Posts tagged ‘Weeknight Dinners’

July 13, 2014

Tangerine Beef

I am a huge fan of stir fry; you can prep ahead of time (or even freeze in the marinade), it is a great way to clean out the fridge, it is usually healthy and everything goes in one pot! This is one that BF has been loving lately. This is a take-out-at-home kind of meal that will leave you satisfied for Chinese without all the extra fat. I usually add peppers to this, but it would be a great beef and broccoli substitute also. The sauce is sweet and salty and the cornstarch help to reduce everything to nicely cover the beef. I have not tried it with other types of meat, but I am sure that would be great too. As a freezer meal, I usually freeze it with the soy and cornstarch and freeze the sauce in a separate bag to be added at the right point. Flank steak is a great cut of meat that tends to be relatively inexpensive. It can be tough, so marinading it really helps. I have also found that the cornstarch really gives this a bit of extra help making it super tender. I like to cook the meat on pretty high heat (even though it can cause a bit of smoke and splatter) but I think it helps to sear the meat and keep it juicy on the inside. I did find a great tip last week: if you cut the steak when it is partially frozen, you can get super thin slices. A really good knife is on my wish list, but that is how I make due with what I have! This originally came from Guy’s Big Bite on the food network and I have tweaked it a bit over time. Try it out for an easy week night meal!

Kelly

 

Tangerine Beef

 

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 pound flank steak or tri-tip, cut in thin strips on the bias

1 bell pepper cleaned and sliced

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons chili sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/4 cup freshly squeezed tangerine juice (sometimes I cheat and use tangerine juice from Whole Foods)

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

3 scallions, chopped

1/4 tangerine, zested

 

In a plastic bag combine the soy sauce and cornstarch and mix well. Add beef, cover, and let marinate for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.

Mix the sherry, hoisin, honey, chili sauce, soy sauce, and tangerine juice in a container and shake until combined.

In large pan or wok, heat oil on high. Add the ginger and beef and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. I like to do this in batches to get a really good sear, but you can do it all together if you have a great big pan!

Then add the veggies followed by the sauce mixture.

 

…and cook for another 2-5 minutes on medium heat until sauce thickens. See the bubbles?? J

Serve over brown rice and garnish with scallions and tangerine zest. Enjoy!

November 3, 2013

Menu Planning

Everyone is so busy now-a-days with duel working households, endless activities and chores, the list always seems to go on. We are certainly no exception. BF and I both work and have our own activities keeping us busy. We also try to exercise and eat healthy. The task of keeping even just the two of us fed for a reasonable amount of money and time invested often seems daunting. For those of you with families, I am sure it is compounded!

We often talk about eating healthy and that there is a triangle you get to choose from: healthy, tasty and affordable. The caveat is you can usually only pick two. We are doing our best to work all three in as often as possible, but that takes planning. The best way we have found to stay on track is to plan our menu for the week and create a shopping list prior to our weekend errands. BF and I sit down together and talk about the schedule for the week and what we would like to have. I usually have some new recipe I have been wanting to try (usually inspired from my Pinterest boards). I also plan to have things that complement each other so I can cut down on the number of things we are making, for example rice with two meals or leftovers with lunch. We then make a list of what to get at the “regular” store and what to splurge on at Whole Foods. We seem to stay much more on track when we have a plan and don’t do as much impulse buying.

I am also working much harder at paying attention to coupons. I think you can get sucked in to couponing and end up buying things you don’t need, but for those things you buy anyway it is great if you can save a little. This week our store was offering a coupon for 10% off your groceries if you got your flu shot. So for a flu shot that was covered by my insurance, we saved more than $10 off our groceries…those things really do add up! I have even gotten pretty good at remembering to bring my own bags, which is now something we pay for in our town. I feel really good about myself when I remember bags and coupons!

You can see from our scribly menus that our system is not fancy, but it works for us. The latest menu goes on the fridge and we work together to make it work for the week. We often shop on Saturday and I prep on Sunday. That usually involves roasting chicken breasts and prepping veggies. I try to make sure we have things that are easy to pack for lunches (probably where we save the most money from this system). Mary, Ali, Geff and I recently had an all day cooking extravaganza to create some meals for the freezer…lots more on that to come…it has been so helpful to have soups and sauces, even ready-made meals on hand. It is so nice to be able to pull something out and know where it came from. Sometimes the best laid plans don’t work out (like when I forget to defrost the fish) but for the most part this helps us a lot! Do you do something similar? I would love suggestions!

Kelly

October 17, 2012

Chicken Tinga Tacos

I love Mexican food. Tacos every day? Yes please! The one thing about Mexican food, especially Tex-Mex, is the health factor. Finding ways to make it healthy and tasty can be tough! I think the best of the best at getting that right is Rick Bayless. Everything I have every made of his is fantastic (and I have heard from a good source that his restaurant is to die for). This recipe is the short-cut version using his Frontera Chipotle Salsa. As someone who likes to cook from scratch, sometimes it feels a bit like cheating to cook semi-homemade. However, if on a weeknight you can turn out something this good very quickly, you have me convinced! I actually poach the chicken and shred it, but you could use rotisserie or other cooked chicken to cut down on the time. I have used this chicken as tacos, on salad, and as an appetizer on tortilla chips, each one as good as the one before. This is definitely a standby in my life!

Kelly

 

Chicken Tinga Tacos

From Rick Bayless’ Frontera

4 to 6 servings

1 small white onion, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil

1 jar (16 ounces) Frontera Chipotle Salsa

1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon vinegar, preferably cider vinegar

4 cups (loosely packed) coarsely shredded, cooked chicken

Salt, about 1 teaspoon

8 to 12 warm tortillas

1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and diced

1 Handful Arugula, dressed with lemon or lime

3 to 4 tablespoons finely grated Mexican queso añejo, Parmesan or Romano

Chopped cilantro, for garnish

 

If desired, poach 2-4 chicken breasts in flavored water. I like to place the raw chicken in the bottom of a pot. Just cover with cold water. Season with salt, pepper, thyme, and a splash of white wine. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10-12 minutes, until tender and cooked through. Use two forks to shred the chicken.

In a large skillet, cook the onion in the oil over medium heat until crisp-tender and just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the salsa, tomatoes with their juice and the vinegar. Simmer, stirring regularly until quite thick, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken, cool, then taste and season with salt.

Serve the mixture in warm tortillas. Let guests add avocado, arugula dressed with lemon or lime, cheese and cilantro to taste.

**For tostadita appetizers, arrange 24 thick tortilla chips on one or more serving platters. Top each with a heaping tablespoon of the chicken tinga, a few pieces of avocado, a sprinkling of cheese and cilantro. We sent these to a potluck and got rave reviews. I swear, this is even better on day 2!

June 8, 2011

Weeknight Dinner: Chicken Fried Rice

There are some meals that you just go back to over and over again; this is one of mine. I started making this in college because my best friend, Robin,  LOVED fried rice and we were looking for a way to make a healthy version at home. I started with this recipe from Tyler Florence but, as usual, I didn’t have all the ingredients, so I improvised. Since then, I have tweaked it and made it my own. Though I often throw in extra vegetables I have laying around or make substitutions, this is my favorite combination. The keys to this recipe are the fresh ginger and Hosin sauce, other than that, play around. We often cook extra chicken or beef on the grill to have on hand for lunch or so we have it available for recipes like this. You could also use shrimp or rotisserie chicken to make it easy. I like short grain brown rice for this, though it is traditionally made with white rice, there is enough flavor that people don’t notice the substitution. Plus, I think the brown rice gives it a nice bite. This is such a versatile recipe and super easy to make!

Kelly

Chicken Fried Rice

Ingredients

2 cups short-grain brown rice

4 cups cold water

1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and sliced in 1/2

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon sesame or olive oil

1 teaspoon Mongolian Fire Oil (optional)

4 scallions, sliced thin (reserve some of the green part for garnish)

1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 cup sugar snap peas, chopped

1 cup pineapple, cubed

½ red bell pepper, chopped

1 egg, lightly beaten

¼ cup orange juice

3-5 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 ½ tablespoons hoisin sauce

2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped

In a pot with a tight fitting lid, add the rice and 4 cups cold water. Put in the ginger and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside for about 10 minutes. (I usually use a rice cooker so I don’t have to watch it, but you can prepare on the stovetop).

While the rice is cooking, prep the vegetables and chicken. Try to make all the pieces roughly the same size so they cook evenly.

Heat a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When it is hot, pour in the sesame oil. Add the scallions, ginger, and garlic; stir-fry for 1 minute until fragrant.

Stir in the vegetables and orange juice leaving out the pineapple and cook for about 2 minutes.

Stir in the chicken to reheat, about 1-2 minutes.

Remove the ginger from the rice and add the rice and pineapple to the wok; stir everything together and break up any clumps of rice.

Add the soy and hoisin and stir some more.

Pour in the egg and stir-fry until cooked, about 1-2 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more soy sauce if needed.

Stir in the additional green onion and serve.

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