Easy dinner

After a 3 hour drive for a trip home that should have been 1 hour and 40 minutes, I did not want to come home and cook something complicated. (I also wanted to watch the end of the US Open golf tournament and see the Ravens game.) Keith volunteered to grill so I bought steaks and then cheated with a store-bought salad (Samantha’s favorite with Gorgonzola cheese, nuts and dried cranberries) and even Bob Evans mashed potatoes.

Sometimes you just have to compromise!

Golfer’s Dinner

Today was an absolutely glorious day.  No humidity, not a cloud in the sky and temperatures in the 70s.  A perfect afternoon for golf.  With that in mind, I wanted a simple dinner.  I got New York strip steaks.  Keith got a big basket of grilling items in a silent auction as part of a recent virtual fundraising event.  It included a box of assorted grill rubs so we will try one of those.  Hash browns are a quick side, especially when you purchase the shredded potatoes.  Our local market makes some delicious salads and I bought Samantha’s favorite with Gorgonzola cheese and dried cranberries.

Here is our simple dinner:


Steak and potatoes

This marinade is one of my favorites – it makes plenty and keeps well in the refrigerator, it is fantastic on steak, pork, chicken and shrimp and it has amazing flavor.  As a result, you don’t need to smother your protein in marinade – just a bit on each side.  I bought the shredded potatoes for hash browns.  I”m doing some other cooking today (Samantha and I just made Tri-berry muffins from a Barefoot Contessa recipe and I’m going to make some more meatballs to restock the freezer) so I wanted dinner to be easy.

Chipotle marinade 

  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 TB tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (low sodium soy sauce)
  • 2 TB sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender.  Put some marinade on the steak and grill to your preferred level of doneness.


The shifting week

One of the advantages of doing the menu plan for the week is that you aren’t actually committed to which day you have which thing and since you buy all of the ingredients, you can easily juggle recipes around.  As noted last night, the store didn’t actually have the soba noodles for the soba noodle salad and I’m trying to minimize shopping trips.  So I shifted the flank steak from tomorrow to tonight.

One of the benefits of having as many cookbooks as I have (over 350 according to recent inventory!) is combining elements of multiple recipes.  I found two different recipes for spicy skirt steak and am using the marinade from one and the avocado relish from the other.  Baked sweet potatoes round out this healthy meal.

Spicy grilled skirt steak

  • 1 skirt steak, about 2 pounds (you can substitute flank steak if you can’t find skirt)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 onion, grated on a box grater
  • juice from 2 limes
  • 2 TB chopped garlic
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 TB ancho chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • fresh ground pepper

Combine all ingredients except steak in a bowl.  (It will be thick)  Coat steak with marinade and refrigerate until ready to grill.

Grill over high heat, turning once – 4-5 minutes for medium rare and 7 for medium.  (Since skirt steaks are long, I cut off a section for Keith to cook longer for Samantha.  She likes her meat more done than ours.

Let rest and then carve thinly across the grain.  Serve with:

Avocado relish

  • 2 avocados, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped (I substituted a shallot.  I didn’t feel like having 1/2 a red onion leftover)
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.

Isn’t this a pretty dinner?

skirt steak

Steak and potatoes – another variation

We are continuing our mission to clean out our freezer and there were some nice steaks in it.  I found a recipe for grilled pepper steaks.  It calls for coating the steaks with coarsely ground/smashed peppercorns, grilling them and serving with a compound butter.  My mother-in-law made a standing rib roast with pink peppercorn sauce at Christmas for many years – it was delicious.  I decided to use a mix of peppercorns for this recipe, predominantly pink.  The label on the pink peppercorns says that they are actually berries.

Grilled pepper tenderloin steaks

  • 1 tenderloin steak per person
  • salt
  • 2-3 TB smashed assorted peppercorns (I used mostly pink but added some green, white and black peppercorns for variety)

Sprinkle each steak with salt and then rub peppercorns firmly into meat on both sides.  Grill to desired doneness and then remove from grill and top with compound butter.

Compound butter

  • 4 oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tsp minced fresh basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 minced shallot

Combine all ingredients (I also added a little bit of the black garlic salt I got for Christmas.)  Roll in a piece of wax paper and refrigerate until ready to use.

Roasted smashed potatoes

  • small red potatoes, scrubbed
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 – 3 TB olive oil
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • minced fresh chives

Preheat oven to 400.

Put potatoes in a large pan with salted water and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes – potatoes should feel tender when pierced with a for,.  Drain potatoes and put on a sheet pan.  Smash each potato with a potato masher until about 1/2 inch thick.  Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Roast for 25 – 30 minutes until browned.  Top with Parmesan cheese and return to oven for a few minutes so cheese melts.  Sprinkle with chives and serve.

I added a prepared salad from the grocery store.

steak and potatoes