I had another family over for dinner tonight. It was one of those fairly spontaneous things that works out to be perfect! Sometimes, we try to line up dinner and we end up months out and then someone gets sick or something else comes up and we need to postpone and reschedule. My friend had emailed earlier this week and a few days later I answered and mentioned a possible Saturday dinner, knowing it was totally short notice. But it worked! Their kids are 4 and 6. She had mentioned that they liked broccoli but she was worried that they were kind of picky about some food. I enlisted my kids help in trying to come up with some ideas and here’s what we ended up with, which turned out to be perfect! Everyone ate well and seemed happy. Dinner was a tad later than I’d planned but I blame that on the excellent conversation and cocktail hour! Flank steak is one of my fallback company dinners. A bit of marinade makes it flavorful and it cooks up easily on the barbecue in about 12-14 minutes total.
I started the flank steak marinating about 1pm, when I got back from the grocery store. There are any number of easy marinades. The simplest I know is my mom’s old standby of lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, and parsley. It still is delicious. I went with a bit of a different one today:
Flank Steak Marinade
- 2 Tbs red wine vinegar
- 2 Tbs soy sauce
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1-2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
- pepper to taste
- Mix everything together and marinate your flank steak one hour or overnight.
I use a bag to marinade steak in because it’s so easy to lay it flat in the refrigerator and turn it over periodically. It works just as well to lay it in a dish and turn it, of course. I do find the meat absorbs a bit more flavor if I make some thin (1/4″?) slices across both sides before marinating.
The green salad was simply some chopped romaine lettuce, sliced yellow pear and regular red cherry tomatoes (from the garden), chopped carrots, and sliced green onions. That’s just what I had around. I had some bottled dressing, a blue cheese vinaigrette that was really good.
The chocolate cake was a mix, but still great. My eldest had wanted to bake. I keep a small supply of boxed cake mixes on hand for this, bought when they’re a dollar or less. I haven’t actually done the math comparing the cost but that seems reasonable to me–plus it makes my children willing to bake AND do the dishes. The leftovers will go for lunches and after-school snacks.
I like to note down what I cook for company and what works and what didn’t. In this case, I could have done a bit more ahead of time and been more prepared but overall it worked great. There wasn’t too much last minute work and everyone had seconds–a sure sign of success.