Kate's Cuisine

Sep 29 2016

Jaime’s French Onion Pork Chops

french-onion-pork-chops

I told you my friends give me good recipes, didn’t I? This one came to me from my good friend, Jaime, who’s just as crazy about food as I am, and is one of those people that takes pictures of their food and puts it up on Facebook. Just like I am!!!

When she posted these French Onion Pork Chops, my mouth started watering and I knew I had to make them. The recipe Jaime gave me wasn’t anything like I suspected it would be, but I did follow it to a tee and I suggest you do, too. It’s scrumptious and comforting, and everything a pork chop recipe should be.

  • 4 – 5 boneless pork chops $7.15
  • Big chunk of butter (I think I used about 1/4 cup) $0.22
  • 4 – 5 medium-sized potatoes, sliced thinly as you would for scalloped potatoes $1.05
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced $0.47
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.02
  • 1 package dry onion soup mix $2.39
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded $2.50
  • 2 cups water Free!

Total cost $13.80
Cost per serving $3.45

1.) Melt butter in a frying pan set over medium-high heat. Place pork chops in and fry for about 3 minutes on each side, just until they get nicely seared. Remove from frying pan and place on a separate plate.

2.) Add the potato and onions slices to the same pan and toss, cooking for about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, stir, and cook for another 30 seconds.

3.) Spread the potatoes out evenly in the pan and place pork chops over top of them. Sprinkle soup mix over top of all contents in the pan and add water to the pan (I tried not to splash it over the pork chops so that the seasoning stayed on them).

4.) Turn heat to low and simmer until pork chops are completely cooked through, and potatoes are soft.

5.) Turn heat off and distribute the cheese evenly between the pork chops. Let sit until the cheese is melted (I placed a lid over my pan just to help speed along the melting process).

6.) Serve and enjoy!

Sep 27 2016

Sheila’s Fancy Potatoes

sheilas-fancy-potatoes

Most times I hear about recipes directly. My mom will email me a link or really cool video, or someone will post something on my Facebook wall (man the digital age has made recipes exchanges so much easier!) But sometimes, recipes come to me a little more indirectly, such as this dish that I heard about from a mutual friend of a friend.

That friend is Sheila and not only is she a beast in the kitchen, she’s also a little bit fancy. She’s always taking something you eat all the time, like mashed potatoes, and turning them into something constructed of sheer luxury. For this dish, she stuffs those taters with everything good – bacon, caramelized onions, and zingy blue cheese (although when I made them, I had to substitute with Brie, being that that’s what I had in my fridge.) The potatoes come out as deliciously decadent as they sound, and will totally shine a new light on this same-old-same-old side dish.

I love these mashed potatoes almost as much as I love Sheila herself.

For the mashed potatoes:

  • 3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, rinsed, and halved $1.66
  • 1/4 cup butter $0.22
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream $0.44
  • Lots of salt $0.01
  • White or black pepper $0.02
  • 1/2 cup Brie cheese $2.50
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped $1.99
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley $0.10

For the caramelized onions:

  • 3 onions, sliced $1.41
  • 3 tablespoons butter $0.18
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil $0.06
  • Salt $0.01

Total cost $8.60
Cost per serving $2.14

1.) Start by making the mashed potatoes. Place potatoes in a large pot and fill with water. You’ll need about a thumb’s length of water covering the potatoes.

2.) Generously salt the water and place the pot of potatoes on a burner set on high heat. Cover with a lid and bring up to a boil. Then keep covered, lower heat to medium and gently boil the potatoes just until they can be easily pierced with a fork.

3.) While potatoes are boiling, place butter and cream in a saucepan set over medium heat. Once warm, remove from heat.

4.) Drain the potatoes, dump them back into the pot, and set them back onto the burner that’s been turned off, but is still hot. Stir to help evaporate any remaining liquid left in the pot.

5.) Add warmed butter and cream. Using a ricer or a hand masher, mash the potatoes just until they have completely broken apart; mash slightly, trying to break up as many lumps as you can. Then, add salt and pepper, and stir with the back of a spoon to further mash and incorporate seasonings.

6.) While the mashed potatoes are cooking, make the caramelized onions. Place a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter and oil. When the butter and oil have melted together, add the sliced onions, along with a generous pinch of salt, and toss to completely coat them in the fat. Stir, keep over medium-low heat and let cook for 45 minutes to one hour, until the onions are very soft and entirely brown. The level of caramelization you take the onions to is up to you, but you definitely need to remove them from the heat once they turn dark brown. Stir the onions regularly during the entire cooking time.

7.) While the onions are cooking, make the bacon by simply adding it to a pan that’s been preheated over medium-high heat. Stir the bacon occasionally to turn, and fry until crispy. Remove to paper towels and drain.

8.) When everything is finished cooking, just bring it all together. Add the caramelized onions, bacon, parsley, and Brie to the mashed potatoes and stir to bring everything together. (If any item has gotten cold, dot the entire dish with butter and pop in a hot oven for a few minutes just to warm everything back through.)

9.) Serve and enjoy!

Sep 25 2016

Revised Tuscan Chicken

improvised-tuscan-chicken-dinner

So the other day, I had the cheapo cut of meat, chicken legs with thighs attached, sitting in my fridge. The delicious Italian dish, Tuscan Chicken, came to mind and, knowing it has a long marinating time, I quickly set about gathering the ingredients. Just as quickly, I realized I didn’t have many of the main ingredients this chicken dish called for.

Not to be swayed from my Tuscan Chicken dreams, I found whatever substitutions I could and prepared it (mostly) the same way. The result? An entirely different dish. And that’s one of my favourite things about cooking.

  • 4 chicken legs with thighs attached $6.75
  • 1/4 cup olive oil $0.08
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved $1.98
  • 2 carrots, chopped $0.34
  • 1 onion, chopped $0.47
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped $0.35
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped $0.35
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced $0.04
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon $0.33
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary leaves $0.50
  • 1 cup dry white wine $2.50
  • 1 cup chicken stock $1.00
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

Total cost $14.71
Cost per serving $3.67

1.) Rinse and pat chicken dry and place in a large pot (the same one you will cook the chicken in). In a separate bowl combine the olive oil, carrots, onion, bell pepper, garlic, lemon zest and juice, rosemary, salt and pepper. Mix together to ensure that all vegetables are coated and then pour over top of chicken. Place in the fridge and marinate for 3 or 4 hours.

2.) When ready to start cooking, take the pot of the fridge and bring the chicken back up to room temperature. This will probably take about an hour.

3.) Place pot over medium-high heat and brown the chicken on both sides. This should take about 15 minutes. Add the wine and reduce for 5 minutes. Add the cut cherry tomatoes and chicken stock, then add to the pot, mixing well to ensure everything is combined thoroughly.

4.) Bring to a full boil then lower the heat and simmer for 30 – 45 minutes more, until the chicken is completely cooked through.

5.) Serve and enjoy!

Sep 21 2016

Fire Roasted Tomatoes

fire-roasted-tomatoes

Tomatoes are one of my favourite foods. Whether you give them to me as a sauce, an appetizer, or just in a bowl, I’ll gladly eat them all. Roasting tomatoes over fire makes them even sweeter and juicier, and gives them a hint of smokiness that is perfect in the middle of summertime, or any time. And it also makes for a super quick and easy side dish!

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, washed and patted dry $3.99
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing $0.06
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped $0.55
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

Total cost $4.62
Cost per serving $1.15

1.) Skewer tomatoes, one at a time, onto steel or wooden skewers (remember wooden skewers need to be soaked first). Brush each tomato with a bit of olive oil.

2.) Preheat an outdoor grill over high heat. When piping hot, place the skewers of tomatoes onto the grill, directly over the flame. Grill each skewer for 5 – 7 minutes, turning the skewers regularly. Tomatoes are done when they are slightly charred and wilted, and just beginning to burst.

3.) Remove tomatoes from the skewers and place them into a large bowl. Add more olive oil, plus basil, salt and pepper. Toss to mix thoroughly.

4.) Serve and enjoy!

Sep 19 2016

Grilled Maple Butter and Herb Chicken

maple-butter-chicken

I’m crazy about maple syrup. It’s a relatively new thing, but in the past few years I haven’t been able to shake it. I try to put it on whatever I can get away with, and while at the CNE last month, I bought a jar of maple syrup in one of its finest forms – maple butter.

One of the first things I cooked when I got home was chicken. And it being one of the last gorgeous days of the year, it was going on the grill. Well, if I’m already going to put butter on my chicken, and I have maple butter in the fridge, it doesn’t take a huge leap to figure out that substitution. I chopped up some herbs, added it to a maple butter/olive oil combo and threw it on. It was as scrumptious as it sounds.

  • 10 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs $10.00
  • 1/2 cup maple butter, melted $2.50
  • 1/4 cup olive oil $0.10
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped $0.20
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped $0.50
  • 1 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped $0.30
  • Salt $0.01
  • White pepper $0.01

Total cost $13.62
Cost per serving $2.72

1.) Melt maple butter over medium heat. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool slightly. Mix with olive oil, fresh herbs, salt, and white pepper. Brush butter mixture over each piece of chicken, reserving any remaining butter for basting.

2.) Preheat an outdoor grill with medium flame on both sides. When the entire grill is hot, turn the flame off one side. This side will receive indirect heat, and is the side the chicken will be cooked on.

3.) Place the chicken on the side with indirect heat, skin-side down, and close the lid. Cook for about 20 minutes, basting every 5 – 10 minutes. Turn the chicken over, baste again with the butter, and close the lid. Cook for another 20 – 25 minutes, basting every 5 – 10 minutes.

4.) When the chicken is done (juices no longer run pink), remove the chicken from the grill. Place on a large platter, cover with foil, and rest for about 10 minutes.

5.) Serve and enjoy!

Sep 17 2016

Greek Rice Pilaf

greek-rice-pilaf

I’m so confused as to what rice pilaf actually is. I heard a fellow line cook say once that it was “any rice that has other stuff in it”, in which Chef promptly kicked them out of the kitchen. (Gosh I’m happy he didn’t ask me.) Once the sad line cook was allowed back into the kitchen, Chef explained to us that rice pilaf didn’t need stuff. It just needed to be toasted before being boiled.

Up until now, I’ve always run with that explanation, especially when Gordon Ramsay agreed with it on an episode of Hell’s Kitchen years ago (something else I’ve never quite forgotten). But now, I’m hearing all these other kinds of theories, such as the one on Wikipedia that states that rice pilaf is any rice dish that uses broth instead of water. Well if that’s the case, I make rice pilaf almost every single time I make rice.

Maybe we’ll never fully know what actually makes rice pilafrice pilaf. But, we can be sure that this Greek Rice Pilaf is in fact a pilaf, since it not only uses broth, but the rice is also toasted before any liquid is added. Neither the broth or the the toasty grains are my favorite in this particular pilaf though. What I love are the pieces of shredded carrots scattered throughout. Don’t they look just like jewels?

  • 2 cups Basmati rice $0.56
  • 3 cups chicken broth $1.50
  • 1/2 cup Feta cheese, crumbled finely $0.72
  • 1/2 cup carrot, grated $0.17
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped $0.25
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon $0.30
  • 1 tablespoon butter $0.06
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper $0.01
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt $0.01

Total cost $3.58
Cost per serving $0.59

1.) Heat a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the butter. Wait for it to melt and stop foaming before adding the rice. Add salt and pepper to the rice, stir, and cook for a few minutes until the rice becomes slightly toasted.

2.) Add the shredded carrots and chicken broth. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil before turning heat to low, covering rice, and letting simmer for 15 minutes.

3.) Remove rice from heat and, keeping covered, allow to steam for for about 10 minutes.

4.) Flake rice with a fork and add the remaining ingredients. Stir to fully mix all ingredients.

5.) Serve and enjoy!

Sep 14 2016

Popcorn Chicken

popcorn-chicken

Leftover roast chicken is always one thing in the kitchen that seems to stump me. And it’s so stupid, because it has to be one of the easiest things to cook with. I mean, there are literally hundreds of thousands of recipes online for leftover roast chicken including wraps, salads, pastas, and about a billion other things. The problem? My husband doesn’t eat any of them, so I’m typically left turning to boring old chicken pot pie. Enter my next problem – I now hate chicken pot pie.

Last night, I was determined to find a solution to both problems – create something that hubby and I would both enjoy (and if the kids like it too, that’s an added bonus). The answer my friends, is popcorn chicken. Not only can you use leftover chicken, but it works beautifully.

What I didn’t want though, was chicken fingers in miniature form. I wanted crispy brown chicken that didn’t necessarily have a breading, but still delivered one heck of a crunch. I found a mixture between batter and breading, and mostly adhered to the #1 rule of fried chicken – let it sit before it ever hits the oil. The results turned out better than I expected, and I now no longer have chicken leftovers. But you can bet I know what I’m doing with them the next time I do.

3 cups of leftover chicken, cut into small bite-size pieces Free with your last meal!
4 eggs, beaten with 1/3 cup water $0.80
2 cups all-purpose flour $0.28
1 tablespoon baking powder $0.03
1 tablespoon garlic powder $0.10
1 tablespoon paprika $0.50
1 teaspoon salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $1.73
Cost per serving $0.43

1.) Place the flour, baking powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and mix thoroughly to combine.

2.) Place a small handful of the chicken pieces into the egg wash and soak thoroughly. One by one, place them in the flour mixture and turn to entirely coat the chicken in the flour. Shake off the excess flour and set on a wire rack. Repeat with all remaining pieces of chicken.

3.) The chicken needs to sit for 15 minutes before you can fry it. This will not only help the flour stick (especially important when using cooked chicken), but will also help the coating develop all those nooks and crannies that create surface area, giving you much more crunch per bite. While the chicken is sitting, heat a deep-fryer or a large pot, filled just over halfway with vegetable oil, over medium-high heat. You’ll know the oil is hot when you place a wooden spoon in the middle (making sure the bottom of the spoon is touching the bottom of the pot) and bubbles start racing up the sides.

4.) After the chicken has sat and the oil is hot, you can start frying. One by one, gently place the chicken pieces into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the fryer, and stir to keep them from settling on the bottom. Fry for about 5 – 7 minutes per batch, until the chicken is golden brown and crunchy.

5.) Carefully take chicken out of the fryer and lay on paper towels to drain. I also like to sprinkle with a little more salt at this point. Repeat with any remaining pieces of chicken.

6.) Serve and enjoy!

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