Marinade for Steaks and Chops

“Now, I have to get up at 4 tomorrow morning, get dressed, have breakfast at 4:30, pick Pete and Harold up at 5 and be at Leroy’s by 5:30,” explained my father.  “We have to be on our stands by 6.”

My mother was a new bride determined to be the best wife in Hayward.  She sliced the breakfast bacon, got the percolator ready to go on the stove and made my Dad’s lunch  before setting the alarm clock and going to bed.  This was many years before at least one wife decided to sleep in on the opening day of deer hunting season while her husband cooked his own breakfast.
The alarm went off, Mom woke Dad and started breakfast while Dad clothed himself in long underwear, a wool jack shirt, three pairs of socks, wool breeches that laced above the ankles and tall leather boots that laced nearly to his knees.
After a strengthening breakfast of bacon, eggs, toast and coffee, he got out his pocket watch to see if he had time for another cup before picking up his fellow hunters.
“What!!” says he as he holds his watch up to his ear to see if it has stopped. “It’s midnight!”
So it’s off with the clothes and back in bed to snuggle with Mom after checking to make sure that the alarm is set for 4.
“I was just so nervous,” Mom would explain as Dad told the story.  “I wanted to be sure to do everything right.”
Dad would laugh and say that at least she got him up in plenty of time.
I don’t remember whether he got his buck that morning, but he shot a lot of deer over the years.  We ate a lot of venison when I was a kid.  Mom fried it, roasted it, canned it and made chili and stew with it.
The one thing she did not do was serve it rare or even medium rare.  Meat was well done in our house until I started cooking, and then most family members refused to eat my attempts at gourmet cuisine.  Maybe if I had had a good marinade like this one….

I found this recipe on the web and have used it many times since, both for venison and beef. This marinade seasons and tenderizes lean meat exquisitely. Once you try it, you will be using it often.


2 cloves garlic
1/2 small onion
1/3 cup red wine
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
Dash of allspice
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
4 venison steaks or chops


Mince two large cloves of garlic and finely chop half a small onion. You should have about one-third cup of chopped onion. Combine the onion and garlic with the other marinade ingredients in a small bowl and whisk them together.

Put the steaks or chops in a plastic bag and pour the marinade over the meat. Seal the bag, making sure that the meat is well coated with the marinade. Marinate the meat for three to five hours in your refrigerator, turning it every hour or so. Take it out of the refrigerator a half hour before cooking to let it warm a bit.

You can grill or sauté the meat. Grill the meat over a hot charcoal or gas grill for two or three minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the meat and your preference. If you choose to sauté the meat, have your skillet very hot. Add a small amount of shortening and sear the meat in the pan on each side, again for two or three minutes. Venison should be served rare to medium rare.

NOTES: This marinade goes well with beef grill steaks or even round steak if you do not overcook it. If you don’t have any Dijon mustard, substitute a half teaspoon of dry mustard.

Carole’s Tuna Casserole

When days were cool, Mom baked more than usual. Baking helped warm the house, and if it got too hot inside, she could open a window or door to take advantage of the free air conditioning supplied by God.  Like all cost-conscious housewives, she baked lots of casseroles too.  My father did not like mushrooms, but he had no choice when it came to Mom’s casseroles.  Most of them had cream of mushroom soup in the list of ingredients.

Dad would have liked Carole’s Tuna Casserole.  Carole’s creation has no noodles, tater tots, mushrooms or mushroom soup.  Instead it is a flavorful combination of garden vegetables and tuna in a savory white sauce.

Jerri got this recipe before we were married when some of her friends gave her a recipe shower.  Each friend brought some of her favorite recipes handwritten on cards, and they were filed by category in a recipe box.    These recipes include many that have become staples in our home including this one which helped earn her the title of “Casserole Queen.”

For those of you who don’t like “regular” tuna casserole, try this one.  It makes a completely different impact on the plate and your taste buds.


2 six ounce cans of solid white tuna
2 medium large potatoes
2 medium carrots
2 stalks celery
2 T onion
1 package (about 10 ounces) frozen green peas
3 T butter
3T flour
1/2 cup water from vegetables
1 1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper
2 slices bread
1 or 2 tsp. butter


Peel and dice the potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes.  Wash and chop the carrots, celery and onion medium fine.  Put these vegetables in a covered pan, add 1/2 cup water and a dash of salt and steam for ten minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the frozen peas.

While the vegetables are cooking, make a roux:  Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan, add the flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon white pepper and cook over low heat for two or three minutes, stirring constantly.  Do not brown the flour.  Drain 1/2 cup of water from the vegetables into a measuring cup.  Add enough milk to total 1 3/4 cups of liquid.  Stir the liquid into the roux and cook it for 2 or three minutes until you have a smooth cream sauce.  Allow the sauce to cool slightly while you begin assembling the casserole.

Grease a 2 or 3 quart casserole with shortening or cooking spray.  Open and drain the tuna.  Spread a layer of flaked tuna on the bottom of the casserole.  Add a layer of half the vegetables, then half the cream sauce.  Repeat with the second can of tuna, vegetables and cream sauce.  Cut the bread slices into small cubes and spread them in an even layer over the sauce.  Dot with several dabs of butter.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.

NOTES:  “Medium large potatoes” means potatoes about five inches long.  You want about three cups of diced potatoes.  You can make this casserole ahead of time.  An hour before dinner, take the casserole from the refrigerator and put it into a cold oven.  Turn the heat to 350 degrees and bake for 50 to 60 minutes until the casserole is bubbling in the middle.