CHEW THIS! Tina Tutrow’s Slow Cooker Cube Steak and Gravy

Tina Tutrow’s Slow Cooker Cube Steak and Gravy

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Saturday, June 15th 2019 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Tina Tutrow Shares Family Recipe
Blaise Doubman

Tina Tutrow is one of the only people who know my true hair color and has been a friend of my family and I for so long, I think we all consider each other family by now instead of good friends. My Dad, Jamie Doubman, went to school, all twelve years, with Tina Tutrow so really between my Mom, Darla, and my Dad, they have known Tina for most of their lives. That is the wonderful thing about small town living, everyone knows one another and, if you are lucky, get to experience their lives with one another. Tina has been one of the best beauticians in the area for close to over thirty years. Several years ago, she decided to try her hand at running her own business, her own beauty shop, and has not looked back since. Successful, talented and well known, Tina is a master at what she does and makes it look easy and effortless. She has also managed to raise a beautiful family, who in turn are all raising their own exquisite families. What some people do not know about Tina, is that she is just as talented in the kitchen as she is in her beauty shop. She cooks, bakes and thankfully, is delighted to share her recipes.

One day over at “Tina’s Hair Shop”, my Mom and I were discussing how we were looking for a new recipe for cube steak. Neither of us really cared for the thick cream of mushroom soup that is generally used. Tina said she did not care for the mushroom soup either and said she has used beef gravy for years, instead! My Mom and I looked at each other and immediately knew we had to try it! Why hadn’t we thought of that? Skip ahead a couple of days later and we tried her recipe and oh my! Delicious! It made the cube steaks taste so much better! I think dinner that night disappeared faster than it has in months. Everyone enjoyed it and we decided then and there that number one, I had to share this recipe with everyone and number two, we would never make cube steak with thick cream of mushroom soup again! I highly recommend you try this recipe as soon as possible. Serve alongside baked potato and asparagus for a delicious, and nutritious, meal. Shout out and special thanks to Tina Tutrow for sharing this recipe with me and allowing it to be shared with all of you! Try it and let me know your thoughts! I would love to hear from you. Visit http://trailblaise.com and click “contact”.

Tina Tutrow’s Slow Cooker Cube Steak and Gravy

For optimal flavor and texture, it is important to take the time to brown the steaks on each side before placing them into the slow cooker. I generally follow this rule on most of the meats I put into my slow cooker, aside from chicken. For easier clean up, line your slow cooker with a plastic slow cooker liner. Be sure to reserve the leftover gravy in a small bowl to serve at the table for those who like a little extra gravy on their cube steaks.

4 cube steaks
½ cup white all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Large jar of beef gravy

Start by warming about ½ cup vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. On a plate combine the white all-purpose flour, salt and black pepper.

Dredge each cube steak in the flour mixture and carefully place in the heated vegetable oil.

Brown both sides of the cube steaks, which will take about 5 minutes.

Carefully place each steak inside of your slow cooker and pour on the beef gravy.

Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.

Ask and Answer: Lots of people have wondered recently if I have any recipes for cold side dishes such as potato salad, macaroni salad, etc. Yes! Visit my website, http://trailblaise.com and in the search box, type in whatever recipe you are looking for! My website is divided up and will search for particular recipes, flavors and even the ingredients you want to use.

Beef Manhattans

I love to order beef manhattans when I am out at local restaurants and often wondered if I could try to make my own homemade version. Well I did and they are fabulous! You will not believe how flavorful these are, or how simple! Use store bought or homemade mashed potatoes and brown gravy.

Beef Manhattans

4 pound boneless beef chuck roast
1 stick butter
1 package dry Ranch dressing mix
1 package au jus gravy mix
2 cups homemade or jarred brown gravy
Prepared mashed potatoes
Texas Toast

Start by lining your slow cooker with a slow cooker liner. Place in the boneless beef chuck roast.

Place stick of butter on top of roast.

Sprinkle over package of dry Ranch dressing mix. Sprinkle over package of au jus gravy mix.

Place on lid and cook 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.

After cooking, remove lid and shred meat using 2 forks.

Warm prepared brown gravy and prepared mashed potatoes.

Assemble the beef manhattans by placing 2 slices of Texas Toast on a plate. Top with shredded beef. Top with mashed potatoes and finish with brown gravy.

CHEW THIS! Skillet Meatballs

Skillet Meatballs

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, June 5th 2016 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Homemade meatballs are deliciously versatile…
Blaise Doubman

When developing a recipe, the first thing on my mind is flavor. What will add to the overall flavor of the recipe, what ingredients will contribute to the flavors I’m looking for and what will pair nicely with the flavors? Most of the time I’ll eat something I want to recreate and it will go from there. Take this recipe for skillet meatballs for example. There’s a popular restaurant chain that has a meatball sandwich on its menu. I’ve eaten this more times than I’m willing to admit, and after a friend and I got to thinking about what could possibly be the secret ingredient in their meatballs, I sat out to crack the code myself. It took a little experimentation, several recipe testers and lots of ground beef, but I can happily say, I cracked the code.

I have a recipe on my blog for hamburgers that are perfect on a charcoal grill and served with cooked onions and peppers. I remember developing that recipe and adding all kinds of things to the ground beef, to try and add flavor. Then I thought – why am I doing this? You want to be able to taste the freshness of the ground beef, right? So I went minimal, which is what I’ve done here. I’ve added bread crumbs to help bind the meatballs and hold them together, and added two main flavor components – yellow squirt mustard and fresh basil. The yellow squirt mustard gives the ground beef subtitle flavor, and the fresh basil combines nicely with the overall flavors and adds a fresh background note. This is my go to meatball recipe…

Skillet Meatballs

I prefer this method over baking them in the oven. These are very versatile. The recipe can be doubled, tripled or more! These are delicious served over warm spaghetti or, my personal favorite, placed into sub buns and served with homemade tomato sauce, or marinara sauce, sliced mozzarella cheese and a sprinkling of Parmesan. These also make a perfect appetizer. Serve with toothpicks and a side dish of tomato sauce and/or barbecue sauce. Keep them warm by placing them in a low heated slow cooker. 

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup whole milk
2 pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon yellow squirt mustard
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 stick butter, melted
2 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
Olive oil, for frying

Start by placing the panko bread crumbs in a small bowl and pouring over the whole milk. Allow the bread crumbs to soak for 2 minutes.

In a large bowl, place the ground beef and 1 tablespoon yellow squirt mustard, along with the diced onion, melted butter, eggs, chopped basil, salt, pepper and milk soaked bread crumbs.

Mix everything together using a fork, and a light hand. Be careful not the over mix the meat mixture.

Heat about 1/4-inch of olive oil in a medium sized skillet over medium heat. Allow to heat up 2 minutes.

Form the meat mixture into meatballs a little bigger than the size of your standard ping pong ball and place into the skillet.

Fry the meatballs until they are browned on all sides and cooked through, about 15 minutes. You will need to turn them occasionally.

Serve on spaghetti, as appetizers with toothpick holders or in sub-buns as meatball sub sandwiches, topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.

CHEW THIS! Oven Burgers

Oven Burgers

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, January 3rd 2016 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Sheet-Pan Supper offers more than better food, faster…
Blaise Doubman

My Grandpa Max would always make hamburgers in the oven, and I never quite understood the whole concept. Why not just fry the hamburgers or grill them? Growing up, I would always shrug away the “oven burgers” he would call them, and go for something else. Over the years, my fascination got the best of me, because I decided to try one. Let me tell you, it was a marvelous thing! Immediately I started trying all kinds of combinations for the “oven burger”. I would put a little piece of butter on the inside of each hamburger before rolling and patting them down into patties to make the meat a little juicer. I would take a small cube of cheese and try the same thing – fabulous! I would also try pickled peppers, different types of onion and all kinds of combinations. I even tried a mozzarella, tomato sauce and pepperoni version – pizza burger, anyone?

Over the years though, I found myself coming back time and time again to my Grandpa Max’s reliable combination of ground beef, onions, salt and black pepper. It was (and still is) a simple taste from my childhood. After my Grandpa Max passed away, my Mom, Darla, started making these, and has been making them ever since. She too, enjoys the simple flavors of the ground beef, onions, salt and black pepper. One day though, it dawned on me – there’s so much space left on the sheet pan, why add not add french fries? With the addition of the french fries, this makes a complete and easy meal, on just one sheet pan! Try this recipe method, experiment and see what you come up with!

Sheet-Pan Hamburgers and Fries in the Oven

This is a very versatile recipe. You can use different types of beef, different types of onion and even add cheese inside the hamburgers if you wish. Also, feel free to substitute tater tots or onion rings for the french fries. Serving these can be fun too, topping each burger with different condiments and different types of bread. Use Hawaiian style bread and a slice of pineapple on each for a “Hawaiian” themed version, or pickled jalapeños and hot sauce for those who like things a little more spicy. The different flavor combinations are endless! Experiment and have fun with it…

2 pounds ground beef
1 cup chopped white onion
1 bag of frozen french fries
Salt and black pepper, for seasoning

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F.

Prepare six squares of aluminum foil by laying them out on a counter, and spraying each sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

Divide the two pounds of hamburger into six equal parts, forming them each gently into a ball, and placing each one in the middle of one of the six aluminum foil squares.

Sprinkle evenly the chopped white onion on each hamburger.

Salt and pepper the hamburgers for seasoning.

Next, take each hamburger and its aluminum foil square, and wrap the hamburger tightly. Once wrapped, press down hard on top of each hamburger, to form a patty.

Place these on a large sheet pan, leaving space between each.

Sprinkle the bag of frozen french fries onto the sheet pan, making sure the fries are in-between and surrounding the hamburger patties.

Place this into the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes depending on how well you like your hamburger meat to be done.

Remove from oven, sprinkle salt on french fries, and carefully remove hamburgers from the foil pouches. Place hamburgers on buns and serve alongside the fries.

CHEW THIS! Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Vegetables

Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Vegetables

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, December 6th 2015 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

A warm and delicious slow cooker meal, perfect for cold weather…
Blaise Doubman

I have to admit that I’ve never been a slow cooker fan, until recently. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it was because of the “slow cooking” process? I’ve never been one to have an extreme amount of patience, and the whole concept of cooking something over the course of several hours never really appealed to me. If you feel the same way, let me reassure you of something that I’m sure will change your mind. When you cook food low and slow, especially meat, you will have the most succulent and tender piece of meat you can ever imagine. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the process of “slow cooking” and this method can actually be used to benefit you in the long run by eliminating the clean up of several pots and pans, and by adding time to your day.

If you are like almost every single person in the world today, you need more hours in the day, am I right? You work a hectic job, try and get everything done for everybody else and don’t have that much time to cook when you finally get home in the evenings. And believe me, after a full, hectic and stressful day, a warm home cooked meal is exactly what is needed. Grabbing something from a fast food chain just will not warm and comfort the soul like something fresh and made at home where you control what goes in, and stays out, of the finished dish. Prepare this complete meal in the morning, go about your daily life, and come home to a meal that is warm, soothing, flavorful and completely satisfying. Try this worry and hassle free meal for a surefire hit!

Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Vegetables

It’s essential that you cut the beef roast in half to ensure even cooking. This recipe is very versatile and can be made with a variety of vegetables other than potatoes and carrots. For something different try fennel with the onions, or even fennel, onions, celery and garlic. Experiment with whatever vegetable and flavors you desire. You can also experiment with the types of beef used, and use any boneless cut from the chuck or round – such as a rump roast or a bottom round roast. It’s really about preference. I have found, though, that the boneless beef chuck shoulder roast results in the most tender and succulent result. If you want to add even more flavor to the recipe, brown all sides of the roast in a skillet with a little flour before adding it to your slow cooker. This will develop a “crust” which will help lock in the final juices.

1, 4-5 pound boneless beef chuck shoulder roast
4 large potatoes, washed, peeled, and medium diced
4 large carrots, washed and medium diced
2 cups white pearl onions
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
3 ½ cups water
1 package dry onion soup mix
1 package brown gravy mix
1 package au jus gravy mix

Start by spraying your slow cooker liner with a light coat of non-stick cooking spray.

Place the diced potatoes, diced carrots and pearl onions in the slow cooker, and sprinkle them evenly with the salt and black pepper.

Cut the boneless beef chuck shoulder roast in half with a sharp knife and place it in the slow cooker, on top of the vegetables. Depending on the size of the roast, you may need to push it down into the center of the vegetables, to make sure the lid fits.

Pour in the water, and sprinkle in the dry onion soup mix, brown gravy mix and au jus gravy mix. Place the lid on the slow cooker.

Cook on high for 4 hours, or cook on low for 8 hours.