20 Minute Meal Strippy Steak

 

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Cooking everything from scratch can be quite time consuming. If you plan ahead its much more manageable. But what if your plan falls through and you need something quick?  Well this is one option I’ve found that takes only 20-25 minutes from freezer to plate.  Cube steak and round steak usually need to be slow cooked or they get tough.  We’re going to slice them into ribbons so they can be fried really quickly to get around that.  Another staple in my freezer is pre-chopped onions, they come in handy to add flavor to almost any dish. If you haven’t done that ahead of time add it to step one.

2 lbs frozen cubed steak, or round steak could probably work too
2 lbs spinach, or other greens
1/2-1 cup frozen chopped onion or 3-4 cloves of garlic, smashed
5 tbs coconut oil, split into 2 and 3
salt and pepper or your favorite steak seasoning

Step 1: Take the steak out of the freezer and put it in warm water for ten minutes. While its thawing wash, and prep your greens. If you don’t have pre-chopped onion on hand, prep it or the garlic now too.

strippy steak raw

Step 2: Put 3 tbs of oil in a large skillet on high heat. Start slicing your meat into ribbons about 1/3 inch wide. Its ok if its still a little frozen in the middle, its easier to slice that way.  Halfway through this your pan will be hot. Turn it down to medium high and toss in your onion or garlic. Finish cutting the steak and season it to taste.

strippy steak cooking

Step 3: Add your steak to the hot pan, watch out for spitting oil. Turn the heat up just a touch because the cold meat will cool down the pan and you want this to cook FAST.  Flip/stir frequently. Add the remaining 2 tbs of oil to another pan on medium high heat. As soon as it’s warm toss in your spinach and reduce heat to medium to get it wilted down. Stir this frequently as well. As soon as your steak is no longer pink turn off the heat.

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Step 4: Your greens should be done after about 5 minutes of cooking time. Put some greens on a plate and top them with some steak strips. This makes about 4 adult portions. Enjoy your quick and easy dinner.

 

Dairy Free Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup

My mother’s birthday was coming up and she had recently started a mostly gluten and dairy free diet.  Because I had experience cooking for this lifestyle I was in charge of the menu for her surprise party. She was craving a dish we used to make by slowly cooking a cheaper cut of steak in cream of mushroom soup. Obviously Campbell’s version was no longer an option, so I decided to try to replicate it myself.  After looking at a variety of recipes online I came up with a plan.  I used mimicreme, a nut based cream substitute, and potato starch as my thickener. And what do you know, it worked first try!

Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup

8 tbs coconut oil or ghee
8 tbs potato starch
1 tbs salt
1 tsp pepper
4 cups mimicreme
4 cups finely chopped mushrooms (I used a combo of baby bella and button)

1. Melt coconut oil/ghee in large skillet on medium high heat.  Saute mushrooms until they darken and shrink a bit.

2. Turn heat down to medium-low.  Add starch gradually, stirring until fully mixed with coconut oil/ghee.

3. Add mimicreme gradually, stirring constantly until smoothly combined with starch mixture.

One can of condensed cream of mushroom soup is about 1 1/4 cups. I got about 5 cups worth from this recipe. It froze well for future use.

Chocolate Coconut Oil Bombs

As a breastfeeding mother who has always been a light weight I need to make sure I’m taking in enough to maintain. I decided to turn to coconut oil to help me out a bit. The internet is full of article after article of the benefits of eating coconut oil (fighting dementia, balancing blood sugar, satiating the appetite, etc).  You can also find long lists of its many uses.  These are great, but another great thing about it is its taste! I found out about coconut oil fat bombs, and tried a couple recipes that were close to what I wanted. After a couple of batches I got it taste how I wanted it to.  This of course, is the joy of cooking. A little tweak here or there can make things perfect for our individual tastes, and I love playing with tweaks. So, without further ado, here is my Chocolate coconut oil bomb.

1 cup coconut oil
4 tbs cocoa powder (dairy free)
1 tbs honey
1/8 tsp stevia powder
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smoothly combined. Line a pan with parchment paper. Drop spoonfuls of the coconut oil mixture on to the parchment paper. Balance the pan as un-precariously as possible in the fridge for half an hour or until the coconut oil sets. Mine was perched on a container of chilling bone broth and a bowl of marinated zucchini salad while trying to  not let any of its weight crush my farm fresh greens. At this point you can take out the pan, peel the chocolates off the parchment paper and place them in a more space efficient container.  Tell your husband you have a stool sample in the fridge so he doesn’t steal them. (Just kidding, but they do look like little poos) I grab for one of these if I just need a quick little boost between meals, or if I feel the need to indulge in their silky chocolateness. Enjoy

P.S. Maybe I shouldn’t write posts late at night when little man decides trying to learn to crawl is more important than sleep.

coconut oil bombs Update: If the oily feel throws you off a bit (it doesn’t bother me but it might some folk) just add 1/2 cup shredded coconut to change up the texture. Thanks Barb for this idea!

Garlic Herb Roast Chicken

roast chicken

We buy a lot of whole chickens. I can get a lot of servings out of it. For the first 2 servings we have roast chicken with a vegetable side and salad. Then I shred the rest of the meat and make other recipes out of it, getting an average of 6 more servings. (Italian Chicken Quinoa is an example) The bones I use to make broth. Roasting a chicken is pretty easy and doesn’t take a lot of hands-on time. Just season your bird, put it in a pan, and put it in the oven for a while. One of our favorite ways to season our chicken is using garlic and dried herbs. Here’s our recipe.

Garlic Herb Paste

3 tbs ghee, coconut oil, or butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp each dried parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
3-4 cloves garlic
2 tbs olive oil

Add all ingredients to food processor. Pulse until combined.

Pre-heat your oven to 375. Rub the paste under the skin of the chicken. Just rubbing it on top doesn’t get the flavor into the meat as well, but you’d still get a flavorful skin that way if you are in a rush. Roast your bird 20 minutes per pound plus 15 minutes.  Check its temperature by inserting a meat thermometer into the thigh. It should be 175-180 degrees Fahrenheit. Enjoy your beautiful bird!

 

 

Gluten Free Dairy Free Pancakes

pancakesPancakes are a traditional food for Fat Tuesday. People used up the eggs, flour, and sugars that they wouldn’t be eating during the Lenten Season. I love pancakes for any meal. They can be so versatile. I’ve used leftover pancakes to make sandwiches for lunch, or you could do breakfast for dinner.  This gluten free dairy free pancake recipe is pretty basic, but below the recipe I’ll have some suggested additions you could use to fancy them up a bit.

This recipe is actually my husband’s but he said I could post it. He can follow a recipe with the best of them, but this is the first he’s adapted himself. It was fun watching him learn by trial and error on it.  He will occasionally spoil me and make me breakfast, as he is a morning person and I am not.  I love those mornings!  He likes a classic pancake with some real maple syrup. Here’s his recipe.

1 1/3 cups all purpose gluten free flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup of dairy free milk (we use coconut)
2 tbs coconut oil, melted, plus more to grease the pan
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Combine the dry ingredients in medium mixing bowl.  Whisk together the wet ingredients in separate bowl, until fully combined and some air incorporated (this will make the pancakes fluffier). Stir the wet ingredients into the dry. After this is when you would gently stir in any additions from below. Grease a large pan, on medium heat.  When the pan is hot use about ⅓ cup of batter per pancake.  Flip when dry around the edges and bubbles are throughout the edges, about 5-7 minutes. Cook another 4-5 minutes on second side. Serve with real maple syrup.

Variations:

Blueberry: 1 cup of blueberries, fresh or frozen
Apple Cinnamon: 1 cup diced apple and 1 1/2 Tbs of cinnamon
Cherry Pie: 1 cup cherries and 1 1/2 tsp of nutmeg
chocolate chip: 1 cup of dairy free chocolate chips
Orange Cranberry: 2 Tbs orange zest, 1 cup of dried cranberries that have been soaked in water for 15 minutes

The possibilities are endless!

Lemon Garlic Salmon Cakes

A while back I tried Kelly Bejelly’s  salmon cake recipe and really enjoyed it.   It has become one of our staples.  I’ve tried playing with it and have come up with my own version using a favorite flavor combination.  Lemon and garlic are like peanut butter and jelly in my book, they were made for each other.  Since my family follows the Catholic tradition of no meat except fish on Fridays, this is going to come in handy a lot. Using my handy Kitchen Aide stand mixer makes this quick to whip up, but you could easily do it by hand as well.

salmon-cakes

2 cans of Salmon
3 cloves of garlic
2 ribs of celery, finely diced
1 Tbs dried parsley
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp dried lemon granules
1/2 tsp sea salt
4 Tbs coconut flour
3 Tbs lemon juice
4 eggs
3-4 tbs coconut oil for frying

In a large bowl combine salmon, celery, garlic, and spices.

Add in the coconut flour and mix until fully incorporated.

Stir in the eggs and lemon juice.

At this point your mixture should be about the moisture level of ground beef. If it’s too wet add some coconut flour, if too dry add a little water. Be careful because it doesn’t take much.

Melt your coconut oil on medium high heat in a large frying pan.

Form your salmon mixture into patties about 2 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick.

Fry until browned, about 3 minutes a side.

Makes about 16 small patties, which is approximately 4 servings. We enjoy this with lacto-fermented pickles and a large salad.

Sweet And Spicy Pumpkin Soup

sns soup

 It has been bitter cold this winter and I wanted a creamy soup. This recipe contains spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves that make you feel warm and comfy, as well as cayenne and ginger which are said to help with circulation. Put those spices in a rich, soothing base of sweet pumpkin and savory broth and you have the perfect winter soup. I’ve also made it using butternut squash. You can use it as a main course served with crackers for a lighter meal, or as a side dish. It would go great with a roasted chicken.

Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Soup

3 cups broth
4 cups pureed pumpkin
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 Tbs ghee
1 1/2 Tbs cinnamon
1/8 to 1/2 tsp cayenne, to taste
1 1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp  ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice

Blend all ingredients in a blender, food processor, or using a immersion blender until smooth. Heat on medium in large pot until simmering, stirring occasionally.

How to Sauté Greens

Leafy Greens are great for you. If you don’t have much experience with cooking, don’t let them intimidate you. A simple sauté is an easy way to cook them. In this post I’m going to show you how to sauté swiss chard. You are going to need one bunch of chard, 1/4 cup of cooking oil (sesame, sunflower, or coconut are good choices), salt, a long knife,  a frying pan, and a pair of tongs or utensil to flip/stir your greens. I also throw in a clove of garlic using my garlic press, but that is an optional step.

swiss chard

First rinse off your greens to remove any dirt that may have tried to hitch a ride.

 

chopped chard

Now we are going to prep the greens. Cut off and discard an inch to inch and a half of the end of your stems. Start chopping the stems up into small pieces, about a quarter of an inch but no need to be overly precise. Once you get to the green leafy parts cut them into strips approximately an inch and a half wide. Do two perpendicular cuts to cut your strips into thirds.

Next heat your 1/4 cup of oil up in the pan. Once it’s been warming for a minute or two add your chopped chard.  Top that with a generous amount of salt.

 

add garlic to greensThis next step is optional, so if you don’t like garlic go ahead and omit it.  Peel a garlic clove and put it in your garlic press.  Scrape the crushed garlic into the pan.  If you don’t have a garlic press you can mince, or really finely chop, the garlic. I love my garlic press because it makes the process much faster and garlic much smaller.

Frequently flip and stir the greens or the bottom pieces of chard will turn into char.

 

sauteed grrens finished

When it is wilted and the stems have lost their crunch it’s done.  Serve immediately.  In my personal opinion if you let greens get luke warm they feel slimy and much less appetizing.

You can use this method for other greens, the only variation will be how you prepare them. Baby spinach only needs rinsed and it’s ready to cook.  Be aware that spinach reduces in volume more than chard so you’ll need more of it to make a serving. Kale has a very fibrous stem, so you’ll want to rip the greens off of the main central vein. Then rip it into pieces and continue as with the chard.

Now you know how to sauté greens.  What other methods of cooking them do you use?  Are there any other tutorials you would find useful?

 

Spiced Nut Butter Dip

 

ezaKlC1391744400Need something easy and quick to whip up as a snack for a group?  Mix up this peanut butter based dip, slice up some apples, and you’re good to go.  You could also try using graham crackers for dipping, or it could be great used as filling between two cookies. Yum. For those who are going paleo just use another nut butter, or sun butter for the nut free. If you use an unsalted nut butter you should add a pinch of salt. I brought this to a church social and it was a hit.  You probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen already!

1 1/2 cups peanut butter
3/4 cup milk of choice (I used coconut)
1 cup raw honey
2 Tbs cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

8 or so apples sliced for dipping
Add half the milk to the peanut butter and mix till combined.  Add in the other half and repeat.  Then add in the rest of the ingredients (minus the apples) and keep mixing until combined.  If its too thick slowly add more milk until its the desired consistency.

Bacon Harvest Squash

So my husband asked if we could have bacon in our supper tonight, but none of our usual dishes with it sounded like the right fit.  I’ve been wanting something with fall flavors and thought squash would be a good match with it.  After some google searches for inspiration I came up with this recipe.  I knew it was a hit when it elicited the eye roll AND the happy chair dance from husband. I’d include a picture, but we ate it too fast.  I’ll see if I can’t make it photogenic next time!

Ingredients:

2 acorn squash
1/2 lb bacon ( I use beef bacon but I’m sure pork would work)
1 apple
1 rib celery
1/2 c walnuts (pecans or almonds could substitute well)
1/2 c cranberries
1/8 c onion, diced
2 tsp sage
2-3 tsp butter, ghee, or coconut oil depending on gravity of dairy allergies
salt, pepper to taste ( I never end up measuring those…)

Directions:

First cut the squash in half and scoop out guts.  Cook cut side down in 350
degree oven for 30 minutes.  While that is baking, cook bacon until ALMOST
crispy. Dice the celery, onion and apples, chop the walnuts. Remove the
bacon from pan. Saute diced/chopped ingredients in the bacon grease until
they are just softened. Remove squash from oven when the timer beeps right
in the middle of whatever you were doing.  Let it cool before you burn
yourself. 😛 Scoop out about half the squash and put in mixing bowl. Rip up
the bacon into smallish bite sized peices and add it, the sauteed
ingredients, sage, salt and pepper to the squash.  Mix well. Spoon the stuffing
back into the squash hollows and top each half with a dollop of
butter/ghee/coconut oil.  Bake 15-20 minutes at 350.  Serve it with a side
salad or other side dish and it will Make 4 servings.