Monday, September 26, 2011

Skirt Steak with Mustard Sauce and Puffed Cheddar-Rice Casserole

Recipe modified by You Want Me to Cook? – March 17, 2011
For a commentary-free and printer-friendly version of the entire meal, please click here.
For a commentary-free and printer-friendly version of the Skirt Steak with Mustard Sauce recipe, please click here.
For a commentary-free and printer-friendly version of the Puffed Cheddar-Rice Casserole recipe, please click here.

Skirt Steak recipe originally published by All You – February 2011
Puffed Cheddar-Rice Casserole originally published by All You – February 2011

When I was still motivated enough to try to cook an entrée AND a side, I matched these two delightful recipes together.  I was driven by the yummy skirt steak recipe.  It was quick recipe and the picture in the recipe looked delicious.  However, I didn’t want to do a salad & potato… it seemed like a cheat.  I do that on a regular basis anyway.

I kept flipping through the magazine and found the puffed cheddar-rice casserole and it looked appetizing and was different.  Who doesn’t like cheese and I had never really attempted a soufflé type of dish.  The two seemed like they would pair together nicely and a meal was born.

Before I get into the recipe, I thought I’d talk a little about your neighborhood butcher.  I went through school with the grandson of the local butcher in the tiny town I grew up in.  The nicest guy you’d ever meet, and unfortunately he recently passed away which was a loss to the town (RIP Mr. Welch).  If you don’t see what you’re looking for in the meat case, don’t be afraid to ask him/her if they have any in the back or if they can cut you what you are looking for.  Just be nice about it… they are busy and usually covered in raw meat juice.  If they can’t cut it for you, they will be more than happy to let you know what cut of meat can be substituted for your dish – which is what happened in this particular case.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Skirt Steak with Mustard Sauce and Puffed Cheddar-Rice Casserole
I was so happy with the way my steak turned out.  It looked juicy which is usually an issue for me.  I ALWAYS seem to dry out my steak.  Also, the sauce smelled great and I’ll admit to “accidentally” sticking my finger in it to try it before I took the picture.

The rice casserole, well it didn’t look as appetizing as I hoped.  It seemed a little dry when I was taking it out of the dish.  I thought it was going to be a little more oozy-cheesy and fluffy.  I still was optimistic about the taste though.

©All You
I’m sure you can see what attracted me to this recipe in the first place.  I used a different type of mustard, so that’s why my sauce has a little more color to it.  In retrospect, I should have cut up my meat before plating.  That probably would have made it even prettier and closer to this picture.

© All You
Looking at this picture, I guess my casserole wasn’t too far off.  They didn’t take a picture of it out of the dish, which is suspect and for the first time, I looked at the rice bit on the spoon next to the dish.  It looks a little dry.  I must have been very hopeful about the taste and consistency of this dish even if the picture wasn’t all that appealing.


for more details about what my ratings mean, go to Gretchen’s Rating System

MessSIGH – The steak had very minimal mess, other than the searing in the pan which had some grease popping on to my stove.  The rice?  Well that’s a different story.  There was a lot of equipment and cheese always makes a mess, especially when it ends up like concrete.

Start-to-Finish Time: AROUND TWO HOURS – This time included making the rice.  If you have rice leftover from a different meal (I always seem to have a lot left over after getting Chinese takeout), you can shave off about 30 minutes of time from the recipe.  Unfortunately, you can’t start the recipe unless you have the rice ready.

Prep Work: SLIGHT BLOOD LOSS – I had to cut up the steaks (more on that later) and separate the eggs, but that is the only prep you’ll have to do for this recipe.

Ease of Recipe: MORE THAN I BARGAINED FOR – The rice casserole wasn’t hard, but it was a lot of trouble.  The stirring, the egg whites… all brought me close to insanity.

OverallSORRY HONEY, NO LEFTOVERS / BLEECH – This was a two-faced meal.  The steak was delicious, but the rice casserole… BLEECH!  I didn’t finish my piece and my husband tried it once and I think only finished his serving to be nice.  I threw out the rest, which is not normal for our house.  Even if something is mediocre, my husband will eat it.

Recipe Information:
I am not a doctor or dietician.  I make my nutritional assessments with the aid of Spark Recipes.  I run the original recipe and my altered recipe through their calorie counter and then compute the differences I find.  My numbers are to be used as a guideline.  Anyone who is under dietary medical supervision should follow the advice of their medical professional if their opinion differs from mine.  PLEASE!

Steak with Mustard Sauce:
Servings: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 12 minutes

You’ll have 4 pieces of steak that are a decent size.  Actually, the serving size is much larger than the recommended serving.  In fact, it’s double, so you could probably stretch this meal even farther if you like.  The way All You served the dish, with a salad and potato, could stretch this meal out to 6 servings or so.

The timing is pretty accurate, although my cooking time is longer because I had to cook my steak in two batches.  Here is the timing of my recipe:
  • Prep Time: 7 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 24 minutes
  • Total Time: 31 minutes
Nutritional Information
  • Calories 378
  • Total Fat 25g (Saturated Fat 10g)
  • Cholesterol 99mg
  • Sodium 571mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 3g
  • Fiber 0g
  • Protein 34g
This is pretty much what I figured.  The skirt steak cut is marbled with fat, so it makes sense that it would be slightly higher in the fat and cholesterol.  I plugged the dish into the Spark Database to check its accuracy and here are the numbers:
  • Calories 464.7
  • Total Fat 30.3g (Saturated Fat 12g)
  • Cholesterol 117.5mg
  • Sodium 281.9mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 0.1g
  • Protein 44.9g
Hmmm… that is quite higher than listed.  All You is a magazine based on quick meals, not necessarily healthy meals, so it makes sense that they may pad the numbers a little.  Granted, they may have taken into account the reduction of the chicken broth, but still, the numbers are still significantly higher.  I made slight changes to the ingredients, so I ran my numbers through the Nutritional Database as well.  Here are my numbers:
  • Calories 345.2
  • Total Fat 21.8g (Saturated Fat 9.5g)
  • Cholesterol 100.6mg
  • Sodium 518.1mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 60.1g
  • Protein 35.1 g
Using a leaner cut of beef definitely helped out and I’m guessing that the mustard I used helped out quite a bit too.  The sodium is still a little high, but I can live with that number.

The even better news is that the dish is a decent supplier of the following:
  • Vitamin B-12 – important for metabolism and the formation of red blood cells
  • Niacin – important for metabolism
  • Selenium – an antioxidant
  • Zinc – imperative for the immune system and required for DNA synthesis
Puffed Cheddar-Rice Casserole:
Servings: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 50 minutes

A serving of this casserole is very large, so you can probably stretch the servings out quite a bit.  Of course, I only ate part of a single serving, so I am not really the authority on how far this can be stretched.

In terms of timing, obviously my time is much longer since I had to cook the rice first.  You can cut down your recipe time by 30-35 minutes if you have cooked rice on hand.  Here is the timing of my recipe:
  • Prep Time: 34 minutes
  • Assembly Time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 54 minutes
Nutritional Information
  • Calories 282
  • Total Fat 17g (Saturated Fat 9g)
  • Cholesterol 186mg
  • Sodium 360mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 17g
  • Protein 14g
I was shocked that the carbohydrates were as low as they were in this dish.  Of course, rice isn’t as carbo-heavy as pasta is, but you’re still using a cup and a half of it.  Just to be sure about the numbers, I plugged the dish into the Spark Database to check its accuracy and the numbers were roughly the same. 

I made slight changes to the dish in using skim milk and brown rice hoping that I could improve the numbers even more.  When I ran my numbers through the Nutritional Database, I had a slightly lower cholesterol number, but everything else was roughly the same.  Disappointing, yes, but at least I know the numbers All You provided were pretty accurate.

Changes denoted by red text
© You Want Me to Cook?
Puffed Cheddar-Rice Casserole
Ingredients - dairy
Puffed Cheddar Rice Casserole:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup skim milk
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar
4 large eggs, separated, plus 1 large egg white
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Cooking Spray

© You Want Me to Cook?
Puffed Cheddar-Rice Casserole
Ingredients - pantry

© You Want Me to Cook?
Skirt Steak with Mustard Sauce
Skirt Steak with Mustard Sauce:
1 1/2 pounds flank steak, cut into 4 pieces
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup low-sodium no-fat chicken broth
3 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Ingredient Notes:
Skim Milk – The original recipe called for regular milk and to try to trim down the recipe, I went with skim.  I think this may have been one of the reasons the casserole ended up as dry as it did.  I always use skim milk because that is the only milk we drink and I hate having to buy 2% for cooking.  Even using 1% milk drops the calories by 20% and cuts the fat and cholesterol in half.  Skim has zero fat and a relatively insignificant amount of cholesterol (as the nutritional information reflected) while shaving off a third of the calories, but in this case, I think that may have hurt the dish. There was no fat in the milk to keep it moist.

Brown Rice – The original recipe called for white rice, but it is less nutritious than brown rice (which I had on hand) so I went with the brown instead.  This may be another reason why my casserole ended up dry since brown rice is not as tender or delicate as white and brown tends to be chewier because the bran that surrounds the kernel is still intact.

Cooking Spray – the recipe tells you to butter your dish, but I hate using butter when cooking spray can do the trick.

Flank Steak – the recipe called for skirt steaks, but they didn’t have any at the meat counter.  Flank steak is a substitute for skirt steak and most grocery stores usually have plenty of it on hand.  Also, it is leaner and more flavorful, but you have to be careful when cooking because it can get tough quickly.

Olive Oil – since I had to cook my steak in two batches, I may have used a little more before my second batch.

Low-Sodium No-Fat Chicken Broth – the original recipe called for low-sodium, but I use a low-sodium (33% reduced) and a no-fat chicken broth.  It probably helped the fat and cholesterol numbers too.

Spicy Brown Mustard – the original recipe called for a grainy mustard and I wasn’t sure what kind of mustard to look for.  I went with the spicy brown since it had a large grain and I happen to like the taste.

Equipment Needed:
© You Want Me to Cook?
Puffed Cheddar-Rice Casserole
(2) Small bowls
Rice cooker
3-quart baking dish
(2) Large spoons
Medium bowl
Spoon - mixing
Large bowl
Electric hand mixer
© You Want Me to Cook?
Skirt Steak with Mustard Sauce
Raw meat cutting board
Sharp knife
Large skillet
Meat thermometer
Aluminum foil
Paper towel

Equipment Notes:
Rice Cooker – I love my rice cooker!  Of course, you don’t NEED a rice cooker, but if you can find an inexpensive one, it will make your life much easier.  All that being said, if you have pre-cooked rice you won’t have to worry about it.

3-Quart Baking Dish
  • The original recipe gave the first option as a soufflé dish, which I don’t own, so I went with a 3-quart dish.  My dish is oval shaped, and I’m starting to wonder if spreading out the casserole was another reason it could have dried out.
  • When selecting a “dish” it refers to a glass or ceramic dish that is oven-safe.  You definitely want to go with a dish instead of a metal pan since you are using eggs which can react with a metal pan.
Electric Hand Mixer – Often I’ll use a stand mixer for beating things, but in this case, go with a hand mixer since you have to do it in a smaller bowl and will have more control over the eggs.

Raw Meat Cutting Board & Sharp knife – Don’t use a wooden board for cutting raw meat since it can absorb the raw juices and contaminate other food that you cut on it.  My cutting board is plastic and I love it.  Of course, if you buy pre-cut steaks, you won’t need this equipment.

Meat Thermometer – I bought an electric thermometer a while ago and I have to admit that it was one of the best investments I’ve ever made.  It wasn’t expensive and it keeps you from overcooking your food.  This was one of the first times I’ve ever made steaks that weren’t dried out.  I highly recommend you buying one (instant read works great too – it’s like a pen and you don’t need to keep it in the meat while cooking).

(1)  Make Puffed Cheddar-Rice Casserole:
(a)  Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter a 3-quart oval baking dish.
(b)  In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.
(c)  Whisk in flour until smooth.
(d)  Whisking constantly, slowly pour in milk and cook until thick and bubbling, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and stir in cheese until melted; remove from heat.

I started getting a sinking feeling as I was got to this point.  It was like paste when I removed it from the heat.  I’m sure using regular milk may have made it a little more fluid, but there was no turning back at this point.

(e)  In a bowl, stir together egg yolks, salt and 1 tsp. paprika. 

© You Want Me to Cook?
Puffed Cheddar-Rice Casserole
Cheese and Rice Sauce
(f)  Whisk in cheese sauce and rice.

I was hoping that the egg yolks would have loosed up the cheese sauce, but it was still so thick my whisk wasn’t holding up.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Puffed Cheddar-Rice Casserole
Egg Whites
(g)  In another bowl, with an electric mixer on high speed, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff but still glossy.


(h)  Stir 1/4 of beaten egg whites into rice mixture to lighten, then gently fold in remaining egg whites.
(i)  Spoon into prepared dish and dust with remaining 1/4 tsp. paprika. Bake until puffy, golden brown and just set in center, 45 to 50 minutes. Serve immediately.

(2)  Set a timer for 10 minutes to let you know when to start the steak.

(3)  Make the Skirt Steak with Mustard Sauce:
(a)  Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper. Warm oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
(b)  Add steaks and cook, turning once, about 6 minutes total for medium-rare. Transfer to a plate, and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.

 I flipped the meat over about half way through and put in the meat thermometer.  I left it in until I got the desired temperature, which is 130°F for medium-rare.

(c)  Wipe skillet with a paper towel and add broth. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
(d)  Remove pan from heat and whisk in mustard and butter.
(e)  Season with salt and pepper, spoon over steaks, and serve.

The steak was DELICIOUS and the sauce was incredible!  I couldn’t wait to sit down and eat the entire thing.  Also, this was the first time my meat wasn’t dry from overcooking it. 

Unfortunately, the rice casserole was heavy and not tasty at all.  I’m sure it was a combination of the skim milk, brown rice and the dish, but still, it was a disaster.  So much so that I have no desire to even try it again.  If I HAD to make it again, those would be the changes I would make, though.


  1. Oh man, this skirt steak and casserole looks devlishly good!

  2. Definitely try making the skirt steak. It was FANTASTIC!