Steak: A Quick-Cooking Meat for Last-Minute Meals

I am exhausted...ALL...THE TIME. As most know by now, I'm nearly fourteen weeks pregnant and though I have had no symptoms whatsoever (no morning sickness, no mood swings, no cravings, no increased appetite--though mine was large enough as it is--no real weight gain!) I am far, far beyond fatigued during all hours of the day. Being awake is exhausting! Apparently even a peach-sized baby can tire you out.

Add to that the fact that it's winter in Michigan--the most glorious season of all! (Sarcasm). It's cold...it's dreary (though I do enjoy dreary, seriously this time)...and it's dark by five o'clock, which means it feels like bedtime, not dinner time. I get home from nine hours at the office and do not feel energized enough to cook. Not only am I tired from work, my twenty minute drive, and the increasing darkness, but I'm tired because I'm starving--it's a neverending cycle and always has been. When I get too hungry, I get tired, which means I don't want to cook, which means I don't get to eat...which leaves me hungry...and tired! And crabby ;) This is pre-pregnancy too, so imagine how bad it is now.

So, I've had to come up with a solution. Today starts my new routine of making loads of leftovers that can easily be reheated and of resorting to delicious quick-cooking meals, which brings us to STEAK. Sweet, juicy, tender, quick-cooking steak :)

Growing up, I loathed steak. I really am not a beef eater (I think hamburgers are so unappetizing unless made with turkey--and even then, only homemade because restaurants just don't do it right!) and I especially wasn't as a child. My mom had to cook multiple meals because my brother and I were so picky. I definitely was not ever going to touch beef of any kind--not even meatloaf covered in ketchup. A few years ago, though, I finally grew up and decided it was up to me to break my terrible habit and start trying foods that I used to hate and may love now. Enter steak. I love it!!

Billy and I keep a decent set of steaks in the freezer (along with loads of chicken), but my problem (our problem, really) is that I can't ever remember to take one out to defrost. So, I come home from work and there's no fresh meat to cook. I'm not about to put something frozen in the oven; I just think that's a sin...so we have to deal somehow by either eating pasta or sandwiches...or ordering out (gasp!).

Today was like any other day--no thoughts of taking out meat before work (or last night, which would have been better). I knew that I wanted to hit up Whole Foods after work so I could pick up a chicken (we only have two drumsticks and a load of wings left), but my intention for that was to either poach it whole or roast it (to have plenty of leftovers for situations just like this!).

While at the store, I noticed a beautiful section of perfectly crimson, on-sale beef. Most cuts were geared toward slow roasting, but two were perfectly fine for a quick meal (as I discovered by phoning my mom, hehe)--exactly what I needed as I was more hungry than usual! So hungry, in fact, I resorted to devouring an overly sweet Zimmerman's candy bar in the car along with a couple huge squares of super dark chocolate filled with salted caramel (I am not a candy eater, but I was desperate!). I decided to go with the sirloin tip steaks as they were more than half the price of the New York Strip (and these are already expensive because they're organic). This was incredibly, incredibly exciting. 

The first thing I did after getting out of the store was text Billy to let him know I picked up some meat and he'd have to start the potatoes while I drove home. It was perfect timing! He could get the potatoes going the entire time I was on the road. Then, when I arrived home, it would only be a matter of minutes before dinner was finished. These are some of my favorite meals. I mean, steak is incredible, so of course that's an automatic fave, but it's really an indulgent meal for me because we don't eat it often. So not only is it super fast, but a real treat.

Steak Diane. A previous meal because I was too hungry to take time to photograph this one :)
The point of this entry is to appeal to those of you who don't like to cook or don't have time to cook. Yes, steak is a little more expensive than chicken, but it's fast and you can likely afford to eat it (especially non-organic) at least a few times a week! If you don't want to wait for a side to cook, think about leftovers. I always try to cook more than I need because then that's less for me to cook later in the week. Last night, Billy helped make some mashed potatoes and we purposely made enough so that there's a second meal's worth. So, if Billy weren't going to be home before I was tonight, we could have easily reheated the mashed potatoes to go with the steak. Beyond that, you could always just put a snack with it--grab some bread, top it with a little oil, some herbs, maybe a little cheese (and pop it in the oven to toast up while the cheese gets melty) and you have an instant side of crostini--or just have steak and chips!

Either way, when you're in a hurry, remember that you can have the most delicious dinner in ten minutes or less. For a little inspiration, I've included a marinade/sauce recipe after the jump...because I think making your own will not only help you feel accomplished but taste a whole lot better than anything you find in a bottle! And it requires barely any extra effort or time, I promise.

Lucinda Scala Quinn's Hanger Steak Marinade-Turned Sauce

My very first steak was cooked using a recipe in Mad Hungry, one of my many go-to cookbooks. Though the recipe was for hanger steak, I used rib-eye, which my mom recommended as the most tender cut (next to a filet mignon)--she was right, by the way. After eating a sirloin tip tonight, I can definitely tell the difference.

Anyway, the original recipe simply has you marinate the steak and grill it. I, however, wanted more :) So, while the steak cooked on the grill, I boiled the marinade to turn it into a sauce. I know...everyone says never to use a marinade as a sauce once its come in contact with raw meat, but that's only if you don't cook it properly! Once the liquid has reached a certain temperature, the bacteria is gone, just like when you cook meat. I have to say, the sauce that this created was the best thing I've ever eaten--I think it was the best thing Billy has ever eaten as well. No sauce since then has compared, though most have been on-the-fly mixtures of beef stock, wine, and random items such as mustard or Worcestershire sauce. This is much better...much.

Ingredients (for two pounds of meat)

  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more for grilling
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • Coarse salt

To marinate, you should combine all the ingredients up to the garlic; then, rub the steaks with the smashed garlic and, thusly, turn it in the marinade to coat completely. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours and up to overnight. The recipe doesn't specify this, but I drop the garlic cloves into the marinade because they will add more flavor and I just love garlic to death :)

To cook, bring the meat to room temperature, pat dry, generously salt and pepper both sides, and cook it on the grill or stovetop. It's your decision how long because that will obviously affect the doneness--and you'll change this based on the thickness of the meat as well! 

While the meat is cooking, pour the marinade into a small saucepan and heat it on high. I stir it the entire time, just to ensure it isn't going to burn and I pay close attention in case I need to turn it down. If you don't watch carefully and remove it from the heat once in a while, you may reduce it too much as well. After boiling for several minutes and reducing to a nice thick, pourable sauce, I know it's ready. If you're scared, feel free to take the temperature using a candy thermometer! I believe 160 degrees is enough, but don't quote me on that.

When your steak is done cooking and has rested for at least five minutes, plate it and pour this delectable sauce (minus the giant chunks of garlic) all over it :) Believe me, you'll wish you had more!

And, once again, measuring out these four ingredients and whisking them together is barely any more effort than dumping out a store-bought marinade--it certainly takes no extra time. Boiling them into a sauce isn't really any extra effort either, especially since you do it for the few minutes that the steak is cooking. The difference in flavor is absolutely incredible and I truly hope you give it a shot.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...