Easy Cheesy Grilled Skirt Steak Pinwheels

If you like steak, cheese and spinach, (three of the main food groups) you will love these cheesy pinwheels! They are quick and easy to make and will impress your guests with their attractive display.

If you can’t find skirt steak, no worries! You can use flank steak. I prefer the skirt steak because it has a beefier taste to me.

Cook / Prep Time: about an hour
Servings : Two (about 4 pinwheels)

Special equipment needed: a meat mallet or tenderizer and some kitchen twine.

  • 1 lb skirt steak
  • 3 ounce baby spinach leaves, chopped
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 lg shallot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 oz shaved or shredded parmesan
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • 1 sprig fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tsp ground thyme
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Pound the skirt steak into a rectangle about 1/4” thick.

Season both sides with salt and pepper. Turn the skirt steak vertically on a counter. Mix the lemon juice and olive oil together and brush onto the beef. Sprinkle the thyme leaves on it. Spread the chopped shallots and garlic evenly onto the meat. Pinch the basil leaves and dot them over the shallots and garlic. Evenly spread the Parmesan cheese over it. Spread the chopped spinach over the parmesan cheese. Add the provolone slices evenly on top.

Roll the meat up jelly roll style and it should look like this…

Cut 4 pieces of kitchen twine about 12” in length.

Tie them around the skirt roll and cut off the excess twine. Season with more salt and pepper if necessary. At this point, you can pop it in a 350 degree oven if you want and cook for about 30 minutes until desired doneness, or you can slice them and fry them or grill them. In my case, I grilled them.

Place them on a hot grill and grill them for about 4 minutes on each side and them place them in a 350 degree oven for about another 6-7 minutes for medium rare. They will tend to be tough if well done or overcooked. Let them rest with tented aluminum foil over them for about 5 minutes and serve.


Air Fried Beef Jerky

Beef Jerky is very easy to make, and you can customize the flavor you want by simply manipulating the marinade ingredients!

This is a basic recipe for regular beef jerky that I made, but you can make it more sweet or more spicy by having fun and being creative with the marinade.

I used an air fryer that has a dehydrate function. If you use a dehydrator, temperatures may vary.

Cook / Prep Time – overnight plus three hours

Yield – plan on losing about 60 % of the original weight of the beef due to moisture loss.


  • 1/2 lb thin sliced eye of round
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 1 tbsp smoked sea salt
  • 1/8 cup sugar (I used maple sugar, but you can use white or brown)
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp coarse black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp granulated onion
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 4 drops liquid smoke

As long as you start with a soy sauce base, you can add more or less sugar, pepper, garlic, liquid smoke, and seasonings. You can use crushed red pepper flakes, honey, hot sauce or wine. You can add onions or jalapeños to the marinade. Teriyaki flavor? Add ginger and pineapple juice. It all depends what kind of flavor profile you’re looking for.

* Our local Publix grocery store stocks thin sliced eye of round, but you may need to ask your butcher to slice some for you.

Mix the marinade ingredients together and add the sliced beef strips. Place in a ziplock bag and place it in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, drain and discard the marinade, squeezing the liquid out of the beef. Place the strips, sides not touching, on the air fryer baskets. Set at dehydrate at 160 degrees for one hour and turn the strips after 30 minutes. After one hour, turn the dehydrate temperate down to 120 degrees for two hours, again turning the strips around every 30 minutes. That’s it! Happy jerking!


Suggested music to listen to while preparing the jerky…..

“Walls and Bridges” a John Lennon album released in 1974 featuring the songs “Whatever Gets You Thtu the Night” , #9 Dream, and of course “Beef Jerky”

Braised Beef Tips & Noodles

This is an awesome dish to warm you up on a cold winters night!

This dish is similar to beef stew but without the carrots and potatoes. I highly recommend using chuck roast for the beef rather than round steak or sirloin. The chuck has to cook (braise) on low heat and takes a while but it becomes very tender and it oozes flavor when finished. It’s well worth the effort!

Braise is a cooking method by which food (usually meat or vegetables) is first browned in fat, then cooked, tightly covered, in a small amount of liquid at low heat for a lengthy period of time. The long, slow cooking develops flavor and tenderizes foods by gently breaking down their fibers. Braising can be done on top of the range or in the oven. A tight fitting lid is very important to prevent the liquid from evaporating.

—- from “Food Lover’s Companion”

Cook / Prep Time – about 3 hours

Servings – 2 or 3

  • 6 oz dried egg noodles
  • 1 pound boneless chuck
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups of beef or bone broth
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 1 large rib of celery
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1/2 (14.5 oz) can of petite diced tomatoes (I put the other half can in a small freezer bag and store in the freezer for next time)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste (I recommend the tube type)
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp granulated onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 tbsp grape seed or canola oil

Trim the chuck and cut into 1 inch cubes and dry them on a paper towel. Mix the flour, salt, pepper and granulated onion together. in a cast iron or carbon steel skillet, heat the oil on medium heat. Dredge the beef cubes in the seasoned flour and shake off excess flour.

Slowly place the beef cubes in the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Cook in a couple batches if needed.

Brown the beef cubes on all sides. Peel and chop the onion and garlic while browning the beef. Slice the celery diagonally into 1/4 inch slices. When the beef is totally browned, add the onion, celery and garlic and continue to sauté on medium heat.

When the onions are starting to brown, turn to medium high heat and add the beef broth, wine, soy and Worcestershire sauce. Cook the mixture until it comes to a boil. Add the diced tomatoes and the tomato paste.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Pour the beef mixture into a Dutch oven and cover. The broth may seem watery at this point, but it will thicken in the oven.

Place the pot in the oven , cover and and cook for 1 hour, stirring about after 30 minutes. When the hour is up, stir again. Remove the lid and put back in the oven for another hour, stirring after the first 30 minutes. The beef tips should be very tender and the sauce thickened at this point. If not, continue to cook until the beef is very tender.

Cook the egg noodles according to the package instructions. Drain them and and add a little olive oil, salt and pepper to the noodles.

Serve the beef tips with or over noodles. That’s it!


Suggested music for your listening pleasure while preparing the beef tips….

After watching an hour of the Grammy awards last night, I would suggest listening to some of the best from this talented piano player / singer songwriter, Alicia Keys. That girl is on fire! Check out her version of The Rolling Stones song “Wild Horses” among others, but I highly recommend not listening to “Earthquake” an absolutely horrible song performed by someone called “Tyler, the Creator” at the Grammy Awards. You’re welcome!

Loose Meat Sandwiches

Loose Meat Sandwiches, Tavern Sandwiches, or Maid-Rites – whatever you want to call them, call them delicious!

“It’s an Iowa thing!”

I referenced these sandwiches on my blog post from September 2019 “A Road Trip to American’s Heartland” after eating at a Maid-Rite sandwich while visiting my boyhood home of Davenport, Iowa.

It was so great to taste one of these sandwiches again that I had grown so fond of while growing up in Iowa that I had to find a way to duplicate that experience at home.

The Maid-Rite restaurant was one of our favorite places to go for “date night” while dating my soon to be wife Susan in the mid 1970’s.

These are definitely a Midwestern dish, and I haven’t been able to find a loose meat sandwich while living in the south.

Here is an interesting link from Wikipedia concerning the history of the “Tavern Sandwich” I am sure that all of the current presidential candidates campaigning in Iowa the last several months have been introduced and likely consumed some of these.


These are not to be confused with sloppy joe’s because they no not have a “sauce”.

So….. for the last several months, I have been researching and experimenting with different recipes and different ingredients to try to perfect this delicious sandwich.

I tried using everything from cider vinegar to brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, chicken bouillon, Dijon mustard, honey, French onion soup mix, butter and smoked sea salt. They all tasted good, but just didn’t taste like the original, so it was back to the drawing board once again.

Since these sandwiches always include dill pickles, and they enhance the sandwich, I thought why not try a little dill pickle juice in the mixture?

Behold! I think I’ve got it!

Here is the recipe…..

Cook / Prep Time – 30-40 minutes

Servings – 4 sandwiches


  • 1 pound 80/20 ground beef

  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 1 1/2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dill pickle juice
  • 1 tsp granulated onion
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • Sliced cheese any flavor (optional)


I made this in an InstaPot, but any skillet will do. Brown the ground beef on low heat, stirring constantly. If you do not stir it, it can become clumpy – you want the meat to be loose and crumbly. When fully cooked, drain the fat off the ground beef and return to the pan.

Add the chopped onions, beef broth, sugar, mustard, pickle juice, soy sauce, granulated onion and black pepper. Simmer on low heat, stirring often until the liquid has evaporated. Salt to taste if needed. Place a scoop of meat on a warm bun with mustard and dill pickles. Yummy!


***** Bonus Weight Watcher’s Recipe using the loose meat****

Note – My lovely wife Susan joined Weight Watchers about a year and a half ago and has lost around 35 pounds since then. The have various plans based on point systems that encourage sensible eating. You can find out more about their plans at http://www.weightwatchers.com

I have not been paid or reimbursed by Weight Watchers for this endorsement.

Loose Meat Tortillas

Servings – 1

Weight Watcher points – 8

Ingredients: 3 ounces of loose meat from recipe above (4 points)

  • 1/4 cup fat free shredded mozzarella (0 points)
  • 3 Mission thin corn tortillas (4 points)
  • 1/2 cup canned fat free dried beans (0 points)
  • 1 sliced tomato (0 points)
  • Sliced jalapeños (0 points)
  • 1 chopped green onion (0 points)

Place the 3 tortillas on a sheet pan or air fryer rack. Divide the refried beans and spread onto the tortillas. Add 1 ounce of the loose meat to each tortilla. Slice the tomato and divide the slices onto the 3 tortillas. Divide the mozzarella and sprinkle on the 3 tortillas. Add some sliced jalapeños on the tortillas if desired.

Bake or air fry at 350 degrees until the cheese has melted. Top with the chopped green onions and serve.


Suggested songs to listen to while preparing the loose meat….

“Maid Rites” by the Riptones from their 2003 album Slant 6.

Since these are also called “tavern sandwiches”, I recall a great song by Mary Hopkin called “Those Were The Days” from her 1968 album Those Were The Days” She was one of the first artists to be signed by The Beatles’ Apple records label, and the song was produced by Sir Paul McCartney. Here is the “tavern” lyric excerpt…

” Just tonight I stood before the tavern

Nothing seemed the way it used to be

In the glass I saw a strange reflection

Was that lonely woman really me”

If you have tried any of my recipes, feel free to comment or send me a snapshot. Thanks for reading!