Monday, February 22, 2010

Steak for dinner? Try these healthy sides!

I am not a huge fan of beef in general - when dining out or making a nice dinner at home, I tend to go for fish first, and am always a fan of a good vegetarian dish.  There are, however, a few times a year when I crave a lean cut of red meat for whatever reason.  This Friday was one of those days.  Lucky for us, we have a big box of Allen Brothers steaks in our freezer (a gift from my parents to John for Christmas) waiting for just the moment.  

John, as always, was in charge of the meat and grilled it perfectly - we both like it on the medium rare side and he always sears it on the grill.  He used this rub from Williams Sonoma:

Seriously, this rub is so good.  I actually went into Williams Sonoma on Saturday to pick up a bigger box of it (this was the smaller, gift size) but they've discontinued it!  I guess we'll have to figure out how to recreate it on our own.    

Anyway - on to the sides.  When we do make steaks, they already do a number on my stomach, so while the idea of a loaded baked potato on the side sounds enticing, I know I'll be hunched over in fetal position from being overstuffed so I try to keep it light and healthy.  I'll save those moments for holidays, thank you very much.  My first dish was Basil Mushrooms, from the Junior League Celebration Cookbook, which I also mentioned here.  This is hands down my favorite sauteed mushroom recipe and if I'm in the mood to prepare ahead of time (I am usually just throwing the mushrooms in the pan and adding a bunch of random ingredients), it's the one that I go to.  

Basil Mushrooms
Recipe Source: Junior League Celebration Cookbook
Note: The recipe in the cookbook says it serves 12; I cut it in half and it served TWO.  I'd highly recommend making much more if you're cooking for a crowd!  Here's the half portion sized recipe.

1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter (following the half sized recipe I should have used 4 tablespoons - 2 was fine!)
1 package fresh baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil (this was much more than the recipe called for)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
juice of one lime
1/8 cup white wine
salt and pepper

Saute the onion and garlic in butter in a skillet over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms; stir to coat them well.  Add basil, oregano, thyme, Tabasco, lime juice, wine, and salt.  Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated (about 10 more minutes).  

This goes really well with beef - the butter makes it really rich and the combination of lime and tabasco gives it an unexpected tang!

The other side I made was so simple it hardly deserves its own recipe page/blog post so I'll throw it in here.  The presentation is really what I love and I think this is such a cute, easy, and fresh accompaniment to any main course meat dish. 

Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Parfaits

1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 ball of fresh mozzarella
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
agave nectar
salt and pepper

Chop the tomatoes in half and marinate for 30 minutes in mixture of balsamic vinegar, a splash of olive oil, splash of agave nectar, and salt and pepper (I eyeballed all of this so do not have exact measurements).  

When ready to serve, chop the mozzarella into small pieces (about the same size as the tomatoes), drain the tomatoes, and toss together.  Garnish with fresh basil and serve.

So there you have it - my Friday night!  The rest of my weekend was great too.  Saturday I got to go to Kelly's baby shower - it was so fun to catch up with old friends and see Kelly - she's got less than 2 months to go before her baby boy comes!  Check out her blog - she's hilarious.

Then Saturday night, John and I went out for a late Valentines Day dinner (we were out of town at a wedding last weekend).  We went to Blue Ridge Grill - it had been years since I'd been there but it remains one of my favorite Atlanta restaurants, both for the food and the cozy atmosphere.

Sunday was super productive and BEAUTIFUL.  I started out with a 10 mile run - I am officially half way through my marathon training and plan on posting a full update next weekend - the reason I'm waiting is because up until now the longest distance I've run is 12 miles - but next weekend is 15 - eek!  I'm so nervous as it will be the longest I've ever run.  So far things are going pretty well but I do have a super sore glute on my right leg.    Wish me luck and I'll let you know how it goes!!  Other Sunday activities included major cleaning, a big trip to the grocery store (!), mani pedi (I felt so bad for the poor man who did my pedicure - any other runners out there feel guilty about how gross their feet are?), and grilling out.  All in all lots of r & r, good food, good weather, good friends this weekend.  I'd love more of these weekends to come!

So that ends my marathon post - I've covered beef, healthy sides, baby showers, running, and nasty feet - I think that's enough for today, don't you?


  1. Have you ever had the pedicure people ask you if you are a runner? That's the worst! It's like, "Do my feet really look that bad?"

  2. No - I tell them I'm a runner to explain WHY they look so bad!!

  3. Yes! I made the blog :) Thanks so much for coming to the shower-- I can't believe how fast time is flying!!