Guaranteed Perfect Steak

These are the steaks I mentioned a couple of days ago (one blog post below) that I made for my hubby last week. I have to say, I was a wee bit (ok more than a wee bit) proud of myself for finally (and successfully!) cooking steaks! I know – what kind of cook doesn’t know how to make a good steak, right? For some reason I had always thought steaks would be too finicky for me to handle – I just knew I’d overcook them or set my kitchen on fire or something else awful. BUT – these were surprisingly super duper easy! Once again, Ina Garten comes to my rescue and makes things that once looked challenging totally approachable for me. Love her! Her recipe is for Filet Minon, but I had some great looking Ribeyes that I wanted to use instead – they worked just fine!

I decided to top the steaks with a mushroom cream sauce – I love mushrooms on my steak, so I thought this sauce would be really good on top – sure enough, it was deeeeelicious! Hubby absolutely loved the whole meal and I was quite surprised at how delicious it turned out (especially since it was so easy!!). Toot, toot tooooot! (That’s me tooting my own horn, if you can’t tell…).

Steakhouse Steaks
-Barefoot Contessa

2 (10-ounce) filet mignon (or in my case, Ribeye steaks)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon coarsely cracked black peppercorns
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, optional

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat a large, well-seasoned cast iron skillet over high heat until very hot, 5 to 7 minutes.
Brush the steaks with the vegetable oil on each side and season with salt and pepper.
When the skillet is ready, add the steaks and sear them evenly on both sides for about 1 1/2 minutes per side.
Top each steak with a tablespoon of butter, if using, and place the skillet in the oven. Cook the steaks until they reach 120 degrees F for rare or 125 degrees F for medium-rare on an instant-read thermometer. (To test the steaks, insert the thermometer sideways to be sure you’re actually testing the middle of the steak.)
Remove the steaks to a serving platter, cover tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. Top with mushroom cream sauce (recipe below) and serve. Enjoy!

Mushroom Cream sauce
-Adapted from Barefoot Contessa

2 pounds baby Portobello mushrooms
1/2 cup good olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream (you could also use half and half)
1 tablespoon dry red wine

Brush the caps of each mushroom with a clean sponge. Remove and discard the stems. Slice the small mushrooms thickly and cut the large ones in a large dice.
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan. Add the shallots and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, or until the shallots are translucent. Add the butter, mushrooms, salt, and pepper and cook over medium heat for 8 minutes, until they are tender and begin to release their juices, stirring often. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, red wine and cream and cook for 2 more minutes. Serve warm over steaks.

This turned out to be one of the best meals I’ve made in a long time – hubby kept going on and on about how good it all tasted. I always feel so good when I put a good dinner on the table for my hard-working hubby – especially when he really loves it! I know this recipe will be in my recipe box from now on…it’s definitely a keeper!

OH! – and, be on the lookout….something new and exciting is in the works here at Sing For Your Supper!! I can’t wait!……………


Nana's Meatloaf

It’s pretty darn hot outside today (I think 102 is the high…) and normally on days like this, I’d be posting something cold and refreshing…like lemonade or ice cream. But I’m not. I’m posting Nana’s meatloaf. Why? Because it’s been one heck of a week and I needed something comforting. It doesn’t get much more comforting than Nana’s meatloaf. For years that was the only meatloaf I would eat as a kid. So, naturally, that’s the only recipe I use when I make meatloaf now. Only thing is, it definitely tastes better eaten at Nana’s table…

And today’s your lucky day, because I’m going to share her recipe with you. You don’t have to make it in this intense heat (I don’t know about you, but it’s pretty hard for me to turn my oven on when it’s the hot summertime)….you can save it for cooler weather or for when you have a week like mine and need something comforting to make you feel better. Either way, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Nana’s Meatloaf

1 pound lean, ground beef
1 egg, beaten
1 15-oz. can diced, stewed tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
(I like to add lots of pepper to mine, but she doesn’t call for it)
1 small onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 package Saltine Crackers, crushed (probably about 10 crackers or so)
Lawry’s Seasoned Salt to taste
(I also like to add a few dashes of Worchestershire sauce)

Mix everything in a large bowl. Form into two loaves and place on a broiler pan (so all the fat can drip down into the bottom of the pan), cover loosely with foil and bake at 375 degrees for approximately 45 minutes or until brown, taking the foil off halfway through the cooking process (at this point, I like to mix a few tablespoon of ketchup with some brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce and spread on the top of each loaf – this is optional!). Serve and enjoy!


I Love Josh.

Ok, these are really terrible, horrible, no good, very bad pictures BUT I just had to post this recipe because it’s just that good. I’ve had it saved for several months now, but for some reason just now got around to making it. Let me just say that I have now made these twice within a week. They’re that good. Freaking awesome, in fact. The recipe is Josh’s Famous Burritos – a recipe found in the New York Times a while back. Go to the store tomorrow and buy some steak – you need to make these. As soon as possible.

You’ll notice that these don’t really look like burritos – more like fajitas, in fact. This recipe needs the giant sized tortillas, but all I had on hand was the regular sized, so it didn’t quite fold like it should’ve…oh well- it still tasted the same. It’s really important to cook the meat at least an hour so it can get nice and tender and the liquid can cook down. The first time I made these (that’s when the pictures were taken too) was definitely the best batch – I made them again tonight (for my parents, in fact) and they weren’t quite as good as the first time – still freaking awesome, though. This famous Josh knows what he’s doing, I’ll say that.  I made just a few changes to the original recipe – it’s one of those recipes that can be easily adjusted to your tastes; you can add or take away anything you want. I added a little of my favorite liquid steak seasoning to add a little extra flavor. I cut the recipe in half and had just enough for 4 people.

Josh’s Famous Burritos
-NY Times

2 pounds skirt steak
2 pounds hanger steak (if hanger is not available, substitute additional skirt steak)
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder, or as needed
3 tablespoons mild taco sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 yellow onions, diced
2 yellow peppers, diced (I omitted)
4 medium jalapeños, with seeds, diced
6 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, chopped, 1 tablespoon sauce reserved
1 package Wick Fowler’s 2-Alarm Chili Kit (I just used chili powder and cumin)
1 1/2 bottles Dos Equis Amber beer
1/2 cup prepared salsa, more for serving
flour tortillas, for serving
1 cup (lightly packed) chopped cilantro leaves, for serving
2 cups four-cheese shredded Mexican blend, for serving
2 cans refried beans, heated, for serving
1 box Spanish rice pilaf, prepared according to instructions on box, but made with 2 tablespoons salsa along with spice packet, for serving.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat both sides of steaks with garlic powder and taco sauce. Place in a roasting pan and roast for 10 minutes. Turn steaks, sprinkle again with garlic powder, and roast for another 10 minutes. Cut meat into 1-inch slices and set aside.
Place oil in a very large skillet (14 inches or larger) over medium-high heat. Add onions, peppers and jalapeños. Sauté for 1 minute, and add chipotle chilies and sliced steak. Add all packets from Wick Fowler kit except masa and onion-and-garlic packets. Stir to coat well. Add beer, 1/2 cup water, reserved adobo sauce and 1/2 cup salsa.
Cook uncovered at a lively simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and sauce has thickened and coats meat, about 1 hour. Serve buffet style, allowing guests to assemble burritos in tortillas, filling them as desired with meat, cilantro, shredded cheese, salsa, refried beans and rice. For a classic burrito, fill tortillas, roll, then fold ends underneath.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Again, please forgive the terrible pictures – I just couldn’t keep this recipe from you, though! Do yourself a favor and make these burritos this week!


My First Shepherd’s Pie…

As you all know, yesterday was Saint Patrick’s Day (did you wear your green???). This holiday doesn’t really mean much to me (although it probably should, since I have a good chunk of Irish in me) and I don’t normally do anything to celebrate it except for pinching my hubby for not wearing green…hehe. In fact, I didn’t even have a single “Irish festivity” or dish planned for the occasion…until I saw this recipe for Shepherd’s Pie on one of my absolute favorite food blogs, For the Love of Cooking (apparently a lot of people like to make this dish on St. Patrick’s Day). Honestly, I’ve never really been “attracted” to shepherd’s pie…it never really looked appetizing to me – until yesterday. This recipe and the great-looking pictures really made me think twice about whether or not I wanted to try it. Amazingly enough, I happened to have all the ingredients I needed for it and I thought, “oh.. what the heck!” and set out to make my first shepherd’s pie.

The verdict: it was really easy and absolutely SCRUMPTIOUS! Hubby and I both loved it. I think the milk, cheese, butter and sour cream in the mashed potato topping was what really made it extra special. This is one of our new favorites!

Shepherd’s Pie
-For the Love of Cooking

Mashed Potato Topping:
5-6 large potatoes, peeled and cut into thirds
1/4 cup of milk
3 tbsp sour cream
2-3 tbsp Irish garlic and herb butter (or regular butter)
1/2 cup Irish extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper

Boil a large pot of water. Peel the potatoes and cut into thirds. Boil the potatoes for 10-12 minutes or until fork tender. Drain potatoes and place back into the pan. Add the milk, sour cream, butter, cheddar cheese, sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper then mash with a masher or blend with a mixer until creamy and smooth. Cover with a lid and set aside.

Meat Filling and Sauce:

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced (I didn’t have onion so I just used onion powder)
2 large carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced (I used garlic powder)
1 1/2 lbs of lean ground beef
1-2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (I doubled this)
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp Irish garlic and herb butter (or regular butter)
2 tbsp flour
1 1/4 cup beef broth (I only had chicken broth, but it worked really well!)

While the potatoes are cooking, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery then cook until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add the lean ground beef and cook thoroughly. Add the salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.
Once the beef is done cooking, mix the peas into the mixture until well combined. Pour the beef filling into a large baking dish and set aside. In the same skillet over medium heat, add the 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of flour. Mix thoroughly then slowly add the beef broth. Season with sea salt and pepper (I also added a few shakes of Worcestershire). Pour the sauce over the beef mixture and mix thoroughly. Top the beef and vegetable mixture with the mashed potatoes. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy.


Sunday Dinner Pot Roast

This is how we do pot roast in my family – or as I used to call it when I was little, “roast-pot-beef”. Not sure why, really.  Pot roast is a typical “Sunday Dinner” meal; its just one of those meals that tastes better after church on Sunday – maybe God makes it taste better, I don’t know. In my family, “Sunday Dinner” is sort of a holiday, in that, we all get together, eat until our sides hurt, then sit in the living room and visit; just like Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter. When I was a kid, we usually had most of our Sunday Dinners at Nana’s house (don’t get me wrong, my mother hosted her fair share of them too, but it seems like we were at Nana’s more), and Nana would usually ask my sister and me what we wanted her to fix – Lindsay’s answer was pretty much always fried chicken, but mine was always roast-pot-beef; with carrots, potatoes, rolls and some sort of delicious nobody-can-make-it-as-good-as-Nana dessert. Bliss.

I still, to this day, would much rather eat my mother’s or Nana’s pot roast. Mine’s ok, but there’s just something about theirs that makes me eat about three times as much as a dignified lady ought to eat. Hehe…dignified. But, living an hour away from my mother and Nana makes it much more difficult for us all to get together for our Sunday Dinners; and when there’s just no way hubby and I can make the trip, I just make do with my own pot roast. So here it is, for your enjoyment…or not, whatever.

(Hehe – you can see Hubby’s reflection in his fork!)

Easy Pot Roast
I usually start with a nice lean chuck roast or round roast – really, whatever is on sale. Season it with plenty of salt, pepper and a little garlic powder, put it in the crock pot with about 1/2 cup water. If you want it to be ready by lunchtime, put it in the night before and cook it on low until the next day; around 10 or 11am, take the roast out, and add your potatoes and carrots (for the two of us, I use about 2 potatoes and 4 or 5 carrots), then add the meat back on top of the vegetables and continue to cook for another hour or so, until the vegetables are tender.
If you want the roast for dinner instead of lunch, put the roast on in the morning, and cook on low all day – add vegetables in the last hour of cooking.
To make the gravy, take the roast and vegetables out of the crock pot and place on a platter and cover with foil. Dump all of the cooking juices from the crock pot into a shallow pan over medium heat; add a little flour (about 2 tablespoons) mixed in with about 1/3 cup hot water to the pan and whisk constantly to thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste. *If your roast doesn’t give off enough juice, you can always add about half a jar of store-bought beef gravy.

*Note: both my mom and Nana cook their pot roast in the oven instead of the crock pot, but I think the crock pot is easier for some reason. Maybe that’s why mine isn’t as good as theirs…


Another Quick Casserole…

Here’s yet another winner from Renea over at Sweet, Savory, Southern– I think this is something like the fourth or fifth recipe of hers that I’ve made and loved. This time around, it’s her Mexican Casserole – we had it last night with homemade guacamole and raspberry margaritas…a very pleasant meal, indeed! The recipe made enough for us to have it again tonight – yippee!!

Mexican Casserole
-Sweet, Savory, Southern

1 lb lean ground turkey (I used really lean ground beef)
1/2 an onion, diced (As always, I used onion powder)
1/2 cup corn kernels (canned or frozen) *I also added a can of black beans
1 bag Mintute rice
1 packet taco seasoning (or make your own with chili powder, cumin, salt, garlic powder and paprika)
10 oz can diced tomatoes with chilies
14 oz can enchilada sauce (small can)
shredded mexican cheese
6- 8″ tortillas

Preheat oven to 375. Begin by sauteing the onion in a little olive oil until it begins to soften, about 4-5 minutes. Add the ground meat to the pan. While the meat is browning, cook the rice according to the package directions and set aside. Once the meat is browned, drain any fat or liquid from the pan. Add the corn kernels, taco seasoning and 3/4 cup water. Stir to combine. Add the rice and stir. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Add 1/2 the can of enchilada sauce to the bottom of the pan. Next, make a layer with two tortillas. They should overlap a little. Add a layer of the meat mixture and then 1/2 the can of diced tomatoes with chilies. Add a thin layer of shredded cheese. Add two more tortillas and repeat the layers, ending with a layer of tortillas. Top with the additional enchilada sauce and cheese. Cover the pan with foil and bake for about 25 minutes. Remove the foil and allow to cook an additional 5-10 minutes. Let sit 5-10 minutes before serving.

YUMMY! Like I said earlier, this goes great with some homemade guacamole and a big ‘ol pitcher of margaritas (just don’t take the plastic pour spout-thingie off your tequila bottle…because then the cap wouldn’t fit back on and you’d have to duct tape it so it would stay on. Makes no sense to you? Yeah, me neither, but somehow it happened….) Enjoy!


Easy Weeknight Casserole…

This is one of our favorite easy weeknight meals – I don’t make it that often, but it’s always so tasty and comforting when I do! You remember how I’ve told you I didn’t really know how to cook when I was first married, right? Well, this casserole was the first homemade meal I ever made for hubby after we got married – I didn’t read the directions closely enough, which resulted in a slightly “crunchy” texture (ok not so slight…more like, “woah, why the heck are these noodles so freaking CRUNCHY?”), because I didn’t boil the noodles before putting them in the dish. Niiiiiiice, Amy.  And the funny thing is, it took me forever to realize that I had even made the mistake – all this time I had been thinking it was a typ-o or something in the recipe! HA! So I have a little note written in my recipe book saying, “it might be a good idea to put all the noodles on the bottom – otherwise they’re kind of crunchy…” Hahahahaha!! So, after giving it a second chance – this turned out to be one of our favorites and now it brings back all kinds of ooey gooey nostalgia when I make it. Joel likes to make fun of me, actually….

You can make all kinds of variations with this recipe – turkey instead of beef, different kinds of pasta, you can add other kinds of vegetables – peas might be good! Lots of things! And as usual, it’s super easy to make. I made it for my mom when she was visiting once, and now she makes it all the time! Give it a try – the sour cream might sound weird to you, but trust me, it’s goo-ooooood!

Easy Weeknight Casserole
-Gooseberry Patch “Best-Ever Casseroles”

1-1/2 pounds lean, ground beef (I like to use turkey a lot, too)
14-1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1-1/2 cups sour cream (I always use low-fat)
3 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup onion, chopped (I leave this out and just use onion powder)
8 oz. package medium egg noodles C-O-O-K-E-D. Did you get that?- COOKED!
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Brown beef in a large skillet over medium heat; drain. Add tomatoes, salt and sugar; reduce to low heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Set aside. Combine sour cream, cream cheese and onion in a bowl; mix well and set aside. Place half of the (COOKED) noodles in a lightly greased 13×9 baking dish; top with meat mixture, then sour cream mixture. Layer remaining (COOKED) noodles over top; sprinkle with cheese and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Serves 6. Enjoy!


Grandmother’s Enchiladas…

These stacked enchiladas come from my great-grandmother; but not Baba, the one who’s recipes I post so often – my other great-grandmother (my Daddy’s grandmother). I probably owe a lot of my culinary curiosity to Grandmother. There were three things I always wanted to do when I visited Grandmother- 1. put on one of her long, comfy nightgowns, 2. root around in her jewelry boxes, and 3. get in her kitchen and make a giant mess. She would let me put practically anything I wanted in her frying pan and “cook” my own little recipes (under her supervision, of course…I probably would’ve burned the house down had I been left alone. I was that kid) – one time in particular I remember making an epspecially large mess with a tub of marshmallow fluff. There was nothing I enjoyed more than having free reign in a grown-up’s kitchen. Good times….

Anyway, on to the enchiladas. When I was first married, my mother gave me a stack of hand-written recipes (all of her favorites) in my stocking at Christmas. A lot of the recipes have little stories written along with them, explaining where they came from or how they got to be so loved. Here is the story my mom wrote on the back of the recipe card for these enchiladas:

“Grandmother would call us and say, ‘I’m making enchiladas” – usually sometime after Christmas when Mexican food tastes so good after all the rich Christmas food, or the first really cold day in Winter. She never had to ask twice; we couldn’t get there fast enough!”

The best thing about these enchiladas (besides the taste, obviously) is how easy they are. They’re made with simple stuff you probably already have in your pantry. I like to use ground turkey and turkey chili to make them a little healthier. They’re just perfect when the weather is really cold and you need a quick, comforting dinner. They also make a great Super Bowl meal – a couple of years ago we had our friends over to watch the game and I served these along with hubby’s homemade salsa, guacamole and margaritas. That was one successful Super Bowl party.

Grandmother’s Stacked Enchiladas

1 pound ground beef
1 – 2 tablespoons minced onion (I use onion flakes or onion powder)
1 teaspoon salt (you can also add a little cayenne pepper if you like extra heat….I do)
2 tablespoons flour
1 can enchilada sauce
1 can chili (we like the kind with no beans…these ain’t no “Yankee enchiladas”!) 😉
1 can tomato soup
corn tortillas (I use flour)
shredded cheddar cheese for topping

Brown meat in skillet and drain fat; stir in onion, salt and flour. Add enchilada sauce, chili, tomato soup and one can full of water and stir over medium heat until combined. Cook for 2 or 3 more minutes then turn the heat off. On oven-safe plates, layer one tortilla, then the meat mixture, then another tortilla and more meat mixture, then top with cheese and place in a 350 degree oven until bubbly and the cheese is melted. * If you don’t have oven-safe plates, I’ve found just popping it in the microwave will work just fine too. Some good toppings are sour cream, jalapenos, cilantro…whatever you want! Enjoy!


Mother Knows Best…

You know how sometimes you think too hard about something? You’re trying so hard to come up with something new, you forget all about the old standby “somethings”. That’s what happens with me frequently. Now that I’ve sort of gotten past the point where spaghetti or a casserole was my best dish and I know a little more about food and cooking in general, I spend a lot of time trying to think up good ideas for dinners that might be a little more involved than say, spaghetti (not that there’s anything wrong with spaghetti!). So the other day as I was talking on the phone to my mother and thinking aloud about what I was going to cook for dinner, throwing out all kinds of possibilities (and coming up totally empty-handed, I should mention), and she suggested that I make beef tips.  Beef tips?! Tender chunks of roast slow-cooked all day long in a thick, creamy sauce served over white rice….why didn’t I think of that?! Perfect!  And it was, too – I was so glad she suggested this, because it really hit the spot and hubby loved it. When I asked him if he had ever had beef tips, he replied, “Yeah, in those microwave dinners…” Oh dear. So, I was happy to set him straight on what real beef tips were supposed to taste like! I think he was happy I did too!

So, thanks, mommy, for coming to the rescue and saving me from over-thinking my meal!

Easy Beef Tips
-recipe from MY MAMA!

1 lb. chuck roast (or any kind of roast meat you want), cut up into small chunks
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 small can mushrooms, drained (this isn’t part of the original recipe, but I thought it would be a nice addition)
Approx. 1/2 a can chicken or beef broth (If you’re using homemade, I’d say to use about 1/2 cup)
cooked white rice (however much you like)
salt and pepper to taste

Season the roast with salt and pepper and place in a crock pot with the cream of mushroom soup and chicken broth (sort of mix it all together to get rid of any lumps in the soup). Cook on low heat for 6 – 8 hours. Add the mushrooms when there’s just a little cooking time left. Serve over cooked rice.


Hearty Beef and Lentil Soup

There were some girls over at one of my favorite cooking forums (the Nest’s What’s Cooking board) talking about recipes for lentil soup, which is where I got this one. It’s one of Giada DeLaurentiis’ recipes (and you can’t go wrong with Giada), and it’s thick, hearty and full of flavor. I think it would be perfect for a nice chilly Fall day or cold Winter night! I had never had lentils before and was definitely pleased with their taste/texture. I think they added a lot to this soup! I will definitely be making this again…soon!

Lentil Soup with Beef
-Giada DeLaurentiis

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 large celery stalks, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
6 (14-ounce) cans beef broth
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
2 cups (about 11 ounces) lentils, rinsed
1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

Heat the oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper. Add half of the beef and cook until brown, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining beef. Add the celery, carrots, onion, garlic, rosemary, and oregano to the pot. Saute until the onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. Return the beef and any accumulated juices from the bowl to the pot. Add the broth and tomatoes with their juice. Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the meat is just tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Add the lentils. Cover and continue simmering until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. Stir in the parsley. Season the soup, to taste, with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

(This makes A LOT of soup, so plan for company that night!)