August 12, 2015

Our Favorite Skillet Beef and Broccoli


Looking for a go-to, restaurant-quality, never-ordering-take-out-again beef and broccoli recipe?  This is it!  No wok required.  It's seriously delicious, super easy to make, ready in under 30 minutes (including marinating time!), and much healthier than take-out. 

Choosing the beef:  Flat iron steak may be more expensive, but is the best choice for this dish because it's more tender.  Skirt (or flank) steak works well, too, but it won't be quite as tender.  Whichever beef you choose, know that they are best when thinly sliced against the grain and cooked quickly to medium-rare.  Cooking beyond medium will cause the steak to be tough.  

Note:  Because my family prefers their broccoli soft, I blanch it ahead of time (while the steak is marinating).


Ingredients: 
Yields 4 servings
Adapted from Serious Eats

  • 1 lb flat iron or skirt steak (pictured), sliced into 1/8-inch thick pieces against the grain
  • 1/4 c soy sauce, divided
  • 1/4 c dry sherry, divided
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil  
  • 1/4 c butter 
  • 1/4 c onion, finely minced 
  • 1 lb broccoli, cut into florets
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced 
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 2 tsp cornstarch 
  • 1/4 c oyster sauce 
  • 1/3 c chicken broth
  • 1/3 c water
  • 1 tbsp sugar 
  • 1/8 tsp pepper, or to taste  
  • Rice, cooked according to package instructions

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine the steak with 1 tbsp of the soy sauce and 1 tbsp of the dry sherry, and stir well to combine.  Marinate at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.  Combine the remaining 3 tbsp of soy sauce and the cornstarch with a fork to make a slurry.  Stir in the remaining 3 tbsp of sherry, oyster sauce, chicken broth, water, and sugar.  Set aside.

Heat the sesame oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  In batches, add the beef to the hot skillet, cooking until slightly charred but still pink in spots, about 30 to 45 seconds.  Do not overcook the beef.  Remove the beef from the skillet and cover.  Repeat with the remaining beef. 

In the same hot skillet, add the onion and broccoli, and cook until charred, about 2 to 3 minutes.  If you prefer your broccoli a little softer, add a little water to the pan and cover while cooking.  Stir in the garlic and ginger, and cook for 1 minute longer. 

Pour in the sauce, tossing and stirring until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.  Return the beef to the skillet, and stir well to coat.  Season with pepper. 

Immediately transfer to a serving platter.  Serve over rice.

Enjoy!


August 10, 2015

Roasted Garden Vegetable & Sausage Ratatouille


When we bought our new house in the end of May, I knew that time was of the essence, so I hurriedly planted a vegetable garden.  I also started a compost pile, which is finally turning into beautiful, rich soil.  Other than dealing with Canada thistles (help!), we have naturally healthy, rock-free soil here.  I can't wait to see how well my garden does when I add compost to it!  If your garden is bursting at the seams like mine is, this is a delicious and healthy way to use up those summer veggies.  Sausage and a splash sherry add beautiful depth of flavor to this ratatouille.  Because I didn't have time to start bell pepper seeds indoors, I sadly went without them this year.  If you have them, thinly sliced bell pepper is a tasty addition to this dish.  


July 30, 2015

Shrimp, Snow Peas & Mushrooms over Jasmine Rice


It's been two months already since we've moved into our new home.  Because of the timing of our settlement date, I got a little bit of a late start with my new garden.  I'm just now beginning to harvest zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes, green beans, etc.  Better late than never!  I had the exciting discovery of black cherry trees and a Chester Thornless Black Raspberry bush in my backyard last month.  The black cherries are done for the year, but I'm still getting a ton of blackberries.  Maybe jams and jellies will be on the menu soon!  I also have an overabundance of snow peas. While my little sous chef and I have generally been enjoying them raw, I decided to use them in dinner last night.  I don't know why we don't eat snow peas more often.  They're one of my favorite veggies!  My husband and daughter raved over this dish.  It's so full of flavor.  

On a different note, we got the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Active a few weeks ago.  I love so many things about it, but my favorite thing is the camera -- it takes amazing photos!  For the very first time, I decided to use a phone camera for blogging.  Not bad, right?! 


June 17, 2015

Hasselback Chicken Cordon Bleu



Since we're still in the process of getting established in our new home, I've been sticking to quick-and-easy meals for dinner.  Hasselback chicken is a concept that I came up with after getting very frustrated with all the butterflying, pounding, rolling, stuffing, and fastening of chicken breasts for stuffed chicken.  It's seriously easy to make.  My favorite thing about it is that you can easily control the chicken-to-other-ingredients ratio.  The first time I tried it, I made a Cajun chicken with pepper jack cheese and spinach, and it was amazing.  Check it out here.  This time, I had some leftover deli ham that I had to use up, so I decided to make a Cordon bleu.  The results?  My family raved over it. 

Speaking of our new home, we're making progress!  Unpacking has had its ups and downs, but we've been getting through it at a pretty steady pace.  Just 37 a few more boxes to go through in the basement, and we'll be all settled in!  Along with a new house comes the excitement of exploring new local destinations.  I have 4 grocery stores (that I'm aware of so far) within 1 mile of my house, which will make it much easier for me to shop sales.  I also still haven't had the time to set up a food blogging station, so, once again, these photos were taken at my bay window.


June 10, 2015

Quinoa & Chicken Fried "Rice" -- and the reason for my hiatus



What's with my two-and-a-half month hiatus from food blogging?  I've had a very good reason.  We just bought and moved into a new house!  I'm surprised at how quickly this place has felt like home to us.  It is taking me some time, however, to adjust to a new kitchen.  I still haven't had time to set up a food blogging station at my new house, so I ended up taking this photo on the windowsill of my bay window.  Not too bad!  I'm so happy that I can finally food blog again.  I've missed it! 

Even though we're settled in, there are still boxes that haven't been unpacked yet.  Last night, we were craving Chinese food for dinner, so I started gathering ingredients to make fried rice.  I couldn't find my rice anywhere, so I decided to use quinoa instead.  I love how quinoa takes on the flavor of whatever ingredients you cook with it.  Easy to make, delicious and healthy! 


March 29, 2015

Skinny Tuscan Chicken over Summer Squash "Noodles"


Unseasonably cold weather got you down?  This lightened-up Tuscan chicken is sure to incite thoughts of spring!  It's light, healthy, and full of flavor but without all the carbs.  Boiled summer squash is used in place of pasta and paired with a delicious, creamy, veggie-packed topping spooned over juicy, herbed chicken. 



March 25, 2015

Baked Sweet & Spicy Cajun Chicken Drumsticks


Let's not talk about how long it's been since I've shared a recipe.  The wheels in the kitchen have certainly been turning, but my motivation wheels for blogging... not so much.  Don't get me wrong, food blogging is one of my biggest passions.  It's just that I've been spread so thin with lots of "things" over the past few months.  I'm not complaining, though.  I wouldn't change a thing about the life that God has blessed me with. 

Now on to the food - my favorite part!  I don't know about you, but I've had enough of this cold weather!  Uncle!  I've recently been craving picnic foods like potato salad, corn on the cob, drumsticks, etc.  Since it's not quite grilling season yet, I decided to bake some drumsticks in a delicious honey and Cajun seasoning sauce.  You have to try these!  They're juicy, sweet, spicy, Cajun-y (yes, I made that word up), sticky, and they fall right off the bone! 


February 27, 2015

Skillet Balsamic Chicken & Rotini


Happy Friday!  Here is another quick and easy weeknight meal to add to your rotation.  It's a skillet version of my Crock Pot Balsamic Chicken over Pasta.  There is a lovely hint of sweet and tangy flavor, but it's not overpowering.  I served this with some freshly steamed broccoli.


February 25, 2015

Busy Weeknight Shrimp & Rice Noodle Stir Fry with Peas


Wednesdays have turned out to be quite the busy day for us this year.  Once school lets out for the day, it's Girls on the Run until 5:00 followed by a mad rush to finish homework.  We then prepare & eat dinner all before dance practice from 6:30 to 8:00.  This is one of my favorite meals for busy week nights.  While soaking the noodles in hot water, the rest of the ingredients are prepped and then sauteed in a skillet.  It's fast and easy, and it tastes delicious!

Note:  I always keep a 2 lb. bag of frozen raw easy peel shrimp in my freezer.  To quickly thaw the shrimp out, place however much shrimp your recipe calls for in a Ziplock bag.  Submerge the shrimp in a large pot of warm water for about 20 minutes, depending on the size of your shrimp.  


February 20, 2015

Pan-Fried Cod with Farro Salad in Champagne Vinaigrette



My husband and I celebrated 11 years of marriage this past Valentine's Day!  We look forward to a romantic getaway every year, but once the celebrating is over, we come to the grim realization that we have to endure the long, bitter winter that just seems to go on and on... and on and on... like a bad run-on sentence.  You know it's brutal out when the school districts are closed because of the low temperatures.  The frigid weather sends me into complete hibernation mode, and all I want to do is bundle up all day with a hot cup of tea.  I'm happy to report that I've already gained my usual 5-pound winter weight, and I justify it by telling myself that the only practical thing to do is embrace the extra layer of insulation.  It takes everything in me to muster up motivation for exercise this time of year.  My daydreams have ever increasingly consisted of playing tennis under the hot son, or running on the trail next to my little sous chef.  

Speaking of running, I enrolled my daughter in Girls on the Run!  It's a program that "inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running."  Once it's completed, she and I will run our first 5K together!  More about that another time.

Because my exercise routine is rather unstable this time of year, eating healthy is a must.  Once a week, I incorporate fish into our meal rotation, and I'm always looking for different ways to present it to my family.  I've been experimenting with farro recently, and I decided to pair the two for dinner.  Farro is a wonderfully chewy and hearty grain that has a delicious nutty flavor.  It holds up well in soups and stews, and is a great substitute for pasta.  Farro is high in fiber, a rich source of vitamins B and E, and can stimulate your immune system and lower cholesterol.

This farro salad is dressed in a delicious champagne vinaigrette and seasoned with thyme, parsley, and rosemary.  A touch of freshly squeezed orange juice is added to brighten up the flavor.  Fresh tomato and artichoke are tossed in along with some minced onion for a little crunch factor.  This is a delicious salad that's hearty, healthy, and full of flavor.  It can can be enjoyed warm or cold.  I can't wait to use farro in my Tuscan Soup next time!    


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