Chopped Sirloin with Gravy

This dish went so fast we forgot to take an actual picture of it plated properly; but man, was it good!   Chopped Sirloin with Gravy who doesn’t love a good gravy?   We all had to be rolled away from the table.   Prepare the sirloin patties a day in advance and wrap in plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator until the next day.  It’s a great thing to come home to.  Add a green vegetable or salad and perhaps a baked white or sweet potato and bam!  Dinner is ready.

Ingredients (for the steak)

2 eggs

¼ cup onion, minced

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon liquid smoke

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup crushed salt crackers

1½ pound ground sirloin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon fresh black pepper

½ teaspoon paprika

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Ingredients (for the gravy)

2 tablespoon unsalted butter

8 ounces button or cremini mushroom, sliced

½ cup diced onion

2 tablespoons dry white wine

2 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 cups beef broth

¼ cup fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish

Method of Preparation

Preheat an oven to 400º.

For the steaks, combine eggs, onion, parsley, Worcestershire, garlic, and crackers.  Add sirloin, salt, pepper, paprika and crushed red pepper flakes; mix to combine.  Shape meat into four 8 to10 ounce sirloin patties.  Set aside.

Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet on medium-high heat.   Add sirloin and sear on one side and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes.  Turn sirloin over and transfer the entire pan into the oven and cook until desired doneness about 4 or 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven and place on a warm serving plate.  Loosely tent with foil to rest and allow the residual heat to finish the cooking and redistribute all the juices.

For the gravy, using the same hot pan melt the butter until bubbling.  Add the onions and cook until translucent then add the mushrooms.  Sauté over medium-high heat until the mushrooms begin to    release their moisture.  Cover until the liquid has been released and then remove the lid and allow the moisture to evaporate.  Add the wine, for flavor, and allow it to evaporate as well.  Add the flour and mix allowing the flour to brown and absorb all the flavors of the mushrooms and onions.  Stir in the broth and cook until the gravy starts to thicken.  Remove from the heat.  If the gravy is too thick thin it with more broth or water.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve gravy over sirloin and garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

 

Rum & Cola Braised Short Ribs

Rum & Cola Braised Short Ribs

Turn your favorite drink into a meal.  Sometimes I throw my hands up and just indulge in a dish that makes me want to sing and this is one of those dishes.  To try and help myself not to get too carried away I make it as an appetizer and not the main course (at least not this yet).  Lol!   I wanted something that would melt in my mouth but also something that would provide me with a sweet delicious taste with a little bite to it and short ribs did the trick.  Hmmm hmmmm!  They were awesome!

Don’t look at the recipe and think, “Oh no!  That’s just too many ingredients I can’t do it!”  You can do this.  Half of the recipe is for the dry part and the other is for the wet part.  Then you just combine the two and into the oven the ribs go.  Try this recipe and let me know what you think.

Ingredients

4 lbs short ribs

4 tablespoons canola oil

2 onions, chopped

3 tablespoons garlic, minced

¼ cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ cup brown sugar

¾ cup dark rum

¼ cup soy sauce

1¾ cup Cola

1/3 cup dried dark cherries

2 cups beef stock

Juice of 1 lemon

Sea Salt

Fresh Ground Pepper

Paprika

Method of Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Season short ribs with salt, pepper, onion powder and paprika. Set aside
  3. In a large Dutch oven, add oil and heat until hot.
  4. Sear short ribs on each side (top, bottom, sides, etc.). Remove to a paper towel and allow to drain.
  5. To the Dutch oven, add onions and dried cherries. Cook until cherries are plump and onions are translucent.  Add garlic and cook until very fragrant.
  6. Stir in flour and ginger.
  7. Add stock and cola; allow cooking for 5 minutes while whisking.
  8. Add soy sauce, lemon juice and brown sugar, continue whisking until all is well incorporated and has begun to boil.
  9. Return short ribs to pot, cover and place in preheated oven.
  10. Reduce oven temperature to 350ºF and cook for 2 ½ hours or until ribs are tender and a thick, dark, sticky sauce has formed. (It will thicken more as it sits.)
  11. Remove from oven and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes.
Best Steak Ever!

Best Steak Ever!

Let’s talk BEEF.  Has beef gotten a bad rap?  Some would say yes while others would disagree.  How can that be? Great question and I’ll do my best to answer it, but with all things, it never hurts to do a little extra research and of course check with your doctor about your body’s specific nutritional needs.

I believe a lean cut of beef, such as a tenderloin, is the best choice of beef to have if you are going to consume it. There are a few reasons why.  Lean red meat contains lots of nutrients like iron, protein, zinc and vitamin B12 (to name a few), it’s easy to cook, it goes well with a glass of red wine and just about any vegetable pairs well with it.  The online site of “Meat and Health” had this to say about consuming lean red meat, “Contrary to popular belief, lean red meat does not contain high levels of fat or saturated fat. The total fat content of red meat has been considerably reduced over the last few decades and the amount of fat in red meat is actually much lower than most people think. Lean red meat also happens to be low in dietary cholesterol.   In addition, about half of the fat found in red meat is of the healthier polyunsaturated or monounsaturated types.”  That’s good enough for me!

But what if I told you that your body can digest lean red meat faster than some of the plant foods you consume? Would you believe me?  Well, its true, but keep in mind that there are a lot of factors not listed here that can affect your digestion process things like your metabolism, gender, age, pre-existing medical conditions and other things.  But know this, a properly cooked lean cut of meat can be a good thing!

Ingredients

4 Steak Filets (1½ -2 inches thick)

2 tablespoons bourbon and brown sugar seasoning

2 tablespoons cracked black pepper rub

1 tablespoon kosher salt

¾ tablespoon smokey paprika

3 sprigs of fresh thyme

2  tablespoons butter, melted (I used clarified butter)

Canola oil (or vegetable oil)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method of Preparation

Mix all of the spices together in a small bowl.

Season the filets on both sides generously and wrap in plastic for at least an hour in the refrigerator.  When ready to cook, remove from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature for 30 minutes.

Heat a cast iron skillet to medium-high heat.  Be sure it is very hot.

Drizzle in the canola or vegetable oil and just before adding the filets add 1 tablespoon butter.  Sear the filets about 2 to 3 minutes per side.  (It’s ok if you need to flip them twice, just be sure to have a very nice sear.)  Place the entire pan into a 425º preheated oven to finish.

Remove the pan from the oven.  Place the filets on a plate and tent with foil and allow the filets to rest for 8 minutes.  Meanwhile, reserve juices in the pan.

Toss in the fresh thyme and remaining butter.  Stir to infuse the thyme, butter and pan juices.

Return the filets to the pan and any juices that have accumulated on the plate and spoon the butter mixture over the filets a few times.  Enjoy!

Spaghetti and “Meet”balls!

Spaghetti and “Meet”balls!

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Hopefully this photo makes you want to run into your kitchen and cook up a delightful, quick and easy spaghetti meal for your family, just like I did.  I came in rather late one evening, at least as far as when I normally start cooking dinner and thought to myself that I am going to be in this kitchen all night!  Luckily I had prepared meatballs in the freezer and just pulled them out while I prepared a fresh sauce.   But I will tell you how I made them.  First, here are the ingredients.

1 lb each Hot Italian Sausage, Ground Beef and Ground Lamb

1 ½ cups onions, chopped

8 cloves roasted garlic, plus 4 cloves fresh chopped

2 cups seasoned croutons

2 cups whole milk

4 cans whole, peeled tomatoes

3 eggs, beaten

½ cup fresh parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

¾ tablespoon dried oregano, divided

1 Bay leaf

1½ cups fresh grated parmesan cheese, divided

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt

Fresh Ground Pepper

The “meet”balls in this dish is where lamb meets Italian sausage, meets ground beef and they all have a party.  To prepare the meatballs (just to show you that I indeed know the correct way to spell meatballs) I used a large Dutch oven to sauté onions with a little extra virgin olive oil.  While the onions were sautéing I chopped up some fresh parsley and basil, smashed a few roasted garlic cloves and measured out a little dried oregano; I then added them all to the now translucent onions.  When they were all mixed and fragrant smelling (about 3 minutes) I removed the pot from the stove and let the mixture cool completely.  In a small bowl I added croutons and covered them with milk and set that bowl aside until the croutons were very soft.    In a separate and larger bowl, I added ground beef, skinless Italian sausage and ground lamb.  I sprinkled the meat with salt, fresh ground pepper and ground parmesan cheese and mixed for just a moment.  Then I removed the cooled onion mixture from the pot (but don’t get rid of the Dutch oven yet) and placed the mixture into the bowl along with a few beaten eggs and mixed again only this time with my hands and really got dirty (not that way, we’re cooking!).  Don’t make the “meet”balls yet we still have more to add.  After squeezing all the milk from the croutons I tossed them into the meat mixture and combined.  Note: If the mixture is too soft and sticky, feel free to add a few breadcrumbs, but not too much as you don’t want to dry out your “meet”balls; however, if the mixture is too dry, add a little olive oil and mix in.  You may sit the mixture in the refrigerator to help bind the balls together or you can do this AFTER you roll the “meet”balls.

For rolling the meatballs you may want a bowl of water beside you to occasionally rinse your hands off (or not).   I simply smile big and ask for my helpers to do this part.  (“Hey honey, I need your help!”)   Roll out the meatballs and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper until all the balls are ready.  Cook either on top of the stove or in the oven.  If in the oven, preheat the oven to about 375º  and cook balls, turning twice until just about done.  I like to cook mine on the stove in a heavy-bottomed pan like cast iron to get a crispy outside but this method takes a little longer (but worth it in my opinion).  With both methods the meatballs finish in the sauce so don’t over cook them in the oven or the stove!

Easy Garlic Parmesan Cheese Bread

Easy Garlic Parmesan Cheese Bread

For the sauce, in the same large Dutch oven used to sauté the onions add the whole canned tomatoes (squeeze with your hands to crush them in the pot), add fresh chopped garlic cloves, dried oregano and dried basil.  With an immersion blender (that’s what I used) or a potato masher, smash the ingredients together.  Add a bay leaf and allow to cook for about 2½ hours or more.  The longer the better.  Season with salt and fresh ground pepper.  This is truly how a sauce should taste (unlike the ones in the store in the pretty little jars).  About 10 minutes before the sauce is done, it’s time to cook the pasta.  Cook according to package directions (or you can try it my way).   I season my water with salt, turmeric, quartered fresh garlic and large chunks of fennel and bring to a boil.  Prior to adding the pasta I scoop out the ingredients and then cook the pasta according to package directions.  When the pasta is done, strain reserving at least 2 cups of the pasta water.   Return pasta to the pot.  Add few ladles of the tomato sauce to the pasta, if needed add a little of the pasta water at a time to the pot.  Mix with tongs.  You want the pasta to begin to absorb the sauce so you will have some in every bite.  Add the “meet”balls to the pot with the tomato sauce (not the pasta pot) and allow them to finish cooking about 15 minutes.  While waiting, tear some fresh basil and grate some fresh parmesan to top each bowl with when ready to serve.

Fresh Basil

Fresh Basil

To serve, scoop out sauced pasta into bowl swirling to form a peak and add a few scoops of sauce with 2 or 3 or more of the “meet”balls.  Garnish with fresh basil and parmesan and enjoy!   I serve mine with a slice of garlic bread. Deliciousness never tasted so good.  Yum!

Beef Filet with Port Sauce

Beef Filet with Port Sauce

 

Beef Filet w:Port Sauce

When you want to sink your teeth into tender and mouth-watering beefy goodness, a beef tenderloin filet will do it every time and this recipe is sure to please!  Filets do not take long to cook and the Port sauce is a great compliment to the beef.  Make the meal a staple by serving with your favorite potato and vegetable side dishes and there you have it!!  A meat and potato comfort meal where the star of the show, and the sauce are finished in less than 15 minutes cooking time!

Ingredients:

2 beef tenderloin filets (4oz each)

2 teaspoons of dried sweetened cherries

1 tablespoon of thinly sliced shallots

¾ cup port wine, plus ¼ cup

¼ cup of beef broth

¼ tspn of flour

¾ tspn Worcestershire sauce

¾ tspn balsamic vinegar

¼ tspn Dijon mustard

1 ½ tablespoon blue cheese, crumbled

Olive Oil, as needed

salt & pepper to taste

Method of Preparation:

  1. Sprinkle salt & pepper on both sides of each filets.
  2. Sear both tenderloin on heated grill pan for 4 to 5 minutes. Flip and  cook on other side for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Remove from pan, tent with foil, and set aside for 8 minutes.   Longer if you prefer.
  4. In pan with drippings, add shallots, dried cherries and ¼ tspn of flour. Stir until fragrant.
  5. Deglaze with port wine and beef broth, stir.  Turn to high heat and bring to a boil for 2 to 3 minutes until reduced by at least 1/3. Reduce heat.
  6. Add Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, and Dijon mustard. Stir.  Cook on medium until sauce to thickens.
  7. Pour over steak ; top with blue cheese and serve.

The steak, cheese and sauce are delicious together!

Chopped Sirloin with Mushroom Gravy

Chopped Sirloin with Mushroom Gravy

Chopped Sirloin with Mushroom Gravy

Beef is just one of life’s many delicious pleasures.  When you have a taste for a hamburger but want to step it up a bit, try ground sirloin for a different culinary twist!  The recipe below adds layers of savory flavors and textures to your ground sirloin that will have you thinking maybe you’ll forego hamburger a few more times…especially once you top your sirloin with the mushroom gravy…hey…go on and try it.  You won’t be disappointed!!

Steak Ingredients

Combine:

2 eggs

¼ cup minced onion

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

½ tsp liquid smoke

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup crushed salt crackers

1 ½ lb ground sirloin

1 tspn. kosher salt

1 tspn. fresh black pepper

Gravy Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

8 oz. button or cremini mushroom, sliced

½ cup diced onion

2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 cups beef broth

¼ cup of fresh parsley

Method of Preparation

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

For the steaks, combine eggs, minced onion, parsley, Worcestershire, garlic, and crackers. Add sirloin, salt, and pepper; mix to combine.

Shape meat mixture into four 8-oz. oval patties. Sear patties in a large saute’ pan over medium-high heat until browned on one side. Flip patties and transfer pan to oven. Cook patties until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 160, 15-20 minutes. Transfer steak to a plate and loosely tent with foil.

For the gravy, melt butter in pan, add mushrooms, and saute’ over medium-high heat until brown and most of the moisture is released and evaporates, 8-10 minutes. Stir in diced onion and flour; cook 2 minutes. Stir in broth and cook until gravy thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Serve gravy over steaks and garnish with parsley.

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