I’ve developed a new habit to make life easier for myself; on weekends, I bulk cook a meal, so I end up with dinner for us both on Sunday night plus 3 or 4 meals each extra, which I freeze. Then, mid week, if I’ve had a stressy few days and the thought of cooking gets me anxious, I just pluck out a zip-lock baggy from the freezer in the morning and dinner is ready for when I get home!
I’ve got a few favourite recipes for my frozen meals, but I wanted to find some new ideas, and in my recent lunch break Googling I came across this recipe from founding editor of New York Times Cooking, Sam Sifton. I love using chuck steak – cooking it low and slow, ending up with soft, tender chunk of beef, it’s perfect cold weather food. And winter is coming. I whipped it up for dinner on Sunday with some changes to Sam’s recipe and my own touches, and it came out surprisingly well – juicy, tender, fall-apart meat with an amazing flavour from the DIY ranch sauce. And SO cheap – the 1.7kg of chuck steak I used to make 12 meals only cost $20! Here’s how to do it…
– ¼ cup plain flour
– salt & pepper
– 1.5 – 2kg chuck steak, any particularly large chunks of fat removed
– 30g butter
– 4 tbsp mayonnaise (I use low fat)
– 2 tbsp apple cider or white wine vinegar
– 1½ tsp dried dill
– ½ tsp sweet paprika
– 5 large potatoes, diced
– 3 large zucchinis, diced
– 4 large green capsicums, de-seeded and diced
– 500g button mushrooms, quartered
– pasta to serve
1. Sift the flour into a large bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Add the steak and rub the flour in well to coat.
2. Heat a non-stick frypan over high heat and spray with cooking oil. Add the steak and cook for 5 minutes or so on each side, to form a brown crust. Then, take the piece/s of steak off the pan and place in the bottom of your slow cooker. Add the butter, in chunks, on top of the steak, replace the lid and set to low heat.
3. As the slow cooker heats up, make the dressing by whisking together the mayo, vinegar, dill and paprika in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the steak and pour in a cup of water around the bottom of the steak. Replace the lid, and cook on low heat for 6 – 8 hours – it should easily shred once it’s done!
4. While the meat is cooking, prepare the veggies by placing on 2 large roasting trays, drizzling with a little olive oil, sprinkling with salt, and roasting in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes on high heat.
I decided to serve mine with pasta, so I cooked up a few cups and then divided it up between 12 zip-lock bags. I did the same with the veggies and meat (once I’d shredded it), and poured the ranch gravy from the slow cooker over each serve. Easy!