Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sorta Swiss Steak

Swiss steak is a comfort food in our home. I have a recipe I have used for years - but it requires my slow cooker and this morning I decided I wanted Swiss steak - but my meat wasn't thawed. So I went online and did a search for a different sort of recipe using cubed steak. Most of the recipes were for "chicken fried steak" - I didn't really want that - so kept looking til I found this one and decided to give it a try. The name alone was intriguing.

Sorta Swiss Steak

1 lb cubed beef steak
1 cup flour, divided
salt & pepper to taste
2 tbsp oil
1 large onion
2 cups beef broth
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Our grocery store has a regular deal which is 5 meats for 19.95. The variety changes week to week and occasionally they do this and you get the 6th one free. The prices are amazing - you pay 3.99 each and on the week that the 6th is free - the price is even better. I tend to watch for this deal and stock up. Last week they had cubed steak as well as other great meats included in this offer. I filled my freezer. For this recipe I used 2 lbs of meat because I was feeding 6 people . Each package had about 1 lb and 4 pieces of meat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Salt and pepper the meat and dredge in flour.

Set aside and finishing dredging the rest of the meat.

Heat oil over medium high heat. Brown meat 4 to 5 minutes total. Not cooked - just to get a nice crust on meat.
Once meat is browned, set aside on a plate and continue to brown the rest of the meat.
Slice onion into wedges.
Layer onion in the bottom of a roast pan and top with a layer of meat.

Continue to layer - I had 3 layers of onion and 2 of meat. Pour beef broth and Worcestershire sauce over layers.

Cover and bake for 2 hours.

This is the completed dish. Everyone really enjoyed this version of Swiss steak. I am not sure if I will ever go back to the other. The meat was incredibly tender. The onion picked up some amazing flavors. My husband raved about this.

I served this with beets (frozen by me this summer), boiled Yukon gold potatoes & peas.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Oven Baked Chicken, Mushroom Rice Pilaf, Tossed Salad

I love fried chicken - but not very often. It just isn't good for you. So.. over the years I have tried various recipes for "baked" fried chicken. Finally one that is a keeper. This was nice & crispy.

Oven-Baked Chicken (serves 8 - 10)

1 tbsp butter
2/3 cup Bisquick mix
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cut-up whole chicken (mine was under 3 lbs and I was serving 7 people so I bought 2 chickens)
My grocery store had whole chickens on for 99 cents a pound. They also had the same chickens cut-up for the same price. I bought 2 of each. I love oven baked whole chickens - and then use the leftovers for sandwiches or on a salad. In each package of cut up chicken was 2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 wings and 2 drumsticks. It also included giblets - which I tossed in the garbage.
Heat oven to 425 degree. In 9 x 13 inch baking dish, melt butter in oven. (I omitted this step, didn't think I needed the butter although next time I would spray the pans for easier clean up. One reason for the butter is more about putting the chicken in an already warm dish.)
In medium bowl, stir together Bisquick, paprika, salt, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and pepper.

Coat chicken with mixture. Place skin side down in heated dish. (oops, apparently I missed this instruction....I don't think it really mattered...but will try to remember this next time and see if it makes a difference.)
Bake 30 minutes, turn chicken and back another 30 minutes, or until juice of chicken is clear.

Isn't the color beautiful? The skin was crispy - the chicken was juicy - not dried out at all.

Mushroom Rice Pilaf (Serves 8)
1 cup green pepper
1 cup onion
1 cup mushrooms
2 tbsp butter
4 cups water
2 cups long grain rice
3 tsp chicken bouillon
3 tsp parsley
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
In a saucepan, melt butter.
Chop green pepper, onion and slice mushrooms.

Add vegetables in pan with melted butter, saute until tender.

Stir in the water, rice, bouillon, parsley, salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat.
Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes on low, until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.

I really enjoyed the rice dish - although next time I would switch out the green pepper for celery. The green pepper didn't really add anything to the dish - and I think the celery would add a nice crunch to the dish.
I also served tossed salad. I buy the bagged salad mix. I serve the salad mix in a bowl and then add fixings at the table. I put individual toppings in bowls, such as cucumber, mushrooms, cheese, croutons and tomatoes. The salad dressings also go on the table. I find everyone makes the salad they want to eat and what is left goes into the fridge for another day. I used to put the fixings in the salad and add the dressing - and if it didn't get eaten it was pretty much wasted as it got so soggy before the next meal. My family quite likes this and less waste is a good thing.

Japanese Onion Soup, Ginger Salad Dressing, Steamed Pork Buns & Shu Mai

Our family are big fans of dim sum - this is a type of Chinese cooking/restaurant. I first had this when living in Ottawa way back in the mid 80's. I was a legal secretary and my boss, Michelle, would reward me for working long hours or weekends by taking me out for lunch. She took me for "dim sum" and I fell in love. You sit at a table and these Chinese ladies wander around with carts and different kinds of dishes. There are many different kinds of things - mostly tiny little parcels of food and on saucers of 3 or 4 of the same thing. You choose what you like - and keep doing that til you are full. When you are done eating they add up the individual little plates that the food is served on.

Over the years - many of the places that we have lived have not been near a Dim Sum restaurant. It is something I look for when travelling/visiting different places. It is my absolute favorite type of food - hands down!! We have made some of the foods at home - but it is hard work and fiddly - and so much better when you are being served - lol.

I have also discovered that many Chinese markets/groceries carry some dim sum in the freezer section - so we fill up when we can.

A week ago Friday we found ourselves in Cleveland and found a sweet little Chinese grocery with a wonderful couple who run it. We bought a bunch of dim sum, steamed pork buns, dumplings & shumai (a little parcel of shrimp and other yumminess).

Another restaurant I love is a Japanese Steakhouse/Hibachi style. I love the soup and the salad dressing they serve. I did some searching on the internet and found recipes for for supper tonight I decided to make soup, and salad and steam some pork buns and shumai.

Here goes - pictures and all!!

Japanese Onion Soup

1/2 stalk celery, chopped
1 small onion,chopped
1 tsp grated fresh ginger root
1 tsp minced garlic
8 quarts chicken stock
3 tsp beef bouillon
1 cup chopped shiitake mushrooms (our grocery store did not have fresh, I used dried)
2 cups water
1 cup Baby portobello mushrooms, sliced (we have these - if not button - or leave out entirely)
1 tbsp minced fresh chives

In a pot, combine the celery, onion, ginger, garlic, shiitake mushrooms, chicken stock, beef bouillon & water. Place the pot over high heat and bring to a rolling boil. When the mixture reaches boiling, cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 45 minutes.

Here is the package of the dried shiitake mushrooms I purchased. I just broke them apart as they can't really be sliced when dried out. Normally you rehydrate them in hot water and then they can be sliced etc... Because they were being boiled and cooked for quite a while I decided I didn't need to worry about them. They were fine.

Slice the baby portobello mushrooms.

Place them in a pot.
Slice the chives and place in bowls - waiting for the soup to finish.

When soup is finished cooking the 45 minutes drain over a sieve into the pot with the baby portobello slices. You have basically made a stock from the original soup mixture. The soup is now ready to serve into individual bowls.
Here is my bowl of soup - sooo yummy-I love this!! And yes even without the mushroom it would be awesome!!

Ginger Salad Dressing
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 cup peanut oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp minced ginger
2 tbsp minced celery
2 tbsp ketchup
4 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender.
Blend on high speed for about 30 seconds or until all of the ingredients are well pureed.
Serve on a tossed salad. I made this once the soup was boiling so the dressing had time for the flavors to mingle. Very yummy. Leftovers ...yeah me!!
The picture below shows my bamboo steamer - there are 2 layers here - and each one has cabbage leaves on the bottom and the dim sum sits on the cabbage. Place the steamer, with lid, over a pot of boiling water. The cabbage (lettuce also works) keeps the contents of the steamer from sticking.
Here is a close up of the pork buns - these are mini - normally they are about the size of your fist.
Here they are after they have been steamed. These are more like a dumpling rather than a steamed pork bun.
Here is the packaging from the Shrimp Shumai (prounced - sue my)

Here are the shumai after steaming - and almost gone too!!

Yummy - if I do say so myself doesn't quite replicate Dim Sum or Japanese Steakhouse - but not bad for home!!

Let me know if you give these recipes a try!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Banana Bread

What do you know...more overripe bananas...hmmm, banana bread time. I made this yesterday and when I got back from picking up my husband at the airport it was gone!! I didn't even get a try. Fortunately I did get a couple of the banana oatmeal chocolate chip muffins this week!!

Banana Bread

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Combine butter and sugar in mixing bowl.

Cream together.

Add first egg and beat until smooth.

Add second egg and beat until smooth.

Add mashed bananas and blend in.

In second bowl, stir in flour with baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Add dry mixture to liquid mixtures.

Stir just to combine.

Transfer batter to greased loaf pan.

Bake at 300 degrees for one hour. Insert toothpick comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes. Remove from pan and place on cake rack to cool.

Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the finished product - and like I said when I got home last night there were only crumbs!!