About Dana

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I'm a dichotomy of blue jeans, pretty jewelry, frugalista, and Southern girl living the simple rural life. I want to live my life holistically, thoughtfully, economically, and most of all gratefully, and encourage other women to do the same.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Baked Venison Cubed Steak with Gravy

I just typed the title of this post, and it made me hungry all over again.

Now that the summer heat is waning into the crisp nights of fall (even in the South), it's time for some warmer fare at mealtimes. I told you earlier how I stock up my freezer every fall with venison (courtesy of a hunter-friend). My family loves fried venison cubed steak, but sometimes I need to cook something slightly different to change things up a bit. Here's my solution. Please note: You can substitute beef cubed steak for venison. We just like venison because it's naturally organic and it's super tender (You don't even need a knife).

Baked Venison Cubed Steak with Gravy

1.5 to 2 lbs. of venison cubed steak (or beef cubed steak)
salt and pepper
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can of water
packet of dried onion soup mix
can of French-style green beans (optional)
small can of sliced mushrooms (optional)

First, soak the steak in milk for about 20 minutes. Next, preheat the oven to 200 degrees, and heat oil (I use canola) in a frying pan until it reaches about 350 degrees.

Salt and pepper the steak on both sides, and roll both sides in flour. Put the battered steak in the frying pan when the oil is hot and brown both sides. It only takes a couple of minutes. The goal is not to cook the meat through but to sear/brown it on both sides quickly.

Remove steak to a glass casserole dish, arranging pieces in an even layer. Turn the heat down a little on the oil and add enough flour to thicken up what's left, constantly stirring to even out lumps and prevent burning. Add enough milk to to make a pan of gravy, constantly stirring as it slightly thickens. (I don't have an exact amount of milk; it all depends on how much oil/flour you have previously added).

After the gravy thickens slightly (just a couple of minutes max), add salt and pepper to taste and stir in the mushroom soup and can of water. Remove from heat and stir in packet of onion soup mix and the vegetables (green beans and mushrooms), if using.

Pour the mixture over the cubed steak and cover with aluminum foil.

Place the casserole dish in the preheated 200 degree oven for 2.5 hours. If you need to hurry it along, you can cook it at 250 degrees for 2 hours. The low heat is necessary to tenderize the meat further, especially if you're using beef.

What I really love is that you can prepare this in the afternoon, pop it in the oven, and not think about dinner again until 6:00 or so.

I made rosemary rolls to accompany this dish, and since the vegetables were included, that's all I served. My perfect rolls are not mine at all, but purchased frozen yeast rolls (I work and homeschool - what can I say? Not enough time to make everything homemade). I "doctored" the rolls up with butter and fresh rosemary from my garden before putting them in the oven to bake.

Happy suppertime! It's Fall!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What I'm Reading in September

If you've been a reader of my blog, you know I adore reading (and writing). I have been on a non-fiction reading kick for the last year or so, so both of the books I'm reading this month are non-fiction. No surprises there!

Here they are:

1. One Year to an Organized Work Life by Regina Leeds. The title is self-explanatory. The best tips I took away from this book? Learn to say "no" once each day. Also, Regina summed it up best about messy piles in your office: If you have piles of work folders on your office floor (I do), then you probably have not made a commitment, for whatever reason, to the projects they represent. If you're serious about the projects, clear out the clutter to clear out some "brain space" for them and put them in the file cabinet so they will gain prominence and importance.

If you need it, this author also has organization books on finances and life in general.

It's a quick read and organized enough like a reference book to skim through and pull out the tidbits you need for office (and mental) organization.

2. Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst. I'm still reading this Christian book, so I don't have a full report for you now. I always find it refreshing the way Lysa explains Christian concepts and so selflessly uses failures and examples from her own life.

What comes out of your mouth when you're angry? Are you a stuffer or an exploder? The book is focused on how to respond when you have negative, raw emotions to express to those around you. What is the proper way to respond, and why, according to the Bible, should we respond in this manner? It's something I struggle with when people irritate me. I'll be the first to admit this book is for me.

Happy reading!
PS. Let me know what you're reading. I always need new books for my ever-expanding reading list.