This salad is as complex or simple as you want and absolutely delicious.  It’s called Steak Salad, and it’s worth it.You need:

Lettuce of some kind. Iceberg is actually fine from the baggie, as you don’t want anything to flavorful or complicated. There’s plenty going on already!
Steak, done rare or as rare as you can handle. Let this sit 10 minutes before slicing into 1/4″ thick strips. If you grill it, extra points!
Steak fries – again, homemade is extra points. If you do the homemade route, put a wee bit extra salt and some chili pepper on while they’re still hot.
Sauteed  diced bell peppers, red and green – very thin strips is also good.
Ranch (spicy ranch is a plus) or Honey Mustard if that’s not okay. A southwest sauce would be prime. This is not a place for a vinaigrette. Think of this as cowboy salad.

Anyway, assemble your salad and eat! Delicious.


Last night I ventured into the universe of cheeseburger pizza, or at least started out with that intent. I didn’t feel like making my own dough, though, so wheat dough from the grocery sufficed.  I set that out to thaw, set Josh on browning ground beef, and got to thinking.

I didn’t really want a red sauce. I’d made this before and I personally felt the red sauce detracted from the cheeseburgery flavor. I did want bacon, for a “bacon cheeseburger” experience. This could only lead to one thing, people. Cream of Bacon.

So I set out. I diced up four pieces of bacon. I fried them until they were crispy and delicious, and strained a little of the fat off – there was a lot. I got cheap bacon. I left a tablespoon or so, added the requisite tablespoon of flour, stirred, and started adding milk. Cream of bacon, people. I added some mozz for the sticky factor, but you couldn’t taste it. There was peppery, salty, delicious bacon, and you could tell. I did add a little more s&p, and some garlic salt, but otherwise it was just one of those magical things that will kill you, make you feel so classy (cream of chicken? nope, cream of bacon. What a ring that has!) but, seriously, it’s made of bacon! Just because it sounds trashy doesn’t mean it’s not delicious. And besides, you’re putting this on snooty white pizza, not the regular red varietal. That makes you sound sufficiently pretentious, right?

I mean, think about it. Spinach and pine nut pizza – white sauce. Chicken and parmesan pizza, white sauce. We’ll ignore the fact that CiCi’s macaroni and cheese pizza also has a white sauce. Perhaps it has no sauce! I mean, it has enough cheese, right? So only the most pretentious pizza toppings are graced with white sauce. Yes, on pizza, chicken is pretentious. Work with me, here.

So I spread that over my baked pizza crust (I always bake them 90% of the way first, otherwise my pizza-stone-lacking pizzas get really soggy in the middle), topped with the finely ground beef and cheddar cheese. Yum. Baked until the cheese was appropriately brown and crisped. Delicious. 

As you might have noticed (no review of the Food Network Challenge last night) I was definitely at work. So I made man-man food. I also wasn’t at home when it was consumed, so: well, we’ll see how that goes.

I started in the morning, I boiled up a box of macaroni noodles and sauted up a pound of hamburger (big, deep skillet, you’re making a sauce in here later) and put taco seasonings on it (chili, cumin, salt, garlic powder – or you can use a packet). I put this all on a plate to reserve it, but I didn’t wipe out the skillet.

Then I made the cheese sauce: start with about 4 tablespoons of roux in your skillet and make your bechamel. I made mine very, very loose, as you’re adding a LOT of cheese. I used oil instead of butter in the roux, used more oil than flour, and a LOT of milk. Then I shredded about a quarter of a pack of pepperjack into my bechamel, as well as nearly 2 cups of cheddar. Lots of cheese. Sauce should now be relatively thick again. However, your noodles should also be done. Drain them, but it’s okay if there’s water still in the bottom.

So you stir the hamburger, cheese, and noodles together (I recommend using the noodle pot unless your skillet is deeper than mine). Then, put the whole lot into a baking pan. Top with bread chunks (you could also use crumbs, but Josh and housemate prefer 1″ or so chunks that get super crisp and braised in the oven.)

Then? I stuck it in the fridge, and put a note on Housemate’s (he always gets home first)  computer to put the oven on 400 degrees and when it was preheated, put the macaroni in for 1/2 hour.

And that’s what I do when I’m feeling nice. Otherwise, I make them make hamburger helper.

I see I get no help from the likes of you people.

However, I will press on in my search for delicious Filipino food.

Anyway, so last night I went all out American and had barbecued chicken, though it wasn’t grilled. I mourn, oh how I mourn, not owning a grill. Not that I know how to grill – mom wouldn’t let me near the thing as a child – but Josh does, and I could do the June Cleaver thing and hand him prepared meat while making the green bean salad. But we’ll get to that.

I par-boil ALL meat that is intended to be grilled. Even when it’s actually going to be grilled. This is usually where I get my stock from, actually – I’ll boil the chicken with carrots and onions and celery, and then I just yank the chicken to be barbecued and put on platter. Then you just stick that into plastic containers and into your freezer.

So you par-boil your chicken. I did a whole chicken (The housemate thought we were supposed to eat all of it. My heaven, it was five pounds!) so we’d have leftovers – and so I could get dark meat and Josh and housemate could get white meat. They are weird. I can’t fathom anyone who is willing to down 1000+ calorie meals actively wanting the dieter’s meat. But they do.

So I just cut the pieces up, boiled them all for about 15 minutes, or until the dark meat was done (it’ll take longer, so you might want to yank the already-dry, nasty bits early so they aren’t any more nasty than they have to be. Yes, I am horribly prejudiced with my food.) Then I slathered the monkey out of them with KC Masterpiece Hickory Brown Sugar. Your choice of BBQ here. Stick in broiler for 10 minutes, or until it smells delicious and is kind of crispy. Then turn over, repeat. Grill if you can.

However, the experiment! You know, the actual recipe. Hah.

So I decided yesterday that I would acquire a new skill, the skill of homemade dressing. So I looked up a recipe. The recipe came out pretty poorly, so I won’t link to it. However, it wasn’t anything a bit of sugar and more vinegar couldn’t (mostly) fix.

In a blender, I stuck 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar with a teaspoon full of minced garlic and a teaspoon full of Dijon mustard. Blend until nice and uniform. Then, if your blender has a small hole in the top like mine, take off whatever lid is covering that top, and while the blender is merrily whirring, pour in 3/4 cup olive oil.

Wow, it was thick. Like, ranch is thin like water, comparatively. Wow, it tasted absolutely nothing like Balsamic vinegar, and we really like balsamic vinegar, so this was a problem. I added 2 more tablespoons. And some sugar to cut the part where it tasted like white vinegar. All the nasty, none of the good. It was mostly saved – by no means was it the best vinaigrette ever, but it was edible and smelled pretty heavenly. It just had an aftertaste.

So I had previously blanched some green beans, which were sitting in a bowl in my freezer. I poured this onto them, and then added some goat cheese.

Okay, so the dressing was not intended for human consumption on salad. However, if you let it sit on green beans for an hour or two, the beans soak up the nasty part, and you’re left with something not bad. Before you go saying, Liz, you’re supposed to let it sit anyway! I did, I let some sit all by itself in the fridge, hoping that it’d be better overnight. Having just tried some, it’s not. The sink had a delicious vinaigrette breakfast. But the green beans are still pretty good!

However, having now done this once, I’m tremendously excited to try again. I know the theory behind dressing, and what proportions give me tar-muck thickness. Next time, Gadget. Next time, I’ll get you!

Sorry this took so long! I had to work and run some errands and everything took so much longer than I expected.

Saute 1 lb pork sausage with half an onion (or a whole small one) and a diced bell pepper (green and yellow are my favorites here, but Josh likes red). Once the pork sausage is done and the onions translucent, add 2 tablespoons flour and a can of tomato paste with 1 teaspoon (TEASPOON. This is one of the only times in my memory I have made that mistake. Oh, my sinuses hurt) chili flakes, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir in a cup of shredded cheddar cheese and pour the whole mix into a cake pan (9×9) and then make up 2 boxes of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix (yes. Do NOT make your own, unless you make a imitation Jiffy, complete with the sweet undertones.) Pour this over the top and bake in a 400 degree oven for half an hour.