Thursday, July 28, 2011


Growing up I hated stroganoff. Basically it was because I hated tomatoes... which may be confusing unless you realize that the stroganoff my mom made (and my dad loves) is a creamy tomato sauce. I never realized that the stroganoff she made was not typical. It was not until I got to college that I had a creamy mushroom sauce stroganoff. I now LOVE stroganoff (and I also eat the stuff my mom makes.) 

Did you have any meals that are different that the 'typical' dish?
Trim fat and cut a boneless beef sirloin steak into strips.
In a large skillet, melt 2-3 Tbsp butter over medium high heat.
Add meat to skillet
and while you're at it, add 1/2 cup chopped onion to the pan as well.
Cook until meat is cooked to your liking.

While the meat is cooking (or you can also do this before if you like) combine 1/8 cup flour, 2 tsp beef soup base (or bouillon), 1/4 tsp pepper, 1 cup sour cream
 and 1/2 cup water.
 Stir to combine.

 The mixture doesn't look super great, but it does taste wonderful when added to the pan!
Once the meat is cooked to your liking, toss in 2 cups sliced mushrooms.
You can add more if you like.
Also toss in 2 cloves of garlic, minced.
Toss in sour cream mixture.
Cook, stirring frequently until mixture thickens and is bubbly.
Serve warm over cooked noodles or pasta.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Menu: July 18-24

Happy Monday everybody. Today I have a serious question for all of you who diet - what keeps you motivated on a diet? I've been trying to keep with it after taking a two month break and I keep slipping up. I start new each day and I've only had a few days where I don't end up eating extra stuff. I have a horrid sweet tooth! So what do you do to help yourself?

Now on to the Menu: 
Tuesday: Mexican Style Burritos  (Made with grilled chicken and Beef Carnita)

Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Deli Sandwiches and green Salad (no pictures)
Friday: Dinner made by my mom (no Pictures)
Saturday: Thai Peanut Noodle Salad
Sunday: Quesadillas

Vote for the recipe you want to see next Thursday! Beef Stroganoff is the recipe that won for this Thursday's post.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Grilling Steak and Corn on the Cob

Summertime and a grill just go together like peanut butter and jelly. I get itchy for the first day it's warm enough to grill... okay maybe not warm enough but calm enough. Wind blows here in the spring almost every afternoon! So once it's warm and the wind's not blowing, I can't wait to fire up the coals and grill. Eventually I'll have a gas grill, but for now it's briquettes all the way. The down side to briquettes, is that you have to remember to light them ahead of time (like a half an hour), you have to remember to douse them or keep checking on them until they've burnt out, you have to buy them over and over and over again and you have to clean up all ashes. However, you don't have to worry about a leaking gas tank either! The best way to look for leaky gas - rub dish soap over suspected areas - it will form bubbles if it is leaking. Now for the grilling:

First up: Grilling Corn on the Cob
 First, you'll want to husk and remove all the silk.
 Then I place the corn on the foil.
 Rub butter all over that baby. The more the better, it absorbs into the corn.
 Next, sprinkle with some salt and other seasonings as desired.
 Roll it up in the foil.
  I use heavy duty foil. It's the kinf
 Fold in the edges.
Place on a grill over hot coals or on a gas grill that is warmed up.
Periodiocally while cooking, be sure to rotate them.
I moved the back ones to the front
as well as rotated how they were laying on the grill.
A few of the corn kernels will burst and make a popping sound. That's usually when I check them. The corn will have some blackened areas, but no worries, they are tasty!

Next: Grilling Meat
First, you'll want to marinade your meat. Marinade serves two purposes - the most obvious is flavor and the second purpose is it helps tenderize the meat. Tender cuts of meat (such as chicken breast) will only need marinated for 30-45 minutes, while tougher cuts (such as T-Bone Steak) can be marinaded for 24 hours or more. However, if you happen to start marinading you meat a few hours ahead of time and the wind picks up, most meat can be marinaded for a day. The marinade can start to 'cook' the meat so it may look a little different, but as long as it's stayed refrigerated and the meat is fresh it will be fine!
Another note about marinades, I tend to use store bought marinades, but one of my favorite marinades is simply to add Italian dressing to the bag. (I always use a freezer bag to marinade, simple clean up.) A good marinade includes an acid (vinegar, citrus juices, etc), aromatics (spices, etc) and an oil (I typically use olive oil.)
Once the meat has been placed on the grill, do not use the juices the meat was marinading in to baste the meat. If you want to use it as a sauce, be sure to boil it for about 5 minutes.
 Next, you'll want a hot grill.
 Another tip, is to keep the raw meat separate from all other items. Such as vegetables.
 Place the meat on the grill. If you are using briquettes there are definitely going to be hotter spots than others. I try to rotate the meat when I turn them to help even out the cooking time. The meat on the hot spot will need to be turned earlier.
 The best way to turn meat on a grill is with tongs.
Using a fork will let juices escape - the result is a less juicy piece of meat.
 As you can see the top piece of meat is still raw on top - I moved a piece that was in a low temperature to help it get cooked on the side.
 Something I do not grill meat without: a meat thermometer.
 About the time when I think they are finished, I check to make sure. All poultry should be cooked to 160°F. Unless it's a whole bird (180°), but I've never grilled a whole bird.
Beef should be cooked accordingly (all °F): 
Rare: 120°-125°
Medium-rare: 130°-135°
Medium: 140°-145°
Medium-well: 150°-155°
Well done: 160°+ (I have also seen Well done at 170°-175°)
(burnt: 220°)
Be sure to check meat at the thickest part and away from any bones. Also let meat rest (all except fish) for 10 minutes before cutting. This helps it retain its juices, instead of them running out when cut.

Lastly: Grilling Vegetables (specifically bell peppers)
There are many ways to cook veggies on a grill, using a grill basket, making veggie packets with aluminum foil - kind of like the corn, etc. This is one of my favorite ways to cook quicker cooking veggies (not root vegetables.)
Place foil on the grill, it is best to do this before it gets hot, but can be done afterward... in fact that is usually when I do this. I only use tongs to shape it though! I also poke a few small holes into the foil so some of the smoky flavor can get through.
You want a small lip all the way around so the veggies don't escape.
I use the same tongs that I use for the meat, but I like to get them right next to the coals for a bit to make sure the raw meat juices are cooked off. You could just use two sets of tongs if you prefer, but please don't use the tongs that were just used on raw meat without sterilizing.
Turn the veggies every couple of minutes until they reach the desired doneness.
Best thing about the foil - just fold in both sides,
using the tongs,
Then simply lift the foil packet off the grill.
Place onto plate, or baking sheet.