Tag Archive | cooking blog

G-ma Rainie’s Swiss Steak

This should have posted yesterday, but I’ve been distracted by a friend in need for the past few days, so I apologize for the delay.

Both sides of my family have a Swiss Steak recipe and one is COMPLETELY different from the other, so I’m going to share both with you. You get one today, and one next Friday (if I can get Umi to write the damn thing down for me or dictate…whatever).

G-ma Rainie’s Swiss Steak


1 boneless chuck beef roast (or roast beast, as I like to call it)

4 – 6 cups crushed tomatoes (canned or homemade)

1 cup diced onions, sliced carrots, and diced celery (optional)

After searing* and seasoning the roast beast with salt and pepper, put it in a Dutch oven (or slow cooker/crock pot).


Add the tomatoes, onions, carrots, and celery (each are optional – I don’t like cooked carrots), and add desired spices.


Cover and simmer for about an hour or so until beef is tender. Check seasoning and add more salt and pepper if so desired. Experiment with other seasonings as well. I added garlic powder and Italian seasonings this time around. Next time, I’ll likely experiment with a few others.

Now, the timing is based on using a Dutch oven. I used a slow cooker (or crock pot) and cooked it over several hours on a low setting while I slept all day. If you have a lot of experience using a crock pot, you’ll know what setting to cook it and for how long.

Instead of using diced celery and onion, I used celery salt and onion powder. Also, when I use salt and pepper, I use the kind you have to grind. Sea salt is much better than regular salt.

My g-ma Rainie always served this dish over mashed potatoes. It’s quite tasty! I have it next to the mashed potatoes.


Vive bene, spesso l’amore, di risata molto!

(live well, love much, and laugh often)

* Don’t know what “searing” is? What I’m telling you to do there is brown all sides of the roast before placing it in the Dutch oven or crock pot.


Red Clam Sauce

You’ve likely seen me talk/tweet about this recipe quite often, and the reason being is that it’s yummy and quick and easy to make.

I suppose if I’m going to share any Italian recipes with you it might help if I give you the base ingredient to most of them–the marinara sauce. Marinara means “no meat.”

This is the sauce I now use for Red Clam sauce, Lasagna, Spaghetti and Meatballs (or not), Chicken Penne pasta, and pretty much any Italian dish that requires a red/tomato-based sauce. Now, growing up with the British side of my family, I never learned to sauté garlic in the pot first, which is why my Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe is a tad bland. I’ve learned freshly chopped/pressed garlic does change the taste of the sauce dramatically. I’ve also tweaked a few things with this original recipe I got from a once-friend to suit my own taste. I like garlic. What can I say? I also like other spices added to the mix, like onion, marjoram, thyme, oregano, rosemary and sage (the last five being the main spices for Italian seasonings).

First . . .


1 29 oz. can of tomato sauce (it doesn’t have to be a name brand)
2-3 cloves of fresh garlic (or 1-2 teaspoons of minced garlic*)
Extra virgin olive oil
Garlic powder
Onion powder (optional)
Italian seasonings (optional)
1/2 teasp. baking soda (optional)

*Note: the minced garlic can be found in a jar at the store so you don’t have to mince a clove or two of garlic yourself. Keep it in the refrigerator. I prefer fresh garlic and it does make a difference in the sauce.

Add a splash or two of extra virgin olive oil to the pan, then add your garlic and sauté it on medium to low-medium heat. You’ll want to sauté it to a golden brown. Be careful not to burn the garlic.

Once the garlic is ready, add the can of tomato sauce and about half a can of water. Depending on how thick or thin you like your sauce, adjust the portion of water.

Bring the sauce to a boil and stir occasionally. As the sauce boils, you’ll see a foam rising to the top.

Skim the foam off. I usually keep the tomato sauce can on the stove just for this purpose. You can dump the foam in there. Continue to boil until it no longer foams – about 15 minutes or so – and stir. After you’ve skimmed the sauce, you can add garlic powder. Allow it to simmer another 15 minutes and add other desired seasonings to taste–onion powder and Italian seasonings.

This sauce takes about an hour to cook. The beauty of this recipe is that the sauce is extremely versatile. You  can use it for any of your Italian dishes and just adjust the ingredients.

Now . . . for the clam sauce.

Red Clam Sauce

During the last 15 minutes of simmering the marinara sauce, add 1 can of minced clams, undrained, and 1 can of white clam sauce. Photos below:

Okay, I don’t have a photo of the minced clams, but you can find them near the tuna in the store. As for the white clam sauce, you can use whatever brand you like. Progresso makes it as well, but I prefer the one pictured above when I can find it. That’s a 10.5 oz. can, by the way.

Angel hair pasta . . .

Cook the noodles according to package directions (or boil them until tender for about 10 minutes). Drain the noodles (DO NOT RINSE) and return them to the pot. Pour two to three ladles of the clam sauce over the noodles and mix. Serve by scooping noodles onto plate and pouring a ladle or two of sauce over the pasta. Top with Parmesan cheese, if desired, and serve with bread.

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Why don’t we rinse the noodles? You just don’t. You coat them with the sauce instead to keep them from sticking together. This is your lesson for the day. 🙂


Vive bene, spesso l’amore, di risata molto!

(live well, love much, and laugh often)