Dinner: Birthday Steaks!

securedownloadIt was my wife’s family that introduced me to steaks, so it is only fitting that when it comes to my brother-in-law’s (BIL) birthday that we cook up a bunch of steaks.  I’m not going to argue with this and am about to mandate all birthday dinners that happen at my house feature steak as the main course.  Not only is it delicious, it will help me get more comfortable with cooking the damn things.  I would rather be called horrendous names than have someone say I cooked their steak poorly.

This time around we picked up three filets and two t-bones from the local butcher.  We’ve rocked Kroger steaks before…and while not terrible, are not birthday quality.  We also tried a new dry rub from the makers of A-1 (the sauce you don’t eat with your steak if you’re civilized…but don’t try to tell my wife this).  The rub wasn’t bad and added a nice extra flavor to the steaks.  I would rub a bit more on them next time, but it wasn’t bad for a store bought mix.  Some minutes later after a couple flips on the grill and the steaks were done.

The only other request from my BIL was for some mac and cheese.  Since we weren’t going to serve him Kraft on his birthday, the wife went to a trusted source for all things tasty and delicious, The Pioneer Woman.  There we found a damn tasty mac and cheese recipe.  From what the wife said it was a bit labor intensive, but I can assure you the results were delicious.  Between the five of us having dinner, it barely had any leftovers.  It has one of those nice crunchy and cheesy top layers that I could eat entirely in one sitting (the bottom part would be the second sitting).  The nice part is that it only took 25 minutes to bake after assembly.  Once done, it was a picture of cheesy perfection.

To round out the meal we threw some green beans in the oven (with a little EVOO, salt, pepper, and garlic) until they were crispy and had some mashed potatoes.  We went with the fancy Bob Evans mashed potatoes, but screw you…they are some good potatoes!  Once everything was ready it was time to eat.

Now our guests could have just been being nice, but they all cleaned their plates.  I was about to gnaw the meat off the bone, but figured there were ladies at the table.  Instead I just went for thirds of mac and cheese…like a gentleman.  Dinner was a success and it left the BIL happy.

Lastly, one of my BIL’s friends that was over brought an amazing cat cake.  I mean, you can see in the picture below that it was not just your average sheet cake.  Made from three cakes formed into one Voltron type cat cake, it was a feline masterpiece…that was also mint chocolate.  From what I’m told there were crushed up mint chocolate Oreos in the cake along with the mint frosting.  So yeah…after a huge ass dinner, I made room for a huge ass slice of cake and ice cream.

All in all, it was a delicious meal.  I got to test my grilling skills and we got to stuff the faces of our friends.  Top it off with three (or four) beers, and the night was a success!

Dinner Beer(s): Bell’s Hopslam Ale, Great Lakes Chillwave Double IPA, Victory Swing Session Saison

Pioneer Woman Macaroni & Cheese


  • 4 cups Dried Macaroni
  • 1 whole Egg Beaten
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 Stick Or 4 Tablespoons) Butter
  • 1/4 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 2-1/2 cups Whole Milk
  • 2 teaspoons (heaping) Dry Mustard, More If Desired
  • 1 pound Cheese, Grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Seasoned Salt, More To Taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  •  Optional Spices: Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Thyme


  1. Cook macaroni until very firm. Macaroni should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. Drain.
  2. In a small bowl, beat egg.
  3. In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly. Don’t let it burn.
  4. Pour in milk, add mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for five minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low.
  5. Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking eggs. Whisk together till smooth.
  6. Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth.
  7. Add in cheese and stir to melt.
  8. Add salt and pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed! DO NOT UNDERSALT.
  9. Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine.
  10. Serve immediately (very creamy) or pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.

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