Dinner Time - Steak Gratin

When I was planning this weeks menu I noticed that top sirloin was on sale, and was trying to figure out what I could do with it.  I remembered my Dad making homemade Mac and Cheese when I was a kid with hamburger, and have always loved the flavor combination.  I took that and ran with it to kick things up a few notches with this Steak Gratin.  The rich flavor of the sirloin combines well with the lighter marscapone and parmesan cheeses to really let the meat shine.  The addition of a little bit of dried mustard with salt and pepper takes the flavor just a little bit higher without overwelming.  If you are looking for comfort food, welcome to Fat Boy Heaven.

Steak-Macaroni Gratin


 20 minutes


    • 4 tbsp. butter
    • 1 lb. sirloin, sliced
    • 1 small onion, finely chopped
    • 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 tsp. dry mustard
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
    • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
    • 2 cups mascarpone cheese
    • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
    • 1 lb. pasta, cooked al dente
    • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs


    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a med.-size oval baking dish.
    2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in deep skillet over med.-high heat; add steak and onion; sauté until vegetables are tender, about 5 min.
    3. Stir in flour, mustard, salt, and pepper; cook 1 min.
    4. Gradually whisk in milk; stir until slightly thickened, about 3 min.
    5. Remove from heat. Add cheeses and stir until cheese melts.
    6. Mix in pasta. Remove to baking dish.
    7. Melt remaining butter; add bread crumbs and sauté until golden. Sprinkle crumbs over pasta. Bake about 20 min.

Budget Week: Stretching your food budget

This week I wanted to see how far I could stretch one meat purchase.  I bought two full (both sides) chicken breasts yesterday, with a total of just over three pounds.  I cooked them in beer in my crock pot, and then put them in the fridge to cool off and stop them from cooking past their prime.

Night one: Chicken Salad

I took one half of a breast (yielding about 2 cups of chicken) and shredded it.  I mixed in 1/2 a cup of Greek yogurt, a bit of salt and pepper, and about a 1/2 cup of driend cranberries.  I had it on gluten-free bread and the wife and kids had white bread.  Rave reviews, and still 3/4 of my meat for the week is left.

Night two: Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina

I found a recipe on foodnetwork.com here, and thought I'd give it a try.  I used a nice brown-rice pasta and crushed corn flakes instead of bread crumbs.  The recipe only used a very small amount of chicken (I used 1/2 of one side of the breast, leaving plenty of chicken going into day three.  The blend of flavors was great, and the whole family enjoyed this quick meal.  Since the chicken was already pre-cooked yesterday, prep went real quick and easy as well.

Stay tuned, we'll see how far I can stretch 3 pounds of chicken!

Dinner Time - Spicy Italian Pork Cutlets

I picked up some pork chops on sale this week and wanted something besides applesauce to do with them.  I found this recipe and decided to give it a shot.  My only changes were using seasoned gluten-free flour on the pounded cutlets rather than just salt and pepper to give it a nice crust, and I used chianti instead of a white wine.  I served it over brown-rice pasta.

It came out great, and got rave reviews.  Give it a try!

Dinner Time - Gluten Free Baked Ziti

I love baked ziti.  Always have.  So much cheesy goodness.  Great meat sauce.  For those of you that have never had baked ziti, think a combination of lasagna and pasticcio.

Using the best ingredients, just like anything else in cooking, makes for better food.  So when I decided to try baked ziti gluten free, I was worried about the new pasta more than anything.  

The brown rice pasta held up perfecly, as you can see from the picture.  The cheese coated it perfectly, and it didnt have flavor or texture any different than a normal wheat pasta.

Try this one, you won't be sorry!

Recipe is here.

Dinner Time - Gluten Free Lasagna Cupcakes

I love lasagna. Cheesy meaty goodness can never be over stated. However, doing it wheat and gluten-free has been a struggle. I was at NewSeasons Market today, and found a gluten and wheat free lasagna noodle and thought I'd give it a try. To change it up, I decided to do them in individual servings using a muffin pan.

They came out tasting great, but didn't hold together real well.  I think more sauce may have been what it took to make it hold better.

If you can't find the gluten free noodles, you can buy a roll of pre-made polenta and thinly slice it.  Polenta is frequently used as a substitute for pasta, and would be great here.

Give it a try, the flovor was great, and the fun change with the serving had the wife and kids raving.  The recipe can be found here.