Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Swiss Steak


Swiss steak is a classic dish (the first recipe appeared in print in 1915!). 

My grandpa grew tomatoes in his garden and would use his homemade tomato juice to make this recipe. I remember knowing we were having it because he would have it cooking on the stovetop in his pressure cooker. While I too could have made this in my pressure cooker, I decided to go low and slow today and braise my steak in the oven. 

This is a great make-ahead meal if you want to prep it on Sunday and simply reheat it for busy weeknights. Serve this with rice or mashed potatoes and a side of steamed or roasted veggies.




1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Season steaks with salt and pepper on both sides.

3. Place the flour, garlic powder and paprika on a plate and stir gently until the spices are incorporated. Dredge steaks in the flour mixture until well coated.

4. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add steaks and brown on both sides; transfer to a plate. Place onion, green pepper and carrots on the bottom of the pan and place steaks on top. Top with tomato paste, diced tomatoes, beef stock and Worcestershire. Cover the pan and place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, or until the steaks are completely tender.





5. Serve over rice or potatoes, if desired.



Swiss Steak

Serves 4

All you need:

1 pound sirloin steak (or eye of round steak), pounded flat
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
3 carrots, diced
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup beef stock
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

All you do:

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Season steaks with salt and pepper on both sides.
3. Place the flour, garlic powder and paprika on a plate and stir gently until the spices are incorporated. Dredge steaks in the flour mixture until well coated.
4. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add steaks and brown on both sides; transfer to a plate. Place onion, green pepper and carrots on the bottom of the pan and place steaks on top. Top with tomato paste, diced tomatoes, beef stock and Worcestershire. Cover the pan and place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, or until the steaks are completely tender.
5. Serve over rice or potatoes, if desired.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Pan-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Wine Sauce


Michigan is the nation's leading producer of tart cherries. You turn those cherries into wine and you are able to enjoy that wonderful flavor any time of year. Cherries and pork are a great combo, so using this wine to make a pan sauce made perfect sense. This meal is another great one for the holiday season because it boasts those beautiful holiday colors and it's on the table in less than 30 minutes. 

Serve this dish with creamy mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus. Serve Crane's cherry wine with the meal to compliment the flavors in the sauce.




1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine 1 tablespoon olive oil as well as the rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper in a bowl and rub over the pork tenderloins.

3. Heat a large oven-safe skillet (like stainless steel or cast-iron) over high heat. Add pork tenderloins and brown on both sides. Place the skillet in the oven and roast for 15 minutes.


4. Transfer the tenderloins to a serving platter and tent with foil to keep warm. In the same skillet, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and turn heat to medium-high. Add shallots and garlic and cook for 3 minutes, or until lightly browned.



5. Add wine to the pan and simmer until the sauce has reduced by half. Whisk in butter and remove pan from heat.




6. Slice the pork and return to the serving platter. Spoon sauce over and serve.



Pan-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Wine Sauce
Serves 6

All you need:
2 pork tenderloins, trimmed (about 1pound each)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup Crane's Michigan cherry wine
2 tablespoons butter

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine 1 tablespoon olive oil as well as the rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper in a bowl and rub over the pork tenderloins.
3. Heat a large oven-safe skillet (like stainless steel or cast-iron) over high heat. Add pork tenderloins and brown on both sides. Place the skillet in the oven and roast for 15 minutes.
4. Transfer the tenderloins to a serving platter and tent with foil to keep warm. In the same skillet, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and turn heat to medium-high. Add shallots and garlic and cook for 3 minutes, or until lightly browned.
5. Add wine to the pan and simmer until the sauce has reduced by half. Whisk in butter and remove pan from heat.
6. Slice the pork and return to the serving platter. Spoon sauce over and serve.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Bourbon Apple Cider Pound Cake with Caramelized Apples


West Michigan has some amazing apple orchards - including Crane's in Fennville. Beyond selling the fruit itself, they also sell a variety of ciders and wines. This past weekend I was able to sample some  of their products at their tasting room in Saugatuck and one of my favorites was their bourbon barrel aged sparkling apple cider. While good on it's own, I couldn't help but think how great it would be to use for cooking.

This pound cake is bursting with flavor and would be the perfect addition to any upcoming holiday brunch or dinner party.



1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9x5 loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper (butter the parchment paper as well).

2. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs and beat until well incorporated. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl and gradually add to the wet mixture. Add the cider and beat again until just combined.




3. Transfer batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Once out of the oven, let the cake rest for 15 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.



4. While the cake cools, melt 2 tbsp. butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add apples and saute for 5 minutes, or until tender. Add sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest and cider and cook for 3-5 minutes longer, or until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.



5. Slice the pound cake and spoon the warm apple mixture over.



Bourbon Apple Cider Pound Cake with Caramelized Apples
Serves 8

All you need:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Crane's bourbon barrel aged sparkling apple cider

Caramelized Apples
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 honeycrisp apples, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup Crane's bourbon barrel aged sparkling apple cider

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9x5 loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper (butter the parchment paper as well).
2. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs and beat until well incorporated. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl and gradually add to the wet mixture. Add the cider and beat again until just combined.
3. Transfer batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Once out of the oven, let the cake rest for 15 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
4. While the cake cools, melt 2 tbsp. butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add apples and saute for 5 minutes, or until tender. Add sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest and cider and cook for 3-5 minutes longer, or until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.
5. Slice the pound cake and spoon the warm apple mixture over.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Sausage and Apple Stuffed Squash


The fall season comes and goes so quickly here in west Michigan that you really have to soak up every second of it. Seeing the variety of squash and apples that is available at the farmers market right now is amazing. Acorn squash was something I grew up eating and I still love it so much. It's delicious served roasted on it's own with a little butter and salt, but I stepped it up a notch by stuffing it with sausage, apples, some veggies (for added color and nutrition) and Parmesan. A winning combo!

Serve this with wild rice pilaf or a leafy green salad. I like to pair mine with a crisp white wine like Sauvignon blanc or dry Reisling. 



1. Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
2. Trim the ends of each squash, then cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash halves on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes.




3. Meanwhile, brown sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once browned, transfer to a large bowl.


4. Add onion, celery and carrot to the same skillet and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often.


5. Add apple and spinach and cook for 1 minute, or until the spinach has wilted. Transfer to the bowl with the sausage and stir to combine.


6. Add sage, egg, breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup Parmesan to the bowl and stir again. Scoop the sausage mixture into each squash well, then sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Bake for 15 minutes longer.








Sausage and Apple Stuffed Squash
Serves 4

All you need:
2 acorn squash
Olive oil, for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 pound hot (or mild) ground Italian sausage
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1 small apple, diced
Handful baby spinach
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
2. Trim the ends of each squash, then cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash halves on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, brown sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once browned, transfer to a large bowl.
4. Add onion, celery and carrot to the same skillet and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often.
5. Add apple and spinach and cook for 1 minute, or until the spinach has wilted. Transfer to the bowl with the sausage and stir to combine.
6. Add sage, egg, breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup Parmesan to the bowl and stir again. Scoop the sausage mixture into each squash well, then sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Bake for 15 minutes longer.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Pan-Seared Salmon with Cranberry-Fig Sauce


With the holidays right around the corner, I love coming up with festive dishes that don't take all day to prepare. Cranberries were a big staple in my family growing up. I'm reminded of this every time they go on sale and my dad has around 30 bags in his freezer, haha! But they are delicious so I can't blame him. 

This cranberry sauce in particular is the perfect balance of tart and sweet. The fig jam adds wonderful flavor without making it too sweet. This sauce would also be great on chicken breast or pork tenderloin.

Serve this dish with mashed sweet potato or wild rice.





1. Melt butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season salmon filets with salt and place in the hot pan. Cook for 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown and flaky. Transfer to a plate.



2. Add onion and cranberries to the same pan and saute until the cranberries start to pop, about 5 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar, orange zest/juice and fig preserves and cook for 2 minutes longer.






3. Finish the sauce with fresh rosemary. Spoon sauce over each salmon filet and serve.






Pan-Seared Salmon with Cranberry-Fig Sauce
Serves 4

All you need:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 (6-8 oz.) salmon filets, skin removed
Salt, to taste
1/2 sweet onion, sliced
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Zest and juice of 1 orange
2 tablespoons fig preserves
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves

All you do:
1. Melt butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season salmon filets with salt and place in the hot pan. Cook for 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown and flaky. Transfer to a plate.
2. Add onion and cranberries to the same pan and saute until the cranberries start to pop, about 5 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar, orange zest/juice and fig preserves and cook for 2 minutes longer.
3. Finish the sauce with fresh rosemary. Spoon sauce over each salmon filet and serve.