Swiss Steak was made, in the beginning, to be a budget-friendly main course. You take a cheap steak, pound flour and seasonings into it, and braise with tomatoes and onions until the tougher cut becomes tender.
Cheap steak is still pretty expensive in my book.
Hamburger is cheaper, and results in something that tastes just as delicious, even if the texture is different than having a solid piece of meat. That's OK with me. I was a little doubtful about the 'tomato gravy' when I first saw the recipe, but it is superb!
The original recipe came from America's Test Kitchen, but I've modified it a few ways...
Swiss Steak with Tomato Gravy
2 lbs. ground beef or 8 (4 oz) patties
salt and pepper
1 onion, sliced thin
1 Tbsp. cornstarch or flour
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes OR one quart home-canned tomatoes (OR one can diced tomatoes and one can of chicken broth)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. dried thyme OR 1 1/2 tsp. fresh OR 1 tiny drop thyme essential oil
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh or dried parsley
Cooked rice or noodles
Set an oven rack to the highest position and turn on the broiler. Shape burger into 8 patties (if they're not shaped already); set them on a rimmed baking sheet or in a 9x13 pan. Set onions on the baking sheet too. Sprinkle meat with salt and pepper. Broil patties and onions for 2-4 minutes or until they have a good browned crust at least around the edges. Turn off broiler and heat oven to 350 degrees.
Meanwhile, put the cornstarch in a medium saucepan and stir in about 2 Tbsp of the juice from the canned tomatoes. Stir until smooth, then gradually stir in the remaining tomatoes, plus broth if using it. Add garlic and thyme. Stir over high heat until it comes to a boil.
After the meat has come out of the oven, add the parsley and pour the tomato gravy over top. Return it all to the oven and bake 20 minutes or until done and tender.
Serve over rice or noodles, spooning sauce over.
Rice and more...
Barbecue Sauce. Make it quickly using tomato sauce as the main ingredient.
White Sauce- simple to make, and the base for several recipes.
Main Dishes card 3 Recipes for pureed (any)vegetable soup, simple pasta sauce (starting with a can of diced tomatoes or tomato sauce, rice- basics, fried rice, Spanish rice, and rice pudding (which is breakfast food around here). Main Dishes card 4 covers how to roast meat, methods of tenderizing it, simple soup, and white sauce with instructions to make it thin, medium, and thick. Includes options for making it gluten-free.
Tiny Spicy Chicken is great over rice, with a little fruit to help balance out the heat. Bok choy is great on the side.
Do you have children or grandchildren who are afraid of what’s lurking under their beds? Here’s the perfect solution, found on Meridian magazine online a couple months ago:
The Monster Under the Bed
"I overheard my two young adult sons talking. One asked, “Do kids really think there are monsters under their beds?” The other one answered: 'I never did. There was always so much food storage under there that I knew there was no room for a monster.'” So let's all chase out those monsters! For a lot of suggestions on storing food when you have little space, see the Food Storage Made Easy page.
______________________________This recipe came from a class at the Macey’s in Logan, back when I lived there. “Tiny Spicy Chicken” was one of the entrees at Mandarin Gardens, a local Chinese restaurant. Maybe it’s a Cache Valley specialty, because I haven’t run into anyone not from there who has had this dish. Tiny Spicy Chicken3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1 ½ “ cubesgarlic salt2 beaten eggs1 cup cornstarch¼ c. oil Sprinkle chicken with garlic salt, let sit for 1 hour in the fridge. Heat oil in a large frying pan. Dip chicken into eggs, then roll or shake in a bag with cornstarch. Brown chicken pieces in the oil, until golden brown. Put in a greased 9x13 pan.Shortcut method: use 1- 1 ½ lbs. fully cooked chicken nuggets, frozen is OK. (Don't use 3 lbs nuggets; they have too much breading that soaks up this sauce.) Sauce:
½ -1 tsp. chili paste*1 c. sugar½ c. ketchup2 tsp. soy sauceDash of salt½ c. chicken broth¼ c. brown sugar½ c. vinegar Sauce will be very runny. Pour over chicken (if using chicken nuggets, mix the sauce in the 9x13 pan, then add the chicken) and stir to coat. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes, stirring once or twice during that time. Serve over rice.Alternate cooking methods: bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour, stirring a couple times, or put in a crockpot and cook on low for 5-8 hours.*Sambal chili paste can be found in the Asian section at Macey's grocery store, it probably can be found at most other grocery stores. If you don't have it, or can't find it, substitute red pepper flakes. Start with 1/4 tsp., put it in the sauce, then taste to see if it's as hot/mild as you like.
Chili paste is made from whole, hot chilies, ground up, and mixed with a little vinegar. It includes the seeds, so it packs a punch.
If you use raw chicken breasts, the recipe takes about 1 1/2 hours to make. If you start with these, you can have it done in 20 minutes.
Aren't cans and oxygen packets great? I opened this can just yesterday. And yes, 6-21-93 was when it was sealed.
The chicken, coated with sauce, ready to bake.
Baking it condenses the sauce and helps it soak into the coating on the chicken. It's a little sweet, and a little zippy.