Kate's Cuisine

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!

Jul 14 2016

Leftover Osso Buco Shepherd’s Pie

Leftover Osso Buco Shepherds Pie

Osso Buco is one of the most elegant and sophisticated dishes you’ll ever make. But leftovers don’t discriminate and I hate to say, but when those shanks are looking up at you from their cold congealed sauce, there’s nothing sophisticated about them. I was at a loss for what I was going to do with it, and I refused to simply turn it into stew. I’m glad I did because Leftover Osso Buco Shepherd’s Pie is delicious, and using such a nice piece of meat takes this farmhouse meal up a couple more notches.

  • 1 recipe pie dough $0.89
  • 2 beef shanks, leftover from Osso Buco, with sauce $11.25
  • 3 pounds potatoes, scrubbed and quartered $1.49
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream $0.22
  • 3 tablespoons butter $0.18
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

Total cost $14.05
Cost per serving $3.51

1.) Place the cut potatoes into a large pan of heavily salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook just until the potatoes are fork-tender. Once potatoes are cooked through, drain immediately and place them back over the burner that’s turned off, but still hot. Add the cream, butter, salt and pepper, and mash with a potato masher until potatoes are smooth and your desired consistency.

2.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray (or grease with shortening). Roll out the pie dough to about 1/4″ thickness and then use a circle cookie cutter or the rim of a glass to cut out circles. Place these circles into the muffin tin, pressing the dough against the bottom and about halfway up the sides.

3.) Break up the beef or veal shanks and place them in a large frying pan set over medium-high heat, along with any of the leftover sauce. Cook just until the meat and sauce are both heated through. This step is mainly just to loosen everything up so don’t feel as though you need to keep it over the heat too long. Once the sauce is loose, set the pan aside.

4.) Ladle the meat and sauce into the pieces of pie dough. Top with a generous scoop of mashed potatoes, making sure that the meat and sauce are covered by the potatoes.

5.) Place the Leftover Osso Buco Shepherd’s Pie into the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until the mashed potatoes have started to brown slightly.

6.) Serve and enjoy!

Jul 12 2016

Kebab Casserole

Kebab Casserole

We have kebabs a lot here in the summer. There’s just something so primal about threading meat onto a stick before throwing it onto an open flame. But what are you supposed to do with them after suppertime? Sure you could just reheat them and eat kebabs again, or you could throw everything into a salad. But why be boring? Especially when you can mix it up with some risotto and make a delicious kebab casserole.

  • 4 – 6 chicken or beef kebabs $11.25
  • 6 to 8 cups chicken stock $4.00
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil $0.09
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped $0.74
  • 1 cup Arborio rice $0.59
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine $1.29
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons butter $0.36
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese $1.49
  • 1/2 cup Feta cheese, crumbled $1.75
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

Total cost $21.58
Cost per serving $3.59

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.) Start by making the risotto. Heat chicken stock in a saucepan set over medium heat. Keep at a low simmer. In a heavy-bottomed skillet set over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add shallot, stir and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add rice, stir to coat in oil, and then cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

3.) Add the wine to the pan, stir, and allow to cook until the wine has been entirely absorbed by the rice.

4.) Add 3/4 cup of stock to the pan. Stir for a minute or two and then slow the stirring until the liquid has nearly been absorbed by the rice. Continue to add another 3/4 cup of stock and repeat the process. The risotto will be done and you can stop adding liquid, once it is mostly translucent, but still opaque in the center. The rice should be firm to the bite, but not in any way crunchy. You want to leave it a bit under-done for this recipe, as it will still bake in the oven.

5.) Remove the risotto from the heat. Stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper.

6.) Remove the meat and vegetables from the skewers. Cut any large pieces in half and add everything to a large bowl. Add risotto on top and mix everything together to fully incorporate all ingredients.

7.) Spray a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the risotto/kebab mixture into the dish and smooth with a spoon to level. Dot with Feta cheese.

8.) Place the casserole dish into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, just until everything is completely heated through and Feta is just beginning to brown.

9.) Serve and enjoy!

Jul 11 2016

Cuban-Style Paella

Cuban Style Paella

Ya know what makes me mad? I can’t eat paella! Sadly, paella is one of those dishes that is heavy on the seafood, including mussels, shrimp, crawfish, and a number of other items that my body would quickly reject. So, because of my stupid allergy, real authentic paella is probably something I’ll never actually eat. BUT. There’s still hope.

I had some leftover pork chops in my fridge the same day that I happened to read how you could use leftover protein to make paella. Of course the author was talking about shellfish, but I decided not to go paella-less for another minute. Using the rest of the recipe found on Eating Well (except for saffron, because who can afford saffron?) I started gathering ingredients for this Cuban-Style Paella.

  • 1 pounds boneless pork chops, cooked and cut into 1″ cubes $5.07
  • 1/4 cup paprika $1.50
  • 1/4 cup lime juice $0.40
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided $0.09
  • 2 tablespoons rum $0.75
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced, plus 2 tablespoons $0.04
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped $0.20
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt $0.01
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper $0.01
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin $0.12
  • 2 cups onion, chopped $0.94
  • 2 cups arborio rice $1.97
  • 2 cups chicken stock $1.00
  • 1 cup canned tomatoes $0.65
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, cut in a small dice    $0.10
  • 1 cup corn (leftover or frozen)    $0.50
  • 2 roasted red pepper, cut in a small dice $0.37

Total cost $13.72
Cost per serving $2.28

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.) If there is any excess seasoning or sauce on the leftover pork chops, rinse them quickly under cold water and pat dry. Combine the paprika, lime juice, 2 tablespoons of oil, rum, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, oregano, salt, pepper and cumin in a bowl, stirring to make a paste. Add the pork and stir to thoroughly coat.

3.) Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in Dutch over medium-high heat and add about a tablespoon of the marinade to flavour the oil. Add the onion and the remaining 2 tablespoons of garlic to the pan and cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened, 4 to 5 minutes.

4.) Add the rice and cook, stirring, until it is well coated with the oil and onion mixture. Stir in broth, tomatoes, pork, jalapeno pepper, corn, and any remaining marinade. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer; cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. Sprinkle the roasted red peppers over top.

5.) Cover the dish and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, just until the rice is completely tender and has absorbed all the liquid.

6.) Serve and enjoy!

Jul 08 2016

Peach Cobbler

Peach Cobbler

Now’s about the time that I start going through my freezer, using up the last of last year’s harvest, and making room for more. This year, I had one small bag of peaches left – and a hankering for some cobbler! But what makes a cobbler a cobbler and not a crumble? If you ask me, it just depends on what you want to call it, but I guess there are a couple of rules you can follow if you want to make sure you’re on the up and up.

cobbler is a dish that has a base of fruit, which is then covered with a batter. This batter cooks up kind of like pie dough, but it’s typically dotted on top of the cobbler, covering only part of the fruit, unlike pie. A crumble on the other hand, has the same front-on-the-bottom idea, but it’s topped with a mixture of oats, flour, butter, sugar, and spices. This mixture isn’t held together like batter or dough, but instead is sprinkled, or crumbled, over the fruit.

Either way, both cobblers and crumbles are a great way to wrap up dinner!

  • 8 cups peaches, peeled and sliced (you can use frozen as well, just defrost them first) $5.50
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour $0.14
  • 3/4 cup white sugar, divided $0.14
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, divided $0.11
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into small pieces $0.36
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus 1/4 teaspoon $0.45
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice $0.10
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch $0.18
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg $0.15
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder $0.01
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt $0.01
  • 1/4 cup boiling water Free!

Total cost $7.15
Cost per serving $1.78

1.) Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.) In a large bowl combine peaches, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Toss to coat evenly and then pour into a 4″ x 4″ casserole dish. Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes.

3.) While fruit is cooking, combine flour, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and break it up with your fingertips until the mixture resembles large pebbles. Stir in the boiling water until the mixture is just combined.

4.) Remove peaches from oven and drop spoonfuls of topping on them. Mix together 3 tablespoons of white sugar with 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the fruit and batter in the baking dish.

5.) Place the entire dish back into the oven and bake until the topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

6.) Remove from oven and allow to sit for just a few minutes to cool slightly.

7.) Serve, with whipped cream or ice cream, and enjoy!

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