Archive for February, 2013

Beef Burritos

You can wrap just about anything in a tortilla. This week I chose beef, peppers, garlic, and cheese. Traditionally. burritos are flour tortillas rolled with rice, beans, and meat inside. The history of how burritos came to be is extremely unclear so I could not find a definite ‘who’ or ‘where’. There are many stories circulating around the inter-webs, but who knows which one is accurate.

Food & Costs

(From Edwards Shop N’ Save)

Ground Beef – $4.52

Green Bell Pepper – $1.25

Taco Seasoning -$0.79

9 inch Flour Tortillas -$1.77

Sharp Cheddar – Donated by my roommate.

Garlic – $0.69

Total – $9.02


1. Warm pan to medium heat. While pan is heating slice peppers and garlic.

2. Once pan is hot put in beef and garlic. Make sure to break beef into smaller pieces. Cover and let sit for 5-10 minutes.

3. After 5-10 minutes place green peppers in and cover again.

4. Once the meat is done add the taco seasoning, and stir.

5. Add your freshly cooked filling to an open tortilla and add fixtures such as salsa, sour cream, and guacamole as desired.

6. Last, but not least fold the tortilla how ever your please. There is no right or wrong way, but just know more often times than none you will end up wearing your burritos if not wrapped carefully.


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The best part of this recipe is wrapping the tortillas. After many times of wearing my burritos and watching others do the same I’ve finally found a way. Well, actually two ways to be exact. One, fold the sides of the burritos against the long end of the filling. Then, roll the burritos tightly the opposite way so both ends become folded in to prevent leaks. A second way is to roll up the burritos so both ends are loose then, fold the bottom end up and keep that end held and eat. This way also ensures no spilling or leaking. I would also like to touch on beef grease that is usually poured out and thrown away. Well, honestly I don’t. You heard right, I leave the fatty juices in the beef and add the seasoning. You are probably a little grossed out, but when living ‘off the grid’ it’s hard to dispose of these things properly. When I was a child my mother would drain the fat into a can, let it solidify and then toss it in the trash. Now, it’s hard for me to do that because at the shotgun shack it’s not often you come across a container that is not in use. An alternative may be to go out and dump it in the woods, but not matter how far the grease is dumped it always attracts critters of all sorts towards the house. Also, it keeps you warm during these cold winter months in Maine especially now that our fire wood is running out.


Crab Rangoons

So, you may think of these little cream cheese filled, deep-fried puffs as Chinese cuisine, but you are mistaken. Crab Rangoon’s were created at Trader Vic’s in San Francisco during the early 1950’s. The original recipe was made with cream cheese, crab meat, A-1 sauce, garlic powder, egg yolk, and won ton wraps. This week I choose to tackle cooking Crab Rangoon’s on the Tiki man because of my love for deep-fried foods and crab meat.

Food & Costs

(From Edward’s Shop N’ Save)

1 Package Cream cheese – $1.79

Vegetable oil – $2.39

16oz Sour cream – $1.50

1 Bulb of Garlic – $0.69

Won Ton wraps -$2.49

Total – $8.86


1. In a bowl, add cream cheese and sour cream. Make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature before mixing. Other wise, you are going to be stirring for a while.

2. Once the mixture comes to a smooth consistency add chopped garlic(LOTS OF IT!), sliced crab meat, additional spices, and stir. For additional spices I added lemon pepper, onion powder, black pepper, salt, and a small amount of crushed red pepper.

3. Now it’s time to wrap ’em up! You’ll need a small bowl of water(for sealing the won ton wraps) and a large plate. Watch this video to learn how to fold the Rangoon’s.


4. While you fold your Rangoon’s take a moment to heat up a skillet to medium heat with about an inch of oil.

5. Once the pan is hot enough place Rangoon in and wait till one side is golden brown. Flip and repeat.

6. Finally, set aside to cool and serve with a sweet and sour sauce.


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The key to making Crab Rangoon’s is getting the cream cheese at room temperature. No matter how you do it, this will make the prepping process a lot easier. If you fail to warm the cream cheese and its left cold to mix I wish you the best of luck. It’s incredibly time consuming to beat the cream cheese to a smooth consistency. The longest process is wrapping the Rangoon’s, you want to spend time on this. My first time making Rangoon’s I learned very quickly to seal each wrap to the best of my ability. When not sealed properly and placed in hot oil the filling leaks causing hot oil to splatter all over. Also, most of the filling will be lost and you end up with a half empty Rangoon and no one wants that. Some more words of advice -leave yourself enough space- this will make prepping an lot easier. Overall, I find Crab Rangoon’s an easy and enjoyable appetizer to cook. It would also be a great activity for the children of your family or for any age.

Tuna Melts

A recipe from my mom. Thank you mom! The classic tuna melt is made with cheddar cheese, tuna mixed with mayo, onions, and celery. has a wonderful classic tuna melt recipe. I have always had a love for tuna. I was a vegetarian for six years and since then it’s been hard for me to eat meat, but seafood is a different story. After I gave up being a vegetarian I’ve turned to fish and seafood for the main source of protein in  my diet.

Food & Costs

Honey Wheat Bread – $2.50

2 Cans of Tuna – $0.87 each

Mayo – Donated my by lovely roommate

Swiss Cheese Singles – $2.89

Total – $7.13


1. Heat skillet to medium heat. Add butter

2. While pan is heating up make tuna salad. Draining cans of tuna. Empty tuna into a bowl and add mayo. Spice to taste. I just added salt and pepper.

3. Prepare sandwiches, add cheese and tuna to bread and place in the skillet.

4. Flip tuna melt when one side is golden to medium brown in color.

5. Once both sides are brown serve and enjoy!


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First off, it’s really hard to make tuna salad when you don’t have a bowl. So, to make up for our lack of bowls in the house I used a red solo cup and it worked just as well. To prepare the sandwiches, before they were grilled, I used a nice piece of cardboard. Grilling the tuna melts was the best part. Keeping in mind the 180 degree rotation while they are cooking so you don’t get a half burnt, half uncooked sandwich. No one likes a cold tuna melt. Really, the whole point of this sandwich to have delicious tuna salad between two warm buttery pieces of toast and melted cheese. When I was a kid my mother use to make them for me and she would cook in a tomato as well. I would have liked to cook in a tomato with these tuna melts, but I did not get the chance this time around. So, next time I will look forward to having a tomato in my sandwich. Maybe I’ll even get a little crazy and invest in some bowls for the house.

Eggs in a Nest!

A recipe from my childhood. Breakfast might be my favorite meal of the day to cook, but then again I’m not exactly sure. Fora traditional recipe of eggs in a nest offers a wonderful recipe. We all know there is nothing traditional about what I am cooking in a shotgun shack. So, on that note let’s get cooking.

Food & Prices 

(From Edward’s Shop N’ Save)

Eggs – $1.95

Honey Wheat Bread – $2.50

Swiss Cheese Singles – $2.89


Total – $7.34



1. Heat skillet to medium heat and add butter.

2. While pan is heating up cut a half-dollar size hole in the middle of one slice of bread. Keep the bread hole. Do not throw out or eat.

3. Once the pan has heated up place the slice of bread in the pan and the bread hole as well.

4. Then, crack the egg in the middle of the hole. Wait till the bottom of the egg has turned white and flip.

5. Once flipped, lower heat, add cheese and let melt for about 2-3 minutes. Then serve and eat!


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Eggs in a nest is a great way to serve breakfast when supplies are short. Instead of trying to make egg sandwiches which typically uses two eggs, two slices of bread, and cheese you only use one slice of bread, one egg, and cheese. As far as cooking on the Tiki man goes, it’s as easy as it sounds, but like anything has small complications. For example, trying to cook all sides of the bread even is rather difficult. For one, heat on the stove top is not even in all spots. So, cooking a stir fry is fine because you are constantly stirring and all the contents gets evenly cooked. When bread is placed on the pan to fry one edge will burn while the other has barely cooked. Another reason is the skillet does not sit perfectly level on the stove. So, this increases heat in certain areas. Which also, obviously leads to uneven pieces of bread. Luckily, after dealing with this a couple of times I’ve learned how to avoid burnt toast, but it takes grace and a little patience. Once the egg is cracked and in the bread wait till the egg yolk gets white (in a hot pan this doesn’t take very long). As soon as it turns white gently scope up the piece of bread on the spatial and rotate at a 180 degree angle. Then, let the egg cook a little longer and flip. Once, you flip your egg in a nest repeat this process for the opposite side so both sides are evenly cooked. Finally, once the cheese has melted serve your delicious egg in a nest that is not burnt, but evenly browned on all sides! Let’s not forget about the bread holes I told you not throw away or eat. Well, if you’re like me and like your eggs slightly runny than you will greatly appreciate this small piece of bread. While you are frying your little eggs in a nest toss those small pieces on and fry them to your pleasure. When all is said and done the bread holes are great for soaking up the runny yoke you have left behind. Bon appetit!

Pork Stir Fry

Items and Costs 

(Courtesy of Hannaford’s)

1 Package of garlic, wine, and herb (dry seasoning) – $1.19

1 Package of ‘Fresh stir Fry’ Veggies – $3.00

Country-Style boneless pork ribs – $2.89

1 Bottle of Cooking Wine – $3.99

Total –> $11.07


The idea for this stir fry was not from any recipe. Just a walk through the super market grabbing items based on their low prices and combinations of taste.

  1. First, heat skillet. While skillet is heating up, slice boneless pork ribs into small chunks. Then place in pan until slightly brown.
  2. Once meat is brown, throw in ‘Fresh Stir Fry’ veggies.
  3. Leave covered for 5-10 minutes. Then uncover and stir constantly.
  4.  After veggies and meat have mostly cooked down add dry seasoning and a small amount of wine.
  5. Continue constant stirring for another five minutes.
  6. Let cool and eat!


The stir fry was cooked in the cast iron skillet, which is one of our two pans in the house. Preparing and cooking this meal went very smooth. It’s hard to mess up a stir fry. As I continue to cook I realize more and more that I really need a cutting board. It’s hard not having a constant clean surface to prepare food on. Granted, we do have a marble counter-top in the house that is perfect for preparation, but this counter is usually subjected to other things, considering the house is under construction. Without a clean surface  you must get creative. Usually I’ll go for prepping food on a piece of cardboard on the counter or on a chair. The best is when I use meat in a meal, and prepare it using the package instead of finding a clean surface. So, when shopping for food to bring to the house and cook you have to put your “off the grid” goggles on. This ensures you don’t get yourself into a big a mess. Thankfully, Hannaford’s in Belfast  has the most convenient creations. Hannaford’s packages pre-cut vegetables that include mushrooms, onions, peppers, and snow peas for three dollars. This saved so much much time and energy cooking, never mind the silver ware. As for dry seasoning packets, I fully recommend them! Dry seasonings are way cheaper then bottled ones, and taste just as good if not better, especially garlic, herb, and wine. As I stated before, no matter what you put in it a stir fry, it’s just a “stir fry”! So, while your all watching T.V. tonight before bed, remember I am at home in the dark trying to read the differences between packaged seasonings. (But it doesn’t really matter, it will still taste good.)

Beef and Cabbage Stew

I would first like to start off with a sincere apology. I do not have pictures for these first two wonderful dinners, considering the lack of electricity leaves me with no sufficient lighting. So,  it becomes rather hard to take a decent picture, but on a good note I found my digital camera! After these two picture-less posts …wait no more! You will be able to see my Tiki Man creations. Also, there’s one thing I forgot to mention in my introduction. A few years ago I lost most of my smell and taste to Lyme disease. So, cooking has become incredibly different. I now know how Mozart felt when he began to compose music!

To start, I would like to first show the cost of the food products. Then, show the recipe I followed and last, but not least tell how exactly I managed to cook. If you would like to check out the original recipe visit

Food: Items & Costs

(All items purchased at Edward’s Shop N’ Save)

1 1/2 lbs. Beef stew meat – $5.76

2 Beef bouillon cubes – Free! (Contribution of my fellow neighbor)

1 Large Onion – $0.88

2 Potatoes – (1 lb.) $1.49

4 cups of cabbage – $1.78  (2 lbs)

1 can of chopped carrots – $0.69 (8 oz.)

1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce – $0.39

1 Bulb of garlic – $0.69

1 (2 liter) Bottle of water – Free! Compliments of Unity College.

Total –> $11.68


  1. Brown Beef at medium heat
  2. Once browned poor water over meat and mix in bouillon cubes
  3. Add onion, black pepper, garlic, and simmer for two hours
  4. Then, add cabbage, carrots, cover and simmer until tender (35-40 minutes)
  5. Lastly, stir in tomato sauce and salt, simmer uncovered (10-15 minutes).


If you are trying to aesthetically please a group, rule #1 never cook purple cabbage in with your meal! Never ever! I used purple cabbage for this stew because it was cheaper. Well, folks it turned my stew blue! Yes, you read that right.  The aesthetics of this stew were poor, but the smell and taste was on the opposite end of the scale. I used a whole bulb of garlic in the soup -you can never have too much garlic- another rule I live by when cooking. First, came starting  Tiki which sometimes can be challenging especially since our wood shed got demolished by the wind and rain a few days before. After, finally getting the Tiki man burning I placed the seven quart Dutch Oven on top. All went well, browned the meat, added slightly frozen water, and two bouillon cubes. Then, I threw all the veggies in, instead of waiting two hours to put in the cabbage and carrots. At that point my three roommates and I were already starving. My original thought was to really let this stew slow cook, but as my hunger took over I made an executive decision. Stoke the Tiki man up and get him ‘cranking’! Regardless, the stew still took three hours all together and behind my back Elisha, my significant other, decided it needed more black pepper. Well, it didn’t at least not that much. Oh boy! Did that pepper taste take over, says the person who has a weak sense of taste! Other than the black pepper mishap, the stew came out delicious! Hardy, filling, blue, and extra peppery beef and cabbage stew.

The Tiki Man

The Tiki Man

Thank you for this wonderful photo.