5 Ingredient Friday: Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak

This week’s 5 Ingredient Friday recipe is Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak from Cooking Light, May 2010. I saw this recipe and thought it would be a wonderful “welcome to summer!” recipe since we just celebrated Memorial Day earlier in the week. I already had everything but the Skirt Steak on hand already so that’s always a plus.


  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pound skirt steak, trimmed and cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided (freebie)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper(freebie)


1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add steak, turning to coat; seal and marinate at room temperature 25 minutes, turning once. Remove steak from bag; discard marinade.

2. Heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle both sides of steak with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add steak to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove steak from pan; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Tent with foil; let stand 5 minutes. Cut steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices.


Cooking away

Ready to Eat

My thoughts…

I was very happy with how this came out. I let it marinate for about an hour in the fridge, and then I took it out of the fridge and let it rest on the counter for about 15 minutes. I have a grill pan, but I used my Le Creuset instead.  I cooked it on each side from about 3 minutes, and then I let it finish off in the oven for about 15 minutes. We like our meat well done – no pink over here! I let it rest for about 5 minutes before serving and we each sliced our own pieces. I thought it was very flavorful and oh so tender. It literally melted in your mouth. Mr. Curly Fry thought that it had a very strong flavor, but his taste buds are just very sensitive. I would highly recommend this recipe, as well as adding in your own changes to create new, bold flavors. This is definitely a keeper.

Sweet Onion Casserole

I was paging through the latest issue of Cooking Light magazine (May 2011) and came across a recipe for Sweet Onion Casserole.  I’m always interested in trying out some new side dishes since I can easily get tired of the same ones over and over. I figured that I’d check out the reviews online to see what people had to say about it. I like to do that to see if the recipes needs to be worked with a bit or if they are perfect the way that they are. There weren’t many reviews at all for the recipe, but out of the few that commented, they said it has some potential. So I wanted to try to enhance the flavors.

The recipe calls to only saute the onions for 5 minutes or so. That doesn’t seem like enough time in my opinion. I decided to caramelize the onions before adding them in. I love the flavor of caramelized onions so I was so excited to see how it turned out. I also added in a bit of garlic that I used to make some garlic olive oil. There are many recipes I like to use garlic olive oil in and I think homemade tastes so much better than the store bought stuff. I also used the garlic olive oil in place of the canola oil in this recipe.

4 cups of onions

Onions before caramelizing

Caramelized Onions

Ready for the oven

Fresh out of the oven


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil (I used 1 tablespoon of homemade garlic olive oil + 1 tablespoon of butter)
  • 4 cups chopped sweet onion (about 1 3/4 pounds) (I caramelized the onions a bit first)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked long-grain rice (I used medium-grain rice and it worked fine)
  • 2/3 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/3 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 325°.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Place onion in a large bowl.

3. Cook rice in a large pot of boiling water 5 minutes. Drain.

4. Stir rice and next 5 ingredients (through allspice) into onions. Spoon onion mixture into an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese. Cover and bake at 325° for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 5 minutes. Top with parsley, if desired.

My thoughts…

This was good – but it was still missing something. It definitely needed more salt. When I added a little bit more salt to my serving and mixed it together, it was better. So I would bump up the salt amount if you make it. I was hesitant to put too much in there because there is salt in the cheese, etc. This still needs something else to make it really stand out. I’m thinking that some Panko bread crumbs mixed with a little butter and fresh thyme would provide a nice crunch and add a little bit more pizazz to the dish. Maybe a little bacon would help? Doesn’t bacon make everything better?

Another note…when I took the foil off after it baked for 40 minutes covered, I kept it in there for another 10 minutes at 325 degrees and then I put my broiler on low and broiled it for 3 minutes or so to get some more color.

So all in all this does have potential. I would make it again in hopes of figuring out what the missing ingredient is.

The one and only: Souper Bowl Sunday!

Since yesterday was the big day – Super Bowl XLV – this is the last installment of the Souper Bowl Sunday series. It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve really enjoyed doing this. I look forward to the next Souper Bowl Sunday series for the 2011/2012 football season.

For the last installment I chose a simple, easy recipe for Quick Chicken Noodle Soup from Cooking Light magazine. This is an oldie but a goody.  Who doesn’t love Chicken Noodle Soup? It’s so easy to make and it packs so much flavor. As usual I’ll list my changes at the bottom so you can see what I did differently.

Quick Chicken Noodle Soup


  • 2  cups  water
  • 1  (32-ounce) carton fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 1/2  cup  prechopped onion
  • 1/2  cup  prechopped celery
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  medium carrot, chopped
  • 6  ounces  fusilli pasta
  • 2 1/2  cups  shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


1. Combine 2 cups water and chicken broth in a microwave-safe dish, and microwave at HIGH for 5 minutes.

2. While broth mixture heats, heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, celery, salt, pepper, and carrot; sauté 3 minutes or until almost tender, stirring frequently. Add hot broth mixture and pasta; bring to a boil. Cook 7 minutes or until pasta is almost al dente. Stir in chicken; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Stir in parsley.

Rotisserie Chicken


Heat the broth mixture in the microwave to jump-start the cooking. Meanwhile, sauté the aromatic ingredients in your soup pot to get this dish under way. Though we like the shape of fusilli, you can also make this soup with wide egg noodles, rotini, or even orzo.


I didn’t do too many things different. I used fresh carrots, celery and onions. I don’t usually go the prechopped route. I used a Rotisserie Chicken that I made in my crock pot. The chicken is so flavorful and falls off of the bone, and it’s definitely more flavorful than a Rotisserie Chicken you buy at the store.

As usual, I used the Penzeys Chicken Soup Base in place of chicken broth. Instead of using 32 oz of broth and 2 cups of water I just used 6 cups of chicken broth from the start, and at the end I added 2 more cups of chicken broth.  I love a good flavorful broth, and I felt I’d get a better flavor with all chicken broth as opposed to using the water. I used 2 tablespoons of butter in place of the olive oil. I love the flavor the butter gives it. So that’s it – those are the only changes I made.

This is such an easy, delicious soup that doesn’t take up much of your time. People will think you spent hours in the kitchen making it! Give it a try!

A little taste of heaven: Simple Lobster Risotto

I’ve always loved cooking magazines. I used to subscribe to them all. But a few years ago I decided I needed to cut down on the amount of magazines that I got and I let most of the subscriptions run out. I always liked the recipes in Cooking Light magazine, but I didn’t care for the magazine itself. There was too much exercise, travel, and other stuff in it that I just wasn’t into. So I stopped getting it.

Fast forward to now. I was able to get a free subscription to the magazine.  I actually really enjoyed the magazine and the way they’ve moved forward with it. It’s definitely an improvement. And I am very happy with a lot of the recipes in the magazine.  There are many new ones on my list to try.

I was paging through the January/February 2011 issue  and I came across a recipe for Simple Lobster Risotto. Now I must confess – I’ve never made Risotto before. So don’t ask me why I went out on the limb to make Lobster Risotto for my first time. But I did!

I had a heck of a time finding medium grain rice here in the city, but I finally found some. We went to Reading Terminal Market to get the lobster and $35 later I was ready to start making it.


  • 4  cups  fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 3  (5-ounce) American lobster tails
  • 3  tablespoons  butter, divided
  • 1  cup  uncooked Arborio rice or other medium-grain rice
  • 3/4  cup  frozen green peas, thawed


Bring broth and 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Add lobster; cover and cook for 4 minutes. Remove lobster from pan; cool for 5 minutes. Remove meat from cooked lobster tails, reserving shells. Chop meat. Place shells in a large zip-top plastic bag. Coarsely crush shells using a meat mallet or heavy skillet. Return crushed shells to the broth mixture. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Strain shell mixture through a sieve over a bowl, reserving broth; discard solids. Return broth mixture to saucepan; keep warm over low heat. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add rice to pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 cup broth mixture, and cook for 5 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Reserve 2 tablespoons broth mixture. Add the remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion is absorbed before adding the next (about 22 minutes total). Remove from heat, and stir in lobster, the reserved 2 tablespoons broth mixture, 2 tablespoons butter, and green peas.

We don’t care for peas, so I left those out. In my opinion they are really only there to give the dish some color.

My thoughts: It was AMAZING. So flavorful. I love that I only used FOUR ingredients and it came out perfect. I didn’t use any seasonings – no salt, no pepper, nothing. And it was delicious. I was very pleased with how the dish came out – especially since it was my first time making Risotto. And I can definitely say it won’t be the last time I make it.

Souper Bowl Sunday

At Chez la One Curly Fry we’ve designated Sundays in the fall and winter to be “Souper Bowl Sunday.” Each Monday I’ll share with you the soup or stew that we had the day before. Yesterday it was a Broccoli and Cheese soup that I adapted from the January 2002 issue of Cooking Light.

  • 1  cup  chopped onion
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 3  garlic cloves, minced
  • 4  cups  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth (I use Penzeys chicken soup base)
  • 4 cups of fresh broccoli florets
  • 2 1/2  cups  2% reduced-fat milk
  • 3 Tablespoons of corn starch mixed with some cold water
  • 1/8  teaspoon  black pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 ounces of extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded


Drizzle some olive oil in a dutch oven and heat it over medium heat.   Add onion, shallots and garlic; saute 4 -5 minutes or until tender. Add broth and 3 cups of broccoli. Bring broccoli mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; cook 10 minutes. While it’s cooking, place the 1 cup of reserved broccoli florets in a steam bag and microwave for 3 minutes. Set aside.

Place all of the soup in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Return pureed soup mixture to pan.

Add milk mixture and corn starch (mixed with water) to broccoli mixture. Cook 5 – 10 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Stir in pepper and pinch of salt. Reduce heat to low. Add cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Add the reserved broccoli florets and heat through.

Serve with crusty bread and butter.