Tag Archives: gravy

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy

steak 1

Sorry for the absence — I was in Oregon last week!  More on that in a future post…

I had planned on posting this before I left, but alas, packing was a priority.  I am going to date myself, but I have vivid memories of eating Swanson’s TV frozen dinners during my childhood.  Not often, mind you– maybe only a handful of times.  Perhaps the rarity is part of why these occasions stick out in my mind.  My favorite frozen dinner was the Salisbury Steak.  It came with mashed potatoes and green beans, and I think a little (overly sweetened) fruit pie too, but I might be making this part up…  I loved that each item was in its own compartment in the aluminum tray dish.  The whole experience was tinged with fantasy:  We could pretend we were on an airplane eating a meal (yes, in those days, even in economy, meals were served on planes with silverware!)  And it looked like pretend food.  I know I had plastic doll food that was “served” in a similar type of divided plate.  And the “steak” wasn’t steak at all, but gooey meat product shaped into an oblong oval.  The TV dinner eating experience was, for my 7-year old self, the epitome of gastronomical excitement and comfort.

I added mushrooms for more flavor -- the TV dinners didn't have them if I remember correctly...

I added mushrooms for more flavor — the TV dinners didn’t have them if I remember correctly…

Flash forward some decades later.  I’m a mom now, and frozen dinners have never made an appearance on our dinner table.  I’m not against them — they seem to be healthier these days.  I just don’t care to spend the money, I like to cook, and I think I know my adult experience of them just wouldn’t be the same.  I had a hankering for Salisbury Steak a couple weeks ago though, so I decided to make it instead.

I researched several recipes online, and used bits and pieces of them to create my own.  I added mushrooms to the gravy and served the steak with mashed potatoes and green beans.  Jamie loved it– but I felt a pang of wistfulness that I couldn’t give him the same “magical” experience I remember… In fact, he said he’d prefer the Salisbury Steak and gravy with white rice instead — not something one would ever find in the frozen food section here in the U.S.

I, on the other hand, swooned over the flavors and textures that  brought me back to my childhood.

steak with potatoes

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy

1/2 cup minced onion, divided

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup bread crumbs or panko

2 teaspoons ketchup

3 dashes Worcestershire sauce

1 pound ground sirloin

2 teaspoons olive oil

4 teaspoons butter, divided

8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced

13 oz. beef broth, about 1 1/2 cups)

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

1.  Combine 1/3 cup onion, salt, garlic, bread crumbs, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and beef.  Shape into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) oval patties.  Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil and 1 teaspoon of butter.  When butter is melted, swirl to coat  pan.  Add patties.  Cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned.  Remove to plate and set aside.

2.  Melt remaining butter in pan.  Add mushrooms and rest of onions; saute 4 minutes.  Sprinkle flour on top and stir continuously to brown flour a bit.  Slowly add  broth to pan while whisking and bring to a boil.  Cook 5 minutes or until thick.  Add patties and vinegar to pan; cook 2 minutes to heat through.

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Filed under Beef, Dinner

Weight Watchers 50th Anniversary Cookbook

72 weight watchers

I’m embarrassed that I have had this cookbook and have been meaning to post a review of it FOREVER.  The nice folks at Saint Martin’s Press sent it to me, and it’s a fantastic cookbook.  The more I use it, the more I love it. I’ve never done Weight Watchers, but I know a lot of people who have with great success.  Even if you are not dieting or involved in Weight Watchers, though, this this is a great cookbook to have in your library.  The recipes are not all about using fat-free ingredients, and shunning food groups, etc.  The focus is on fresh ingredients and healthy cooking tips.

Lemon Basil Three Bean Salad

Lemon Basil Three Bean Salad

There is a blurb about each recipe (a lot are favorites that have been updated).   Servings and portion sizes, and nutritional information with PointsPlus points (if you are following the Weight Watchers 360 program) are also included with the recipes.  Recipes that are vegetarian and/or under 20 minutes to prepare are noted. The recipes are very easy to follow, the photography beautiful, but best of all, the dishes are wonderful.  I have made the Lemon Basil Three Bean Salad about four or five times.  It is my new go to side dish for grilling or having a get together (see recipe below).

Pork Chops with Onion Gravy

Pork Chops with Onion Gravy

I made the Pork Chops with Onion Gravy last night, and it was AMAZING.  The cool thing about it is that you cook the onions in chicken broth, rather than sauteing them in a lot of oil and butter (a la The Barefoot Contessa), but you don’t sacrifice flavor at all.  So you are only using 1 teaspoon of olive oil for the whole dish.  I will definitely make this again.  It is key that you use bone-in pork chops so they stay moist, and this is noted in the recipe.

Huevos Rancheros in Tortilla Cups

Huevos Rancheros in Tortilla Cups

Another recipe I absolutely love is the Huevos Rancheros in Tortilla Cups.  I make this for myself all the time now. I’m the only one who likes spicy foods, so I just make a single portion using our toaster oven.  I love the idea of making the cups using an inverted ramekin or muffin tin.  It works like a charm. And I love baked eggs and Mexican food, so this is one of my favorites.

There are a lot of really simple recipes that I’ve tried out that I am not reviewing here, but that I use regularly and vary to my liking.  Omelettes for Two (you use 2 large eggs and 3 whites),  Canadian Bacon-Cheddar Frittata, Potato Leek Soup, Kale Chips,  Banana “Ice Cream”, Oven Fried Fish and Chips, Vegetable Quesadillas, to name a few.

I chose to highlight these three because they were all very good, and I learned something from them that I think is valuable and that I’ll incorporate into other recipes (e.g. Including edamame in bean salad, and using lemon juice and zest, rather than vinegar; making tortilla cups; and cooking a pile of onions and softening them in chicken broth).

And there are  TON of recipes I want to try out in the future, like:  Bubble Bread with Herbs and Sun Dried Tomatoes, Southwestern Chicken Vegetable Soup, Mexican Chicken Wraps, Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy, Individual Beef Wellingtons, Boston Cream Pie.  These are just a handful of them.  If I were to wait until I made everything, photographed the dishes, wrote about them, and posted about it, this review would take even longer than it has to get out!

Please enjoy these three dishes from Weight Watchers 50th Anniversary Cookbook, and buy the book for more great healthy and delicious recipes!

Lemon Basil Three-Bean Salad

From The Weight Watchers 50th Anniversary Cookbook

Serves 6

20 Min or Less

Vegetarian

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 (15-ounce) can small white, rinsed and drained

2/3 cup cooked shelled green soybeans (edamame)

1/3 sweet onion, finely diced

1/3 red bell pepper, finely diced

5 large basil leaves, thinly sliced

Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, oil, salt, and ground pepper in a medium bowl.  Add the black beans, white beans, soybeans, onion, bell pepper, and basil; toss to coat evenly.  Serve at once, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Per Serving (3/4 cup):  160 Cal, 3 g Total Fat, 0 g Sat Fat, 0 mg Chol, 427 mg Sod, 26g Carb, 8 g Fib, 9g Prot, 94 mg Calc.
PointsPlus value: 4

bean salad

Skillet Pork Chops with Onion Gravy

From Weight Watchers 50th Anniversary Cookbook

Serves 6

4 (6-ounce) bone-in pork loin chops, trimmed

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground pepper

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 sweet onions, thinly sliced

1 ¼ cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon whole-grain Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1        Sprinkle the chops with the salt and pepper.  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. (I used a cast iron one).  Swirl in the oil, add the chops and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.

2        Add the onions, ¼ cup of the broth, and the garlic to the skillet.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very tender, about 12-15 minutes.

3        Sprinkle the onions with the flour; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.  Add the remaining 1 cup broth, mustard, and thyme.  Bring to a boil, stirring until the sauce bubbles and thickens.  Return the chops and any accumulated juices to the skillet.  Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the chops are heated through, 2-3 minutes.

Per Serving (1 chop with ¼ cup sauce):

253 Cal, 11 g Total Fat, 4g Sat Fat, 76 mg Chol, 420 g Sod, 9 g Carb, 2 g Fiber, 29g Prot, 30 mg Calc.

PointsPlus value: 6

Huevos Rancheros in Tortilla Cups

Serves 4

Vegetarian

4 (6-inch) corn tortillas

1 (14 ½-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green pepper, celery, and onion

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

½ cup canned diced mild green chiles, drained

2-3 tablespoons mild peepper sauce, such as Frank’s Red Hot

¾ teaspoon ground cumin

3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

4 large eggs

¼ cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

  1. Place the oven rack in the center of the oven; preheat the oven to 425 F.  Lightly spray both sides of the tortillas with nonstick spray.  Place 4 inverted custard cups on a baking sheet, and drape a tortilla over each to give it a bowl shape.  (You may also use an inverted 12-cup muffin pan, placing the tortillas over alternate cups.)  Bake until the tortillas are crisped and lightly golden around the edges, 10 minutes.  Remove the tortillas and set them on a rack to cool.
  1. Combine the diced tomatoes, beans, chiles, pepper sauce, cumin, and 2 tablespoons of the cilantro in an ovenproof skillet.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the flavors are blended, 4 minutes.  Break the eggs one at a time, on top of the sauce, spacing them evenly apart.
  1. Immediately place the pan in the oven and bake until the eggs are almost set, 6-8 minutes.  Sprinkle the cheese on top of the eggs and bake until melted, 1 minute.  to serve, place the tortilla cups on serving plates and spoon the eggs and sauce into the tortilla cups.  Garnish with the remaining tablespoon of chopped cilantro and serve immediately.

Per Serving  (1 filled tortilla cup):  289 Cal, 8g Total fat, 3 g Sat Fat, 216 mg Chol, 840 Sod, 40g, Carb, 8 g fib, 17g Prot, 200 mg Calc.

PointsPlus value:  7

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Filed under Breakfast, Eggs, Lunch, Pork, Sides

Low Carb Mashed “Potatoes”

We’ve been traveling a lot recently (hence the sporadic posting here!) visiting family in Illinois and Long Island.  In Illinois we celebrated my nephew and sister-in-law’s graduations.  So proud of them!  My sister-in-law decided to go back to school to finish her college degree when my niece was two (she will be 21 this year).  She really stuck with it and kept working towards her goal,  while raising three children, and working full-time as a teacher’s aide for several years.  Sometimes she could only take one class a semester.  For several years, she had to take a break from it.  But in the end, she did it! And she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. in Early Childhood Education this summer.

So proud of this woman!!

So proud of this woman!!

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Before all of our travels and family events, I had meant to post a couple of simple veggie recipes that I make daily.  The cauliflower ones are low carb and make a good substitute for starchier vegetables like potatoes.  I tried once to sneak in some cauliflower into my husband’s plate but he wasn’t having it.  He barely tolerates me cooking it, complaining about the smell.  I usually light a scented candle and continue with my cooking.  

I made a hearty meal of meatloaf, green beans, and mashed potatoes, but for myself, I made mashed cauliflower.  You basically make it the same way as mashed potatoes.  Just added heated milk/cream, butter and seasonings.

cauliflower

I love the versatility of cauliflower.  I have also used it in place of rice sometimes, but processing it in a food processor and microwaving for about 4 minutes.  

You can process it until it has the consistency of rice.

You process it until it has the consistency of rice.

 

Another great way to prepare it is roasting at a high temperature — around 400F for 20 minutes, flipping and roasting for another 10 minutes.   I can seriously it a whole half of a head this way in one sitting.

roasted 2

For my guys, though, I made mashed potatoes with roasted garlic and parmesan cheese.  It also was quite yummy.

Silky smooth

Silky smooth

With gravy...

With gravy…

They like it with absolutely no lumps or grainy texture, so I whip the whole batch up with an immersion blender.  It makes it silky smooth!  When Jamie was a baby, I used to make all of his food like this (sans seasonings).  I’d just steam or boil the vegetable and then puree with a blender with some liquid, like milk, water, or broth.  It’s a really easy way to make a lot of baby food.  I used to freeze extra too in ice cube trays.  I’d transfer the cubes to freezer bags, and I’d always have a portion on hand to serve.  Apparently, though, there are some foods, I learned later that you should not make for babies.  Check it out here.

Which do you prefer?  Potatoes or cauliflower?  Do you prefer your potatoes smashed with texture or completely smooth?

Mashed Cauliflower

1/2 head to 1 whole cauliflower, washed and broken into florets

butter to taste

about 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup warm milk or cream to taste

salt and pepper to taste

1.  Steam or boil a half or whole head of cauliflower

2.  Process in a food processor.  While processor is on, add some butter, warmed milk or cream to the desired consistency.

3.  Season with salt and pepper.

Cauliflower “Rice”

1/2 to 1 whole head of cauliflower, washed and broken into florets

1.  Process raw cauliflower in food processor until it has the texture of small grain rice or couscous

2.  Transfer to a large bowl, cover with saran and microwave for about 4 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and serve.

Cauliflower couscous with butter, roasted sliced almonds, and dried cranberries

Cauliflower couscous:  I added butter, roasted sliced almonds, and dried cranberries to the cauliflower “rice”

Roasted Cauliflower

1/2 to 1 whole head of cauliflower washed, and cut into quarters, then eighths

olive oil

kosher salt

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2.  Slice pieces of cauliflower into 1/4 -inch slices.  Toss in large bowl with olive oil.

3.  Spread on one or two baking sheets in one layer.  Sprinkle with salt.

4.  Roast undisturbed for 20 minutes.  Flip and roast for 10 more minutes.

roasted cauliflower

Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic and Parmesan

1 head of garlic

Olive oil

2 lbs. Yukon potatoes, diced

1/2 cup to 1 cup warm milk or cream

kosher salt to taste

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2.  Cut off top of garlic.  Drizzle with oil, wrap head of garlic in foil.  Roast for about 30 minutes.  Unwrap and squeeze cloves out.  Set aside.

3.  Place potatoes in water to cover and bring to a boil.  Simmer for about 10-15 minutes until potatoes are tender.  While potatoes are simmering, warm milk or cream (but do not let boil).

4.  Drain potatoes and transfer to a large bowl.  Season with warm milk, roasted garlic, parmesan cheese and salt, a bit at a time, tasting  along the way.  Stir with a spoon to incorporate.  When you are satisfied with the flavor, whip smooth with an immersion blender or mixer (if you want it perfectly smooth — some people prefer there’s mashed with more texture and feel the smooth way is too “gummy”,  so it’s up to you)!

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Filed under Sides, Vegetables