Sunday Family Dinner

So I thought that last week was family dinner time but luckily it was actually this week. I talked to my sister and we decided to go with prosciutto mozzarella panini, Korean bbq chicken breast & thighs, French Fries and Thai salad.

Last week we made Korean BBQ Short Ribs and Chicken Schnitzel. I’ll post the recipes later next week.

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Cubed Steak

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Ingredients
1.5 pounds Cube Steak
1 cup All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Seasoned Salt
3 teaspoons Ground Black Pepper, Or To Taste
2 teaspoons Onion Powder
Salt, For Seasoning Meat
1 cup Canola Oil (more If Needed)
1 Tablespoons Butter

For Gravy:
4 Tablespoons Flour
4 Cups Hot Water

Instructions

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Mix together flour, seasoned salt, and pepper.

flour steak

Season both sides of steaks with salt and pepper. Dredge each piece in flour mixture, pressing to coat with as much flour as possible.

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Add butter to pan right before frying.

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When butter is melted, fry pieces of steak in mixture. Flip when sides are deep golden brown and cook about 5-6 minute on the other side.

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Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.

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Make the gravy by adding the 4 tablespoons remaining flour to the pan drippings, scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon. *Wooden spoons and cast iron skillets are must haves when cooking* Season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the flour is medium brown and the mixture is bubbly. Slowly add the water stirring constantly. Return the steaks to the skillet and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan, and let simmer for 30 minutes.

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Serve over buttered rice. I usually just make a large pot of rice at the beginning of the week an use it in multiple meals.

Sunday Dinner Ideas

This Sunday we’re having dinner at my folks house. My sister wanted to do something different and instead of a big meal with 2 mains and many sides she wanted to do a series of apps as dinner.

I’m not sure what I should make, I figure two apps would be good to bring but I need it to feed 6 adults and 3 kids (maybe 7 adults and 2 kids cause one of the kids is a dancer and can put away the food). Any idea what I should make?

Slow Cooker Chili

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So Sunday morning we woke up early to head to the airport to pick up my mother in law. I had my day planned out. Grab her, make breakfast, relax and wait until 5pm and then watch WWE’s Wrestlemania for the next 4-5 hours. In order to get that started I wanted to get dinner out of the way as early as possible. My wife had mentioned that she wanted to try Frito Pie but since we didn’t have Fritos we just decided that Chili would be the next best thing. This isn’t my normal recipe for chili, that’s has a few more items in it like black beans, green chilies along with diced tomatoes but I didn’t a have those things around and I wanted to get this started early so it could cook in my slow cooker for next 6 – 8 hours so sacrifices had to be made.

 

Ingredients
1 Tablespoon olive oil
½ large onion, chopped
3 Tablespoons garlic, minced
2 lbs. ground beef
2 cans tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste
1 bottle beer (I recommend Corona, Sol, Presidente, or Dos Equis or brew your own, I did)
1 can red kidney beans
3 Tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Tablespoon paprika
Salt & pepper, to taste

 

Instructions

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onions 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook together until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.

Place onions and garlic in slow cooker and return pan to heat. Add ground beef to pan, season with salt, pepper, cumin and paprika and cook thoroughly. Drain off all of the grease, and place meat in the slow cooker.

Add tomato sauce, beer*, tomato paste, beans, and chocolate chips and stir until everything is well distributed.

Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours if your slow cooker doesn’t have a low setting cook for 4 hours.

Serve over warm buttered rice.

(Yep, I brew my own beer and used it in my chili. After the next batch is done and if it comes out alright I’ll document the process during the 3rd batch and put it on the site.)

Sausage Ragu

My  wife found this recipe a few months back and she made it for a little get together and it was delicious. She found it on New York Times website and it was surprisingly easy. Only thing that might not be in your average pantry is a can whole tomatoes, preferably San Marzano. San Marzano tomatoes are a little more expensive then your average can of tomatoes but to be honest, we’ve made this recipe with and without and it’s better with. So without further ado, here’s a nice recipe of Sausage Ragu.

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INGREDIENTS
1 pound sweet Italian sausage or bulk sausage
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, minced
1 carrot, minced
1 celery stalk, minced
¼ cup minced flat-leaf parsley, plus extra for garnish (I didn’t have any this time I made it so it’s not a deal breaker if you don’t either)
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, with its juice
1 large sprig fresh thyme
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons tomato paste (Again, I didn’t have any so I used Ketchup. I read an article saying this is an acceptable substitute for tomato paste.)
Salt
Ground black pepper
1 pound tubular dried pasta such as mezzi rigatoni, paccheri or penne
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish, optional

PREPARATION

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1. With the tip of a small, sharp knife, slit open the sausage casings. Crumble the meat into a wide, heavy skillet or Dutch oven and set over medium-low heat. If the meat is not rendering enough fat to coat the bottom of the pan as it begins to cook, add olive oil one tablespoon at a time until the meat is frying gently, not steaming. Sauté, breaking up any large chunks, until all the meat has turned opaque (do not let it brown), about 5 minutes.

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2. Add onion, carrot, celery and parsley and stir. Drizzle in more oil if the pan seems dry. Cook over very low heat, stirring often, until the vegetables have melted in the fat and are beginning to caramelize, and the meat is toasty brown. This may take as long as 40 minutes, but be patient: It is essential to the final flavors.

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3. Add tomatoes and their juice, breaking up the tomatoes with your hands or with the side of a spoon. Bring to a simmer, then add thyme and rosemary and let simmer, uncovered, until thickened and pan is almost dry, 20 to 25 minutes.

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4. Mix tomato paste with 1 cup hot water. Add to pan, reduce heat to very low, and continue cooking until the ragù is velvety and dark red, and the top glistens with oil, about 10 minutes more. Remove herb sprigs. Sprinkle black pepper over, stir and taste.

 

5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil pasta until just tender. Scoop out 2 cups cooking water, drain pasta and return to pot over low heat. Quickly add a ladleful of ragù, a splash of cooking water, stir well and let cook 1 minute. Taste for doneness. Repeat, adding more cooking water or ragù, or both, until pasta is cooked through and seasoned to your liking.

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6. Pour hot pasta water into a large serving bowl to heat it. Pour out the water and pour in the pasta. Top with remaining ragù, sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately. Pass grated cheese at the table, if desired.

Braised Lamb Shanks with Sweet Potato Polenta

lamb shanksBraised Lamb Shanks

Ingredients
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 lamb shanks (each about 1 1/4 pounds; 1 shank is a portion)
Kosher salt
1 large Spanish onion or 2 small yellow onions, cut into 1-inch dice
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch dice
4 cloves garlic
1 (12-ounce) can tomato paste
2 cups hearty red wine (I used a nice white wine)
2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary leaves
10 to 12 thyme branches tied together in a bundle
3 to 4 cups water
4 bay leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Coat a large Dutch oven generously with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Season the shanks generously with salt and add them to the pan. Brown well on all sides. This is an incredibly important step; do not rush it.

Meanwhile, puree the onions, carrots, celery and garlic in a food processor until it becomes a coarse paste. Remove and set aside.

Remove the shanks from the pan to a sheet tray. Discard the excess fat from the pan. Add a little more oil to coat the bottom of the pan and add the pureed veggies. Season with salt, to taste. Saute the veggies until they are very brown and aromatic, about 20 minutes. The brown veggies should form a sort of crust on the bottom of the pan.

Add the tomato paste and brown for 5 minutes. Stir in the wine, chopped rosemary and thyme bundle. Stir frequently and cook until the wine has reduced by about half.

Add the shanks back to the pot and pour in 3 to 4 cups of water. The shanks should be submersed, if they are not, add more water. Add the bay leaves to the pan, cover and put in the preheated oven. The cooking time will be about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Turn the shanks over about halfway through the cooking time. Check the shanks every 45 minutes or so. If the liquid has reduced too much add more water. Defat as you go.

Remove the lid during the last 30 minutes of cooking time for maximum browning. When the shanks are done the meat should be incredibly tender and flavorful. Transfer to serving bowls filled with polenta.

Sweet Potato Polenta

Ingredients
1 Cup Quick Or Instant Polenta
2 Cups Mashed, Baked Sweet Potatoes
1 Tablespoon Finely Chopped Fresh Sage
Salt & Pepper
3 Cups Vegetable or Chicken Broth
2 Tablespoons Butter

In a pot, mix the polenta with the broth, mashed sweet potatoes, sage, salt and pepper and cook until tender following manufacturer’s directions.
Once cooked, stir the butter into the polenta.