Kate's Cuisine

Nov 25 2015

How to Tenderize Stewing Beef

Stewing Beef

Anyone that’s tried to cook stewing beef more than once knows that it needs a long, slow cooking time in order to break down the strong connective tissue and make the meat palatable and tender. But what if you need the meat to be tender before you cook it? What if instead of making beef stew you want kabobs? How do you use that flavourful (and cheap) meat without turning it into something tough and stringy?  You need to use a marinade that will tenderize the meat, as well as break down those tissues before the meat actually ever touches a pan. It really is just that simple.

  • Start by making a marinade the day before. The marinade needs to be made up of acidic ingredients like tomatoes, vinegar, citrus juice, or wine. Even yogurt works well, due to the acidic ingredients in it. You can choose whatever acids will bring the flavour you’re looking to your dish and that will complement the other spices, herbs, and ingredients you’ll be using, as long as the marinade contains a good amount of acid. Keep in mind that you don’t want the entire marinade to be made up of acid; you’ll need something to balance it out. But the marinade should be made up of about 35 – 40% of acid.
  • Of course, you’ll need to place the stewing beef into the marinade but before you do, cut each cube into half, or smaller if desired. Make sure that you cut against the grain. This will break the connective tissue that holds the meat together and more importantly, makes it too tough to eat. Cutting these tissues is called “mechanical tenderization” and it’s one of the best ways to get stewing beef to act the way you want it to.
  • Place the stewing beef into the marinade, turn to completely coat, and leave it in the fridge overnight. Stewing beef needs this long marinating time, especially if you’re not braising it, to give the marinade even more time to work and tenderize stewing beef.
  • Once the meat has sat in the marinade for a good long time, just cook it up – any way you want – then serve, and enjoy!

Nov 23 2015

Fly-by Biscuits

Fly-by Biscuits

I don’t know if you noticed, but the site was down the other day. Just for a couple of hours, but it was down and if you tried to get to it, all you saw was a big error message telling you something was wrong. This happens every now and again and it always instills a certain quiet terror inside of me. And of all the panicked thoughts running through my head that day, the one going round and round the fastest was actually that I didn’t have a biscuit recipe to go with the soup I was making for dinner. Biscuits are baking! Biscuits are science! Biscuits need to be precise! So how in the world was I to make any while simply flying by the seat of my pants?

Turns out, once you’ve got down the basics – a little bit of flour, liquid to bring it together, and baking powder to make them rise – you’ve really got biscuits figured out. And you probably don’t even need a recipe either. Just in case you do though, I wrote it down.

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting $0.28
4 teaspoons baking powder $0.04
1 1/2 teaspoons salt $0.01
1 teaspoon white sugar $0.01
1 cup heavy cream $1.53

Total cost $1.87
Cost per biscuit $0.15

1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a baking sheet.

2.) Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl and whisk.

3.) Add the heavy cream and stir just until all ingredients have been incorporated and a dough has started to form.

4.) Dust a counter or work surface generously with flour and turn dough out onto it. Knead until the dough starts to come together and become smooth, about 20 times. Form the dough into a ball and let it rest for a few minutes before rolling it out until it’s 1″ thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into rounds and place them onto the prepared baking sheet.

5.) Place in the oven and bake for 10 – 12 minutes, until the biscuits have risen, are baked through, and the bottoms have just started turning golden.

6.) Serve warm, with jam or butter, and enjoy!

Nov 21 2015

How to Cook Pork Shoulder Blade Roast

Pork Shoulder Blade Roast

I’m not really too sure why, but pork shoulder blade roast has been on sale a lot lately. And as it turns out, I’m not that familiar with this particular cut of meat. I did some digging, but everything I came up with pretty much told me to just turn the darned thing into pulled pork. And I like pulled pork. It’s one of my favourite ways to eat the other white meat. But sometimes I just need something else and as it turns out, I already have a few pretty good pulled pork recipes.

This is a battle I didn’t win, and neither will you should you attempt it. Pork shoulder blade roast really was meant to be turned into pulled pork, because it’s full of connective tissue that needs a long and slow cooking time in order to be broken down into meat that’s easily – yes – pulled apart. Determined not to give up on my self-imposed challenge of turning it into something different, I did away with the traditional barbecue sauces and instead created one that resembled more of an au jus and was neither tomato or vinegar-based.

1 4 or 5-pound pork shoulder blade roast $6.47
1 medium onion, sliced $0.47
1 cup water Free!
3 bay leaves $0.48
2 cups chicken stock $1.00
2 tablespoons brown sugar $0.02
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard $0.12
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar $0.14
1 tablespoon paprika $0.48
1 tablespoon onion powder $0.45
1 tablespoon garlic powder $0.33
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $9.98
Cost per serving $1.66

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.) Generously sprinkle roast on all sides with salt and pepper and place in a roasting pan. Add onion slices, bay leaves and water, being sure to pour the water around the roast and not directly onto it.

3.) Cover the roasting pan, place in oven and cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the meat shreds apart easily with two forks. Turn the meat about halfway through cooking time.

4.) Remove roast from oven, remove from the juices, and tent to rest. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Combine the chicken stock, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, paprika, onion powder and garlic powder in a medium saucepan and whisk to fully mix all ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.

5.) Pull pork apart with two forks or your hands. When finished place all shredded meat into the pot with the sauce and turn to incorporate it. Leave over medium heat for just a few minutes to allow the flavours to combine and everything to warm back through.

6.) Serve and enjoy!

Nov 15 2015

Roasted Purple Cauliflower

Roasted Purple Cauliflower

Purple cauliflower is a strange and spectacular thing. Other than the colour it looks just like regular cauliflower, it tastes just like regular cauliflower, but it’s so much more fun because it’s purple!!! For a  long time I held off buying it because I was convinced it was genetically-modified. I’m no fool, I knew that purple cauliflower wasn’t natural and didn’t just grow from the ground. Boy was I wrong.

In fact, purple cauliflower does grow from the ground, and it’s not in any way, shape or form GMO. It’s cauliflower that’s been crossbred to create natural mutants of white cauliflower. And while you (like I) might have once thought that the white cauliflower we all grew up with is “healthier” simple because it seems more natural, consider that not only is purple cauliflower just as natural, it also contains more beta-carotene and 25% more Vitamin A. And that’s all true for green and orange cauliflower too.

Because vegetables tend to get darker when roasted, I was worried that they’d end up looking a little burnt. And they did, slightly. But I assure you that this Roasted Purple Cauliflower is tender, flavourful, and not burnt. And the kids loved it too because, well, it was purple!

  • 1 head purple cauliflower, cut into small florets $3.99
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced $0.70
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced $0.65
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger $0.45
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder $0.30
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes $0.23
  • 1/3 cup olive oil $0.15
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil $0.20
  • 1 teaspoon salt $0.01

Total cost $6.68
Cost per serving $1.67

1.) Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.) Place all the ingredients into a large bowl and toss thoroughly to combine. Empty onto prepared baking sheet and spread out in a single layer. Place into preheated oven and cook for 20 – 25 minutes, until the cauliflower is crisp-tender.

3.) Serve and enjoy!

Nov 13 2015

Garlic Parmesan Asparagus

Garlic Parmesan Asparagus

Garlic Parmesan anything is good, and this Garlic Parmesan Asparagus dish  inspired by my Garlic Parmesan Drumsticks recipe proves that to be true. And these turned out so delicious, Maddie actually asked to have the leftovers in her school lunch the next day. And what kind of kid asks to take asparagus to school?

  • 1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed $5.99
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced $0.03
  • 1 tablespoons butter $0.06
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil $0.03
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese $1.49
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

Total cost $7.62
Cost per serving $1.90

1.) Melt butter and olive oil together in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. When hot add asparagus and garlic roll asparagus around to completely coat it in the fat. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 – 7 minutes, just until it’s crisp-tender.

2.) Add the Parmesan cheese, roll again to coat the asparagus, and remove from heat.

3.) Serve and enjoy!

Nov 11 2015

Baked Pesto Chicken Thighs

Pesto Chicken

When I first thought about making pesto chicken, I wondered if it could really be as easy as just brushing some chicken thighs with pesto and baking it off. Turns out, it is.

  • 6 bone-in chicken thighs, with skin $4.98
  • 1 cup store-bought or homemade pesto $3.65
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil $0.09
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

Total cost $8.74
Cost per serving $2.18

1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.) Pat chicken dry, season with salt and pepper, and place on baking sheet. Brush pesto liberally on all sides of the chicken before placing chicken skin-side up and drizzling with olive oil.

3.) Bake chicken for about 45 minutes until skin is crisp, chicken is cooked completely through, and juices run clear. Remove chicken from oven, cover with foil, and let rest for about 5 minutes.

4.) Serve and enjoy!

Nov 09 2015

Copycat KD Macaroni and Cheese Spirals

Copycat KD Spirals

The girls ate this up as quickly as they do the boxed version, and they regularly balk at homemade macaroni and cheese. When I started making it, I didn’t intend to create a Copycat KD Macaroni and Cheese Spirals, but as I ate it, I became more convinced that I had. And I bet if you used elbow pasta in place of egg noodles, you’d have a copycat version of the original thing.

1/2 package egg noodles $0.49
2 1/2 cups milk $0.70
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese $2.50
2 tablespoons butter $0.06
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour $0.02
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $3.79
Cost per serving $0.94

1.) Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. When at a rapid boil, add egg noodles and cook for about 7 minutes, stirring regularly. When finished cooking and still al dente, drain.

2.) Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan set over medium heat. When melted and starting to foam, add flour and whisk vigorously to form a roux. Continue cooking for three minutes, whisking continuously, until the roux becomes golden brown.

3.) Slowly add the milk in, starting with small amounts and whisking them into the roux before adding more. Continue whisking as you add the milk to prevent lumps from forming. Once all the milk has been added, turn the heat to low and cook the mixture for about 10 minutes, until it’s thickened.

4.) Remove from heat and slowly add in the Cheddar cheese, whisking the cheese to fully incorporate it before adding more. Continue doing so until all the cheese has been added, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

5.) Place drained egg noodles in a large bowl or back into their pot and pour some cheese sauce over top. Stir to thoroughly combine and coat noodles in the sauce.

6.) Serve and enjoy!

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