Red meat

As I gave our farmyard cats the last of the Thanksgiving turkey and ham, I thought to myself, "what a waste. I should have froze some of this for later."

But life happens and stuff becomes a science experiment in my fridge because I don't feel like eating leftovers or I forget what's in there and how long it's been there.

This Christmas I'm thankful I don't have to worry about thawing a ham or turkey for a holiday meal. It appears we're going to keep it simple for a family gathering, and I'm choosing to ignore the need to cook something that won't get eaten.

Despite my dismay for wasting meat, I'll probably end up cooking something special for my little family. This year, I'm leaning towards steak. Because you can't beat a nice steak!

Although this time of year it's a little tough to choke down the price of a nice ribeye in the grocery store. Apparently it's the wrong time of year to be buying meat that is intended to be grilled. When we had a working grill, I barbecued all year round, with the exception of too windy, rain or extreme cold.

I've had to adjust my steak cooking once the grill quit, but I have found a way to satisfy the need for some red meat. I learned to cook a steak in the oven and stove top in a cast iron skillet. Hear me out, as I was a skeptic too. My husband claims these have been close to the best steaks he's ever had.

First you have to pick the perfect steak. I like a ribeye with a bone on it. The bone keeps/adds flavor to the meat, but it's not always necessary. One that has marbling within the meat has more flavor too. Although I don't always like a lot of fat left on a steak, I pick one that's a little greasy because, as an Oklahoma State professor I once had said, "Fat adds flavor."

To cook it in the house, you have to get the oven pretty hot. I've backed it down some from the recipe I first used to cook them because it was just too hot. I filled the entire house with smoke the first time I cooked a steak in the cast iron pan. I tested it out on a less expensive cut to perfect the process before I tried a more expensive cut.

Start by placing the cold cast iron skillet in the oven, and preheat to 425 degrees. While you're waiting on the oven get the steaks ready. They must be thawed for this process and they also must be at room temperature when cooking. Give the steaks a good coating of vegetable oil and then salt. I’m not a real fan of pepper on my steak, but if you are, you can add it at this point too.

Once the pan is hot, set it on a stovetop burner at medium high heat. Place the steak in the pan and let it sear for about 2 minutes per side depending on the thickness. Little less time for a thinner cut and a little more for thicker. If you have two steaks to cook, do them separately, unless they can fit in the pan without touching.

Once both sides are seared, flip and put some pieces of salted butter on the steak. Put the pan and steaks into the hot oven, cook 2 minutes more or less. Flip and repeat with more butter. Once both sides have been cooked in the oven, check for doneness. Once it’s reached your liking let the steak rest on a plate. Enjoy before it gets cold.

We usually have no steak leftovers at our house. And if there is, it's a battle to get to them the next day. This has turned into a great alternative in our house when we need a dose of red meat.

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