Joseph always picks the messy dinners...

So my husband went shopping with me two weekends and he wanted to make a few meals since we decided he had to start helping in the kitchens some nights so we can both spend time with E before he goes to bed. Joseph is very by the book when it comes to following recipes. No substitutions and measuring is always exact. And he doesn't pick any "easy" recipes perse. So his night to cook was last Friday. We got busy and ended up just eating hot dogs because we didn't really want to deal with dinner.

So yesterday I asked him what he was planning to make on Friday so I could just make it on Monday night. He said he printed the recipe and it's on the computer desk. I went to go look... Alton Brown's chicken fried steak. Yeah, messy :) and highly caloric.

This recipe was worth it. I think I might play with the gravy a bit to see if I can get a little more flavor in there but other than that it was a good meal.

Source: Alton Brown

Chicken Fried Steak
  • 2 pounds beef bottom round, trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 whole eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup whole milk (we used 1/4 cup 1% milk & 1/4 heavy whipping cream)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

Cut the meat with the grain into 1/2-inch thick slices. Season each piece on both sides with the salt and pepper. Place the flour into a pie pan. Place the eggs into a separate pie pan. Dredge the meat on both sides in the flour. Tenderize the meat, using a needling device, until each slice is 1/4-inch thick. Once tenderized, dredge the meat again in the flour, followed by the egg and finally in the flour again. Repeat with all the pieces of meat. Place the meat onto a plate and allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before cooking.

Place enough of the vegetable oil to cover the bottom of a 12-inch slope-sided skillet and set over medium-high heat. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the meat in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook each piece on both sides until golden brown, approximately 4 minutes per side. Remove the steaks to a wire rack set in a half sheet pan and place into the oven. Repeat until all of the meat is browned.

Add the remaining vegetable oil, or at least 1 tablespoon, to the pan. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of the flour left over from the dredging. Add the chicken broth and deglaze the pan. Whisk until the gravy comes to a boil and begins to thicken. Add the milk and thyme and whisk until the gravy coats the back of a spoon, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Season to taste, with more salt and pepper, if needed. Serve the gravy over the steaks.

This is how E plays while we prep dinner :)

Saucy Changes

I've made a few changes to my homemade meat sauce and I'm liking it! The sausage gives it so much more flavor than the ground beef I normally use. And I'm trying to experiment with fresh vs. frozen/dried ingredients. So far this mix that I've been using has been giving excellent results. And I apologize in advance for the crappy picture... I took it with my camera phone because both cameras (SLR & point and shoot) had dead batteries :(

Source: My head

Meat Sauce
(perfect for any pasta!)

  • 1/2 lb ground pork sausage
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 can large whole olives
  • 2 cubes frozen garlic (Trader Joes... in the freezer section)
  • 2 cubes frozen basil (Trader Joes... same place as the garlic. They also carry cilantro!)
  • 1 tbsp dried italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp ground oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Brown meat & drain.

Mix all other ingredients in a pot, stir and set to medium low until meat is done. Add meat and let simmer for 30 minutes on low.

Toss with your favorite pasta and serve!

You can also toss, place in a oven-safe dish, top with cheese and bake for a baked pasta. YUM!

Tacos + Pasta = YUM!

When at the grocery store this weekend I was thinking "easy" for meals for the week. It's been pretty crazy in our home and sometimes we break down and just bring something home (i.e. fast food) instead of making a meal at home. And this is really cutting into our budget.

So I have been trying to stick with cooking at least 6 dinners at home. So far so good! And each meal I've been able to set aside a part of the meal (like cooked ground beef/1/2 can of kidney beans) to use in other meals for the week.

Now this meal was super easy (under 30 minutes!) and super tasty. The spices and chiles gave it a bit of a kick which I appreciate and the creaminess of the cheese just hit the spot. I'll definitely be improving this dish to put it in our rotation (I'm thinking maybe a touch of enchilada sauce... perhaps some sliced olives?).

Source: Inspired by Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations

Taco Pasta
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp red cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 can Rotel diced tomatoes with chiles
  • 1/2 can kidney beans
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups rotini pasta
Place pot of water on stove to boil. Start browning meat and add spices in. Cook meat until almost done and add tomatoes and kidney beans.

Cook pasta & drain. Add meat mixture and cheese. Mix well and serve!

Serves 6 | 6 WW Points

Another Stab at French Dips

And this time with a picture! No changes to the original recipe we tried except we used provolone cheese instead of mozzarella :)

Original recipe here


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