Pepper Steak

I was sitting here feeling sort of smug in the fact that I cooked ahead this week so I wouldn’t have to scramble on Friday. And then I realized it’s Saturday.

I made pepper steak, which is a recipe I haven’t had in years but used to love. The Mr. thinks he’s never tried pepper steak of any kind before! It was easy – I like easy – so it may make more frequent appearances in our dinner rotation.

You’ll need: steak strips, garlic powder, butter, green onion, green pepper (cut into strips), tomato, beef broth, water, cornstarch, soy sauce.

An aside: I read this wrong and didn’t buy green onion, so I did it with white. It was fine. Mom says she’d done it that way too.

A second aside: A tomato? What? I don’t buy fresh tomatoes (except for salsa, now) because I just don’t like them! Reading that really made me hesitate – but I went ahead with the recipe as-written because I already knew I liked it! Recipe says to dice it, but I used my manual food processor and chopped the hell out of it. Smaller is better. A tomato. Sneaky mom.

Sprinkle steak with garlic powder and sauté in butter until browned. Add onions and peppers and cook until wilted. Add tomatoes and broth. Cover, and simmer 15min.

Mix water, cornstarch, and soy sauce. Stir into steak mixture and cook until thickened. Serve over rice. I like it sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Mr.H: Loved it.

The Full Recipe:

  • 1/2lb steak strips
  • 1tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 1/3c. green onion
  • 1/2 green pepper (cut into strips)
  • 1 sm. tomato (diced)
  • 1/3c. beef broth
  • 2tsp. water
  • 2tsp. cornstarch
  • 2tsp. soy sauce
  1. Sprinkle steak with garlic powder and sauté in butter until browned.
  2. Add onions &  peppers and cook until wilted.
  3. Add tomatoes & broth. Cover & simmer 15min.
  4. Mix water, cornstarch & soy sauce. Stir into steak mix. and cook until thickened.
  5. Serve over rice.

Crisp Chocolate Chippers

It’s time for something sweet. I randomly chose this recipe for Crisp Chocolate Chippers, inspired by my mom’s note declaring them a family favourite for over 30 years! I was pleased to discover that:

  1. These are THE cookies I think of when I’m hankering for mom’s chocolate chip.
  2. I managed to make a gluten free version that honestly doesn’t taste any different.

Gluten free notes: Use my all-purpose GF flour blend, and dedicated GF oats.

You’ll need: 1c. butter, 1.5c brown sugar, 2 eggs, 2tsp. vanilla, 1tsp. salt, 1tsp. baking soda, 2c. flour, 2c. oats, 12oz. package of chocolate chips.

Cream butter & sugar. Add in eggs & vanilla and beat until creamy. Set aside. Whisk together dry ingredients (except oats and chocolate). Gradually add to the creamed mixture and beat well. Add oat and chocolate chips. Stir.

Drop by spoon onto greased cookie sheet. I use a medium-sized scoop for this – if you don’t have one, get one. I like uniformly-sized cookies, ya know? Bake at 375F for approximately 10 minutes. You’ll get somewhere between 2.5-3doz cookies.

An aside: I didn’t need 3 doz. cookies. We just did a church fundraiser where we bought little frozen balls of dough. I love these things, but they’re a no-go for me now. I love being able to bake just a couple cookies at a time on a little bar pan. So I made my own. Freeze scoops of dough on a wax-paper lined baking sheet, and then toss into a container and store in the freezer. Bake later, like when somebody shows up for tea unexpectedly and all you have in the fridge is a container of yogurt and some dodgy-looking sauces. 😉

You know what I like about these cookies? They stay fat. They don’t spread themselves out into a thin flimsy thing. Be on whichever side of the crisp/chewy side you like… I want mine to look like this:

The Recipe in Full:

  • 1 c. butter
  • 1.5 c. brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 c. flour of your choice (regular or gluten-free blend)
  • 2 c. oats
  • 12oz package of chocolate chips (I use semi-sweet)
  1. Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.
  2. Separately, whisk together baking soda, flour, and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
  3. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.
  4. Drop by spoonful, or medium-scoop, onto a greased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake at 375F for approximately 10min.

Orange Dreamsicle aka Mandarin Orange Jelly Salad

Family Favourites, Thanksgiving Edition!

This recipe is a staple for family “big dinner.” You know, holiday types. It’s labelled in my book as “Grandma’s Mandarin Orange Jelly Salad” but people are adverse to that word “jelly” these days and my friend Beck and I thought it needed a better name. It’s one of those desserts that cleverly makes it’s way into the main courses for some reason. It tastes a bit like an orange creamsicle to me, and I love this stuff.

My grandma often brings this with her and kindly offered to do so to my Thanksgiving dinner tonight, but I needed to do it for a post!

You will need: 1 small can mandarin oranges, 1 pkg. orange jello, 1 pkg. dream whip (and the 1/2 c. milk required to whip the dream) and 4 oz. brick cream cheese (you’ll want this at room temperature).

Bring oranges to a boil. Stir in the jello so that it takes on a much less natural orange hue. Stir it well, you’ve been warned. Let stand while you prepare the next part.

Beat dream whip to package instructions. Add cream cheese and beat until blended. Pour in jello/orange mixture and beat well. Beat WELL. Slowly and thoroughly or you’ll have lumps. I think the hand mixer does a better job of this than the stand mixer – live and learn. Kindly don’t look too closely at my finished-product photo.

Pour into your serving bowl and chill until set.

This is a nice easy dish to make the day before you plan to serve it.

Recipe in Full

Ingredients:

  • small can mandarin orange segments
  • 4 oz softened brick cream cheese
  • 1 pkg. Dream Whip
  • milk
  • 1 pkg. orange jello

Method:

  1. Bring oranges (with liquid) to a boil.
  2. Stir in jello. Stir well. Take off heat and let stand.
  3. Beat Dream Whip to package directions.
  4. Beat in cream cheese.
  5. Add jello/oranges mixture and beat well.
  6. Pour into your serving dish and chill until set.

Cheese Sauce

Do people learn things like a basic white sauce anymore? I never did in my Foods classes at school, but I did grow up loving this cheese sauce, which I probably haven’t had for years. Today was the day – I needed something easy to go with steaks I wanted something to grill.

Full Recipe:

  • 2Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2Tbsp flour
  • dash of pepper
  • 1c. milk
  • 1c. grated sharp cheddar cheese

Method:

  1. Melt butter. Remove from heat.
  2. Add flour, salt & pepper, and whisk until a smooth paste is formed.
  3. Add milk slowly, stirring until smooth.
  4. Return to heat and cook slowly until thickened
  5. Remove from heat, and stir in cheese until melted and smooth.

Keep it smooth, in case you didn’t catch that!

Serve over steamed broccoli (my favourite) or cauliflower, or green beans or… any number of vegetables. I think we had it on brussels sprouts once, or else I’m imagining it would be great. You could also thin it a bit and use to top chicken or fish.

 

 

Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Potatoes

A late post for Family Favourites Friday – at least we got the weekend! Just a quick and easy one for a week I’ve been sick.

This is a nod to the jacket potato of UK pub grub. My friend Michelle will be waiting for this one, and I love these meals too. When the Mr. and I visited the UK a couple years ago, we ate a lot of these jacket potatoes. They were warm and filling, and pretty healthy given some of the other options.

You’ll Need: 4 large baking potatoes, 3/4lb skinless boneless chicken breasts, paprika, salt & pepper, 1Tbsp. butter, 2c. small broccoli florets, 2/3c. chicken broth (recipe says fat-free, low-sodium… I bought some but would usually use homemade), and 1c. grated cheese of your choice (I’m a sucker for good sharp cheddar).

I’ve also got some stuff here for an easy caesar salad.

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Get your potatoes baking. However you want to do this is fine with me – oven gives better results than microwave, but I understand tight timelines. I did mine on the grill:

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Cut your chicken into bite-sized pieces, and season with paprika, salt & pepper. Melt butter in a large skillet and cook the broccoli and chicken for about 5 minutes. Add your broth, bring to a boil, and cook until chicken is done (about 3 minutes – I went a little long, so watch this carefully). The butter and the broth make a nice rich sort of sauce, and it is good. When I say I went a little long, I mean that most of my broth simmered away. I got distracted with the salad making. Don’t do that.

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Split open those potatoes, fluff ’em up, and top with the chicken and brocolli. Then with grated cheese.

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Dig in. I loved the cheddar, but am going to experiment with other cheeses as well – I think a monterey jack would be great, and would change it up quite nicely.

The Mr. Says: This is suspiciously simple for something so delicious.

Me: It is simple. Really.

The Recipe in Full:

  • 4 baking potatoes
  • 3/4lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • paprika, salt, and pepper
  • 1Tbsp butter
  • 2c. small broccoli florets
  • 1c. grated cheese (your choice!)

Bake potatoes using method of choice.

Toss chicken pieces with seasoning.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium/high heat. Add chicken & broccoli, and sauté for 5min.

Add broth, bring to a boil, and cook until chicken is done (~3min).

Split potatoes open. Fluff with a fork. Spoon chicken mix over potatoes, and sprinkle with cheese.

Hamburger Soup

This is the first post for our new Family Favourites feature. I’m hoping these will become a bit interactive, so please leave me a comment if you try this recipe! We’d love to know what you think.

Hamburger soup is delicious for fall. It was a little warm today – not that I’m rushing the season! I believe this recipe is Mom-adapted from the Best of Bridge cookbook. This one is easy and smells great simmering on the stove in the afternoon.

You’ll need: 1.5 hamburger (Mom says: or 1lb cubed roasted beef – this is a good use of leftover roast), onion, celery, carrots, pureed tomatoes, consommé, a can of tomato soup, water, barley, thyme and a bay leaf.

Start off by cooking your ground beef. I use extra lean and hardly ever have to drain it, but you might want to. As per my mom, you can use cubed beef (in which case, I implore you, call it Beef Barley Soup and not Hamburger Soup!) but I prefer the hamburger.

Chop your veggies! I missed the note about putting the carrots in toward the end, and it was fine – but adding them toward the end of cooking time would probably be better.

Put all ingredients (except those carrots, pay attention now!) in a large pot. An aside – occasionally, you send somebody else to buy groceries and something “close enough” makes it back. In this case, I had to puree my own tomatoes. Stay flexible, you know? I do not enjoy chunks of cooked tomatoes in my soup, but I do have a good blender.

A word about the barley. This is optional, unless you’re using roast beef and calling it Beef Barley Soup, of course! But I highly recommend you use it. If you’re gluten intolerant or can’t get to a grocery store, you can use rice. I believe that maybe my grandma does this kind of soup with small macaroni noodles. But I can’t resist the texture and beauty of barley. We buy pot barley as opposed to pearl barley. Pearl barley is faster and easier to cook, but with this soup that won’t matter (it simmers long enough). Pot barley will give you more fibre and nutrients; it’s the whole grain.

Everything’s in the pot now? Don’t forget the seasoning! Give it a good stir and simmer for a couple hours. Serve it all up with hot biscuits or grilled cheese.

 

The Mr. Says: Hearty, tasty, and filling – one of the few soups I can think of that doesn’t need much else on the side. Though biscuits are good.

(And on that note, I remember being sort of annoyed when we first met that the Mr. couldn’t consider soup to be a meal, EVER. This one has fixed it, I guess!)

The Recipe in Full

  • 1.5lb hamburger, cooked
  • 2/3c. onion, chopped fine
  • 19oz can pureed tomatoes
  • 3-4c. water
  • 1 can consommé
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped fine
  • 2-3 chopped carrots
  • 8Tbsp barley
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1 bay leaf

Combine cooked meat & all ingredients except carrots in large pot. Simmer 1-2 hours (longer is okay) – add carrots toward the end of cooking time.

Family Favourites Fridays

ImageIt’s the first Friday of September. The Mr. is back to teaching, pumpkin spiced lattes are back at Starbucks, I’m making room in my closet for fall clothes, and we’re introducing a new blog feature here at The Little Farmhouse.

I have great cooks in my family. My mom is a great cook and her mom was a great cook. My grandma bakes amazing things. My mother in law managed to make the first lemon pie I actually liked. I’ve always said I’m very lucky to have a husband who isn’t picky at all, but… I’m not so bad, either. 😉

As a wedding shower gift, my mom compiled a personalized cookbook full of family recipes. I counted just over 60 (and have no doubt one or two more might be added), and so I’ve made it a goal to work through them all and share them with you this year. Get ready for comfort foods, some old-fashioned recipes, and plenty of desserts (these always end up as favourites, right?).

Stay tuned – we start tonight.