Tag Archives: gravy

Meals from Raiding the Freezer

28 Jan
"And what meal shall I select from the freezer today?"

“And what meal shall I select from the freezer today?”

I’ve been on a self-imposed cooking haitus this week. I decided to scour the freezer for all the leftovers we had stockpiled in there from our snowbound two months, and discovered I had NO LESS than 8 meals in the freezer I decided we should heat up and eat before they were freezer burnt and long forgotten.

I made a list on our fridge white board we usually use for our shopping list, and have been gradually eating them and wiping them off. I can’t help but make meals for 4 to 6 or 8 people (some kind of hangup from growing up in a family of 8), and with my daughter gone most of the time, we simply can’t eat the same meal more than two nights in a row (or sometimes every other night). Many of these just needed a side salad, bread, or veggies/potatoes.

I have compiled for you my freezer list meals, along with links to the recipes for them. (Or similar recipes or part of one, and some are adaptations of prior recipes I’ve posted.) I’ll get back to more recipes and cooking soon! Enjoy!

Lasagna Soup

This freezes really well! Just as good, if not better later with loads more fresh-grated Parmesan cheese.

One-Pot Lasagna Soup

One-Pot Lasagna Soup

Beef Stroganoff

A classic with a healthy twist. No canned soups! The version in our freezer was a wonderful meal made with shredded cooked beef that my husband made instead of ground beef, but similar concept.

Homemade Ground Beef Stroganoff

Homemade Ground Beef Stroganoff

Smoked Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Another Italian-based soup recipe that freezes well and gets the same raves as the day you made it!

Smoked Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Smoked Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Cabbage and Chicken Soup

I made this same type of soup, but used shredded chicken instead of ground beef. Try it, you’ll like it!

Mexican-Style Beef and Cabbage Soup

Mexican-Style Beef and Cabbage Soup

Turkey and Turkey Gravy

Traditional roasted turkey leftover from New Year’s dinner, with gravy made from the turkey carcass stock. Here I give you the recipe for the stock.

Turkey Carcass Stock

Turkey Carcass Stock

White Chicken Chili

One of our favorite winter comfort foods. I know it’s many of my friend’s favorite too! I used white beans instead of black beans for the leftovers in the freezer but I’ve posted both versions before, but this one has the printable PDF.

Creamy Chicken Chili and Beans

Creamy Chicken Chili and Beans

Sous Vide Meatloaf with Bacon

I made this with a several pieces of ground up uncooked bacon in it and cooked via the sous vide method. Wow, talk about a flavor bomb! I am linking up to Conor Bofin’s recipe, as his inspired me to make my mom’s meatloaf with bacon and sous vide method. I did not write my own post about it.

Mom's Meatloaf

Mom’s Meatloaf

Spicy Chicken Florentine

Well I know I just posted this, but it IS in the freezer and we need to finish it. Just two small lunch-sized servings left. 🙂

Spicy Chicken Florentine

Spicy Chicken Florentine

24 vs. 48 Hour Sous Vide Chuck Roast

14 Jan
24-Hour Sous Vide Chuck Roast

24-Hour Sous Vide Chuck Roast

I’ve been slowly learning the best methods and temperatures to cook meat via the sous vide method. For those of you not familiar with this, I’ll give you a cheat link over to Wikipidia: Sous Vide Cooking.

So about three weeks ago I decided to cook a piece of chuck roast for 48 hours at 149 F, but about halfway through the cooking time my foodie friend and sous vide guru Stefan gave me the sage advice that I would achieve the results my hubby desired in said chunk of meat by cooking it only 24 hours at a higher temperature. Horrors, what was I to do? So I threw caution to the wind and bumped it up to 165 F for the last 24 hours. It came out out fall apart tender and my husband said it was the best chuck roast he had ever tasted.

I had only used half of the chuck roast, so two weeks later I decided to try only 24 hours at 165 F for the second half. It was very tender, but both of us thought the first one had the perfect texture. Don’t get me wrong, it was absolutely delicious, the first one was just amazingly absolutely delicious. Was this a controlled experiment? Heck no. I had too many differences with what I did. Was the first chuck roast the better half of the roast? (It was a 6-pound roast initially.) The first one I only seasoned it then seared in a hot cast iron skillet. For the second one I seasoned it then dusted it heavily with flour before searing, as I wanted a thicker gravy than the first one. Did the flour have anything to do with the texture of the meat? I have no idea. But I did get a thicker gravy!

Anyhoot, since I bothered to take the pictures, I’ll go ahead and step you through the process I did for the second roast. Who knows? Maybe it will prompt you to pick up a sous vide circulator and try it out!

24-Hour Sous Vide Chuck Roast with Gravy

1 3-pound chuck roast
Seasoning spice mix of choice
Ground black pepper and salt
Flour
1 tablespoon high heat oil, such as grapeseed oil
1/2 cup homemade beef stock

First, fill a large pot with water, insert the sous vide circulator, and set the heat at 165 degrees F.

Seasoned Beef

Seasoned Beef

Season the beef liberally with a spice seasoning mix of choice. I used Santorini Sunset seasoning (available from Kouzouna’s Kitchen). Grind a bunch of black pepper over it, and lightly salt if your seasoning mix does not contain salt. Pat the roast all around with flour until it is thoroughly coated.

Coated with Flour

Coated with Flour

Heat a cast iron skillet to high heat and add the tablespoon of oil. Sear the roast on all sides until it is browned and crusty.

Seared Chuck Roast

Seared Chuck Roast

Place the roast in a gallon zip-top freezer bag, then remove all the air by zipping it almost shut and slowly immersing it into the pot of water until all the air is sucked out of the bag, then finish sealing the bag.

Ready to Cook for 24 Hours

Ready to Cook for 24 Hours

Cover the pot with cling-wrap to prevent evaporation. Now go find something to do for the next 24 hours, like eat your dinner, watch a movie, sleep, get up and do laundry, or whatever you find yourself doing for the next day.

Cooked Roast and Juices

Cooked Roast and Juices

About 20 minutes before you want to eat the roast, turn off the sous vide, remove the bag from the pot, and remove the roast from the bag, saving the juices in the bag. Set the roast aside on a plate and cover with foil while you make the gravy.

Showing off my Poppa's Hook

Showing off my Poppa’s Hook ~ I love my meat hook!

Pour the juices from the bag into a skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the 1/2 cup beef stock to it. Bring the sauce up to a simmer, and whisk constantly while keeping a simmer until the gravy has reduced and thickened.

Making the Gravy

Making the Gravy

To finish the gravy, add a half tablespoon of very cold butter and stir it in until just melted. Strain the gravy through a sieve (I also line it with mesh or cheesecloth) into a serving bowl.

Smooth Beef Gravy

Smooth Beef Gravy

Serve the fall-apart tender meat with the gravy and sides of vegetables. We had rosemary buttered baby potatoes with green beans.

24-Hour Sous Vide Chuck Roast

24-Hour Sous Vide Chuck Roast

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

 

 

Jagerschnitzel with Mushroom Gravy and Bacon

9 Jul
Jagerschnitzel with Mushroom Gravy and Bacon

Jagerschnitzel with Mushroom Gravy and Bacon

“This is a keeper!”

Those were pretty much the first words out of hubby’s mouth after finishing the meal. I must admit this is pretty damned good, too. In my usual frugal manner, I had picked up some super-thin cut pork loins in the 50% off bin and was randomly searching the interwebz and Pinterest what to make with them and Voila! Not only did bacon and mushroom gravy catch my eye, but so did the unusual name.

Jager (properly spelled Jäger in German) loosely means hunter, named after the German military term for rifle-armed infantry. In short, “hunter’s cutlet” and the dish was originally made with thinly pounded venison or wild boar backstrap. In the U.S., it is typically made with pork.

If you do not pour sauce over all the cutlets, then the schnitzels reheat beautifully with a light spray of oil in the toaster oven. The meal is typically served with spaetzle or noodles, but I served Brussels sprouts instead. Hey, that’s close to Germany! This isn’t the quickest dinner to make in the book, but it is so very worth the time. It took me about an hour and a half but if you have all your ducks in a row (i.e. prep everything ahead of time) then you could probably make it in an hour. Guten Appetit!

Jagerschnitzel with Mushroom Gravy and Bacon
Adapted from Guy Fieri and The Food Network

1 1/4 pounds thin-cut pork loin (or pounded thin)
3/4 cup flour, divided
1 teaspoon salt or Mrs. Dash
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon paprika
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
3/4 cup crushed unsalted crackers
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
3 slices thick-cut bacon, diced (1 more if thin-cut)
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup red wine
Olive oil, for frying
2 cups beef stock, homemade or high-quality store-bought
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Schnitzel Ingredients

Schnitzel Ingredients ~ I am not ashamed to use paper plates to use less dishes

If your pork slices are not already thin, pound them thin until 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Trim the fat off the pork edges. On a plate, mix together 1/2 cup flour with salt, pepper, garlic and paprika. In a bowl, combine egg, milk and mustard. On another plate, combine crushed crackers and panko.

Breaded Cutlets

Breaded Cutlets

Dredge pork slices first in flour, then in egg wash, then in the crumbs. Set on a cooling rack above a sheet pan and place in the refrigerator until ready to cook.

In a cast iron skillet (or other heavy pan), cook the bacon until crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Frying Bacon

Frying Bacon ~ And yes I did cook this entire meal on our grill propane burner outdoors!

In the same skillet with the bacon grease, add the onions and saute for several minutes. Add mushrooms and continue cooking for about five more minutes until the mushrooms have browned.

Shrooms and Onions

Shrooms and Onions

Stir in 1/4 cup flour and continue stirring until you have a light brown roux. Add the wine and cook for a few more minutes until it’s reduced by 1/3, then add the beef stock. Continue cooking to reduce by 1/3 again. Season with salt and pepper then keep warm on low.

Mushroom Gravy

Mushroom Gravy ~ Not my best shot…

Heat 1/4-inch oil in another cast iron skillet (or heavy pan) until it bubbles when you insert a wooden chopstick to the bottom. In batches, cook pork evenly on both sides, about five minutes for the first side, several more minutes for the second.

Fried Schnitzels

Fried Schnitzels

Remove to a platter and continue cooking until all cutlets are done. Add butter to sauce, stirring until it has melted. To serve, cover pork with sauce and garnish with chopped bacon and fresh parsley.

Jagerschnitzel with Mushroom Gravy and Bacon

Jagerschnitzel with Mushroom Gravy and Bacon

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Asian Style Cube Steak

5 Apr
Asian Style Cube Steak

Asian Style Cube Steak

I’ve been hard-pressed to come up with new dinner ideas for all the packages of tenderized top round (aka cube steak) we have in our freezer. After I spied a new Teriyaki sauce that had sesame seeds in it at the store, I decided to buy it and figured the steak could be dressed up with it for an Asian flair. Throw in some onions, carrots, and sugar snap peas and voila! A perfect meal to serve over a bed of rice. I got two thumbs up from the family for this one!

Asian Style Cube Steak

1 pound tenderized top round
Salt or Mrs. Dash
Ground black pepper
1/4 cup flour
Vegetable oil, for frying
1/2 to 1 cup sliced onions
1 3/4 cup beef broth, homemade or low sodium
1/4 cup Teriyaki sauce with sesame seeds
8 ounces baby carrots
8 ounces sugar snap peas
3/4 cup uncooked rice

Cube Steaks and Teriyaki Sauce

Cube Steaks and Teriyaki Sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the cube steak into serving portions then season with salt and pepper, to taste. Dredge the steaks through the flour, pressing in firmly to stick. Reserve the leftover flour.

 

Cube Steaks and Onions

Cube Steaks and Onions

Heat about 1/8 inch of oil in an oven-proof or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the steaks on one side for about five minutes, the carefully flip over. Add the sliced onions, then cook the steak and onions for about another five minutes. Add the reserved flour to the pan, stirring into the oil as best you can around the steaks.

In a large measuring cup, add the beef broth, then add the Teriyaki sauce with sesame seeds (I used Soy Vay brand) to the 2-cup mark and whisk to incorporate. (If you can’t find that brand of sauce, simply add about a tablespoon of sesame seeds to any Teriyaki sauce.) Pour the mixture over the steak an onions.

Carrots Added to the Pot

Carrots Added to the Pot

Add the baby carrots around the steaks. Cover with an oven-proof lid, and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes. Carefully remove lid, stir in the snap peas, then cook covered for an additional 15 minutes.

Snap Peas Added to the Pot

Snap Peas Added to the Pot

While the steak is in the oven, you can cook the rice according to package directions and keep warm until serving time. When the steaks and vegetables are done, serve over the rice with plenty of sauce.

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Salisbury Steak Dinner with Mushroom and Onion Gravy

8 Mar
Salisbury Steak

Salisbury Steak

This is the first time I’ve made this dinner. Salisbury Steak had always reminded me of those ubiquitous frozen dinners from my childhood and could never get past the “taste” in my mind of the awful frozen patty in the equally awful gravy and shriveled peas.

But then I ran across the recipe for it from Libby at her Lemony Thyme foodie blog, and her beautiful photos and descriptions compelled me to overcome my distaste of the meal. I adapted the recipe a bit based on her encouragement to take the meal where it “makes you and yours complete and comfortable.” So I added lots of thin-sliced sweet onions to the gravy, because in my mind onions can make most anything complete! I typically don’t have any fresh thyme on hand, and I have found the brand of dried thyme I have is very overpowering even in small amounts. I have some beautifully fragrant sweet dried oregano, and decided it would complement the gravy quite nicely and used that instead of thyme.

The other thing that made this dish complete and comfortable was a wonderfully rich, homemade beef broth, fresh-made that day! Homemade broth/stock is unparalleled to the store-bought variety.

Simmering Beef Broth

Simmering Beef Broth

And it makes your house smell so cozy all day! Yes, it takes a lot of time to make, but not much hands on time at all. I upped the ante on flavor for this batch by basting the beef bones with tomato paste halfway through the roasting time, and deglazing the roasting pan with a 1/4 cup of red wine and adding it to the stock pot. I also let it simmer for a full 6 hours. Yowza, what a tasty batch of beef broth! You can read my original method here: How to Make Homemade Beef Broth. I also used the rest of my frozen pearl onions I used in the Coq Au Vin recipe instead of regular onions. I wasn’t sure when I’d use pearl onions again, so this seemed a good time to finish off that bag.

I highly encourage you to use the tomato paste and red wine method. If you use that method, don’t use a roasting bag as instructed but place the bones directly in a roasting pan and then deglaze with wine or broth/water. You can refrigerate the broth overnight and discard any fat grease that solidifies at the top, and then freeze in portions in zip-top baggies. I didn’t get any photos in the process of making it this time (except for the final photo), as I was working and had to get it all prepared and on the stove during my lunch break.

Salisbury Steak Dinner

Salisbury Steak Dinner

Do you want the recipe already? OK, here it is:

Salisbury Steak Dinner with Mushroom and Onion Gravy
Adapted from this recipe at Lemony Thyme

For the Salisbury Steak:
1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup finely diced sweet onion
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs, unseasoned
1 egg, whisked
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Lots of ground black pepper, to taste
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb, or salt, to taste
1 tablespoon butter

Salisbury Steak Patty Ingredients

Salisbury Steak Patty Ingredients

For the Mushroom and Onion Gravy:
2 tablespoons butter
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
3/4 cup sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon dried, crushed oregano
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups homemade or low sodium beef broth
Ground black pepper to taste
Mrs. Dash Table Blend, or salt, to taste

First off, (no ingredient list for this part) get your potatoes peeled and boiling. Make your mashed potatoes as you usually do when the potatoes are cooked through like right in the middle of gravy stirring time. OR, have your partner do all that for you because you shout out out “that you are too busy stirring gravy to finish the potatoes!” – ‘K?

Combine the Salisbury Steak ingredients (except the butter) in a bowl and form into 4 patties. Hey did you notice my glass of fresh parsley in the background in the photo below? I can keep fresh parsley and cilantro in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks that way. Genius! Untie your bunch, add to a glass, add water, then cover in the thin vegetable bag you put it in when you bought it. That parsley you see is seriously almost three weeks old. (Refresh water as needed.) Go do it!

Salisbury Steak Patties and Parsley

Salisbury Steak Patties and Parsley

I digress. Now melt the 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and cook the patties about 5 minutes on each side until browned. Remove from the skillet to a plate and set aside.

Fried Salisbury Steak Patties

Fried Salisbury Steak Patties

In the same skillet over medium heat, add the other 2 tablespoons of butter, mushrooms, and cook, stirring often, until they start to release their liquid, at least 7 to 10 minutes. Add the oregano (or other herb to taste, fresh or dried).

Mushrooms and Onions

Mushrooms and Onions

Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables, stirring and mashing the flour to incorporate. Gradually stir in the beef broth, whisking constantly. You might want to up the heat a tad at this point. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the gravy is fairly thickened, then nestle the beef patties into the gravy. Simmer the patties for about 10 more minutes until cooked through, flipping them over halfway through the simmering process.

Sailsbury Steak Patties in Gravy

Sailsbury Steak Patties in Gravy

Serve each “steak” over mashed potatoes slathered with a generous serving of the mushroom and onion gravy and sprinkled with fresh parsley, and a side vegetable of choice. I used cooked frozen peas, and would have loved to used fresh spring peas but they are not available yet in my area. Just don’t overcook the peas, mind you!

My entire family devoured every morsel of this meal off their plate. I will never pooh-pooh Salisbury Steak dinner again! And please, don’t forget I have a handy-dandy printable recipe below if you click on the PDF image!

Salisbury Steak Meal

Salisbury Steak Meal

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Balsamic Gravy over Pork

2 Oct
Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Balsamic Gravy over Pork

Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Balsamic Gravy over Pork

This has all the makings to be an elegant meal, but somehow I just did not quite pull it off. Now don’t get me wrong, you can keep reading as I’ll still share the recipe. But let me ask you this. How on earth can onions be tough after cooking them for almost 20 minutes? Somehow I managed to do that. But the sauce was still good, and not all the onions were hard. I can only guess that I should have peeled the onion down one more layer after taking off the skin. Anyways, I plan on making this again some day and will cross my fingers for softer onions.

Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Balsamic Gravy over Pork

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 large sweet onion, sliced thin and cut in half
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Blend
Black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons flour, divided
2 thin-cut pork loin chops
1 cup homemade or low sodium beef broth
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
Pinch of dried basil

Caramelizing the Onions and Mushrooms

Caramelizing the Onions and Mushrooms

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until starting to soften, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, and cook until onions and mushrooms have caramelized, about 15 to 20 minutes total. Turn heat down if needed if they start to burn.  Once caramelized, remove to a bowl and set aside.

Season the pork chops with Mrs. Dash and ground black pepper, to taste. Lightly dust each side of the pork chops with 1 tablespoon of the flour. Add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet, and cook each side of the pork chops for 2 to 3 minutes over medium-high heat. Remove to a plate and tent with foil.

Add a tablespoon of flour to the oil left in the pan, adding a touch more oil, if needed. Mix until a paste forms. Slowly whisk in the cup of beef broth and balsamic vinegar. Mix in the honey and herbs, then turn down heat to a simmer. Add the onions and mushrooms back to the skillet and mix into the sauce. Last, add the pork chops back to the skillet, cover, and cook for a few minutes more to heat them through. We served this with fresh Trader Joe’s Haricot Verts and Harvest Grains cooked in beef broth. If you have good luck with caramelizing onions, then this is an easy dinner for any night of the week.

Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Balsamic Gravy over Pork

Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Balsamic Gravy over Pork

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

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