Orange Beef(or less) Stir-fry

This meal is so bright, so delicious, so easy, so filling, and so not a meat dish.  I used the Gardein Beefless tips for this normally beefy stir fry.  However, this will be my last meat substitute for a while here.  I have been doing much reading on the vegan meat substitute industry and I am no longer sold that is is necessarily the best way to go meatless.  Here is one such article on the state of quinoa and how the Westerner’s taste for this grain is driving prices through the roof and destroying the nutrition of Bolivians.  I am guilty of adding to this problem and know that eating locally grown and raised foods is a much smarter option in terms of the environment, and this meal is far from locally grown!  This has been heavy on my conscience – I feel better after venting a bit.

Usually Eric makes the stir fry dishes, so I actually snagged this one from an old issue of Every Day Foods. It was nice and simple to follow.

I guess the thing that always snags me about stir fry dishes is the sauce.  How much is too much and how much is too little?  Those bottles of pre-made sauce are just too easy…   This sauce was easy though – orange juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and brown sugar.  Honestly, I would leave out the sugar next time, but I am not big on sugary stir-fries.

The veggies are two of my favorites – red bell peppers and broccoli.

The only hassle about this dish is worth the hassle – cook the broccoli until green but still crisp.  Remove it from the pan, cook the rest of the items, and return – this way your broccoli does not turn into a gray, mushy mess.

I added red pepper flakes and Sriracha sauce for the 5 star flavor.

 It made a large amount of food – at least 4 servings and was excellent reheated.  I ate it today for lunch while I was home again with sick Greta.  Poor girl has pneumonia now, but a trip to the doctor and the pharmacy hopefully will kick this sickness quickly.

Orange Beef Stir-fry – from Every Day Foods

1. Cook 1 cup of long-grain rice according to the package.  Set aside.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup orange juice, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon light-brown sugar.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, toss 1 pound (top or bottom round steak, cut into strips, 2 inches long and 1/4 inch thick) beef (or 1 bag Gardein beefless tips) with 1 tablespoon cornstarch.  Season with red pepper flakes or ground pepper.  Set aside.

2. In a large skillet, combine 1 bunch broccoli, florets broken with 1 cup water.  Bring to boil over medium-high.  Cook partially covered until broccoli is green and crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes.  Transfer to another dish.  Discard water and wipe skillet dry.

3.  In same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable or wok oil over high.  When pan is very hot, add half the beef; cook until browned, 2 to 4 minutes.  Using slotted spoon, transfer to plate with broccoli.  Repeat with remaining beef but leave beef in skillet.  If using Gardein beefless tips, cook entire bag until thawed, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes.

4.  Return reserved broccoli mixture to skillet; add orange juice mixture and 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips (with seeds and ribs removed).  Continue to cook over high heat until sauce thickens, 2 to 4 minutes.  Serve over rice.

Someday when I have a bigger kitchen and more storage…

Steamed Veggies & Quinoa

At the risk of sound like a snob, I have been eating quinoa long before the celebrity chefs could pronounce its name correctly.  As a child raised vegetarian, we ate plenty of quinoa.  A little background history on quinoa, courtesy of the Whole Grains Council:

  • Quinoa is also known as the mother grain and and was considered sacred by the Incas.
  • Quinoa is grown in the Andres and the harvest usually begins in March.  
  • “While no single food can supply all the essential life sustaining nutrients, quinoa comes as close as any other in the plant or animal kingdom.”  Stated by Philip White in a 1955 article on quinoa. 
  • Quinoa is referred to a pseudo-cereal because it is cooked and eaten similar to a cereal grain and has similar nutrients, however it is more closely related to beets, chard, and spinach.
  • The leaves can also be eaten. 
  • Quinoa is coated in bitter saponins that must be rinsed away before preparation.  
  • A half pound of quinoa seed can plant a full acre and create 1,200 – 2,000 pounds of new seeds each year.
  • It is drought resistant and has been named a super crop by the United Nations for its potential to feed the world’s hungry.

Quinoa is the only complete protein grain and therefore will make you feel fuller longer.  Quinoa is also gluten-free and therefore a great alternative for those with gluten intolerance.  It may be helpful for those with diabetes as well.  As far as cooking quinoa, it is usually ready within 15 minutes or less.  Always check the directions on the package though.  It comes in a variety of nice colors too – white, red, and black.

Here is my Quinoa & Steamed Vegggies. The veggies serves two, but I am always left with plenty of quinoa.  

1. Rinse quinoa.  Cook quinoa in small sauce pan.  While it simmers on low for 15 minutes, prepare veggies.

2.  Peel and two medium slice carrots.  Place in a small saucepan with just enough boiling water to cover carrots. Add fresh ground pepper and a few squirts of lemon juice.  Turn to low, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.

3.  Add frozen edamame beans.  Cover, simmer for 10 more minutes. 

I added a nice helping of Sriracha as well.  I cannot get enough of this spicy sauce as of late.  This dish is tasty warm or cold.

Warning – dirty photos!

Made you look!

FYI, anything you see on this blog is not staged.

I have neither time nor energy to stage and make my food look prettier than it already is.  I am lucky enough to get nice lighting on the photos of my artwork, much less get any photos at all of the things I cook.  Often, my cell phone is the only thing handy, or is the fastest I have in the race against the nap clock.

More often than not, my kitchen looks like this:
Especially right now with a broken finger in a splint that is not to get wet.  Kudos to my wonderful husband and his dish washing super powers.  Here is a small hint though, ladies:
So why keep this blog?  Well, the 4H project queen in me still yearns to make delicious food and create beautiful things has the desire to share what I make.  So, I carve out the time whenever possible and I post it here, so that when I throw out my scribbled notes or lose that cherished recipe I can find it on Mommy’s Medley.  I also post to show that all moms can be heroes, regardless of your kitchen sink status, broken fingers, or lack of beautiful lighting for photos.  
Last night, I created a simple and tasty salmon loaf with something for everyone in the family.  Spice and garlic for Eric and Greta and quinoa, tahini, and falafel for me.  Eric is not a fan of quinoa on its own, but hiding it inside salmon loaf did the trick.  
Mommy’s Medley Salmon Loaf
Sauté in a pan with olive oil over medium/low heat until soft:
1/2 red onion, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
2 stalks chopped celery
2 tsp cajun seasoning
1 tsp parsley
freshly ground pepper
 Mix together:
1 large can salmon
sauté  veggie mix
2 beaten eggs
3/4 c. falafel
3 tbsp tahini
1/2 – 3/4 c. cooked quinoa (choose amount you prefer)
Press mixture into greased loaf pan.  I used a cast iron one which cooks very thoroughly.  Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes or til top is golden (I know, super high tech).
Steamed carrots were a nice pairing with the simple loaf.  This meal is the Mommy Medley’s version of meat and potatoes.  Also, you could substitute the salmon for other protein sources very easily.