Kate's Cuisine

Nov 22 2014

Beef Dips

Beef Dip

Beef dips are pretty interesting. Another common name that they go by is “French dips,” but they’re not actually French at all. The name seems to come from the fact that the roll they’re served on is very often French bread or a baguette. The sandwich originated in Los Angeles, but even there you’ll find some debate between two restaurants, both established in 1908, and that both lay claim to being the inventors of this now iconic sandwich.

You can use just about any kind of beef (or even other meat) in your beef dip. I had leftover pot roast so that’s what I used, but you can also use roast beef, steak, or anything else you’ve got on hand. I was also forward-thinking when I made that pot roast, so I saved the drippings, but if you don’t have any, use beef broth instead. I don’t believe the traditional sandwich calls for mushrooms and onions, but I had some lying around and I just couldn’t resist.

1 – 2 pounds of leftover pot roast $8.36
1 cup mushrooms, sliced $1.98
1 onion, halved and sliced $0.47
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded $2.50
2 cups beef drippings, or beef broth $2.00
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped $0.32
1 baguette, sliced into 4 pieces, or 4 sub rolls $1.99
1/2 cup butter $0.44
3 cloves garlic, minced $0.03
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped $0.10
2 tablespoons olive oil $0.06
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $18.27
Cost per serving $4.56

1.) Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.) Place two tablespoons of olive oil into a frying pan set over medium heat. When hot add the onion and mushrooms and toss to coat in the fat. Cook for 8 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to carmalize and soften. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

3.) Place the beef drippings or stock into a large saucepan. Add the thyme and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Add the cooked beef, stir, and let simmer for another 5 – 10 minutes, until the beef is heated through.

4.) While the beef is warming, place the butter in a small bowl and add garlic and chopped parsley. Stir to combine all ingredients thoroughly. Use this to butter both sides of all 4 rolls and then heat a skillet or indoor grill to medium-high heat. Place the rolls, butter-side down, onto the grill or frying pan and toast for 2 – 3 minutes, just until the buns are toasted and crispy on one side.

5.) Place open rolls onto a baking sheet. Use a slotted spoon to remove the beef out of the pan and divide it among the four rolls, piling them high. Keep the au jus warm over medium heat.

6.) Top the beef with the onion and mushroom mixture, and sprinkle mozzarella cheese over top, dividing it evenly among the four sandwiches.

7.) Place the sandwiches into the oven and cook just until the cheese has melted completely, about 5 – 10 minutes. Meanwhile, pour some of the au just into small bowls or ramekins to serve alongside individual plates.

8.) Serve and enjoy!

Nov 19 2014

How to Cook Rice in the Oven

How to Cook Rice in the Oven

A lot of people have trouble cooking rice. My husband used to be one of them, until he nearly gave up cooking altogether and just let me take over. But the problems he had are the same that many people encounter when they try to cook a seemingly simple batch of rice. It burns onto the bottom of the pan, it’s underdone and crunchy, or overdone to the point where it’s mushy. A couple of years ago my mom told me how to cook rice in the oven and it’s been my go-to ever since on those days when I want to clear the stove-top for something else. It’s foolproof and perfect every single time.

1 cup white rice $0.28
1 3/4 cups water Free!
1 tablespoon butter $0.06
1 teaspoon salt $0.01

Total cost $0.35
Cost per serving $0.09

1.) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and bring a full kettle of water up to a boil.

2.) While the water is boiling, place the rice in a casserole dish with the butter and the salt. When the water has boiled, measure out 1 3/4 cups and pour directly over the rice. Cover tightly with a lid or aluminum foil and place in the oven.

3.) Place in the oven and cook until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is light and fluffy, about 25 minutes.

4.) Remove from the oven and and fluff the rice with a fork. This “fluffing” step is important any time you cook rice, using any technique. It not only helps loosen the grains from each other, it also allows any trapped steam to escape, so that it will not over-cook the rice.

5.) Serve and enjoy!

Nov 18 2014

Slow Cooker Meatloaf

Slow Cooker Meatloaf

Guess what? I got a new slow cooker two days ago! My last one, the one that was a wedding gift to my parents, sadly gave up the ghost over a year ago. It was sad for a couple different reasons, one of them being that I no longer had one of my favourite appliances – the slow cooker – to use. Two days ago, my mother-in-law stepped in to help by giving me a slow cooker that I can now fill with good stuff during the day, set, and know that my family is eating something delicious and homemade-by-mum when I’m at work. So what was the first thing I made in it? Meatloaf.

I had never made meatloaf in the slow cooker before, but it is now my preferred choice (and I’ve made it a ton of different ways!) It’s so tender and moist, and absolutely perfect. If you’re like me and you have reservations about cooking meatloaf in a slow cooker, get rid of them right now. Yes, the meatloaf will hold its shape. No, it will not be too “wet” or “mushy”; nor will it completely fall apart when you try to take it out. And finally, yes. This might be the only way you make meatloaf from now on, too.

1 1/2 pounds ground beef $8.53
2 eggs, lightly beaten $0.40
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, divided $0.16
3/4 cup milk $0.21
3/4 cup breadcrumbs $0.31
1/2 onion, very finely minced $0.23
1 tablespoon garlic powder $0.10
1 teaspoon dried dill $0.21
1 teaspoon dried sage $0.27
1/4 cup ketchup $1.54
2 tablespoons brown sugar $0.02
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard $0.04
1 teaspoon salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon $0.02

Total cost $12.04
Cost per serving $3.01

1.) Place eggs, milk, breadcrumbs, onion, garlic powder, dill, sage, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.

2.) Crumble ground beef over top and then mix thoroughly. One of the best things about this recipe is that you don’t have to worry about over-mixing too much because this meatloaf will not dry out. So be sure to incorporate all the ingredients together thoroughly.

3.) Shape mixture into a loaf and place in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on slow for 5 – 6 hours, or on high for 3 – 4 hours.

4.) Mix together the ketchup, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Drizzle this mixture over the meatloaf and then brush to ensure the entire surface is covered. Leave uncovered, turn heat to high if the loaf was cooked on slow, and cook for another 30 – 45 minutes, until the glaze is set.

5.) Remove the meatloaf from the slow cooker and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

6.) Serve and enjoy!

Nov 17 2014

Beef and Bean Mexican Soup

Beef and Bean Mexican Soup

This soup is the perfect way to use up all those leftovers you have from Taco Night. And, because it’s a soup, you can also toss in anything that’s in the fridge and needs to be used up.

1 onion, diced $0.47
1 carrot, peeled and diced $0.17
2 cups cabbage, thinly sliced into 2″ lengths $0.37
2 tablespoons cumin $0.75
1 tablespoon ground coriander $0.50
1 tablespoon chili powder $0.47
1 can diced tomatoes, with juices $1.29
4 cups chicken stock $2.00
2 cups ground beef, cooked and seasoned $2.83
1/2 cup black beans $0.39
1/2 cup navy beans $0.39
1 cup Spanish rice $0.48
1 cup Cheddar cheese, divided for garnish $2.35
1 cup chopped cilantro, divided for garnish $0.48
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon if needed $0.07
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $13.03
Cost per serving $2.17

1.) Heat olive oil over medium heat. When hot add the onion and carrot and cook until onions are softened, two or three minutes.

2.) Add another teaspoon or so of olive oil if the pot is looking a bit dry. Add the cabbage and stir until the cabbage is coated in some fat. Cook for another 3 or 4 minutes, until the cabbage also begins to soften. Then add the cumin, coriander, chili powder, salt and pepper and stir. Cook for another minute to cook the spices and flavour the oil.

3.) Add the diced tomatoes with the juices, then the chicken stock. Stir and bring to a boil and then add the ground beef, beans, and Spanish rice. Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, tasting and adjusting seasoning along the way.

4.) Ladle into bowls and garnish with Cheddar cheese and cilantro.

5.) Serve and enjoy!

Nov 15 2014

Spanish Rice, Another Way

Spanish Rice

I love Spanish rice. As someone that’s been trying to figure out new ways to eat this starch that can be quite boring at times, Spanish rice has become one of my favourites. I make it all the time and haven’t got bored of it yet. The other day I thought it would be the perfect side for our tacos, but after looking in the cupboard I realized I didn’t have tomato sauce or tomato paste. I had to figure out another way to do it, and so I did.

1 cup white rice $0.28
1/4 cup ketchup $0.19
1 tablespoon onion powder $0.35
1 tablespoon garlic powder $0.10
1 tablespoon chili powder $0.47
1 teaspoon cumin $0.25
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper $0.12
3/4 cups water Free!
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped $0.12
1 tablespoon butter $0.06
Salt $0.01

Total cost $1.95
Cost per serving $0.48

1.) Melt butter in a medium-sized saucepan set over medium heat. When melted, add the rice and stir to coat in the fat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 – 4 minutes, until the rice is toasted and just beginning to brown.

2.) While rice is toasting, place the ketchup into a 2-cup measuring cup. Add the onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, and a generous pinch of salt. Stir well to incorporate all ingredients. Stir in enough water to fill the cup up to the 2-cup mark.

3.) Add the mixture in the measuring cup to the rice. Stir and bring up to a boil before covering with a lid, turning heat to low, and simmering for 20 minutes.

4.) When rice is finished cooking, remove the lid and add the cilantro. Fluff with a fork while stirring to fully mix the cilantro in with the rice.

5.) Serve and enjoy!

Nov 14 2014

Picante Sauce

Picante Sauce

Did you know that picante saucesalsa, and pico de gallo are all the basic same ingredients, just done in a different way? Pico de gallo is the chunkiest of them all, with fresh tomatoes simply chopped up and tossed with some lime juice, onions, cilantro, and jalapenos. Salsa is all of that, just the teeniest bit smoother but leaving the sauce pretty chunky. Picante sauce on the other hand, takes all of those ingredients and blends ‘em up so that the resulting sauce is completely smooth and completely delicious. I roasted my veggies first for this one, just to do something a bit different with it and it totally paid off.

3 tomatoes, quartered $0.84
1 onion, quartered $0.47
1 jalapeno pepper, whole $0.30
2 tablespoons olive oil $0.06
Salt $0.01
Juice of 1/2 lime $0.25
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped $0.25

Total cost $2.18

1.) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the tomatoes, onion, and jalapeno pepper on a baking sheet and drizzle the olive oil over top. Toss to coat all of the vegetables in the oil and sprinkle generously with salt.

2.) Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and roast until the skins of the tomatoes and pepper are wrinkled and soft, and the vegetables are just beginning to brown. Remove from oven and let cool enough until you can handle them.

3.) Cut the top off the jalapeno pepper and place all of the vegetables into a blender. Puree until the mixture is completely smooth.

4.) Pour the mixture into the bowl and add the lime juice and the cilantro. Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.

5.) Serve and enjoy!

Nov 11 2014

Perogie Pasta Shells

Perogie Pasta Shells

One of the best parts of being a foodie is  having foodie friends that have great ideas that I would never come up with. This is one of those creations, posted to Facebook by my good friend Jaime, who’s also one of the most faithful followers of this site. This dish is nothing short of something sent from heaven, and I’ve said a few times that if I had a menu, this would be on it. Just like traditional perogies, you can add any topping or filling to the mashed potatoes; I chose crispy sausage and carmalized onions.

25 – 30 jumbo pasta shells $2.22
6 cups mashed potatoes $2.36
3 Italian sausages $2.99
2 onions, sliced $0.94
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided $0.12
2 tablespoons butter $0.12
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour $0.02
2 1/2 cups milk $0.70
2 cups Cheddar cheese, plus 1/2 cup $3.15
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $12.64
Cost per serving $3.16

1.) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Add 1 cup of Cheddar cheese to the mashed potatoes and stir.

2.) Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Salt heavily (enough so that the water tastes like the ocean) and drop pasta shells in. Cook for about 6 minutes, then drain. It’s important to leave them a little under-cooked, as they’ll be in the oven for a few minutes as well. You also don’t want to cook them so much that they fall apart when you drain them. After pasta shells are drained, place them side by side in a casserole dish.

3.) Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a rolling boil. Drop in the Italian sausages and lower heat to medium. Simmer the sausages for about 20 minutes, until they are cooked all the way through. Drain.

4.) Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. When hot add sausages and cook for several minutes on each side, until the sausages are browned and crispy. Remove sausages from the skillet and allow to cool for a few minutes before quartering and chopping in a small dice. Set aside.

5.) In another skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium and when hot add the onions. Toss the onions to coat them in the oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very tender, carmalized, and sweet. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

6.) In a medium-sized saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk to fully incorporate. Cook for two minutes, to eliminate the taste of raw flour. Slowly add in the milk, whisking as you do to break up any lumps. Cook the mixture over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until it’s thickened. Remove from heat and add 2 cups of Cheddar cheese, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring to melt and incorporate after every addition. Set aside.

7.) Assemble the shells. Stuff each with about 2 tablespoons of mashed potatoes and then spoon on a tablespoon or two of the cheese sauce. Top with sausage, then carmalized onions. Place the shells into the oven and bake for 15 or 20 minutes, until all ingredients are hot throughout.

8.) Serve and enjoy!

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