Grilled Tri Tip Steak

There is something about grilled steak that just screams summer.  That summer reminder seems so important right now as the kids head back to school and summer hours at my office come to an all too quick close. Grilled steak, done right screams, “You can’t take summer from me!  I will Not go gentle into that good night!”  But, as the mornings dawn a tad chillier and the evenings beg for a sweater, I realize Mother Nature could not be held back and I celebrate one of the last grilled steaks of the season.

Ingredients:

3 lb beef tri tip steak
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp black pepper

Preparation:

Combine ingredients, except tri-tip steaks. Mix well and pour into a resealable bag.  Add tri-tip, close and refrigerate for 2 hours. Preheat grill. Remove tri-tip steaks from marinade and discard marinade. Place steaks on hot grill. Grill for 10 to 12 minutes, turning occasionally to get an even sear. Remove steaks when the reach your desired doneness. Rest steaks for 5 minutes and serve.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Barbera
Bourdeaux
Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Sauvignon
Grenache

Serves: 6
Active time: 20 minutes; Inactive time: 2 hours

Grilled Tri Tip

*Derived from AboutFood.com

Baked Ziti

I have an almost irrational obsession with baked ziti.  And I can pinpoint exactly where it comes from.  It was, I’d say, wow, about 10 years ago.  My wonderful Hubs (who was not my  Hubs yet) invited a coworker to go to dinner with us.  We went to Pasta Pomodoro in Rockridge (amazing outside seating with equally amazing heaters).  I very clearly remember ordering the very rich and creamy baked ziti.  When the waiter brought our food and said, “baked ziti?” I watched in dumb-founded amazement as Hector said, “Yes, right here.”  Right here?!??  “No, RIGHT HERE!!!” I silently screamed.  I don’t even remember the non-baked ziti dish I ended up with that night.  How could I?  It wasn’t baked ziti.  Ever since that fateful evening I have been on a baked ziti quest.  Each variation of a recipe that I try gets put in the “never again” pile, the “hmm, give it one more try” pile, or THIS could be the ONE” pile.  I made this ahead for our Tahoe trip.  My dad loved it, which is a whole other story, but got it added to the THIS could be the ONE pile.  🙂 

Ingredients:

16 oz dry ziti pasta
1 small / medium onion chopped (depends on preference)
1 lb extra lean ground beef (can sub turkey or chicken)
2 (26 oz) jars pasta sauce (such as Classico Tomato & Basil)
6 oz sliced provolone cheese
1 1/2 cups sour cream
6 oz mozzarella, shredded
2 Tbs grated Parmesan

Preparation:

Add ziti to slightly salted boiling water.  You want to cook to al dente because this dish will go in the oven.

Over medium – high heat, in a large skillet, sweat onions until soft, add ground beef.  Once browned, add pasta sauce and simmer 15 minutes.

While simmering sauce, preheat oven to 350°.  Spray a 9×13″ baking pan with nonstick spray.  Layer 1/2 of the ziti, provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture.  Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake 30 minutes, or until cheeses are melted

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Barbera
Chianti
Malbec
Pinot Noir
Sangiovese

Serves 10
Total time: 1 hour

Baked Ziti

Not a great picture, we got busy in Tahoe and I forgot to take another when cutting into it!

*Derived from AllRecipes.com

Quick Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Pasta is a staple in my house.  For the most part, you can make it fast.  But, there are also some amazing dishes that take a while (lasagna, baked ziti anyone?).  I kind of have to admit, too, that one of the reasons I love pasta has to do with the control freak in me.  It’s also the same reason I prefer texting and email.  It’s all on my time. I get to decide, do I want/need a quick pasta tonight?  Do I need/want to respond to this text right now? Basically, whether a text or pasta, it comes down to me.  And no one knows the elements that brought me to the decision.  This dish, however, I’ll share with you the behind the scenes thought process.  I already had defrosted the extra lean ground beef.  I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it simply because my family is just coming back from a quick little vacation to Kings Beach in North Lake Tahoe (one of our fave places and I encourage everyone to go) and anyone that knows me understands that I spent the week leading up to Tahoe planning, cooking, and packing for our trip (those recipes to follow).  By the time we got back home I was 1) exhausted from a wonderful trip, 2) really tired of planning and cooking, and 3) completely out of groceries save for the staples I had on hand.  I can tell you, quite confidently, this was a huge hit!

Ingredients:

1 lb extra lean ground beef (can sub ground chicken or turkey)
1 (14.5) oz diced tomatoes
1 (14.5) oz tomato sauce
1/2 of (6.5) garlic & herb spreadable cheese (such as Alouette)
1 Tbs dried basil (such as Morton & Bassett) (I prefer fresh, but since my GSD puppy ate my plant, I had to go with dried)
Handful of dried spaghetti
Parmesan grated, shredded, shaved (your preference) for serving

Preparation:

Boil pasta according to your doneness preference.

While pasta cooks, brown meat. Once browned, drain off any excess fat. Add diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Reduced heat to medium low and heat through. Add the garlic and herb spreadable cheese. Stir to completely incorporate through. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer 5 – 10 minutes. Add basil the last few minutes and stir (if using fresh basil, wait until ready to serve.

Mix pasta with sauce, in batches, stirring to combine with each batch. Top with favorite Parmesan. Serve with crusty bread.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Barbera
Chianti
Malbec
Pinot Noir
Sangiovese

Serves 8
Total time: 40 minutes

photo (5)

*Original Serves-4 Recipe

Beef Teriyaki & Vegetables

It has been so long since I’ve updated my blog. Life has been incredibly hectic. Am I the only one looking forward to summer? A little less hussle to get out the door before school starts each morning will be nice. I’ll still need to go to my office, but just taking away that stresser will be nice.

It has been HOT in Cali this week! When it’s hot I like to make quick dishes that don’t require a lot of heat. This is just that dish, and the bonus, I used my rice cooker!

Ingredients:

2 cup carrots sliced thin (I used the precut carrots in the produce section)
2 cup snow peas (just the name cools me off!)
1/2 cup terijaki sauce (your favorite bottled will do just fine)
3 tsp corn starch
6 tsp vegetable oil divided
12 oz sirloin tip steak thinly sliced against the grain into strips (you could even purchase the already sliced carne asada in the meat department.  Also, feel free to sub chicken if prefered.)
4 scallions diced, whites and greens seperate (I omitted b/c the kiddos would have crinkled their cute little noses)
Small pinch red pepper flakes (omitted for the same reason as above)
8 oz sliced mushrooms (purchase presliced in the produce section)
8 oz mixed sweet bell peppers cut into strips (red, yellow, and / or orange)

Preparation:

Either cook rice in rice cooker or according to package directions.  While rice is cooking, prep all other ingredients.

Stir cornstarch into teriyaki sauce and set aside.  In a wok or heavy bottomed pan, over very high heat, place one teaspoon of oil and let it get smoking hot.  Add beef (can divide into two portions for even browning) and brown on both sides (about 1 minute) and remove to a bowl.  If browning beef in two batches, add next teaspoon of oil, allow to get smoking hot, brown second half of meat, remove to same bowl.  Let pan get smoking hot again, add third teaspoon of oil add carrots and snowpeas.  Cook until crisp / tender, 4-5 minutes.  Add pepper flakes, mushrooms, and peppers.  Stir and cook for 3-5 minutes, until slightly cooked but still a little crunchy. Return cooked beef.  Stir, keepin heat on high.  Stir teriyaki again and add to pan.  Remove from heat and stir a few times.  Serve immediatlely over warm rice.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Beaujolais
Cabernet Franc
Grenache
Merlot
Syrah / Shiraz

Serves 4

Prep time: 15 minutes; Total time: 1 hour

Beef Teriyaki and Vegetables

*Derived from Weight Watchers

Quick Beef Stroganoff

I love beef stroganoff, and it seems that there are so many different recipes out there with the smallest change making a huge change if flavor.  What attracted me, though, to this recipe from Gimme Some Oven was it’s 30-Minute timeframe.  While this did take me a little longer than 30 minutes, it was so worth it!  And between you and me, I think the reason it took longer was completely my scattered fault.  I just can’t seem to get my ducks in a row, and if I finally get them in a row, they certainly don’t stay that way!  There were some substitutions I made to make it a little healthier or I was missing an ingredient.  There are also many ways you can make this healthier, instead of steak, you can use sliced chicken or turkey.  Or, if you are vegetarian, sub mushrooms and use vegetable broth.  All in all, a wonderful weeknight dish!

Ingredients:

1 lb wide egg noodles
4 Tbs butter, divided
1 ½ lb thinly sliced steak (I bought the fajita sliced steak in the meat department.  They also have super thin carne asada style)
1 white or yellow onion thinly sliced (I used a small one, the size depends on your enjoyment of onions)
4 cloves garlic minced (As always, I used the pre-minced from Spice World)
1 lb sliced mushrooms (You can use a mixture of different kinds of added flavor)
½ cup dry white wine (or you can just use more beef broth.  I had the wine, but it fell into my mouth . . . )
1 ½ cups beef broth
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce (thanks to the kids experimenting, I didn’t have any.  I used A-1 instead and it brought a very nice, unique flavor)
3 Tbs flour
½ cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt (or you can use light sour cream, the yogurt added a different flavor)
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped fresh parsley, as optional garnish

Preparation:

Cook egg noodles in boiling water according to package directions (Gimme Some Oven recommends actually adding the egg noodles to the water at the same time that the beef broth is added, and this is a perfect recommendation for timing!)

As pasta water is coming to a boil, melt 2 Tbs of butter in large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add steak in a single layer and season with salt and pepper, let it cook for 3 minutes without turning to get a good sear.  Remove the steak from pan with slotted spoon, transfer to a separate dish.  Discard the cooked butter from the pan.

Return pan to heat and add remaining 2 Tbs butter.  Once melted, add onions and saute for about 3 minutes.  Add garlic and mushrooms, stir to combine.  Continue sauteing an additional 5-7 minutes, or until mushrooms have through and onions are soft.  Add white wine (or broth) and deglaze pan.  Let mixture cook down an additional 3 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together beef broth, Worcestershire (or A-1) sauce, and flour until smooth.  Pour the broth mixture into the pan and stir to combine.  Let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Next, stir in Greek yogurt (or sour cream) until combined.  Finally, stir in cooked steak.

Serve over egg noodles, garnished with parsley if desired.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Cabernet Sauvignon
Malbec
Merlot
Pinot Noire
Sangiovese

Total time: About 40 minutes

Serves 6

Quick Beef Stroganoff

Quick Beef Stroganoff

 *Derived from Gimme Some Oven

Mongolian Beef

This dish came together so quickly and easily, it was ready before the rice cooker! My kids always say, “I’m hungry. When is dinner going to be ready?” This time when I answered, “In just a minute.” I was telling the truth! Full of flavor to rival any takeout. My youngest foodie was putting the sauce not only on her rice, but her broccoli too! That’s when you know the dish is a keeper.

Ingredients:

1 Tbs olive oil
1 lb steak (sirloin or flank), sliced thinly (time-saving tip:  pop the meat in the freezer for 15-20 minute before slicing, it will make that task so much easier)
3 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs hoisin sauce
1 Tbs brown sugar
1 Tsp chili sauce (I used Mae Ploy Sweet Chili Sauce b/c the kiddos are not quite ready for the full chili effect)
1 clove garlic minced (time-saving tip: by it already minced in a jar, such as Spice World)
1 tsp grated ginger (time-saving tip: I don’t know what I’d do without my Gourmet Garden ginger paste)
1 Tbs cornstarch
1/3 cup beef broth
1 Tsp sesame oil
¼ cup sliced green onion

Preparation:

Heat oil in large, nonstick pan, over medium-high heat.  Add beef and sauté until just cooked, about 2-4 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, chili sauce, garlic, ginger, cornstarch, and water.  Add this to meat and cook about 1 minute, until sauce thickens.

Remove from heat, mix in sesame oil and serve over rice or noodles.  Top with sliced green onions.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Cabernet Sauvignon
Merlot

Serves 4

Mongolian Beef

Mongolian Beef

Courtesy Closet Cooking

Beef Enchiladas

The other night I had steak leftover and didn’t want it to go to waste.  I know a lot of people here in the United States like to make enchiladas with ground meat, but ground meat isn’t an often used ingredient in Mexico.  But steak is.  And I had enough for these amazing, thumbs up enchiladas.  Oh, and if anyone tells you to use anything other than corn tortillas for enchiladas, let them know that it is then no longer an enchilada, but a burrito with sauce.  Here are a couple of tips for working with corn tortillas – first, use white corn whenever possible, they are more pliable; and second, warm the tortillas  in a skillet on medium to low heat.  Be sure to just warm and not cook, this will make them pliable for rolling without cracking or splitting. 

Ingredients:

1 lb diced steak (you can sub with ground / diced meat of your choice)
2 cups Quick and Easy Enchilada Sauce(can sub 16 oz no sugar added red enchilada sauce or salsa)
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Mexican blend seasoning (such as McCormick® Perfect Pinch® Mexican)
½ tsp black pepper
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)
10 white corn tortillas
*for some heat, you can add a 4 oz can of green chile peppers

Preparation:

In large skillet, heat the steak through.  If using ground meat, cook over medium heat, breaking up while cooking.  Drain off any fat.

In a medium mixing bowl, add meat, garlic powder, Mexican blend seasoning, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.  Next add ½ cup of enchilada sauce, ½ cup sour cream, and 1 cup of cheese.  Mix well.

Preheat oven to 350° Warm tortillas in skillet and spoon meat mixture in center of tortilla. The amount depends on the size of your tortillas. Roll tightly and place seam side down in large baking dish lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Combine the remaining enchilada sauce and ½ cup sour cream, spread over enchiladas.  Sprinkle remaining cheese over top and tent loosely with aluminum foil and bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and garnish with your favorite toppings, such as lettuce, tomato, avocado, sour cream, or Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce®.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Grenache
Merlot
Sangiovese

Serves 6

Prep time: 30 minutes; Cooking time: 30 minutes

Beef Inchiladas

Beef Enchiladas

*Derived from Skinnyms.com