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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Swiss Steak

Swiss Steak is a nice, warm meal on a cool Spring or Fall day.  It's also quite easy to prepare, it just takes time to bake.  Maybe a weekend night is best.

Steak:
1/4 C flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 lbs. round steak cut into serving-size pieces
2 T vegetable oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 C water
2 T Worcestershire sauce

Gravy:
1/4 C flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 1/4 C beef broth (buy canned or use Better than Boullion to prepare)

Noodles or mashed potatoes.

In a shallow bowl, combine flour salt and pepper from steak recipe.  Dredge steak and pound with a meat mallet to tenderize. 

To enjoy later:  Put oil in a frying pan and heat.  Brown all pieces of steak on all sides.  Place into a 9" x 13" glass dish and layer with onions.  Mix water and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl and gently pour over the meat.  Cool, cover and rreeze. 

To enjoy tonight:  When ready to eat, defrost and bake, covered with foil, for 2-2 1/2 hours at 325 degrees F , or use a Dutch oven, until meat is tender.  Combine the ingredients for the gravy in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Cook and stir for two minutes.

Prepare noodles or mashed potatoes.  Serve steak over noodles or mashed potatoes with gravy.

A twist on this recipe is to use pork chops and dredge in the following mixture:

1 C flour
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. dry, ground mustard
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Follow the rest of the instructions above. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Gotta Love the Crock Pot!

Tonight's dinner is already cooking away in my trusty crock pot.  I use a large, six and a half or seven quart pot for my family, but any size will do as long as it holds your meat.  When I bought pork in bulk on my shopping day, I divided it into two meals.  One became the Hawaiian Pork Roast, recipe on another post, and tonight we will be having pulled pork sandwiches. 

Simply rinse your pork roast and place in the crock pot.  Cover with your favorite BBQ sauce (ours is currently Lucille's) and let it cook for 8-10 hours.  Using two forks, pull apart the roast.  Serve on French rolls with a side of salad, and maybe even some Sun Chips for crunch.  Enjoy!

To enjoy tonight - prepare as directed.

To enjoy later - freeze the leftovers for another night when you need a quick meal.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hawaiian Pork Roast in a Crock Pot

I tried an experiment today.  This recipe is normally meant to be prepared in a Dutch Oven, but I really didn't want my oven on for many hours on a day in which the hot Santa Ana (desert) winds were blowing, so I made it in a crock-pot.  It looks just as wonderful!

1 boneless pork shoulder roast (3-4 pounds)
4 tsp. liquid smoke
4 tsp. soy sauce
2 unpeeled, ripe bananas
1/2 C water

Place the roast on a large piece of foil and sprinkle with liquid smoke and soy sauce.  I also salted mine with garlic salt based on past experience.  Wash bananas and place alongside the roast.  Pull sides of foil up over the meat.  Wrap with another piece of foil and place in a shall baking pan.  Let set in the fridge overnight, turning the meat package over several times.   Place the meat package, still in the foil, in a crock-pot with 1/2 C of water in the crock, and cook on high for 1 hour.  Then reduce to low for 3-4 hours.  Double check the internal temperature, but it should be perfect (170 degrees F) about this time.  Drain and discard juices and bananas.  Shred meat and serve with rice or Hawaiian Sweet Bread.  Yum!

This is a meal that I do not prepare in advance other than to buy the meat on my shopping day and freeze it.  However, it only takes a few minutes to prep.

Leftovers:  Add some teriyaki sauce and stir fry veggies for a quick dinner fix.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Beef Broccoli

Yesterday, I pulled the tub labelled "Beef Broccoli" out of the freezer and after defrosting, warmed it up in the wok while rice was cooking in my microwave rice cooker.  Easy and delicious!

Beef Broccoli

1 lb. beef flank steak
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 C water

Sauce:
1/4 C soy sauce
2 T oyster sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt

2 T oil
2 C broccoli florets
3 green onions, cut into 2-inch lengths.

Slice beef flank thinly across the grain.  Add baking soda and water; let stand for several hours or overnight or while you are making other meals.

Combine soy suace, oyster sauce, sesame oil, sugar, cornstarch and salt; mix well and set aside.

Heat a heavy pan or wok.  Add oil and stir fry the meat until the pink color leaves; remove from wok.  Add broccoli and green onions to the wok; toss for a few minutes, then return the meat to the wok.  Add sauce to the meat and stir until the sauce thickens.  Serve at once with noodles or rice.

To enjoy later:  Freeze meat and broccoli with sauce in a 14-cup container.  Defrost and warm in a wok.

To enjoy tonight:  Cook noodles or rice and serve with meat immediately.

This recipe was passed along to me from my mother-in-law and sister-in-law.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sausage Breakfast Burritos

One of our favorite "go-to" meals is Sausage Breakfast Burritos.

Reconstitute the hash browns with hot water (one of my favorite pantry items from Costco) or warm a 2 lb. bag of frozen hash browns.

Brown 2 lbs. Jimmy Dean Sausage (we like the original flavor) in a large frying pan with deep sides.  Drain most of the fat.  Reserve a bit in the pan to keep it well-greased.

In a separate bowl, beat 14 eggs.

Once the sausage is done, scoot it to one side of the pan and add the hash browns.  Stir to warm and mix well.  Scoot to one side and add the eggs.  Begin to scramble.  As the eggs cook, mix into sausage/potato mixture and continue stiring until eggs are fully cooked.

To enjoy tonight: I like to serve this one fresh on warm flour tortillas and sprinkled with cheese.  Roll them up like a burrito and enjoy.

To enjoy later: When planning ahead for the month, I simply freeze the sausage which I usually find at Sam's Club in a 2 lb. package.  Defrost the meat and cook fresh.

Friday, October 12, 2012

When Mom is Sick and Taco Soup

It is inevitable, though never welcomed, that mom will be flattened by at least one of the many germs that come through the front door.  That was me this week.  Three days in bed or on the sofa, reading, napping, watching a TV series on Netflix.  But as glorious as that sounds, it came with all the benefits of the flu.  In most of these situations, that would mean fast food or cold sandwiches for dinner for the family.  However, to the family whose mom prepares meals a month at a time, it simply means someone else pulls the designated meal out of the freezer and finishes the preparations.  As at my house this week.

The posted menu said "Italian Shepherd Pie," and had the instructions written on the foil to bake at 350 degrees F for 60 minutes.  My son handled that just perfectly.  Yes, I had pulled it from the freezer on an earlier trip to the kitchen, and yes, I had him add about 15 minutes of cooking time since it wasn't fully defrosted when he put it in the oven.  Another night, it was Taco Soup.  Easy enough to reheat in a pot and serve.  Most families can figure out the side dishes or may even choose to skip them since mom's not around. :)

Here's my favorite Taco Soup.

Brown 1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey and drain the fat.

Add 2 cans of each:
pinto beans
corn
diced tomatoes

1/2 cup taco seasoning (my favorite is McCormick which is also available in bulk at Costco.)

To enjoy tonight:  Simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Top with shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips, a dollop of sour cream and even chunks of avocado.

To enjoy later:  After mixing the ingredients together, pour into a large plastic container, label, and freeze.

This recipe makes about 14 cups and stores nicely in the Rubbermaid 14-Cup container for freezing.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Beef Stew

Yesterday was going to be a very busy day.  What a delight to pull out Beef Stew from the freezer and put it in my crock-pot to simmer all day.  Truth be told, I figured this out Saturday night, and let the stew defrost overnight so that it would be ready to cook on Sunday.  All I had to do to prepare Sunday dinner was bake some biscuits which I served with softened butter and Rilee's homemade plum jam.  YUM!

My variation of Beef Stew:

2 pounds beef stew meat
6 cups water
5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks or mini-carrots right from the bag
1 medium onion, chopped coarsely
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1-2 bay leaves

To enjoy later:  Put all ingredients into a 14-cup lidded container.  My favorite is Rubbermaid.  Label it Beef Stew and freeze.

To enjoy tonight:  Simmer for about 3 hours or slow-cook in a crock-pot for 10 hours.  Remove the bay leaves before serving.

To thicken the juices, combine 3 tablespoons cornstarch with 1/2 cup cold water until smooth.  Stir into stew and bring to a boil cooking for 2 minutes until thickened.  This is best done outside of the crock-pot.  (I usually skip this step.)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Labelling Containers

After many years of experience, my favorite way to label my containers is with a P-Touch machine.  Unlike, tape, stickers and other labels, these do not come off in the dishwasher.   They can be peeled off even after baking in the over and going through the dishwasher.  A bit more expensive to use than return address labels, but much better on the marriage.  My hubby no longer has to fish out the remains of labels from the dishwasher lines.  :)

Versatile Red Sauce

Tonight, as most Fridays at our house, I served pasta in an effort to help my athletes "carbo-load" for their active Saturdays.  About once every 2 months, I make a huge pot of red sauce which is used for spaghetti, lasagna, manicotti, and other Italian dishes.  I freeze it in portioned containers of about 3 cups which covers 1 lb. of pasta nicely.  Use more if you prefer your pasta extra-saucy.  It takes about 6 cups for a Lasagna.  Each of my square containers is labeled "marinara sauce," and I have a stack of them in the freezer. 

This also makes it convenient to take a meal to a family in need.  Just defrost and warm the sauce and cook some pasta.  Easy!

My favorite spaghetti sauce is originally from my mother-in-law who cooked by pinches and tastes.  Remember, this is a giant recipe making abotu 24 cups of sauce!

Saute: 2 onions, diced, in  olive oil until softened
Add in a heaping tablespoon (or more) minced garlic.

Pour in the following:
1 102-ounce can tomato sauce
1 106-ounce can tomatoes, pureed in a blender
3 6-ounce cans of tomato paste

Stir in:
1/2 C dried parsley or 1/2 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 C basil, fresh is best, but dried works, too
1/3 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves

Let simmer for about 1 hour if you plan to freeze.  Simmer for about 2 hours to serve tonight.

For variety: 
Brown a package of ground turkey and add to 3 cups of sauce for a great meat sauce.
Cook Italian sausage whole in the oven (about 40 min. at 350 degrees F) or crumble and brown in a frying pan to add a different flavor to the sauce.
I use Glad 3-cup containers for freezer storage.  That amount covers about 1 lb. of pasta.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

An Easy Fix - Chicken Patty Burgers

Last night I enjoyed an easy fix for dinner.  Store-bought chicken patties, either breaded or not, served on hamburger buns with veggies and condiments.  Perfect for a busy evening or hot fall day!

Since it was prepared for kids, I sliced apples and tossed them with a bit of lemon juice. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Just finished another month of meals.  It is so nice to have the freezer loaded once again!  This collection of fall meals adds some comfy, homey entrees to the calendar of meals. 

I am wondering if a blog is the best way to share the recipes and ideas.  What do you think?