everyday food made simple

You know, why do they call a piece of breaded steak “chicken-fried steak”? You know how confusing that is to a teenager that just came to the U.S. from a country that doesn’t even really eat steak?!

For the longest time I didn’t know if it was actually chicken or steak. I would always wonder who came up with this silly name… is it chicken, or is it steak? I’m not sure who told me or if I just came to the conclusion that chicken-fried steak is actually “steak”, but to this day I still think it’s funny when I see something called “chicken-fried xxx” when it has nothing to do with chicken lol.

I’ve never had chicken-fried anything before, but once in a while when we’d go to Perkins for breakfast, the hubs will order their chicken-fried steak as his “dinner” after getting off work on nights.

If he likes it, it’s probably pretty good… which means that I’ll probably like it.

Yep, that’s how I determined what we should have for dinner this weekend. I figured we’d try something new and adventurous, something we’ve never made before.

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Well, this recipe sure didn’t disappoint me, because the breading was suuuuper flavorful and the meat was actually quite tender. It’s healthier than the traditional chicken fried steak since we made it in the oven instead of frying it in a frying pan, and if I can make something that’s just as tasty but healthier, I’m all for it.

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healthy chicken-fried steak with cream gravy
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Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1/4 cup skim milk
  3. 1 large egg, beaten
  4. Cooking spray
  5. Hot chili pepper sauce, to taste
  6. 3 cups cornflakes, crushed
  7. 2 teaspoons Lowry's seasoning
  8. 3-4 cube steaks, about 16 oz total
  9. 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  10. 1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth
  11. 1/4 fat-free half-and-half
  12. Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray generously with cooking spray.
  2. Tenderize the meat with a meat tenderizer while making sure the steaks are uniform in thickness.
  3. Using three shallow bowls, place the flour in one bowl. In the other, whisk together the milk, egg, and hot sauce. In the last bowl, combine the cornflakes and 1 teaspoon of the Lowry's.
  4. Season the steaks with the remaining Lowry's seasoning. Dredge the steaks in the flour, patting off the excess. Then dip them into the egg mixture, letting any excess drip off. Finally, dredge them in the crushed cornflakes, slightly pressing on them to help the flakes stick to the steaks.
  5. Place the steaks on the prepared baking sheet. Spray the top of the steaks lightly with more cooking spray. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until cooked through.
While the steaks are cooking, make the gravy
  1. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of beef broth. Whisk until thoroughly combined. In a small saucepan, combine the cornstarch mixture with the remaining beef broth and half-and-half. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn the heat down to medium-low and let simmer until thickened while stirring constantly. Season generously with black pepper.
  2. Serve the steaks with the cream gravy.
Adapted from Food Network Magazine
Adapted from Food Network Magazine
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
We served ours with some homemade mashed potatoes and a side salad – I know I’ll be fighting the hubs for that last steak tomorrow for lunch!

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Enjoy!

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Since last time I tried a dry rub recipe on some ribeyes and they turned out to be super amazing, I figured I’d try a different dry rub recipe for pork tenderloins today.

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Despite the fact that it rained all day here in the Twin Cities, it was almost as if Mother Nature knew we had plans to grill out tonight and gave us some nice (but chilly) weather in the end :)

Thank goodness the skies cleared up – if it would’ve kept on raining, we would’ve had to quickly find a Plan B for dinner. And being the strong Type A person that I am, a last-minute Plan B would not bode well with me (especially when I’ve already gotten everything ready to go). Type A people like to make plans, and stick to their plans. They don’t do well when plans do not go as planned…. in the end, everything ended up going as planned, so I I’m a happy camper.

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grilled pork tenderloin
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Ingredients
  1. Pork tenderloin, about 1.5 pounds
  2. 2 teaspoons EVOO
  3. 1 tablespoon paprika
  4. 2 teaspoons salt
  5. 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  6. 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  7. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  8. 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  9. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  10. 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, combine the paprika, salt, pepper, brown sugar, ground cumin, mustard powder, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  2. Rub the EVOO over the pork tenderloin, then generously coat with the spice rub. Wrap the pork tenderloin in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 3-6 hours.
  3. Remove the pork from the fridge about 30 minutes before grilling.
  4. Using a charcoal grill, set it up so the coals are nice and hot.
  5. Place the pork over direct heat. Cook for about 20-30 minutes (depending on the size of the pork), turning once halfway, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 140-145 degrees.
  6. Transfer to cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes.
  7. Slice the pork and serve.
Adapted from Food Network Magazine
Adapted from Food Network Magazine
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Anyway… what’s not to like about pork tenderloin? These babies were so juicy, tender, and full of flavor. The dry rub gave it a crusty crust on the outside, and the charcoals gave it a nice smoky flavor on the inside. Along with the corn on the cob and cheesy bread to go along with it, who says you can’t have restaurant-quality meals at home?!

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Yep, it was good – definitely a repeat for whenever summer decides to show up in Minnesota. I’m glad we decided to buy two tenderloins, so now we’ve got plenty of yummy meals for the next few days. Next time, I’m going to be sitting on the patio soaking up some sun with some lemonade while the hubs makes me dinner :)

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine

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Now, before I go any further, let me make a disclaimer: I like to give sites credit when I tweak my recipes from their original ones. However, today when I went on Pinterest to find where exactly this recipe came from, it redirected me to a page “that no longer exists”…. so whoever came up with this recipe in the first place, let me know and I will gladly put your name/website on here :)

There has been a “pin” on Pinterest that both the hubs and I have pinned on separate occasions a while back that claims it’s supposedly “the best steak marinade in existence”. Since summer is slooooowly approaching and grilling season is upon us, we figured we’d try it out and see exactly how good it is.

It turned out to be something like this:

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Looks pretty tasty huh?

steak marinade
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2-10 oz ribeye steaks (or any other cuts of steak of your liking)
  2. 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  3. 1/2 cup EVOO
  4. Juice of 1 lemon
  5. 1/4 Worcestershire sauce
  6. 1.5 tablespoons garlic powder
  7. 3 tablespoons dried basil
  8. 1.5 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
  9. 1 teaspoon black pepper
  10. 2 cloves garlic, minced
Instructions
  1. Add all the ingredients (except the steaks) into a large Ziploc bag. Stir to combine.
  2. Add the steaks. Squeeze out all the excess air, seal the bag, and make sure the steaks are covered completely by the marinade. Marinate the steaks in the fridge for up to 8 hours.
  3. About 30 minutes before you put the steaks on the grill, take the steaks out to room temperature.
  4. Using a charcoal grill, set the grill up so the coals are nice and hot.
  5. Place steaks over direct heat and cook for about 14 minutes, flipping once halfway through, or until it's done the way your like it.
Adapted from Unknown
Adapted from Unknown
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
We served our steaks with garlicky green beans and couscous (can you tell it’s our new favorite form of carbs? lol).

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My conclusion: it’s not bad.

Just “not bad”?

Yeah. It was good, tasty, but nothing “amazing” (in my opinion). Lets just say that I’ll be sticking to my dry rub recipe next time. However, it did keep the steak pretty juicy and the Worcestershire and lemon flavor was pretty pronounced. Other than that, I wasn’t really able to taste any of the dry herbs that was in it.

Let me just quote something the hubs said: “if it claims it’s the ‘best marinade in existence’, it better be so amazing that I fall out of my chair.”

Maybe my project for the summer is to perfect this recipe and make it into my own version of “the best steak marinade ever” :)

Enjoy!

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It’s midquarter already – that means there’s only about 5 more weeks of class until summer. But it also means that there’s only 5 weeks left until all 5 of my projects are due.

Well, since it’s the weekend and it’s the perfect time to catch up on homework, what better meals to prepare than something in a Crockpot? Something simple, something healthy, and something tasty. Then I won’t have to slave in the kitchen for hours prepping and cooking.

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crockpot cilantro lime chicken tacos
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  2. Juice from 2 limes
  3. 1/2 cup of cilantro
  4. 1 packet of taco seasoning
  5. 1/4 cup diced onions
  6. 1/2 cup of water
  7. Salt & pepper
  8. Taco tortillas
Instructions
  1. In a 3-5 quart Crockpot, combine everything except the chicken. Stir well, then add the chicken.
  2. Cook on low for about 4-6 hours or until the chicken is tender enough to shred with a fork.
  3. Take the chicken out and place on a plate. Shred, then drizzle some of the remaining sauce over the chicken to keep it moist.
  4. Spoon the chicken mixture into soft taco tortillas. Top with your favorite toppings.
Notes
  1. We cooked the chicken for about 8 hours and it turned out a tad on the dry side. It was already very tender at about the 4-6 hour mark, so next time we'll be keeping an eye on it to make sure it stays juicy.
Adapted from The Vintage Grove
Adapted from The Vintage Grove
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
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Another bonus of making Crockpot meals – not a whole lot of dishes to clean up in the end!

Oh hey, just in time for Cinco de Mayo!

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Vintage Grove

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Just when I thought spring was right around the corner, I checked the forecast for the next 5 days and saw this:

forecast

Ugh. I need to move. I guess today would be the last day to get to use the grill for the next few days (they’re calling for rain for the entire weekend as well). Good thing we planned ahead and decided to throw some chops on the grill for a quick dinner. Yay for planning ahead!

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I have a few rub recipes I’ve been itching to try all winter, waiting for some nice sunny days to grill out. Since I didn’t get to enjoy the nice warm weather we had this past weekend, today seemed to be the perfect day to try a new recipe out, and I sure didn’t have to ask the hubs twice if he wanted to fire up the grill….

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Disregard the teriyaki marinated chicken that’s on the other side of the grill the hubs was making for his work lunches….

Ever since the hubs found out that sometimes trying new things really isn’t that bad (see my post about how he bravely tried my roasted red pepper & pesto penne and liked it), I’m hoping that this summer we’ll be “diversifying” his palate and trying things he’s never even wanted to try before. Since the pesto was a success, I figured we can try a rub that contained similar ingredients to it…

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grilled pork chops with basil garlic rub
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Ingredients
  1. 2 thin bone-in pork chops, about 1/2" thick
  2. 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  3. 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  4. 2 tablespoons EVOO
  5. Juice of one lemon
  6. 1 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. Using a charcoal grill, set the grill up so the coals are nice and hot.
  2. Meanwhile, with the food processor running, drop the garlic cloves through the feeding tube and mince. Stop and add the basil leaves, pulse on high until thoroughly chopped.
  3. Add the EVOO, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pulse until everything is mixed well and it turns into a thin, wet rub.
  4. Generously spread basil mixture on both sides of the pork chops. Let sit for 15-30 minutes.
  5. Place chops on grill over direct heat, cook for about 6-8 minutes, turning once halfway through, or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.
  6. Remove pork chops from grill and let rest for 3-5 minutes.
Notes
  1. Cooking times may vary based on how hot your coals are and the thickness of your pork chops. If you're unsure if they're done, it's always best to use a meat thermometer.
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Since we made regular plain whole wheat couscous this time, the juices from the chops gave our otherwise boring couscous a really good flavor. The hubs thought the rub was so good that he said, “I think I like basil!”

It’s almost just as rewarding as hearing your picky 5-year-old say they think your food is amazing. :)

Enjoy!

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