I love kitchen gadgets, but at the same time I hate them. There are so many wonderful, time-saving appliances and utensils out there to make preparing food easier, more fun, and certainly quicker, but how many of these can we honestly justify keeping out on the kitchen counter. Because you know if you don’t keep it on the kitchen counter, the chances of you digging it out of the cabinet are slim or God forbid it be in the basement and you have to trudge down there and search for it, it will no doubt be used only once or twice before it is forgotten until your next yard sale and you end up selling it because you really never used it anyway.
Well I admit I have lots of gadgets sitting in the basement that are rarely, if ever, used. When I was cleaning out the storage room last summer to make room for my pantry expansion, I ended up donating more than half of my stash. The remaining gadgets were put on two shelving units in plain view, so every time I go into the pantry area, there they are staring at me, begging me to take them upstairs and use them. This has worked out for the most part, but whichever gadgets aren’t used by this summer, will promptly be donated, thus making room for new, hopefully more useful ones.
During the past month I have bought two new kitchen gadgets that I know will be getting a lot of use. First of all, they will both be stored right in the kitchen, one on an open shelving unit in the nook and the other in a cabinet that I go into at least three times a day. Second, they are gadgets that will save me money and open the door to many opportunities for new meals and improving on some old ones.
Today I want to share one of these gadgets with you. The second one will have to wait for a later post.
Meet my new Meat Cuber:
What sparked my sudden desire to make my own cubed meat was one of those wonderful cooking shows on television. The other day a restaurant was featured that cubed pork butts for a cornmeal crusted, deep-fried pork butt sandwich. Well, that was all it took. I had to have a cuber of my own, seeing as cubed pork is not something common in the grocery stores around here. At the same time, I knew that this gadget would not be exclusive for pork butts. There are so many meals that I make or want to make that call for meat to be pounded. This cuber does the job in an instant instead of me standing at the counter pounding away for 30 or more minutes. It can be used on beef, pork, chicken, veal, and probably even lamb if I wanted.
I know this might not seem like a practical gadget on the surface, but with the continuing rise of meat prices I am faced with every week at the grocery store, being able to buy a cheaper cut of meat, using the cuber to tenderize it, and thus producing a delicious meal, is definitely something handy to have around. This morning I used the meat cuber to cube round steak. Cube Steak at the grocery store is $6.99 per pound. I bought a large package of round steaks for $4.25 a pound yesterday and cubed about 2 1/4 pounds for dinner. This is more than a $6.00 savings just for this meal and all it took was less than five minutes time to cube it.
The cuber I bought claimed I could use meat up to 1/2″ thick. That was pushing it a bit, so I sliced the round steak in half horizontally so it was just over 1/4″ thick. The meat slid easily through the cuber and I ended up with perfectly cubed steak.
So, tonight rather than using store-bought cube steak to prepare a family favorite, All Day Simmer Cube Steak, I have freshly cubed round steak cooking in the pan. Actually though with this home cubed round steak I don’t think I’ll have to cook it all day in order to attain the cut-with-your-fork tenderness we’ve enjoyed in the past. I tasted the meat just after I’d seared it, which basically cooked the meat because it was so thin, and it was already tender. A few hours in the pan and this will be falling apart.
Saving money and improving on an old family favorite, does it get any better than that? And for this I am — Simply Grateful.