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Thank you Jesus for red, juicy marbled meat.

I love meat. I love love love love love love LOVE meat.  A properly cooked chicken, an excellent cut of lamb, the fat and richness of marbled red meat; it’s simply unending. Many people nowadays are so into “lean” this and that, and I tried that for most of my life, and it simply didn’t cut it for me!  Yeah, your eating a nice low calorie chicken breast, but it’s also dry, and devoid of flavor. I find that after eating bland, flavor deficient food I end up not satiated and end up going for something over the top on something I never even intended on wanting. “Yes, two pumps on that caramel mocha ice blended, please.”

I also learned some rather interesting tidbits of information behind the industry, and the truth behind the health facts of saturated fat.  Everyone has been told saturated fat is what raises your cholesterol, and cholesterol is bad, but is it really? Cholesterol is a naturally forming compound our bodies produce to help absorb vitamins, helps maintain the integrity of our cell membranes, enhances our immune systems, and play vital roles to the health of our bones.

You can read more about it here!

So in CELEBRATION of beautiful, beautiful red meat; and all the other wonderful, beautiful meats of the world I’d like to share the inspiration of it all- our dinner tonight- Herbed Shoulder Roast marinated with Garlic and Balsamic Vinegar!

In theory, shoulder roast is meant for slow cooking since it's known as a tougher slice of meat. However, when your on a budget and need a meal that takes less than 20 minutes to prepare and your SET on red meat, this will more than suffice!

So here’s the scoop on this meal- we’re looking for the biggest bang for our buck red meat that was available (at my new favorite grocery store, Ralph’s, more on that later); this cut was a 2 1/2 pound cut at $3.65/pound, so I spent $9.16 for this Shoulder Roast up front. However- this was no ordinary Shoulder Roast. Within this Roast I saw Steak and Eggs, Steak with Vegetables with Dinner, Steak in Stir Fry fashion; this baby had potential, and I was determined to see it come to it’s future glory! You could also say I was absolutely starving for red meat and protein, and this cut was the perfect candidate for my criteria. EITHER WAY, I needed a cut that a) was going to be able to be used interchangeably for different meals, b) would work with the spices I already had available so I wouldn’t have to purchase any outstanding ingredients than what we’d already collected, c) appeared fresh and tasty, not green or discolored anywhere, and d) was the best cut of meat for the lowest do-able price (like I said, none of that green, discolored crazy business.) This shoulder roast was actually less expensive than any of the available ground meat (say whaaat?!), it was currently on sale. So was I going to choose that over ground meat? Heck yeah!! You could bet your buttons on that one! So, here’s what happened- I bought a $1.00 bag of green beans (current sale) to go with this meal. And here’s what happened!

I cut about 10 ounces of meat from the roast ends- so imagine about 2 iPhones worth of meat, and I sliced them about 3/4 of an inch thick so they’d still be medium rare in the middle, and not just cook through super quick (Hub and I are Medium Rare red meat fans), so I had 4 slices of meat, I rubbed and covered the cutlets with about 1 Tablespoon of fine Sea Salt, smashed 2 cloves of garlic and minced them a bit, and then spread them in between the cuts… well here- let me tell you step by step!

Herbed Garlic Shoulder Roast with Balsamic Vinegar Reduction Sauce with Vegetables
Serves two extremely hungry people craving red meat because they’ve been eating beans every meal for four days.

10 ounces from Well Marbled Whatever size Shoulder Roast, sliced into 3/4 inch cutlets (You should have about 4 of these cutlets) ($2.25)

1 Tablespoon Fine Sea Salt ($.03)

2 Garlic Cloves, crushed and coarsely chopped ($.10)

3/4 Tablespoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper (Note: Freshly Ground is the only way to go when using Black Pepper.  The flavors your going to have from grinding your own peppercorns are like night and day compared to fine ground store bought pepper. In fact, there is no comparison. One tastes like nothing, the other tastes like Fresh Spicy Pepper. Always use Freshly Ground Black Pepper when cooking, period.) ($.04)

1/2 Tablespoon Herb de Provence medley ($.05)

1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar ($.15)

1 1/2 Tablespoon Butter (Preferably raw, from the Farmer’s market because it is delicious!) ($.15)

1/4 cup Purple Onion, very finely sliced in slivers ($.18)

1 packet Chicken Broth (meant to be mixed with 8 ounces water, so whatever equivalent you have) mixed with 1/3 cup water ($.15)

1 16 ounce package green beans, frozen veggie medley, or whatever you have on hand! ($.99)

Optional:  2 cups cooked brown rice, if you have a sexy hungry man your feeding who needs the calories!

3 Tablespoons of a Merlot, or even Sherry is nice, if you happen to have it on hand ($.20)

For the meat:

Slice your 10 ounce cut (think surface area of an iPhone, with a thickness of 3/4 inch, now do that twice) into cutlets, place them in a small bowl where they sit together cozy-like, and massage salt throughout each cutlet thoroughly (this helps tenderize the meat.) Peel, crush and coarsely chop your two cloves of garlic, and massage them throughout the cutlets, and place the bits of garlic throughout the cutlets.  Drizzle your balsamic vinegar over each cutlet, and dredge each piece thoroughly through the balsamic vinegar that’s collected at the bottom of the bowl to ensure good coverage! Thoroughly cover your cutlets with your freshly ground black pepper and Herbs de Provence, and let your cutlets sit, relax and soak up the glory while you get your pan ready!

Over medium/medium high heat, in preferably a stainless steel frying pan or skillet, melt your butter and swirl the butter to coat the bottom of the pan well.  (Note: If you don’t have a good stainless steel pan, we’re currently in the same situation; using a good nonstick pan will work fine; Stainless Steel is ideal for searing meat so you get those wonderful bits of crispies which flavor the veggies or sauce you make from the juices.) After the butter has foamed, and just begins to have a golden brown hue, that’s the moment you want to add your meat. Scatter the purple onion around the meat as well to cook with the juices of the cutlets.  Cook the meat for about 2 1/2- 3 minutes, depending on the thickness as well as how you prefer your meat prepared. A good trick: Don’t move your meat around in the pan. Let it stay in the same spot so it can get a nice seared crust of herbs and seasonings. After 2 1/2 minutes or so, flip the meat and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minutes, depending again on preference for temperature. And remember: When you remove meat from heat- the heat inside it CONTINUES to cook it. So remove the meat about 10-15 seconds before you think it’d be perfect.

After you’ve set aside your meat and onions, add 1/3 cup water mixed with your 1 packet of chicken stock concentrate (or equivalent.) I purposefully do less water so the stock flavors are more concentrated when cooking the vegetables.  I want the water to form a steaming effect as well as a conductor of heat around the vegetables.  Throw your package of (or FRESH!) vegetables in the skillet, grind a bit of pepper and add a teaspoon of sea salt, and cook for 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are bright, de-thawed and hot.

From here you can either plate your entrees, and simply pour the broth over or with the vegetables- OR you can make a bit of a sauce for your meat and veggies (Highly recommended; these are the tricks that make flavors you become known for!) With a slotted spoon plate your veggies and optional brown rice (optional: this is for the men who are interested in the extra calories), along with your cutlets, arrange them in an appetizing fashion (I’m definitely still learning how to make presentation a priority; so bear with me!) but reserve the chicken broth and juices in the skillet, don’t turn off the heat just yet.  Add the 3 Tablespoons of wine if you happened to have it on hand, if not no worries, let the liquids cook until the wine has reduced by about 1/2. Add a tablespoon of butter to the pan with the broth and wine, and as it begins to melt successfully, turn the heat off immediately. Let the butter melt, stir it with the broth, and then pour THAT over your meat and vegetables.  Pure heaven right there. Rich, sultry flavors, a super easy way to add that extra depth and dimension to your dish! And voilà! You have your Herbed Garlic Shoulder Roast Cutlets with Balsamic Vinegar. Bon appétit!

At $2.15 a person and under 25 minutes from prep to plate this a meal that is truly hard to beat.

This meal comes out to a grand total of about $4.30, $2.15/person, and it takes about 25 minutes to make from prep to plate time.  Our evening started off with us having nothing on hand, and we were wanting something sexy, sultry and flavorful- and actually wanted to try a Moroccan restaurant but didn’t have the time available to thoroughly enjoy their 5-course dining experience, AND us spending around $55 for the both of us, we decided we’d delay that gratification for a special day when we had the time and funds for that special treat. But we went from “Dang we need something awesome but really have nothing on hand, no time available to do anything crazy, and we already used our grocery spending for the week on start up ingredients,” to making a phenomenal full flavored protein packed meal (We’d been craving like craaazy) for roughly $2.15 a pop. The funny thing is even if we had gone out- we would not have been able to find anything around $20-$25 dollars that was that rich and juicy and flavorful; isn’t that ironic? It just baffles me. When I first began cooking at home (properly; emphasis on the properly meaning appropriate technique and instruction from a reputable source.) I literally would be so frustrated that we’d go out for the purpose of getting something special and tasty, and we’d get a $25 chicken entree that was dry and devoid of flavor, and I could make the same thing at home, brined (more on that wonderful trick to come), for about $5 for four people. It made me sick!

ANYWAY, now YOU, dear reader can become EMPOWERED making delicious, vibrant, flavorful dishes for extremely cheap as well! 🙂 Now go and be amazing!

Bacon lovers be liberated, now!

Fat Head

That link, right there. Yes, you see it. That link right there can take you to a wonderful video that unveils the TRUTH about saturated fat, animal fat, and so many other interesting things the food and beverage has the majority of society fooled about!  It’s a documentary called Fathead; while most people saw the documentary Super Size Me as an expose of the fast food industry, comedian and former health writer Tom Naughton saw it as a dare: He’d show that you could lose weight on a diet of burgers and fries.  Though his quest started off as a dare for nothing hardly beyond kicks and giggles, the truths he uncovered are absolutely fantastic to know and be equipped with! Watch it and let me know your response!