I have basically zero experience cooking steak. It intimidates me and comes across as very much in the Man Zone of Cooking – something to be left to my husband who knows what he’s doing. We also rarely buy it because, well, steak is expensive. And there are a lot of different cuts that mean nothing to me.
I decided pretty much right away that I was going to pair it with some homemade gnocchi and an alfredo sauce, thinking that the alfredo sauce would be heavenly with the steak marinade and that I’d finish it off with an easy salad. No sweat!
That weekend I went to the grocery store and realized two things:
- I have no idea how to make gnocchi and never bothered to look for a recipe. What’s in gnocchi anyway? Potatoes right? [picture Jen standing in the pasta aisle imagining herself making homemade gnocchi somehow out of potatoes] At about this point I considered getting store bought, then remembered that all my attempts with store bought gnocchi had been supremely lack luster – and this meal? Not allowed to be lack luster. Having no idea what pasta I’d be using, I walked away and went to look at the meat.
- At which point I found out that not one single cut of steak in our meat department was called skirt steak. Also, I couldn’t actually remember what skirt steak was except I was pretty sure it was thin since it cooks so quickly. I pulled out my Android cell phone and looked up skirt steak on wikipedia and found that it’s often associated with flank steak. Then I found that a package of flank steak is $10. Then I laughed. And silently said goodbye to skirt steaks. Not happening.
Then I looked for a cut of steak that seemed thinnish that was in my price range (read: about four dollars) and found a cut of meat so generic it was called simply “sandwich steak” for roughly $4.50. Perfect. How bad could it be right?
I left the store still debating the odds of me actually making homemade gnocchi and hoping that my cheap cut of beef wasn’t going to ruin the whole meal.
…Later that weekend I was at Target and I gave up and picked up a package of four cheese tortellini in that refrigerated “we make things easy for you by making you pay more” section. It’s an area I try to avoid but I decided that hard times called for desperate measures. Or something. I figured I could cook it up in less than 10 minutes while my steak cooked. Perfect.
Tonight I threw it all together and hoped for the best and guess what?? Despite my zero lack of experience in cooking steak and all my substitutions (halfway through making the marinade I realized I don’t own rice vinegar and substituted white wine vinegar instead) and shenanigans (I never actually bought alfredo sauce and called my husband up around 6pm telling him to bring home alfredo sauce unless he wanted his tortellini plain) – It was awesome! I believe my husband said something along the lines of, “I can’t believe I’m eating food this GOOD on a WEDNESDAY.”
And you should know that there were many months where Wednesday meant hot dogs and mac and cheese or grilled cheese and canned soup. Wednesdays have come a long way as of today!
This was just one of those meals that I cheaped out and messed up and changed my mind from start to finish and still somehow ended up with gold. So how could I not tell you about it?
Since I made you read this whole damn thing, I’m going to give you my altered recipe, adapted from Amy’s skirt steak recipe which really made all of this possible, If I were you, I’d go check out her blog for goodness knows how many more amazing finds.
And in the meantime, here’s the Recipe for Fellow Cheap Lazy Unorganized Moms Who Want GOOD Steak (please?):
Recipe: Steak So Easy, Anyone Can Make It
adapted from Amy @ She Wears Many Hat’s Skirt Steak recipe
- 1 pound sandwich steak
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- Mix all the ingredients (except the steak) together in a zip top bag. Add steak, coat well and marinate in the refrigerator until ready to cook. Marinate for at least 30 minutes if time allows.
- Place the steak on an iron skillet over medium heat. Slightly press down to create sear. For medium rare, cook for 4-5 minutes. Flip steak and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes. If more done steak is desired cook for longer. I cooked until my meat thermometer read just under 160.
- Let steak rest about 10 minutes, then cut thin slices against the grain.
Serve with a tasty cheesy pasta dish and a side salad and enjoy!
- Preparation time: 5 minutes
- Cooking time: 8-10 minutes
- Number of servings: 4