Skewered steak on a stick is a quick and easy approach to grilling. This delicious recipe can be prepared ahead so you can spend more time with your family and friends. Plus, everyone can have just the right amount of food perfectly cooked to please their palate.

1-1/2 pounds top sirloin steak
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly cracked and ground
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Trim the fat from the steak and cut across the grain into 1/4-inch thick by 4 inch long slices. Peel and mince the garlic.

Add the garlic and remaining ingredients to a bowl large enough to accommodate the meat; whisk to blend thoroughly. Add the trimmed and cut meat and turn to distribute the marinade throughout the meat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 – 2 hours, turning at 1/2 hour intervals to redistribute the marinade.

If you’re using bamboo skewers, prepare them by soaking in warm water for 10 – 20 minutes prior to adding the meat. Remove the meat from the marinade and drain briefly. Weave the meat onto skewers; draw the ends outward so that the meat lies flat.

You’ll want your grill hot and the lightly oiled rack 4 – 6 inches above the heat source. Place the skewered steak on the prepared grill to cook. Turn frequently and baste with marinade until the steak is cooked to your preference. Medium should take 6 – 8 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings.

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This wonderfully tender and flavorful chuck roast recipe was the result of poor planning. My busy schedule left no time to shop. What I had on hand landed in the slow cooker, topped with a decent port wine.

4 – 5 pound chuck roast
3 – 5 bay leaves
6 – 10 3″ or longer sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 – 2 cups fresh basil
6 – 10 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cups port wine
2 cups beef or chicken stock

Rinse and shake dry the rosemary and basil. Peel the garlic.

Cover the bottom of a 6 – 7 quart slow cooker with the bay leaves, rosemary, basil, garlic and olive oil. Add the chuck roast. Pour the port wine and the stock over the roast. Cover and turn the setting on low; allow to cook for 12 – 16 hours.

To serve, remove the roast from the pot and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Slice thinly across the grain. Plate and serve with a couple of tablespoons of the cooking liquid drizzled over the top.

To store, place remaining roast, either whole or sliced, into a container with a tight fitting lid. Strain the vegetables from the cooking liquid and add the liquid to the meat. Cover and refrigerate.

*Magic: this recipe is exclusive to I Love You Recipes. It is from my personal, unpublished collection.

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Stuffed peppers are a great way to take advantage of seasonal buys and leftovers. Add a handful of mushrooms to this recipe and try different meats.

3 large green bell peppers

Stuffing:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, preferably sweet
2 ripe tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
1 pound ground meat
1 cup rice
2 teaspoons basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly cracked and ground

Sauce:
1 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350°.

Wash the peppers, cut in half and remove the seeds.

Clean and chop the onion into fairly fine pieces. Wash and remove the core from the tomatoes; chop coarsely. Clean and mince the garlic.

Stuffing:
Sauté the chopped onion in the olive oil; allow to cool slightly. Lightly brown the ground meat, drain fat and allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl combine the onion, tomato, garlic, ground meat, rice, basil, oregano, salt and pepper and mix well. Distribute the filling evenly between the pepper halves.

Place the peppers in a shallow baking dish.

Sauce:
Combine the tomato sauce, vinegar, sugar and chicken broth. Pour the sauce into the bottom of the baking pan with the stuffed peppers.

Cover and bake for approximately 30 minutes. Uncover, baste with pan sauce and bake for 15 – 30 minutes more, until the rice is cooked. Watch carefully once you’ve uncovered the dish; you don’t want to overcook the peppers or they will fall apart and become bitter.

Yield: 6 servings.

Tip 1: I easily slice and remove seeds from bell peppers by placing the pepper, top down, on a cutting board. I slice through the bottom until I reach resistance from the stem. I then pick the pepper up and slice the flesh to the stem on each side and carefully pry the pepper open. One side of the pepper will release from the stem. You can then pare the stem away from the other side. Most of the seeds adhere to the heart of the stem, though you may find a few clinging to the veins.

Tip 2: Picking up an oversized roast on sale frequently can yield several meals. I often use my food processor to grind meat for a variety of uses. I love being able to control the texture.

Chill the meat and cut into 2 – 3 inch thick pieces up to 4 inches long. Fit your processor bowl with the blade attachment. Add 3 – 4 pieces of meat and place the lid on the machine. Pulse the meat until it is ground to the texture you want. Do not add liquids or you will end up with puree.

I like a fairly coarse grind for stuffed peppers and chili, and nearly pureed pork for won tons. Roasts are often available for less than $2.00 a pound. Using your food processor to grind meats can add up to significant savings. Spending wisely is never cheap.

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Steak Diane is a classic, elegant recipe that’s easy to master. Components can be prepared in advance and quickly cooked in just a few minutes.

4 1/2-pound steaks, each 1/2-inch thick (New York strip, tenderloin, rib-eye, Delmonico)
1-1/2 tablespoons pepper, freshly cracked and ground
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup shallots or scallions
1/4 cup parsley
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup beef stock
1/4 – 1/2 cup butter
1 – 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 lemon
1/4 cup Port wine (or other hearty sweet wine, or Cognac)

Preparation:
Trim excess fat and any gristle from the steaks. One at a time, place each steak on a cutting board, cover with plastic wrap and gently pound, from the center outward, until they are 1/4-inch thick. Rub the top of each steak with 1/4 of the pepper, splash with a few drops of soy sauce and lightly drizzle with olive oil, reserving some for cooking. From the narrow end, roll each steak up and place in a covered container in your refrigerator to marinate until you’re ready to cook.

Mince the shallots (or scallions) and parsley.

Combine and mix well the cornstarch, beef stock and Dijon mustard. I like to prepare this mix ahead in a lidded jar. Place the jar in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook, and just give it a good shake before making your sauce.

Cook the steaks:
Place 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet and place over high heat. You want the skillet to get very hot, but not quite smoking. Add 2 tablespoons of butter when the pan is hot. When the foam from the butter disappears and the butter just starts to brown, add two steaks to your pan. Cook for 40 – 50 seconds on one side, turn and cook for 40 – 50 seconds on the other side. Using a pair of forks, quickly re-roll the cooked steaks and remove them to a warm platter. Sauté the remaining steaks, roll and add them to your warm platter.

Cook the sauce:
Add 1 – 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan and add the shallots (or scallions) and stir for just a moment to coat all with the hot butter and scrape up a bit of the steak flavor from the pan. Add the beef stock mixture and stir to blend. When the sauce is hot, add the Worcestershire, lemon juice and Port wine and turn off the heat.

To serve:
One by one, place each steak into the hot sauce, drag and turn to coat both sides. Place each on a hot dinner plate. When all steaks are plated, spoon the remaining sauce onto the steaks and serve.

Yield: 4 servings

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Fabulous Vaca Frita is a Cuban inspired recipe. Beautifully seasoned beef is paired with pan grilled onions and peppers, and finished with a dash of lemon.

Beef:
1-1/2 to 2 pounds steak; flank, flat iron or London broil
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon pepper corns
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 bunch parsley

Rub:
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon pepper, freshly cracked and finely ground
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon salt, finely ground
1/3 cup cream sherry

Vegetables:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 sweet onions
2 bell peppers, yellow, red or green, or a combination

Garnish:
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1/4 cup cilantro leaves

You can use most 1-1/2 to 2 inch thick cuts of beef for this recipe. I find that medium to fine grain meat with a touch of fat works best.

In the bottom of a heavy lidded pot place the bay leaves, pepper corns, garlic and parsley. Lay your beef on top and cover with fresh cold water until it’s about 1/2 inch above the meat. Place the pot over medium-high heat. Watch closely as you bring it to the point where it’s just about to boil; immediately reduce heat to a light simmer and cover. Simmer, covered for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Leaving the lid on and the beef in the broth, turn the heat off and allow to cool. Once cooled, transfer the contents of the pot to a lidded container and store in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.

When ready to cook remove the meat from the broth and cut across the grain into 1/3 to 1/2 inch slices. Lay the meat on a wooden board with about 1/2″ space between each piece, cover with plastic wrap and gently pound until each piece is nearly doubled in size. Mix together the garlic powder, pepper, cumin, onion powder and salt. Remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the spices over the meat and give each piece a little rub. Turn the meat, sprinkle and rub the second side. Wash your hands and add a few sprinkles of the cream sherry to the meat by placing your thumb over the opening of the bottle, squeezing off most of the flow, and drizzle the rubbed meat.

Allow the meat to marinate while you clean and slice the peppers and onions into long, 1/2″ wide slices. Place two large frying pans on the stove and cover the bottoms with olive oil, using just a touch more in the pan that you’ll use for the meat.

Bring the heat up to very hot in both pans, move the pan that will be used to brown the meat off to the side for a moment. Add the vegetables to the other pan about 2 minutes ahead of adding meat to the meat pan. With both pans on the stove, toss the vegetables every minute or so while you lightly brown both sides of the meat, turning just once. The vegetables will be ready when they’re slightly cooked but still crisp; the peppers will show slightly charred spots. After you’ve made this a couple of times, you’ll be able to time the cooking of both dishes to finish within seconds of each other. If one finishes ahead of the other, transfer the contents of that pan to a warmed platter and set on a warm spot on the stove. Loosely cover if you like.

To serve, place the meat and vegetables on a warmed platter. Squeeze one lemon wedge over the meat, add the rest to the platter. Give the vegetables a light dusting of salt, sprinkle the meat and vegetables with the cilantro leaves. Each guest can adjust the lemon flavor to personal taste by squeezing a lemon wedge(s) over their serving.

*Magic: this recipe is exclusive to I Love You Recipes. It is from my personal, unpublished collection.

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