Beef and Green Beans

Tonight I bring you another easy, fresh, week night, go-to dinner!  If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you may recall that I find it incredibly gratifying to prepare meals that have the flavors of takeout that I am drawn to, yet are healthy, fresh, and not loaded with MSG, unhealthy oils, and unknown ingredients.  My husband’s favorite Chinese food takeout is beef and broccoli. He orders it every single time. This recipe is very similar in taste to beef and broccoli yet the fresh garlic and ginger really bump up the flavor. Serve over brown rice and it is a delicious and filling week night dinner. We enjoyed every bite!

 Notes:

  • Flank steak is a reasonably priced piece of meat that cooks up quickly. Don’t forget to season both sides with salt and pepper prior to cooking.
  • Red pepper flakes add a hefty kick of spice. Add less or more depending on your preferences. Start with less–you can always add more!
  • Fresh garlic and fresh ginger are “superfoods.” I try to incorporate them into week night meals whenever possible.

If you like these types of meals you may also enjoy:

Beef and Green Beans:

  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • a few glugs of cooking oil (olive or vegetable are fine)
  • 1 pound fresh green beans rinsed, trimmed, and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 lb. flank steak, seasoned with salt and pepper and thinly sliced against the grain
  • 1 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 4 scallions thinly sliced

{If you wish to serve over brown rice, prepare rice according to package directions and set aside.}

Whisk together first five ingredients. Set aside.

Heat a glug of oil in a large skillet over high heat.  Add green beans and cook until they are tender but still crisp.  Move beans to a bowl and set aside.

Heat two more glugs of oil in the empty skillet. Add steak slices and cook until brown.

Add beans back to pan and then add water chestnuts, garlic, and ginger. Toss to combine all ingredients. Add hoisin sauce mixture. Toss again to coat. Be sure sauce and vegetables are heated through. Serve over prepared brown rice. Garnish with scallion. Serve immediately.

 

Inspired by America’s Test Kitchen 30 minute Suppers, Summer 2011.

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Fancy Rice Krispie Treats

I wanted to make a Mother’s Day dessert that would really satisfy that unrefined sweet tooth that I sometimes find yelling for attention. (I know you all have one too…Yodels, anyone? How about a stack of IHOP pancakes with a whipped cream smiley face and blueberry syrup? No? Would you prefer a bag of gummy peach rings?  Swedish fish? How about some blue cotton candy? I digress…) I briefly considered ignoring that tooth and making a truly fancy dessert that does not require the word fancy in front of it (creme brule, flan, chocolate tart) however, the tooth won.  I decided to go for a basic and dress it up a bit!

There is something so primitively satisfying about thick, chewy Rice Krispie Treats.  And they are simple to make.  It turns out dressing them up is easy too!

Tips to delicious Rice Krispie Treats (fancy or not):

  • lots of butter (not enough butter = dry treats)
  • lots of marshmallows (not enough marshmallow = dry treats)
  • parchment paper (without parchment paper you might go crazy trying to press treats into pan. More treats will be stuck to your hands, spoon, and face than make it into the dish!)

Fancy Rice Krispie Treats:

  • 2 – 10.5 ounce bags mini marshmallows
  • 5.5 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1  – 4 ounce semi-sweet Ghirardelli chocolate bar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter baking chips
  • 10 Oreo cookies crumbled into a bowl
  • rainbow sprinkles in a bowl

Make the Treats

Place a large piece of parchment paper on top of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Set aside.

Melt butter and marshmallows in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir until evenly combined. Remove from heat.

Spray a wooden spoon with cooking spray. Use the wooden spoon to stir Rice Krispies into marshmallow/butter mixture.  Be certain all of the cereal is coated by the marshmallow mixture.

Use wooden spoon to turn cereal/marshmallow onto parchment paper in dish.

Cut another piece of parchment paper and place on top of the cereal/marshmallow mixture. Use the top piece of parchment to press the mixture evenly into the dish. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Once cool, measure 3.25 inch increments across the top of the pan and score treats with a pastry knife. Across the side of the pan, measure 3 inch increments and score with a pastry knife. Press pastry knife into treats to cut along the lines you scored. Use pastry knife to trim off uneven edges.

Dip the Treats

Fill a saucepan with two inches of water and bring to a low boil. Create a double boiler by placing a heat safe glass bowl on top of the saucepan. Snap pieces of chocolate bar into the glass bowl.  As it melts, use a wooden spoon to swirl chocolate together.

Dip one treat at a time into the melted chocolate and then into either the sprinkles or the Oreo cookie crumbs.

Once you have used half of the chocolate, return the double boiler to the heat and add the peanut butter chips. Swirl with a spoon until melted with the chocolate.

Dip the remaining treats into the peanut butter/chocolate mixture and then into either the sprinkles or the Oreo cookie crumbs.

Place each treat on a cooling rack and let sit until chocolate and peanut butter are completely dry. Enjoy!