  3-4 stalks of green onion
  • 2 lbs extra lean ground chicken
  • Daiya dairy free cheese
  • several splashes of italian dressing
  • 2 eggs
  • stove top stuffing
  • cayenne
  • Sea Salt & Herbs
  • 5-6 mushrooms can also be added, we kept them out as Sara’s not a fan

You’ll need two pans for this one. Olive oil in both, low-medium temp, in one pan put the diced chicken bacon and cover the pan with foil. In the other add the onion, pepper, and apple (once again leaving out the green onion).

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Stir both occasionally and cook them down. You’ll be able to tell that both are done when the bacon starts to crisp (chicken bacon is already cooked when you get it) and the apples will still have a bit of crunch to them. The reason for that is the stove top stuffing will steal some of the juice from the burger, and the apple gives it back as it cooks down inside.

Mix the bacon with the veggies and set aside to cool down. In a good sized bowl, add the chicken and green onion, then toss in your veggies and bacon. Get right in there and knead it with your hands, have to make sure its blended well. Afterwards, put the cheese in, followed by the stove top, mix thoroughly, then add the Italian dressing and one egg. Knead again and form a patty freehand. If it looks like it may fall apart as it cooks, add the other egg. Providing it looks solid, don’t bother with the second egg. Sprinkle on the cayenne and Sea Salt & Herbs liberally as it has to reach its way through all the meat.

If you have a burger press, then that’s great and if not, simply eyeball them to the size you’d like.

I have a press and this made 20 1/4 pound burgers.

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Cooking method is up to you as well, it was a beautiful day so we BBQ’d. If the weather isn’t in your favor they fry up really well in a pan.

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That’s it folks, we have reached the end. I hope you all enjoyed our trip through the past couple of days in the kitchen and beyond. Let me know how you like the recipes.

In closing, This is the Sea Salt & Herbs I keep talking about.

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History will be kind to me for I intend to write it. – Winston Churchill

Two days ago, it was Peggy’s Cove. Yesterday, it was a day in the park and a campfire. Today, it’s Halifax. I have no time, and at LEAST to more recipes for you lovely people. What this means is that while this is today’s post, tomorrow’s will be full of touristy photos, silly stories, and, of course, awesome recipes!

 

Have a great day one and all, and I look forward to being well read tomorrow.

“Every great film should seem new every time you see it.” – Roger Ebert

*NOTE* – Both of these recipes have had additions/tweaks made to them and the additional info can be found Here!

normally I’ll go full tilt for one meal a day, and Saturday, that meal was Lasagna cupcakes and Make Ahead Potatoes. Neither are all that labor intensive and both taste awesome! I think I’ve stepped up my game a bit because I have friends staying with me from Vancouver and they’ve seen all the pictures I post with what I’ve cooked and now they get to try it, so I don’t want to miss any chances to impress.

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They are a cinch to make, and just so everyone felt involved we made an assembly line.

The Goods

  • 2-3 mini muffin tins (can also use regular muffin tins)
  • 24-30 Wonton Wrappers
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 pkg ground meat (we used chicken)
  • sauce of your choosing (we used Hunt’s mushroom & basil)
  • cheese (we used Daiya Dairy Free Mozzarella)
  • seasoning for meat, completely up to you

(To make these vegetarian, simply ditch the ground chicken and supplement veg of your choice. I have made them with zucchini, mushroom, peppers, and onion with excellent results.)

I’ll tell you right off the top, these babies are going in at 375, so turn your oven on when you think you should to be ready to cook. Put some olive oil in a pan and bring it to temperature. Add your ground meat and once it starts to break apart and get a little bit of colour add your onion and seasoning/spices. Cook on a low-medium heat for maximum flavor.

While it’s cooking get one of your houseguests/family/friends AKA prep cooks to put a wonton wrapper in each muffin tin. This is where you have a decision to make, you can either use a glass, cut circles out, and place them in the tins OR you can say screw that, and put in the entire wrapper, which is MUCH more fun!

By the time you’ve decided between circles or squares, your meat has probably finished cooking and now all you have to do is layer in the sauce, meat, and cheese.

Once again, we implemented the assembly line, meat, sauce, cheese, repeat. I will say, we didn’t heat the sauce, it went right from can to tin. It will cook during the 18-20 minutes spent in the oven, but it is your call.

The last decision you have to make for this dish comes between the first and second layer of meat,sauce,cheese, (when using the mini muffin tins) and that is whether you want to fold the corners back in and cover them with the mixture (Thanks to Josh Lyons for the suggestion, its a great one!) or leave them exposed to the elements (see what I did there?).

So these go in, as I said, @ 375 for 18-20 minutes, and come out looking like they do above.

Next on the docket is a little gem called Make Ahead Potatoes, reason being you can make it ahead of time and simply toss it in the oven before your meal. When I got IBS, I also managed to become lactose intolerant, which meant I couldn’t eat this one anymore, which SUCKED. But recently, I’ve found dairy free cream cheese, and sour cream and I was off to the races!

The original recipe is HUGE and feeds roughly all the players in the NFL, so I knocked it down a few pegs.

The Innards

  • 8×8 pan
  • 4-5 good sized potatoes, peeled and roughly cut
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 6 tbsp margarine
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 yellow pepper
  • cheese for the top

This will be cooked @ 350 so, once again, preheat accordingly. Fry the onion and yellow pepper in a pan with a bit of olive oil. Boil the the potatoes, drain, and put in a large bowl. Put a little bit of margarine in with them and give them a rough mash, then switch to a hand held mixer, this will make the potatoes extra smooth. Mix in the other ingredients as they appear. Once the veggies have been added, transfer to your 8×8 pan. The potato WILL  go above the edge, that’s fine and half the fun. Just smooth out the top and generously apply a layer of cheese and that sucker is ready to go into the oven @ 350 for 40 minutes.

Let it be said that you can add any extras you would like to this dish, I think the next time we do it I’ll add chicken bacon for good measure.

These are the dairy free alternatives I used for this recipe:

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Making use of all of these still make it taste great and the three other people who were eating it said that they wouldn’t know that it was made with dairy free anything. This was the end result.

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If you want a bit more of a crust, you can leave it in a bit longer, or after the 40 minutes, switch it to broil. But be advised that if you choose the broil method, keep a VERY close eye on it as it can go from crust to crisp without notice.

That brings everyone up to date on the culinary goings on up until yesterday morning, but rather than bog one post down with a boatload of recipes and such. I’d hate for you to get too excited and try and lick/eat your screen.

To close this out, here is my step-kitten, Molly

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“If I’m Not Back In Five Minutes, Just Wait Longer!” – Ace Ventura

I apologize right off the top, I’ve got a massive head cold so this post may become a bit loopy.

keeping up with Canadian content, another apology, this time for a lag in updates. Two friends from Vancouver arrived on Tuesday and as such I haven’t had much spare time to fill everyone in.

Yesterday my cousin Tim decided to take a trip up to visit, so we all spent the day sitting around, shooting the breeze. I tend to post photos of the things I cook, as they tend to be somewhat out of the ordinary, and Tim was looking forward to finally being able to TRY some of it. So, when it came time for Supper, I decided to step it up a notch and make Cordon Bleu Roll-Ups, but with a bit of a twist.

This is the recipe as I found it:

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As I said before there are were deviations from the recipe, but I wanted to make sure everyone had the same starting points to allow you all to make your own tweaks.

Being lactose intolerant, I switched the milk for almond milk, and no one knew any different, just make sure that it’s unsweetened. The cheese was also switched out for the Daiya Dairy Free cheese I mentioned in the previous post.

I also found, not having panko crumbs on hand, that the amounts on the dry ingredients were a bit excessive and you really only need the 1/2 cup flour and the 1/2 cup of bread crumbs, panko or otherwise to suit your fancy.

The main difference between mine and the recipe above is that I didn’t use ham. I know what you’re thinking “Chicken cordon bleu is ham and swiss!” “It makes no sense!” “you’re a crazy person!” I look at it this way, my girlfriend doesn’t like ham, so I changed the recipe. Keeping her happy seems like the opposite of crazy, to me.

As an alternative, I fried up roughly 4-5 mushrooms, 1/2 a yellow pepper, & 1 medium onion and used that mixture in place of ham.

Everything else went according to recipe, apart from the fact that we used the BBQ. It was an incredibly hot day yesterday and using the oven would have been very stupid. So we used the pizza pans we have set aside for grilling, put a little bit of olive oil on them and loaded them up with the Roll-Ups (we doubled the recipe).

When all was said and done, this is what we ended up with:

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Everyone seemed to really enjoy it, and we were able to make them to suit everyone’s needs:

Sam doesn’t like ham? CHECK! we used veggies instead

Sara doesn’t like mushrooms? CHECK! we fried onions and peppers separately for her.

Mom can’t eat peppers? CHECK! she gets onions and mushrooms.

We found the best way to do it so that everyone got the most out of it was to do 4 with mushrooms and onion and 4 with pepper and onion. We also kept them together rather than slicing them up, but this is what they look like once they are opened.

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obviously this is one of the mushroom ones.

Tonight we’re going to be making some lasagna cupcakes, which should be up sometime tomorrow.

Be sure to let me know how you like theses/any alterations you make to yours!

In closing, this is my kitten. She’s all tuckered out from being a moron all morning.

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We’re like, in the end of “Die Hard” right now, only it’s our actual life! – Schmidt (21 Jump St)

To the answer the question you’ve all been asking, No, I haven’t forgotten about you. Not a day went by that I didn’t think “I wonder how those people who read about my life are getting on without me?” The answer to that query can be found below when you write a comment about how you’ve been doing since I skived off.

The past post was about a chicken cordon bleu roll-up, which was superb, but it was also eaten far too quickly to take pictures of. I switched out the ham that normally goes inside with fried onion and mushroom, and the pre-bread crumb dredge consisted of egg, almond milk, and dijon mustard. I’ll post the complete recipe in an hour or so when I get my computer back.

Two friends have come to visit from Vancouver for 2.5 weeks and since it is only 5:34AM Vancouver time, they are still asleep.

I obviously have some catching up to do, which means I’ll obviously miss some things and post them as I remember.

The Highlights:

It’s become far too hot for my morning coffee which saddens me, and I don’t always feel like making iced coffee so, I finally tried something that I’d been working on in my brainpan for a long while…I made coffee popsicles. But not just normal run of the mill popsicles because I knew it needed something sweet so they weren’t bitter. I took some popsicle moulds (I got mine at the dollar store) and poured a little bit of Hazelnut flavour syrup in the bottom, a little more than it takes to cover the bottom, and then filled the rest with coffee that I let cool down so it was warm, but not cold. The reason for this is I feel that once coffee gets completely cold, the taste changes and it can be rather unpleasant, so a little bit warmer than room temp is your goal, folks.

This was the result:

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I understand that coffee is not for everyone, and I also get where the coffee purists, snobs, are coming from as well with the mindset of “coffee should only be drank hot, and black!” That is all well and good, but in the dead heat of summer, I will take a coffee popsicle over a steaming cup of joe any day. I was even able to get my dad to try one and he really liked it, which surprised me because, other than milk, he doesn’t like much done to his coffee.

HERITAGE PARTY!

my good friend Ashton threw the First Annual Heritage Party on Saturday and I have to say, it was a lot of fun. We had a pot luck of Canadian dishes, and we had 5-6 people who were not from Canada so it was all new to them. Of course poutine was on the menu and, being lactose intolerant, I made my own version and brought it with me. It’s a very simple tweak on the normal recipe but at the same time quite different. (again, no picture, I’m sorry)

Rather than just bake the fries, I put some EVOO in my copper bottom frying pan and put it on low. Once it got up to temp, I threw in the fries and got them coated and let them cook for about five minutes, I then threw in my new culinary weapon…

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it’s great on everything, and it’s the perfect pick me up for fries without getting into prepackaged seasonings, not that there’s anything wrong with them, they just aren’t for me. I get this at the local farm market, and it is one of my culinary staples.

BACK TO POUTINE!

I kept the temp low and let the herbs imprint themselves on each and every fry, once they were about 5 minutes from being done, I went to work on the gravy. I didn’t make it from scratch, I used a can of heinz mushroom gravy, but I love the taste and a lot of people were very surprised it came from a can. Once again I used Daiya Dairy Free cheese and, since we live about 20 minutes away from Ashton’s, I mixed it all together in a casserole dish, covered it in tin foil and we were off. By sealing it all in, and reheating it later to eat, it became a poutine casserole and I got a lot of compliments on it.

When you’re a person with many dietary restrictions, it always feel good when people who have the option of eating “normally” and still choose your dish.

After the pot luck we all went into the barn where the screen was set up to get to the main reason we were all there, watching all 74 Heritage Minutes and having a Canadian Trivia night to prep for Canada Day, but also to prep those non-Canadians with the knowledge needed to make the transition. Important things like Great Big Sea, Stompin’ Tom, Alanis, Donairs and Dulce.

It was an excellent night and our team ALMOST won the much coveted Golden Inuk Shuk, hopefully the people will still know we were there.

Ok Emily, as promised, the recipe for Any Meal CasSurreal.

Yes, I had posted it before, but I’ve made several tweaks to it since then, and I believe I’ve got the best recipe/system for this beast. The reason it’s called the Any Meal CasSurreal is because it can be eaten at any meal because of the assortment of ingredients, and the bread that is on top, loses it’s “breadiness” through the egg wash and the cooking, kind of like french toast, which is where the surreal portion comes from. You want proof it can be eaten for any meal, you say? Fair enough, when I made it a few days ago, I realized around 10PM that I did, in fact, eat it for every meal.

You can put almost anything IN this dish, my staples are onion, green onion, mushroom, and a coloured pepper (normally red). The amounts also vary depending on how much variety you’d like your CasSurreal to have.

General rule of thumb is as follows:

8×8 pan

1/2 onion

1/2 pepper

3-4 mushrooms

1-2 stalks of green onion

This dish is also a good way to make use of last night’s leftovers. There was some chicken from supper that had been BBQ’d so I diced it up. I noticed it was kind of dry so I used science to rectify the situation. If mushrooms release a fair amount of liquid while cooking, and chicken tends to absorb the flavours of what it’s cooked with, then combining them in the pan should do the trick. I cooked the veggies at a low heat, onions and peppers first, and once I saw some colour on the onion, tossed in the chicken, let them mingle just enough for the chicken to take on some of the pepper’s red tinge and tossed in the mushrooms, mixed them all around and let them sit for a bit, letting it all cook down. The result was very moist chicken, and somewhere a Science teacher, who I told I’d never use anything he taught me, smiled to himself.

Once the veggies are all cooked place them in your 8×8 pan, now comes the egg and bread portion.

bowl

wax paper

8-9 eggs

4-5 slices of sourdough

small circular cookie cutter

sea salt and herbs

place a sheet of wax paper on the counter, big enough to rest 12-13 circles of sourdough and crack 7 eggs in your bowl. Add as much sea salt and herbs  as you wish to the eggs and beat the ever loving crap out of them. Once they are well mixed, start cutting circles out of your sourdough, the number of circles is entirely up to you. I tend to use 12 and place 3 rows of 4 across the top of the casserole, this makes it easier to cut as you can use the circles as indicators of portion size. For the sake of being artsy fartsy I used 13 today just to make a design, this is also completely acceptable as you’re the one you need to impress, I unfortunately can’t come over.

Once your sourdough is circled, take 3 at a time and place them in the bowl of egg and push them to the bottom, once they float back to the top, take them out of the bowl and place them on your wax paper.

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Now that they are all eggy and wonderful, pour the rest of your egg into the pan with your veg. This will ALMOST cover it, but not quite. Which is where the other two eggs you were wondering about come into play. Crack them into the bowl, whip ’em up, and toss them into the pan as well. Then it’s back to your handy dandy SS&H, henceforth this means Sea Salt & Herbs, it’s too long to keep typing haha. Sprinkle it across the top of the egg and veg, and them mix it all together so that it’s all laying somewhat evenly in the pan. Then comes the fun part, placing or tossing the bread circles on top o’ the feast.

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At some point during this burst of creative energy, you’ll want to set your oven to 350 degrees. I usually start getting mine to temp around the time I start dredging the bread. Now all you need to do is cheese your CasSurreal. As I mentioned before, I’m lactose intolerant, I use Daiya Dairy Free cheese which is soy, gluten, and dairy free and is tapioca based. It melts like cheese and tastes like cheese. It’s the only non dairy alternative that does cheese any justice. For those willing to give it a try, this is what you’re looking for.

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so what goes into the oven will look like this –

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and will come out looking like this –

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Hope you enjoy your Any Meal CasSurreal!

Let me know how yours turns out =)

in closing, I didn’t want a Grad Ring from NSCC, these are my Grad Chucks, designed by me. What better way to graduate from Business Admin – Marketing Concentration =P

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