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Posts tagged ‘beef’

Leftover Steak Hash Browns

For my birthday, a couple of weeks ago, the guys cooked. Ric stood over the grill in 40 degree weather with wind and spitting rain and the boys set the table with everything they could think of that they know that I love. It turned out to be a lot of red – from the meat and wine to the French pottery and table cloth. I thought it was very sweet and they really did a great job on the food.

The steaks were delicious! And, one of the things I love about steak is making oven hash browns with the leftovers.

I chop a bunch of potatoes into little cubes. The smaller they are the less time they take to bake.

Cut the left-over steak into cubes, about ½ inch.

Drizzle some oil over the potatoes – 1 or 2 Tablespoons is enough.

Throw in some salt and pepper.

Then throw in the meat and stir.

Spread it all on a baking sheet. (Notice I didn’t say “cookie sheet”.)

Cover with foil and put it into a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.

I took this picture of blue sky from my deck while they meat and potatoes were baking. Notice the maple tree branch. Three days from May and that’s all we had in the way of leaves. Brrrr…. This is why I’m still stuck on winter food.

Back to the kitchen…thank you, Mr. Timer for the reminder!! After 20 minutes, take the pan out and stir everything around. The potatoes should be fork tender at this point. The next step is to get them crispy.

Bump the oven temperature up to 400 degrees and return the pan to the oven, this time uncovered. Leave them in for about 10 minutes, then pull them out and stir again. You should be getting some crispy edges.

Return it to the oven for another 7-10 minutes then pull it out and stir again. Repeat until your hit the crispiness point that you think is perfect.

We like to serve them with ranch and ketchup. And, it’s not a PBJ.

(originally published 5/5/2011)

Chunkless Meat Loaf

One of my family’s favorite meals is meatloaf with homemade macaroni-and-cheese. The recipe below will make two loaves, so when it’s just our family I save half of the mixture in the freezer for a future date. Soon, it will take two just to feed the family though.

For the Tuesday night group it takes four or five so once again, the pictures are out of sync with the recipe – sorry.

Basic Meat Loaf (2 loaves)
2 eggs
2 cups milk
6 slices of bread
2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp salt
¼ cup of dry minced onion (or fresh –see upgrade option)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dry mustard
½ tsp rubbed sage
½ tsp pepper
2 lbs lean ground beef
1 lb turkey sausage (any flavor will do)
Topping: ½ cup chili sauce (or ketchup with some chili powder & pepper)

Upgrade Option: If you have an audience that doesn’t mind chunks of vegetables in their meat, then finely chopped onion, shredded carrots, and/or bell peppers all add some interest. My crowd seems to like the plain meatloaf best.

Start by skimming just the crusts off of the bread with a serrated bread knife. (Chunks of crust are unappetizing in meat).

Then cut the bread into cubes.

Put all of the bread into a nice big bowl and add the milk and eggs.

The bread needs to steep for 10-15 minutes in the milk and eggs, with only an occasional stir but you can add all of the other ingredients except the meat while it’s sitting.

When the bread is nice and soggy, use a mixer or a whisk to turn the glup into a smooth “goop”. Not the most appetizing procedure, but it keeps the finished meatloaf from being strewn with bits of gooey bread.

If the turkey sausage comes in casings, it has to be cut out of them. Fun! (not)

Toss the turkey into the goop.

Mix. If it wasn’t such a big batch, Darth Mixer would be doing this – and then getting a bath in anti-bacterial spray. Unfortunately, Darth doesn’t have a bowl big enough for feeding twenty-five and the next best option is to use your hands. I can’t stand raw meat, or anything else except garden dirt, under my fingernails, so I wear gloves. Eventually your hands are so cold that they go numb and you can’t feel much of the squish anymore.

Then, add the beef.

Mix thoroughly. (Note: This is the point where you put half of the mixture into a heavy zip-lock bag and stick it in the freezer if you want a loaf for another day. When you’re ready to use it, just thaw and proceed with the rest of the directions below.)

Divide the gunk into loaf pans.

Top with the chili sauce. In a pinch induced by poor planning, one can add a teaspoon or two of chili powder and some black pepper to regular ketchup and it’s just about as good.

Put the uncovered loaves into a 350 degree oven and then clean every surface in the kitchen that could have possibly been mucked up by meat germs.

After about 45 minutes pull each loaf out, drain the liquid from the pan and return it to the oven. (Obviously – Be VERY careful!) I use a spatula to hold the meat steady and tip as far as I can without dumping the meat into the sink.

Do the same thing again about 15 minutes later. This is a critical step in getting meatloaf that is actually shaped like a loaf, has a bit of a “crust” and isn’t soggy.

Leave the loaves in the oven until the internal temperature is hot enough for the turkey to be cooked – 180 degrees. It should take about 1 hour and 15 minutes for two loaves.

Let me add a plug for a good meat thermometer here. An adolescent episode of misery from improperly cooked chicken caused me to overcook poultry for years. When I finally got a meat thermometer that I trusted, results improved dramatically. Mine tells me the right temperature for each kind of meat and has a cord that lets the probe stay in while the oven door is closed. Love it. No more shoe leather for dinner.

Almost there.

Finally, let the finished loaves rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with ketchup….and macaroni-and-cheese, and green beans and rolls…and desert. Yum!

Oops…crumbles. Food staging requires more attention to detail than I have sometimes.

I ran out of camera snapping stamina when it came to the mac-n-cheese, so that will have to be a future post, but let me just ask: does this ever happen to anyone else?

Three open packages of elbow noodles in the same cabinet? How? Why?

I guess maybe it’s like what happens to socks in the dryer?

(originally posted 4/30/2011)

Salt Crusted Prime Rib

From cookies to carne! (My first non-cookie post.) – originally posted 3/14/2011

This weekend, we were CELEBRATING! Ric finished his Ph.D. in Nuclear (Radiological) Chemistry! Instead of commemorative pocket protectors we went with Prime Rib. My Aunt Angela, Uncle Pete, Cousin Melissa and all the kids were in the kitchen at some point.

Just after we took the photo we realized we needed to re-platter.

The first time I tried roasting prime rib was after watching one of our students, (who is determined not to be a chef, except when he’s in the kitchen), pull it off for a crowd at a Christmas party. It was delicious. I came home and studied my Julia Child cookbook for a few days, and finally plunged in on Christmas day 2009 for my family, mom, dad and grandma. The results were spectacular with twice-baked potatoes, steamed artichokes and luscious white rolls.

Here’s the basic recipe:

Details are lacking, but it jogs my memory.


About six hours before you want to eat, Start the Sauce with Veggies and Broth – Coarsely chop two onions, a few stocks of celery and several carrots. Toss them into a sauté pan with olive oil and garlic. When the vegetables are soft, and just beginning to brown at the edges, pour a cup or so of red wine into the pan to “deglaze”. Then dump it all into the bottom of a large stock pot and pour a couple of quarts of beef broth over the top. Add a bay leaf, thyme, rosemary and black pepper to taste. Let it steam on low while the vegetables give up their essence and the sauce reduces.

The sauce, off to a good start.

Decide on Go Time for the Meat: Divide the weight of the prime rib by 3 to figure out approximately how many hours to allow – for example: 12lbs needs about 4 hours. Just before you need to start, preheat the oven to 400, and prepare the salt crust for the meat. Mix the salt, oil, peppers and mustard in a small dish until you get a coarse paste. Rub it all over the outside of the roast.

The salt-crust paste.

Place the salt encrusted meat on a roasting rack and put in the oven at 400 degrees for the first 30 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 325 degrees for the duration. It takes 15-20 minutes per pound to get the meat to an internal temperature of 135 degrees – medium rare in the center and a little more done at the edges.

A coat to wear in the oven.

About 1.5 hours before the meal: Chop the Portobello – The earthy flavor of the final sauce comes from these flavorful mushrooms. Chop 3-4 of them – coarsely if you want children to be able to pick them out at the end, or more finely if you want a sophisticated looking version with tiny bits of mushroom. They will shrink a lot in the broth so there’s no need to mince at the start.

I actually don’t care for mushrooms, but these are so good!

Gutting mushrooms.

Cutting mushrooms.

Once you have the mushrooms chopped: Ditch the Veggies – About an hour before you want to serve the meat, it’s time to remove the vegetable carcasses – their flavor is gone and they have nothing left to offer except making what would otherwise be a beautifully smooth sauce full of slimy chunks. Pour the contents of the stock pot through a strainer into another pot. Press the final juices from the vegetables in the strainer and discard them. Oops…I wasn’t going to use text-bookish words like “discard” so, how about – “plop ’em in the trash”.

The vegetables are spent. It’s time to dump them.

Once the veggies are out: Dump in the mushrooms and let them do their work.

There’s broth under there somewhere…the mushrooms will shrink.

Watch the Temperature. It’s really important to have a thermometer in the meat in order to keep from wasting a very expensive cut by over or under cooking. The Javin says 130, but that’s pretty rare for the home environment where it won’t continue to warm in a chafing dish. I think that waiting until it hits 135 works a little better.

When the temperature reaches 135: Take it out! Admire it. Then put it under a loose blankie of foil and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.

Right out of the oven.

Shhh…while the meat is resting…thicken the Sauce. Quietly, dissolve 1-2 TBSP of cornstarch in ½ cup of cold water and pour it into the fortified broth mixture. This will help thicken the sauce slightly.

Sauce almost ready – the mushrooms did shrink!

When everything is ready, uncover the roast. Carve. Cover in sauce. Eat.

A Sprinkle of Reality: That part about quietness while the meat rests…that was a joke! All of the above would be simple and calm if we ate prime rib without any sides. But, in those gaps between steps, you have to fit the potatoes, any veggies that don’t get dumped, bread, salad and perhaps even plans for dessert. On this particular occasion we kept it pretty simple with a green salad, mashed potatoes, Uncle Pete’s homemade rolls and apple crisp with freshly whipped cream for dessert.

Uncle Pete forming rolls.

Ready to eat.

Liam working on Apple Crisp Crust.  Isn’t he cute!!