I was chatting with a friend on the phone the other day and when I told her what I was making for dinner she responded with disgust in her voice and said; "really, you eat that insert expletive here for dinner?  (Like she doesn't know me!)  Ha!  She is just jealous since she is on a 'NO CARB' diet. I mean really, who doesn't love a little comfort food in the midst of winter  (Texas winter = 75 degrees F, but whatev's!)  AND what is up with a no carb diet?

What you need:
1 package of cubed steak
Two shallow bowls
Vegetable oil
This recipe was passed down from my mother, so I don't have exact measurements, but it is SO simple one does not need exact measurements. 

Remove cubed steak from package - place on cutting board - take a piece of plastic wrap and lay over cubed steak (this is to avoid cubed steak splatter on your clothes and counter)  - with a meat mallet beat the meat (yes, I really said that!) until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick.  Season both sides of meat generously with salt and pepper.  Dredge the meat on both sides with flour (this helps the egg stick to the meat), then dip egg, coating completely, then back in the flour.  (I only do this process one time, but if you like a THICK coating on your CFS, dip in egg and flour again.)

Check out picture 4 - this is how much vegetable oil you need in your pan.  Just enough to coat the bottom side of the meat - heat over medium high heat.   Cook each piece of meat on both sides until golden brown, approximately 4 minutes per side. 

White Gravy
2 TBL vegetable oil
3 TBL flour
1-3 cups milk

 I know some of you are scared of gravy - I get it, but you don't need to be.  Once you get the hang of it is SUPER EASY!  Now again, my measurements are not exact so you may need to play with this a little.  

In a 12 inch skillet use 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil you just cooked the Chicken Fried Steak in (cooking over medium-high heat). Whisk in 3 tablespoons of the flour, making sure to whisk out any lumps.   Add the milk starting with 1 a cup , whisking continuity - gravy will thicken - if it is too thick add more milk a little at a time until it is the consistency you want.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the gravy over the steaks.

Mashed Potatoes
Every single time I make mashed potatoes for guest they ask for my recipe.  I am almost embarrassed to give it to them as there is NOTHING special about my mashed potatoes. I make a very basic and simple mashed potatoes with LOTS of butter!  I use 8 potatoes when I make them, but feel free to cut this recipe half.

8 russet potatoes peeled and cubed
3/4 cups of REAL BUTTER - don't skimp and use margarine (don't tell, but sometimes I use even MORE butter than 3/4 of a cup!)
1-2 cups of milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Place potatoes in large pot and cover with water. Cover and bring to a boil for 25-30 minutes or until VERY TENDER.
When done drain from water - place in large mixing bowl with 3/4 butter and 1 cup of milk.  Mix the hell out of them, adding more butter and milk as needed.  Potatoes should be light and fluffy.  Add salt and pepper to taste!
Throw a little broccoli on the side to make this 'healthy'! HA! 
This is a GREAT recipe for a school/sports night,  it can be made ahead of time and popped in the oven 15 minutes before you want to eat, or you can make it in 30 minutes or so just before you have to run out the door to your next activity.  And as an added bonus, KIDS LOVE IT!! My kids gobbled it up and ask for more!  I think it would be great with chicken too!

1.5 pounds ground sirloin
1 medium yellow onion chopped
1.5 TBL butter
3 cloves minced garlic
2 TBL flour
1 1/2 cups beef broth
2 TBL taco seasoning 
2 cups tomato sauce
12 corn tortillas
6 oz Pepper Jack Cheese (I used the slices)
1/2 cup Sharp Cheddar

Preheat oven to 400
In a large skillet cook beef and chopped onions together over medium heat until meat is no longer pink.
Drain meat. 
Melt butter in medium saucepan - add garlic - sauté for a minute.  Sprinkle with flour cook for 30 seconds stirring constantly.  Add broth, taco seasoning and tomato sauce.  Bring to a boil; cook for 2 minutes stirring occasionally.  Reserve 1/2 cup tomato mixture, adding the rest to the beef.  
Layer in a 9x9 baking dish (or I have a 10 inch round baking stone that I used) 4 tortillas,  1/2 of the beef mixture 1/3 of the pepper jack cheese, 4 tortillas, 1/2 beef mix, 1/3 of the pepper jack cheese, 4 tortillas, 1/2 cup of sauce, 1/3 of the pepper jack and all of the cheddar.  

If you are making this ahead of time, pop it in the fridge now.

When you are ready to eat, pop it in oven and bake till cheese is bubbly - about 10-15 minutes.   
Black Beans, Trish Style
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 small can chopped green chilies
splash of lime juice
1 roma tomato chopped
fresh cilantro

Heat black beans, green chilies & lime juice in a saucepan.  Just before serving throw in the tomato and fresh cilantro, stir and serve.  YUM-O!  I love black beans like this - my kids not so much, I mean they ate their 2 bite minimum, but they prefer it when I refry them.
I don't really know why Boy 3 picked meatballs, this is one of his brother's favorite meals.  Oh, scratch that - I just ask him why he picked Spaghetti with Meatballs and he looked at me with that look my children get when they have that moment of thinking 'my mom has lost all her marbles' and then he said "I didn't pick it, you made me pick it."  Oh.  Oops...I'm thinking that might take some of the fun out of this venture... (Next time I will let him pick.)

OK, here we go - INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs (I know I should have used the frozen/fresh bread crumbs I have in my freezer, but I totally      didn't think about it until RIGHT now.)
1/2 cup of milk
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 pounds ground pork (you can mix this up and used ground whatever you want really, chicken, turkey, veal...whatever suites your fancy just make sure you have 3 pounds total)
1 small onion diced as small as you can get it (you know to hide it from the kids)
4-5 garlic cloves minced (or more if you dare)
1 TBL oregano
Toss in some parsley if you have it, I didn't.
1 egg lightly beaten
ground pepper
2 TBL olive oil
2 jars of your favorite marinara (our favorite is Rao's - expensive but SO WORTH it!)
1 box spaghetti (No, I don't make my own pasta or sauce)
Freshly saved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese! (Seriously, if you don't do anything else, please don't buy that parmesan that you shake out of a can that DOES NOT require refrigeration.  JUST SAY NO!)

In a small bowl combine bread crumbs and milk.  In a larger bowl mix the ground meat with soaked bread crumbs, onion, garlic, oregano, egg, salt and pepper........
Then smush it all around with your hands!!
I know this picture is a bit blurry, but I LOVE the look on his face!!
Form into big ol' meatballs....
Brown meatballs over medium heat in a little olive oil, flipping until browned on all sides.
Add a jar of marinara sauce to the skillet, cover and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes turning meatballs occasionally. 
While you are waiting boil a large pot of water - cook pasta to desired cookness - drain, add the second jar of marinara sauce to the noodles (we like it saucy!).  Top with a meatball & some freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano -
And EAT!!!
Episode 2 of cooking with the kids - this time it was Boy 2's turn.  He LOVES ribs, so we thought it was only fitting that he help me with ribs. 

The recipe:
1 cup of dark brown sugar
3 TBL kosher salt
1 TBL dry mustard
1 TBL freshly ground mustard
1 TBL cayenne pepper
1 TBL sweet smoked paprika
4 racks baby back ribs (about 2.5 pounds each)
Mix all ingredients together and sprinkle all over ribs, pressing and patting it. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.  (We did not do this overnight...we did this early in the morning about 8AM)
Preheat oven to 250 degress F.  Pour off any liquid, cover ribs with foil and cook for about 3.5 hours until meat is tender but not falling off the bone.  While the ribs were cooking we made the BBQ sauce.  We didn't LOVE the BBQ sauce and when we make the ribs again we will most likely use KC Masterpiece BBQ - don't hate.  I'm not even going to bother with giving you the recipe.  Too much typing....just go out and buy your favorite sweet/spicy BBQ sauce to serve on the side if you want the sauce.  I still included the pictures because Boy 2 is pretty much a rock star making his own BBQ sauce at the age of 8 (with a broken arm).
Hello beauties!!  Once your 3.5 hours is up, crank the broiler up on your oven and broil the ribs for about 10 minutes or until the edges start turning a 'little' crispy!
Serve with your favorite BBQ sauce....
Or not, and enjoy!!
This recipe was adapted from Food & Wine's "Our Best New Classics" magazine
Boy 1 has been having Korean food withdrawal so this past week I went to O'mart and bought some of our favorite Korean dishes. They marinate the meats so all you have to do is come home and cook it.  I do know how to make these items, but I love that O'mart takes all the prep time away for me PLUS they make Korean food WAY better than I do!  The Bulgogi is awesome and their Galbi is pretty darn good too!  We also had kimchi, cucumber kimchi, bean sprout kimchi, odeng, kim & rice. (BTW, my mouth is watering)  Oh, and I can't forget the Aloe drink - I LOVE the Aloe drink, the kids not so much ~ that's ok though, more for me!!  I was going to get grape soda (not your normal USA grape soda - go head, click the link and check it out) for the kids but O'mart was out of it.  The only things missing were grape soda, kimchi jigae, and Hubby (not in that particular).  The kids and I enjoyed our night sitting around the table and reminiscing about our time in Korea and how we all missed it and how we would all go back in a heartbeat...
kim & cucumber kimchi
galbi up close and personal
odeng (fish cakes)- OH so good!
The Aloe drink has chunks of Aloe in it...yum, yum, yum!! I'm having a glass as I type this!
Bulgogi, spicy red sauce, mushrooms and fresh garlic - roll it up in a lettuce leaf and enjoy!
Boy 3 using his 'starter' chopsticks putting rice in his kim. He LOVES Korean black beans, but O'mart was out of those too....
Cooking Light has been one of my favorite cooking magazines for years now.  I stopped getting the subscription for a long time because it was just too much, I couldn't stay up, plus I wanted to save them all. Now I have a black binder and when I see a recipe I like I tear it out and file it. I think I am going to have to get a new black binder soon.  I found this recipe in the November 2007 issue and started making way back then and haven't stopped. I modified it just a tad (when do I not?) to suite our needs - this one is a keeper!  Every time I make this for guest they ask for the recipe, so don’t let the number of ingredients scare you off!

12 ounces Chorizo
1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat
1 medium yellow onion
4 minced garlic cloves
1 (7 oz) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
3 TBL tomato paste
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 cup dry red wine (remember to use a wine you like to drink!!)
¼ cup fresh lime juice
28 ounces beef broth
1 (28 oz can) whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
2 TBL corn mesa
2 (15 oz) cans pinto beans rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained

(One of my favorite 'every day' wines!!)
Heat Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add chorizo to pan, sauté 3 minutes or until browned.   Remove Chorizo (leaving chorizo drippings in the pan) add beef to pan, sauté for 5 minutes or till brown. Remove from pan (leaving drippings), add onions and garlic to pan, sauté for 3 minutes. 

Remove 4 chipotle chiles from can & chop.  (Reserve the remaining chiles for another use.) Add chorizo, beef, chopped chilies, tomato paste and next 6 ingredients through ground cumin to the pan.  Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. 
Stir in red wine, lime juice, beef broth, and tomatoes, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Remove 2 cups of broth from chili, add corn mesa & mix with a whisk until no lumps appear, add to chile mixture. Add pinto and black beans. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve with sour cream and chives.

This recipe is better on day 2 and it freezes very well!

Sorry about the messy dish in the picture...but you are lucky to even see a picture of the chili.  You see those super cute white dishes I put the chili in?  Well, they are on the top shelf in my kitchen.  I have to use a stool to reach them.  No biggie.  I use the same stool every day. Boy 1 can't stand the stool and has been begging me for years to get rid of the stool because he always falls off of it. I told him to just stop using it.  HUMPH.  I wish I had listened to that boy.  I pulled down the dishes, took to two out I needed and went to put the 3 plates, and 2 bowls (stacked together) back in the cabinet.  Well when I did, I leaned too far forward and the stinkin' stool slipped out from under me, I tried to get the dishes back in the cabinet before I feel, but it was no use, I tucked my head and tried to brace myself for the dishes about to fall on my head...and they did.  And it hurt and I thought I was going to pass out because my head and my arm were hurting so bad.  Boy 2 saw the whole thing..(you know, my stressor)  he freaked out and I tried really hard to hold it together even though I THOUGHT I may have broken my arm and cut my head open.  Well to my surprise and thankfulness, my head was NOT gushing blood like I thought it was and my arm is NOT broken.  Thank you Jesus!  I just had a really bad head and arm ache for the rest of the night..... 
AND there is more goodness that came out of this….  After the dishes broke on my head, they fell in the sink and broke 3 more glasses. I was able to add 9 more items to my decluttering count.  3 plates, 2 bowls, 3 glasses and 1 stool!  ;o)

Tyler Florence.  I just love the way that boy cooks.  I've been making his Mexican Street Tacos for years now & they never disappoint.
2 pounds flank steak
Mojo (recipe to follow)
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
8 corn tortillas
Shredded romaine lettuce
Chopped onion
Crumbled queso fresco
1 recipe of my salsa
2 limes, cut into wedges

4 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapenos, mince
1 large handful of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 2 limes
Juice of 2 oranges
2 TBL white vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil

With a mortar and pestle, mash together the garlic, jalapenos, cilantro, salt and pepper to make a paste.  Put it in a glass jar.  Add lime and orange juices, the vinegar and the oil.  Shake it up to combine.

Marinate steak in Mojo for 1-8 hours (the longer, the better)

Preheat grill, medium-high heat.  Take steak out of mojo sauce; season both sides with salt and pepper.  Grill for 7-10 minutes on each side turning once until med-rare (cook longer if you must).  Remove to cutting board; let rest 5 minutes to allow juices to settle.  Slice think on an angle across the grain.

In a dry skillet warm the tortillas for 30 seconds on each side until toasty and pliable.
Fill each tortilla down the center with about 1/8 of the beef, sprinkle with lettuce, onion, & cheese, top with a spoonful of salsa & garnish with a lime.

Serve with Mexican style beans and guacamole
A few weeks ago we had a few folks over for dinner (about 20).  I cooked a traditional Texas dinner (even though this recipe came from Colorado).   This brisket is marinated for 12 hours and is slow cooked in the oven for about 6 hours so make sure you have enough time when you get ready to make this bad boy. 

I got this recipe from my mother-in-law, see a trend?  MIL is a good cook.  I love this brisket and every time I serve it people ask for the recipe, so here it is folks...enjoy!  Oh, and did I mention how EASY it is?! 
4 pound trimmed beef brisket
garlic salt
onion salt
celery salt
2.5 liquid smoke
2.5 oz worcestershire sauce
BBQ sauce ~ your favorite bottle, or feel free to make your own ;)

Place brisket in a baking dish, pour liquid smoke over brisket and then sprinkle generously with garlic salt, onion salt & celery salt.  Cover tightly with foil & marinate in the fride for 12-24 hours.  If you remember flip the brisket once while marinating.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 275.  Line another baking dish with foil, place brisket on foil, pour marinade & worcestershire sauce over it, seal foil & bake for 5 hours.  After 5 hours pour BBQ sauce over brisket, recover with foil & bake for 1 more hour.

When you remove the brisket it should be falling apart..cut against the grain for slices, or chop up like I did for sandwiches.....ummmm good!