Thursday, September 22, 2011

Meat and Taters

My man is like most men. He prefers a "meat and taters" kind of dinner and I made him a terrific meal the other night. My only problem in cooking meals like that is that we don't walk in the door until after 5:35 every weeknight. But I figured a way to make a great meal and I probably had this terrific "home cooking" type meal (known by lots of different names, "chicken fried steak", "breaded cube steak") within about 30 minutes.

How did I do it?

Well.. one of the best things I have discovered is that baking potatoes in the crockpot is the ONLY WAY TO GO! So easy. So, I had potatoes in the crockpot, breaded the meat and fried it in a skillet with a teensy bit of bacon grease (shhhh!), opened a can of vegetables and dinner was served. With this particular meal, I used the leftover flour and milk from breading the meat to make gravy (very frugal) and it was just A FEAST. Even though I'm not a "meat and potatoes man" (woman), I have to agree that this was a very satisfying meal!

My mom shared with me her tips for making "breaded cube steak" (that's what we call it) (because hers is THE BEST as far as I'm concerned) and I had great success with her method. I call it the, "double dip" method.

Here's how I made "meat and taters" AT HOME MY WAY:

Before I left for work:

I washed my potatoes (I actually did this the night before to save the morning rush from becoming too crazy). Before I left for work that morning, I tossed them in the crockpot (peeling on - no foil... just drop them in the crockpot), placed on the lid, switched the crockpot to low and headed out the door. They need to cook 8 hours, but that is no problem for me ha-ha.

Once I got home - potatoes were READY!

To make the breaded cube steak (chicken fried steak):


1 1/2 cup flour (or more, depending on how much meat you are cooking)
salt & pepper
1 1/2 cup milk
3-4 cube steaks
5 Tablespoons oil or bacon grease (being frugal, I save bacon grease and use that) you want enough to cover the bottom of a skillet, but not a deep puddle or anything ;)

Place flour, salt & pepper in a shallow bowl or pie pan. Stir throughout.

Place milk in a separate shallow bowl or pie pan.

First, open the meat, rinse if you wish to do that. Dredge the meat FIRST in flour. Then dip in milk (flip so both sides go in the milk), and AGAIN dredge in the flour (both sides). This double dipping is the key to my mother's delicious breaded cube steak.

Heat your skillet to medium. Once hot, place meat in the skillet. Let it cook a couple of minutes until brown on the underneath. Once brown, flip over to cook the other side. I continued cooking mine and flipping until the meat was done. You can see the juices running out if its not done yet. But, don't flip too early. You want that breading fully cooked to hold its shape and stay on the meat.

I made gravy. This is how I did it.

After all the meat was cooked, I turned up the skillet to heat the oil to hot. I stirred all the "drippings" to spread it all around good. Then, I dumped in the flour I used from breading the meat (approximately 1/2 cup). I stirred all around to absorb the flour in the grease (sorry... sounds gross, but its REALLY GOOD lol). Then I added the remaining milk that I had used from breading the meat (approximately 1/2 to 1 cup). Stir again to fully incorporate the flour into the liquid. Being the cheapo that I am, I did not want to add more milk and mine was pretty thick - too thick, so I added about 1/4 cup of water to this and kept stirring. I let it cook on medium and it became smooth and thick - GRAVY! YUM!

I remember eating this all the time when I was little. If we didn't have much meat, my mom cut the cube steaks into "steak fingers" and we were satisfied with a strip of meat, some gravy, and the potatoes, or we even sometimes just ate the gravy ladled over a slice of bread. This kind of meal really takes me back!


  1. OK, I cook all kinds of weird food but what I'm working on is yummy, simple homestyle meals like this and after reading this post, I realized I've never made chicken fried steak before! OK, it's now on my bucket list! :) I love your idea of using the crockpot for baked potatoes. You're a flippin genius. <3

  2. You are so kind, Veronica. Compared to those stunning meals you make, mine look pretty "po-dunk" LOL, but we this actually was so very delicious. Its my go to meal when I'm after comfort food. I also LOVE to make "weird food". I figured out some homemade chinese food that we love and we made homemade empanadas. I also had a great time making homemade spaghetti pasta, but my husband is not a very adventurous eater so I have to mix 'em up here and there.

    Thanks for the post! After seeing your beautiful blog and posts, I am quite honored that you visited!

    I'll be watching for the cake tutorial!

  3. That's so smart! I love how you made potatoes in the crock pot. It never would have occurred to me. I"ll have to try this since my husband (though he is happy with a meal of lentils or mainly vegetables) really does love meat and potatoes. Not sure what it is about that combination, but it never fails to satisfy him!

  4. Jenna: Thanks for posting! I cannot imagine living with a man who would eat vegetables! Mine is "doing better" than 26 years ago when I married him, but he definitely has a WAYS to go. Let me know if you make the baked potatoes and breaded cube steak! Thanks for visiting!!

  5. OK, I made this for dinner tonight! The hubby and I loved it! You said you used bacon grease b/c you're "cheap" but I thought it was a great idea b/c it adds so much flavor. So I fried up a package of bacon before making it, just to have the grease! lol. I crumbled it up and we'll use it on loaded baked potato soup later in the week. I served your chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes b/c the two were made for each other, and spooned the yummy gravy over the steak and the potatoes. I will have to try your crockpot baked potatoes another day. Thanks for sharing your method on the chix fried steak--you helped me check off another recipe on my bucket list. :)

  6. Awesome that you made this and that it turned out a success for you! Thanks for the update, too. Wow, I bet you were tired after cooking bacon and then the dinner. What a woman!

    I don't know if you have ever tried cooking bacon in the oven, but truly its the WAY TO GO (no shrinking).

    I place my cookie cooling racks on my cookie sheets. Place bacon slices on the racks and then bake in a 400 degree oven (usually on Saturdays when I'm doing other things). Then, when the bacon browned to my liking (usually 20 minutes or so) (no flipping needed), I remove the bacon from the racks to drain and store in the fridge for the rest of the weekend) or in the freezer (for another day). I pour off the bacon grease into a canning jar and after it cools place it in the fridge. It is also delicious to fry chicken in bacon grease. I also use it by adding a little bit (less than a teaspoon) to my green beans or green limas for seasoning.

    Thanks for posting how your dinner turned out, Veronica! Great to hear from you again!

  7. I'm just now getting around to blogging this recipe and I happened to come back to look at it again and saw your reply to me. So funny you mentioned baking your bacon as I actually have that method posted as a "recipe" on my blog but rarely use it--I'm weird! haha I also now keep mine in a jar in the fridge (mine is an old pickle jar) but rarely use it. I just forget about it! For shame, right?