Recipe Saturday: Italian Beef Cubes

As requested, here is my recipe for Italian Beef Cubes.  I got the recipe from my mom (thanks Mom!), but I’m not sure where she got it from.  Mine is a photocopy of her typewriter-written recipe card.  Don’t you love those recipes?  You know they’ve been around forever, so they must be good.  That and it calls for oleo, that’s a sure sign it’s an oldie.

What’s oleo, you ask?  Just another word for margarine.  Which is another word for YUK.  Margarine is gross.  Real butter rules.

Anywho, I’ve modified the original a bit for our taste (woo hoo butter!) and I’ve changed how to cook it.  The original recipe calls for braising the meat in an electric skillet for hours, but I’ve been finding that makes the meat a bit tough and dried out, even with a tight-fitting lid.  So I switched it to a slow cooker.  The difference is awesome.  It makes the meat so tender and juicy.

You could probably also put this in a Dutch Oven and cook it low and slow in the oven for a long time.  But the crock pot is just so much more convenient, and doesn’t heat up the whole house unnecessarily.

Without further ado, here it is:

Italian Beef Cubes

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs boneless beef cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 – 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • 1 – 4 oz can mushrooms or 1/2 package fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cups cooked macaroni noodles
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbsp butter or 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

Mix flour, salt and pepper.  Dredge meat through flour mixture and place in crock pot. Add tomato sauce, onion, Worcestershire, water, oregano, basil and mushrooms.  Cook on low for 6 hours.

Combine cooked macaroni, Parmesan cheese, parsley and butter or butter/EVOO. 

Serve meat over macaroni.

Devour.

Changes & Cheats

Sometimes I won’t bother to cube the meat.  I’ll just place the whole roast in the crock pot with all the other ingredients and turn it on.  Then I’ll shred it and mix it in with the juices right before serving.  I do like the cubes better I think, but shredded saves you a bit of hassle.

You can also leave out the flour step.  It does help thicken the sauce a bit, but wouldn’t need to be done.  I think if you did that, and served it over something besides noodles it could be a gluten-free dish.  But if you do this be sure to add some salt and pepper to the crock pot along with the other seasonings, otherwise it might be a bit bland.

Also I don’t always (okay, I rarely) buy parsley for the noodles.  I think it’s fine without, and I hate buying the parsley when I’ll only use a bit of it for this one dish.  Sometimes I’ll throw on dried, sometimes I won’t.

Don’t like mushrooms?  Leave them out.  Maybe up the water by a bit, maybe 1/4 cup to make sure there is enough moisture.  But while I LOVE the mushrooms and personally they are one of my favorite parts of this dish, they can be left out and it will taste perfectly fine.

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