Kate's Cuisine

Jan 21 2017

Mexican Stuffed Chicken

Mexican Stuffed Chicken Breasts

I’m going to be honest with you. I’m not a huge fan of chicken breasts. I know, I know, the white meat is preferred by many, and KFC will even charge you extra if you ask for a bucket of “all-white” meat. But chicken can already be somewhat boring and when you stack up a bunch of unimpressive bland chicken breasts against some really great chicken thighs that are fatty and packed full of flavour, there’s really no comparison for me. That is, until you stuff them.

Stuffed chicken breasts really can turn something fairly mundane into something very exciting - and you can stuff them with anything you’d like. I’ve done avocado, mushrooms, spinach – even pistachios! This version combines sweet bell peppers with spinach and mozzarella, and dusts the top of the chicken breasts with homemade taco seasoning.

Delicious! And so easy too.

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts $9.76
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced $0.35
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced $0.35
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach $1.98
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded $0.62
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided $0.22
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder $0.21
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin $0.37
  • 1 teaspoon paprika $0.16
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes $0.23
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder $0.04
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano $0.10
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus a pinch $0.01
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch $0.02

Total cost $14.52
Cost per serving $3.63

1.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Pat chicken breasts dry with paper towel and set aside.

2.) Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet set over medium heat. When hot add red and green pepper. Cook for 3 minutes, just until soft, then add spinach. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper, stir, and cook just until the spinach is wilted. Set aside.

3.) In a small bowl combine the chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, crushed red pepper flakes, onion power, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix together well.

4.) This is when you need to cut into the chicken. Many people decide to cut into the thick side of the breast, because that’s where the most meat is. However, I have found that when doing this, it’s harder to control the knife and it’s very easy to slice through the breast without actually creating a pocket. Because of this, I like to start my cut on the thinner side of the chicken. Your knife won’t cut through because you’re actually going into thicker meat, not thinner. Use a good paring knife, and confidently slice a pocket into the chicken breast. Start at one end of the thinner side, push the knife in gently, and then work your knife around the inside of the chicken breast, towards the back and then to the other side of the chicken breast.

5.) Stuff chicken breasts with 1/4 of the mozzarella cheese each. Then add the bell pepper and spinach mixture. Once each chicken breast is stuffed, place on a baking sheet.

6.) Using the remaining one tablespoon of olive oil, brush each chicken breast with it. Then generously sprinkle on the taco seasoning.

7.) Place the chicken breasts into the preheated oven and cook for 30 minutes, until the tops are browned and the chicken is hot throughout.

8.) Remove from chicken and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing or serving.

Jan 17 2017

Chicken Cordon Bleu Lasagna

Chicken Cordon Bleu Lasagna Slow Cooker

So it’s been some time since my last post, I see. Must be because I’ve been so busy over at Cooktop Cove, preparing and adapting slow cooker and casserole recipes. (Click on the links to check them out!) But while I’ve been over there (or in my own kitchen), toiling away, I’ve picked up some pretty great ideas, such as this Chicken Cordon Bleu Lasagna.

This is one I had assigned to me and I have to admit, I wasn’t thrilled about the thought at first. I mean, I know my way around a lasagna, I even have several different versions up on this site. But with chicken? And a white sauce? I just didn’t know.

Then I came to my senses and realized that Chicken Cordon Bleu is really just chicken, ham, and Swiss cheese. Stuff that all in between sheets of lasagna noodles, and what could be bad? It wasn’t – it was delicious!

However, it wasn’t so good when I first made this in the slow cooker when, for work, I was supposed to make it as a casserole! What does this mean? Other than the fact that I cook a lot and write about it a lot and that sometimes I get confused? It means I got to make it again and my freezer is now stuffed with Chicken Cordon Bleu Lasagna

  • 1/4 cup butter $0.53
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour $0.04
  • 4 cups milk $1.12
  • 1 cup chicken stock    $0.50
  • 1 pinch nutmeg $0.02
  • 2 cups Swiss cheese, shredded $4.49
  • 9 (or so) lasagna noodles $1.49
  • 4 cups cooked chicken, chopped or shredded $4.56
  • 2 cups cooked ham, sliced $2.35
  • 1 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled $4.32
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded $1.25
  • Salt $0.01
  • Freshly ground black pepper $0.01

Total cost $20.87
Cost per serving $3.47

1.) Place the butter in a medium-sized saucepan set over medium heat. Once it melts, add the all-purpose flour and whisk to combine completely. Let cook for 2 minutes so the raw flour can cook out. Slowly add the milk, whisking as you do to break up the clumps. Then add the chicken stock. Add the pinch of nutmeg and turn heat off under pan. Slowly stir in the Swiss cheese in parts, waiting until one addition is completely melted before adding the next. Season lightly with salt and a generous helping of black pepper.

2.) Spoon about 1/2 cup of the bechamel sauce into the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker. Layer in lasagna noodles, then cooked chicken, then bacon, then ham. Spoon some more bechamel over top, then repeat layers until all noodles, chicken, ham and sauce are used. End with lasagna noodles and the bechamel poured over top.

3.) Place lid on slow cooker, turn to low and cook for 6 hours, or until lasagna noodles are soft and the dish is bubbling throughout. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over top, replace lid and cook for another 30 minutes, until the cheese is fully melted.

4.) Remove lid from slow cooker, turn heat off and let lasagna sit for about 20 minutes before slicing into and serving.

5.) Serve and enjoy!

Jan 06 2017

Pimento and Pineapple Cheese Spread

cheese-spread

I have been waiting and waiting to tell you all about this recipe. It’s something I served waaaay back on Christmas Day, as part of the spread I put out for people to munch on while they were waiting for dinner. The spread is divine, but the story behind it is even better.

It’s a recipe my mom sent me, with the exact intention of including it somewhere on my Christmas menu. Before I even read the recipe from 77 Recipes, I was in love. The title is “I Could Have Been A Cheese Ball, But The Pecans Let Me Down”. Don’t you feel bad for this spread that was almost a cheese ball, but never got the chance? The author goes on to say that the first time she made it, she included pecans that went all mushy and soft in the fridge, ruining the true wonderfulness of the cheese ball.

Now, I don’t really like cheese balls in the first place. They’re so hard it’s nearly impossible to get a cracker in without breaking it into a million pieces, and they just seem a little outdated. And to be honest, I wasn’t even sure how much I would love the combination of pineapples and cheese – never mind that I didn’t have a clue how pimentos would taste when they weren’t stuffed inside green olives. But, ever trusting of my mom, I made it and once again, she didn’t let me down. This is probably the best cheese spread I’ve ever had. And next time, I think I’ll even put extra pineapple and pimento in it – they’re the best parts!

  • 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, room temperature $3.49
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese, finely grated $2.49
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, finely diced $0.35
  • 2 green onions, chopped finely $0.34
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, with juices $1.75
  • 1/2 cup pimento, finely diced $2.24
  • 1 teaspoon salt $0.01

Total cost $10.67
Cost per serving $1.33

1.) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until it is completely softened.

2.) Add all other ingredients and mix again on low speed, just to fully incorporate all ingredients.

3.) Place in the fridge for an hour or so before serving.

4.) Serve and enjoy!

Dec 22 2016

Christmas Butter Coins

butter-coins

It’s that time of year again – time for Christmas cookies! It’s one of my favourite times of the year. I love filling up tins and boxes for everyone on my Christmas list; it’s such an easy way to show someone that you care. These Christmas butter coins are new to the repertoire this year; I like making new additions to keep those boxes interesting.

These are light and flaky and everything you’d expect out of a sugar cookie, but with just a fraction of the sweetness. If you want to sweeten things up a bit, make a glaze out of some icing sugar and a teaspoon or two of milk and just drizzle it over top. And then if you want to get really fancy, put some of those silver dragees on, although I understand some places have stopped selling them due to the low amounts of metal found in them. If you live in one such region, these little guys will be just as delightful without them!

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour $0.28
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt $0.01
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened $2.14
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar $0.14
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract $0.22
  • 1 egg $0.16

Total cost $2.95
Cost per cookie $0.06 (makes 48 cookies)

1.) Combine flour and salt in a large bowl and set aside.

2.) In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed. Add the vanilla and egg and stir again just until completely combined.

3.) With the stand mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients. Continue stirring until all dough is fully combined.

4.) Empty the bowl of dough onto a lightly floured surface and bring it all together to form a smooth ball. Divide the ball into two and shape into round flat discs. Wrap with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour. This will allow the butter to firm up again.

5.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

6.) Place the oven racks in the middle position. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4″ (1/2 cm) thick. Cut the dough out with a small circle cookie cutter or a small shot glass. Place on baking sheets when cookies are entirely cut out.

7.) Bake, one sheet at a time, for 12 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are just beginning to brown (there shouldn’t be a lot of colour on the cookies).

8.) Remove cookies from the oven and set on wire racks to cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookies and sheets.

9.) Decorate (or don’t), serve and enjoy!

Dec 20 2016

Oreo Cheesecake Stuffed into a Chocolate Cake

chocolate-cake-oreo-cheesecake

It was hubby’s birthday this week! And while that’s enough excitement in itself, it also meant that it was time again for Oreo cheesecake, something that has become a bit of a tradition in our house. This year though, I wanted to do something a bit different; something more than just the expected Oreo cheesecake. Something with a bit of a wow factor. So, I combined Brent’s two favourites - Oreo cheesecake and chocolate cake.

I could see it in my mind immediately, with a layer of cheesecake in between two beautiful layers of rich and delicious chocolate cake. How I was going to actually layer them though, I had no clue. First there was the difference in size between my springform pan and my cake pans. And an Oreo crust running through the middle of the cake might make it a bit weird. Clearly I had to go crustless, which meant I would also have to go no-bake when it came to the cheesecake.

I’ll be honest with you. I hate no-bake cheesecake. But I was hoping that the chocolate cake would offset that, and I was right. After the birthday song has been sung, the presents have been unwrapped, and the cake has had a chance to sit altogether, the cheesecake portion is more reminiscent of decadent icing than it is cheesecake. And that suited me just fine.

For the chocolate cake:

  • 2 cups white sugar $0.38
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour $0.24
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder $3.00
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder $0.02
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda $0.04
  • 1 teaspoon salt $0.01
  • 2 eggs $0.32
  • 1 cup milk $0.28
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil $0.55
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract $0.44
  • 1 cup boiling water Free with your water bill!

For the Oreo cheesecake:

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened $3.99
  • 1/4 cup white sugar $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla $0.22
  • 1 10-ounce container Cool Whip, plus more for garnish $2.99
  • 12 Oreos, roughly chopped $0.66

For the chocolate ganache:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream $0.76
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips $0.88

Total cost $14.83
Cost per serving $1.23

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line the bottom of two round 9″ cake pans with parchment paper.

2.) Start by making the chocolate cake. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix on low for 1 minute just to combine. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Turn speed to medium and mix for two minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Turn to lowest speed and slowly pour in boiling water. Continue mixing for 1 more minute, just until all ingredients are thoroughly combined, scraping sides if necessary.

3.) Pour the batter into the two round cake pans, dividing it as evenly as possible. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

4.) Let cake cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning them onto a wire rack and letting them cool completely.

5.) While chocolate cakes are cooling, make the Oreo cheesecake. Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on low just until it’s completely softened. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat on low speed, just until all ingredients are combined. Stir in the chopped Oreo cookies, then fold in the Cool Whip.

6.) To make the ganache, fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water. Place a heat-proof bowl over top (I have a Pyrex glass bowl that works very well) and add chocolate chips. Bring water to a simmer and stir the chocolate chips, allowing the gentle heat to gradually melt them together. When all the chips have been melted, remove from the heat and slowly add the heavy whipping cream, whisking continuously. The chocolate may appear to seize at first, but keep adding the cream and whisking – it will all come together!

7.) When the chocolate cakes have completely cooled, you can begin assembling the cake. On one of the chocolate cake rounds, spread the Oreo cheesecake mixture completely on top in a thick even layer. Place the other chocolate cake round on top, gently pressing so the cake comes together at each layer.

8.) Holding the bowl with the chocolate ganache about 4 inches above the cake, pour it right onto the centre of the top layer of the cake. It will pool and spread out, dripping down the sides of the cake.

9.) Place the entire cake into the fridge. This will allow the Oreo cheesecake to further set, and it will cool the ganache and allow it to set. After about an hour in the fridge, you can remove the cake and do any further decorating you want. I went with basic swirls of whipped cream and a sprinkling of chocolate chips I had leftover from the ganache.

10.) Serve and enjoy!

Dec 12 2016

Potato, Pepper and Bacon Frittata

potato-bacon-and-bell-pepper-frittata

The girls and I love frittatas, me especially. If I don’t have anything for breakfast (or on weekends, for lunch), a frittata is the easiest thing to whip up. And they’re a great way to use up leftovers. For this one I used some home fries I had in the freezer from our last family breakfast, some bacon (most likely from the same breakfast) and a bell pepper. Add some parsley and a whole mess of eggs, and you’ve got yourself a delicious frittata. At least we did.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil $0.11
  • 1 onion, diced $0.47
  • 1 bell pepper (any colour, mine was yellow), diced $0.51
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.01
  • 1 cup cooked frozen home fries $0.30
  • 1/2 cup cooked bacon, chopped $0.90
  • 6 eggs $0.96
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream $0.38
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated    $1.25
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped $0.33
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

Total cost $5.24
Cost per serving $1.31

1.) Preheat the broiler.

2.) Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium heat. When hot, add onion and bell pepper and toss to coat in oil. Saute for about 3 minutes, until the vegetables have softened.

3.) Add the garlic, the potatoes, and the bacon to the skillet. Cook until potatoes are completely thawed. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

4.) Beat the eggs, heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and parsley together. Pour into the pan, lower heat slightly (to about medium-low) and let cook for about 5 minutes. This will cook the bottom of the frittata.

5.) Place the skillet under the broiler and broil for 2 – 3 minutes, just until the top is set and slightly browned.

6.) You can serve the frittata as it is, or remove it from the skillet first. To do this, run a rubber spatula around the edges and tuck underneath the bottom as far as you can. Jiggle slightly to loosen from pan and then slide onto a cutting board. Cut into wedges.

7.) Serve and enjoy!

Dec 10 2016

Twisty Roasted Garlic Breadsticks

twisty-roasted-garlic-breadsticks

We make pizza a lot over here and last time, I had a whole other batch of pizza dough left over. Feeling ambitious, I decided to whip up some breadsticks to serve alongside the pizza.

As I was rolling them out, I had a vision. I’ve made “twisty breadsticks” before, but found that the dough didn’t quite stick together at the ends, and I ended up with some weird bread that was kind of wrapped around more bread. Yeah, it was weird. But as I was preparing these breadsticks, I thought, what if I left them a bit wider and just sliced them up the middle, stopping just before I cut all the way through the ends? The dough would hold together because it never would have been separated, and I could end up with beautiful twisty breadsticks. And, I did.

For the roasted garlic:

  • 1 head of garlic $0.33
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil $0.11
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted $0.54
  • Salt $0.01

For the pizza dough:

  • 1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit) Free with your water bill!
  • 1 (1/4 oz.) envelope dry active yeast $0.33
  • 1 teaspoon sugar $0.01
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided $0.22
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour $0.42
  • 1 teaspoon salt $0.01

Total cost $1.98
Cost per serving $0.49

1.) In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in the warm water and add yeast and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Stir to combine all ingredients, then let mixture sit for about 5 minutes, until foamy at the top.

2.) In another bowl, combine the flour and the salt.

3.) Add half of the flour mixture to the water and yeast mixture and mix by hand to fully combine. Stir until the dough comes together and is smooth. Continue adding the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, working the dough after each addition, until the dough is smooth but slightly sticky. (You may not need to use all of the flour.) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth but still slightly tacky, 3 to 5 minutes.

4.) Oil a large bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Turn the dough around in it so that it is covered, then cover with plastic wrap or a clean tea towel. Place in a warm place away from drafts, about 1 1/2 hours.

5.) While dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Chop off the top of the head of garlic, place in a small casserole dish, and drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the top. Sprinkle with salt. When oven is hot, place garlic in and roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, just until the garlic is soft and beginning to brown. When done, remove from oven and allow to cool.

6.) When dough is finished rising, gently punch it down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out to about 1/4″ thickness and cut into strips about 1″ wide. Cut each of those strips lengthwise up the centre, stopping just short of the top end so you don’t cut all the way through it. Using the two strips you just created, twist the strips around each other (like you’re braiding it using only two pieces.) Pinch the bottom ends together to seal the dough together. Sprinkle with salt and place on a baking sheet and repeat with remaining strips of dough.

7.) Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

8.) Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves from the head of garlic into the melted butter. Stir to fully incorporate. Brush the roasted garlic butter generously over each breadstick and place in the oven.

9.) Bake breadsticks for 10 – 12 minutes, until breadsticks are starting to turn golden brown and are cooked through.

10.) Serve and enjoy!

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