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 LOVE onion rings.  I always order them when we go out - that is IF the place has good ones. Now, if you are getting any ideas and are considering delivering onion rings to my house to make my day, hold that thought.  I don't like O-rings from fast food restaurants. They suck.  I haven't found a fast food restaurant O-ring that I like yet.  People say, "oh try the ones from Sonic" - I say "Peshaw - they are NASTY".  Oh no, I'm not dising Sonic, I'll take a diet cherry limeade any day of the week & the kids love their greasy food, but when it comes to O-rings, Sonic ranks right there towards the bottom of my list.  Now I do LOVE the onion straws from Texas Land and Cattle ~ they ROCK!  Hooters has some pretty good O-rings as well as Buffalo Wild Wings.  However I love making my own and here's how I do it:
(This recipe comes from a cookbook titled "Burgers" by David Morgam.)

Slice up a few white onions (2 or 3) like this:
Let them soak in buttermilk for at least 30 minutes.

Mix together:
1 cup flour
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 TBL Kosher salt

While your onions are soaking in buttermilk, fill a frying pan (I like to use cast iron) 1/4 of the way full with vegetable oil & heat the oil to 350 degrees F. (Or until a small piece of bread will brown in 30 seconds)

Dip a few onions at time in the flour mixture:

Fry for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.
OK, so another traditional Thanksgiving food I can live without is cranberry sauce from a can.  What is that stuff anyway?  You open the can go to 'pour' it out and it makes a sloooop plopping sound when it finally hits the plate.  Oh, then the rings on the sauce, you've gotta love that.   You know what I am talking about, the can rings.  They stay there and never leave - I bet you could leave it sitting out for weeks and the rings would still be there.  Oh, this sounds like a great experiment for my kids.  I'm really not sure this stuff is even edible.  I wonder what it does to your insides.  Hummm...

So, here is my version of Thanksgiving cranberry sauce.   It really isn't that much harder than opening a can & you can make it the day before and put it in the fridge. 

1 12 oz package fresh cranberries
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 TBL honey
1/4 tsp allspice
1 cinnamon stick

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan over medium-high heat bringing to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until slightly thick. Cool completely, discard cinnamon stick.

(I think this recipe came from Cooking Light.)
It is that time of year again.  People have started talking about the abominable, alarming, appalling, atrocious, deplorable, depressing, dire, disgusting, distressing, dreadful, fearful, frightful, ghastly, grody, gross, gruesome, grungy, harrowing, hideous, horrendous, horrible, horrific, horrifying, nasty, offensive, raunchy, repulsive, shocking, stinking, synthetic, tough, ugly, unpleasant, unsightly GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE.  

Oh goodness I just barfed in my mouth a little just thinking of it.  Whoever thought of the green bean casserole should be shot.  OK, maybe not shot, but how on earth did it become a Thanksgiving tradition in homes across America?  I have ban green bean casserole in my house.  It has never been in my house and never will be - I mean really, what is up with those crunchie onionie things sold in a can....

I do agree that green beans should be on every table across America on Thanksgiving and Green Bean Bundles are what have become tradition in our home.
2 pounds of fresh green beans, washed, ends cut off
6 strips of bacon cut in half and partially cooked
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning (I like Tony Chachere's)
Garlic salt
4 TBL melted butter
3 TBL packed brown sugar

Steam beans until crisp-tender in water seasoned with 1/4 tsp Creole seasoning.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
When beans cool enough to touch, wrap approximately 6-10 beans in the partially cooked bacon.  Place bundles in a baking dish.  Sprinkle bundles with garlic salt and Creole seasoning.  Pour melted butter over bundles and sprinkle with brown sugar.  Bake 15-20 minutes or until bacon is done.
I have a confession to make....I don't 'test' dishes ~ even for dinner parties, no testing going on in this kitchen.  Seriously.   If I read the recipe and it sounds good to me, I make it for the party and I don't have a back up plan. Most of the time it works out for me.  I have cooking luck on my side.

These potatoes were one of those 'no test' recipes, however I knew from the moment I read the recipe with few adaption's, these bad boys would make anyone come running for seconds. (OK, maybe not the kids because they are chalked full of onions, but anyone over the age of 18.) 

I got this recipe from a magazine I have held onto for 2 years!  (No, I'm not a hoarder; this is the only magazine in my house that is outdated, well other than magazines that my kids are in.)  Better Homes and Gardens Grill it, 2008.

Here's what you need:
Nonstick cooking spray
1.5 pounds small red potatoes cut into wedges
1 large red onion cut into wedges
6 cloves garlic (peeled)
1/2 tsp thyme (or just sprinkle as much as you like)
1/4 cup butter cut in to pieces
1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese (give or take a little)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (give or take a little) 

Boil potatoes for about 5-7 minutes or until slightly soft. Drain

Using heavy duty foil (or 2 pieces of regular foil - I didn't have heavy duty) make an 18 inch (approximately, don't pull the ruler out) square.  Spray with cooking spray.  Place potatoes, garlic & onion in center of foil square.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper & thyme, top with butter pieces, then Swiss & Parmesan cheeses....
Close the foil packet like this.....
If using a gas grill like I was, place pouch on top rack & grill on low heat for about 30 minutes.  Devour!!