When I think about my recipe for country-style chopped sirloin, I remember my grandmother's Sunday dinner table laden with a platter of country-style steak, big bowls of steamed rice, creamed corn, fresh lima beans, homemade pickles, sliced tomatoes, potato salad and biscuits. This was a "small" lunch spread for our family on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, but it was called "dinner" in the South.
While these food memories are a precious part of my past, the food doesn't have to be locked in the past as well. The wonderful aromas of gravy-smothered chopped steak and fresh vegetables can still be part of my culinary world. But because I cook mainly for one or two these days -- not the 10 or 12 people my mom and grandmother cooked for each week -- it's just on a much smaller scale.
Today's recipe is an easy version of my grandmother's recipe, made completely from scratch, including the gravy.
But before you say, "I can't make gravy," give it a try. If you don't have the confidence to make it from scratch, grab an envelope of powdered gravy mix from the grocer, but use it only in case your homemade gravy doesn't turn out right. Since you don't add the sauteed veggies and steak back into the gravy to simmer until the end of cooking, it would be just as easy to switch out your homemade gravy with a batch whipped up in a separate pan or in the microwave.
The portion size is modest and adjusted to today's standards. When you add a half cup of rice and steamed broccoli, this meal is not bad for you.
The total dinner is just over 800 calories -- a balanced dinner with all the flavors from long ago. Enjoy!
Suggested menu: Country-Style Chopped Sirloin With Old-Fashioned Onion Mushroom Gravy with steamed brown rice, steamed broccoli and iced tea.
• Alicia Ross is the co-author of "Desperation Dinners!" cookbook series. Write her at Kitchen Scoop, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or firstname.lastname@example.org. More at kitchenscoop.com.