Kate's Cuisine

Feb 20 2017

Sausage and Kale Soup

Sausage and Kale Soup

I did a bit of cleanup the other day. The kind where you rummage through just about every single box and container that’s been sitting around crammed full of stuff and actually clean them out. I did that, and I came up with a lot of junk that I just don’t use anymore. I also came across a lot of stuff that I’d like to use, but it’s now gotten stuck in that whole “out of sight, out of mind” vortex. A stack of recipe cards was one of those things.

I didn’t want to shove them back into the vortex just to be forgotten about once again, but I also didn’t want heaps of recipe cards piled up and spilling out everywhere. So, I pulled out my handy dandy phone and took pictures of them all. The genius of it all, I tell ya!

But enough of my creative and ingenious problem-solving. Let’s talk about this Sausage and Kale Soup for a second. One, it’s crazy good for you because of all the kale in it. (I’m pretty sure that’s why Grams passed on the recipe.) Two, it’s delicious, but because of all that yummy chorizo, it’s also pretty spicy. Like, my kids had three glasses of milk while eating it kind of spicy. If that sounds like it’s going to be too much for you, just use a hot or mild Italian sausage, which will make the soup a bit tamer.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided $0.22
  • 3 chorizo sausages $3.45
  • 1 onion, diced $0.47
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced $0.99
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced $0.03
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander $0.15
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seed $0.22
  • 1 teaspoon paprika $0.16
  • 6 cups chicken broth $3.00
  • 5 cups mashed potatoes $1.45
  • 1 small bunch kale, tough stems removed and leaves sliced thinly $1.33
  • Salt, to taste $0.01
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste $0.01

Total cost $11.49
Cost per serving $1.91

Directions:

1.) Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. When hot, prick chorizo sausages a couple of times each with a fork and place in oil. Cook for about 15 minutes, turning often, until sausages are completely cooked through. Remove from heat, let rest for a few minutes, then roughly chop.

2.) Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot set over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and mushrooms and toss in the oil. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms have softened. Add garlic, coriander, fennel seed and paprika, stir and cook for another 30 seconds.

3.) Add chicken broth and mashed potatoes to the pot and turn heat to high. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes, until potatoes have fully dissolved into the broth.

4.) Add the slices of kale leaves to the pot, along with the chopped chorizo sausage. Simmer soup for another 10 minutes, taste for seasoning, and adjust if needed with salt and pepper.

5.) Serve and enjoy!

Feb 16 2017

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

What did you have for Valentine’s Day dinner this past week?

We had pot roast. I know, it might not be terribly fancy or scream romance, but we just love it. And I happen to think it’s one of the tastiest cuts of meat you can buy. Not to mention that the leftovers make for great beef on a bun.

But like most times I’m in my kitchen, I had a problem. To go along with our roast, hubby wanted these roasted potatoes. One dish takes a low oven temp, while the other one requires you to crank it up. And it was Valentine’s Day, so I had to at least try and make hubby what he wanted. And like Yoda says, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

The answer of course, was staring me in the face the whole time. Literally, I’m pretty sure I was staring directly at my slow cooker when I was trying to figure out what to do. Finally, after way more than time than it should have taken me, I worked it out. Slow cooker pot roast, of course.

But would it work? Would it make the same delicious pot roast that falls apart as you plate it, while maintaining its yummy bark-like crust on the outside?

It does.

  • 1 chuck or blade roast, about 3 pounds $18.65
  • 1 teaspoon salt $0.01
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper $0.01
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil $0.22
  • 1 onion, sliced $0.47
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped $0.44
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed $0.03
  • 1 cup beef broth $1.00

Total cost $20.83
Cost per serving $2.60

1.) Take the pot roast out about half an hour to an hour before you want to cook it. This will let it get to room temperature, which will ensure a more even cook throughout.

2.) When ready to cook, generously season the roast with salt and pepper. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. When it’s hot and the pan is just about to smoke, add the pot roast to the skillet and sear on all sides, for about 3 minutes per side.

3.) Place the onions, carrots and garlic in the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker and lay the pot roast on top. Pour the beef broth over all of the ingredients. Place the lid on the slow cooker, set to low, and cook for 8 hours (or about 4-5 hours on high).

4.) Serve and enjoy!

Feb 08 2017

Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

With very little prep and a short cook time, this Balsamic Pork Tenderloin puts a meal on your table that looks gourmet, and tastes great to boot! I would also like to point out that I love capers. I’m actually kind of obsessed with them right now and try to throw them into just about everything.

  • 2 pork tenderloins, about 1 1/2 pounds each $9.00
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced $0.04
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided $0.22
  • 1/2 cup white wine $1.75
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar $1.12
  • 2 tablespoons butter $0.26
  • 2 tablespoons capers $0.98
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt $0.01
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper $0.01

Total cost $13.39
Cost per serving $2.23

1.) Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.) Combine the garlic, one tablespoon of olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Press this mixture into the pork tenderloins.

3.)In a large oven-proof skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the tenderloin and cook for about 5 minutes on each side. Place in the oven and roast for about 12 minutes.

4.) Remove skillet from the oven and set pork tenderloins aside. Tent with foil to keep warm. Set the skillet over high heat and add the wine and vinegar, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, and reduce by about half. Turn the heat off and whisk in half the butter, then the other half. Stir in the capers.

5.) Cut the pork tenderloins into 1″ slices and pour the sauce over top.

6.) Serve and enjoy!

Feb 07 2017

Frozen Lime Margarita

Frozen Margarita

The Super Bowl was this past weekend, and we had major celebrations around our house! With just the four of us, there was plenty of food to go around (and some that’s still in our fridge), and we all got pumped (for our different reasons) to cheer on the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons lost of course, in the most devastating of ways, but the adults had these delicious margaritas to calm our woes.

Let me talk to you for a minute about margaritas. Over the years, and we don’t remember how, they’ve kind of become mine and Brent’s drink. So I’ve made quite a few of them over the years, but have never really been able to get that “slushy” consistency. Either I’ve been scared the blocks of ice were going to chip the blade of my blender, or they just never really broke down at all. Other times I just gave up altogether and simply poured the contents over ice. But I no longer have to live that way anymore.

The trick, my friends, is to crush the ice before you blend it. And how do you crush ice if you don’t have an industrial ice crusher in your kitchen? In the funnest of ways. You put it in a large resealable bag, twist the air out of it, and then smash it onto your floor or counter. I mean smash it. Quite hard, but not so hard that it breaks the bag, as I did before ice went flying all over my kitchen. But boy, it sure was fun.

  • 2 cups crushed ice Free
  • 2 ounces tequila $2.50
  • 1 ounce Triple Sec $1.25
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime $0.33
  • 1 teaspoon sugar $0.01
  • Lime slices, for garnish $0.10

Total cost $4.19
Cost per serving $2.10

1.) Place all ingredients, except for the lime slices, into a blender. Pulse until the ice is fully broken up, all ingredients have been incorporated, and the mix is a slushy consistency. Pour into margarita glasses and garnish with a slice of lime.

Jan 26 2017

Tie Dye Cake

Tie Dye Cake

We had a birthday around these parts earlier this month! My older daughter turned 11. 11! How hard is that to believe? Well, probably not so much for you, but for us it just didn’t seem right. The whole time flying by, etc. etc. But I digress, because I’m actually not posting about how life is racing by before my very eyes. No. I wanted to talk to you about cake.

Birthday cake has been getting pretty crazy in this house. It all started one year ago, when I wanted to do a throwback Jelly Bean Cake that my grandma always made me as a kid. Then it continued on with a Cheesecake Stuffed into Chocolate Cake for my hubby. And when it was time once again for that same daughter to sit down to a special birthday cake, she came to me, complete with picture and all, telling me this was the cake she wanted this year. A Tie Dye Cake.

I wasn’t too worried about it at first. I mean, I handled that chocolate/cheesecake thing pretty well, and this one didn’t look much harder. But it is. That cake is so damned light that the first time I picked up a layer, it broke. Right in half. And I cursed. And then I started making another, smaller cake.

Smaller layers are important here; I ended up using a 6″ cake pan because the cake simply doesn’t have the ‘oomph’ needed to be picked up, placed down, and tinkered with, unless the cake is already quite small to begin with. So go small, and you shouldn’t run into any problems. The cake is super light, making it so, so yummy, and the decorating is a breeze. Especially if you cheat and by canned frosting, like I did.

For the cake:

  • 1 box white cake mix $3.49
  • 1 1/4 cups water Free with your water bill
  • 1/3 cup canola oil $0.36
  • 3 egg whites $0.51
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract $0.22
  • 1 tablespoon each flavored gelatin: lemon, orange, cherry, grape, lime, and blue raspberry $3.49
  • 2 cups boiling water Free with your water bill

For the decoration:

  • 2 12-ounce cans whipped icing $4.98
  • Colored decoration icing: yellow, orange, red, purple, green, blue $3.49

Total cost $16.54
Cost per serving $2.07

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly spray 2 6-inch round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray (or lightly coat in oil).

2.) In a large mixing bowl, beat together cake mix, water, oil, egg whites and vanilla on low speed using an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.

3.) Divide batter evenly into the prepared pans and bake in the oven for 40 – 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and let sit in pans for 10 – 15 minute before turning over onto wire racks to cool completely. Trim off the tops of the cakes to make a level surface.

4.) Place 1 tablespoon of each flavour of gelatin in separate small bowls. Stir 1/3 cup boiling water into each and stir until dissolved. On the trimmed sides of the cake, splash the different gelatin all over the cakes. Cover cakes separately with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours.

5.) Remove cakes from fridge. Unwrap and place 1 cake on plate or cake stand and spread with white icing evenly on top. Place the second cake on top and finish icing the cake, top and sides, with white icing. Randomly place big dollops of the colored decorated icing all over the iced cake. Using a small rubber spatula, swirl the dollops together to create a tie-dye/rainbow effect on the cake.

6.) Serve and enjoy!

Jan 21 2017

Mexican Stuffed Chicken

Mexican Stuffed Chicken Breasts

I’m going to be honest with you. I’m not a huge fan of chicken breasts. I know, I know, the white meat is preferred by many, and KFC will even charge you extra if you ask for a bucket of “all-white” meat. But chicken can already be somewhat boring and when you stack up a bunch of unimpressive bland chicken breasts against some really great chicken thighs that are fatty and packed full of flavour, there’s really no comparison for me. That is, until you stuff them.

Stuffed chicken breasts really can turn something fairly mundane into something very exciting - and you can stuff them with anything you’d like. I’ve done avocado, mushrooms, spinach – even pistachios! This version combines sweet bell peppers with spinach and mozzarella, and dusts the top of the chicken breasts with homemade taco seasoning.

Delicious! And so easy too.

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts $9.76
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced $0.35
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced $0.35
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach $1.98
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded $0.62
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided $0.22
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder $0.21
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin $0.37
  • 1 teaspoon paprika $0.16
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes $0.23
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder $0.04
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano $0.10
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus a pinch $0.01
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch $0.02

Total cost $14.52
Cost per serving $3.63

1.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Pat chicken breasts dry with paper towel and set aside.

2.) Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet set over medium heat. When hot add red and green pepper. Cook for 3 minutes, just until soft, then add spinach. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper, stir, and cook just until the spinach is wilted. Set aside.

3.) In a small bowl combine the chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, crushed red pepper flakes, onion power, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix together well.

4.) This is when you need to cut into the chicken. Many people decide to cut into the thick side of the breast, because that’s where the most meat is. However, I have found that when doing this, it’s harder to control the knife and it’s very easy to slice through the breast without actually creating a pocket. Because of this, I like to start my cut on the thinner side of the chicken. Your knife won’t cut through because you’re actually going into thicker meat, not thinner. Use a good paring knife, and confidently slice a pocket into the chicken breast. Start at one end of the thinner side, push the knife in gently, and then work your knife around the inside of the chicken breast, towards the back and then to the other side of the chicken breast.

5.) Stuff chicken breasts with 1/4 of the mozzarella cheese each. Then add the bell pepper and spinach mixture. Once each chicken breast is stuffed, place on a baking sheet.

6.) Using the remaining one tablespoon of olive oil, brush each chicken breast with it. Then generously sprinkle on the taco seasoning.

7.) Place the chicken breasts into the preheated oven and cook for 30 minutes, until the tops are browned and the chicken is hot throughout.

8.) Remove from chicken and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing or serving.

Jan 17 2017

Chicken Cordon Bleu Lasagna

Chicken Cordon Bleu Lasagna Slow Cooker

So it’s been some time since my last post, I see. Must be because I’ve been so busy over at Cooktop Cove, preparing and adapting slow cooker and casserole recipes. (Click on the links to check them out!) But while I’ve been over there (or in my own kitchen), toiling away, I’ve picked up some pretty great ideas, such as this Chicken Cordon Bleu Lasagna.

This is one I had assigned to me and I have to admit, I wasn’t thrilled about the thought at first. I mean, I know my way around a lasagna, I even have several different versions up on this site. But with chicken? And a white sauce? I just didn’t know.

Then I came to my senses and realized that Chicken Cordon Bleu is really just chicken, ham, and Swiss cheese. Stuff that all in between sheets of lasagna noodles, and what could be bad? It wasn’t – it was delicious!

However, it wasn’t so good when I first made this in the slow cooker when, for work, I was supposed to make it as a casserole! What does this mean? Other than the fact that I cook a lot and write about it a lot and that sometimes I get confused? It means I got to make it again and my freezer is now stuffed with Chicken Cordon Bleu Lasagna

  • 1/4 cup butter $0.53
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour $0.04
  • 4 cups milk $1.12
  • 1 cup chicken stock    $0.50
  • 1 pinch nutmeg $0.02
  • 2 cups Swiss cheese, shredded $4.49
  • 9 (or so) lasagna noodles $1.49
  • 4 cups cooked chicken, chopped or shredded $4.56
  • 2 cups cooked ham, sliced $2.35
  • 1 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled $4.32
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded $1.25
  • Salt $0.01
  • Freshly ground black pepper $0.01

Total cost $20.87
Cost per serving $3.47

1.) Place the butter in a medium-sized saucepan set over medium heat. Once it melts, add the all-purpose flour and whisk to combine completely. Let cook for 2 minutes so the raw flour can cook out. Slowly add the milk, whisking as you do to break up the clumps. Then add the chicken stock. Add the pinch of nutmeg and turn heat off under pan. Slowly stir in the Swiss cheese in parts, waiting until one addition is completely melted before adding the next. Season lightly with salt and a generous helping of black pepper.

2.) Spoon about 1/2 cup of the bechamel sauce into the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker. Layer in lasagna noodles, then cooked chicken, then bacon, then ham. Spoon some more bechamel over top, then repeat layers until all noodles, chicken, ham and sauce are used. End with lasagna noodles and the bechamel poured over top.

3.) Place lid on slow cooker, turn to low and cook for 6 hours, or until lasagna noodles are soft and the dish is bubbling throughout. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over top, replace lid and cook for another 30 minutes, until the cheese is fully melted.

4.) Remove lid from slow cooker, turn heat off and let lasagna sit for about 20 minutes before slicing into and serving.

5.) Serve and enjoy!

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