Cooking with Katie

Roasted Ratatouille with Cheese

Ratatouille…it sounds like rat..and patootie! I know, I’m sorry, I just had to throw in a line from the movie! For those of you who aren’t familiar with the line I just wrote, it’s from a Disney movie called Ratatouille. This has nothing to do with the actual French vegetable dish usually eaten in the form of a stew, but it is a great way to get your kids to eat this dish!

As I said before, ratatouille is a French vegetable dish usually eaten in the form of a stew, but this recipe is a more updated version.  You roast the vegetables, giving them 10x more flavor, and you add a ton of cheese! Who doesn’t love cheese? Even better, this can serve as a vegetarian entrée, a vegan entrée (without the cheese), or a fantastic side dish to steak, pork chops, or chicken breasts. And , it’s even better the next day!

Roasted Ratatouille with Cheese (Yahoo Food)

  • 1 eggplant, cut into chunks
  • 1 zucchini, cut into chunks
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into chunks
  • 1 medium onion, cut into chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 (28 oz) can whole Plum tomatoes
  • handful basil, chopped
  • handful parsley, chopped
  • LOTS of mozzarella cheese

Place the first 5 ingredients on a sheet tray and drizzle with the olive oil and salt and pepper. Toss with your hands to combine.

Roast them at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, flipping every so often. See how they get all nice and caramelized!

Chop up the tomatoes and add them (and their juices) to a 9×13 baking dish along with the vegetables, basil, and parsley. Cover with foil and bake for another 20 minutes. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake uncovered for another 8-10 minutes. And as they say in France, Bonne Chance!


Kitchen Utensil: Hand-held Grater


I am in love with this kitchen utensil! It is definitely one of my favorites! It’s so easy to use and is so versatile. You can use it to zest citrus, grate cheese, chocolate, garlic, carrots, or any other vegetables. It’s so much easier to use than a box grater!

One of my favorite things to do with this grater is to grate ginger. I keep my pieces of ginger in the freezer, then when I need it, I can just peel and grate it without even having to defrost it ahead of time. It saves you so much time compared to having to mince it by hand! If you don’t own one of these, I would highly recommend going and getting one. 🙂

Spinach Artichoke Dip


This may just be the easiest and most addictive dip of all time! We make it alot at my house, whether it’s for company or just for a mid-afternoon snack. I think we love it so much because it’s the  perfect balance between spicy, creamy, and crunchy. I think you’ll fall in love with this dip, too!

Spinach Artichoke Dip (Alton Brown)

  • 1 c thawed, chopped frozen spinach
  • 1 1/2 c artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 6 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 c sour cream
  • 1/4 c mayonnaise
  • 1/3 c parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder (optional)

Heat cream cheese in microwave for 1 minute or until hot and soft. Stir in the rest of ingredients and serve with ritz crackers hot or room temperature.

Meringues Chantilly

Can you believe how elegant this dessert is? Not only does it look great, but it tastes amazing! It’s a great way to end a meal for guests or company, and is sure to impress their eyes and tastebuds!

Meringues chantilly is basically just a meringue cookie, whipped cream, and stewed berries. The way that it’s assembled and presented, though, is what really makes you say wow! With the meringue on the bottom, the whipped cream in the center, and the berries dripping down the sides, you get the most glorious texture experience of your life! The crunchy bottom, airy middle, and syrupy top are what makes this dish!

Meringues Chantilly (Ina Garten)


  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • salt
  • 1 1/2 c sugar, divided into thirds
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Whippd Cream:

  • 1 pint cold heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tbsp. orange liqueur (optional)

Stewed Berries:

  • 1 c blueberries
  • 2 1/2 c raspberries
  • 1/3 c water
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. orange zest
  • 2 tsp. framboise (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a small glass and a pencil, draw 6 (3 1/2-inch) circles on each piece of paper. Turn the paper face-down on the baking sheets.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a large pinch of salt on medium speed until frothy. Add 1 cup of the sugar and raise the speed to high until the egg whites form very stiff peaks. Whisk in the vanilla. Carefully fold the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar into the meringue. With a large star – shaped pastry tip, pipe a disc of meringue inside each circle. Pipe another layer around the edge to form the sides of the shells.

Bake for 2 hours, or until the meringues are dry and crisp but not browned. Turn off the heat and allow the meringues to sit in the oven for 4 hours or overnight.

 Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. When it starts to thicken, add the sugar, vanilla and orange liqueur and continue to whip until the cream forms stiff peaks. Don’t overbeat, or you’ll end up with butter!

Combine the blueberries, one-half pint of raspberries, 1/3 cup water, the sugar and zest in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook uncovered over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes. The juice will become a syrup and the berries will be slightly cooked. Off the heat, stir in the remaining raspberries and the framboise. Set aside.

Place a meringue on each plate and fill with whipped cream. Top with berries and serve.

Five Cheese Macaroni and Cheese


I loooooooooooovvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeeee Mac ‘n’ Cheese. I could eat it morning, noon, and night….and not get sick of it! This one is one of the best mac ‘n’ cheeses out there, and the 5 different cheeses don’t hurt that at all! Plus, I love getting to use my ramekins!:)

I used Ricotta cheese for creaminess, some Parmesan cheese for saltiness, Asiago cheese for a bite, Mozzarella cheese for a little richness, and….that’s it.:( I know, I failed! I didn’t get the 5th cheese in! But, since my mother detests goat cheese, I had to leave it out. Gorgonzola, Brie, Fontina, Manchego, Gruyère, and even Gouda would be fabulous here, but you can use whatever cheeses you like.

5 Cheese Macaroni and Cheese (Ina Garten)

  • 2 c whole milk
  • 1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 c parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 c asiago cheese
  • 1/4 c crumbled goat cheese or gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/4 c ricotta cheese
  • handful of basil, chopped
  • 1 lb. rigatoni, penne, or fusilli
  • 1/4 mozzarella, sliced

Combine everything except the pasta and mozzarella cheese in a bowl. Cook the pasta and add it. Make sure not to cook the pasta all the way though!

Then spoon them into individual ramekins or a baking dish and top with the mozzarella. Bake at 500 degrees for 7-10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly. Bon Appetit!

Red Velvet Cupcakes


Two of my best friends, Morgan and Nicole, had their birthday parties together this year, and when I asked them what they wanted,  they both said Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting! So guess what I made?

I had so much fun making these because I knew that it would make Morgan and Nicole so happy! That’s what I love about baking, it makes people feel good. Even if you aren’t the next Jacques Torres or Gaston Lenotre (two very successful pastry chefs), you can still bring joy to the people you love through food. 🙂

Red Velvet Cupcakes (Karen in the Kitchen,

  • 3 1/2 c flour
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 c sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 6 tbsp. red food coloring
  • 3 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 c buttermilk (or 1 1/2 tbsp. white vinegar and enough milk to make 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda


  • 12 oz cold cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, firm but not cold
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 6 c powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour 2 cupcake pans (24 cupcakes).

To make the batter: In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well.

In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat. In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Arrange the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and bake the cupcakes, switching positions of the pans halfway through baking, until a tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a rack before icing.

Combine butter, salt, and cream cheese in mixer and beat on medium speed 2-3 minutes.
Add sugar until just incorporated. Don’t over mix. It should be thick but not fluffy.
Add vanilla. If necessary, add milk to thin.
Use tip#12 to ice the cupcakes. Then, color the remaining icing pink and pipe their initials with tip#2.

These were Morgan’s……

…and these were Nicole’s! I just got the boxes at Hobby Lobby and gave them to them as is!

Makes 24-36 cupcakes.

Chocolate Chip Waffles

Waffles are a staple in my family. I got a waffle iron for Christmas when I was, like, 8! My Pop-Pop makes the BEST waffles in the world, and us kids have been watching and helping him do it since before I can remember. It’s always fun when we make them at home, too, though.

I had a very special helper helping me to make these waffles………..and it was my youngest brother, Adin! We decided to make the waffles smaller so that everyone could eat 1 full waffle, and of course, we had to throw some chocolate in there!:)

Chocolate Chip Waffles (Aunt Jemima)

  • 1 c Aunt Jemima pancake/waffle mix
  • 3/4 c milk
  • 2 tbsp. veg oil
  • 1 egg

This is Adin! (Sorry for the bad lighting!) Here, he’s stirring the wet ingredients in a separate bowl from the dry ones………we’ve taught him well!

Now, he’s combing the wet and dry ingredients together.

And, once they’re all combined, he pours them in the greased waffle iron (that I got when I was, like, 8!) and tops them with chocolate chips. Then he cooks them for approximately 3 minutes. Hope you enjoy making these with someone you love!

The Best Coffee Cake. Ever.

I’m not kidding when I say that this is The Best Coffee Cake. Ever. Ever. EVER! Not even Tasty Cakes coffee cakes come close to this!

What makes it The Best Coffee Cake. Ever. you may ask? Well, I think that it’s the combination of the fluffy, moist cake, the crunchy pecans, and the chewy topping. It just makes so much darn sense when you think about it! There’s also something about this cake that’s incredibly comforting. It should’ve been there with me during all of my sad moments….when Finn broke up with Rachel…when Finn took Quinn to prom….when Jesse came back…..and kissed Rachel…………………………funny how all my sad moments revolve around Glee, huh! Well anyway, if you’re a Gleek or not, you still NEED to make this coffee cake! It’ll change your life.

The Best Coffee cake. Ever. (The Pioneer Woman)


  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
  • 2 c scant sugar (this just means a little less than a full cup)
  • 3 c flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 c whole milk
  • 3 egg whites, beaten until stiff


  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
  • 3/4 c flour
  • 1 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 c pecans, chopped

Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.

Alternate between pouring the milk…..

….and the flour mixture with the mixer on low speed. Otherwise, you’ll end up with milk and flour all over you!

Don’t over beat the mixture! Just mix it until it looks like this.

Then, use your handy-dandy immersion blender (or a hand-held mixer) to whisk the egg whites until they’re stiff.

Fold the egg whites into the batter. This will really help with the fluffiness of the cake.

Combine all the topping ingredients together and pour the batter into a greased 9×13 baking dish. Top with the topping and bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Delicious!<center><a href=”http://sweet-as-sugar

Lemon Semifreddo with Raspberry Sauce

So, I made a mistake. When I said that my Chocolate Toffee Mascarpone Bars were decadence at it’s best, I really meant to say that they were an extremely close second to this semifreddo! The creaminess of the semifreddo, tanginess of the lemon, and tartness of the raspberry sauce work so well together that it’ll make you want to jump up and do your happy dance! If you have one, that is.

Now, semifreddo is a classic Italian dessert that resembles ice cream or gelato. It’s really a big hit with kids, and is sure to impress any dinner date or dinner guest! I came up with the raspberry sauce all on my own because the original recipe said to serve it with an orange and mango salad. I’m sure that the salad is good……..just probably not as kid-friendly; so I think you’ll find the raspberries to be quite splendid!

Lemon Semifreddo with Raspberry Sauce (adapted from Anne Burrell’s recipe)

  • 1/2 sliced almonds, toasted (I didn’t use these)
  • 2 c heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 c sugar
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1/2 c lemon juice (I only used 1/4 c)
  • 3 lemons, zested (I did not use this)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 pint of fresh raspberries
  • half a lemon, zested
  • about 2 tbsp. sugar

Start by lining 6 ramekins or a loaf pan with plastic wrap. If you’re using the almonds, then spread those on the bottom in a pretty design.

Then, combine the sugar, eggs, lemon juice and lemon zest, and salt in a mixer bowl. Whisk it until it’s a homogeneous mixture, then set it on a double boiler. (Don’t worry, it won’t hurt the bowl!) Whisk it for 4-5 minutes until the eggs are light in color, and become fluffy. If you stick a thermometer in, they should be 165 degrees F. Then, set the bowl on the mixer with the whisk attachment and whip on high speed until they have doubled in volume and the bottom of the bowl is cool.

Don’t you just hate it when a recipe calls for whipped cream or whipped egg whites and there’s already something in your mixing bowl? Well, if you use one of these handy-dandy immersion blenders with the new whisk attachment, then you don’t have to whip the cream with the power of your biceps! You could also use a hand-mixer, but that’s just not as fun!:)

Carefully fold the whipped cream into the lemon mixture to make this lemon-dreamsicle-type mixture…..YUM!

Pour it into the ramekins…

…and cover with the excess plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least  4-5 hours or overnight before serving.

The next day, combine the raspberries, lemon zest and sugar. Mash it with a fork so that it’s still a little bit chunky. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. This is called masserating, it’s kind of like marinading…only with fruit.

When you’re ready to serve it, unwrap the semifreddo and plop it upside down onto a plate, or, if using a loaf pan, plop it onto a cutting board and slice it with a knife that’s been soaked in hot water. Top with the raspberry sauce, or the mango-orange salad if  it makes you happy, and enjoy!

Pasta All’Amatriciana

If I had to pick my favorite food, it would probably be any type of pasta dish. And if I had to pick my favorite pasta dish, it would probably be this!

Pasta All’Amatriciana (pronounced ama-chri-shana) is a Roman dish that is classically made with guanciale (a cured pork jowl), onions, red pepper flakes, San Marzano tomatoes, and bucatini pasta. It’s a very easy supper to make, but I did have to improvise a little!:) Instead of guanciale, I used pancetta and prosciutto; instead of San Marzanos, I used whole plum tomatoes; and instead of bucatini, I used linguine. If you can find those ingredients, then please, use them! But if you can’t, these are good substitutes! I also added the wine because I like the acidity it adds.

Pasta All’Amatriciana (Anne Burrell)

  • olive oil
  • 8 oz guanciale (or 4 oz pancetta, 4 oz prosciutto)
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • about a 1/2 c white wine
  • 2 (28 oz) cans San Marzano tomatoes (or whole plum tomatoes)
  • 1 lb bucatini, perciatelli, or linguine
  • parmesan cheese

Start with 3-4 oz of pancetta (right) and the same amount of prosciutto (left). Dice it up and throw it in a skillet with some olive oil.

Fry it until it’s crispy. Then ditch the oil and start with fresh oil to saute the onions, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the wine and let that reduce by half. In the meantime, you can either pass the tomatoes through a food mill, or puree them in a blender and then pass them through a fine-mesh sieve. Add those and the pork back to the sauce and let simmer for an hour; tasting every so often to make sure the seasonings are right.

Cook the pasta and drain it. Then remove a few ladles of pasta sauce, just to make sure you have the right ratio. Then add the pasta to the sauce and toss it with the cheese. Serve with more cheese on top and parsley if you’d like.