Friday, May 30, 2008

Foodie Friday - Recipe of the Week

So, as I mentioned earlier, I did not get to debut my new knife in the kitchen this evening. But we did make a very satisfying "make your own takeout" (nod to Rachael Ray!) kind of meal from the second round of freezer meals. The Dinner Diva did not disappoint - with a couple of minor modifications, this one was fabulous as usual. As I am wont to do, I tweaked it a little as I went along, and here are the results. Hubby liked it very much, and we both pronounced this one a winner. Perfect for a Friday night movie!

[For our dinner and a movie night, we watched License to Wed, which was absolutely hilarious. I mean, it was fall out of your chair and hurt yourself laughing, funny. I highly recommend the movie as well, except that I laughed so hard I almost choked on my lovely dinner!...]

But enough about movies. On to the actual food part of Foodie Friday!

Pepper Steak
Serves 2 with leftovers (or 4, if you eat more civilized portions than we did!)

One package (about 1 pound) lean skirt steak, thinly sliced against the grain
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 bell peppers, any color combination, trimmed & thinly sliced
Olive oil as needed
2 teaspoons (may need a bit more) cornstarch
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp soy sauce (no MSG)
1/2 cup chicken or beef broth (no MSG)
2 Tbsp sherry (use only the kind you would drink; NOT "cooking" sherry, which is an abomination that should be outlawed entirely)
1 Tbsp Teriyaki Glaze (I use Kikkoman, from the soy sauce aisle)

If making the meal to freeze for later preparation, combine the first 4 ingredients in a large freezer bag. Toss with about 1 tablespoon olive oil, squeeze out air and double bag. Freeze flat, in a single layer, so it will thaw evenly. (To use, thaw overnight in fridge).

If making the meal all at once, heat 2-3 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet or wok pan over medium-high heat. Add the beef and brown quickly on all sides; remove from pan and keep warm. Add additional olive oil if needed, turn heat to medium and saute onions, garlic and peppers (be careful not to burn the garlic, or it will become bitter). Once all vegetables are tender, add the broth, reduce heat and cover to simmer about 10 minutes.

While you wait, make instant white rice for your ridiculously picky dear husband, and/or (if you've been reading my prior posts) take advantage of the yummy brown rice hanging out in individual servings in your freezer, just waiting for a night like this where you don't feel much like cooking. Defrost it gently in the microwave and stir in some butter, salt and pepper. And don't be like me...try not to scarf down all your soooo yummy rice while you wait for the meat to cook!

Once the meat is cooked through, combine the cornstarch, water and soy sauce. Add to pan and stir to combine; simmer gently (uncovered) until desired thickness is achieved. You may have to add a bit more cornstarch (mix first with a little water) to get where you want to be. I prefer sort of a syrupy glaze, similar to what you'd find on a restaurant pepper steak entree.

Now, the best part. I tried the suggested recipe up to this point, but felt it was missing some personality. So I added the sherry and, after one more taste test, added a little teriyaki glaze. And just like that, the flavors came together into something very different from three minutes before those additions!

The only remaining additions I think I would include next time are sliced portabella mushrooms (I love mushrooms) and perhaps a few sesame seeds. But all in all, we really enjoyed the flavors of this dish (with tweaks). Even hubby commented that the sauce was yummy and "buttery." And I didn't even have to add butter!! Now that just makes me smile!

If you're feeling guilty over the red meat in this dish, serve with a big healthy salad and some nice raw garden veggies first. That should take the edge off your guilt! LOL!

And there you have it! A reasonably healthy, husband-approved, just-as-fast-as-takeout dinner without the (sometimes) mystery ingredients and MSG. Hope you enjoy!

Love, Dahrlin

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