Kate's Cuisine

Oct 28 2014

Spring Mix Salad

Spring Mix Salad

As many of you know, I have an issue with salad. I love them! I love the simplicity of sitting down to a big bowl of refreshing veggies and walking away completely satisfied. But I really don’t like lettuce all that much (especially the ever-useless Iceberg lettuce.) But, I’ve found a solution. It’s spring mix, and if there’s a shred of actual lettuce in there, I don’t want to know about it. There is baby red chard, baby spinach, and a bunch of other good stuff that’s probably been given a miniature name as well, and I can’t get enough of it. While I’ve liked it for some time, I was reunited with my love of this mix when I returned to the restaurant biz, and the one in which I spend many of my days has a great house salad using spring mix and balsamic vinaigrette. Now, I have yet to make the vinaigrette at work so I had to sort of wing it when making my own, but it all turned out delicious and I’ve been happy to munch on it for the past few days.

For the salad:

5 cups spring mix $2.24
1/2 cup radicchio, thinly sliced $0.49
1/2 cucumber, cut into a large dice $0.99
1 tomato, cut into a large dice $0.28
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced $0.32
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shaved $0.66

For the salad dressing:

1/2 cup olive oil $0.23
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar $0.22
1 teaspoon honey $0.03
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard $0.03
1 shallot, roughly chopped $0.37
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped $0.01
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $5.89
Cost per serving $0.98

1.) Place all the ingredients, except for the Parmesan cheese, into a large bowl.

2.) Place all the ingredients for the dressing into a blender and puree until smooth. Taste, adjust seasoning if necessary, and blend again if adding any salt and pepper.

3.) Pour a small amount of dressing over the salad and toss to mix. Add more if the salad doesn’t seem dressed enough, but make sure that the salad isn’t drenched with it. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top.

4.) Serve and enjoy!

Oct 27 2014

Ree Drummond’s Perfect Pot Roast

Pot Roast

There is a lot to love about pot roast, but my favourite thing about it is that you can  pull everything together in the early afternoon, get it in the oven, and then just go about your day, completely forgetting about it, with the exception of course of the occasional whiff of that wonderful aroma that will fill your house. This Perfect Pot Roast from Ree Drummond has become my go-to for this reason, and because it always, always turns out perfectly. When it’s done you can even just shred it apart with two forks – it’s that tender. I used a 3-pound roast so it only needed three hours, but if you’re using one that’s larger you want to give it about an hour per pound, checking on it every half hour or so after the 4-hour mark.

1 three-pound chuck roast $8.68
2 tablespoons olive oil $0.06
2 whole onions, peeled and halved $0.94
6 whole carrots, cut into two-inch pieces $1.02
1 cup red wine $2.28
2 – 3 cups beef broth $1.50
3 sprigs fresh thyme $0.75
3 sprigs fresh rosemary $1.50
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $16.75
Cost per serving $4.18

1.) Preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit and generously salt and pepper the roast.

2.) Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Then add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is very hot, place the onions in and cook for about 2 minutes per side, just until they are brown and soft and charred in some areas. Remove onions to a plate and add carrots. Toss carrots around to coat in the oil and cook for another 2 minutes, until they also start to soften and are charred in some areas. Remove carrots to the same plate as the onions.

3.) If the pot is running a little dry, add another splash of olive oil and allow it to get hot. Then place the roast in and sear on all sides for 1 – 2 minutes, until nicely browned on all sides. Remove roast and set aside on a separate plate.

4.) With the burner still very hot, add the red wine to the pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits.

5.) Place the roast back into the pan and add enough beef stock so that it comes about halfway up the sides of the roast. Add the onions and carrots back into the pan and nestle in the fresh herbs.

6.) Place the lid on the pot, or cover with aluminum foil. Place in the preheated oven and cook for three hours (or longer.) When done cooking, remove from oven and let rest for a few minutes before shredding or slicing.

7.) Serve and enjoy!

Oct 25 2014

Kate’s Scalloped Potatoes

Scalloped Potatoes

There are many different spins that can be put on scalloped potatoes, and mine includes carmalizing the onions first, and using chicken stock in place of the heavy cream or milk that’s most often used. While I did this only because I had just run out of the latter, it resulted in scalloped potatoes that were somehow even creamier but tasted much lighter.

Oh, and does anyone know why they’re called scalloped potatoes? I still can’t figure that one out.

6 large potatoes, thinly sliced $1.26
2 onions, thinly sliced $0.94
2 tablespoons olive oil $0.06
3 tablespoons butter, plus 1 $0.24
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour $0.03
3 cups chicken stock $1.50
2 tablespoons chives, chopped $0.20
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped $0.50
1 cup Asiago cheese, grated $1.99
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $6.74
Cost per serving $1.12

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish.

2.) Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan set over medium heat. When hot add onions and stir. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until onions have released most of their moisture but are still soft, and are dark brown throughout. Season with salt and pepper, remove from heat, and set aside.

3.) In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour over top and whisk together well to make a roux. Cook for about three minutes so that you still have a pale roux but enough that the raw flour is cooked out. Slowly add the chicken stock, whisking as you do to break up any lumps. When all stock has been added, add salt and pepper along with the chives and fresh thyme and allow to cook for about five minutes, just until the mixture begins to thicken.

4.) Place an even single layer of potato slices in the bottom of the casserole dish and sprinkle carmalized onions over top. Place another layer of potato slices over top of the onions, and then another layer of carmalized onions over that. Continue layering, ending with the potato slices, until there are no potatoes or onions remaining.

5.) Gently pour in the sauce, trying to spread it evenly throughout the dish. Sprinkle Asiago cheese over top, cover with foil, and place in the preheated oven. Bake for about 45 minutes then remove the foil and continue baking for another 15 minutes, until the entire dish is bubbling and cheese is melted and just beginning to brown on top.

6.) Remove from the oven and let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

7.) Serve and enjoy!

Oct 24 2014

Low-Carb Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers

While I tried going low carb for an entire month, it’s definitely not a lifestyle that I can do long-term. Still, sometimes I start to feel a bit heavy and feel as though I need to take a step back from the starches in my life. Quinoa is a great way to do that, as it looks and acts like a grain, while actually being a seed that is packed with protein. It’s also what makes these stuffed peppers even better than the rice-filled ones I usually make, because you can stuff yourself on them and not feel uncomfortably full afterwards.

6 bell peppers (of any colour,) halved, with seeds and ribs removed $4.26
1 cup uncooked quinoa $0.83
1 1/2 pounds ground beef $8.54
1 pound ground pork $3.84
1 onion, grated $0.47
3 cloves garlic, minced $0.03
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped $0.27
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped $0.20
1 cup marinara sauce, plus 1/2 cup $1.49
1 cup (about one ball) fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced $4.99
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish $0.50
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $25.44
Cost per serving $4.24

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.) In a large bowl combine quinoa, 1/2 cup marinara sauce, beef, pork, garlic, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir to completely incorporate all ingredients.

3.) Place a small handful into each pepper half, making sure that the meat mixture is distributed thoroughly among all the peppers.

4.) Spoon a tablespoon of marinara sauce over top of each pepper half, then top with a couple slices of mozzarella cheese. Place in the oven and bake for 45 – 60 minutes, until the meat and quinoa has completely cooked all the way through, and the cheese has melted.

5.) Remove from oven and garnish with fresh basil leaves.

6.) Serve and enjoy!

Oct 22 2014

Turkey Soup

Turkey Soup

Soup, particularly a simple turkey or chicken soup, is something that I’ve never seemed able to get just right. Either the stock is cloudy, or my herbs have turned black, or the noodles have absorbed all of the liquid. Something always goes wrong, leading to my great intimidation of putting poultry into a stock and attempting to call it soup. But, after I had more turkey bones than I knew what to do with this past Thanksgiving, it was time for me to figure out this turkey soup thing once and for all. I did it by keeping it simple, using potatoes instead of noodles, and adding in sage, a hearty herb that’s also perfect for turkey. It was delicious, and my girls were happy to take it to school with them for days afterward (or at least that’s what they told me.)

2 – 3 cups cooked turkey, cubed $2.50
2 tablespoons olive oil $0.06
1 onion, finely diced $0.47
2 stalks celery, finely diced $0.26
2 large carrots, peeled and diced $0.34
2 pounds (4 or 5) potatoes, peeled and diced $0.49
1 cup frozen peas $0.50
3 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped $0.19
1/2 cup chives, roughly chopped $0.20
8 cups turkey stock $4.00
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $9.03
Cost per serving $1.50

1.) Warm olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. When hot add the onion, celery and carrots. Stir and cook for a few minutes, just until vegetables have softened. Add the fresh sage, salt and pepper, and cook for one more minute. Add the turkey and stir again to incorporate all ingredients.

2.) Add the turkey stock and the potatoes and bring up to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and taste to see if more seasoning is needed. Let simmer for 20 minutes, just until potatoes are fork-tender.

3.) Add the frozen peas, stir, and cook just until the peas are completely warmed through.

4.) Ladle soup into bowls, garnishing with chopped chives.

5.) Serve, with crusty bread and salad, and enjoy!

Oct 21 2014

Breakfast Tostada

Tostadas

Tostadas are a great dish because they can be whatever you want them to be – breakfast, lunch, dinner, even midnight snack. I’ve mostly seen them made with corn tortillas, an ingredient that for some reason seems very hard to come by in my neck of the woods. Luckily I’ve done the experimenting and am here to say that you can most definitely use flour tortillas in place of their corn counterparts and you’ll still have a crispy delightful treat loaded with the toppings of your choice. And while there is no pretty way to eat these, they’re so good you won’t care what ended up all over your face.

2 flour tortillas $0.10
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided $0.28
4 slices of bacon, chopped $1.20
1 shallot, finely diced $0.37
1 green pepper, diced $0.71
3 eggs $0.60
1 tablespoon heavy cream $0.05
1 tomato, diced $0.28
1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese $1.25
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped $0.25
1/2 of a lime $0.25
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $5.36
Cost per serving $2.68

1.) Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place tortillas onto a baking sheet and evenly drizzle 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil over both sides of each, spreading it over the entire surface with your fingertips as you do. Lightly salt.

2.) When oven is hot, place tortillas in and bake for six minutes, turning halfway through. When finished cooking, remove from oven and set aside, keeping the oven on.

3.) Place the chopped bacon in a skillet set over medium heat and cook until brown and crisp, stirring occasionally. When bacon is crisp, move to a plate lined with paper towel and set aside.

4.) Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in another skillet set over medium heat. Add the diced shallot, stir and cook for just one minute to soften. Add the green pepper and stir. While vegetables cook, lightly beat the eggs with the cream. Add this mixture to the hot pan and allow to cook for one or two minutes, until it begins to set slightly. Then, stir the eggs to scramble, season with salt and pepper, and let the eggs cook for another minute. Remove the pan from the heat, but leave the eggs in it, as they will continue to set further.

5.) Divide the egg mixture between the two tortillas by starting in the centre and spreading outwards towards the edges, leaving at least a 2″ border. Place diced tomato on top of the eggs, and then the cooked chopped bacon. Divide Monterey Jack cheese between the two, and sprinkle this over the bacon.

6.) Place tostadas into the oven and bake for just a few more minutes, until the cheese has melted.

7.) Remove from the oven, sprinkle with cilantro, and squeeze the juice of half a lime over both.

8.) Serve and enjoy!

Oct 20 2014

Spinach Boreks

Spinach Boreks

After perusing through Wayne Gisslen’s Professional Cooking when trying to decide what to make for the pre-dinner spread at Thanksgiving this year, I ended up deciding on Spinach Boreks. I had assumed that they were a Greek dish – perhaps because of the spinach and feta cheese, or maybe because they reminded me so much of Spanakopitas. After eating these golden crispy triangles of deliciousness – and doing some research – I found out that they’re not really Greek at all, but rather Turkish. While it’s phyllo dough that’s used in North America, the Turks have a similar pastry known as yufka, and the term borek refers to any dish in which this particular type of dough is wrapped or twisted around a filling. I will warn you that the process of twisting and wrapping can be a long one, but it’s well worth it, I promise.

2 pounds spinach $4.99
3 tablespoons butter $0.18
3 tablespoons onion, finely chopped $0.11
1 tablespoon scallion, finely chopped $0.05
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped $0.08
1 pound feta cheese, crumbled $3.99
12 sheets phyllo dough $1.99
16 tablespoons melted butter $0.96
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $12.37
Cost per serving $0.49

1.) Trim, wash, and steam or boil the spinach just until it is thoroughly wilted. Drain, cool under cold running water, and squeeze dry. Chop fine.

2.) Heat the 3 tablespoons of butter in a skillet set over low heat. Add the onions and the scallions, stir, and cook just until they are soft.

3.) Remove the skillet from the heat and add the spinach and dill. Stir to mix and coat the spinach with the butter.

4.) Add the cheese, season lightly with salt and pepper, and mix. Taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary.

5.) Thaw the phyllo if it is frozen. Unwrap and unfold the stacks of sheets and cut them in half lengthwise. Keep any phyllo you are not working with covered with a moist paper towel or clean tea towel to prevent the dough from drying out.

6.) Taking one sheet at a time, brush it with the melted butter. Fold it in half lengthwise and butter it again.

7.) Place a small amount of the spinach mixture (about 1 tablespoon) at the very end of the buttered strip, and down near the bottom corner. Fold the phyllo under the spinach mixture up so that you encapsulate the spinach mixture within the phyllo and form a triangle at that end. Then fold back down and back up, repeating this pattern until you have folded the entire strip. As each borek is made, place the packets down on a baking sheet with the loose ends of the phyllo on the bottom.

8.) When all boreks have been made and are on the baking sheet, brush the tops of each one with melted butter.

9.) Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until the boreks are golden brown and crisp, about 20 – 25 minutes.

10.) Serve and enjoy!

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