Dangle the promise of free marks in front of your students’ foreheads and they will bite the proverbial carrot, peek out from under their shells (backpacks?) and do anything you want them to do. One of our Spanish classes required us to participate in an activity related to Hispanic culture, and naturally we interpreted this as an opportunity to purchase and cook chorizo. Incidentally, we were also craving meat. Salty, slightly chewy, and replete with piquant spices, this Spanish sausage can be eaten just as fine on its own but is made better when paired with poulet. We want all of our assignments to be this
Hello, Chorizo (Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen)
Ingredients- Serves 5
- 10 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin on (why take the skin off???)
- Olive oil
- 1 packet Spanish chorizo, coarsely chopped
- 1.5 lb/750g red new potatoes (again, why take the skin off???)
- 1 large or 2 small onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
- Pinch of paprika
- Pinch of Italian Seasoning (oregano, basil, rosemary)
Preheat the oven to 425F. Line shallow baking dishes with parchment paper (like the kind that wizards write upon. With quills.). Baste the chicken’s skin with oil and turn skin side up on tray.
Halve potatoes and toss with a smidgen of oil as well.
Distribute chorizo, potatoes, onions among the baking trays. Sprinkle with spices and salt, if you so choose.
Bake for about one hour, or until chicken meat is no longer pink.
Scavenging for free food is a bit of a competitive sport among hungry McGill students.
If you are lucky, you might be able to score some from Midnight Kitchen, which is a by-donation, volunteer-driven food collective that churns out an array of vegan lunches to the ravenous masses in the Shatner Building every week day.
It’s a sweet deal: free food! Healthy food!
To your chagrin, likeminded people on campus have the same idea. You’ll have to arrive late and be patient or (to the best of your abilities and your VO2 max) arrive early, knocking over a few chairs in the process.
Stylishly jumping over park benches ahead of the line to Midnight Kitchen could have been your comparative advantage, but you didn’t capitalize on that weird Groupon for parkour classes this summer.
Bring your own Tupperware, wait in line, and hope for the best. Hope they don’t run out of that lentil soup. Or make your own, like we did!
Gentle Lentil Soup
Ingredients- Serves 6
2 cups water
1 cup lentils
2 onions, diced
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp paprika
Pinch of Italian seasoning (oregano, rosemary, basil)
2 vegetable stock cubes
2 large potatoes, diced. (leave the peel on!)
2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 can chickpeas
If you like chunky soup like we do, make many lentils. The ratio is two cups water to 1 cup lentils. Boil till tender and stick a bay leaf in there, about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
The onion and garlic go first. Cook with a smidge of olive oil over medium heat in an enormous pot. Add paprika, lentils, potato, carrots, and chickpeas. Dissolve your stock cubes in a litre of water and add to mixture. Simmer for about 40 minutes, or until potatoes are nice and tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Multiply this recipe if you want to feed people MK style. Great for potlucks!
The eggplant is an awkward vegetable. It’s purple, sports a strange and pointy green hat, and literally resembles a sore thumb. Poor thing.
Give it a bit of an edge. Dice it up and toss it with balsamic vinegar and a few chopped cherry tomatoes. The awkward aubergine will become an enigmatic eggplant as a member of the prestigious bruschetta trio.
Excellent finger food for parties or for dinner, give these bite-sized bites some confetti of their own by sprinkling them with a couple handfuls of shredded cheese before they make their complete retreat from the oven.
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/3 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 eggplant, about the size of a canteen
- Splashes of balsamic vinegar (3-4 tbsps)
- Olive oil
- Bit of italian seasoning (basil, oregano, rosemary)
- Pinch of chili flakes
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 fresh baguette
- Shredded cheese (totally optional, if that floats your boat)
Heat oven to 350. Chop garlic and let it cook in a bit of olive oil just before turning golden. Add halved cherry tomatoes and a tiny bit of salt. Place a large lid over skillet and wait until tomatoes look kind of wrinkly.
Meanwhile, chop eggplant and add into mixture. Add couple splashes of balsamic vinegar and a coin of olive oil and cook until texture is spongy. Incorporate spices, salt, pepper.
Cut baguette into 1-2cm thick disks with a serrated knife (looks like it has shark teeth). Lay on a flat baking tray lined with either parchment or aluminum foil. Pat each with olive oil and a spoonful of bruschetta. Let cook in oven for about 7 minutes.
Take out of oven and add cheese. Crank the heat up to broil if you want to brulée your cheese. Re-insert into the fiery furnace for a minute or two. Watching cheese melt is like watching the sun set.
There are some days when your rear pant-leg winds up tucked into your sock. Or, unbeknownst to you, your little red toque has been inverted all day. Its tag has been frolicking in the wind atop your head like a peace flag on a mountain.
Whether you are sloppy accidentally or on purpose, we’ll cover you. A generous amalgamation of veggies, beef, and tomato sauce, these Sloppy Joes are an all-purpose antidote for malicious moods.
We recommend making them this weekend. Your bowls will not only be filled with something super, but also sumptuous.
A word of caution: however star-crossed all you lovers may be, avoid making these irresistible sloppy joes on Valentines. You’ll end up looking like this.
But who celebrates that anyway?
Sloppy Joes (adapted from Kitchen by Nigella Lawson)
1 stick celery
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
500g ground beef
1 can (400g) chopped tomatoes and a full can of water
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Soft, fluffy buns / tortilla chips / cheddar cheese
Chop the celery, garlic, onions and carrots coarsely. Blend with a food processor or blender (we used our trusty hand blender) until the mixture reaches a mushy consistency.
Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the vegetable mixture and cook until soft (15-20 minutes)
In the meantime, mix the tomatoes, water, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and tomato paste in a bowl.
Add the ground beef to the frying pan, along with the cloves and remaining brown sugar. When the beef begins to brown, add the bowl of liquid ingredients. Simmer for 25 minutes.
Serve with toasted buns (we used onion rolls), tortilla chips, or any other item that will be sure to leave the front of your shirt/jersey looking like it needs a wash.
Chow down! Warning: don’t become so distracted by the deliciousness of these babies that you miss the big game.
Pinwheels are simple and artful. They can transform even the most fishy of dishes into appealing appetizers.
Sole is a lean and delicate fish that pairs well with the subtle and creamy flavour of artichoke asiago dip, which you can find in most grocery stores. We added a bit of spinach to the dish because seaweed is always greener under the sea. These are much easier to assemble than Ikea furniture, but are a bit more tricky than snapping together two pieces of lego. In short, this recipe is a quick way to put some sole into your food. Make these part of your world. Your taste-buds will be a choir singing with delight.
Ingredients - Makes 6 rolls
- 6 sole fillets
- Handful or two of spinach
- Pepper, to taste OR Montréal Steak Spice
- Artichoke Asiago Dip (we used PC Blue Menu)
Thaw sole, if frozen. Meanwhile, wash spinach and tear into strips lengthwise.
Lay fillets flat and sprinkle with steak spice or pepper, if using. Adorn the centre of each with a mask of dip. Top with spinach.
Start rolling up the fish at one end and secure pinwheel by piercing it with a toothpick.
Roast in a casserole dish at 350 for about 15-20 minutes until fish flakes with a fork.
You have ineptly waded through oceans of packed snow and you are hungry. You deserve something better than that saline packet of instant noodles. While ramen’s squiggly arms are a quick comfort during the start of the school year, these pizza recipes will caress your taste-buds with instant gratification.
Sweet caramelized onions are an excellent foil to the crispy ribbons of prosciutto that adorn this crust like garland on a pine-tree.
Breakfast pizza takes this classic dinner fare on a wonderful spin upon a merry-go-round of satisfaction.
Thinly-sliced apples covered by a light dusting of cinnamon (we wish we could say the same for the snow outside) will refresh your palette by complementing its soft and sweet base.
The dough can be made ahead of time and tucked away in the fridge until you need it. Although we used whole-wheat flour, the all-purpose variety should fare just as well. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a similar pizza anywhere else. It is an effortless reward for all of the effort you put into your exams last semester. Get out of the library and into your kitchen. It’s too early to study anyway. Prepare yourself some pizza.
Caramelized Onion and Prosciutto Pizza (Adapted from the Pioneer Woman)
1 Pizza Crust (1/2 the dough recipe below)
Olive oil, for drizzling
2 medium white onions, thinly sliced
¼ cup brown sugar
½ thinly sliced ball of mozzarella cheese
8 slices salami-prosciutto ham
Grated parmesan cheese
1 potato, thinly sliced
1/2 zucchini, sliced
Prosciutto ham, diced as needed
1 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
1 ½ cups warm water
4 cups Whole Wheat Flour (All-Purpose will do)
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup Olive Oil
To make dough
Sprinkle yeast over warm water and let stand for a few minutes
Meanwhile, whisk together flour and salt in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil until just combined.
Add yeast mixture and ply dough with your hands until all flour is incorporated. Great for stress relief.
Form dough into a ball, toss to coat with olive oil and place in a separate bowl, lightly coated with oil as well. Tightly cover with saran wrap.
Let rise for 1 to 2 hours or, if your superhero name is the procrastinator, stick it in the fridge for 1-4 days until you are ready to use it.
Use HALF dough for one pizza. We used a can of “Pam” to flatten ours out but if your arsenal of kitchen supplies is stocked with a rolling pin, that will fare much better.
Either bake at 375F for 15 minutes with desired toppings or prepare the recipe below at 500F.
To make pizza
Preheat oven to 500F. Roll out dough into rectangular shape on a piece of parchment. Transfer onto baking sheet.
Over low heat, combine some oil with the onions and brown sugar and patiently nudge it around until the allium metamorphoses into a sweet, soft tangle of brown and gooey strips
Lightly oil dough and layer first with mozzarella. Take prosciutto and gently pull apart until it is like a long streamer. Layer onto dough. Finish with onions and grated parmesan.
Place pizza in oven for 15 mins until cheese is melted and prosciutto is crispy. Makes 8 slices.
Cook potatoes until translucent. Halfway through, add zucchini medallions. Evenly disperse potatoes, zucchini, prosciutto, eggs onto lightly-oiled dough. Should not look like a Jenga tower. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 and broil for a few minutes before serving.
Cook apples with a splash of water until soft but not mushy. In separate bowl combine one part sugar with one part cinnamon. Lay apples on lightly-oiled dough and sprinkle with sugar mixture. Bake for 15 minutes at 350.
Winter is coming and we’re eating winter squash accordingly. The best thing about this recipe’s gourd in particular is that when roasted, its flesh delicately peels away from its skin like ribbons of spaghetti. Try this recipe if you’re looking to detox those American Thanksgiving carbs, sick of eating instant noodles during exams, or are simply on a quest to chart new territories in the world of vegetable preparation. This here is one pasta that won’t give you a paunch.
Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti
- 1 spaghetti squash
- ⅓ cup carrot, diced
- ⅓ cup mushrooms, diced
- ⅓ cup zucchini, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 4-5 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
- ½ tsp Italian herbs
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 4 tsp tomato paste + ½ cup water
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
Bake the squash, pierced in many places (this activity is perfect for relieving exam time stress), for 40 minutes at 375°F. Turn the squash and bake for another 15-30 minutes until tender.
While the squash is baking, dice all the veggies.
Heat 1 tbsp oil and 1 tsp sugar in a pan. Put in the onions and sauté until caramelized.
Add the rest of the veggies and 1 tsp more oil. Sauté veggies until tender then add tomato paste, water, soy sauce, and stir.
Cut squash in ½, deseed. Pull the strands apart with a fork, toss in a bit of olive oil (1-2 tsp) and season with salt, pepper, and herbs.
Combine with sauce and enjoy! Good luck with finals everyone.
Give four roommates some rice; they’ll eat for a day. Buy them a rice cooker; they’ll eat for a life-time!. It will make congee for your ailing throats and a silo of cooked rice for your growling stomachs. With a great amount of grain comes a gargantuan amount of gratification, specifically when manifest as ginger-fried rice. From the runny egg to the crispy dusting of minced ginger and garlic, this is a simple dish with a mosaic of textures. Look no further than your rice cooker come exam time. You’ll become fast friends with this fried rice.
Ginger and Leek Fried Rice (Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
Ingredients - Serves 4
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons minced ginger
- 2 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and light green parts only
- ¼ cup diced prosciutto
- 4 cups day-old rice. We used Calrose, but brown rice will certainly work as well
- Eggs (one per serving)
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 4 teaspoons soy sauce
In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger and toss until crisp and brown. Transfer out of pan and dust with salt.
Reduce heat to medium-low and add leeks, prosciutto, and a coin-sized amount of oil if you need it. Cook until leeks are soft.
Raise heat back to medium and add a bit of the ginger/garlic mixture and rice. Cook until grains are slightly crunchy.
BUT WAIT! Don’t forget about the eggs!
Fry sunny side up, until edges are set but yolk is runny.
Divide rice among four dishes. Top each with an egg and drizzle with ½ teaspoon sesame oil and 1 teaspoon soy sauce. Adorn with a dusting of crispy ginger and garlic.
Break the egg yolk, as if a glacier is rapidly melting over your mountain of rice.
Dot with Sriracha chili sauce and dig in.
Boil’em, mash’em, stick’em in a stew. Our favourite Shire-ling Samwise Gamgee was the inspiration for tater-time here at the haus. Fun fact: although “shepherd’s pie” is generally used to describe this post’s bi-layered dish— the term should be used only when the meat is mutton or lamb.
Topped with a full fleece of fluffed potatoes, the beef tasted infinitely better when cooked with Korean Barbeque sauce. And no, we didn’t use it only because we had it stored en masse in our cupboards.
Experiment and add some eastern flair to traditional western dishes. You won’t be rewarded air-miles, but your effort will culminate in an appreciation for Chinatown’s little treasures.
Easy Peasy “Shepherd’s” Pie
Ingredient - Serves 4-5
- 5 Potatoes
- 6 tbsps butter
- 1 onion
- 1 ½ lbs ground beef
- 1 cup peas
- 1 cup corn
- 1 tbsp Korean Barbeque Sauce
- Thyme, salt, pepper, to taste
- Shredded cheese, as you wish
- Paprika (optional)
Preheat oven to 400F.
Peel potatoes. Chop into cubes and boil for 15-20 minutes until tender.
While potatoes are boiling, cook onion in 2 tbsps butter until translucent.
Add beef and cook until browned.
Once beef is ready, drain oil (please do, it’s gross if you don’t)
Add peas, corn, Korean Barbeque sauce, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook for 2 more minutes over medium-high. Set aside.
Drain and mash potatoes, adding rest of butter, a bit of thyme, and salt.
Spoon beef mixture onto casserole dish and layer with dollops of mashed potato. Top with cheese and paprika, if using.
Bake for 25 minutes and enjoy. It will all be gone within the hour.