Italian Cube Steak

Italian Cube Steak


I love easy cheap meals. I do the majority of the grocery shopping in our house and I am always looking for sales on meat and seafood. When I find good prices I stock the freezer. Then I will figure out what to do with purchases at a later date. A few weeks back cube steak was on sale at Kroger’s. Cube steak is a very inexpensive cut of meat, if cooked correctly it makes a great family meal.

From the About Food website “The term Cube Steak is used to refer to a cut of meat that has been run through a mechanical tenderizer called a meat cuber or swissing machine. Traditionally, cube steak is taken from the beef round primal cut, which is well exercised and quite tough, or from the shoulder center, which comes from the beef chuck. Cube steak can be braised, sautéed or pan-fried. It can even be baked in a casserole.”

But with this cut of meat sometimes I get stuck making the same old dish. Usually chicken fried steak with gravy. I like this dish but I wanted to make something new and lower fat.

You have most of the ingredients, for this dish, in your pantry. Browning the beef and prepping your vegetables is the only work needed.

This dish could also be made in the crock pot. Simply brown meat, toss the rest of the ingredients into the crock pot in the morning and cook on low for 6 hours. That’s it.

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BBQ Chicken Pizza on Garlic Parmesan Focaccia

www.dadwhats4dinner.comLast night I grilled four large split bone-in chicken breasts for dinner. We only used two so I decided to use the leftovers to make this quick and easy BBQ chicken pizza. This recipe would also work great with store-bought rotisserie chicken. A quick stop at the store, 25 minutes, and you have a great dinner the kids will love. The only prep work is slicing the green onion and shredding the chicken. This would also make a great appetizer.

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Orecchette Pasta with Chicken Meatballs in a Mushroom Marsala Sauce

mushrooms and chicken with orchettie

When I want to decompress, or relax; I cook. Sometimes I drink and cook, but might do my best cooking with this combination. A couple of days ago I picked a box of DeCecco brand orecchiette (little ears) pasta from Jungle Jim’s. Jungle Jim’s is our local foodie market and is one of the best around. I highly recommend looking it up or stopping by for some great food and ideas.

I decided to use the orecchiette with a mushroom sauce using what I had at the house with a quick stop at Kroger’s.

Here is what I came up with and the family loved it! I think you will also.

This dish sounds more difficult than it really is. This dish is fancy enough for a dinner party but also easy enough for a weeknight meal or Sunday dinner.

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Orecchiette Pasta with Ham, Mushrooms and Peas


The weather is finally getting warm here in the Midwest. At least for a few days! Tonight I decided to grill some simple Italian dressing marinated pork chops. I try to grill year round, but not as much in the winter. I decided to make a pasta side dish because we were out of potatoes and I had cooked rice the night before. For this dish I am using Orecchiette (little ears) pasta. Any type of pasta will do but is what I had in the pantry. This also could be a main dish. My kids love it.

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Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi with Mushroom Cream Sauce

Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi with Mushroom Cream Sauce

Time to introduce our Dinner Group. For the past thirteen years we have been getting together with three other couples, for what we call Dinner Group. Over those many years we have done just about every theme imaginable. I need to start another blog just with those themes and recipes. The way our group works is you host the dinner three times a year. When you are the host, you pick the theme, make the main dish, side dish and provide bread, wine and a theme drink. Each of the other couples supply appetizers, soup or salad and dessert respectively. We are all good cooks and have grown over the years with our culinary skills. As I said we have done just about everything. From every country imaginable, survivor night, karaoke night; complete with a stage, iron chef night; where the ingredients were supplied, Lebanese night complete with a belly dancer. Some months are very elaborate some are just a bunch of friends getting together to enjoy good food. I will go into more detail in future post.

February’s dinner was at Matt and Krista’s house. The theme was UGLY food. The trick was to make ugly food that tastes great. We had black bean soup, porcupine meatballs, and crock-pot cake. I decided to make spinach and ricotta gnocchi with a mushroom cream sauce. This is very ugly, but tasted great. It is a fairly simple recipe modified from my ricotta gnocchi recipe. Ricotta gnocchi is much lighter than traditional potato gnocchi. This can be served as an appetizer, first course or a main dish.
Enjoy the ugliness!!!


  • 1 cup fresh ricotta whole milk
  • 1 package frozen spinach thawed and drained completely
  • 1 1/2 cup Parmesan
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 6 tbsp flour ++

Mushroom sauce:

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 oz. prosciutto diced
  • 1 lb assorted wild mushroom, stems trimmed, wiped clean, and thinly sliced
  • 2 shallots finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp. Marsala wine or cream sherry
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated



Bring 6 quarts salted water to boil.
Mix the ricotta, spinach, cheese, eggs, nutmeg and flour together. Mix on low in stand mixer.
Season with salt and pepper. Form teaspoons of mixture into short puffy cylinders.
Using floured hands, rolling dumplings into the flour to coat. Place the dumplings on a parchment lined baking sheet. Refrigerate or freeze while you make the sauce.
Mushroom cream sauce:
Saute shallots and prosciutto in the butter and olive oil. Add in mushrooms and garlic. Cook for 4-5 minutes. Stir in thyme, salt, pepper, flour and red pepper flakes. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, wine and cream and reduce down until the sauce thickens. Stir in nutmeg. Salt and pepper to taste.Carefully boil dumplings for approximately 3-4 minutes,until they float to the top. Serve with sauce and top with Parmesan.

Cooks note: The Parmesan in the picture was colored brown with food coloring to add to the ugliness.

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