Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Poor Man's Steak, and how I almost poisoned my entire family

As promised, below is the recipe for Poor Man's Steak that I mentioned earlier this week. It is from the Fix It and Forget It Cookbook, which is full of wonderful recipes for the slow cooker.

This particular recipe only needs to cook for 2-3 hours on low, so it is perfect to throw in the crock pot on a Sunday morning before church.

It's also perfect for Saturday night guests, like we'll be having this weekend. I can mix it up a couple of days before, put it in the crock pot on Saturday afternoon, and know that I don't have to worry about my main course.

(Worrying about the bathrooms being clean and whether or not I've removed the layer of dust on my furniture, well, that's a different story.)

I do have three words of caution about the recipe.

First, it needs to be refrigerated for at least eight hours, so you need to plan ahead.

Second, don't accidentally mix the cream of mushroom soup and water in with the meat mixture. Yeah, I did this once (thankfully it wasn't for company) and I ended up with this mushy concoction that I had to finish baking in the oven. I baked it for 2+ extra hours because it was so mushy that I couldn't tell if it was done.

Third, use caution if you make this with lean ground turkey. The problem with this is that mixing lean ground turkey with the other ingredients and then dousing it in cream of mushroom soup makes it difficult to tell if it's completely done.

Plus, the time I made it with turkey, I must have done something extra to mess it up although I'm not sure what that was. All I know is that I pulled it out and thought it was done.

But it wasn't.

Unfortunately, I served this to my family.

It was quite comical. Eight of us were crammed into our small dining room - I think whoever sat at the end of the table was actually in the living room. After everyone got their serving, I noticed that they were looking intently at the meat and were sort of pushing it around on their plates.

I realized, with horror, that the meat was not completely cooked. I had almost inadvertently poisoned my entire family.

We didn't have a lot of room in our kitchen, so our microwave cart was out in the dining room. For the next ten or fifteen minutes the whole family passed their plates, one by one, around to me so I could pop them in the microwave and finish cooking the turkey.

I can just imagine, years from now, sitting around the Christmas tree with my family and recalling those treasured family memories.

"Do you remember the time Aunt Erin tried to poison us?"


"Those were good times."

It makes me feel a little like Aunt Abby and Aunt Martha from Arsenic and Old Lace.

Anyway, here is the recipe. Please don't use it to poison anyone.

Poor Man's Steak
1.5 lbs ground beef
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup cracker crumbs
1 tsp. brown sugar
10 3/4 oz. can cream of mushroom soup
1 soup can water

1. Mix together all ingredients except soup and water. Shape into narrow loaf. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

2. Slice and fry until brown in skillet.

3. Mix soup and water together until smooth. Spread diluted soup on each piece. Place slices into cooker. Pour any remaining soup over slice in cooker.

4. Cover. Cook on low 2-3 hours.

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