Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Swiss Steak

Swiss Steak and Mashed Potatoes

Inexpensive steak + onions + time in the oven = one tasty meal. My mom used to make Swiss steak every so often, and even though I was a picky no-onion eater at the time, I still loved it. She really only used salt, pepper, and onions, but today I adapted Alton Brown's recipe from FoodNetwork.com. 
My husband enjoyed this meal so much he told me about three times what a great meal it was. He's usually complimentary, but not this complimentary. 
Besides tender beefiness, one of the beautiful things about this recipe is that it creates its own gravy as it cooks in the oven. The gravy is thick and beefy with lots of flavorful onions and celery cooked down to melt-in-your mouth excellence. I may have added a little too much salt to mine, but when it was paired with the mashed potatoes, the beef and gravy tasted perfectly seasoned. 
This may not be a super quick meal, but it is easy, delicious, and satisfying.

Swiss Steak
    --adapted from FoodNetwork.com

  • 2 pounds beef bottom round steak (or 2 pounds lean stew meat works too)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 (approx) teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup flour (I used Better Batter Gluten Free AP Flour)
  • 3-5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion or 2 small onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth (I used 1 1/2 teaspoons beef base in 1 1/2 cups warm water)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Prepare the onions, celery and garlic. Set aside. 
Cut the steak into smaller steaks about 5-6 inches across. Place steak pieces on a cutting mat or surface you use for raw meat. Salt and pepper both sides and then using a meat tenderizing mallet pound each piece to about 1/2 an inch thickness. Be sure to pound on both sides of each piece of steak. Dredge each piece of steak on both sides in the flour.
Heat about 3 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. When oil is hot, carefully place steak into the pan taking care not to crowd. You will probably need to brown the steak in two batches, adding oil between batches. When each steak is browned on each side, move to a plate to wait. 
When all meat has been browned, add the onions, celery and garlic to the pan (Dutch oven). Stir veggies and cook just long enough until they start to wilt. Add paprika and oregano and stir. Pour in the beef broth and stir. Add the meat back into the Dutch oven, making sure you cover the meat with the veggies and liquid.
Place cover on Dutch oven and place in the oven. Bake at 325 degrees for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until meat is very tender. 
Serve with mashed potatoes.
Makes about 5-6 servings

Monday, August 10, 2015

Oatmeal Cookies (no cinnamon)

Simple Oatmeal Cookie

Every summer when my family and I go back to California to visit my parents, we also get to see my Aunt Tee and Uncle John. Almost every year, Aunt Tee, at some time during our visit, will bring over a bag of Kelley's Kookies. All of them are absolutely delicious, and I've been able to replicate at least one of my favorites, Chocolate-Dipped Refrigerator Cookies. This year, I'm trying to replicate the Krispy Oatmeal Cookies. I have not done it yet, but these cookies are really good anyway. These are buttery and chewy right out of the oven, with just a bit of crunch around the edge. The next day they firm up a bit, but I wouldn't describe them as "crisp." 
Since the list of ingredients on Kelley's Kookies says they have margarine as opposed to butter, I did start there, but they were nowhere near crispy, so I tried butter. Next time I'm going back to margarine, but I'll use something different, not the Land O' Lakes Margarine I used before. Plus, I think I'll go with dark brown sugar next time.
At any rate, these oatmeal cookies are sweet and satisfying. There are only a few raisins, so if you're a raisin lover, I say add more. Heck, add chocolate chips or M & M's if you'd like because I think these cookies can take it. Have fun and enjoy your cookies.

Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup crisp rice cereal
  • 1/3 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and then line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, mix the butter, egg and vanilla until creamy (this may take a little while). 
In a separate bowl, mix the sugars, flour and baking soda with a wire wisk. If there are lumps of brown sugar, you may need to use your fingers to break them up.
Add the sugar/flour/baking soda mixture to the wet ingredients and mixt just until combined. Add the oats, rice cereal, and raisins. Mix to incorporate.
Place tablespoon sized portions of dough onto prepared baking sheet, spacing cookies about 2 inches apart.
Bake at 325 degrees for 15-16 minutes or until golden brown all over.
Remove from oven and allow to cool on pan for a few minutes before moving cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Easy Enchilada Sauce

Super Easy Enchilada Sauce
Chile Colorado Burrito with homemade Easy Enchilada Sauce

So, the Chile Colorado Burrito recipe remains my top post, with over 2,000,000 page views. One of the main themes in the many comments I've received is about the fact that I use canned enchilada sauce. That's what I use, so that's what I posted--detractors have always been welcome to make their own sauce. I only write recipes as I do them. I have considered making a homemade enchilada sauce before, but I honestly just never felt like it.
Well, my hand has been forced, as I am starting to think about and prep recipes for this year's food competition at the Iowa State Fair. The Tone's spice company has a huge competition, and one of them is titled "Favorite Tones Everyday Family Recipe," and first prize is $2,000. So, obviously, now is the time to make a homemade sauce using Tone's spices. I had to use my favorite (non-Tone's) chile powder, though, because, well, it's my favorite, and nothing can compare.
So far the sauce is really delicious, and I have some stew meat cooking in my practice batch right now. (Pics to follow.) It really was extrememly easy to make, sooo...good news all you critics! I plan to make my own enchilada sauce from now on for my Chile Colorado Burritos. I'm still going to leave the recipe as-is in my blog post, though, since most people who like the recipe enjoy it for the ease. They throw it in the crock pot, go to work, and they have a fabulous hot meal at the end of the day. I'm not going to mess with that. 

Easy Enchilada Sauce
     --Adapted from Allrecipes.com

  • ·       1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • ·       1/4 cup all purpose flour (I used Better Batter Gluten Free AP Flour)
  • ·       1/2 cup New Mexico red chile powder (I like Bueno Special Reserve)
  • ·       1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ·       1 teaspoon  garlic powder
  • ·       1 teaspoon onion salt
  • ·       1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
  • ·       3 cups water
  • ·       3 teaspoons beef base (or 3 beef bullion cubes)
In a large heavy bottomed pot or in a Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the flour and chile powder. Stir, and cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat. Stir in the cumin, garlic powder, and onion salt. Then stir in the tomato sauce and water. Add the beef base and stir to incorporate. Allow the sauce to simmer for about 5-10 minutes.

Now the sauce is ready for you to use in any recipe calling for enchilada sauce.
Makes about 5 cups of sauce.
Recipe can be halved.

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