December 31st, 2008

Steak Pie for New Year’s!


It’s almost 2009 and I have no idea where my year went.

I do know I got to eat a lot of great food and I learned a lot in the kitchen.

As you celebrate the arrival of a new year, here’s little Scottish tradition you can try from our friends at

Happy 2009!


Steak Pie – New Year’s Day Without It?

New Years Eve or Hogmanay as it’s known in Scotland is bursting with traditions such as the customary “First Foot”. As the clock strikes midnight there is a chorus of “Auld Lang Syne and then comes the “First Food”. “The “first foot” is the first person to cross the threshold into a house after the chimes of midnight. Usually the “first foot” brings gifts of salt, coal, bread or shortbread and whiskey and if it’s a tall dark stranger then that’s good luck. ”

I always loved New Years Eve when I was growing up in Scotland, it was so exciting as a child going out to visit family in the middle of the night!

On New Years Day every year we’d go to my grandmother’s house and tuck into a big hearty plate of steak pie without it New Years Day just isn’t the same. In accordance with this I decided to make a steak pie for us to enjoy this year on New Years Day, this is my recipe..

STEAK PIE (serves 5-6)


  • 1Kg Lean good quality stewing steak cut into 1? cubes
  • 1 Large onion, chopped finely
  • 250g Mushrooms, quartered
  • 3/4 Can Guinness
  • 1 Beef Stock Cube
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tsp English Mustard
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Thyme
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 L Water
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Shop bought, pre-rolled puff pastry


  1. Using a large pot brown the meat well in batches in olive oil and set aside.
  2. Add the onions to the pot used to brown the meat and allow to soften gently.
  3. Add the stew back into the pot with the onion, followed by the Guinness, stock cube, thyme, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, mushrooms and water.
  4. Bring the ingredients up to the boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.
  5. Simmer the stew for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the meat is very tender and the sauce has reached the desired consistency.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C.
  7. Pour the meat into a large pie dish, cover with the pastry and brush with milk.
  8. Bake the pie in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden and crisp.
  9. Serve and Enjoy!

Excerpt and photo courtesy of

December 29th, 2008

Mistletoe, Merriment and MEAT


Hi, there!

We just got back from a week in our personal definition of paradise — Destin, FL.

Here’s a little video of what we saw and heard all day every day. (Don’t blink or you’ll miss it.)

Our family gathered there for the holidays and hoo boy did we have some great meals!

My sister-in-law Sandy (aka the Kitchen Guru) lead us through the makings of some amazing meals. We’re all still talking about the food we had over the course of an entire week.

Beef tips in red wine sauce. Seasoned beef kabobs on the grill. Bacon-wrapped filet mignon. Prime rib roast in an au jus.

You would not believe the amount of beef this group consumed.

And there was nothing left.

We had family in from across the country. And there’s nothing like a fabulous meal to build a bond.

But you won’t have to travel anywhere to learn what I learned working with Sandy the last week. Over the next few days I’ll be posting photos, recipes and meal-saving tips she shared with me as we cooked incredible meals for our family.

Here’s a little preview . . .


Yup. We even used Christmas colors. Stay tuned and happy holidays!!

December 22nd, 2008

Hanukkah Brisket


Hanukkah began at sundown yesterday and it’s in full swing right now.

And one of the meals often prepared at this beautiful holiday time is yummy, scrumptious, delectable brisket.


Giora Shimoni at tells us the story of the Hanukkah brisket . . .

I don’t like to stereotype, but I think it is safe to say that a high percentage of Jews … love brisket.

Brisket is a cut of meat from the breast or lower chest. The term brisket usually refers to beef or veal.

While some – especially Texans – like to barbecue their briskets, in traditional Jewish cooking the brisket is braised as a pot roast.

How to Prepare Great Jewish Brisket

Buy good brisket meat (meat #3 in Israel). The brisket should have good marbling between white fat and dark colored meat. The fat should be distributed throughout the meat rather than just in one area.

Jewish brisket should be slow cooked. Whether the recipe is for a savory or sweet sauce, Jewish briskets taste best when slow cooked. In addition, there is less shrinkage of the meat at lower cooking temperatures.

Thirdly, it is very important to slice the brisket correctly. Brisket must be sliced thinly and sliced against the grain. If brisket is not sliced against the grain, it will be tough rather than tender.

Why Prepare Jewish Brisket for the Holidays

Jewish brisket is the perfect holiday entree for many reasons.

Brisket is best when prepared in advance. I cook my brisket a day before the holiday, slice it, and then store it in the refrigerator. Then just before serving, I heat the brisket. Brisket made in advance and allowed to sit tastes better than freshly made brisket. In addition, making the brisket in advance means less last-minute holiday prep work and less mess to clean up. My mother makes her holiday brisket a week in advance, and then stores it in the freezer until the holiday.

In addition, since Jewish brisket is generally cooked in a tightly covered roasting pan, it turns out tender and juicy. So, the meat does not dry out even when it is reheated on a hot plate on the second day of a Jewish holiday.

Lastly, when sliced thinly and served on a platter with gravy, brisket makes a festive entree. And brisket cooked in a sweet sauce is particularly fitting for the Jewish New Year.

Here’s a great recipe whether it’s for Hanukkah, another Jewish holiday — or for anyone any time of year!

Brisket in Wine Sauce

Prep Time: 9 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours


  • 1 (2 1/2 -pound) beef brisket, thick-cut
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 medium onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 1/2 cups water


1. Preheat oven to 325° Fahrenheit (165° Celsius).
2. Rinse brisket. Place in roasting pan.
3. Rub paprika, basil, salt and pepper into meat.
4. Scatter onions and garlic over meat.
5. In a medium bowl, mix ketchup, wine and water. Pour over brisket.
6. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil, tenting so that the foil does not touch the meat.
7. Bake at 325° Fahrenheit (165° Celsius) for 3 hours, or until a digital instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the brisket reads 190° for well done.

YIELD: 8 servings

SOURCE: Quick and Kosher: Recipes from the Bride Who Knew Nothing, by Jamie Geller. Recipe reprinted with permission from Feldheim Publishers.

Photo courtesy of

December 18th, 2008

Kwanzaa Delights



My son is in first grade and his class has been studying different holidays people celebrate around this time of year.

I’ve enjoyed learning along with him about the ways people come together and celebrate.

I’ve zeroed in on Kwanzaa because, well, it’s really cool. Here’s a little background info from

Kwanzaa, celebrated by some African Americans, is a holiday which has gained in popularity in recent years. It came out of the 60s cultural revolution that set off an interest in African history, music, art and a growing sense of black consciousness.

Kwanzaa, which means “first fruits of the harvest,” is celebrated for seven days from December 26 through January 1. It is a cultural, rather than religious, holiday. Each day is celebrated, generally by a gathering of family and friends. Participants discuss and commit to seven guiding principles, one each day. A candle is lighted each day. The first day starts with a black candle – it represents African American people in unity. The next six days alternate between lighting a red candle, representing struggle, and a green candle, representing a “green future.” A feast is held on December 31 for sharing, remembering, reassessing and rejoicing. ~Bev Whitfield and Kathleen Wilson

Now, we celebrate Christmas at our house but I’m loving learning the cool things others do at their houses.

And naturally, ’cause I like to eat, I wanted to know just what they eat at this feast. So, here’s a Kwanzaa recipe we ALL can celebrate!

Moroccan-Rubbed Grilled Steak and Sweet Potatoes

From EatingWell Magazine April/May 2006

A Moroccan-inspired spice rub coats the steaks and is tossed with the sweet potatoes as well. The foil-packet cooking method for the sweet potatoes yields excellent results (and fewer dishes). Make it a Meal: Sautéed greens, such as arugula, kale or spinach, and a glass of Zinfandel round out the meal.

Makes 4 servings

ACTIVE TIME: 25 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 35 minutes


1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound strip steak, trimmed of visible fat and cut into 4 portions
2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound total), peeled and very thinly sliced
1 medium red onion, halved and very thinly sliced
4 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

1. Preheat grill to high.
2. Combine allspice, cumin, ginger, salt, cinnamon, coriander and cayenne
in a small bowl. Sprinkle steaks with 4 1/2 teaspoons of the spice mixture. Toss sweet potatoes and onion with canola oil, orange zest and the remaining spice mixture.
3. To make a packet, lay 2 24-inch sheets of foil on top of each other (the double layers will help protect the ingredients from burning); generously coat the top piece with cooking spray. Spread half of the sweet potato mixture in the center of the foil in a thin layer. Bring the short ends of foil together, fold over and pinch to seal. Pinch the seams together along the sides to seal the packet. Repeat with two more sheets of foil and the remaining sweet potato mixture.
4. Place the packets on the hottest part of the grill and cook, switching the packets’ positions on the grill halfway through cooking, 5 minutes per side. Place the steaks in the front or back and cook, turning once, about 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer the steaks to plates and let rest while the packets finish cooking. Open the packets (be careful of steam) and serve alongside the steaks.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 337 calories; 18 g fat (6 g sat, 8 g mono); 69 mg cholesterol; 20 g carbohydrate; 22 g protein; 3 g fiber; 347 mg sodium; 480 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (220% daily value), Zinc (26% dv), Vitamin C (20% dv).
1 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 1 starch, 3 medium-fat meats, 1 fat

Recipe and photo courtesy of

December 16th, 2008

Yummy in my Tummy


This time of year brings out the 1950s homemaker in me. I didn’t even know she existed but she’s there — alive and kicking.

Cooking a beautiful meal for the holidays is a nice experience for everyone. And nothing expresses love like a great meal.

This is a wonderful, hearty holiday meal that your family and friends will rave about.


Beef Ribeye Roast With Red Wine Mushroom Sauce




1              3 lb. boneless beef rib eye roast

3/4  ts     Salt, divided

1/2  ts     Pepper, divided

1/2  c      Chopped onion

1/2  c      Dry red wine

1  tb        Cornstarch

1  cn       (13 3/4 oz) single strength beef broth

1  cn       (4 oz) mushroom

pieces and stems, drained

1  tb        Chopped parsley




About 1 1/2 hours before serving: Sprinkle roast with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Place boneless beef rib eye roast, fat side up, on rack in open roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer so bulb is centered in thickest part, but not resting in fat. Do not add water. Do not cover. Roast in 350 degree oven to desired degree of doneness. Allow 18 to 20 minutes for rare; 20 to 22 minutes for medium. About 15 minutes before serving, remove roast when meat thermometer registers 135 degrees for rare; 155 degrees for medium. Tent with aluminum foil; allow roast to “stand” 15 minutes in warm place before carving. Roast should continue to rise about 5 degrees in temperature to 140 degrees for rare, 160 degrees for medium. While roast is standing, remove rack from roasting pan; skim fat. Add onions to pan drippings; place roasting pan over medium high heat on top of range. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add wine; bring to boil; cook about 3 minutes or until thickened. Combine cornstarch and remaining, salt and pepper. Gradually, add beef broth to cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly; add to wine mixture in roasting pan. Continue cooking. Stir in mushrooms and parsley. Pour into serving container. Carve rib eye roast into thin slices. Serve with Red Wine and Mushroom Sauce.


Recipe courtesy of

Photo courtesy of Texas Beef Council.

December 15th, 2008

Holiday Kabobs


Here’s an idea with a little kick for the holidays.

These can be served as appetizers — or if you’re not very formal like us — they can be served as a fun meal. With company coming, these kabobs make for a great, quick, healthy option that everyone will like.



Holiday Meat and Vegetable Kabobs

  • 1 cup fresh pearl onions
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Original TABASCO® brand Pepper Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 pound boneless beef sirloin
  • 2 large red bell peppers, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 large green pepper, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into 3/4-inch pieces

Soak 3 dozen 4-inch-long wooden skewers in water overnight. In a 1-quart saucepan over high heat, bring pearl onions and enough water to cover them to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 3 minutes or until onions are tender. Drain. When cool enough to handle, peel away outer layer of skin.

In a medium bowl, combine balsamic vinegar, TABASCO® Sauce, basil, garlic and salt and mix well. Pour half of mixture into another bowl. Cut chicken and beef into 3/4-inch chunks and place in one bowl with vinegar mixture, tossing well to coat. In remaining bowl of vinegar mixture, toss cooked pearl onions, red and green peppers, and zucchini. Let stand at least 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Preheat broiler. Skewer one chunk of chicken or beef and one each of red pepper, green pepper, onion and zucchini onto each skewer. Broil 4 to 6 minutes or to desired doneness, turning occasionally.

Makes 3 dozen hors d’oeuvres.

Photo and recipe courtesy of


December 11th, 2008

Appetizers Rock


We’re smack dab in the middle of “entertaining season.” Are you lucky enough to be the entertainer soon?

This recipe is one of my absolute, all-time favorite appetizers. Whenever I serve Swedish meatballs they seem to disappear as fast as I can put them out.

And someone who shall remain nameless has been known to make an entire meal of these a time or two.

They’re that good.

Just look at them!

It is perfectly acceptable for these beauties to be a meal, especially when served over egg noodles.

I, however, have eaten approximately 32 meatballs at a party — each with a tiny toothpick in it that I had to first pull out.

Something tells me those were not meant to be dinner.

However you serve them, try this recipe and don’t make fun of your guests for hogging them. That’s what they’re for!

Swedish Meatballs

(Serves 6)


1 lb. Ground Beef

1 Cup Bread Crumbs

2 Cups Heavy Cream

2 Eggs

1 pinch ground nutmeg

1 pinch ground clove

1 Medium Onion, minced

2 Cups Beef Broth

2 Tbsp. Flour

2 Tbsp. Butter


In a heavy bottom skillet, sweat the onion in the butter and reserve.  In a stand mixers bowl, add cream and bread crumbs and let sit for fifteen minutes.  Add eggs, nutmeg, clove and beef and onions and mix thoroughly until the mixture gets sticky, about five minutes.  Shape the mixture into golf ball sized meatballs and cook in the skillet over low heat until all of the meatballs are nicely browned.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Add flour to pan and cook for five minutes.  Slowly stir in beef broth with a whisk to avoid any lumps and cook for fifteen minutes.  Add Cream and reduce by one third.  Add meatballs and cook for twenty minutes.  Serve over buttered egg noodles.

Photo courtesy of

December 10th, 2008

The Gift of Meat


So, if you’re reading this, chances are you love steak as much as I do.

I kind of always think people love steak as much as I do. It’s usually a good assumption if I know someone is not a vegetarian.

I’ve given people steak as holiday gifts in the past and it’s always a hit. I KNOW I would love to get beautiful steaks as a gift.

Er hmmm, *hint* . . .

And that got me thinking . . .

Santa works so hard at Christmas time. And we always leave him milk and cookies when he comes to our house.

Don’t you think he’s sick of cookies by now? Might he want some protein for the long night’s work ahead of him?

What if he came to our house and saw THIS waiting for him?

After all, he is an adult. And a little wine might loosen him up a bit. Are there laws against guiding a reindeer-driven sleigh after a glass of vino? I’ll have to look that up.

So *IF* I leave this for him this year, what do you think Christmas 2009 will be like for me?

I do believe I will be at the top of the “Good Girl” list. Don’t you?

Photo courtesy of

December 8th, 2008

Holiday Meal Planning


It’s time to start thinking about what to serve for those family holiday get-togethers. And nothing satisfies better than an elegant beef tenderloin.

Also known as Chateaubriand, there are so many ways to prepare this tasty dish. This one’s an absolute crowd-pleaser . . .


Garlic and Sage Basted Chateaubriand

1 32 oz. Chateaubriand
1 lb. Butter
3 Cloves Garlic, crushed
1 bunch sage leaves, stems and all
Salt and Pepper
Directions: In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and sage and continue to cook until the butter brownish caramel color and has a wonderful, nutty aroma. Turn the heat to low and keep the butter warm. In a heavy bottomed pan, sear the roast on all sides, before placing in a hot (400 degree) oven, use a spoon to liberally baste with the brown butter. Cook for twenty minutes, basting again every four to five minutes until done or an internal read thermometer reads 155 degrees. Remove from the oven and lest rest ten to fifteen minutes. Slice and serve with a little of the brown butter on each plate.
Servings: 4
Source: KC Steak CompanyPhoto courtesy of

December 6th, 2008



For Thanksgiving, we served two turkeys — one brined and roasted and the other smoked — and a spiral-cut ham. Plus, we had zillions of sides. It was enough to make your pants split.

We plan to do the same for our Christmas dinner. What’s a holiday season without gaining a few pounds?

Boring. That’s what.

Here’s the roasted turkey fresh out of the oven. That brine made it so tender and flavorful we all ate like we’d been stuck living in the wildnerness with the wolves for a few months and had been surviving on berries up until that point.

Then, we smoked one in this smoker — the 1400. It rocked. I don’t like it too terribly smoky — just enough apple wood flavor to give it a little kick. It was perfect.

I had a hard time deciding which one I wanted to eat so, of course, I had both. Plus ham. Plus sides. Oy.

Yeah, we used our Christmas dishes. Wanna make something of it? We’re not going to be at our house for Christmas so we wanted to use them at least once.

We’ll probably break them out for the kids’ chicken nuggets in the coming weeks, too. We are totally getting in the spirit around here.

How about you? What are you planning to serve for your holiday dinners?

December 4th, 2008

It’s Chilly, Let’s Make Some Chili!


Oh, the weather outside is frightful . . . so let’s do what we can to make our homes warm and cozy.

A big part of that is making great meals that fill our tummies and warm us up. This chili recipe is great to have on hand when you have lots of company at your house for days at a time. Whenever someone is hungry they can just heat themselves up a bowl, grab some crackers, grate some cheese on top and have at it!

Also, be on the lookout for some ingredients here you might not have thought of . . . they’re spectacular.

Vidalia Chili

(Serves eight)


1 lb. Vidalia Sweet Onion Ground Beef

3 Cloves Garlic, crushed

2 Jalapeno Peppers, seeded and chopped

1 large Can Crushed Tomatoes

2 oz. Mexican Chocolate (or 2 Tbsp. Baking Cocoa)

3 Tbsp. Chile Powder

2 Tbsp. Ground Cumin

1 Can Black Beans

1 Can Pinto Beans

1 Can Kidney Beans

Salt and Pepper to taste


Over medium heat, in a heavy bottomed pot, cook the ground beef until done and strain off grease.  Add jalapeno and garlic and cook for five minutes.  Add chocolate, cumin and chile powder and cook for five more minutes.  Add tomatoes and beans and cover with water, season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low.  Cook for 1 hour, or until thickened.

I get my Vidalia Sweet Onion Ground Beef here.  It has amazing flavor and it gives this chili that extra taste that makes it special.


December 3rd, 2008

Game Plan for Turkey Leftovers


When one more turkey sandwich sounds like a death sentence, it’s time to mix it up!

Renowned chef Guy Fieri gives us his recipe for Tequila Turkey Fettucine. Save this for after that Christmas turkey, too! Your family will thank you.

Tequila Turkey Fettucine

Recipe courtesy Guy Fieri

Yield: 1 serving

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes


1 ounce olive oil
1/4 red onion, cut into strips
1/2 tablespoon minced jalapeno
1 tablespoon minced garlic
5 ounces turkey breast, cooked, sliced
1 ounce tequila
4 ounces heavy cream
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
9 ounces fettuccini pasta, cooked
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 lime wedges, for garnish
2 sprigs cilantro, for garnish
2 tablespoons diced Roma tomato, for garnish
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1. In saute pan with high heat, add olive oil, onions, jalapeno and saute until translucent.

2. Add garlic and continue to saute for 2 minutes.

3. Add turkey, lightly mix ingredients, careful not to break turkey up too much.

4. Deglaze pan with tequila, pouring around the edge of the saute pan.

5. Add cream, lemon juice and cilantro.

6. Toss together, then add pasta, and toss ingredients while adding Parmesan cheese.

Nest pasta on plate, pour sauce over pasta. Lay sprigs of cilantro over top, sprinkle tomatoes on top, and crack pepper around the rim of the plate.

Ease of preparation: intermediate

Recipe and photo courtesy of 

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About Me

Hi! My name is Dena P., and I love steak. In fact, I’ve been on a quest for the perfect steak for a few years now.

I love experimenting with food and I like to get my family, friends and neighbors involved. They add a lot to my cooking experience by helping me perfect techniques and sharing recipes.

Read More About Me »

Steak Widget