A Day of Cooking

November 03, 2003

Michele and I spent yesterday morning cooking both a pot of spaghetti sauce and a crock pot of swiss steak. Originally we had planned on preparing and having swiss steak for dinner. It is one of our favorite meals and we hadn't made it in too long.

We use a 2-3 pound eye roast, cut into 3/4 inch slices. Yesterday's roast was a good 3 pounds so we sliced two filets off the thick end to have as steak later in the week. The rest of the slices are pounded with a meat tenderizer and then dredged through flour, salt, and pepper. I pound them again lightly after the dredging to make sure the floor really sticks. The meat is browned in oil and then added to the crock pot. While I'm doing the meat prep, Michele dices an onion, a green pepper, a rib or two of celery, some baby carrots, and 3-5 gloves of garlic. These get sautéed in the same oil as the meat and then are added to the pot. I de-glaze the frying pan with a can of beef stock, which is then poured into the pot.

I add a can of stewed tomatoes and a handful (2-3 tablespoons) of brown sugar. Of course salt and pepper are used through out to season each layer of the mix. Put it on low for a good 8 hours and you have a wonderfully tender, flavorful meal. Perfect with mashed potatoes and gravy made from the liquid in the pot.

When Michele was nearly done with the vegetables for the swiss steak she suggested that we go ahead and make a pot of spaghetti sauce to have later in the week. Since the swiss steak was now nearly on auto-pilot I thought this was a fabulous idea. While she started dicing more green pepper, onion and garlic, I completed the swiss steak preparations and then started grinding the meat for our sauce. We buy good quality ground meat from the store and re-grind it at home. The consistency is smoother, and we enjoy the texture of the meat more.

Once the veggies are ready I sauté them in a little oil with salt and pepper. These are set aside and the meat is browned, again with salt and pepper. After draining the meat the veggies are re-added. We use a 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, and a similar sized can of tomato sauce, along with a small can of tomato paste for the liquid in the sauce.

For seasoning we add anise seed, oregano, italian seasoning, cumin, cayenne, bay leaf, salt, pepper, and a dash or two of sugar. We let it simmer for a couple hours before cooling it and storing in the fridge for later consumption.

Have the house filled with all these wonderful cooking aromas was enticing and wonderful. Knowing that we have several meals already prepared for the week felt liberating. We we both in the right space to do some serious cooking yesterday, our energy was light and playful. The resulting food was spectacular. Our swiss steak dinner was one of the finest we have every had or made.

I can't wait for spaghetti tonight!

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.