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My mother has one sister, my aunt Kathy. They have a lot of cousins and such, but just the two of them when it comes to siblings. They like to meet once a week or so at this little restaurant in between their towns for lunch, and often during the course of chatting over their restaurant food, they’ll start talking recipes. That’s just how my family is. We are always thinking of the next thing we are going to cook. I tell people that in my family, once you see the way we talk about and are always planning our cooking sessions you’d think we we were always one meal away from starvation!
At their last lunch, Kathy told Mama about this tender swiss steak recipe that just melts in your mouth. Hers is cooked in a Dutch oven, which I love to use. But with summer here, I tend to use my slow cooker as often as possible as opposed to firing up the big oven. It saves electricity by only generating a small amount to run an appliance and also by not heating up the house as the air conditioner is trying to cool it down.
So I took that recipe that Kathy gave Mama, then modified it to use what I had on hand (I already go to the grocery store so much the manager offered to have me a name tag made) and boy was she right! This is a uniquely different taste, very savory, beefy, and with a wonderful oomph thanks to the choice of seasonings. I made the mistake of only cooking enough for four but won’t do that again as my husband wanted seconds (and thirds). It is not often that cubed steak can be cut with a fork like a hot knife through warm butter but this dish is just that. A wonderful supper idea if you’re looking for something new to try. We will be having this again. In fact, I think this will be our Sunday dinner this week along with sweet and sour green beans.
Now I told y’all on Facebook that I was spending the week reminiscing about my grandparents and to expect to hear more so here are my thoughts for today on Grandmama and Grandaddy :
My grandparents had a work ethic that wouldn’t quit. I never once saw them spend a day sitting down and relaxing all day as we seem to fantasize about. Even in Heaven, I’m absolutely certain they are enjoying working (click here to read why). Grandaddy worked at a company called Thiokol, building and testing rocket engines. Grandmama also worked at Thiokol as a secretary for one of the guys we refer to as “big wigs”, which is pretty much anyone who is important enough to have a secretary (mental note: become a big wig someday). They got up before the sun each morning to get ready for work and Grandmama would cook breakfast for them in addition to making sausage and biscuits to take with her to the office. She sold those from her desk for 50 cents each. This was her little extra money. They counciled us to always have a little extra money put back…
(Me and Grandmama used to talk about setting up a sausage and biscuit stand out by the river, so fisherman could ride up in their boats and buy them. I may just do that one of these days…)
They rode into work together and rode home together. Once work was over, it was time to go home and work in the garden. Now keep in mind that my grandaddy wasn’t a hobby gardener, he had a serious garden which took up most of their back yard so working in it required a good bit of time each day. On Saturdays, it would be yard work (Their yard always looked perfectly manicured) and sometimes they’d head out to their little plot of land on the Tennessee river where they would fish all day, clean those, and bring them back to add to the freezer.
It was always about working, gathering, making a living, taking care of yourself and others. Saturdays weren’t days for sleeping in, they were days for getting more done. But they didn’t look on extra work as hardship, they looked on it for the satisfaction of a job well done. My grandparents had lived hard lives growing up and they enjoyed laboring to provide for themselves. They lived with the security that their work provided.
They worked hard in ways that a lot of people don’t consider nowadays. It wasn’t a Monday through Friday 8-5 gig. That was just the job that paid the bills. The job that made the life started after they had clocked out. They worked on their land, they worked on their garden, they worked to make their home nicer, cleaner, better, they worked on their marriage, they worked on their relationship with their children and grandchildren, and when they went to sleep at night, they slept well knowing they had done the best they could that day.
And some reading this might think they were exchuasted and never really enjoyed life. But I’d argue that they enjoyed it much more than anyone who would think such a thing enjoys theirs.
There is a satisfaction that can only come from self sufficiency and a job well done – and my grandparents had it.
Another reason to admire The Greatest Generation.
You’ll need: Can of tomatoes (sliced, diced, stewed, crushed, whatever you want), tomato sauce, onion, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper.
I am using smoked paprika but just use whatever paprika you grab first.
You’re also going to need cubed steak.
I usually find these two at a time on clearance but needed a whole passle of them for this post so I paid full price and bought a big package. I then brought them home, intending to make this within a day or two, got busy, and threw them in the freezer for when I did find time to make this. Apparently, I didn’t put them level in the freezer because they all slid down to one side.
Somedays I feel like these cubed steaks must’ve felt when that was happening.
Am I going to put these in there frozen?
Yes, I sure am!
This up close shot of the price is so we can reminisce about the good old days when cubed steak was “only” $5.58 a pound.
Miss Merry Sunshine I am today, right? Well, actually I am. I am optimistic about things that merit optimism. The state of our economy is not one of those things. But it is a good example of why we should work on our own personal economies and it does make it easier to do – basically do the opposite of everything the government does and we’ll end up in pretty good shape!
That’s my plan at least
My grandparents taught me that trials can knock you down or they can motivate you. Which it is is entirely up to you.
Place tomatoes, tomato sauce, and all seasonings in a bowl.
Give that a good stir.
Slice those onions up however you feel like slicing them up.
Uses her Bubba Gump voice, “you got chopped onions, sliced onions, diced onions, julienned onions…”
Speaking of Forrest Gump, my husband and I were reminiscing about it recently and thinking about buying a copy of it to watch on family movie night – and then fortunately we remembered that it isn’t a movie you really want to watch with your nine year old, or 14 year old for that matter. We got the new Lego movie instead. Speaking of the Lego movie, wow! If you don’t have A.D.D. when you start watching that thing, you will when you’re done! But it is a fun movie. It is just very fast paced and all over the place. I’m actually the Queen of Attention Deficit Disorder (although it is NOT a disorder, it is a super power actually, click here to read a post on that) and I had a hard time keeping up. Worth watching, though, just to get the EVERYTHING IS AWESOME song in your head.
Place your cubed steaks in the slow cooker.
I’m only putting in four of mine. I’ll save the other two in my freezer, packaged individually, and make myself steak and gravy for lunch one day when I’m here by myself.
Sometimes I surprise myself and do nice things like that for me
Toss your onions on top.
If you feel that they have experienced enough violence from the chopping process, you can place them gently.
And pour the tomato mixture over it all.
Cover and cook on low, 7-9 hours (9-10 hours is fine, too, if you have a newer slow cooker)
or high, 4-5 hours.
If you end up cooking it for an extra hour or so it will be just fine, even more tender, provided you have a newer slow cooker. The older ones (7-10 years old), at this point in the game, generally don’t cook evenly anymore and you can end up with scorched food. I use a Hamilton Beach Set N Forget Programmable slow cooker most of the time. I have a few slow cookers, all of them are Hamilton Beach and they cook really well (and are affordable).
When it is ready, that cube steak will be so tender you can cut it with a fork.
I like to serve mine over rice. Since I buy rice in bulk, I like to incorporate it into a few meals each week to help give a little boost to our grocery budget.
- 1-2 pounds cubed steak*
- 14-16 ounces canned tomatoes (stewed, diced, crushed, etc)
- 14-16 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 teaspoons Oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 teaspoon Paprika (smoked or regular)
- Place cubed steaks in bottom of 5 or 6 quart slow cooker. Top with onions.
- In a large bowl, stir together tomatoes, tomato sauce, and all seasonings. Pour over cubed steaks.
- Cover and cook on low 7-9 hours or on high 4-5 hours.
- Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, or noodles.
Can sizes are changing so I included a range in the size description of this recipe. An ounce here or there won’t make a difference.
*The sauce amount remains the same whether you are using 1 or 2 pounds of cubed steak.
“The people around your dining room table are your best friends.
So be kind.”
~Submitted by Tammy N (thanks, Tammy!). Click here to submit your own.