I try to let each of my kids choose at least one dinner per week. They go through phases with their favorites and we tend to repeat a lot. For a while, Curt’s choice was always tacos, and I nearly pulled my hair out trying to come up with different ways to make them: ground beef, shredded beef, shredded pork, shredded chicken, shrimp, tofu (yes, tofu…not a hit with my kids). You name it; we tried it. At least tacos can be a versatile meal.
Luke went through a phase where he wanted breakfast for dinner. I loved that one as it’s my personal favorite meal of the day.
Lately, Luke’s choice has been steak sandwiches. I love this one, too, plus you can switch it up quite a bit. Luke prefers a “Philly cheesesteak” version, while Curt likes a recipe I make with an Asian-inspired marinade. Either way, I use boneless top sirloin (I stock up when it’s on sale at Brookshire’s, like it is this week), grill it and slice it thinly across the grain. My kids devour it.
Luke’s “Steak Sandwich”
1 lb boneless top sirloin
3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 white onion, sliced
4 sandwich rolls of your choice
4 slices smoked provolone cheese
Combine Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour over boneless top sirloin. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Bring steak to room temperature. Prepare grill to high heat. Sear sirloin on both sides quickly, then move steak to indirect heat on the grill and continue cooking, about 3 minutes per side for medium. Remove steak from grill. Let rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice thinly across grain.
Sauté bell pepper and onion until soft.
Place meat on sandwich rolls, top with vegetables, and then add cheese. Place under broiler for 3-4 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 626, Calories from Fat: 255, Fat: 28 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (12 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 121 mg, Sodium: 769, Carbohydrates: 43 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 10 g, Protein: 48 g
A few weeks ago, I polled my Facebook friends to see what they liked to make on Friday nights at home. My friend Nicholas, a firefighter, loves grilled bratwurst and vegetables. I loved that idea! I asked him if he’d braised the bratwurst in beer before grilling and he hadn’t, but he said it’s on his list to try. I love cooking the German sausages this way – I think it adds a depth of flavor you can’t get from grilling alone.
Beer Braised Bratwurst and Grilled Vegetables
6 bratwurst links
1 (12 oz) bottle lager beer
2 bell peppers, various colors
1 large white onion, cut into chunks
1 large purple onion, cut into chunks
1 yellow squash, cut into thick slices
1 zucchini, cut into thick slices
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large sauce pan, bring sausages and beer to a low boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until sausage casings begin to stretch and split.
In the meantime, heat grill to medium heat. Toss vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill over medium heat until slightly charred. Increase heat on grill. Sear sausages quickly on each side. Serve immediately.
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 371, Calories from Fat: 246, Fat: 27 g (9 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 63 mg, Sodium: 730 mg, Carbohydrates: 14 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 5 g, Protein: 14 g
I’m still blogging from my beach vacation. I know I’ve explained more than once already that in the big family group that congregates at Sandbridge Beach each year, each nuclear family takes a night to cook. For my night this year, I made a delicious and simple London Broil topped with an optional faux chimichurri (spinach instead of parsley, basil instead of oregano).
“London Broil” is a fancy term for top round or flank steak. It’s really just a marinated cut of meat grilled, then cut across the grain into thin strips and served–easy and delicious.
A London Broil isn’t the most tender cut of meat so a marinade is necessary. This is the recipe I used this week and it was yummy. I was unsure about the honey at first, but the sugars help give your cut of meat a beautiful sear.
Large (2 lbs) London Broil
5 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp honey
Puree all ingredients (except London Broil) in a food processor or blender. Place meat in a zipper-locked bag or shallow pan. Cover with marinade. Place in refrigerator for several hours, turning several times.
Bring steak to room temperature before grilling. Place over direct, medium heat and grill about 7-8 minutes per side for medium rare (a London Broil should be pink inside). Let stand for several minutes. Slice diagonally across the grain. Serve immediately.
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 344, Calories from Fat: 90, Fat: 10 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 151 mg, Sodium: 998 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 52 g
When I found out I was moving to Texas from Virginia all the way back in 1997 when I accepted a spot in the master’s program for journalism at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook ‘em!), my friend Wendy gave me a Tex-Mex cookbook.
“Enjoy your adventures in the Lone Star State and learn to cook some yummy food,” she inscribed in the front cover.
Although my plan was never to stay in Texas after I graduated, I find myself still here 15 years later. I’ve had many adventures, and I’ve learned to cook some delicious food (tamales still elude me so if you want to teach me, please send us a message!).
Empanadas are one of my favorites. A little hand-held pie, an empanada can be either sweet or savory. I love this version with ground chuck and some surprise sweetness in the raisins. Delicious.
Ground Beef Empanadas (Picadillo)
Makes 8 empanadas
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
8 oz ground beef chuck
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup drained green pitted olives, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1 cup canned tomato puree or sauce
Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing
One 1-lb pkg frozen puff pastry
All purpose flour, for dusting
2 large eggs, beaten with 1 Tbsp water
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Heat the oil in a heavy sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef chuck and cook until browned, about 7 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper. Add the olives, raisins, carrots and onions and sauté for a couple of minutes until softened. Add the tomato puree and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and cool to room temperature before filling the empanadas.
Grease a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the pastry out to 1/4-to-1/8-inch thickness. With a knife, cut out 4 equal squares measuring 4 1/2-by-5 1/2 inches. Add 2 tablespoons of the cooled beef mixture to the center of the square. Brush the edge of each square with some egg wash and fold to shape into triangles. Crimp the edges with a fork. Transfer the empanadas to the prepared baking sheet and brush them with the remaining egg wash. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 172, Calories from Fat: 80, Fat: 9 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 64 mg, Sodium: 640 mg, Carbohydrates: 15 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 12 g, Protein: 7 g.
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It’s hard to resist a good, top sirloin steak.
It’s also hard to resist cooking it over an open flame in the height of summertime.
One of the best things about a juicy, tender sirloin, in my opinion, is that you don’t need to do much to it for it to turn out perfectly. However, every now and then it’s fun to add something like this compound butter to enhance the flavor of the steak.
Compound butter is simply mixing different ingredients into your real butter of choice (I like salted sweet cream). The variations are endless, as with this mustard herb butter. I’d even throw in some garlic for good measure.
With top sirloin steaks on sale this week at Brookshire’s, you can even get enough for a midsummer party.
Sirloin Steak Topped with Mustard Herb Butter
2 boneless top sirloin steaks
2 oz salted butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 Tbsp finely chopped chervil
1 Tbsp finely chopped tarragon
2 tsp wholegrain Dijon mustard
cayenne pepper, to taste
Mix all the ingredients (except the steaks!) in a bowl. Turn the mixture out onto a sheet of greaseproof paper and roll into a sausage shape. Chill the butter mixture for at least one hour. Remove just before serving on top of the steak and cut into rounds.
Cook the steaks to your liking and leave to rest for 2-3 minutes to allow the juices to run back into the meat.
Just before serving, place a couple of rounds/discs of mustard butter on top of the steaks and let melt.
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 1193, Calories from Fat: 817, Fat: 91 g (40 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 355 mg, Sugar: 0 g, Sodium: 418 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Fiber: 1 g, Protein: 88 g
Perusing the seafood counter at my local Brookshire’s tonight, I saw something I didn’t recognize: swai fillets.
Nope, not the latest dance craze, but a sweet, mild-tasting fish with a light, flaky texture that can be broiled, grilled or coated with bread crumbs and fried. It also tastes good with sauces.
Loosely, swai is a Vietnamese catfish. A 3.5-ounce serving of swai contains around 90 calories, 4 grams of fat (1.5 saturated), 45 grams of cholesterol and 50 milligrams of sodium.
Plus it’s quite economical. Try it today!
There are so many recipes for Lemon Pepper Swai. This was a good one.
Lemon Pepper Swai
2 swai fillets
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp lemon pepper seasoning
1 tsp lemon juice (optional)
Wash fish fillets and pat dry with a paper towel. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brush flour over both sides of the fish over a plate.
Season one side of each filet with lemon pepper and quickly flip them lemon pepper side down onto the skillet. Work quickly to ensure the butter does not burn but stays hot enough. Season the top of the filets with lemon pepper and sprinkle lemon juice over them.
Fry each side about 4 minutes on high heat.Fish will be opaque and easily flaked with the spatula when done. The sides should both look golden and crispy.
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 211, Calories from Fat: 70, Fat: 8 g, Cholesterol: 45 mg, Sodium: 257 mg, Carbohydrates: 20 g, Fiber: 4 g, Protein: 17 g
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I once knew a great man who always wore a cowboy hat and boots, never left home without his bolo tie and starched shirts, and was as much a cowboy as the wranglers I’ve met at the rodeo.
Funny thing was, he wasn’t even born in this country. He and his father immigrated to New York state from Sweden when he was just a boy, early in the 20th century. He grew up on Long Island but eventually joined, what was then, the Army Air Corps and was stationed in San Antonio.
That was all it took.
From that moment on, he was a Texan. He married a yellow rose of Texas, raised his children in Texas, and, eventually, died in the state he’d adopted and loved.
He subscribed to a magazine called “Cowboys and Indians.” He went on “shoots” where the “old-timers” (his words, not mine) would wear old cowboy clothes and compete in feats of accuracy. He handcrafted muzzleloaders, lovingly carving their stocks out of wood and fashioning their barrels. Silversmithing was his hobby, and he made the most gorgeous pieces of jewelry out of silver and often turquoise.
And when I think of him, I think of big, juicy, thick bone-in rib eye steaks. Father’s Day is coming up and this is what we always grilled. Fittingly, the bone-in rib eye is often called the “cowboy steak.”
There aren’t many “recipes” for a bone-in rib eye, per se, because you don’t want to take away from the flavor of the meat.
You DO want to let it sit at room temperature for about 45 minutes before grilling. You DO want to salt and pepper your steak. You DO want to slap it on the grill over a high flame to sear it and seal in the juices, then turn the temperature down or move to indirect heat to finish the cooking process. And you DO want to let it rest for about five minutes before cutting into it. Finally, you DO want to buy a bone-in-rib eye, on sale at Brookshire’s, this week.
I think anyone who has had a serious interest in cooking has, at one time or another, delved into the wonderful world of Julia Child. At least, I did.
The best thing about Julia, for me, was that she wasn’t serious. I mean, the woman could work her way around a kitchen, no doubt, but she never took herself too seriously. She laughed at her mistakes and championed her disasters. Loudly. I remember watching a snippet of her preparing a classic French dish called, Americanized, beef burgundy. The French pronunciation, boeuf bourguignon, rolled off Julia’s tongue with both the awkwardness and the finesse that somehow co-existed in her helter-skelter, yet deft, persona.
During that phase in my life, if Julia made it, I wanted to make it. Her beef burgundy has become a lifelong favorite. Chuck roast is on sale at Brookshire’s this week, so try this in homage to Julia. You won’t be disappointed. I promise.
Serves 5 to 6
6 oz bacon (or salt pork)
3 lbs beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups shallots, about 8 shallots
2 large carrots, one diced and one cut into 2-inch chunks
4 cloves garlic, diced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup brandy, plus 2 Tbsp
2/3 bottle Pinot Noir or Burgundy wine
4 whole cloves
Handful of fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
2-3 cups beef stock
6 oz butter (4 for the beginning and 2 for the sauce)
3 Tbsp flour (combine with the butter for the sauce)
8 oz fresh mushrooms (cremini, button, or shiitake)
1 1/2 cups pearl onions (frozen is fine)
Salt and pepper
Start by adding 1 cup of water to a large skillet. Add your bacon or salt pork and cook on medium-high heat until the water evaporates and the bacon starts to brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Add 4 tablespoons of butter to the pan and cook until the bacon is crispy. Remove bacon to a Dutch oven or heavy pot.
Add beef cubes in batches to pan. Don’t crowd the pan. Brown beef on all sides. It will probably take you 3 to 4 batches and 20 to 25 minutes total. Remove beef to Dutch oven when done.
Add shallots, diced carrots and garlic to skillet where beef was browned. Scrape up as many brown bits as possible and cook for a minute or two. Then add tomato paste and continue to cook for another minute.
Deglaze pan with 1/2 cup brandy. Use liquid to scrape up as many bits as possible. Add mixture to Dutch oven.
Add to the Dutch oven wine, cloves, parsley, bay leaves, and enough beef stock to just cover the beef and bring to a simmer. Simmer covered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Add carrot pieces (2 inches or so in length) to Dutch oven and continue to cook for another hour or until carrots and beef are tender.
When ready, remove beef and carrots from Dutch oven and set aside. Strain liquid and add liquid to a medium pot. Bring to a very slight simmer.
Mix 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons of flour to form a paste. Stir 1/3 of the paste at a time into the sauce. The sauce should start to thicken immediately.
Stir in 2 tablespoons more of brandy for extra flavor and continue to lightly simmer sauce until it’s silky smooth and thick.
In a large skillet, add mushrooms with a tiny drizzle of oil. Cook on medium heat until mushrooms lose their liquid, about 10 minutes. Add pearl onions and cook until they are slightly browned.
Serve beef, carrots, mushrooms, and onions with sauce. Serve with potatoes, egg noodles, rice and/or crusty bread.
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 1257, Calories from Fat: 885, Fat: 98 g, Cholesterol: 326 mg, Sodium: 1251mg, Carbohydrates: 17 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugars: 3 g, Protein: 73 g
A top sirloin is a delicious, yet relatively inexpensive, cut of meat.
Culled from the upper back rear of the cattle, a top sirloin is deliciously marbled and easily grilled, braised, broiled, roasted or pan-fried.
This traditional French treatment is a succulent treat you can sink your teeth into, and it’s even better when Top Sirloin Steak is on sale at Brookshires.
Peppered Top Sirloin Steak – Steak au Poivre
1 Tbs coarsely ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp coarse salt
2 tsp prepared horseradish
2 Tbs olive oil
2 lbs boneless top sirloin steak
In a small bowl, mix together the pepper, garlic, salt, horseradish and olive oil.
Place the steaks on a shallow dish and rub the mixture all over the meat. Marinate at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours or, better still, covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Turn the meat from time to time to coat both sides evenly.
Remove the steaks from the refrigerator an hour before cooking.
When ready to grill, heat broiler or grill. Broil or grill steak approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side or until done to your preference.
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 630g, Calories from Fat: 355g, Fat: 40 g, Cholesterol: 203 mg, Sodium: 1117 mg, Carbohydrates: 1 g, Protein: 65 g
Each Monday we feature a new or interesting product.
Tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, every Tuesday.
On Wednesdays, get a tip or idea on using an item in the circular.
Ideas for the whole family come to you every Thursday.
Stop fighting the crowds, save money and dine in, every Friday.