Steak recipe with vinaigrette gives more for family

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

FORT WORTH, Texas -- A quick and simple recipe for grilled steaks with balsamic vinaigrette created by Lori Welander, a home cook from Richmond, Va., won top honors in the recent 25th National Beef Cook-Off.

The 2003 competition focused on ways busy families get dinner on the table. Welander competed against 20 finalists selected from 3,000 entrants from throughout the country. Her recipe uses just four ingredients and takes about 30 minutes to prepare, plus marinating time.

The judges, a panel of food professionals, said they liked the recipe's combination of balsamic vinaigrette and fig preserves, which made a tasty marinade for steaks, grilled and served with melted herb and garlic cheese.

Welander won the $50,000 grand prize in competition against 20 finalists chosen from around 3,000 entrants from throughout the country.

The judges were Dotty Griffith, of the Dallas Morning News; Joy Taylor, of Better Homes and Gardens Family Food Collection; Sara Schneider, of Sunset Magazine; Patsy Jamieson, of Eatingwell magazine; and food writer Beverly Bundy.

Welander called her recipe a family pleaser. "I make recipes that are quick, simple and delicious so I can spend more time with what matters most -- my family," she said.

Grilled Steaks Balsamico

(Marinating time 2 hours, preparation and cooking time 30 minutes)

2/3 cup prepared balsamic vinaigrette

1/4 cup fig preserves or chopped dried figs

4 beef shoulder top blade steaks (6 to 8 ounces each) or boneless beef chuck eye steaks, cut 1 inch thick

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

5.2-ounce package herb and garlic soft spreadable cheese

Place vinaigrette and figs in blender or food processor; process until blended, to make marinade. Place steaks and marinade in food-safe plastic bag; turn to coat. Close bag securely and marinate in refrigerator at least 2 hours.

Remove steaks from marinade; discard marinade. Place steaks on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill steaks, covered, 10 to 14 minutes for medium-rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally. Season with salt and pepper, as desired.

Meanwhile, to make sauce, heat cheese in small saucepan over medium-low heat 2 to 4 minutes or until melted, stirring frequently.

Serve steaks with cheese sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information per serving, using top blade: 471 cal., 36 g pro., 8 g carbo., 31 g fat, 564 mg sodium, 111 mg chol.

Nutrition information per serving, using chuck eye: 416 cal., 36 g pro., 8 g carbo., 25 g fat, 567 mg sodium, 115 mg chol.

(Recipe for AP from American National CattleWomen, Inc. The next National Beef Cook-Off is scheduled to take place in South Dakota in 2005. A copy of this year's winning recipes is available by calling Sherry Hill at (303) 850-3441 or Alison Lanham, at (312) 228-6832.

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