Saturday, 19 October 2013

Chicken Tonite

When in a pinch, my mother would often make a chicken and stuffing bake. She calls it "chicken tonite". It's super easy, quick and can somewhat be used as a thanksgiving dinner type of meal. I mean, you have your two most important ingredients: poultry and stuffing. That's the basic thanksgiving dinner right there. I always had this dish with rice and I think it's the best option. The dish is made with a cream of mushroom as a sauce and it's just delicious mixed in rice. Anyway, let me show you what I'm talking about.


  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 box of Stove Top stuffing
  • 1 can of Campbell's cream of mushroom concentrate.
  • Some paprika
  • 2 cups Instant rice
  • 1 small onion


Before you start, set your oven at 400F. Then, first prepare the stuffing as per the directions on the box. That's fairly easy. It's just a matter of bringing a small amount of water to a boil (I think 1/4 of a cup or something like that) and then just mixing in the stuffing, remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Then set that aside.

Mix the one can of cream of mushroom and one can of milk. (I mean fill the can of soup with milk.) Then mix them together over medium low heat. Just enough so that it's blended properly and there are no more blobs.

In a large Pyrex glass dish, put the chicken breasts on each side and the stuffing in the middle.

Pour the cream of mushroom over the chicken breasts, but not the stuffing. Then cover the dish with aluminum paper. Put it in the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes.

While the chicken is baking in the oven, get started on the rice. Finely chop the small onion.

In a large pot over medium heat, drop about 1 large tablespoon of margarine or butter and let it melt, then add the onions and cook them until they start to brown and are soft and translucent. Then add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. When it's boiling, add the 2 cups of rice, lower the heat to let the water simmer, cover and let cook until the rice is fully cooked. You shouldn't have to drain any water and the rice will be cooked to perfection. Optionally, you can put a couple of bay leaves in there while it cooks to give it a bit of an aroma.

When the rice is cooked, set it aside in the mean time.

When the chicken has baked for 20 minutes, take it out and leave the oven on. Remove the aluminum paper and sprinkle paprika over the chicken. Then pop back in the over for another 10 minutes.

After those 10 extra minutes, take the dish out and the meal should be ready to serve.

Serve one breast with a scoop of stuffing with a side of rice, and pour some extra cream of mushroom from the dish over the chicken and rice. Now you're all set.


Wednesday, 7 August 2013


Last week. Yes! LAST week. (Boy, I am running behind here.) I decided to make myself falafel pitas for lunch. I had a box of falafel mix that's been hanging around in my pantry since... Actually since I was in a relationship with my Middle-Eastern ex-girlfriend over three years ago! But, don't worry. The mix is sealed and it's basically dried up fava beans with some herbs and spices. That stuff lasts forever. Oh by the way, in case you never heard of falafels, like I just mentioned, they are made of squished fava beans, herbs and spices and are shaped into balls and deep fried in oil. Pretty much any shawarma shish-taouk or Lebanese restaurant serves them. Many people mistake them for meatballs. They are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside and are usually served with a sesame based sauce.

They're super easy to make, especially if you have a deep fryer. I didn't happen to have one so I had to deep fry them in a pot. But, it's just a powdered mix and all you have to do is add water and then bingo! Fry 'em up and eat 'em up. Here's how I did my pita sandwich.


  • 1 box falafel mix.
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • hummus
  • tahini (fancy Arabic word for sesame butter)
  • pickled turnips (the fluorescent pink stuff)
  • pita bread
  • can of stuffed vine leaves aka. dolma.


I already had some chopped up lettuce from doing Subway-style southwest steak n cheese fajita wraps, but if you don't, just take your head of iceberg lettuce, tear all the leaves off and clean them up in one of those salad spinners. Then chop the salad into long strips.

I also had sliced red onions already prepared, but as you can see from the picture of the ingredients, I cut the onion in half then simply sliced it.

The pickled turnips are already cut up. Oh and if you need to know where to find them in Montreal, in the west island, there's Marché Adonis. Downtown Montréal, there's Supermarché P.A. on Fort street between Maisonneuve and Sainte-Catherine. There's also another branch on Avenue du Parc somewhere south of Laurier if I remember.

Anyway, for the falafel mix it is dead simple. Just add water! Literally! Just read the instructions on the box. If you can make a box of Kraft Mac n Cheese, then you have all the experience you need! When you mix it up, start with a whisk. When it turns into a thick paste, use your hands. then shape them into ping-pong ball sized balls.

Then take a large pot and pour in enough grape seed or olive oil so that you have about a quarter inch thick at the bottom. Then heat it up on medium heat until it gets hot.

Add one falafel. If it boils, you know the oil reached the right frying temperature.

Then just add the rest and turn them around until every side is fried and crispy. The colour should turn a dark brown.

You can take one out and cut it to see if it's cooked. It should look something like this.

As you can see, I laid them out on a plate with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil and let them cool off a bit.

I know, I know... they look like horse poop.

Then all you have to do is assemble your sandwich, crack open that can of stuffed vine leaves and eat up! Also, a side tabouleh salad with that would also be a great addition.

To make the sandwich, just open up the pita bread, spread some hummus and a bit of tahini. (Watch out, that stuff has a strong taste. I don't recommend it if you're not used to it.) Then stuff some lettuce, onions, pickled turnips and add a couple of falafels in there. You can crush them a bit if you want a flatter sandwich of if you want to spread the falafels a bit more evenly. Wrap this sucker up in tin foil or wax paper and chow down!

Monday, 1 July 2013


So guess what? I found a new job! I'm starting this week! I'm basically going to be the head software dude at a company in Griffintown, close to my university. I'm pretty excited! The problem is though, the office is surrounded with pretty expensive bistros and cafés and I have been without a revenue for a month, so money's a bit tight. It's going to be best if I prepare myself some food for my lunches this week and it'll give me a chance to show off my cooking skills to my new boss!

To save some money, I will be cooking something using what I already have in my stock of dried foods - lentils and beans and rice and stuff. Though I'm not as enthusiastic about eating such things as I would be for, say, a hamburger, it's still pretty tasty, easy, filling and healthy. So, this week I made mujaddara. It's a simple middle-eastern comfort food made of rice, lentils and caramelized onions. According to Wikipedia, the name actually means smallpox and that's because the lentils in the rice make it look like it has smallpox. Thought that may sound a bit gross that a meal is named after a disease, it's quite delicious and easy to make. Though it is mainly just rice and lentils cooked in broth with caramelized onions, I decided to make mine out of some whole grain basmati rice and green split peas so I could finish my stock of dried food and added spiced to mine to make it a bit more flavourful. So here's my version of the mujaddara.


  • 1 1/2 cup of whole grain basmati rice
  • 1 1/2 cup of dried split green peas
  • 6 cups chicken broth (or water mixed with chicken broth mix)
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 2 tbs grape seed oil
  • 2 tbs cumin powder
  • 2 tbs Bahraini allspice or other mid-eastern/Indian all-spice
  • 2 tbs curry powder
  • 2 tbs chili powder
  • Some Mediterranean yogourt as a garnish.


Depending on if you have a big enough stove you can caramelize the onions as you are cooking your rice and  lentils. It was not my case however because I have a small 2 foot wide stove and only one large burner. I decided to start with the rice and lentils first and then cook the onions.

In a large pot, pour 6 cups of chicken stock and bring to a boil on high heat.

When the broth starts to boil heavily, add the lentils and turn down the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for about 15 minutes with the lid on.

When the time is up, add the rice and cover. Let it cook until the broth is absorbed and the rice is fully cooked and soft.

When the rice and lentils are close to done your pot should look like this. The rice should be just about ready and with a little bit of broth left.

At this point add all the spices and mix thoroughly. Then cover and let simmer until the broth is gone and everything is fully cooked.

After that, remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl to cool down. Otherwise the rice and lentils will continue to cook with just the heat of the mix and the pot and everything will turn into mush. You want to avoid that.

Now, slice the onions in rings.

Pour about 2 tbs of grape seed oil in a pan and heat it up on medium heat. Then add the onions.

Cook them until they are caramelized. It's best to keep stirring them until they are nice and brown. You may add a pinch of salt to accelerate the process. Unfortunately, I wasn't paying too much attention and got mine burnt a bit. Shit happens.

When they are cooked, transfer them to the rice and lentils and mix them through. Or you can just put them on top as a garnish. I mixed mine because I was going to use them for my lunches and it's all gonna get mixed up in my lunch box anyway.

Finally, just serve in a bowl with the onions as a garnish and a dollop of Mediterranean yogourt and enjoy! The yogourt really adds a nice touch and helps to calm down the spiciness a little bit. Delicious!

This is by far the best, most authentic yogourt you can buy in the grocery store.

Bon appétit!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

"Oishī Nihon no karē" or The Tasty Japanese Curry

Ok, so you guys probably have figured it out by now that I love curry. Yes it's true. I love all kinds of Asian foods, but curries are some of my favourites. They are easy to make, flavourful and the mix of spices just smells so good; especially the Indian and Thai ones. Japanese curry though is a little different. I found that it's a little sweeter than Indian curry and either very mild or not even spicy at all. It's a little closer to Thai curry, but kind of in between with the Indian one. The flavour is pretty unique and I think it's a lot more accessible to people who are a bit fussy about foods that are too spicy or too aromatic. And its texture and consistency resembles a lot that of an ordinary beef stew.

I've never done Japanese curry before so this week I decided to make some for myself. I bought some potatoes, carrots and onions. I also thawed out some chicken breasts I had in the freezer. And I visited the Korean Japanese grocery store in NDG and bought myself a box of Japanese curry broth cubes. That, with a side of white rice and I was all set. Lemme show you how I did it and how it turned out.


  • 1 box of Japanese curry cubes
  • 1 large regular onion (or half a sweet onion in my case)
  • 2 big white potatoes
  • 2-3 large carrots (or half a small bag of baby carrots)
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • white rice (just regular rice, not necessarily the converted one - I just had that one on hand)
  • couple of tablespoons of grapeseed or vegetable oil (one that doesn't have a strong flavour)


First off, clean up your potatoes and cut 'em up into small cubes a little less than an inch in size.

Follow up with the carrots if you have the large carrots and do the same. I just cut my baby carrots since they're already clean.

Then cut up the onion into big pieces. Don't mince it, we need to keep the pieces big so we can pick them up with the rest of the vegetables in the curry.

Finally, cut up your chicken breasts into 1 inch cubes.

Now, it's cooking time. First off, add a couple of tablespoons of oil in a big pot, enough to cover the bottom, and turn the heat on medium. When it's getting hot, start frying the onions until they are caramelized and slightly brown.

When that's done, put 'em aside somewhere. Then add some more oil and start cooking the chicken cubes. Just cook them enough so that you get two sides browned. You don't need to cook them thoroughly because we'll boil them in broth later on.

When the chicken is browned, add all the vegetables. Potatoes, carrots and caramelized onions. Then mix it all up real good.

Then look at the curry sauce package and check how much water you're supposed to add. In my case, their recipe calls for 5 cups of water for the whole package. So add that and bring to a boil.

When it starts to boil, lower the heat and bring to a simmer and cover, leaving a gap to let some steam out.

At that point, add the entire package of curry sauce cubes into the mix. The whole thing. Not just one half of the box, like my stupid self did.

Mix it well until broken down and fully diluted, then cover again and let simmer for another 10-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.

Yeah, see here? There should be two pieces like this in there.

The consistency of the sauce should be thick, like a stew. So, in case it's too watery, leave it on the heat to simmer, uncovered, and stir once in a while. The water should evaporate and the sauce should thicken to look like this.

When that's over, serve with a side of white rice and you've got yourself a nice, warm Japanese curry!

Friday, 7 June 2013

Marmite Burgers

I've been eating my vegetarian couscous salad all week last week. I wasn't eating much to be honest. But this week, my body told me it needed something. I was craving some junk food. Badly. So I went to this place called La Friterie while I was in my home neighbourhood of Pointe-Aux-Trembles. It's a greasy spoon that sells burgers, hot dogs, fries and of course, poutine. They have been open for as long as I can remember. I went all out and got myself this.

Looks disgusting doesn't it? But, man oh man was it ever satisfying! Two hamburgers (with a slice of ham!), a small poutine and a root beer.

The next day, the craving wasn't gone. My body wanted more. MOAR! So I went and got some ground beef an some buns and made my own burgers. Except, mine are a little different and I added a little bit more stuff to the patties to make them more delicious like the left over green onions I bought last week for my salad. But, my secret ingredient, which should be in any burger meat, is Marmite. Or, you can use Vegemite as well if you're from the land down under. Here's how I did my burgers.


  • 2 lbs or 1 kg of extra lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • a couple of stalks of green onions
  • 1/2 a cup of bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp of Marmite or Vegemite
  • 1 tbs Montreal Steak spices


First things first, rinse and finely chop the green onions.

Next, in a large bowl, mix everything together as thoroughly as possible.

Take one handful at a time, make it into a ball about the size of a tennis ball, and flatten into patties and place on a grill. I don't have a barbecue so I used a grill I had that goes over a baking sheet.

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cook the burgers for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. They should come out nice and juicy.

Finally, just go ahead and slap that meat between two buns, add whatever you want and you got yourself a nice juicy tasty burger. And it's guaranteed to be healthier than the junk I ate at La Friterie. In fact, I used whole grain hamburger buns, lettuce, tomato, processed cheese, ketchup, mustard, relish and a little bit of Sriracha for an extra POW! Mmmmmm! Delicious.