Chicken Fried Steak With Sausage Gravy

We spent last Saturday afternoon at a street fair in Fountain Hills AZ. It was wonderful time; the streets were filled with food vendors, artists and other miscellaneous Chicken Fried Steakbooths with interesting items for sale, along with a beer garden or two. We picked up a few things here and there – mainly some salsa and spices, most of these small vendors use fresh ingredients and have pretty good product. There were two companies I really liked and brought home some items from both their shops, Natura Spice Company out of Scottsdale AZ and Starlight Herb and Spice Company out of Idaho. Both have great spices and I would recommend giving them a try if you every get the opportunity.

So the reason I bring up spices is because of the number one problem I find with most foods when we eat out, and that is the lack of spices. One of the vendors there had what they were calling fresh Alaskan salmon; honestly I was kind of pumped to give it a try, especially when I saw the Salmon Chowder. We split a bowl and it had large chunks of salmon in it with some other good flavors, but it was lacking the basic seasoning like salt and pepper that would have made that dish so much better.

If there is one thing that I have learned from my brother, the Executive Chef, or the countless hours of food network, it’s always taste your food and add those basic spices like salt and pepper.

This dish is one of my all-time favorites for both breakfast and dinner, but if you don’t season it or the gravy properly – you get just a bland meal.

Seasoned Flour

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What you will need:

  • 2 Cubed steaks pounded thin
  • 2 Cups all-purpose flour (seasoned)
  • 2 Eggs beaten (seasoned with S&P)
  • Frying Oil (peanut or other high temp oil)Seasoned Chicken Fried Steak
  • Green onion or flat leaf parsley for garnish
  • Salt and Pepper

Seasoned Flour

  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 2 tbsp. dried parsley
  • 2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. saltFrying Chicken Fried Steak
  • 2 tbsp. fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • ¼ tbsp. cayenne or some red pepper flakes

Prep

In a shallow frying pan heat up about 2 inches of the frying oil over medium to medium high heat. While the oil is heating up, take your cube steak and pass if through the flour, then egg then flour mixture. You will want to repeat this process for as many steaks as you are cooking.

Cook

Once the oil is nice and hot, but not smoking, you will want to carefully lay the steaks in the pan and shallow fry them. It should takChicken Fried Steake about 4-6 minutes per side depending on how hot your oil is. Keep an eye on them as they will burn quickly. Once both sides are browned place them on a paper towel to drain off the grease and serve with your favorite gravy. Nothings better than a good sausage gravy in my mind and you can find a good one at my county sausage gravy recipe.

Enjoy

Mexican Pizza

Playoff Pizza – Mexican Style

This last weekend was a tough one for the Cavewoman; her beloved Colts lost their playoff game. So to perk up her spirits I made her favorite foods, Mexican and Taco Bell. First off will be the Mexican Pizza, which I have to say, one off my favorites as well. Check out the 7 layer dip I will be posting tomorrow…it’s not too shabby either.

What you will need: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • ½ of 1red onion chopped (I reserved the other half to top the pizza with) 4 tbsp.
  • Taco Seasoning (recipe to follow, or use package)
  • 1 cup Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack Cheese 8 (12″) Thin Flour Tortillas
  • 1 cup Shredded Lettuce
  • 1 cup of tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Jalapeno Sliced (optional)
  • 1 Can Refried Beans (Caveman Version)
  • 1 Cup Salsa or taco sauce.
  • 2 Green Onions chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced olives

Taco SeasoningOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1.5 tsp. cumin
  • 1.5 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. cilantro
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. Montreal steak seasoning
  • Dash red pepper flakes
  • Dash cayenne pepper

 Prep

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Caveman Tip*** I make the taco meat and beans early in the day, and then store them in the fridge until I am ready to use them. This way I don’t have to rush to put them together and it gives the mixtures time to marry together for better flavor. Then when I am ready just reheat it quickly on the stove.

In a heavy bottom skillet under medium heat, drizzle EVOO and add the onions. You will want to sauté them till soft and then turn it up to medium high and add the meat. Once the meat is browned, drain the fat & reduce to medium low heat. Add the taco seasoning to the meat in the pan along with a splash of chicken or beef stock. (2 tbsp. or so) You will want to simmer on low heat until the liquid is absorbed.

Place the refried beans in a separate pan and heat to medium low.

Caveman Tip*** I use refried beans a lot, in either dishes and just don’t have the time to make them from scratch but I do like to doctor them up a bit. Sauté a 1/3 cup onion (I use a lot of onions so I always have some in the fridge half used from earlier that day or the day before) 2-3 baby bell peppers until soft. Add your beans small can 10 oz. rotell tomatoes, 2 tbsp. salsa, 2 tbsp. cayenne, 2 tbsp. cumin and heat under medium low.

Take your flour tortillas and lightly coat with EVOO then place on a backing sheet and put in the oven. After a few minutes I like to turn the heat up to broil to really crisp up those shells, but be careful they will burn quickly.

Assembly

Take your tortilla and apply a thin layer of beans on it, then add a thin layer of ground meat and top it with shredded cheddar cheese. Next, add your second tortilla to the top and then put a thin layer of salsa on it followed by a layer of the Monterey jack cheese.

Cook.

Put the pizza in the oven, middle rack at 400 degrees until all the cheese is melted, it will take 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the pizza and your oven. Once all the cheese is melted remove it from the oven and finish the assembly.

 Final Assembly

Top the melted cheese with the shredded lettuce, tomatoes, onions, olives, and jalapenos and olives.  Don’t forget your sour cream!

This will definitely be on the repeat list.

Broccoli Beef!

So I know this doesn’t follow my caveman concept of cooking with ingredients the normal man (or woman) has in their pantry or fridge. Recently I have been experimenting with Asian foods and ingredients, and have found that keeping a couple of key items in the pantry helps with the creation.  The oyster sauce and fresh ginger can be stored in the fridge for weeks and they can be used in many other dishes.

What you will need for beef marinade:

  • ¾ lb. beef strips, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar (or substitute cooking sherry)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Combine all the above ingredients and put them into fridge until you are ready to use.

What you will need for the sauce:

  • 3 tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • ¼ cup chicken broth

Combine all the above ingredients and stir. Just let it sit until you are ready to use.

Final Ingredients for Broccoli Beef Mixture:

  • ¾ lb. broccoli florets
  • 1 tsp. fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil (or enough to coat bottom of pan)

Prepare Broccoli:  

Fill a large stock pot with salted water and warm to medium high heat.

**Caveman Tip:  Because the water takes so long to boil – I like to bring it to a medium high heat while you’re getting the other ingredients ready because it warms the water and gets it near boiling temps.  That way, when we’re ready for the broccoli, we won’t have to wait on the water…it will be close.

Separate the broccoli florets from the large bunch and set them aside until you’re ready for them.

Prepare Beef

**Caveman MUST: about 10 minutes before you’re ready to cook the beef, pull it from the fridge and bring up to room temperature.

Using a large metal skillet or wok, heat the vegetable oil to medium high heat.  You want the steaks to sear, but not burn.  Lay the beef strips in the pan, giving them plenty of space between one another.  **Caveman Tip:  Overcrowding the beef strips will cause the pan to lose too much heat, and you want to get a good sear on your beef, so spacing is crucial! Otherwise you could boil your meat. (not good) You may need to cook a couple of rounds of beef in the pan to do it right.

 

(At some point you may want to get your water up to a boil now)

Cook the strips of beef about 1 minute per side, allowing for a good sear on each side.  Then remove the beef strips from heat.  (Repeat the process until they are all done)  When on your last bunch of beef strips, combine all beef together, and add ginger.  Stir frequently for a minute, this is just to cook the ginger. Add your Sauce to the beef mixture and bring temperature up to a boil.

Scrape all the goodness off the bottom of the pan and stir frequently.  This will help thicken the sauce. Cook the meat mixture over high heat until the sauce is reduced by half and the sauce has started to thicken.

At this point you will want to drop the broccoli in the boiling water. It will only take a minute to cook, you want to the broccoli to be firm and crisp because it will continue to cook even after you pull it from the water.

**Caveman Tip:  The most common mistake people make when cooking vegetables is they over cook them to a mush.  I like to pull them early because they will continue to cook even while sitting on the plate. Some people prefer to shock them in ice water to stop the cooking process but then you have to warm them back up.

Combine Broccoli and Beef:

Add your broccoli to the beef mixture & remove it from the heat.

 

Serve with Caveman’s “Go-to white rice”