Search Results for: grilled steak

Simple Grilled Steak with Rub….

Who doesn’t love grilled steak and potatoes?  It is a summer staple here in the US.  I think the leanest and most flavorful cuts are sirloin and flank steak.  Cook them from medium (warm pink center, sirloin picture above), medium rare(cool redish pink center), to rare (pretty dang red, or “moo-ing”) for the most tender result.  The more well done they become, the less tender.  Marinate the sirloin for 30 minutes to a couple of hours, it is a pretty tender cut of meat.   Marinate a flank steak anywhere from 2-24 hours.  The key with the flank steak is to slice it thinly against the grain.   Be sure to serve with those delicious juices you see on the plate.  Serve with Twice Baked Potato Casserole (below) and a crisp salad with a homemade Creamy Yogurt Ranch Dressing.  Delicious!

Simple Steak Rub

2 ½ lbs flank steak or lean sirloin steak
1 fresh lime, zested and juiced
2 teaspoons canola oil

For the rub:

1 teaspoon salt, I like kosher
1 teaspoon each:
 Dried oregano
 Black pepper
 Garlic powder
 Onion powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne
Zest of the lime you will be using above

1) You will need a large container with a lid, I like to use one large enough that the steak can lay flat. Zest lime, set zest aside and spread out on a small plate to dry. (it will dry quickly on the counter) Juice the lime and rub the juice into the steak. Rub the canola oil into the steak as well, evenly coat.
2) Mix all dry rub ingredients together, add zest. Rub generously into prepared meat, coat evenly. (be careful not to “contaminate” the rub by touching the steak and going directly into the rub)  Allow to marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour or as long as you like. Save any remaining rub in an air tight container, label with contents and date. 
3) Grill over medium heat on preheated grill. For a 1” thick piece of steak, medium, grill for 5 minutes per side allow to rest tented with foil for at least 15 minutes before carving. For flank steak, slice thinly on a diagonal, against the grain. Serve with the au jus.

The sure fire way to know the doneness of a piece of meat is with an instant read thermometer.  You can pick one up at most any store with a kitchen department.  They cost from $5-10.  You simply insert into the thickest part of the meat and wait for a couple of minutes for it to completely register.  Do not leave in meat while cooking in the oven or on the grill with the cover closed!  Meat continues cooking when you remove it from the heat, so always allow it to “rest” for 15 minutes to retain juices and finish the cooking process.

*Internal temperatures for different degrees of doneness:
Rare-120′ to 130′
Medium rare- 130′ to 140′
Medium- 140′ to 150′
Medium well- 150′ to 160′
Well- 160+

Perfectly Grilled Pork Chops…..

We had grilled pork chops tonight and everyone cleaned their plates!   I thought I’d share a few tips on grilling pork chops.

1)  First and foremost, buy a whole boneless pork loin.  Watch the sale papers as whole pork loin often goes on sale.  Buy a couple and freeze one for later, they thaw beautifully.    I usually figure 6-8 ounces per serving.  Remove the loin from the store packaging and wrap with cling wrap.  Wrap with heavy duty foil, label and date.  When you want to thaw it out, you can do so in the refrigerator for a couple of days or I put the wrapped loin in a zip bag and let it sit in a large bowl of water.  Place the bowl in the refrigerator to keep it safe.  It will take several hours but will be much quicker than thawing in the refrigerator.  Give it a turn after a couple of hours.
2)  With a very sharp knife, cut the loin into equally sized chops to your desired thickness.  I like  1 1/2″ chops.
3)  Season however you wish.  Tonight I used Penzey’s Chicago Steak Seasoning but you could season very simply with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper and a little granulated garlic.
4)  Allow the seasoned chops to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling.
5)  Preheat the grill.  Lower the heat to medium-low.  Place the room temperature chops on the grill and close the lid.  Resist moving them around, allow them to sit.  For a 1 1/2″ thick chop, cook on medium low for 5 minutes then give a quarter turn for nice grill marks.  Close lid and cook another 5 minutes.  You should be able to see that the meat is cooking up from the bottom and it’s becoming opaque.  Flip the chops and cook another 5-8 minutes.  An instant read thermometer should read 140′.  Allow the meat to sit covered with foil for 10 minutes before serving.  Spoon those lovely juices that accumulate on the plate over the chops when serving.  Cooking lean pork over high heat will dry them out quickly.  Also, know that it’s ok for the center of the pork to be slightly pink.  Some restaurants even serve it medium, not my personal preference.

There you have it.  Moist, juicy, tender, inexpensive and most of all, delicious and perfectly grilled pork chops.  Serve with grilled onions and mushrooms, a simple baked potato and steamed green beans.  Simple perfect dinner.

Have a great day!


Dinner With My Valentine At Morton’s Steakhouse…..

Joe and I enjoyed a lovely Valentine’s dinner last night at Morton’s Steakhouse with our good friends Donna and Jim.   We had such a nice time.  It’s a real treat for us to go there, we only go 1-2 times a year.  They’re dinner menu is to die for!

We enjoyed our selections from their Valentine’s Day special.  We both had the Morton’s Salad, the Colossal Shrimp Alexander, a Petite Fillet, Baked Potato with butter, sour cream and bacon, Sauteed Spinach and Mushrooms and our desserts were Key Lime Pie, which I had to bring home!  The meal was absolutely delicious!

I am often asked what my favorite foods are to eat and to prepare.   Last night on the drive home, I decided that my two favorite restaurants are Morton’s Steakhouse and The Kampai.  I especially love these two restaurants because they use very simple preparation techniques and use high quality ingredients.  This is my kitchen mantra as well.  You will notice that my recipes are quite simple and use good, readily available ingredients.

A couple of steakhouse related recipes you should check out would be my Simple Barbecued Ribs and my Simple Grilled Steak with Homemade Rub.   The ribs are extremely tender and there is no boiling involved.  You can get them grill ready and freeze for another time if you wish.  The steak is so, so good.  I love it served the traditional way with a baked potato with butter and sour cream and a salad with crumbled bleu cheese.  So easy to prepare and very wallet friendly.

I hope you all get to enjoy a nice relaxing Valentine’s Day dinner too:-)

Good eating!


Grilled Vegetables….

It is officially fall, but we still have plenty of time to grill.  Zucchini, yellow squash, onions, mushrooms, are in season and of course, you can still get your hands on asparagus.  Not only do they make a beautiful presentation for guests, they are simple and extremely delicious.  The onions take the longest.  I think it best to cut the onion into wedges and skewer.  They cook evenly and they won’t fall through the grill so easily.  Balsamic vinegar compliments grilled vegetables nicely.   I’ve included a nice vinaigrette recipe that is wonderful on salad and will add a burst of flavor to your grilled vegetable bounty.  Serve with simple steamed brown rice, grilled steak, chicken, or fish.  Delicious, simple, and healthy.
Grilled Assorted Vegetables
1 lb. button mushrooms
2 large onions, cut in half, then into wedges
2-3 small zucchini, cut lenghwise into quarters
2-3 small yellow squash, cut lengthwise into quarters
1 small bunch of asparagus with the tough ends snapped off
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dijon mustard or 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon granulated onion powder
1/2  teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2/3 cup olive oil
1)  Give the mushrooms a quick rinse and drain well.  Toss into a large bowl.  Add onion wedges.  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with a couple of pinches of salt and pepper.  Skewer mushrooms and onions on their own skewers.  Set aside.
2)  Place prepared zucchini and yellow squash on a large platter, drizzle with olive oil to coat and season with a couple of pinches of salt and pepper.  Toss to evenly coat.  Do the same with the asparagus.
3)  Grill the skewered onions and the mushrooms first.   The onions will take about 20 minutes, the mushrooms about 10.  Turn often.  Place on platter when done.
4)  Grill the zucchini and yellow squash.  Cook on each side 3-4 minutes. (cook on all 3 sides)  Grill asparagus for about 4-5 minutes, rolling on grill often.  Arrange vegetables on a serving platter. 
5)  Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together until well blended.  Drizzle a couple of tablespoons over the grilled vegetables.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Makes 6-8 servings.

Tequila Lime Marinated Flank Steak with Chimichurri, my version….

This is an incredibly delicious combination of heat, sweet and savory.  The steak is juicy and is very much complimented by the spicy chimichurri sauce.  The cool cucumber simple salad is slightly sweet and the roasted yuca is a very nice understated starchy vegetable.  Enjoy with a salted rimmed margarita on the rocks with fresh lime….mmmmm good!


2 large cloves fresh garlic
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons tequila
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice or bottled
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 ½ lb. flank steak

Place all ingredients in a blender; blend until smooth.  Place flank steak in a large zip bag, pour marinade over steak.  Marinate in refrigerator for several hours or overnight.  Discard marinade, preheat grill, cook over medium-high heat medium to medium rare.  For one inch thickness, cook 7-9 minutes per side.  Cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes before slicing.  Slice thinly across the grain or on a diagonal.  Serve with chimichurri.


3  tablespoons fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh parsley
½ medium sweet onion, coarsely chopped
½ medium sweet red pepper, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil
2 large cloves fresh garlic
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 jalepeno pepper, (or seranno pepper for more heat), seeds included
½ teaspoon cumin

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator, allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.  Serve a generous portion over the grilled flank steak. Delish!

Cool cucumber salad

2-3 cucumbers, washed and thinly sliced
2-3 thin slices of red onion
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Slice cucumbers and  onion into a serving bowl.  Mix the vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper in a small bowl, stir often to dissolve salt and sugar.  Pour over cucumbers just before serving.

Archived Recipe Fav’s…..

One of my favorite events of  this summer was reconnecting with my cousins at the Henderson family reunion.  I’m pictured here with my cousin Diane.  LOVE HER!!  Anyway, we talked at length about the past and she brought up “The Green Bean Incident.”  I am posting this link for Diane:-)   I love our reunion picnics as everyone brings their best “go to” dish to share.  The food was amazing!  This got me thinking that since I haven’t posted recipes in awhile, I thought I might repost a few of my fav’s.  Comfort foods come to mind when the days start getting shorter and it is getting pleasantly cooler.

I serve pasta at least once a week.  My kids LOVE it!  So easy to prepare and when I make the sauce, I always make extra for the freezer.  It is awesome to have a sauce stashed away in the freezer to use when you’re pinched for time.  Try changing up the shapes of the noodles too.  It all tastes the same but to a kid, new and interesting shapes make for a more enjoyable dinner.  Pictured here,
Rigatoni with Meat Sauce.

There is still plenty of time left for grilling.  I do this so simply.  I toss whole mushrooms and quartered onions into a bowl and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Skewer them each on their own skewers. (onions take much longer to grill, cook them first then the mushrooms)  Personally, I do not think a good steak needs much more seasoning than good ole kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.  Flank steak doesn’t need to be marinated to oblivion.  Cooked to medium (a 1″ thick steak should be grilled about 6 minutes per side and turned only once) and thinly sliced on the diagonal is all you need for a flavorful and simple supper.  If you’re ever in doubt as to whether your steak is done the way you want, use an instant read thermometer and follow the guidelines below.

*Internal temperatures for different degrees of doneness:
Rare-120′ to 130′
Medium rare- 130′ to 140′
Medium- 140′ to 150′
Medium well- 150′ to 160′
Well- 160+

Oh…and potato.  Noting like a killer potato with a great piece of steak, right?  If you love twice baked potatoes, you must try my
Twice Baked Potato Casserole.  Perfectly sized or shaped potatoes are not needed for this recipe.  

I hope you had a restful weekend!


Vegetable Fried Brown Rice….

Fried Vegetable Brown Rice

1 tablespoon canola oil
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups cold cooked brown rice
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2-3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables or petite peas, thawed
½ cup bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)

1) Heat a large non stick skillet over high heat. Add oil. Add eggs, all at once, stir constantly and break into small pieces. Add rice and green onions. Drizzle soy sauce and sesame oil over rice. Heat through, stirring often to prevent scorching. Add mixed vegetables and bean sprouts. Taste. Season with more soy sauce if necessary. Top with sesame seeds.

Remember, be creative, add whatever vegetables you like!

To make this a quick dinner entree, add some leftover pieces of rotisserie chicken or thinly sliced leftover grilled steak or pork!  Simply stir fry in the pan at the very beginning, remove from pan before adding eggs, then add back to pan after adding the rice.



UFO Identified, Plantains & Fried Plantains….

Thank you Chels for identifying this UFO!   Hard to believe that something so unattractive could turn out so beautiful.  The UFO in the previous post is a plantain.  This South American fruit couldn’t be easier to prepare.  It resembles a banana but has a different taste and texture than a regular banana.  For starters they have a much more starchy taste and unlike a regular banana can’t be just peeled and eaten.  They require a little love before you can enjoy.  Because of the amount of starch they fry beautifully.

I prefer a darker plantain as they are a bit sweeter and have a softer texture.  The peeling is not as pliable as a regular banana either.  Slice off the very top and bottom and run a sharp knife through the skin and peel.  Slice the plantain on a diagonal.

Next heat about 1/2″  of canola oil to about 325-350′.  I use a shallow cast iron skillet as it has excellent heat conduction.  They take only minutes on each side to brown.

Allow the fried plantains to drain on paper towel.  Season simply with kosher salt and you’re ready to serve.                      Serve as a delicious side dish alongside  Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce for an authenthic South American dinner.

Interesting and very delicious!

Have a great day!


Food Safety 101

     A year ago I took a food safety class and became certified in the safe handling of food.  Periodically, I will be sharing helpful hints and tidbits of information necessary to keep your loved ones safe.
     This isn’t the most pleasant subject, but it’s extremely important! Did you know that E.coli bacteria is in 25% of ground beef in the United States? E.coli is a surface bacteria that through grinding, incorporates the bacteria throughout the meat. The good news is that when cooked to the proper 155′ internal temperature, it does not survive.
     What does this mean? Number one NEVER serve ground beef rare or even pink to small children, pregnant women, older adults, or someone with a compromised immune system. There is a simple way to be sure you’ve cooked ground beef properly and that is an instant read thermometer. They run about $10 and can be found at Target or most any kitchen supply store.  Simply inject the thermometer in to the center part of the hamburger for 30-60 seconds and get a reading of 155′ or higher, and you’re good. When cooking steaks that are seared or grilled, you needn’t worry as the bacteria doesn’t survive the cooking on the surface.  It is ok to serve pink steak to children, etc.
     Additionally, be very careful when you are handling ANY raw meats. Designate a section on your counter for handling raw meats, and if possible, designate another section for vegetables and ready to eat items as they do not go through a cooking process to make them safe.
     Last but not least, wash your hands with hot water and plenty of soap for 20 seconds before, during, and after handling raw meats.

Twice Baked Potato Casserole….

Often times, potatoes on sale in the bag have varied sizes in them. What to do with the small potatoes? This is the perfect recipe for small potatoes you wouldn’t necessarily bake or stuff. I like that that small potatoes don’t require an hour of baking time like the large ones. You don’t have to be particularly careful when scooping out the flesh of the potato like when you are making a typical twice baked potato. The not so perfect skins line the bottom of the dish. If you’re like me and love the skins, you are going to love this recipe!

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

2 lbs. small or medium baking potatoes
2 tablespoons butter + 2 teaspoons for buttering the baking dish
¼ cup sour cream
½ cup milk
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons fresh chives or green onions thinly sliced

1) Preheat oven to 400’. Butter a 2 quart baking dish with 2 teaspoons butter, set aside. Bake potatoes for 30-40 minutes, or until soft.
2) Remove from oven and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.
3) Line your hand with a clean kitchen towel to hold the warm potato. Cut potatoes in half and scoop out center and place into a medium mixing bowl. Line your baking dish with the potato skins on the bottom and partially up the sides. (You will have an over abundance of skins, if you really love them, break them into small pieces and throw them into the bowl with the flesh, remember the skins contain most of the vitamins!)
4) Add 2 tablespoons butter, sour cream, milk, salt, and pepper to the potatoes in the bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat for about 30 seconds. If too thick, add more milk. Fold in half of the cheese. Carefully pour potatoes over skins in baking dish. Spread evenly. Add remaining cheese. Bake at 350’ for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Top with chives or green onions.

*If you choose to make these potatoes ahead and go from refrigerator to oven, bake in preheated 350’ oven for 30-35 minutes.
*These do NOT freeze well.
*Feel free to top with crumbled bacon:-)