Kate's Cuisine

Apr 24 2014

BLT Salad

BLT Salad

I’ve said before that I can become somewhat irritated by salad that has lettuce in it. But when the lettuce is the main component and when it helps with the simplicity of the dish, it is no longer boring and can even be something I really love. I made this salad for dinner one night and while I would have preferred to make it with a dressing much more like Caesar salad dressing, which is mayonnaise-based (because that’s what you’d eat on a BLT sandwich,) I was limited when making it for my oil/vinegar-based-loving family. I have to say, I think the simple salad dressing worked even better than anything creamy would have.

1 head Romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and chopped $1.00
1 large tomato, diced $0.33
4 slices bacon $1.20
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese $1.49
1/2 cup olive oil $0.23
3 tablespoons rice vinegar $0.27
1 teaspoon sugar $0.01
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total Cost $4.55
Cost per serving $1.13

1.) Place bacon in a skillet over medium heat. Cook, turning occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until bacon is very crisp. Drain on paper towels before crumbling or cutting into bite-size pieces.

2.) Meanwhile, combine the olive oil, rice vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk vigorously to combine. Set aside.

3.) Place lettuce and tomato in a large bowl. Drizzle the salad dressing over top and mix thoroughly to combine. Top with bacon pieces and sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top.

4.) Serve and enjoy!

Apr 23 2014

Rachel’s Deviled Parmesan Chicken

Parmesan Chicken

There are a thousand ways you can cook chicken. It’s one of the reasons why, when I first started cooking, I was so intimidated by it. Everyone loves it, there’s always a chance it could go horribly wrong, and I didn’t have an idea of how to begin. Luckily, I had a sister who was also facing the same kind of bird-dilemma, but she had found a solution. Slather the thing with sour cream, bread it as you do, and bake it in the oven. Flavourful, juicy chicken every single time. It worked, and for a long time, that was the only way I saved chicken breasts from becoming dry pucks in the oven.

Over Easter weekend, I was at my sister-in-law’s, and my mother-in-law (and fellow foodie) told me about a delicious chicken dish she had made (and that I hope to be making soon,) in which she slathered Greek yogurt all over the bird before breading it and throwing it in the oven, just as my sister had with her Sour Cream Chicken. When the very next day I saw Rachel Ray doing pretty much exactly the same thing, I knew. The universe was telling me to eat chicken. I did, and I was very happy about it.

(And for those who follow the blog closely, you’ll notice I served it with the Creamed Spinach I posted yesterday. YUM!)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts $15.60
1 cup Dijon mustard $1.16
1/2 cup fresh rosemary, finely chopped $1.00
1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped $0.30
2 cloves garlic, finely minced $0.02
Juice of half a lemon $0.35
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided $0.12
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01
1 1/2 cups fine breadcrumbs $0.63
2 slices white bread $0.28
1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated $2.99
2 tablespoons paprika $0.96
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper $0.23
Salt $0.01

Total cost $23.67
Cost per serving $5.91

1.) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2.) One by one place each chicken breast in a large resealable freezer bag. With a mallet or rolling pin, gently pound chicken breast to an even thickness. Set aside and repeat with remaining chicken breasts.

3.) Place two slices of white bread in a food processor and pulse until the bread is entirely torn apart and is in small pieces. Basically you want them to be coarse, moist breadcrumbs. These will add great texture to the chicken.

4.) Place Dijon in a medium-sized bowl and add the chopped rosemary, parsley, minced garlic, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix thoroughly and set aside.

5.) In a separate bowl, mix together both the fine and fresh breadcrumbs, the Parmesan cheese, paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt.

6.) Brush Dijon mixture liberally over each piece of chicken, on all sides. Then place in bowl with the breadcrumbs and press breadcrumb mixture over entire piece of chicken before placing on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pieces of chicken, placing two pieces of chicken on each baking sheet. When each piece of chicken is breaded, drizzle all four with remaining two tablespoons of olive oil.

7.) Place both baking sheets in the oven and bake for 45 – 60 minutes, depending on how large the pieces of chicken are, until they are crispy and golden brown.

8.) Remove from oven and allow chicken to rest for just a minute or two before serving.

9.) Serve and enjoy!

Apr 22 2014

Creamed Spinach

Creamed Spinach

If you’re like me, there’s a very good chance that you’ve been making creamed spinach all wrong. Have you been putting all your spinach into one big pot, letting it wilt, and then just adding a splash of cream at the very end? Have you stirred frantically so that all that yummy cream doesn’t disappear before you can get it to the table? Yep, that’s what I was afraid of. That is in fact, one way to make creamed spinach. But if you want a dish that will truly satisfy, that will actually warm you from the inside out, and that you will dream about, there is only one way to make creamed spinach. It’s this way, the right way.

2 bunches of spinach (you should have about 8 cups of fresh spinach leaves) $5.00
2 shallots, diced $0.74
2 garlic cloves, minced $0.02
1 1/2 cups milk $0.42
2 tablespoons butter $0.12
2 tablespoons flour $0.02
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg $0.05

Total cost $6.39
Cost per serving $1.59

1.) In a very large pot, wilt spinach, in batches if necessary. Be sure to wilt the spinach just until it is wilted, and not so much that it’s over-cooked and mushy. You don’t need oil or anything else in the pot, just place a batch in, let it wilt some, stir some more in, and continue until all spinach has just wilted. Then, turn heat off, set aside, and make the bechamel.

2.) In a separate pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook for about one minute, just until the shallots turn translucent. Then add the flour and whisk until flour is fully incorporated. Cook for about two minutes.

3.) Very slowly add milk, whisking as you do to avoid clumps. Once all milk has been added, season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and let the mixture cook for a few minutes until it begins to thicken. Be sure to continue whisking as it cooks so the milk does not burn to the bottom.

4.) Once milk has thickened, add the spinach, stir and taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

5.) Serve and enjoy!

Apr 21 2014

Martin’s Zucchini and Mushrooms

Martin's Mushroom and Zucchini

You can name just about any main dish and the chances are good that I’ll be even more interested in the sides that come with it. That includes steak, and even pasta. There’s just something about side dishes that’s so good! So when my brother came up with one that includes two of my favourite vegetables – zucchini and mushrooms - I knew I was all in. The first time I had this was when Martin made it for me but I’ve made it since (plenty of times) and it’s really simple. Because it’s cooked in a skillet or pan, you don’t need to do it on the grill, but I do find that it adds more flavour if you do. (And that is Martin’s official way of preparing it.)

1 zucchini $0.99
1/2 pound (about 2 cups) of mushrooms, sliced $1.97
2 tablespoons olive oil $0.06
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $3.04
Cost per serving $0.76

1.) Preheat grill to medium heat. Cut zucchini in half and, using a spoon, scoop seeds out of the middle.

2.) Place olive oil in a grill pan or pan set directly over the flame of the grill and allow it to heat through. When it has, add the zucchini and the mushrooms at the same time. Toss to coat everything in the olive oil and then cook, stirring occasionally, for about ten to fifteen minutes, until the mushrooms are carmalized and the zucchini is just beginning to brown. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3.) Serve and enjoy!

Apr 20 2014

Bunny Cupcakes

Bunny Cupcakes

These cupcakes will work with pretty much any cupcake and frosting recipe you choose, and the assembly comes together quicker than you’d think. They’ll also make your day just that much tastier as  you nibble away on them. Happy Easter, everyone!

For the cupcakes:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour $0.26
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder $0.02
1/4 teaspoon salt $0.01
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature $0.66
1 cup sugar $0.19
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract $0.33
3 eggs, room temperature $0.60
1/2 cup milk $0.14

For the frosting:

1/2 cup butter, room temperature $0.44
1 package Philly cream cheese, room temperature $3.99
2 – 3 cups powdered sugar $1.17
1 teaspoon vanilla extract $0.22

For the assembly:

2 cups sweetened coconut $1.18
12 large marshmallows $0.36
1/2 cup yellow sugar $0.24
1/2 cup pink sugar $0.24
1/2 cup purple sugar $0.24
6 stick pretzels, snapped in half $0.06
24 chocolate chips $0.02
12 jelly beans $0.01

Total cost $10.38
Cost per serving $0.86

To make the cupcakes:

1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 12-tin muffin tray with paper liners.

2.) In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk. Set aside.

3.) In a separate bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract with an electric mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until it’s fully incorporated. Slowly add the dry ingredients with the mixer on low, alternatively adding the milk and ending with the flour. Spoon the batter into the lined tins.

4.) Bake for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside and allow them to completely cool before frosting.

To make the frosting:

5.) In a large bowl, mix the butter and the cream cheese together until smooth, about three minutes. Scrape down the sides occasionally to ensure even mixing.

6.) Add the vanilla extract and mix. Slowly add the powdered sugar until frosting reaches your desired thickness and sweetness.

For the assembly:

7.) Use an offset spatula or piping bag to frost the top of each cupcake entirely with frosting.

8.) Place coconut in a bowl. Holding one frosted cupcake upside down, lightly turn frosting in the coconut, coating the top of the cupcake as you do. When the top of one cupcake is completely covered in coconut, set aside and move on to another cupcake. Repeat until all cupcakes have been covered in coconut.

9.) Place each colour of sugar on its own shallow plate. Using sharp kitchen shears, cut each large marshmallow in half diagonally. Dip the cut side of each marshmallow into one colour of sugar, ensuring that you keep the marshmallow with its pair, and that each side is dipped into the same colour (so that you don’t end up with a bunny with one pink ear and one purple.)

10.) After marshmallow has been dipped in sugar, insert one end of a pretzel into the flat bottom side of it, making sure there’s a small piece of pretzel sticking out of the marshmallow. This is going to be the support for the marshmallow as it sits on the cupcake, so there needs to be enough. Place the portion of the pretzel that’s sticking out of the marshmallow into the side of the top of the cupcake. Do the same with the marshmallow half of the same coloured sugar, and then place on the other side so that they look like bunny ears.

11.) Use a piping bag or dip the pointed end of a chocolate chip into frosting to ensure that it’s entirely coated. Place this underneath one of the ears, pointed side down, to look like an eye. Do the same thing with another chocolate chip on the other side.

12.) Use a piping bag or dip one side of a jelly bean into frosting to ensure that one side is entirely covered. Then, below and in between the bunny’s eyes, place the jelly bean so that it looks like a nose.

13.) Repeat with remaining cupcakes.

14.) Serve and enjoy!

Apr 19 2014

Chocolate Fudge Pudding

Chocolate Fudge Pudding

When I was given a recipe for Chocolate Fudge Pudding by the same person who gave me the recipe for The Greatest Chocolate Cake I’ve Ever Made, I was excited. I mean, that chocolate cake was so good, and now there were expectations to be met. Thankfully, this chocolate pudding surpassed even those.

This pudding reminded me of childhood. Remember when your mom used to make you chocolate pudding? It didn’t come out of a fridge, and you didn’t have to peel back any plastic tops before you could dive in. No, it came to the table piping hot, fresh out of the oven, and it was always a mixture between cake and pudding – so you really got the best of both worlds. That is what this pudding is like. Enjoy, and then enjoy again. Because you will be back for more.

1/4 cup butter $0.22
2/3 cup sugar $0.06
3/4 cup flour $0.12
1/2 teaspoon salt $0.01
1/2 cup milk $0.14
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder $0.02
1 teaspoon vanilla extract $0.22
1 square unsweetened chocolate, melted (you can also substitute 1 tablespoon butter with 3 tablespoons of cocoa, melted together) $0.28
1 1/2 cups boiling water Free!

For the topping:
1/2 cup white sugar $0.09
1/2 cup brown sugar $0.10
1/4 teaspoon salt $0.01
3 tablespoons cocoa $0.75

Total cost $2.02
Cost per serving $0.33

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour an 8″ x 8″ cake pan.

2.) Cream the 2/3 cup sugar and the butter together in a large bowl. Add the flour, salt, milk, baking powder, vanilla extract, and melted unsweetened chocolate (or butter/cocoa substitute.) Beat with a wooden spoon for two to three minutes, until the mixture takes on a slightly curdled appearance (don’t worry, it’ll get there!)

3.) In a separate bowl, combine all the ingredients for the topping.

4.) Pour cake mixture into the floured cake pan and sprinkle topping generously over top. Place cake pan on a baking sheet (in case it bubbles over,) and then carefully pour the boiling water over the entire top.

5.) Place in the oven and bake for one hour. After removing it from the oven, allow the pudding to rest for just a few minutes before serving.

6.) Serve and enjoy!

Apr 18 2014

Mom’s Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Moms Grilled Cheese

My mom loves grilled cheese sandwiches. In fact, she loves them more than anyone I’ve ever known. Like many homes, they were a staple in my house growing up, and it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that they were actually one of the building blocks of my culinary interest today. I mean, what’s more simple and beautiful than a basic grilled cheese sandwich? If you’re making them like my mom though, there are a couple of rules to follow.

The first, use white cheese. While I’m sure I had many Kraft Singles in between my grilled cheeses as a kid, my mom loves white cheese far more than she does any other kind (and I’m not sure she even touches that processed stuff anymore.) I’ve used Fontina in this sandwich, but any cheese will do so long as it’s white.

Second, cut the sandwich in four. This my friends, is non-negotiable. Mom insists that this is the way grilled cheese sandwiches were meant to be served, and I’m inclined to agree with her. There is after all, a certain joy that comes from nibbling on those small triangles (and seeing that melted stuff in all its glory as it oozes between those slices.)

Then, just enjoy. But really enjoy it, knowing that some of the best things in life are sometimes also the simplest. It’s a lesson Mom taught me when she was still making all my grilled cheeses for me, and one that has stayed with me to this day. And it’s probably why, even after all the many different versions of grilled cheese we’ve looked at this week, this one is still my favourite. Because it’s simple, it’s perfection,and it’s the one Mom taught me how to make.

So Mom, this one is for you. For all the sandwiches, and for all the lessons, I thank you.

2 slices white bread $0.28
2 tablespoons butter $0.12
1/2 cup Fontina cheese, shredded $1.99

Total cost $2.39
Cost per serving $2.39

1.) Spread butter over one slice of the bread, and then place in a skillet, butter-side down. Butter the other side. Place cheese over the entire slice. Butter the other slice of bread and then place on top of the cheese, butter-side down as well. Then butter the top of that slice.

2.) Turn heat to medium and cook, until one side is crispy and golden brown, about three minutes. Flip, and cook the other side of the sandwich for another two to three minutes, until that side is also crispy and golden, and the cheese inside has melted entirely.

3.) Remove from heat, let sit for just a minute, and then cut into four.

4.) Serve and enjoy!

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