A Childhood Favorite

After you turn 35, talking about your childhood suddenly sounds so…old.  I was going to start this by writing “When I was young…” and then stopped and wrote “Growing up…” and stopped again.  Finally I tried “When I was a kid…” and gave up because there was no way I was going to avoid sounding like my father, who tells us stories of when he was a kid and had to walk 10 miles, barefoot, in the snow (even though he grew up where there was no snow).

When I was growing up (dammit!) I learned to cook by watching my mother in the kitchen. She was a busy woman, and still is, actually. I think she has a more active social life than I do.

During those busy days, she’d make some quick dinners, one of which became my favorite comfort food as I got older.  It’s a simple meal: pan fried cube steak, stir-fried broccoli, and Noodle Pasta Roni.  Easy, delicious, and always reminds me of home.

There’s really not much you can do to improve upon that perfect dish (I mean, honestly, Pasta Roni makes everything better, am I right?) But I figured I’d try anyway.  But before I tried that, I had to make the original meal, because, really any excuse for it is fine with me.

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Look at that.  The sear of the cube steak.  The crunch of that broccoli.  The creaminess of that pasta from a box.  *swoon*

Now if I were going to improve upon this slice of heaven, I’d obviously start with the steak.  A nice piece of grass-fed top sirloin is a great start.

I can’t stress how important it is to salt your meat.  Changes everything.

Next the broccoli could use something special.  If you’ve never roasted broccoli, follow Ina Garten’s recipe because it will change every feeling you have about broccoli.  If you hate broccoli, you will love this.  If you love broccoli, you will love it more.  You’ll want to eat it every day.

Olive oil + salt + pepper + heat = OMG

I pan-roasted the steak, finished it with some sriracha (because I am an adult), and cooked some pasta and tossed it with butter, oregano, and some parmesan. The result was wonderous:

Simple, probably healthier, and it still reminds me of home.  Now, let’s get a better look at that broccoli.

Delicious. And you can tell it’s the grown up version because I lit a very elegant bunny rabbit candle…that only grown ups can have.

What’s a comfort food that reminds you of when you were a kid (dammit!)?

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