}]; Noreen's Kitchen: 07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What's for Dinner? Comfort Food:Classic Salisbury Steak

Let's take a trip down memory lane.  Now I am on the precipice of my 45th birthday so my memory lane and yours may not take the same highway exit, so bare with me.  The year is 1979, I am 12 going on 13, I am in the 8th grade. Can you hear the BeeGee's playing in the background?  For the most part, I would say that I had a very generic, Brady Bunch, American suburbia, Bologna and Wonder Bread type of child hood, Dad was en electrician, Mom was everything else, Cook, Maid, Chauffer, Laundress, Pet Groomer, Family Organizer, Teacher, Cupcake Baker and Drill Sergeant. She was room mom and taxi cab driver, team leader and Girl Scout Cookie drive organizer.  But most of all, my mom was the best cook ever.

 I never liked going to other kids houses to eat dinner, out of sheer fear.  I remember once I went to a friends house for dinner and was served up what they said was "Hungarian Goulash".    Trust me, I would not eat anything that had the word Goulash in it for years and years!  SCARY!!    I wanted to run right home and eat WHATEVER mom was making for dinner.  If I was lucky, it was something like this recipe I am sharing today, Classic Salisbury Steak.  Coming home after school, there were days when you knew what you were having before you even hit the driveway, because Mom had been in the kitchen simmering something all afternoon.  The aroma greeted you at the door and wrapped you with love.  It said, "Welcome Home, no matter what happened today, it's all gonna be fine, as soon as we eat dinner and share as a family."

While growing up a night did not go by that we did not dine together, my mother, father, brother and myself.  Of course as we grew older, there were times when we could not eat due to schedules and extra curricular activities, but it was a requirement that dinner be eaten together as long as it was possible.  I think that this is so very important, because we all have busy lives.  Sometimes these small moments make a big difference.

I know on the surface that this may not seem like typical comfort food.  As comfort foods go, this is one of mine.  Mini meatloaves that have been stuffed full of good flavors simmered slowly in a savory brown gravy and served with the king of comfort, mashed potatoes!  Does anyone make Salisbury steak anymore?  I know that my husband said he had only ever seen it in the Swanson Hungry Man Dinner.  Ewww!  T.V. Dinners and I do not get along, same with canned soups,  I just think they taste like the can they came in.  Occasionally, you will see me use a canned "cream of" soup, but mostly you will not.  But I digress, sorry for that inexplicable tangent.

Good food is easy to make.  I understand that sometimes the prospect of cooking dinner can be daunting.  I work full time in a legal office and trust me there are plenty of evenings when the last thing I want to do is cook, but once I get started, slice open that onion, throw it in the skillet and get the kitchen smelling like dinner, it's all down hill from there, and I am happy to be in my favorite place, my kitchen.  Preparing a meal for my family and sharing it with them.  After all food is love and excellence is love in action.  So it goes without saying that excellent food is one of my deepest expressions of love.  So go express yourself, make something great for your family tonight, whatever it is, it doesn't matter,  just make sure you eat at the table together, not in front of the television.  Talk about your day and share your dreams, even in the most mundane of actions, you are creating memories and futures for your children.  No matter what you think, they will remember what you cooked for them, they will forget about lots of things but they will never forget what you made for them.  So what are you waiting for?  Let's get cooking!


Here is what you will need to make this recipe:

2 Pounds Ground Sirloin
1/2 pound sliced mushrooms (please use fresh)
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons Ketchup
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 Medium onion chopped very fine
1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Butter

2 cartons of Beef Stock
3 Beef Bullion Cubes
1/2 to 1 Cup of Wondra Flour
Kitchen Bouquet to taste

Mix together ground sirloin, eggs, onions, garlic, castup, Worcestershire, breadcrumbs, parsley and thyme.  Mix by hand or use your mixer with the paddle attachment.  If you only have beaters I would advise against this as they will mix the meat to harshly and make the steaks tough.  Form the meat into oval patties.  I got 7 steaks that were approximately 6 to 6.5 ounces each.

Melt butter with oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Place steaks in pan and cook until browned.  About 3-4 minutes per side.  Remove from pan.

Drain any excess fat from pan and if you got the bottom too browned, clean out the pan.  Add in a bit of oil and your mushrooms along with just about 1/2 cup of stock.  Start adding in the flour a little at a time and whisk after each addition add in the remainder of the stock and whisk until smooth.  You can add the kitchen bouquet at this time along with three bullion cubes.  I added these at the end and did not mention in the video.  they brightened up the gravy in a big way. The stock was a little flat.

Once the gravy has thickened, add the steaks into the pan and simmer for 15 minutes covered.

Now you are ready to serve these lovely little morsels that will take you back to your mom's kitchen.  I hope you try this and I hope you enjoy it.  Until next time, See Ya!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What's For Dinner? The Eternal Question and a Recipe for Bohemian Spaghetti

Welcome to my newest blog.  After careful consideration I chose to title this "What's for Dinner?".  I have been vlogging for a couple years now and wanted to expand my possibilities so this blog is just a natural progression.  I hope that you will come with me on this journey.

Admit it, you hear this question every day, and I mean EVERY day.  What's for dinner?  A very innocent question, but for us Moms a question that is asked everyday, sometimes at the same time every day, sometimes multiple times each day.  Nonetheless, it is asked over, and over and over again.  My 13 year old daughter asks this question each day between 5 and 6 p.m.  without fail.  She is predictable, like the sunrise and sunset.  She will text me the question.  I always text back IDK.  Not because I don't really know, but because I like to mess with her.

So the questions goes.  My husband will often ask the question, but he likes to disguise it in this form, he will say, "What were you thinking of for dinner?  This makes it sound like he was doing me a favor by reminding me that it was almost dinner time and he was getting hungry.  And so it goes.

Dinner is an important time of the day.  A time when we can gather as a family and discuss what happened.  A time to be together and know that you are loved.  A time to participate in a conversation that no one else in the world will have today.  And most of all a time to enjoy a meal together.  One that mom or dad made, one that you made all together.  A time to be a family.  Studies have shown that a family that eats dinner together is more likely to have less trouble with drug and alcohol abuse and the children have higher test scores.  I just think that this is a perk.  Studies can say anything, but dinner makes a family!

It is my goal to share with you, some recipes and tips that might help you achieve dinner nirvana.  It will also help you to answer the age old question for your own family.  I will post recipes along with demonstration videos to help you on your journey to the dinner table.   Share with me your ideas and your comments.  Together we can help each other answer the question "What's for Dinner?".

So without further adieu, on with dinner.......................

To start, lets do something that is new to me.  Honestly I just saw this recipe today on Facebook, a friend of a friend posted it.  She said that her grandmother used to make it.  I added a couple things of my own and voila!  Dinner for those nights when the cupboard may be bare, the wallet may be empty and the mental recipe generator is on the fritz.  Bohemian Spaghetti.  Serve this with a large green salad and some bread and you will feel like you just ate at a kings table!

Here is what you will need to make this recipe:

1 pound of bacon cut into dices
1 pound of crimini mushrooms
1 large onion diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 cans of diced tomatoes in their juice
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
1 pound of cooked pasta (I used Angel Hair)
1 ladle of pasta water if necessary when sauteing the veggies and bacon.
Parmesan cheese to taste

Prepare pasta while cooking sauce and set aside.  In a large heavy skillet, cook bacon until crispy but not too brown don't over cook or it will be gross.  Add in onion and cook until translucent (don't remove any of the bacon fat).  Add in the garlic and cook until you can smell it's lovely aroma (around 30 seconds)  Add in the mushrooms and cook until tender and they have rendered some of their liquid.  Add in your Italian seasoning and cracked black pepper and stir to combine  If at this point, you find that your pan is a bit dry, dip into your pasta water and add a ladle full of that water.  It will evaporate mostly, but it will prevent your veggies and bacon from browning too much.  Now go ahead and add those tomatoes, cook until bubbly and stir in your pasta, making sure to distribute the sauce evenly.

To serve, pile onto a dinner plate and  top with  Parmesan cheese and more pepper to taste.  Serve with a green salad and some crusty bread and you will ever forget that this is a meal made from virtually nothing!

I hope you try this and I hope you enjoy it!  Until next time, See Ya.