Smothered Steak n Rice

The hubs and I have been on the road A LOT lately. This had led to eating a lot of junk and a poorly stocked kitchen at home. This week I have been absolutely craving vegetables and good home cooked food. But alas, when opening my pantry I didn’t have a lot to work with. I did manage to find:

– tenderized beef minute steak (frozen)
– cream of mushroom soup
– brown gravy mix
– half a bag of long grain white rice
– some beef stock
– frozen bag of green beans

And dinner was born! I mixed two cans of the cream of mushroom soup with the gravy mix powder and a little fresh ground black pepper and salt. I pulled out my thawed steaks and pounded them out extra thin and laid them in a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish. I poured the soup combo over the meat and slid into a 350 degree oven to bake.


I put the rice in my steamer and used the stock instead of water to infuse flavor. Kinda came out looking like brown rice!?


The meat was done in about the same time as the rice (not sure exactly how long, sorry!) I served the meat and sauce over the rice and added steamed green beans for a complete dinner. All in all this cook/prep time took less than 40 minutes!


It was hearty and satisfying and according to my rough calculations, under 400 calories for the whole meal! I even got a thumbs up from my hubby! Not mention I made dinner without going to the store or drive through lane! The dogs were disappointed I didn’t spill…and they keep really good watch!


Eating Better (or at least trying to)

Between my full time job and the husband working full time AND going back to school, we aren’t home much at night. But our waistlines shouldn’t suffer. So I have a plan!

Cook ahead Sundays! I spend a few hours in the kitchen on Sunday and fill the fridge for the week. This week we have Baked Beef N Macaroni and Spicy Salsa Chicken.

First the beef! I browned 2 lbs of lean ground beef with one large white onion. Drained and put in large bowl. Cook 1/2 of large box of macaroni noodles to al dente and drain. Add to beef. I then mixed in an extra large container of spaghetti sauce and 1 cup mozzerella. Stir to combine and pour into 9×13 pan. I then topped with 2 more cups of shredded mozzerella. Threw in the oven at 350 to bake for 15 minutes (or until cheese is baked and the whole thing bubbles)!


Now the Spicy Salsa Chicken! I steamed 1 1/2 cups white rice with 3 cups water. After the rice was done and tender I transferred to a large mixing bowl. I added one can of green beans, one can of sliced carrots, large can of chicken breast pieces, and finally 2-3 cups of homemade salsa. Stir to combine and pour into 9×13 pan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes (or until casserole is bubbly and cheese is melted)!


This way we have home cooked meals to pack into our lunches AND ready to heat meals when we finally get home. Nice big pans of yumminess that keep us out of the drive thru lanes. Our favorite this week was definitely the salsa chicken! (I mixed in a little sliced fresh avocado to mine and it was to die for!)

It’s takes some time and I dirty a lot of dishes, but it’s totally worth it. Here’s hoping to win the battle of the bulge!

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Soup


After a long tough work week, I am in no mood to cook. By alas, we must eat. So bleary eyed I started pulling leftovers from the fridge and staples from my pantry yesterday. I ended up with a (medium hot) spiced beef and veggie soup.

Roughly here is what I put together:
– leftover mashed sweet potatoes
– stew beef cubes
– canned green beans
– jar of homemade salsa
– leftover home grown frozen sweet corn
– canned hot chili beans
– beef bouillon cube
– fresh ground black pepper
– crushed red pepper flake from leftover pizza delivery packet
– garlic powder
– water
(I didn’t measure I just dumped and stirred)


Turned out pretty yummy and filling! The husband was neutral about it. I think he could taste the sweet potato (even though I didn’t tell him) and he doesn’t like them.

I’m calling this a win. It was hearty, delicious, and it cleaned out my fridge! It was even good for my packed lunch today…


Sweet and Sour (and Hot) Beef

My husband and I truly disagree on very few things, but level of spice in food is one of them. My husband likes a good burn and bite or even make your nose run hot. I like mild to medium spice but nothing that hurts (so to speak). It’s a constant battle and I usually win. Mostly because I am the cook, lol!

Today I tried a new crock pot recipe that I hoped would strike a balance. I made Sweet and Sour Beef from the Taste of Home Slow Cooker Classics. Pretty simple recipe:

2 lbs boneless beef round
16 oz tomato sauce
Sliced carrots
1 sliced onion
1/2 cup molasses
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt

Basically put the beef in the bottom if the crock pot, mix the remaining ingredients together, and pour over beef. Cook on low 7 ish hours. The cookbook also called for this to be served over noodles, but we are trying to cut out starch so we skipped that.


Results were great! I strained the juices and thickened into a sauce with a basic flour and butter roux.



It made a devilishly thick sauce with a hint of sweet molasses and a vinegary bite at the end. The chili powder and paprika gave just enough heat for me. The husband sprinkled on some crushed red pepper flake for added heat. I will note that crock pot recipes don’t always make the most beautiful dishes.

The low and slow cooking really softens the ingredients and tends to make everything the same color. Don’t let this discourage you! Crock pot food is delicious and can be really healthy. Not to mention it is hot and ready for you when you get home!


I LOVE this cookbook and this recipe got a big thumbs up from the hubby. Definitely a keeper! The house smells wonderful and it was very filling even without the noodles. I betcha the husband even goes back for a midnight snack!


WIP Wednesday: Pot Roast Experiment

I have WIP of the food variety today. Years ago a coworker passed on a delicious pot roast recipe that is my absolute favorite. It’s so simple and it’s easy….it’s ridiculous!


These are the ingredients to pot roast heaven:
One cut of beef roast (any kind works)
One packet ranch mix
One packet Italian seasoning
One packet brown gravy mix
1/4 cup water or beef stock

This is a Pinterest recipe I see a lot recently but I have been using it forever. I used to add veggies but due to the gravy and seasonings they turn very dark in color. They were always cooked perfectly and tasted amazing, it’s just that they didn’t look the best. So I decided to experiment today!


I placed my bone-in roast in the bottom of the pot and sprinkled with seasonings and water just like normal. Then I laid down a layer of tinfoil and added tinfoil wrapped (home grown) baking potatoes and a couple of onions slathered with butter also wrapped up tight in foil.


I should end up with a moist fork tender roast on the bottom with an amazing drippings for sauce AND perfectly baked potatoes with crazy buttered onions on top. That is if my crock pot can handle the load, ha! Some assembly required for dinner of course.

Ill try to post the outcome later tonight! (The best part of this experiment is that my husband has to sit at home and smell it all day long while I’m at work, lol)

Happy WIP Wednesday!!

Monday Fail

Apologies for the barrage of cooking related posts lately. It’s just that I am currently knitting for craft fair stock. Which means endless repetitions of the same patterns, over and over and over again. Not very exciting for a knitting blog! T-minus 25 days to the first show.

So I have been taking my creativity out in my cooking. I have a whole freezer full of beef to cook! So yesterday I pulled out some sirloin tips to slow cook in the crock pot with cream if mushroom, beef stock,and veggies (carrots, onion, and celery).

Turns out your crock pot works better when it’s PLUGGED IN! (Insert string of curses here………) The husband luckily found my neglected pot and got everything on the stove and cooking away. And we managed to save dinner, sort of….

There are no photos of this dish because well it looked like……ok so I won’t tell you what it really looked like. Lets just say it resembled wet dog food. The flavored weren’t bad, but the carrots had turned everything a orangey brown and the beef was very grey. I skimmed out the meat and put the veggies and broth through the food pro. All this accomplished was a thick creamy sauce in god awful orange brown. I would note that this color change probably would have happened in crock pot anyway, sigh.

The husband and I poured the sauce over the meat and served over streamed rice. It tasted fine, I just really couldn’t get over the look of it. Food should be pretty AND tasty!

Live and learn! It was a recipe I had never tried (and probably won’t again) and I vow to always check the crock pot cord. The good news is that yesterday is gone and I get a chance to do it all again today!

I hope Monday was kinder to the rest of you!

Sunday Is For Beef

Today has been a very lazy day. The husband and I did a little shopping, a little cleaning, and a little (lot) football watching.

But the best part was cooking up some of the home grown Kansas grain fed beef that we picked up from the processor this past Friday! We selected a nice marbled price of sirloin steak….


(Feel free to drool! It turned out a perfect medium to medium rare!!)

We paired our meat selection with some home grown frozen sweet corn, crescent rolls with homemade jam, steamed rice, and black beans.


I selected a nice white table wine in lemon-lime flavor from my friends at Prairie Fire Winery. It tasted like a really delicate margarita! Bob and Julie are two of the most talented people I had the pleasure of meeting during my MBA program. Feel free to check out their winery and tell them I sent you!


Yours truly (seated in the green tee) helped plant almost 600 vines earlier this spring. It was awesome, however my back hurt for a week!!

In honor if Sunday Night Football I have some Beer n Cheese Bread in the machine. Stay tuned tomorrow to find out how it turns out! I am also on my 7th scarf for the weekend. They are great tv knitting but I’m ready for something else, lol.

Happy Knitting!!