Heart healthy steak..wait, what?

It’s true. Well, as true as it can be. One of the cookbooks we picked up for the Ryan’s parents is the 7th edition of the New American Heart Association Cookbook.

The Ryan and I actually love this cookbook so much that we have decided to keep it, though I intend to take his parents a copy over Christmas. So Merry Christmas, parents, I hope you forget about this gift in the next eight months. 🙂 And please don’t buy one yourself, lest you steal my thunder. That would make me quite sad.

But seriously, this cookbook has every kind of recipe you could possibly think of from A to Z. Every page includes each recipe’s nutritional information, dietary exchange, tips and tricks for substitutions and other nifty little tidbits. It also has an appendix, how-to’s, menu planning, a complete A-Z index and buying guides – which makes it a handy book to have around no matter if you’re a beginner or a veteran in the kitchen. And hey, it’s by the American Heart Association, so you know it’s not full of fatty, crazy recipes. Everything is thorough and comprehensive. I absolutely adore this book.

One of the first recipes I tried (for the Ryan’s dad, who I am told is a big steak fan but has to watch fat and cholesterol) was this Pepper-Coated Steak (p.281). Not only is this recipe incredibly simple, but it suggests side dishes for you to pair the recipe with (which are, of course, healthy) so it’s really a no brainer to throw together for dinner.

So what are we waiting for? Pepper-Coated Steak a la AHA Cookbook:

Ingredients: Steak (the book calls for 4 oz steaks with all the fat trimmed off, I clearly did not have 4 oz steaks and these had been in our freezer for a while, so I needed to use them), Black Pepper (coarsely ground), Brandy (1/4 cup) and one 5 oz can of Evaporated Milk (the book calls for fat free, but the store did not have any so I had to get 2%. Be aware while you shop – our store only sells whole evaporated milk in the 5 oz cans so we have to buy the 12 oz cans).

First, sprinkle both sides of the meat with the pepper and press it into the meat.

Next, spray the pan lightly with vegetable oil spray. I did not have any, so I used a very small amount of canola oil.

Over medium high heat, cook the steaks – about 4-5 minutes on each side for medium rare. A good rule of thumb is 4 minutes on each side for each inch (thickness) of steak you have to get medium rare..at least, that’s what I was taught in the restaurant. 🙂

They will brown a little bit, but that is fine and to be expected when cooking steak in a skillet.

When the steaks are finished, set them on a plate to rest and cover with foil to keep them warm. Remove the skillet from the heat and let it cool for about a minute.

Reduce the heat to low and return the skillet to the burner.  Gradually add the brandy and cook for about a minute, scraping any browned bits left over from the steak.

Next, add the evaporated milk to the brandy and increase the heat to high – bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until the mixture thickens, stirring frequently. A little tip if you had to buy a 12 oz can – 10 tablespoons = 5 oz.

The sauce will reduce from this….

To about this…One thing I learned with this recipe is that the natural sugars in the evaporated milk will cause the sauce to develop this kind of sheen/sticky coating on the top of it if you let the sauce sit in the skillet, so plate your steaks quickly and then pour the sauce over them to avoid this.

And voila! Steak with brandy sauce! As you can see, I chose to make some seasoned asparagus as a side, but you can make whatever you want.

If you follow this recipe according to the book directions your nutrition information will be: 244 calories, 26g of protein, 5g carbohydrates, 4g sugar, 72mg cholesterol, 9g of fat (3.5 saturated, .5g polyunsaturated, 3.5 monounsaturated) and 103mg of sodium. The dietary exchange is 1/2 skim milk & 3 lean meat.

Enjoy!

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