My Grandma Alice. Boy do I miss her. She’s a legend in our family. She was so sweet unless you made her mad, then look out. My generation grew up loving her profoundly and fearing her immensely.
Grandma Alice raised 6 children. Her husband, my grandfather, died at a young age from cancer. Alice became a single mother. As you can imagine, she didn’t put up with a lot of crap.
A group of us, my cousins and myself, can remember a time when we disobeyed Alice. Alice lived in front of railroad tracks, and for perfectly good reasons, we were not allowed on them. Don’t ask me whose big idea it was to go play on those tracks. I quit trying to figure out who is the bad influence, amongst my generation, a long time ago. Of course, we thought we were so smart and would not get caught. Ha.
All any of us remember is seeing Alice stomp down those tracks with a fly swatter in her hand. We should have run. We should have begged for forgiveness. But instead we froze. She swatted us all. I don’t remember if it really hurt us. What I do remember is how bad I felt that Alice was so mad at me.
Alice’s house always smelled like coffee, that she made in a percolator, and fresh baked bread. She always made Parkerhouse rolls, applesauce and coleslaw, at every Sunday meal.
Alice made a lot of depression era meals. I wish she was still alive so I could talk to her about those days. I love to talk to my 82 year old mother-in- law about the depression. She has so many amazing recipes that I’m excited to share with you, when I get the chance.
Today, I’m making a recipe that Alice made at many Sunday dinners, Homemade Beef Tips and Noodles. Alice made her beef in a pressure cooker. I’m using my Dutch oven. If you don’t have either of these, no big deal. Any pan with a lid, combined with a high heat in your oven, will give the same results.
My mom would also make this recipe. It’s a treasured recipe in my family. My mom and I are the only ones that continued the tradition. However, everyone loves the meal. As a kid, I loved helping my mom make homemade noodles. My mom would make the noodles early and let them sit on the counter to dry. I use to eat them raw when my mom wasn’t looking, so I thought.
The noodles are crazy inexpensive. There are a couple different ways I make them. I use them with Beef Ragu and Alice’s traditional, gravy-style beef. I also use chicken and turkey, with the noodles, instead of beef. Those are both really tasty too. It’s also a really great way to use up leftover meats.
For the noodles you will need to whisk together 3 eggs with salt and pepper.
Then, you need to add in 3 cups of all purpose flour, about a cup at a time, until a dough is formed. Knead the dough until all the flour is mixed in.
Dump the dough onto a well floured surface area. Cover and let rest ten minutes to soften the glutens. You will have a very hard time rolling these out if you don’t let them rest.
I rolled but it was still hard to roll as thin as it needs to be. The noodles will swell when they cook, just like prepackaged noodles. So, thin is where you want to be.
Now that your dough has been rolled thin, you want to roll it up into a jelly roll.
Then, with a serrated knife, cut the roll in slices. I like big thick slices but cut them however you like them.
After they are cut, you unroll the slices to make your noodles. You can cut them in desired lengths. Or you can do what I do. I rip them in smaller pieces as I unroll them.
Let the noodles sit on the counter all day, if you can, to let them harden up a little. This just ensures they cook without turning to mush and sticking together. I am sure I have had times that I didn’t have them sit long. Sometimes time is not on our side. On a meal like this, you want it to be a day you’re hanging out at home.
And kids love to help make these noodles. It is so much fun and think of the wonderful memories.
Now the beef. There are many ways to make a beef roast but I like to make anything in my dutch oven. It’s fast and makes any meat fall apart.
You’ll need about 2 pounds of beef. I like them very beefy. You could use one pound if you are on a budget. You could easily use less meat and double the noodles, if you are trying to save even more money.
Today I didn’t have much as far as vegetables and stock goes. I only had celery and carrots. So, I used a packet of onion soup to help with the flavoring.
Here is my typical recipe:
2 pounds beef chuck, round or sirloin roast
1 each of diced onion, carrot, celery, garlic clove
4 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon parsley
1/4 olive or vegetable oil
1/4 cup of flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Coat the roast in flour, on both sides, and salt and pepper to taste. Then sear the meat in a hot oven safe pan. Searing is critical for a very tender roast.
Remove the meat from the pan. Cook the vegetables, until golden brown, in the same pan and oils.
Once veggies are browned, add 4 cups of broth and stir and scrap the bottom to incorporate all ingredients well.
Add the meat back to the pan.
Cover the pan and cook the meat until falling apart and easily shredded. This took me about 2 hours. The time will vary depending on your pan. My iron, dutch oven cooks very quickly because of the high temperatures that get trapped in a dutch oven.
When it’s done, you want to pull it from the pan and shred it with two forks. I keep mine in very big and chunky shreds.
Then, bring the juices to a boil, either on top the stove or in the oven. Once the juice is boiling, add the noodles.
Let the noodles cook for about 1/2 an hour.
Once the noodles are cooked, add the meat back to the pan, along with about 1/4 cup of milk or cream. The milk is optional but I really like the creaminess it gives. Cook everything for about 15 more minutes. Watch the pan closely because it will easily stick to the bottom and burn at this point.
Oh that smell. That smell takes me back to my childhood. If I could get one wish granted, I would wish to drink percolated coffee with Alice and my mom. But they are both gone. I’m so grateful for the things I learned from them both. Today, I felt a little nostalgia and a little sadness for my losses. However, it was a great reminder that it’s traditions like this, that keep our loved ones with us for many generations.