The Hub loves skirt steak. This is fabulous news for me, because, well frankly, it is pretty cheap. It is hard to argue with the beauty of getting all that beefy flavor for a low-down fantastic price, no?
Skirt steak needs a little love to truly shine – it benefits greatly from a nice long set in an acidic marinade to help it break down a bit, and it is best cooked quickly over high heat. Oh yeah, and if it is overcooked, it is a tough as shoe leather. Luckily it is very easy to prepare well, and simply prepared is how we enjoy it most.
In a zip top baggie combine the juice of 2 limes and 1 tablespoon canola oil with 1 teaspoon of chili powder and 1 teaspoon of cummin and mix well. (Sometimes I zest the lime into the baggie as well, I was just feeling lazy yesterday.)
Add skirt steak (the piece I used was between 10 and 12 ounces) to the bag, close allowing extra air to escape, and massage the marinade into the meat so that the steak is coated evenly. Refrigerate at least 8 hours (I wouldn’t do this for more than 24 hours, even skirt steak will start to break down a bit too much if left in a marinade this acidic for too terribly long.)
Remove steak from refrigerator 1/2 hour before you want to cook it (it will cook more evenly if it isn’t chilled) and set oven to 35o degrees.
Heat large skillet or flat grill on the stove until it is screamin’ hot (hover your open palm just above the cooking surface – are you feeling lots of heat? Time for cooking!)
Place the steak in the skillet and rejoice at the sizzle – that noise is searing in all the juicy, flavorful goodness.
Let it get some nice dark color on that side and then give it a flip and sear the other side.
Now – here’s the thing: you can totally cook the steak from start to finish just like this. OR you can grill it on your Vogner Charking or whatever out on the back deck, if you prefer and it would be delish – no doubt. As long as you have nice high heat and take it off before it overcooks (which depends on the thickness – I’d go 4 minutes a side over direct, high heat, and then make a little cut in the center to see how it looked if you aren’t comfortable testing doneness by touch,) either is a great way to cook skirt steak.
But again, I was feeling lazy. So my steak got seared on each side about 2 minutes and then I popped it on roasting rack and put it in the oven to finish, which took about 12 minutes at 350 degrees.
That way I could concentrate on making some Martinis
for The Hub and me while dinner finished cooking.
After cooking, I tented the steak with foil on my cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes (while I defrosted some frozen mashed potatoes and stirred in a bit of cheddar for a side dish) before cutting. This lets the juices re-absorb into the meat a bit.
How you cut skirt steak is important. It is best not to just plate it whole, because if cut with, and not against the grain of the meat, it will still seem tough, even after all that marinating and high heat cooking. So slice thin against the grain. (Slicing the long strip of it into shorter chunks first, which is slicing with the grain, and then slicing those portions thinly against the grain – as pictured at the top of the post.)
Dinner is served.
> Betty Crocker Crunchy Garlic Chicken
(This is the recipe as it appears on the Betty Crocker Website)
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives or parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups Whole Grain Total® cereal, crushed (1 cup)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon paprika
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 3/4 lb)
Heat oven to 425°F. Spray 13×9-inch pan with cooking spray. In shallow dish, mix 2 tablespoons of the butter, the milk, chives, salt and garlic powder.
In another shallow dish, mix crushed cereal, parsley and paprika. Dip chicken into milk mixture, then coat lightly and evenly with cereal mixture. Place in pan. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons butter.(mine looked like this)
Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (170°F).
What I did differently:
I used Kroger Brand Bran Flakes instead of Total
I used Smart Balance Light as my margarine product
(Here are my chicken breasts all coated and drizzled and ready to hit the oven)
This was good and easy – a nice change from normal bread crumbs on baked chicken. It was really crunchy on top and had a good garlicky flavor. Next time I make it, I think I might put the breasts on a flat roasting rack or broiler pan like I do with breaded chicken when I bake it – the bottom of the pieces can’t get crispy of air can’t circulate around them.
(BTW – check out the new look coming to ED&BK here)
Filed under Chicken, Picture
Coloring Easter eggs is a favorite tradition around The Tree House and always loads of fun – but it leaves this wife-of-a-non-hard boiled-egg-eater left holding the (Easter) basket when it comes to what to do with all those eggs.
Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE hard boiled eggs in all their many forms: a delicious egg salad, a tray of deviled eggs (reach for one of those and I might bite your arm off,) or just peeled and eaten plain with a sprinkle of salt – incredible, edible egg, indeed.
That being said – 18 eggs (what we colored this year) is a lot for one gal to eat (even skipping every other yolk like I am to keep the cholesterol in check.)
So for Easter brunch this year I devised a recipe designed to get The Hub to help me out with the task of eating his masterpieces. Breakfast Tacos!
-Place one small potato, diced, into a frying pan and just cover with water. Allow to cook until water evaporates, and then spray potato pieces with a bit of cooking spray and allow to crisp.
-Add to potato 1 teaspoon ground Cumin, 1/2 teaspoon (more or less to taste) ground Cayenne pepper and mix to coat potatoes.
-Dice 3 – 4 hard boiled eggs and add to potatoes over low heat, stir.
-Add to egg/potato mixture 1/2 can Hormel 94% fat free Turkey Chili (we used the one with no beans) and stir over low heat, allowing mixture to heat through.
-Fill taco shells with the mixture, and serve with toppings of your choice (shredded cheese, diced tomato and onion, salsas, etc.)
Filed under Brunch, Picture
Perfect in its simplicity, a Chicken Caesar Salad is always well-received at our house. (Past posts will confirm that.)
Last night I used some left over flat-bread that I sprinkled with garlic powder, dried parsley, salt, and pepper, and toasted in the oven before cutting into bite sized pieces as croutons. I cut one large chicken breast into chunks and rolled them (no wet step needed) in whole wheat seasoned breadcrumbs.
The chicken went on to a rack in my roasting pan and into a 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes (it was about 18 for me last night) until it was cooked through and crispy. (you can pop the broiler on for a minute or two if the top needs help crisping up.)
I crumbled up a slice of extra lean turkey bacon and tossed it with 1/2 bag of prewashed salad (I don’t actually use bagged salad very often, too expensive, but I found a good sale this week and took advantage of it,) and 4 tablespoons of Ken’s Light Caesar dressing
(yep, I measure, because it is good to know what you are really eating, but also because I don’t like salad that is soggy with too much dressing!)
On top of the dressed lettuce went the croutons and the warm, crunchy chicken.
So simple, but so, so welcome on a sunny spring evening.
>So what do you get when you take cooked Lasagna noodles and spread them with a mixture of:
1 large grilled b/s chicken breast, shredded
1 cup broccoli stems (cooked) chopped fine
1/2 block of cream cheese
3 BIG fresh basil leaves
(blended together in the food processor)
and then roll the noodles up around the filling:
And then bake covered in a simple cheddar cheese sauce at 350 for 45 minutes, covered?
You get stuffed shell perfection, without the hassle of actually stuffing the shells! (and if you are me, you get The Hub to eat the part of the broccoli he usually won’t touch!)
BTW – I was running around Sunday afternoon and evening, and The Hub actually got this out of the fridge at the appointed time, then turned on the oven and baked these all by himself – I arrived home to a piping hot dinner just coming out of the oven! Sah-weet!
> We eat A LOT of Mexican/Tex-Mex food at our house. The Hub grew up in Texas, and I spent years working in a Mexican restaurant in my younger days – it is a sure-fire go-to family of flavors that I know will always be a hit.
Then again, sometimes the same old tacos or fajitas over and over can get a bit dull, even to the biggest fans.
Not to mention the damage that you can do to your waistline piling on all of those toppings with reckless abandon!
These tostadas are a good solution to both problems.
I started by lightly spraying 3 corn tortillas with Canola Spray, and baking them until crispy on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven (this takes almost no time at all.)
Then I piled on my “filling” made by mixing together 1 cooked b/s chicken breast shredded, 1 palmful of chili powder, 1 cup fresh spinach chopped fine, and 1 tablespoon of cream cheese. (I tested for taste and added Salt and Pepper as needed.)
To The Hub’s (pictured at the bottom of the post,) I also added a sprinkling of shredded 2% cheddar cheese. Everything went back into the oven to heat the filling and melt the cheese.
I served mine with a salad, (picture at the top of the post) and a couple teaspoons of avocado puree. Mmmmm, crunchy and spicy and yummy!
This is a genius idea – I stand behind that (less-than-modest) statement. That being said, my execution left plenty to be desired. (Making Keri a sad cook.)
The plan was this – use some lean, inexpensive, thin cuts of round steak to make yummy rolls, filling them with a sort of riff on pesto using the tender portion of Asparagus stems just below the “tree” tip which The Hub actually likes to eat. (I like to use this cut to wrap around filling, as in this recipe
, which was fabulous!)
So I put the cooked stems into my trusty food processor:
And I processed them until smooth – then I added 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese and pulsed to mix.
I spread this mix on to the steak, which had marinated overnight in a balsamic vinegar and garlic mixture.
Then I rolled them up and baked them on a broiler pan at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.
All of this was fine – but upon biting into my creation, I knew immediately what needed to be done to solve the problem I was tasting. It was bland. Well, the filling was bland, the meat was actually a little too sweet from the balsamic reduction I paired with it at the last minute.
So, what should I have done? #1 – I didn’t salt the filling, because I thought the cheese would be enough. WRONG!!! Needed some salt to kick the flavor of the Asparagus up a bit. #2 – I omitted nuts in the “pesto” ripoff. Bad call. Traditional pesto has toasted pine nuts, but this would have benefited from some almonds in the mix to add a little complexity to the flavor. #3 – Balsamic was too strong a flavor for the marinade, and FOR SURE for the sauce. It was sweet when I was wanting something savory. No Bueno.
I served it all with my usual baked potato casserole, and I got to use my pretty new dishes (thanks to The Hub for buying them for me – I love them!) so it wasn’t a total loss, but I was disappointed that I didn’t execute my awesome idea in a better way.
This filling will rise again, I promise. In a much tastier version, natch.
And I will return to the kitchen tonight, licking my wounds a bit, but still happy to be there. 🙂