Kate's Cuisine

Nov 29 2016

Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus

prosciutto-wrapped-asparagus

I love wrapping things in prosciutto, and when it comes to asparagus, there’s more than one way to do it.

Well actually, there’s only one way to wrap prosciutto around asparagus. It’s your basic “drop it on and roll it up” technique, but there’s more than one way to enjoy prosciutto-wrapped asparagus. You can leave both the asparagus and prosciutto raw, you can cook only the asparagus and leave the prosciutto raw, or you can even gather the asparagus into bundles and wrap a piece of prosciutto around the lot.The choice is yours. And in my kitchen, the choice is mine and I prefer both my asparagus and prosciutto to at least be kissed by heat before serving. But don’t worry about keeping them hot until everyone’s ready. These are meant to be served at room temperature.

  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed $5.99
  • 10 slices prosciutto, cut in half horizontally $7.99
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil $0.22
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

Total cost $14.22
Cost per serving $3.55

1.) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.) Place one asparagus onto half of a prosciutto slice. I found it easiest to place the asparagus diagonally onto one corner of the prosciutto (so really just the middle of the asparagus is on the prosciutto). Hold the prosciutto tightly against the asparagus and then slowly roll the asparagus, holding the prosciutto tightly against the stalk as you do. As each asparagus is wrapped, place onto a baking sheet.

3.) After all of the asparagus has been wrapped, drizzle a bit of olive oil over everything. (I like to focus on the asparagus, as the prosciutto has enough fat in it to crisp up a little on its own). Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper over everything. Again, I like to salt the asparagus a bit more, as the prosciutto is already a little salty.

4.) Place the asparagus into the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes, or just until the asparagus is browned and the tops are slightly melted.

5.) Remove from oven and serve immediately, or allow to sit at room temperature.

6.) Serve and enjoy!

Nov 21 2016

Julia’s Coq Au Vin

coq-au-vin

It’s Monday. It’s a snow day after a very long weekend with my children, and those same children have been in 4 fights so far this morning – and it’s not yet 11:00. The only thing I can think that could possibly comfort me are the leftovers of Julia Child’s Coq Au Vin that are sitting in the fridge. However, I am far too tired to describe to you just how perfectly delicious this dish is, so I leave you with the words of Julia Child herself, as she wrote the description to her Coq Au Vin recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I.

“This popular dish may be called coq au Chambertin, coq au riesling, or coq au whatever wine you use for its cooking. It is made with either white or red wine, but the red is more characteristic. In France it is usually accompanied only by parsley potatoes; buttered green peas could be included if you wish a green vegetable. Serve with it a young, full-bodied red Burgundy, Beaujolais, or Cotes du Rhone.”

For the chicken:

  • 3 to 4 ounces (1/2 cup) lean bacon $1.20
  • 3 pounds of frying chicken, cut into pieces $8.99
  • 1/4 cup cognac $3.75
  • 3 cups young, full-bodied red wine (Burgundy, Beaujolais, Chianti) $7.70
  • 1 to 2 cups chicken stock $1.50
  • 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste $0.40
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic $0.02
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme $0.08
  • 1 bay leaf $0.20
  • 3 tablespoons flour $0.03
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened $0.12
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

For the brown-braised onions:

  • 18 to 24 peeled pearl onions $2.99
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter $0.09
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil $0.04
  • 1/2 cup red wine or beef stock $1.00
  • 4 parsley sprigs $0.50
  • 1 bay leaf $0.20
  • 1 sprig thyme $0.25
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

For the sauteed mushrooms:

  • 2 tablespoons butter $0.12
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil $0.03
  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, washed, left whole if small, quartered if large $1.50

Total cost $30.75
Cost per serving $4.39

1.) Cut the bacon into lardons (rectangles 1/4 inch across and 1 inch long). Simmer for 10 minutes in 2 quarts of water. Rinse in cold water and pat dry.

2.) Saute the bacon slowly in hot butter until it is very lightly browned. Remove to a side dish.

3.) Dry the chicken thoroughly. Brown it in the hot fat in a deep cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven.

4.) Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Return to the bacon to the pot, along with the chicken and lower heat to medium. Cover and cook slowly for 10 minutes, turning the chicken once.

5.) Uncover and pour in the cognac. Stir and allow to cook for 2 minutes to burn off the alcohol.

6.) Add the wine to the pot. Add just enough stock to cover the chicken. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, and herbs. Bring to the simmer. Cover and simmer slowly for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and its juices run a clear yellow when the meat is pricked with a fork. Remove the chicken to a side dish.

7.) Simmer the chicken cooking liquid in the pot for a minute or two, skimming off fat. Then raise the heat and boil rapidly, reducing the liquid to about 2 1/4 cups. Correct seasoning. Remove from heat and discard bay leaf.

8.) While the chicken is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. For the onions, start by melting the butter and oil together in a skillet. When bubbling, add the onions and saute over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling the onions about so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect to brown them uniformly. Pour in the liquid, season to taste, and add the herbs. Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but retain their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herbs and set onions aside.

9.) After onions have begun to cook, make the sauteed mushrooms. Place a skillet over high heat and add the butter and oil. As soon as the foam from the butter begins to subside, add the mushrooms. Toss and shake the pan for 4 to 5 minutes. During their saute the mushrooms will at first absorb the fat. In 2 to 3 minutes the fat will reappear on their surface, and the mushrooms will begin to brown. As soon as they have browned lightly, remove them from the heat.

10.) Blend the butter and flour for the chicken together into a smooth paste. Beat the paste into the hot chicken cooking liquid with a wire whisk. Bring to the simmer, stirring, and simmer for a minute or two. The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.

11.) Arrange the chicken back in the pot, place the mushrooms and onions around it, and baste with the sauce. Cover and simmer slowly for 4 to 5 minutes, until the chicken is hot throughout.

12.) Serve and enjoy!

Nov 15 2016

Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells

stuffed-taco-shells

I love stuffed pasta shells. I mean, shells of pasta just waiting for you to cram them with all your favourite things.Really? What’s not to like? I got on the kick when I turned pasta shells into perogy delights. But when I got the idea to make Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells, complete with all the toppings and fillings, I wasn’t too sure how they would go over. I mean, I was messing with something sacred, something I promised I would never touch. And here I was, messing with it.

The good news? The girls loved them! So much so that we ate them for Friday’s dinner, Saturday’s lunch, and they went to school yesterday, too. The girls just couldn’t get enough. Maddie has taken to calling them simply “Taco Pasta,” and she’s even decided that next year, instead of the regular tacos she typically has for her birthday dinner, she’s going to have these instead. I’d call that a success!

  • 24 pasta shells $2.99
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil $0.03
  • 2 pounds ground beef $13.95
  • 1 onion, chopped in small dice $0.47
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced $0.03
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning $0.99
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, with juices $1.89
  • 3/4 cup water Free, with your water bill!
  • 1 green pepper, chopped in small dice $0.70
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped in small dice with seeds and ribs removed $0.30
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce $0.08
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, cubed $3.49
  • Juice of 1 lime $0.30
  • 1 jar (16 ounces) salsa $2.99
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded $2.50
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped $0.25
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

Total cost $30.98
Cost per serving $3.87

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.) Cook pasta shells in heavily salted water until they are just al dente, or even a little under (you’ll be putting them in the oven, so they’ll continue to cook.) When the pasta shells are finished cooking, rinse them under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.

3.) Heat olive oil over medium heat and when hot, add ground beef, onions, and garlic. Season with a bit of salt and pepper, stir, and cook until beef is no longer pink. Drain in a colander to remove excess fat, and then place ground beef mixture back into the pan.

4.) Add in canned tomatoes with their juices, taco seasoning, 3/4 cup of water, green pepper, jalapeno pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper, stir, and cook for 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in cream cheese until melted, and then add lime juice.

5.) Spread about 1/4 cup of salsa in the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish. One by one, fill each pasta shell with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the ground meat mixture and place into the casserole dish.

6.) Once all the pasta shells are stuffed, drizzle salsa over each of them.

7.) Cover with foil and place in the oven to bake for 30 minutes. Then uncover, sprinkle with the Monterey Jack cheese, and bake another 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

8.) Allow pasta shells to rest for just about 5 minutes, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve!

Nov 14 2016

Deep Fried Pickles

deep-fried-pickles

For me, this recipe demonstrated exactly why you should never say you don’t like something until you try it. Now don’t get me wrong. I have always loved deep fried pickles. I mean, what’s not to love about a crispy coating that covers that tart and crunchy pickle inside? But, I have always been adamant in saying that deep fried pickles need to come in spears, not in chips – even though I had never even tried them in chip form. I guess it was just one of those things – I just couldn’t picture it.

But then I did. Knowing I was going to make this recipe, and knowing I was going to use a batter instead of the breading that I was so accustomed to on deep fried pickles, I decided to switch it up even more. I went ahead and used the chips, and these are now my favourite way to enjoy this delicious appetizer! But only if they come with the sauce, too. That sauce is everything.

For the deep fried pickles:

  • 2 cups dill pickle slices $1.98
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour $0.07
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning $0.50
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper $0.25
  • Salt $0.01
  • 1 cup water Free with your water bill!

For the sauce:

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise $0.18
  • 1 tablespoon drained horseradish $0.35
  • 2 teaspoons ketchup $0.02
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning $0.12

Total cost $3.48
Cost per serving $0.87

1.) Lay the pickle slices onto a paper towel and pat to dry.

2.) In a small bowl, combine the flour, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, and salt. Whisk together to mix and then add the water, mixing the batter until smooth.

3.) Heat one inch of vegetable or peanut oil in a pot or skillet over medium-high heat, until the oil reaches 375 degrees Fahrenheit. When oil is hot, add half of the pickle slices to the batter and then, using tongs, remove them, letting the excess batter drip off. Add the pickles to the hot oil and fry for about 4 minutes, until batter is browned and crispy. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with a touch more salt. Repeat with remaining pickle slices.

4.) While the pickle slices are cooking, combine all the sauce ingredients together and stir to mix thoroughly.

5.) Serve and enjoy!

Nov 10 2016

Quick Crescent Baklava

quick-crescent-baklava

I enter recipe and cooking contests sometimes. I’m proud to say that I was one of the Top 10 in all of Canada for Kraft’s Food Hacks, and although I didn’t win that grand prize, it hasn’t stopped me. Just this morning I entered Pillsbury’s Bake It Possible Contest, by posting this picture to Instagram with the hashtag #BakeItPossible. You can enter too, just check out the details on Pillsbury’s site at www.bakeitpossible.ca. I don’t think my recipe will win, as it’s not that original, but I did walk away with the prize of a baklava recipe that I absolutely love.

While I love the flavour of baklava, most times I find it’s too hard and the honey sticks to my teeth. Because this recipe uses Pillsbury crescent rolls rather than the traditional phyllo dough, I didn’t have that problem; the thicker dough absorbed it instead of leaving it on the surface to dry out. And, there also wasn’t any of that incessant butter-brushing you also need to take care to do when using phyllo. Just roll it out, bake it up, and enjoy!

  • 2 cans Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls $3.98
  • 4 cups walnuts, finely chopped $6.99
  • 3/4 cup sugar $0.15
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon $0.10
  • 1/2 cup honey $0.83
  • 2 tablespoons butter $0.12
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice $0.15
  • Pinch of salt $0.01

Total cost $12.33
Cost per serving $2.05

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Unroll 1 can of dough into a greased 9″ x 13″ casserole dish. If there are seams, press them together lightly. Press the dough into the bottom and half-way up the sides of the dish. When oven is hot, bake for 5 minutes.

2.) In a large bowl combine walnuts, 1/2 cup of the sugar, cinnamon, and a touch of salt. When crust comes out of the oven, spoon walnut mixture evenly over it.

3.) Open and unroll other can of dough and place over top of walnut mixture, again lightly sealing any perforated seams. Press lightly over top of the walnuts and to the sides. With the tip of a sharp knife, score dough with 6 lengthwise and 6 diagonal markings to form 36 diamond-shaped pieces, using dough edges and perforations as a guide.

4.) In a small saucepan, mix remaining 1/4 cup sugar, honey, butter, and lemon juice. Heat to boiling. Remove from heat; spoon half of sugar mixture evenly over dough.

5.) Bake 25 to 30 minutes longer or until golden brown. Spoon remaining sugar mixture evenly over hot baklava. Cool completely, at least one hour. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 30 minutes. Cut along markings you’ve made before baking.

6.) Serve and enjoy!

Nov 08 2016

Lasagna Soup

lasagna-soup

A crock pot version of this Lasagna Soup recipe was going around on Facebook for a little while. I cooked mine on the stovetop because well, I prefer cooking soup on the stovetop. But if you want to throw ingredients into a slow cooker before heading out for the day, that would totally work, too. Just  cook the noodles before tossing them into the soup, as pasta cooked in tomato sauce can turn gummy.

The girls and I had the Lasagna Soup leftovers for lunch the next day, and we all agreed that overnight, the flavours blended together even more, making the soup even tastier!

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil $0.06
  • 1 pound lean ground beef $5.50
  • 1 large onion, diced $0.47
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced $0.70
  • 1 green pepper, diced $0.60
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms $1.98
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced $0.04
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes $1.89
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes $1.89
  • 4 cups beef broth $1.99
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce $0.08
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning $0.26
  • 1 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped $0.05
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped $0.03
  • 4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, divided $0.82
  • 1 cup dried tubetti pasta, or other short pasta $0.22
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped $2.22
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated $2.50
  • Salt $0.01
  • Freshly ground black pepper $0.01

Total cost $21.22
Cost per serving $2.65

1.) Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add tubetti, cook until it’s just under al dente, then drain and set aside.

2.) Heat olive oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven set over medium heat. When hot, add the onion, red and green pepper, mushrooms, and garlic. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and Italian seasoning. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables have softened.

3.) Add the ground beef and, stirring occasionally, cook until browned.

4.) Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and beef broth. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer. Add 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, Worcestershire sauce and let cook for about 30 minutes to let all the flavours blend together.

5.) Add the spinach, cooked pasta, fresh basil and parsley, and season again with salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 more minutes, just until the spinach is wilted.

6.) Spoon into bowls and garnish with remaining Parmesan and shredded mozzarella cheese.

7.) Serve and enjoy!

Nov 04 2016

Jamie’s Roast Rack of Lamb with Crushed Potatoes

jamies-rack-of-lamb

I got a treat at the grocery store the other day. I wasn’t even expecting it. There, in the meat cooler, were some of the most beautiful racks of lamb I had ever seen. They were on sale, and they didn’t even have a huge throng of gawkers around them. I couldn’t believe it. I’ve eaten rack of lamb, but I’ve never purchased it because it’s just so expensive. I always opted for the cheaper lamb loin chops instead. But there it was, right in front of me. Begging to be taken home. So I took it.

Something like a beautiful rack of lamb needs to be treated properly, and after watching him cook this cut about a million times on the Food Network, I decided to use a Jamie Oliver recipe for it (lamb must be a lot cheaper in the UK). The particular recipe popped out at me because: 1) I’m halfway in love with Jamie Oliver, and 2) because it isn’t your typical salt/pepper/oil/lemon juice combo that I’ve seen done with lamb a hundred times. The sauce you drizzle on at the end really makes the dish and brings everything together. And if you need to, feel free to buy a jar of salsa verde while you’re at the store getting your lamb. I’ve never once seen a tomatillo in my Canadian grocery store and I found the jarred stuff to be pretty good.

  • 10 fingerling potatoes $2.99
  • 10 – 12 cherry tomatoes (a good handful) $1.25
  • 10 – 12 Kalamata olives (also a good handful) $1.99
  • Olive oil (a good lug) $0.06
  • 1 6-8 bone rack of lamb $15.99
  • A few sprigs of rosemary $0.50
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed $0.06
  • Salt $0.01
  • Freshly ground black pepper $0.01
  • Salsa verde $1.50

Total cost $24.36
Cost per serving $6.09

1.) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.) Cook the potatoes in boiling, salted water for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender, then drain. Meanwhile, squeeze the seeds from the tomatoes and destone the olives. To get the seeds out of the tomatoes, cut them in half and squeeze them gently. To remove the stones from the olives, lay an olive down on the cutting board. Just as you would smash garlic, lightly place your knife on top of the olive and gently tap down. The stone should be pushed right out of the olive. If not, try tapping the knife a bit harder until the stone is removed.

3.) Heat the oil in a cast iron frying pan (or other heavy-bottomed, oven-proof skillet) over high heat. Add the rack of lamb and sear until golden (about 4 minutes per side) then transfer to a plate.

4.) Crush the drained fingerling potatoes and tip them into the frying pan. Fry for a couple of minutes over medium-low heat.

5.) Stir in the tomatoes and olives, then season with salt and pepper. Pick in the rosemary, scatter over the garlic cloves, and drizzle with a bit more olive oil. Place the rack of lamb on top, and transfer the entire dish to the oven.

6.) Cook the lamb for 20 – 30 minutes. You’ll need to use your own judgement when it comes time to remove the rack from the oven, as it will depend on the size of your meat and your own oven temperatures. Using 20 to 30 minutes as a guideline, your rack should still be pink inside when it comes out of the oven. If you like your meat well done, add another 10 minutes to cooking time.

7.) When the lamb is cooked to your liking, remove from the oven, cover with foil (it’s okay to keep it on top of the rest of the dish when you do this), and let rest for about 5 minutes.

8.) When time to serve, scatter the potatoes, tomatoes, and olives onto a large serving platter. Slice the rack into chops and lay these on top of the rest of the dish. Drizzle salsa verde over everything.

9.) Serve and enjoy!

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