Kate's Cuisine

Oct 05 2015

Moroccan Chicken

Moroccan Chicken

Along with the huge amount of beets my mom brought up with this year’s harvest, she also brought tomatoes, an eggplant, and a whack of other yummy goodies. I could tell the tomatoes and the eggplant were just dying to be together, and I had some chicken in the fridge that might just help them do that. The eggplant took me in the direction of something a little more exotic, and with just the right spices, all the way to Morocco!

  • 4 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs $3.32
  • 4 skinless, bone-in chicken legs $3.32
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes (1 full can, drained) $1.29
  • 1 large eggplant, unpeeled and cut into 1″ cubes $1.19
  • 1 cup water Free!
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided $0.24
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced $0.06
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice $0.66
  • 1 tablespoon paprika $0.48
  • 1 tablespoon fresh marjoram, chopped $0.25
  • 1 teaspoon salt $0.01
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric $1.13
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander $0.16
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground $0.18
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper $0.01
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin $0.12
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger $0.10
  • 1/2 cup slivered or chopped almonds, toasted $0.55
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped $0.30

Total cost $13.37
Cost per serving $3.34

1.) Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large wide pot over medium heat.

2.) Add onions and garlic. Cover and cook until onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Add paprika, salt, tumeric, coriander, fennel, pepper, cumin, and ginger; stir for one minute. Add tomatoes, water, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil.

3.) Arrange all chicken in a single layer in a pot; spoon some sauce over it. Bring to a boil.

4.) Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

5.) Turn chicken over, cover again, and simmer for another 20 minutes, or until chicken is tender.

6.) While chicken is cooking, preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush a large rimmed baking sheet with olive oil, or cover with parchment paper. Place eggplant and 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large bowl; toss to coat. Spread eggplant out on prepared baking sheet and bake until soft and brown, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes.

7.) Stir eggplant and marjoram into the chicken. Simmer uncovered 10 minutes to heat through and blend flavours.

8.) Taste and adjust seasoning with more lemon juice, salt, and/or pepper if desired. Transfer chicken to a large shallow bowl, spooning the sauce over top. Sprinkle with almonds and cilantro.

9.) Serve and enjoy!

Oct 03 2015

How to Roast Beets

How to Roast Beets

Beets might not be the sexiest vegetable in the garden, but I love ‘em. They have a sweet flavour that becomes so intense when you roast them, and they’re so versatile. My mom knows how I feel about this veggie that turns everything it touches purple, which is why on her last visit, she hauled up 20 pounds of them – all for me!!! Hey, thanks mom!

Now, as much as I love the beet, there’s no way I could ever eat that many  before they started to turn on me. So, I had to freeze them. And of course, I couldn’t just throw those two huge bags into my freezer and hope for the best – even the most earnest prayers wouldn’t keep those beets nice for me. No, before freezing, roasting was in order. The good news is, it’s super simple.

(My side note on buying beets – wait until this time of the year. My mom said she got each 10 pound bag for just 2 bucks! Now that’s beets on a budget!)

  • 1 10-pound bag of beets $2.00, or free with a generous donation)
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil $0.12
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

Total cost $2.14

1.) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Scrub the beets and trim them.

2.) Place the beets in a large bowl and toss them with the vegetable oil, salt and pepper. Some like to add aromatics such as rosemary, and add them if you like. I never know what I’ll end up doing with my beets once they’re frozen so I like to keep them as plain as possible, adding flavours when I actually go to cook with them.

3.) Before you roast beets, you have to cover them in aluminum foil so that they retain their moisture during cooking, and that aluminum foil needs to seal them pretty well. To do this, you can individually wrap every beet, but that can take a lot of time, and a lot of foil, when you have 10 pounds of beets like I did. If you’d rather, lay a piece of foil on the bottom and up the sides of a casserole dish. Place the beets on top of the foil and then fold the foil over as many of the beets that you can. Then lay another piece of foil on top and crimp the sides of each piece of foil together to form a large packet.

4.) Place the beets into the oven and bake for about an hour, until they are fork-tender.

5.) Remove beets from oven and carefully remove aluminum foil. Let cool until you are able to handle them. Then, you can use a paring knife to remove the skin, but they should also slip right off pretty easily. You can also use gloves, if you don’t wish to turn your hands purple after just one beet.

6.) Once the beets are peeled, you can freeze them whole, cut them into chunks or slices before freezing, or eat as a delicious side dish!

Oct 02 2015

How to Cook Ribs in the Oven


That familiar October chill is officially in the air and while I still take a few trips out to the barbecue every now and then, they’re certainly fewer and farther between. Plus, during this time when I don’t really want to turn the furnace on just yet, letting the oven do the work of warming up the house can be nice.

Cooking ribs in the oven isn’t that much different than cooking them on the grill, but you need to remember the foil. Lots and lots of foil.

2 racks of pork ribs, side or back cut $24.26
2 tablespoons cumin $0.75
2 tablespoons paprika $0.48
2 tablespoons garlic powder $0.33
2 tablespoons onion powder $0.29
2 tablespoons chili powder $1.50
2 tablespoons brown sugar $0.02
1 tablespoon salt $0.01
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper $0.23
1 teaspoon white pepper $0.02
2 cups barbecue sauce $2.18

Total cost $30.07
Cost per serving $5.01

1.) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and remove the silver skin from the ribs.

2.) Combine everything together but the ribs and the barbecue sauce. Sprinkle generously over both sides of each rack of ribs and massage into the meat.

3.) Lay out one large piece of aluminum foil. Place the ribs in the centre and fold the foil over them to cover as best you can. Then, using another very large piece of foil, cover the remaining portion of the ribs that are still showing. Fold the foil under and around the ribs, completely sealing the ribs in a foil packet. Repeat with remaining rack of ribs.

4.) Place the ribs onto a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 2 – 3 hours, until they are tender and just starting to fall off the bone.

5.) Carefully remove the ribs from the oven and remove aluminum foil. Discard both the foil and the juices.

6.) Preheat the broiler and place ribs on a baking sheet. Brush barbecue sauce generously over the ribs and place under the broiler for 3 – 4 minutes, just until the sauce is heated through, bubbling, and just starting to carmalize.

7.) Remove ribs from the oven and let rest for at least five minutes. If desired, cut into individual ribs.

8.) Serve and enjoy!

Sep 26 2015

Paige and Maddie’s Strawberry Tart

Strawberry Tart

The girls and I had so much fun making that pizza the other night that it wasn’t long before they were back in the kitchen, aprons on and ready to help. Actually this strawberry tart was supposed to be made the same night as the pizza but we had too much fun and ran out of time.

It was worth the wait, sweet but not too sweet, and a nice light dessert that finished off our meal once we actually got around to making it. The thing I love the most about this kids’ cookbook we’ve been using is that everything is so simple. Who would’ve thought that just brushing a little bit of strawberry jam onto the inside of pie crust could turn it into something so magnificent?

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour    $0.28
  • 1 pound strawberries     $3.99
  • 6 tablespoons butter    $0.36
  • 6 tablespoons sugar    $0.06
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten    $0.60
  • 6 ounces strawberry jelly    $0.24
  • A pinch of salt    $0.01

Total cost    $5.54
Cost per serving $0.92

1.) Sift the flour into a bowl and rub it in with the butter, sugar and salt, to make a crumbly mixture.

2.) Add the egg yolks and mix them in well with a knife. Squeeze the mixture with your hands, to make a smooth ball of dough. The dough should be soft but not sticky. To make it easier to roll, and to give the butter a chance to firm up again, put it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

3.) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

4.) Roll out the dough until it is fairly thin. Cut out one large circle, about 9″ in diameter, if making one large tart. If making individual strawberry tarts, cut out small circles with a round cutter. Once dough has been cut, press into a large tart pan or individual tins.

5.) Prick the pastry cases with a fork, then line them with parchment paper. Lay dried beans or pie weights on top of the paper, to keep the pastry from puffing up.

6.) Bake the pastry for 15 minutes, then take out the paper and beans. Bake the cases for five more minutes, until they are light brown, then cool them on a wire rack.

7.) Wash the strawberries, cut them in half, and remove their stalks.

8.) Melt the strawberry jelly in a small pan over low heat, to make a glaze. (To loosen the glaze a bit, I had to add a bit of water while melting.) Remove from heat.

9.) When the pastry is cool, brush the insides with a thick coat of strawberry glaze. Arrange the strawberries in the pastry shell and brush them with more strawberry glaze. Allow to cool completely so the glaze can set.

10.) Serve and enjoy!

Sep 25 2015

Simply Sauteed Veg

Simply Sauteed Veg

Sometimes you just need to get a quick side dish on the table so you can say you gave your kids some veggies that night. You don’t have time for something involved like a gratin, you just need something green on the table now! These vegetables will give you just that. Do yourself a favour and keep the beans and carrots blanched in the fridge and the rest of it will come together in under five minutes. Easy peasy.

  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed and halved $3.99
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced on a diagonal $0.51
  • 1/4 cup butter $0.16
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.02
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped $0.10
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

Total cost $4.98
Cost per serving $1.25

1.) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the carrots and green beans and blanch for just two minutes before removing to an ice bath. When vegetables are cold, drain.

2.) Place butter in a frying pan set over medium-high heat. When hot add garlic, beans, carrots, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Cook for just two minutes, then remove from heat.

3.) Serve and enjoy!

Sep 17 2015

Teaching Kids How to Make Pizza


So here’s the thing. As a parent, I have visions of me and my grown girls in the kitchen, preparing a big family feast together and chop-chop-chopping while we giggle away. And I’d like to think that one day, they’ll bring me breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day. But before any of that can happen, I have to teach them. I have to show them how to cook. And truthfully, I just don’t want to. Or at least, I didn’t think I did.

See, the kitchen was my place. It was where I could go and know that, for at least half an hour, time was mine. I could forget about all the other stuff that had to be done, and get lost in risotto or put all my focus into making that perfect pasta dough. How exactly was I supposed to do that when I was explaining every move, or waiting for tiny little hands to level out a cup of flour? It couldn’t be done. And if I allowed it to happen, the kitchen would turn into just another place where chores were done.

But the time had come. My girls are getting older and, it was probably time to start teaching them at least a few kitchen basics. I mean, I’ve cooked for a good portion of my life. If they can’t at least make themselves a proper meal when it comes time for them to leave home, I’ve basically failed as a mother, right? So, I bought The Usborne First Cookbook while on our family trip to the annual town fair. We put a plan in place that every Thursday, we’d get into the kitchen and they’d cook while I instructed. They were excited. I could see the beginning of the end.

That Thursday will turn into many more Thursdays – I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun making dinner. So maybe pizza isn’t the most sophisticated dish to make. And yes, maybe I did have my doubts about the simply-too-simple sauce in the book. But I can’t tell you how much fun it was to watch their noses scrunch up when they smelled the yeast as it started to bloom. And watching their eyes widen in amazement after the dough rose was a feeling that I had almost forgotten existed. See, when you get kids in the kitchen, you not only get to teach them a life skill everyone should have, you get to relive the joy of cooking that brought you to the kitchen in the first place. And you get to take the time to once again discover that sometimes simple is best – that sauce was gorgeous.

And as it turns out, 7 and 9 year-olds can giggle just as well as their future 20-something selves.

1/2 cup water    Free!
1 teaspoon sugar    $0.01
1 teaspoon quick-rise yeast    $0.25
1 3/4 cups white bread flour    $0.40
1/2 teaspoon salt    $0.01
1 16-ounce can diced tomatoes    $1.19
1 tablespoon tomato paste    $0.15
1 1/4 cups grated mozzarella cheese    $3.50
1 teaspoon dried oregano    $0.30
Additional toppings such as pepperoni, bacon, green peppers, mushrooms, etc. (optional)    $5.00

Total cost    $10.81
Cost per serving $2.70

1.) Following the directions on the package of yeast, add the water, yeast, and sugar to a container.

2.) Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, then mix in the yeast. Mix in just enough water to make a soft bowl of dough that leaves the bowl clean.

3.) Dust flour over a clean work surface. Put the dough onto the floured surface and knead it for about 5 minutes. When the dough is smooth and stretchy, put it into a greased bowl.

4.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Put it in a warm place for about an hour to rise.

5.) When the dough has doubled in size, take it out of the bowl and knead it for five more minutes.

6.) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and grease two pizza trays.

7.) Break the dough into two balls and put one into each pan. Press them with your fingers until they fill the pan, then pinch the edge to make crusts.

8.) Place a sieve over a large bowl and drain the tomatoes. Push the tomatoes through the sieve with a wooden spoon. Stir in the tomato paste and a pinch of salt and pepper.

9.) Spread the tomato sauce over the pizzas, but don’t spread it on the crusts. Sprinkle the cheese and seasoning over the sauce.

10.) Bake the pizzas on the middle shelf of the oven for 20 minutes, until the crusts are crisp and brown.

11.) Carefully lift out the pizza. Cut them into wedges or slices.

12.) Serve and enjoy!

Sep 10 2015

An Eggplant Parm Celebration

Eggplant Parmesan

I had one of the best meals of my life this summer. While visiting in Niagara, my mom wanted to take everyone out to celebrate my birthday. We went to Johnny Rocco’s, a gorgeous Italian restaurant in Niagara Falls that I fell in love with the moment I stepped inside. We sat close to the open concept kitchen, which was perfect for me as I could watch the many chef jackets run around and prepare different dishes. I didn’t see them make the eggplant parm, but I’ve tried to recreate it as best I could here. One of the things that I was really striving for was to get that eggplant crispy, crispy, crispy, as it was one of my favourite things about Johnny Rocco’s version. In the end it wasn’t at all soggy, but still not as crunchy as I would like. Next time I think I’ll deep-fry it to get that crunch I’m looking for.

(As a side note, mom was so excited about this eggplant parm, she knew she was having it before we even got there. And once I told her I was making it in my own kitchen, I had to freeze some to bring home with me on my next visit.)

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour $0.07
  • 2 eggs $0.40
  • 1/2 cup water Free!
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs $0.69
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal $0.23
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning $0.55
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder $0.33
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided $1.50
  • 2 medium-sized eggplants, or 1 large eggplant $2.40
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded $0.75
  • 2 pounds of spinach $4.99
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil $0.03
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese $3.00
  • 2 cups spaghetti sauce $2.07
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

Total cost $17.03
Cost per serving $2.83

1.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2.) Heat olive oil in a frying pan set over medium-high heat. When hot add the spinach and season with salt and pepper. Cook just until wilted, about 3 – 5 minutes, stirring and turning often. When finished, transfer to a bowl and set aside.

3.) Slice the eggplant very thinly. You can slice it in rounds, or you can slice it in long rectangular slices and then slice it in half. Either way you want the eggplant to only be about 1/4″ thick.

4.) Set up a breading station using 3 baking dishes. In the first add the flour and season with salt and pepper. In the second dish whisk the egg with 1/2 cup of water. In the third dish combine the panko, cornmeal, dried Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5.) One by one dredge the eggplant in flour and then shake off excess. Completely drown them in the egg wash, and then place them in the panko mixture. Really press the panko mixture into the eggplant so that it holds.

6.) Arrange the eggplant on the prepared baking sheets. Place in oven and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, turning halfway through, until the eggplant is nice and crispy. When done, remove from oven.

7.) Onto half of the eggplant slices, spoon a tablespoon or two of spaghetti sauce. On top of that place about 2 tablespoons of spinach and top with a tablespoon or two of ricotta cheese, covering the spinach. Place another, undressed, eggplant slice over top of each slice covered with spinach and ricotta cheese. Add two tablespoons of spaghetti sauce on top of each stack and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of mozzarella cheese.

8.) Turn broiler on. When hot place baking sheet inside and broil eggplant for about 2 minutes, just until the cheese is melted and starting to brown.

9.) Serve, with pasta tossed in your favourite sauce, and enjoy!

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