Sunday, August 19, 2012

Guest Blogger Liz Lipperman

Comment to win Liz's book!

Please welcome our guest blogger Liz Lipperman!

It's great to be back with the Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen writers because I love this blog with all the great mystery writers and their recipes. Today I'm going to share one of my mother's recipes, and of course, there's a story behind it.

I grew up number eight of nine children, and although we were poor, we never really knew it. My father got sick when I was just a toddler and spent two years in and out of hospitals unable to work, and my mother held down three jobs to keep us off Welfare. One of those jobs was as the head cook in the kitchen of an Interstate motel that catered to truck drivers. There she thrived, drumming up business with her great recipes.

The one that had those truckers coming back in droves every week, though, was her fabulous Baked Steak and Gravy. I've included this one in the back of BEEF STOLEN-OFF, my Clueless Cook mystery series, and I'll share it with you today. When you pull this baby out of the oven, it literally breaks up with the fork and comes with already made, yummy gravy. My kids still beg for this one at family dinners. Here it is exactly as it appears in the back of the book, and although I’ve given the credit to one of the characters, it is definitely an Annie Roth original. Enjoy. Oh, in the picture I used mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes as hubby and I are counting carbs.

Bella’s Steak and Gravy

Yields 3-4 servings


1 pound (3-4 pieces) top round steak                                                       

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, divided

1 tablespoon cooking oil

4 beef bouillon cubes

2 teaspoons pepper                                                                         

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Cut the meat into 3-4 single serving size pieces if it has not already been done. Trim all the fat. Sprinkle a little flour (approximately 1 tablespoon) on one side of the steak and pound it in with a tenderizing hammer, flattening the steak. Turn and repeat for the other side. (If you use a butcher, you can ask him to tenderize the steak for you. Then, you can simply rub a little flour on each side of the meat.)

In a Dutch oven or skillet that has a lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Brown the steak pieces on both sides (2-3 minutes per side), working in batches if necessary so as not to crowd the pan. When all the pieces are browned, place them back in the Dutch oven, layering them. In a bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup of flour and 2½ cups of water, blending well. Pour the mixture into the Dutch oven. The liquid should cover the steak and will become the gravy. Whisk out any clumps of flour, then add the bouillon cubes and pepper. Continue cooking on the top of the stove until bubbling.

Cover and transfer the Dutch oven to the preheated oven and cook for 1½ hours. After about 45 minutes, check the gravy for thickness: if it is too thick, add more water: if it is too thin, add a tablespoon of flour to 4 ounces of water and whisk until smooth before adding to the gravy. If the flour clumps, simply remove it with a louvered spoon. Taste it and see if it needs more pepper or bouillon cubes. If you are doubling the recipe, add one bouillon cube at a time after the initial four cubes and taste after each one. Serve with mashed potatoes.

Look for more great recipes from Annie Roth in MURDER FOR THE HALIBUT which will release in January. And watch for HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE (written as Lizbeth Lipperman,) the first book of A Dead Sister Talking mystery series coming from Midnight Ink in May.

You can see what else has been keeping me busy on my website Since the main character of my Clueless Cook series can’t cook a lick and uses her friends’ casserole dishes with made up fancy names (Baked Steak and Gravy is Boeuf Cuis au Jus de Viande,) most of the recipes in the back of the books are right out of my own cookbook. Unlike my heroine, I am a pretty decent cook. Today I want to know if after you read a good book, do you ever try the recipes in the back? And as a bonus, Berkley will send one lucky commenter (Sheila’s pick) a copy of BEEF STOLEN-OFF (US only at their request.)


Liz Lipperman started writing many years ago, even before she retired from the medical field. Wasting many years thinking she was a romance writer but always having to deal with the pesky villains who kept popping up in all her stories, she finally gave up and decided since she read mysteries and obviously wrote them, why fight it? Two years ago, she signed her first contract with Berkley to write a cozy series writing as Liz Lipperman.

The first book of her Clueless Cook Mystery Series, LIVER LET DIE, debuted in October, 2011 with BEEF STOLEN-OFF releasing in July 2012. MURDER FOR THE HALIBUT is coming January 2013 and CHICKEN CACCHIA-KILLER in the fall of 2013. Look for HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE, a paranormal mystery series involving five sisters COMING next May from Midnight Ink and download MORTAL DECEPTION, a romantic mystery, now from Amazon. Both the mainstream mystery and the romantic mystery are written as Lizbeth Lipperman.


  1. Liz, this recipe sounds so delicious and I love knowing the background of where it really came from. I do try recipes in the books I read. I've especially enjoyed several I've found in your books. I enjoyed reading BEEF STOLEN-OFF and I'm looking forward to your next.

    Thoughts in Progress

  2. Liz, this sounds a lot like a recipe my dad would fix for dinner on Sundays, it was so good and tender! We had 5 kids in our family and back in the day round steak was a cheaper meat than most others.

  3. Congrats on the release Liz! Love the name of the book and I can't wait to try the recipe- very easy without too much work. Now that both kids will be in school I need to maximum the time I have without them! Thanks.

  4. I so want this right now! Is it the book or the meal, well frankly BOTH ;=D Congratulations on the release and the upcoming titles look dandy as well.

  5. I have read both books. I frequently try recipes in books.

  6. I do at times try out the recipes in the back of the books. Have to admit they have mostly been in the cookie line. I might change my plans for dinner tonight. Sounds good.

  7. Mason, knowing how the recipe came about really does make it more fun. I love that you've already read this one and do hope you try the recipes in the back. There are nine more great ones in BSO, including a chicken salad that I made up myself. I was having my bunko friends over and wanted chicken salad. Since I loved the Apple Walnut Chicken Salad from Paradise Bakery, I asked for a container of it. They would only sell it to me in sandwiches which is way more than I wanted to pay, plus I liked it on croissants and not bread. So, I bought one sandwich, took it home, and figured it out. Mine is even better than their's!!

  8. Karen, I'll bet it was similar. AS I mentioned, we had nine kids, so this recipe stretched for us. I'm sure my mother used the cheapest cut, but I've graduated to top round.

  9. Christine, do try this. The prep takes about twenty minutes and you're done!! I have to admit that having mashed cauliflower with it didn't hold a candle to good old fashioned mashed potatoes.

  10. LOL Denise. The meal is just a grocery store away. As for the book, maybe you'll get lucky and win the giveaway. Thanks for making me smile.

  11. Ah, Sue, a girl after my own heart. I hope you enjoyed them. And I'm glad you try out the recipes. Originally, this series was called The Casserole Lovers' Mysteries but the name got changed in a marketing meeting. It allows me to print desserts and beverage recipes, too.

  12. I really enjoy your series. I enjoy cooking and collect cookbooks so I love reading the recipes included in my mysteries. Do I use them? Well, like the rest of my life-I like reading and planning more than doing. lol. I always intend to use the new recipes-and sometimes I do, but not as often as I think about them!

  13. Sandra, there's a great recipe in the book for Better Than Sex cake, which is to die for. I also have a from-scratch banana pudding. Yum.

    And run right out and get the ingredients now. Your family will love you for it.

  14. What a wonderful story, Liz. I'm itching to try this recipe. Must look for top round.

    I know that people make the recipes because I hear from them. Mostly I hear when I describe something and *don't* include the recipe! LOL!

    Thanks for joining us today, Liz!

    ~ Krista

  15. Katreader, thanks for your nice comments. I always have good intentions, too. But you must try this one. It is so yummy. Leave your knives in the drawer because you won't need them.

  16. LOL, Krista. I love readers. And it's my pleasure to be here with all of you. I don't know whether anyone noticed but there is a great blurb on the front of this book from your very own Cleo Coyle. I love that woman!!

  17. First of all, I send my love right back to you, Liz, you're the best! Warmest congrats to you on a terrific second book in a fabulous, fun and funny mystery series. And more congrats on your new supernatural mystery series coming from Midnight Ink--you are on fire, lady!

    This hearty dish has heart written all over it, and I love the story attached. Thank you so much for sharing it with us today, and I'm now looking forward to Jordan's 3rd "Clueless Cook" adventure in Jan. I hope you plan on coming back to the kitchen then! (Now off to tweet this great giveaway...)

    ~ Cleo

  18. Two of my favorite things: good beef and a good mystery! LOL

  19. I do love this series. I frequently try recipes in the back (or throughout) books.

  20. I usually always try some of the recipes! I'm looking forward to read this one!

  21. Oh, I'm so happy to have a new series to read! I'm happy to have some new recipes to try out on my hungry grandchildren (9-year-old triplets and a 12-year-old) and my husband. Hope to find your books at our local library tomorrow!

  22. I always want to try the recipes, but figure they won't "measure" up! Reading about them is just as good to me! Thanks for the chance to win!

  23. Very interested in the book and the beef and gravy recipe. Sounds delish (both of them) :)

  24. Recipe sounds great! I like to try some of the recipes, although I have to admit that it sometimes only gets to the bookmark the page stage!

  25. Love the titles of the books. This gives me a new series to read. The recipe looks good, too.

  26. Ah, Cleo, you say the nicest things. And thanks for the shout out on Faceboook and Twitter. You're the best. And count on me coming back when MURDER FOR THE HALIBUT releases in January. There are ten more awesome recipes in that one and several from Annie Roth (my mother.) One in particular is her Pigs in the Blanket (cabbage rolls) that we had at every wedding I ever went to when I was growing up. It's a Hungarian/Polish thing.

    And your books are all doing fantastic, too. I keep tabs on you and have them all on my kindle. Love you.

  27. LOL, Marsha, those are tow of my favorite things, too. Hope you try both the book and th4 recipe.