Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Smothered Steak

Mom has made this for years. I cut the amount of oil down by more than half and added onions, which made it a little healtheir but didn't add much to the prep. In fact, it's easy to make and is comfort food at its best. The extended baking time makes the meat fall-apart tender. This is wonderful with mashed potatoes.

Smothered Steak

1 1/2 lb round steak, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/2 c flour, plus extra for dredging
black pepper to taste
3 c. beef broth
1 large onion, chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 8x11 glass casserole dish with cooking spray. Combine flour and pepper in a small bowl. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Dredge steak in flour mixture and cook in skillet until browned, about 3 minutes on each side. Use tongs to remove steak to prepared casserole dish. Cover steak with onions.

Whisk flour into remaining oil. If too dry, add a tablespoon of oil at at time until the lumps are out of the flour. Slowly stir in beef broth, stirring constantly. Cook over medium-high heat for about five minutes, or until thickened. Carefully pour gravy over steak and onions. Cover dish tightly with two layers of aluminum foil. Bake for one hour at 350. Reduce heat to 200 and bake another hour. Can sit, covered, for up to an hour before serving.

Serves 4.

Friday, November 4, 2011

White Bean & Bacon Soup

I am nearing the end of my preceptorship at the hospital; because I'm working second shift, it means I'm staying up weird hours. To keep myself awake in the middle of the night, I've taken to cooking. This is what I made at 4am - and I can hardly wait to dig in when I eat it for supper tonight! It's yet another Pinterest find (from Centsational Girl), and besides being easy, it's also quite economical.

White Bean with Bacon Soup

1 lb dry cannellini beans (soaked as directed)
3 14.5 oz cans chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 onion, finely diced
2 tbsp butter
2 bay leaves
¾ cup diced peeled carrots
5-6 strips cooked bacon
¾ cup lowfat milk
salt & pepper to taste

Prepare dried cannellini beans as directed on package (with overnight or quick soak) in a large pot, drain any remaining water. Melt butter in a small skillet. Add onion and brown until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add broth and onions to beans in pot and bring to a low boil. Cook over medium low heat for 30 minutes.

Add carrots, bay leaves, bacon, and salt and pepper and cook for another 25-30 minutes on low heat until beans and carrots are soft. Remove bay leaves, add milk, then with a hand mixer or in a blender, puree half of the soup until it becomes creamy. Add salt to taste. Reheat in pot to desired temperature. Serve warm with breadcrumbs, croutons, and/or diced bacon on top accompanied by breadsticks or sourdough slices.

White Cheddar Chicken Pasta

Lately, just about everything I've made has come from Pinterest. I just can't get enough. This recipe (and another that I will post soon) marks my first attempt at using wine in my cooking. Next time I will buy the real thing, instead of cooking wine, but when you're in a hurry, you do what you gotta do.

This delicious pasta from Homemade by Holman was a big hit. Well, B didn't like it, but he doesn't like anything, so I'm not counting him. Jeff thought it was wonderful. I made it with whole-wheat pasta, but next time I think I'll skip the healthy stuff and go for regular. Usually I don't mind whole-wheat, but this time it overpowered the subtle flavors of the white cheddar and wine. Plus it just doesn't look as pretty. I also made a couple of minor edits; adding Parmesan to the sauce and omitting some of the thyme and the red pepper flakes. This was easy to make and tasted divine. It's definitely on my make-again list!

White Cheddar Chicken Pasta

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 T olive oil
1/2 onion, finely diced.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Mix together mustard, thyme, salt and pepper and sprinkle over chicken pieces. When pan is hot, add chicken and onion and brown, stirring until cooked through. Remove to a plate and cover with foil.

1 pound rotini or macaroni
2 T butter
2 T flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 T Dijon mustard
8 oz sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 c. grated Parmesan
1 1/2 c milk
1/2 c heavy cream
1 T fresh oregano
Parmesan cheese to taste

Heat water to boil in a large stock pot for pasta, add salt and pasta and cook to al dente and drain according to directions. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add flour and whisk to combine. Add wine, garlic, and mustard. Cook until mixed and heated through. Reduce heat to low and slowly add milk and cream, stirring to combine. Cook about 5-7 minutes more until mixture begins to thicken. Add cheeses and stir to melt. Add chicken and pasta and toss gently. Add oregano and serve topped with Parmesan cheese.