Chicken Fried Steak, Mashed Potatoes 'n Gravy with a Side Salad, Just What My Husband Ordered for Dinner!
That having been said here is what you need to prepare this meal for 2:
1 1/2 C. washed and trimmed lettuce of your choice
4 trimmed, blanched, chilled, and diced stalks of fresh asparagus
3" piece of English cucumber sliced in 1/8" pieces than cross cut into matchsticks
1 small carrot diced
1 small stalk of celery cleaned and diced
6 cherry tomatoes
Assemble attractively on chilled salad plates. Serve with your favorite dressing. This can be done ahead of time or as you make the meal.
The mashed potatoes:
3 large Russet or Idaho potatoes peeled and quartered
2 qt. water (or enough water to cover the potatoes 1/2")
1 T. salt for water
4 T. butter
1/3 to 1/2 C. whole milk or half and half
salt and pepper to taste
Generally I start the potatoes first for this meal. Add the prepared potatoes, salt, and water to a larger pan. There is danger of boil over if you start with what looks like a pan that would be fine. Go a size larger please and save yourself clean up! Bring to a boil. reduce to medium heat and cover. Cook until fork tender. Depending on the potatoes, the size of the pan, and how much water......this should normally take 20-30 minutes or so.
While these cook prepare the meat:
4 cube or minute streaks
all purpose flour for dredging
1/4 to 1/3 C. safflower oil for pan frying (you may use any oil you like this is just my choice)
Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Season and dredge each steak in flour. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed skillet. Cast iron is good if you have it. Over medium high heat quickly brown the meat. Place the meat in a covered oven proof dish and place it in the oven to finish cooking and keep warm.
The potatoes should be about done by now. Check them and if they are fork tender drain them. If your pan is stainless steel you can put the potatoes back in the pan to mash. If not a larger mixing bowl will do fine. DO NOT mash the potatoes in a Teflon pan, never, ever. Add the butter, milk, and seasonings and mash with a hand masher or an electric mixer until you reach the desired consistency. Taste the potatoes and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Set them covered back on the warm stove or in the oven while you make the gravy.
Remove any oil over about 3 T. from the frying pan. add about 5-6 T. all purpose flour to the oil and cook the flour in the oil over medium high heat for a few minutes. In my experience it does not really matter how thick, thin, or dry this mixture is. What matters is that you stir like crazy and cook the flour a little to improve the flavor and to loosen any of the crunchy bits. I ALWAYS use a large whisk to make gravy. Add about 2 to 2 1/2 C. cold milk to the pan all at once and stir like crazy. I never stop stirring. It will thicken and be smooth. Add salt and black pepper and taste. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Sit back and enjoy.