Gluten-free Steak Rub Recipe

A good steak really only needs salt and pepper and a hot grill or cast iron skillet. A good steak however can be really expensive. I love to use more flavorful marinades or rubs when cooking some of the more cost effective cuts like top round or london broil. This is a wet steak rub and is reminiscent of the flavors that go into South African farmer’s sausage. It gives just a hint of flavor that most people here in the US have not had before, but reminds me of my childhood 🙂

Steak Rub (enough for about 3 pounds of steak)


¼ cup of olive oil

4 teaspoons of ground coriander

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 ½ teaspoons of onion powder

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 ½ teaspoons of salt

¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper

3 Tablespoons brown sugar

2 Tablespoon red wine vinegar


Mix all ingredients together in a gallon storage bag. Place the steaks in and make sure to cover them with the rub. Allow to sit for at least 20 minutes before cooking. Cook to your liking. I like to cook it about 4 to 5 minutes on each side for a rare to medium rare finish for about a 3cm thick steak. Allow to rest for 7 to 10 minutes before cutting.

Serve with some easy polenta or grilled cheesy potatoes, like this one from The Recipe Rebel. I made a version of it last night, minus the bacon and it was so easy and delicious!!

Add some asparagus or grilled corn (shuck, rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper then grill, turning frequently) and you have a great barbecue dinner.

Make sure you check if the spices are gluten-free. According to McCormick, they will list it on the bottle if it contains gluten, usually in spice blends. Badia is certified gluten free and can be found usually in the international section of many grocery stores, but sometimes next to the other spices.

What is your favorite way to cook a steak?

Butternut squash and kale…I love the fall!

If you follow my facebook page you have seen me posting items about my slow cooker and kale experiments this week. You can click here to follow me on facebook 🙂

Fall is great for using butternut squash and kale (among other items I will highlight in future blogs). I tend to be a creature of habit and have basically been using butternut squash only for soup for the last few years. I decided to do something a little different this week and use it for other purposes, as a side dish with a meat and as part of a main course.

London Broil with Butternut Squash, Zucchini over Polenta

 Approx. 1.5 lb London Broil (mine was frozen and about 1.8 lbs)
1 small to medium size butternut squash, cubed
1 zucchini cubed
2 small onions sliced
2 cups beef broth
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/8 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar
pinch of sage
1-2 Tbsp Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning (mix of salt, coriander, paprika, mustard seed, black peppercorns, onion, garlic, chili pepper)
1 bay leaf

2 cups polenta
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups milk
1/4 cup parmesan

Add London Broil, squash, zucchini, onions to slow cooker. Then add liquids and spices. Mix together. Cook on low for 5-7 hours.  About an hour before serving, make quick polenta. Bring chicken stock and milk to a slow boil and slowly add quick cooking polenta while whisking. When done, add parmesan and mix.

Serve with steak, squash + onions on top of polenta. 

Tip: For the kids, take some of the polenta and put it in a small brownie pan. Cool + then cut into fun shapes using a cookie cutter. Karina and the boys love this! Easy for toddlers to pick up.

Kale and Basil Pesto with Roasted Butternut squash  (Approx. 6 servings)
Based on this NY Times recipe.

About 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, cubed.
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Lemon pepper
1 small bunch (about 1/2 pound) kale, center ribs removed
1 small bunch of fresh basil
1 box whole wheat penne

2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1/4 – 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place squash on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil and season generously with salt and lemon pepper. Spread pieces into an even layer, making sure there is space between them. Roast, stirring squash pieces once or twice, until golden brown and tender, about 30-45 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; have ready a bowl of ice water. Drop kale into boiling water and cook for 45 seconds. Use tongs or slotted spoon to transfer kale to ice water (slotted spoon worked better for me). Bring water in pot back to a boil, adding more if necessary so there is enough to cook pasta.

Drain kale well, then wrap tightly in a dry kitchen towel and squeeze thoroughly to remove any excess moisture. Roughly chop leaves. When water in pot comes back to a boil, cook pasta according to package directions.

In a food processor, pulse together kale, basil, garlic, salt, some lemon pepper and parmesan until mixture is smooth and salt has dissolved. With motor running, slowly drizzle in the oil until fully incorporated. Taste and add more salt and lemon pepper if necessary.

Drain pasta and reserving a little cooking water. Toss pasta with kale and basil pesto and some pasta cooking water if necessary to help it coat pasta. Add squash and mix. My 3 (almost 4 year old) mixed this for me and loved it as did my 16 month old boys. It was very messy, but they ate it all up.

I also made some kale chips, using this recipe:, but I added some South African Smoke (a great spice blend from Trader Joe’s) and salt. My husband loved them. The kids thought they were leaves they could crush 🙂

I hope to have some more posts in the next couple of weeks about the wonderful local fall produce and what I’ve made with it!

Check out this weekly column I recently discovered (Thank you Sally!) for some great ideas for local fall foods:

Easy comfort food

Continuing with my “choose your own adventure” meals, today I’m writing about comfort food. Comfort food is different for each person. It is whatever food is soul satisfying to you. For some its fried food, a good steak, chicken pot pie or pizza. I am a meat and potatoes girl! With veggies on the side now for the kids 🙂

Whether you are cooking pork, beef or chicken, this recipe works well.



Worcestershire sauce
Vinegar (Balsamic, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar – whatever you have on hand)
Soy sauce

Olive oil (when searing meat and making marinade)
Butter (optional, add to finish gravy)
Onion powder (optional, or chopped onion, caramelized onions, shallots – whatever you have)
Cornstarch/flour (optional, depending if you like a thicker sauce/gravy)
Chicken Stock/Beef stock (optional, if you want to mellow out the flavor a little. I keep bouillon cubes on hand, so I can make as many cups as a I need of stock).

I used these ingredients the other night to make an easy version of chicken pot pie.

First you start a basic rue, which I learned how to do a couple of years ago for making mac-n-cheese. Melt butter in large sauce pan and then whisk in an equal amount of flour and cook for 2-3 minutes. I think it did about a 1/3 of a cup of each here. Then add a couple of cups of chicken stock and keep adding if too thick. Continue whisking. Add in about a palm full of coriander, ½ teaspoon minced garlic, 2-3 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 3 Tablespoons vinegar, 3 Tablespoons soy sauce. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.

Toss in 2 handfuls of frozen mixed vegetables, let cook for a few minutes. Then toss in leftover chicken that has been cubed or shredded (I used the Garlic chicken I made the night before). Take a can of biscuit dough (I used Pillsbury) and peel each biscuit in half and bake in the oven (I baked it directly on top of the sauce and it didn’t cook through, so this way will work much better!). After baked, place on top of chicken, vegetable and sauce mixture and serve! I kept a couple of biscuits aside and filled them with some extra chicken + frozen veggies that I thawed separately in the microwave, and then cooked them. These were great little pockets for the boys to pick up and eat. Much less messy than the pot pie would have been!

You can also use these ingredients to make a marinade. To marinade steak, pour equal parts Worcestershire sauce, vinegar (balsamic or red wine vinegar is best here), soy sauce and olive oil into a large Ziploc bag. Add a couple of tablespoons of coriander, a teaspoon of minced garlic and a ¼ teaspoon pepper. Close bag and shake (make sure its closed!) or massage with your hand. Insert steaks and make sure covered. Marinade at least 4 hours, but can do it over night.

I used this on Father’s day with petit sirloin (seared on the indoor grill and then baked at 400 degrees for 7 minutes for rare to medium rare). I served the steak with a sweet potato salad (bake equal amounts of sweet potatoes and white or yellow potatoes, cube, mix with miracle whip, mustard, salt and pepper) and roasted corn on the cob.

These ingredients are very versatile. You can use them as I have mentioned above to make a thick gravy for chick pot pie or a marinade for steak. Most often however, I use the dry spices on pork, beef or chicken and then use the wet ingredients to make a braising liquid. I usually prep dinner while the kids are taking their afternoon nap and braising takes 2-3 hours, so it is perfect timing for getting the food on the table for dinner. Sear the meat + then pour in braising liquid (1 part Worcestershire sauce, 1 part vinegar, 1 part soy sauce and 2 parts beef or chicken broth, a couple of tablespoons of coriander, a teaspoon of minced garlic and a ¼ teaspoon pepper and ¼ teaspoon salt.) Cover and put in low oven (around 275/300) for a couple of hours. When done (use a meat thermometer) take meat out to rest and add a couple of tablespoons of cornstarch to a mug and pour in some of the braising liquid and mix together, then add back to the saucepan and rest of braising liquid and bring to a boil. Taste and add more spices as you need. Finish off with a pat of butter and take off heat for the perfect gravy!

Foodie with a toddler…

I have finally been carving out some time to cook! Most of it has been on the grill (no pots and pans!). I also am getting creative with my lunches and food throughout the day. Eating quickly and sometimes with one hand are preferable, but I want to eat fresh and healthy. Today I had a caprese salad, goldfish crackers and some blueberries. Definitely a meal worthy of a foodie with a toddler (hence the title) 🙂

Quick, little clean up, easy meals are important right now. Here’s what I’ve been cooking:

Grilled sirloin (salt, pepper), peas (frozen – made in microwave), grilled polenta cakes (premade polenta rolls, sliced, rubbed with olive oil and sprinkled with shredded parmesan, all topped with a dollop of sour cream and chopped chives. [modified version of recipe I saw on Seattle PI or Seattle Times online]. This is the adult version.

Here is the toddler version. Karina wasn’t too impressed. She loved the steak though!

This is what other members of may family had for dinner 🙂 The boys love their milk/formula!

Tonight I made some farfalle pasta with shrimp, balsamic grape tomatoes and feta. Make farfalle. Defrost frozen already cooked shrimp with tails off, squeeze fresh lemon juice over shrimp after you dry them off and salt and pepper. Cut tomatoes in half and cover in bowl with balsamic vinegar (looks prettier with white balsamic – cheap at Trader Joes) and whatever fresh herbs you have on hand. I used basil and rosemary. Toss all together with some crumbled feta. Yum! In the past I’ve added steamed broccoli and used leftover salmon instead of shrimp.

Very good and very easy. Nice for a summer’s evening with a glass of Riesling.

I keep frozen hamburger patties and hotdogs on hand so that we can grill up a quick summer favorite when we don’t have anything else. Add a salad and its a great summer meal.

I also grilled some pizzas the other night. See link for past grilled pizza recipes. This is not relaxing and was definitely pushing the boundaries of what I’m capable of and only worked because the twins decided to sleep from 5pm to 10pm. I made my regular mozzarella with sauce and basil on Trader Joe’s wheat dough. Then I made a bbq chicken pizza. In an effort for effortless cooking, we often buy the already roasted chickens at Fred Meyer and had about 1/3 of the chicken left. I shredded the chicken and mixed it with a smokey bbq sauce, molasses, honey and some brown sugar, saving some of the sauce to spread on the dough. I caramelized a shallot and sliced up the mozzarella (maybe next time I would use goat cheese). Here is the recipe I was inspired by.

Now I really should go to sleep (especially since all three kids are sleeping – which is rare!).

Too pregnant to cook…

Time is now not the only problem, I can’t stand for long enough to cook a meal. I’m almost at the 33 week mark with twins, so my husband has been doing all the cooking now. Here is what we’ve been eating, which are good suggestions for anyone who doesn’t have time and also those who don’t like to cook:

Fish sticks and sweet potato fries (Frozen fish sticks + fries from Trader Joes that all you have to do is turn on the oven, put them on a baking sheet, put them in the oven)

Whole wheat pizzas with artichokes (Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza dough – take out about 20 minutes before you want to use it, like right when you walk in the door. Roll it out with a little flour to keep it from sticking, throw some jarred sauce on there, mozzarella and then cut up some jarred marinated artichokes – or roasted red peppers – follow the directions on the dough for length of cooking. When done, just sprinkle some salt and pepper to your taste.)

Pesto Tortellini with Italian sausage (Some nice friends brought us some food to make this easy meal yesterday. Boil water and cook tortellini, when done toss with pesto sauce. Take the already cooked Italian sausage and just chop and heat in skillet, toss on the pasta, sprinkle with parmesan and you have a delicious meal!)

Sausage and Perogies (Similar to the meal above, you can mix it up by buying different types of already cooked sausage and the carb. Boil water, drop in Perogies, when done, plate with cooked sausage + steamed frozen peas or another frozen veggie).

Steak, polenta (Use a tube of already cooked polenta – cut it up, add it to a pot with about 2 Tbsp melted butter and about a cup and a half to 2 cups of milk (or I use fat free half and half). Mix with potato masher as it heats over medium heat until smooth, add more milk if you want it smoother. When done add a handful of parmesan + a Tbsp of fresh herbs (optional). Put salt, pepper and whatever herbs you like on steak. We often add coriander. Grill, saute, or cook it however is easiest for you. For a veggie we often use Trader Joe’s soycatash – mixture of corn, red pepper and edamame).

Chicken quesadillas (Buy a rotisserie chicken, take some meat off, put it in a whole wheat tortilla with some shredded cheddar, black beans – from a can, if we have them – then put in a toaster oven until done. Top with salsa + some sour cream).

Being pregnant and having to eat all the time, I often eat some of the chicken and some cheddar for a snack. Without me cooking, we don’t really have leftovers anymore, so end up ordering take out at least once a week and bring canned soup or frozen meals like Lean Pockets to work for lunch.

I don’t know when I’ll cook again, but hopefully soon. I cannot wait to get back into my kitchen!

Another successful “Google” meal

The way I usually cook is to look in the fridge, see what I have, what I’m in the mood for, then Google a couple of ingredients until I find the right recipe that will give me an idea for a meal. I had defrosted steak and my husband, Tim, wanted pasta. I typed “steak and pasta” into Google. While Karina took her pre-dinner nap, I searched through a couple of recipes until I came across one on (which I frequently use for ideas and for info on how long to cook things, since that is not one of my strengths) for Maitre d’hotel butter. It gave me a great idea. My husband grilled the steak (salt, pepper, garlic powder and chili powder). I made some orzo pasta (the kind that looks like rice, my first time using it). For the sauce, I melted about 1/4 stick of butter, 2-3 Tbsp olive oil and about 1/2 teaspoon of garlic together in a saucepan. I poured that over the pasta when it was done, added some shredded Parmesan (I guess about 1/4 – 1/2 cup), salt, lemon pepper, chives, fresh herbs (on hand I had rosemary, basil, lemon thyme and sage) and cut up an on-the-vine tomato (no salmonella!). It turned out great. I used the leftovers the next night as a pasta salad when some friends came over for dinner.