In a perfect world dinner would always be pretty on the plate.

In a perfect world dinner would show the love that went into preparing the meal, it would shine through on a plate.

In a perfect world dinner every night would look like it belonged on the pages, no cover of a food magazine.

However much like life, cooking is often a messy endeavour.

In the real world dinner plated up is often a little clumsy.

In the real world dinner is not plated up with professional techniques.

And fair enough I am a home cook, I am not a chef. On a Tuesday night I do not know about you but I’m not all that worried about arranging my perfectly cut veggies or slicing meat to be visually appealing. No just a tasty dinner, a little glass of red wine and this girl is happy.

For me lately weekday cooking has become a lot of one pot dishes, trying to cook up something easy with lots of veggies and reheats well for leftovers. Maybe that doesn’t sound particularly glamorous, but a casserole of roasted veggies is my new favorite dinner. Add in some pasta, or chicken, or top with an egg. Yum!

And truthfully unless you are a professional there is no way not to make a casserole look clumsy. BUT who cares!?! Does it taste good? Yes. And when it comes to a weekday dinner that is ALL that matters.

Much like a casserole, my deconstructed beef rouladen does not look terribly pretty. A traditional tightly rolled rouladen can look much more appealing on a plate. And back to that perfect world you would have the time to pound the meat, create the layers of the stuffing and roll tightly. Seared and sliced on an angle for a nice presentation. Not even on a Sunday night would most people find the time or the energy for that, most definitely not on a weeknight.

The first time I cooked this dish I thought I wouldn’t share it with all of you because it was a messy dish. And there was no way that it would photograph very well. I thought about slicing the meat, but the cheese and veggies would come apart and that flavorful mess is best together. After the second time I made it, I decided it would be too selfish not to share.

So in all of its’ messy glory I give you my Deconstructed Beef Rouladen

The steps to preparing this dish are quick and mostly in one pan. In fact you can even cheat and blanche the spinach in the microwave.. Go on I won’t tell if you don’t!

Most of the time comes from the marinading. Place the meat in the marinade in the morning, or even the night before, and you will have a delicious dinner on the table in about 3o minutes. And once it warms up, this would be fantastic prepared on the BBQ.

Deconstructed Beef Rouladen

A deconstructed version of a classic Eastern European dish of Beef Rouladen. This recipe includes spinach, onion, pickle, bacon and cheese topped on a red wine marinaded flank steak. Serve with crusty bread and a grilled tomato.

  • 2 – 5 oz flank steak
  • Marinade:
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp red wine
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Topping:
  • ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of fresh spinach
  • 2 pieces of bacon, sliced
  • 1 pickle, minced
  • ½ cup mozzarella, finely shredded
  • ½ tsp red chile flakes
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Mix marinade ingredients in a bowl, place steak and marinade in a plastic bag. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

  2. Remove meat from marinade, pat dry and allow to come to room temperature while you prepare topping.

  3. Heat olive oil in saute pan with lid. Add onion and season with salt, pepper and chile flakes. Once softened set aside.

  4. Cook bacon, once brown remove from pan. Drain any excessive fat from bacon.

  5. Blanche spinach in boiling water for 2 mins. Drain well and set aside.

  6. Over medium high heat place flank steak in saute pan. Cook steak for 3 mins on one side, then reduce heat and flip steak.

  7. Layer toppings on steak – spinach, onion, pickle, bacon, and cheese. Cover steak and cook for approximately 4 mins for a medium rare steak (cook longer if you wish).

  8. Serve with a grilled tomato and crusty bread.

With a lovely red wine it is currently one of my favorite dishes for a week night dinner.

I love this chianti with the rouladen. Intense, velvety and crisp. This red boasts a medium nose with woody and red fruit aromas. A medium-bodied wine has a refreshing acidity that is accompanied by gentle tannins, that give this wine enjoyable spicy hints.


What else would my perfect world include…

  • The fur children would be better behaved aka stop barking at every noise.
  • Wine prices would drop. Or maybe just the tax on wine would be cut.
  • I would get paid to travel the world.
  • My PhD would magically be finished.
  • Haribo Starmix would be a healthy snack.
  • Paddy’s Irish Whisky would be available in Canada again.
  • And I guess I better say I would see the husband a bit more!