Kate's Cuisine

Aug 16 2016

Macaroni and Sausage Soup

Macaroni and Sausage Soup

If there’s anything I’ve learned from all my time in restaurants, it’s that leftovers make for a great soup. For this one I used the Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese that was such a big hit in our house, and just regular old breakfast sausages. After just a few more additions, we all slurped away on a soup that was hearty and delicious, and had us all refilling our bowls for seconds.

  • 1 onion, diced $0.47
  • 1 large carrot, diced $0.17
  • 2 stalks celery, diced $0.26
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced $0.03
  • 2 cups cooked macaroni $0.44
  • 4 sausages, cooked and thinly sliced $1.37
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes, with juices $2.58
  • 3 cups chicken stock $1.50
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas $0.25
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil $0.09
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme $0.80
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano $0.60
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil $0.82
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce $0.08
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce $0.05
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

Total cost $9.53
Cost per serving $1.19

1.) Place a pan over medium heat and allow to preheat. Add the oil and then wait for the oil to also get hot. When both the pan and the oil are hot, add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Stir to coat everything in the oil, then cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetables just begin to soften.

2.) Add the cooked sausage and the dried herbs and stir. Continue to cook for another 3 minutes.

3.) Add the diced tomatoes and the chicken stock and bring everything to a boil.

4.) Add the macaroni, the frozen peas, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Bring the soup back up to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.

5.) Serve and enjoy!

Aug 15 2016

Sausages in Onion Gravy

Sausages in Onion Gravy

I usually like my sausages on a bun, loaded with mustard. But that wasn’t going to work when I had to make up a bunch for my family so I decided to make it more entree-like by frying them in pieces before smothering them in a delicious onion gravy. Because who doesn’t like some good caramelized onions to go with their sausages?

  • 6 – 8 sausages (any kind you like, bratwursts, Italian sausages, smoked sausages, etc.) $4.02
  • 2 cups beef stock $1.00
  • 1/4 cup water Free!
  • 4 onions, sliced $1.88
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour $0.02
  • 2 tablespoons butter $0.12
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil $0.06
  • 2 sprigs thyme $0.50
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce $0.08
  • 1 teaspoon sugar $0.01
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

Total cost $7.71
Cost per serving $1.93

1.) Start by caramalizing the onions. Place sliced onions in a large pot with butter and water. Turn heat to medium and cover with a lid. Cook for about 10 minutes, just until the onions have softened. Remove the lid and turn heat to low. Continue cooking onions, stirring occasionally, until they become very soft, have wilted considerably, and are just beginning to turn brown. Stir in the sugar and cook for another 5 – 10 minutes, until the onions become deep brown in colour.

2.) While the onions are cooking, start searing the sausages. Sear until brown and crisp on all sides, then turn heat to low and cover with a lid. Continue cooking until the sausages are cooked through, stirring occasionally.

3.) To the caramlized onions in the pot, add 2 tablespoons of butter. Let it melt, then stir in all-purpose flour. Cook for about 2 minutes, until the flour has become slightly brown in colour and smells slightly nutty. Slowly whisk in the beef broth until it’s fully incorporated. Add thyme, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary. Bring the gravy to a boil and continue cooking until it thickens.

4.) Place sausages on a large platter and generously spoon onion gravy over them.

5.) Serve and enjoy!

Aug 08 2016

Double Potato Garlic Chicken

Double Potato Chicken

August has been a tough month for me and my family so far. We’ve had one of those crises where everyone just needs to band together, be there for each other, and try to get through. Of course, one of my favourite ways to show support is to take over in the kitchen, and let everyone relax after a long hard day. My mom and I watched someone make a version of this Double Potato Garlic Chicken on TV while at the hospital one day, and it looked so good and so comforting, I knew I had to make it once we all got back home. And I’d like to think that once it was on the table, the roasted sweet potatoes, squirt of lemon, and juicy chicken was just what every one of us needed.

1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces $8.37
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/2″ rounds $1.00
3 – 4 white potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/2″ rounds $0.84
2 heads of garlic $0.66
2 tablespoons olive oil $0.12
Juice of 1 lemon $0.30
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped $0.50
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped $0.10
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $11.91
Cost per serving $2.97

1.) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and spray the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.

2.) Place the sweet potatoes, white potatoes, and chicken pieces into a large bowl. Add the lemon juice, thyme, parsley and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss. Remove the chicken and pour all of the potatoes into the bottom of the casserole dish. Place the chicken on top.

3.) Remove the papery skins of the two heads of garlic, and chop off the top to reveal the garlic cloves inside, but leave the head intact. Wedge these, stem-side down, among the pieces of chicken and drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over each.

4.) Place the casserole dish into the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the chicken is entirely cooked through, its juices run clear, and the skin is crispy and golden brown.

5.) Carefully remove the heads of garlic (use tongs if they’re too hot) and squeeze them over top of the chicken and potatoes. This will release the cloves of roasted garlic that are now soft, mellow, and sweet.

6.) Serve and enjoy!

Aug 01 2016

Pork Chops in a Spicy Peach Glaze

Spicy Peach Glazed Pork Chops

Now is the time of year when I empty out my freezer in order to make room for all new produce to fill it with for the coming year. It’s also the time of year that I take everything to my grill and let the flame do most of the work. Put those two together and you have these delicious Pork Chops in a Spicy Peach Glaze.

  • 4 center-cut pork chops $6.50
  • 3 cups peaches, thawed $3.99
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar $0.27
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper $0.12
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard $0.04
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

Total cost $10.94
Cost per serving $2.73

1.) Place peaches, red wine vinegar, cayenne pepper, and Dijon mustard in the blender. Puree until smooth and season with salt and pepper. Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary. Pour the blender contents into a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 30 minutes until it’s reduced by half.

2.) Generously season the pork chops with salt and pepper and heat a grill to medium heat. When hot, place the pork chops on and cook for about 4 minutes per side. Coat with the peach glaze on both sides and cook for another minute per side. When finished cooking, allow the pork chops to rest for 2 minutes.

3.) Serve and enjoy!

Jul 25 2016

Red Wine Reduction Sauce

Red Wine Reduction Sauce

Wanna know why Red Wine Reduction Sauce is so popular in gourmet restaurants? Because it sounds sophisticated and elegant, but is so easy to make and can just be left simmering on the stove or in a bain marie. It’s just as sophisticated when you make it at home and I mean, come on. Steak and red wine? They were made to go together!

  • 1 perfectly cooked steak , with reserved pan juices $8.35
  • 1 shallot, minced $0.37
  • 3/4 cup of your favuorite red wine $1.92
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes $0.12
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

Total cost $10.78

1.) If the pan juices are cold, reheat over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook for about 2 minutes.

2.) Add the wine and, using a wooden spoon, scrape up any brown bits from the pan. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil before reducing heat to medium and simmering for about 7 minutes. During this step, you want the red wine to reduce by about half and become slightly syrupy. Remove from the heat.

3.) Add the butter, one cube at a time, and whisk until it’s thoroughly incorporated before adding another cube and repeating the process. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.

4.) Serve and enjoy!

Jul 21 2016

Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese

Butternut squash mac and cheese

I’ve tried several different versions of homemade macaroni and cheese before. Each time, no matter what I do it seems, I get the same result. My kids push it around their plate, and hold the noodles up to the light like they’ve never seen noodles before. Seriously, I think I might have the only kids that don’t like mac and cheese.

I was starting to get a complex about it until I saw Daphne Oz on The Chew making her very own version, but using butternut squash instead. How interesting! And it looked exactly like macaroni and cheese when she was done. Now, just so that she’s not cheating completely, she does add some Parmesan into hers and so did I. But unlike Daphne’s, there are no breadcrumbs in mine (I love ‘em, my kids don’t).

Ya know what? I served this for lunch the other day and after I noticed things had fallen silent, I checked to see two nearly-empty bowls sitting in front of them! Yes, my children. The ones who hate homemade macaroni and cheese, and even the one that hates butternut squash! I’m going to be living on this victory for the next week!

  • 1 fairly large butternut squash, peeled and cubed $3.99
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni $0.99
  • 2 cups milk $0.56
  • 2 tablespoons butter $0.12
  • 1/2 onion, diced $0.23
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock $0.25
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese $1.25
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg $0.30
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley $0.12
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

Total cost $7.83
Cost per serving $1.95

1.) Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. When boiling, add elbow macaroni, stir, and turn heat down to medium-high. Cook until the macaroni is just al dente, then drain and set aside.

2.) While the macaroni is cooking, place the butternut squash into a separate large saucepan and pour milk over top. Turn heat to high, bring to a boil, then cover and lower heat to a simmer. Cook until the butternut squash is fork-tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.

3.) Transfer butternut squash and milk to a blender, along with the stock. Daphne doesn’t put her stock into the blender but mine was so think I had to loosen it up. The two ingredients come together very soon in Daphne’s version so it’s not a big deal. She also uses chicken stock while I keep mine completely vegetarian. Blend until very smooth.

4.) Heat butter in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add onion and cook for just 2-3 minutes until softened. Add the butternut squash puree into the skillet and add nutmeg, Parmesan cheese, parsley, and salt and pepper.

5.) Add the macaroni to the skillet and turn to thoroughly coat in the “cheese” sauce. Cook for 5 minute or so, just long enough to heat everything through again.

6.) Serve and enjoy!

Jul 20 2016

Good Old Fashioned Fried Chicken!

Fried Chicken

I’ve made fried chicken several times and it’s always hit or miss. Will it turn out? Won’t it? Who knows, because I’ve had a different result each and every time! Luckily, I’ve learned a few things from both my hits and misses, and now I believe I know what those are. Other than the actual chicken, there are three things you need to make great fried chicken: flour, buttermilk, and lard.

  • Flour. This is for coating the chicken. Don’t use bread crumbs, don’t use panko, you don’t need them and they’ll probably even burn up in the pan. Just toss the chicken around in it so that it’s fully coated, let it sit, and that will be all the starch you need.
  • Buttermilk. Okay, this one gets a little tricky. Yes, you do need to marinate your chicken in slightly acidic milk before you fry. This helps it stay juicy while it’s undergoing the fiery wrath of your pan. But – it doesn’t need to marinate overnight or all day in the fridge. I got mine ready and just left it to sit while I got the table set and the rest of dinner ready. That was plenty long enough. And it also doesn’t have to be real buttermilk. I mean, why spend that kind of cash when you don’t have to? No, no, no. Instead, just add a tablespoon or two of white vinegar to white milk, stir it up and let it sit for about 5 minutes. There. You’ve just made buttermilk.
  • Lard. Yes, lard. Don’t be scared, you’re not going to be eating it by the spoonful. Did you know that lard is actually a healthy fat to use when frying at very high heats? This is because lard has one of the highest smoke points of all the oils, so you can turn that dial waaay up before you start seeing those wispy curls of smoke. Once your oil is that hot, it will immediately seal the outside of anything you put in it – including delicious fried chicken. Once that outside has been seared, excess fat can no longer nestle right alongside the actual meat that’s frying – meaning that less of it ends up on your plate. If you really, really despise the idea of cooking with lard, peanut oil also has a high smoking point and is one that’s often used for fried chicken. But I still recommend using the lard.

And now, for the recipe that scored me a home run!

  • 1 pound lard $2.49
  • 8 chicken legs $5.00
  • 4 cups buttermilk (or milk/vinegar substitute) $1.18
  • 1 cup flour $0.14
  • 2 tablespoons paprika $0.96
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder $0.94
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder $0.50
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder $0.66
  • Salt $0.01

Total cost $11.88
Cost per serving $2.97

1.) Mix together the paprika, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder. Place buttermilk into a large bowl and then shake half of the seasonings in. Stir to thoroughly combine, and then place chicken in. Let chicken marinate for half an hour to an hour (or longer, depending on how much time you have. If it’s going to be any longer though, make sure to put the chicken in the fridge while marinating.)

2.) Place flour into another large bowl and add the remaining half of the seasoning, along with a teaspoon of salt. Note that salt is placed in the flour, but not in the buttermilk. This is because salt can quickly dry meat out, especially if it’s sitting in for a long period of time. However, because you still need salt for flavour, putting it in the flour still gives that to you without any fear of drying out the chicken.

3.) When the chicken is done marinating, remove it from the buttermilk, one piece at a time, and drop it into the flour. Shake or toss to entirely coat the chicken in the flour, then lay it on a baking sheet. After all the pieces of chicken have been coated, leave the chicken to sit in the buttermilk/flour on the baking sheet or on a wire rack for about 15 minutes.

4.) When the chicken is ready, heat the lard in a large cast-iron skillet until it is very hot (turning my burner to mark 8 worked for me.) When the fat is shimmering and piping hot, start placing the chicken in. Brown the chicken on both sides (this should take about 3 minutes per side), then lower the heat right down (I put mine down to 2), and cover it with a lid. Cook chicken for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally.

5.) Remove fried chicken from the fat and allow to drain on paper towels or on a wire rack.

6.) Serve and enjoy!

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