Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sweet-Hot Beef

We love, love, LOVE this quick and easy meal. I make this when I am feeling tired and uninspired. It survives both whole wheat pasta and ground turkey substitutions well. Round it out with a Caesar salad.

1 lb ground beef
½ cup water
¾ cup raisins (sultanas are best)
1½ tsp ground cumin
1¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 can (398 mL) tomato sauce
½ lb spaghettini or other thin round noodle
1 tbsp lemon juice
minced parsley

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brown beef, stirring to crumble.

Once beef is cooked, stir in the next eight ingredients (water through tomato sauce). Simmer on low heat, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.

Remove sauce from heat and stir in lemon juice. Toss together with spaghettini and top with parsley.

Salisbury Steak Patties in Mushroom Gravy

Hmm, what to do with that appetizing tube of beef? Isn’t it cute in its bright red package? How can you not love food that comes in a tube???

1½ lbs ground beef
½ cup breadcrumbs
1 egg
2 green onions, sliced fine
1 tbsp prepared mustard
a few generous shakes of steak seasoning, (or some salt, pepper, and a pinch each of cayenne and dill)
1 can beef gravy
1 tray sliced mushrooms
½ cup water
2 tsp horseradish

In a mixing bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Beware the overmixing!* Divide the mixture into 4 to 6 patties.

In a large skillet, cook the patties on medium-high until brown, about 4 minutes each side.

Mix together the remaining ingredients and pour over patties. Simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes, until mushrooms are tender.

Serve with mashed potatoes, plus a green vegetable of some sort, if you’re felling guilty about, well, beef.**

*I am an incurable overmixer. Left alone, this leads to tough meat and burgers that seize up in their middles during cooking. There’s an easy fix though: if you show the meat a little too much love (uh, that sounds WAY wrong), take a fork or a pair of chopsticks to your meat mixture after combining it and “fluff” it (stab, and lift; stab, and lift). Adding a bit of air back in will cancel out all that nasty squishing you just inflicted on your poor, helpless meatballs.

**I never, ever, get around to the green vegetable on this meal. It’s all about the beef and potato, baby.