Friday, September 22, 2006

Pepper Steak & Mushroom-Red Wine Sauce

Want to put a special dinner on the table, pronto? If you're lucky enough to score a whole pile of mushrooms, this is your recipe! First, cook the mushrooms with red wine and rosemary until caramelized, yes, the sauce is amazing! Then cook the pepper steaks, either my recipe for sirloin steaks or your choice of steaks, grilled, pan-cooked, etc. Recipes below! Weight Watchers friendly, low-carb, high-protein and totally delicious.

Pepper Steaks with Mushroom-Red Wine Sauce, sirloin or t-bone or ribeye steaks served with mushrooms cooked with red wine and rosemary until caramelized.

The Chinese calendar calls 2006 the Year of the Dog. Australia marks 2006 as the Year of the Sea Turtle. A technology magazine dubs 2006 the Year of LCD TV and musicians the Year of Mozart. With rhetorical inelegance, the U.S. Senate calls it the Year of Study Abroad, the UN the International Year of Deserts, the European Union the Year of Worker Mobility.

Me, I’ll remember 2006 as the Year I Learned to Cook Meat in a Skillet.

You long-time cooks who’ve been dishing up fast skillet suppers for years, now that you’ve stopped chuckling, won’t you please welcome me into the club? It has a proud heritage and I’m proud to proclaim new membership.

The trick, you see, is in the pan. It needn’t be expensive. It does need to hold its heat which precludes non-stick pans that don’t tolerate temperature. Here, I use two skillets, one beautifully seasoned cast iron, the other brand-new stainless steel.

At first, I worried about sticking. But sticking was no problem. Here's the trick: if the pan is hot enough to sizzle when the meat hits and if we can resist moving the meat before a tasty crust forms, no worries about sticking!

Will you help mark 2006? It’s Kitchen Parade’s Year of the Super Skillet Supper featuring Steak and, ahem, ‘Shrooms.

TASTE & ADJUST Meat sauces aren't difficult to make but making a good one does take some thinking. I call it "taste and adjust". For this recipe, before thickening the Mushroom-Red Wine Sauce, first taste a tiny spoonful of the liquid. If your wine was a little dry and the liquid tastes slightly acrid, you might want to add a tablespoon or two of brown sugar. If your wine was a little sweet, you might want to add another few tablespoons of chicken stock or a tablespoon of Worcestershire to dilute the sweetness. Adjust the seasoning too. A little more salt, a few grinds of pepper can make a world of difference. Do be sure that the liquid tastes good after cooking down and before deciding how to thicken it.

ALANNA's TIPS I love how quick and easy it is to cook sirloin steaks in a skillet. But the Mushroom-Red Wine Sauce is so good (sooooo good!) that we've taken to making them for good steaks cooked on a wood-fired grill or in a skillet, partly on the stove, partly in the oven. Use the technique detailed here, Perfect Thick Pork Chops, cook to 140F or 145F. For taste and texture variety, mix in some exotic mushrooms such as chanterelles or shiitake. Even so, a simple mix of white buttons and baby portabellas is terrific. Every so often, we find button mushrooms for $.50 a pound, way less expensive than the $4 a pound at the grocery! They're not in perfect shape, perfect for cooking and honestly, there's no missing the more expensive mushrooms. Don't be shy about washing mushrooms that will be cooked. Go ahead, scrub away! If you make the mushroom sauce in advance, supper’ll be on the table in no time.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. You may not call it a ‘recipe’ but I’d love to know how you cook meat in a skillet. Send a note to How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Easy for everyday, good for occasions.
We usually choose sirloin steaks for everyday and t-bones, as pictured, for occasions.
Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes
Serves 4
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion, diced small
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced thick
  • Salt, as needed
  • 1 cup good red wine
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon flour, if needed (see ALANNA'S TIPS)

  • 1 pound top sirloin steak, fat trimmed, cut into four pieces
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Coarse pepper
  • Kosher salt

MUSHROOM-RED WINE SAUCE In a large, heavy skillet such as cast iron or heavy stainless steel, melt the butter on medium high. Add the onions and mushrooms as they're prepped, stirring to coat with fat with each addition. When all the onion and mushrooms are in the skillet, season with a little salt.

(From here on, you'll want to taste the mushrooms and add salt, just a few sprinkles at a time several times along the way. To remind you, look for this instruction: "SALT!")

As the mushrooms begin to brown, they'll seem dry at first and you'll be tempted to add water or something to avoid burning. But resist that notion, for the mushrooms will begin to throw off liquid. At that point, adjust the heat to maintain a slow simmer, cover the skillet and cook the mushrooms for 5 minutes. (SALT!)

Then uncover the mushrooms and cook uncovered for another 10 minutes until that mushroom liquid cooks off. They'll get a little dark and even a little sticky, don't worry, that's going to be flavor! (SALT!)

Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the skillet. Add the broth and rosemary, cook for 5 minutes. (SALT!)

QUICKLY THICKEN WITH FLOUR Pull out the rosemary. Sprinkle flour over top, gently whisk into sauce and cook until just thick, 1 – 2 minutes. Transfer to another dish and cover.

~or~ SLOWLY THICKEN WITH TIME and HEAT Alternatively, let the mushrooms continue to slowly cook, cooking down the liquid slowly until it becomes quite thick. This has become my favorite way to let the mushrooms cook. It does mean that using a second skillet to cook the steaks. Once the mushrooms have reached the desired consistency, turn off the heat until the steaks are done, then give them a final blast of heat to bring back to temperature. Pull out the rosemary before serving.

PEPPER STEAKS While the sauce cooks, prep steaks by pounding the meat between sheets of waxed paper with a mallet or rolling pin until it's about a half-inch thick. Generously season both sides with pepper and salt.

Melt the butter in same skillet (don’t worry if some sauce is left) over medium high. Add the steaks and cook until done, about 2 minutes per side for medium rare. Transfer the steaks to warm plates.

TO SERVE Return the sauce to the skillet, stir in meat juice. Top steaks with sauce. Serve immediately and enjoy!

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving: 266 Calories; 10g Tot Fat; 6g Sat Fat; 63mg Cholesterol; 410mg Sodium; 10g Carb; 2g Fiber; 4g Sugar; 30g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 6 & WW Points Plus 6.

More Recipes for Cooking Steak

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Easy-Easy Marinated Flank Steak Poblano Steaks Lavender Steak & Lavender Potatoes
~ more beef recipes ~

More Mushroom Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Easy-Easy Grilled Mushroom Appetizer Homemade Mushroom Soup Chicken Cacciatore
~ more mushroom recipes ~

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(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

My family's favorite recipe for chewy oatmeal raisin cookies. It makes life simple for bakers in families with raisin-lovers and raisin-haters. Have it both ways! Stir in raisins (or the less-sweet and smaller currants, or the chocolate-covered raisins called Raisinets) into half the cookie dough, leave the other half plain.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies ♥, my family's favorite oatmeal cookie, chewy with raisins, currants or chocolate-covered raisins! Rave reviews!

"I love this recipe. ... I will use this recipe as a base for cookies for many years to come." ~ Kerri
"... never had so many requests for cookies as I do for this recipe." ~ Anonymous
"... they have been great. My only "complaint" is that they are so good, they usually disappear in a day or two." ~ DMan
"These were fabulous!" ~ Erica
"They were very tasty ..." ~ forget-me-not
"They are Delic!" ~ Jennifer

For all the debate, it might be a presidential election. For all the ferocity, it might be a battle between good and evil. You see, some folks are mighty single-minded about the role of raisins in oatmeal cookies.

One loud camp insists that an oatmeal cookie is only worth eating when packed with wrinkles of dried grape. Another maintains raisins are ruinous to an otherwise decent oatmeal. Then there’s the sassy set that looks to introduce – insert hand-wringing histrionics – chocolate chips into the equation.

Lucky for all, this cookie recipe rides a fence that crosses camps. Love raisins? This is your cookie. Abhor raisins? This is your cookie. Love raisins and chocolate? I recommend Raisinets, the chocolate-covered raisins found at movie-theater snack counters.

It’s a classic oatmeal raisin cookie, sweet but not too sweet, crisp on the edges but moist and chewy in the middle. Whatever your reception to raisins, it’s one great cookie.

ALANNA's TIPS It’s not ideal but in a time pinch, you may cut a cold stick of butter into chunks, then warm them in a microwave, ten seconds at a time, until just soft. For lighter baked goods, always fluff the flour to aerate before measuring. Cinnamons are not created equal. This summer, I’ve become addicted to Penzey’s Extra Fancy Cassia Cinnamon, it really does make a difference. If your cinnamon isn't strong or fresh, consider doubling the cinnamon. This recipe easily doubles and even triples. The dough freezes beautifully so consider mixing a double batch, one to bake now, one to bake later. But if you’re tempted by raw cookie dough, be forewarned, it’ll be hard to resist! Timing is really important for these cookies. Since I prefer cookies on the chewy side, I take them out when the tops are golden but the centers are still slightly underdone. They'll finish baking on the hot cookie sheet out of the oven.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Makes about 42 small cookies
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick, 113g) butter, room temperature (see ALANNA’s TIPS)
  • 1/2 cup (100g) white sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon (yes, tablespoon!) vanilla
  • 1-1/4 cups (115g) oatmeal (old-fashioned or quick, not instant)
  • 1 cup (140g) currants (my favorite) or raisins (traditional) or Raisinets (wonderful!)

Heat oven to 350F/175C.

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars well with an electric mixer, but don't overmix, you don't want to add so much air that the cookies will "fluff up and then fall" in the oven. Add the egg and vanilla and combine well.

(Caution: What follows is an unorthodox but mixing shortcut. If you prefer, mix these ingredients separately in a bowl, then use the mixer to combine with the butter mixture.) Add the flour, cinnamon, soda and salt to bowl without mixing into the butter mixture. With a spoon, lightly combine them on top, still without incorporating. Finally, use the mixer to combine well.

With the mixer or a wooden spoon, stir in the oatmeal and currants, raisins or Raisinets.

Using two spoons, one to scoop and one to scrape (a cookie scoop works great too), fill a baking sheet, shaping the dough a bit to make round, leaving room for the cookies to spread a little.

Bake for 10 – 13 minutes – but do watch the first tray carefully, the time seems to vary from batch to batch and depends much on whether baking on non-stick cookie sheets, silicone mats or on parchment. In general, bake for a shorter time for chewy cookies, a longer time for crispy cookies. Let cool slightly, then transfer to paper towels or wire racks to finish cooling.

Per Small Cookie, with currants: 70 Calories; 2g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 10mg Cholesterol; 60mg Sodium; 11g Carb; 1g Fiber; 7g Sugar; 1g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 1.5, WW PointsPlus 2
Whole Batch (easy math for larger cookies) 2977 Calories; 100g Tot Fat; 62g Sat Fat; 456mg Cholesterol; 2559mg Sodium; 478g Carb; 25g Fiber; 296g Sugar; 40g Protein.

More Oatmeal Cookie Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Banana Oatmeal Cookies Gum Drop Cookies Mom's Everyday Oatmeal Cookies

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(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

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