Sometimes it’s hard to think about what to make for a nice Valentine’s Day dinner. If you’re a lucky gal and your guy has made you reservations to a great restaurant, then make this recipe some other time.  🙂

But for most of us, we’d rather not spend the money/not fight the crowds/celebrate at home/be with your kids/insert your reason {here} for staying home for Valentine’s Day dinner.

You can still enjoy a great meal though…and for my rancher, that means Chicken Fried Steak! Yes, it’s not the most romantic or decadent piece of beef you can make, but if I make it right, that makes the way to my rancher’s heart.

Speaking of heart, you want to know one of the best reasons for eating beef?! It’s heart-healthy!

Don’t care? Every year, about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack, and about 600,000 people die from heart disease — that’s one out of every four deaths. That makes heart disease the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control. We probably should all pay a little more attention to heart-healthy foods like beef.

The American Heart Association (AHA) has certified six fresh beef cuts to its list of approved food items. The AHA stamp of approval is one of the most trusted nutrition icons on food packaging today, with many consumers checking to make sure that the AHA checkmark is on their food products before purchasing.

The six cuts that now meet AHA criteria for heart-healthy include:

  1. Sirloin tip steak (USDA Select)
  2. Bottom round steak (USDA Select
  3. Top sirloin stir-fry (USDA Select)
  4. Boneless top sirloin petite roast (USDA Select)
  5. Top sirloin filet (USDA Select)
  6. Top sirloin kabob (USDA Select)

My rancher’s favorite chicken fried steak fits right in as it’s made from a round steak. And the favorite way for me to make it for him is The Pioneer Woman’s recipe. So ladies, make your man happy this Valentine’s Day with a heart-healthy cut of beef – while also making his heart happy and healthy!

{Chicken Fried Steak}


3 lbs cube steak (tenderized Round Steak)
1-1/2 cup whole milk, plus up to 2 cups for gravy
2 whole large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
Seasoned Salt
¼ teaspoon Cayenne
Salt and lots of Black Pepper
Canola oil, for frying


Begin with an assembly line of dishes for the meat: milk mixed with egg in one; flour mixed with spices in one; meat in one; then have one clean plate at the end to receive the breaded meat.

Work one piece of meat at a time. Season both sides with salt and pepper, then dip in the milk/egg mixture. Next, place the meat on the plate of seasoned flour. Turn to coat thoroughly. Place the meat back into the milk/egg mixture, turning to coat. Place back in the flour and turn to coat. (So: wet mixture/dry mixture /wet mixture/dry mixture)

Place breaded meat on the clean plate, then repeat with remaining meat.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop in a few sprinkles of flour to make sure it’s sufficiently hot. Cook meat, three pieces at a time, until edges start to look golden brown; around 2 to 2 ½ minutes each side.

Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and keep warm. Repeat until all meat is cooked.


After all the meat is fried, pour off the grease into a heatproof bowl. Without cleaning the pan, return it to the stove over medium-low heat. Add ¼ cup grease back into the pan. Allow grease to heat up.

Sprinkle 1/3 cup flour evenly over the grease. Using a whisk, mix flour with grease, creating a golden-brown paste. Keep cooking until it reaches a deep golden brown color. If paste seems more oily than pasty, sprinkle in another tablespoon of flour and whisk.

Whisking constantly, pour in milk. Cook to thicken the gravy. Be prepared to add more milk if it becomes overly thick. Add salt and pepper and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until gravy is smooth and thick. Be sure to taste to make sure gravy is seasoned well.

Serve meat next to a big side of mashed potatoes. Pour gravy over the whole shebang!


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