Garlic and Ginger Beef Stir-fry

Garlic and Ginger Beef Stir-fry

My wife and son love steak, especially filet mignon.  So I have been buying whole beef tenderloins, when they are on sale, and cutting them up into steaks.  Saves me a ton of money, they end up being about $6 each.  Not to shabby for 1.5 inch thick steaks. When doing this I end up with some trimmings that are not quite steak worthy, but are still totally worthy of eating.  Heck, it is beef tenderloin.  So I save up the trimmings, freeze them and when I get enough, we have a nice beef stir-fry.  The simplicity of this recipe is what makes it delicious.  You can use any cut of beef, just make sure to cut it into thin strips.  If you don’t have beef tenderloin trimmings lying around, try using top round.  Either way it makes a nice garlic and ginger beef stir-fry.

Garlic and Ginger Beef Stir-Fry

Garlic and Ginger Beef Stir-fry

Slice your beef into thin strips.  I like to do this with the meat partially frozen.  That way you can cut it extra thin without too much effort.  Just place the beef in the freezer for about an hour before slicing.

Slice thin

In  a bowl, mix together 2 tbs of cornstarch, 2 tbs of water and 3 cloves of garlic.  Then add the sliced beef.  Toss to fully coat.

Coat the beef

Preheat a large fry pan or wok over high heat.  Add two tablespoons of oil to the hot pan and then immediately add the beef mixture.  Stir-fry the beef until browned.

Cook the beef

This will take roughly 5-6 minutes.  Remove the beef to a bowl and set aside.

Set aside the beef

Add 1 tbs oil and the frozen mixed vegetables to the hot wok and cook for 6-8 minutes or until softened.

Cook the frozen veggies

While the vegetables are cooking mix the 1/3 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup water, 1 1/2 tbs of cornstarch,  2 tbs brown sugar, 1 tsp ground ginger, and remaining two cloves of garlic in a bowl.

Add the beef back to the stir-fry

Once the vegetables are softened, add the beef back to the wok and mix.

Add the garlic ginger sauce

Add the sauce, bring to a boil and cook until thickened.  Roughly 3-5 minutes.

Garlic and Ginger Beef Stir-Fry

Remove from the heat and serve over warm rice.

Garlic and Ginger Beef Stir-fry
Author: 
Recipe type: Stir-fry
Cuisine: Asian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
The perfect ginger and garlic beef stir-fry. Hunks of beef, mixed veggies and an amazing ginger garlic sauce.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound beef tenderloin, top round or sirloin (sliced into thin strips)
  • 3½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ cup plus 2 tbs water
  • 3 tbs vegetable oil
  • 4 cups frozen stir-fry veggies
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 2 cups Cooked rice
Instructions
  1. Slice your beef into thin strips. I like to do this with the meat partially frozen. That way you can cut it extra thin without too much effort. Just place the beef in the freezer for about an hour before slicing.
  2. In a bowl, mix together 2 tbs of cornstarch, 2 tbs of water and 3 cloves of garlic. Then add the sliced beef. Toss to fully coat.
  3. Preheat a large fry pan or wok over high heat. Add two tablespoons of oil to the hot pan and then immediately add the beef mixture. Stir-fry the beef until browned. This will take roughly 5-6 minutes. Remove the beef to a bowl and set aside.
  4. Add 1 tbs oil and the frozen mixed vegetables to the hot wok and cook for 6-8 minutes or until softened.
  5. While the vegetables are cooking mix the ⅓ cup soy sauce, ½ cup water, 1½ tbs of cornstarch, 2 tbs brown sugar, 1 tsp ginger, and remaining two cloves of garlic in a bowl.
  6. Once the vegetables are softened, add the beef back to the wok and mix.
  7. Add the sauce, bring to a boil and cook until thickened. Roughly 3-5 minutes.
  8. Remove from the heat and serve over warm rice.
Notes
Adapted from http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/beef-broccoli-stir-fry

This might be the best dish I have made from scraps.  I guess it always helps when the scraps come from the most tender part of the cow.  MMM.  Cow!  

 

Coal Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Coal Roasted Sweet Potatoes

I love baked sweet potatoes, but they take so long to make.  Plus, you have to heat up your oven and thereby heat up your house.  Not what you are looking for when it is hot outside.  So I started to roast the sweet potatoes in coals of the grill.  You need a charcoal grill for this method, but it is worth it.  The high heat sears the outside and makes the sweet potatoes come out super sweet and tender in around 45 minutes.

Read more

Quick Turkey Breakfast Sausage

Quick Turkey Breakfast Sausage

Quick Breakfast Sausage

I am on a huge breakfast sandwich kick right now.  No idea, but I love the combination of sausage, egg and cheese.  However, this new kick has not been to good to my waistline.  So I decided to find out a way to eat my favorite meal and keep my stomach happy while keep my waistline in check.

Quick Turkey Breakfast Sausage

Add brown sugar, kosher salt, black pepper, sage, thyme marjoram and red pepper flakes to a bowl and mix.

The Spice Mixture

Add the ground turkey. Mix thoroughly to combine.

Combine with the turkey

Form the mixture into 2-3 oz patties and pan fry over medium/ high heat for about 4-5 minutes per side.

Quick Sausage Frying Up

Serve as is or along with a fried egg and cheese in a breakfast sandwich.

The Perfect Sausage Breakfast Sandwich

Quick Turkey Breakfast Sausage
Author: 
Recipe type: Sausage
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
A quick turkey breakfast sausage that is easy to make, delicious to eat and plays friendly with your waistline.
Ingredients
  • 1 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground sage
  • 1 tsp ground thyme
  • ½ tsp dried marjoram
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
Instructions
  1. Add brown sugar, kosher salt, black pepper, sage, thyme marjoram and red pepper flakes to a bowl and mix.
  2. Add the ground turkey. Mix thoroughly to combine.
  3. Form the mixture into 2-3 oz patties and pan fry.
  4. Serve as is or along with a fried egg and cheese in a breakfast sandwich.

This sausage was flavorful, delicious and easy to make.  Make sure to make nice and thin patties.  I tried making a 4 oz patty that was similar to a hamburger.  It was delicious, but a ton of meat for 8 AM.  It totally overpowered the egg and cheese.  However, it was good, so if you like a lot of meat, try it out.

Pressure Cooker Short Ribs

Pressure Cooker Short Ribs

Pressure Cooker Short Ribs

Ever since I found the pressure cooker in our garage, I have been thinking of various dishes to make with it.  So when I went to the store and found that short ribs were on sale, I knew I needed to make short ribs.  Braising short ribs takes forever.  At least 3 hours at a minimum.  That doesn’t even account for prep time.  So I figured this would be perfect for the pressure cooker.  I was totally right.  Don’t mean to pat myself on the back or anything, but if my arm was a bit longer I would.  These short ribs were awesome.  Plus they only took about an hour to make.

Pressure Cooker Short Ribs

Trim any excess fat off the short ribs.  Don’t trim all of the fat, just anything that is over a 1/4 inch thick.

MMM Short Ribs

Place the flour in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Season the ribs and then lightly coat each rib in flour.

Flour the short ribs

Add the butter and olive oil to the pressure cooker over medium-high.

Brown the Ribs

Brown the ribs on all sides in the pressure cooker, about 8 minutes. Make sure to do this in batches so that each rib gets browned. Transfer the browned ribs to a plate.

Add the onions and garlic to the pan

Add the onion, garlic, and thyme sprigs and saute until soft, roughly 5 minutes.

Deglaze the pan

Once the onions are softened, deglaze the pan with the red wine, water and beef base. Continue to cook for about a minute cook, stirring making sure to mix in the beef base.

Place the ribs back into the cooker

Return beef to pressure cooker.

Secure the pressure cooker lid and bring to high pressure over medium-high heat. Adjust the heat once pressure is reached and cook for 50 minutes.

Remove the lid and glance at the wonder that is Short Ribs

After the 50 minutes, remove from heat and let the pressure come down naturally before removing the lid.

Remove to a platter

Transfer the short ribs to a platter and strain the remaining liquid into a gravy separator.

Awesome Short Ribs

Serve the short ribs over mashed potatoes, rice or even a parsnip puree.  Drizzle each portion with the remaining liquid.

Fall apart short ribs

Enjoy!

Pressure Cooker Short Ribs
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree - Pressure Cooker
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Fast and easy short ribs. The use of a pressure cooker takes these from a 3 hour snoozefest to a week-night gourmet meal.
Ingredients
  • 1 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 lbs beef short ribs (about 6 ribs)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme sprigs
  • ¾ cup dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tbs beef base
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. In 6-8 quart pressure cooker, add the butter and olive oil to the cooker over medium-high.
  2. Place the flour in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Season the ribs and then lightly coat each rib in flour.
  3. Brown the ribs on all sides in the pressure cooker, about 8 minutes. Make sure to do this in batches so that each rib gets browned. Transfer the browned ribs to a plate.
  4. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme sprigs and saute until soft, roughly 5 minutes.
  5. Once the onions are softened, deglaze the pan with the red wine, water and beef base. Continue to cook for about a minute cook, stirring making sure to mix in the beef base.
  6. Return beef to pressure cooker.
  7. Secure the pressure cooker lid and bring to high pressure over medium-high heat. Adjust the heat once pressure is reached and cook for 50 minutes. Remove from heat and let the pressure come down naturally before removing the lid.
  8. Transfer the short ribs to a platter and strain the remaining liquid into a gravy separator.
  9. Serve the short ribs over mashed potatoes, rice or even a parsnip puree.
  10. Enjoy!
Notes
If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can make these in a dutch oven with a heavy lid. Instead of cooking for 50 minutes, bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 3-4 hours.

These were some of the best short ribs I have ever eaten.  They were delicious!  If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can make these in a dutch oven with a heavy lid.  Instead of cooking for 50 minutes, bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 3-4 hours.

Sirloin Tips with Mushrooms

Sirloin Tips with Mushrooms
Back in the day I used to work at a go-kart track that was situated right next to Ponderosa Steak House.  One of my favorite lunch time meals was Sirloin Tips.  I haven’t thought of that for a while until I went to the store and saw that top sirloin steaks were on sale.  So I recreated one of my favorite recipes below.  I served it over rice, but you could easily serve it over noodles or mashed potatoes.

Sirloin Tips with Mushrooms
  • 1 pound top sirloin steak, or tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1/2 in pieces
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs finely chopped shallots
  • 2 (6-oz) packages sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 fresh thyme sprigs

Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbs butter and then add the steak. Saute for 4-5 minutes, making sure to brown the steak on all sides.

Brown the beef

Remove the steak from the pan and set aside.

Melt the remaining butter in pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and mushrooms, cook for 4-5 minutes or until the mushrooms start to soften and release their liquid.

Add the shrooms and shallots

Then add the garlic, Worcestershire Sauce and flour to the mushrooms.  Mix well and continue cooking for 2 minutes longer.  Make sure to constantly stir the mixture.

Add in the flour

Slowly add the broth to the mixture.  Make sure to continually whisk the mixture to remove any lumps.

Slowly add the broth

Season the mixture with salt, pepper and the thyme sprigs.  Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until it thickens, Roughly 3 minutes.

Time to add the Thyme

Add the beef back to the pan and mix to coat.  Continue to cook until the meat is reheated and hot.  Roughly 3 minutes.

Add the beef

Serve straight up or over rice, noodles or mashed potatoes.

Beef tips with mushrooms over rice

This dish was excellent!

Time to eat

I would eat this easily once a week.

Homemade Softbox Lights

Homemade Softbox Lights

With winter fast approaching, the amount of light in my kitchen is dwindling.  It is hard to cook a meal and take photos when there is little to no natural light.  As you may or may not know, food photography requires natural light in order to get the mouth watering images that we love.  A flash flattens the image and makes it one dimensional.  So when there is no natural light, you have to make your own.  The easiest way is to use natural light, lighting.  I needed some natural light soft boxes to brighten my kitchen. However purchasing lights for my kitchen would have cost me easily $200.  So I decided to figure out how to make them for myself.  I ended up making three homemade soft boxes for around $28. Not a bad discount.  Plus I used clamp utility lights that allow me to clamp the lights anywhere I need them.  From a cupboard shelf to the back of a chair.  Now I can photograph food at any time of the day or in any room of the house.

Homemade Soft box Continuous Lighting

  • 1 Clamp Utility Light 10″ – Cost $6.86 @ Lowes
  • 1 5500k compact florescent bulb – $1.99 @ Lowes
  • 12 inches square piece Rip Stop Nylon – Cost $5.99 a yard @ Jo-Ann Fabrics, only need about 1/9th
  • 12 inches elastic band – $0.39
  • Magic marker
  • Stapler

To start you need to purchased a clamp light and a 5500k compact florescent light bulb.  Make sure that when the bulb is screwed into the clamp light, that it does not protrude past the edges of the clamp light cone.  If it does, you need to get a bigger clamp light with a deeper cone, or a shorter compact florescent bulb.

Clamp Light and 5500k Florescent Lamp

Next lay out the Rip Stop Nylon and place the cone of the clamp light onto the fabric.  Then using a marker, draw an outline of the clamp light cone onto the fabric.  Make sure to make the outline about 1 inch bigger than the actual size of the cone.

Outline the cone

Trim the Nylon so that it is slightly bigger than the outline.

Next staple one edge of the elastic to the fabric on top of the outline.  Then stretch the elastic and staple it to the fabric following the outline.  Make sure to stretch the elastic as you go around the outline.

Stretch and staple the elastic

When you are done you will have a round piece of rip stop nylon that resembles a shower cap.

Nylon Shower Cap

Stretch the fabric around the cone of the clamp light.

Stretch the fabric around the cone

The nylon with keep the fabric taught and it with further catch the edge of the clamp light keeping the nylon filter attached to the light.

Perfectly stretched and ready to illuminate your pictures

Clamp the light where you need extra light and you have the perfect soft box lighting for little to no money.

Extra Light

It is noted that you need to utilize a compact florescent bulbs for this project as they do not produce the heat of an incandescent bulb.  Plus you can purchase compact florescent bulbs in the required 5500k frequency.

Warning – if you use a standard bulb it will heat up and melt the fabric.  This can cause injury or damage.  Make sure to use a compact florescent bulb.

Summertime Picnic Brownies

Summertime Picnic Brownies

I have a vast collection of cookbooks.  Some are new and some I have collected from yard sales and random book sales.  I was looking through one random book on baking when a cutout of random paper fell into my lap.  That cutout was from a July issue of Coastal Living, and described this brownie recipe.  I was surprised as the recipe only had 7 ingredients.  I made it and wow, they are some amazing brownies.  They are dense but not too dense, chocolaty and absolutely delicious.

Picnic Brownies – (from Coastal Living, July 2005)

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 325 degree Fahrenheit.  Line a 8-inch square pan with parchment or aluminum foil.  Then lightly grease.

Coarsely chop the unsweetened chocolate.

Coarsely Chop Chocolate

Melt the butter and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat.  Stir and melt until smooth.

Melt Chocolate and Butter

Beat the eggs and sugar at medium speed with a stand mixer or a hand mixer.  Beat until the mixture is well blended.

Mix eggs and sugar

Once the chocolate is melted, turn the mixer down to low and slowly drizzle the chocolate into the mixture.  Continue to blend until the chocolate is fully mixed in.

Mix everything together

With the mixer still on low, gradually add the flour and vanilla until fully incorporated.

Mix in the walnuts by hand

Turn off the mixer and stir in the walnuts by hand.

Pour into a 8x8 pan

Pour the mixture into the lined and greased 8-inch square pan.

Cooked

Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool the pan on a wire rack.

Awesome Brownies

Cut into squares and serve.

The Best Brownies

These brownies are awesome!

Super Easy Waffles

Super Easy Waffles

Waffles are one of my favorite breakfast treats.  However, basic Belgium waffles take a little bit of time to make.  You need to separate the eggs, whip the egg whites and fold them in.  Early in the morning, the last thing that I want to do is all of that.  I want a simple recipe that requires whisking one bowl and making waffles.  Therefore, I found a super easy and delicious waffle recipe.  Waffles in 10 minutes or less.

Super Easy Waffles – (From Epicurious)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a big mixing bowl.  Whisk the milk, sugar, vegetable oil, and eggs together in a mixing bowl.

Batter

Gradually pour the milk mixture into the dry mixture. Stir until blended. Don’t worry if there are a few lumps.  This will happen.  Make sure not to over-mix the ingredients.  You want light and fluffy waffles.

Waffle Batter Mixture

Pour the batter into your waffle maker and cook according to your waffle maker instructions.  Each waffle maker is different, so the amount of batter needed varies.  Cook for 4-6 minutes or until the waffle maker stops steaming.  The lack of steam is a sure fire way to determine when the waffles are done.

Waffle

If you like your waffles a little crispy, add a minute to the cook time after the waffle iron stops steaming.

Super Easy Waffles

These waffles are fast easy and delicious.  You need to try these out.

Super Quick Dinner Rolls

Super Quick Dinner Rolls

The main problem with making bread or rolls in general is that they take a long time to make.  You need at least 6-8 hours of notice if you are going to make them.  However, I was going through my old cookbooks and found an old Betty Crocker recipe for Double-Quick Dinner Rolls.  So I had to try them.  They were delicious and super fast.  In and out in under an hour and a half.  Makes 12 delicious rolls.

Super Quick Dinner Rolls – (from Betty Crocker)

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (120-130 degrees)
  • 1 tbs shortening
  • 1 egg

Sift the flour.

Then add 1 1/4 cups flour, the sugar, salt and yeast into a large bowl.

Stir in the flour and sugar

Add the warm water, shortening and the egg.

Add the shortening and egg

Beat until smooth.  I found that it never quite got as smooth as I was hoping for.  This is just fine, my rolls turned out to be delicious.

Beat until smooth, not the smoothest but it worked!

Then stir in the remaining flour.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes or until doubled.  It is noted that this is a wet batter more than a dough.

Add the remaining flour

Grease 12 muffin cups.  You could use cupcake liners, but there is no need.  Then uncover the batter and beat it down by stirring about 25 times.  Then spoon the batter into the muffin cups.  I found an ice cream scoop worked best for this.  It helped me portion the batter.  Let the batter rise for 20-30 minutes, until the batter starts to round over the top of the muffin pan.

Portion the batter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bake the muffin for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  The cool slightly then remove them from the muffin pan.

Twelve delicious rolls

These were super simple, super quick and super delicious.  If you are looking for some quick rolls that take little to no effort, these are for you.

I made dinner the other night and wanted to eat while the rolls were hot.  So I took some quick photos of the rolls in the pan and then ate dinner.  When I came back to take a nice single photo of the rolls, they were all gone.  Yep, Tucker (my dog) ate them all.  Dana and I had 4 of the twelve.  For that reason I do not have the best photos of the rolls.  But take my word for it, they are delicious.

Quick and Easy Chicken Parmesan

Italian food is one of my vices.  I love the sauce, the pasta and the bread.  The main problem is that my favorite recipe chicken Parmesan takes a while to cook, it requires a full chicken breast per person.  Doesn’t seem like that big of a problem, but when you start cooking a bunch and half of your guests only eat 1/3 to 1/2 of the chicken because they don’t require a full chicken breast along with salad, pasta and bread then it starts to become a waste.  Plus, pounding out 6-8 chicken breasts can be quite burdensome.  So I decided to make everything a little bit easier.  Bite sized chicken pieces that can be scooped out so that everyone gets only as much as they want.  Saves on time, saves on money and makes everyone just a little bit happier.

Quick Chicken Parmesan

I topped this concoction with strips of mozzarella cheese that were broiled to melt perfectly over the whole dish.

Read more

Cheap Eats – Chicken Bake for $1.69 a person

I have been getting a lot of emails from people who want quick and easy recipes that are cheap. So for now on, I am going to devote thursdays to cheap eats.  In this economy people want to save money and an easy way to do that is by cooking at home. Cheap food does not have to be bad either. For instance I made this chicken bake for $6.74, or $1.69 per person. I purchased the ingredients on sale and that was the reason why it was so cheap. For instance, instead of having to purchase cheese, which is not cheap, I purchased frozen vegetables in cheese sauce. They were on sale for $1.49 a bag. I used half a bag of broccoli and half a bag of cauliflower in this recipe for a total of $1.49. Sure beats buying cheese at $3 for a 8 oz bag. 

Chicken bake for less than a $1.70 a serving.
Chicken bake for less than a $1.70 a serving.

Read more