Tonight I formed my meal around some ribeye steaks that I had in the freezer. Frozen broccoli is one of the ingredients that I always try to keep on hand for stir-fry and steaming as a side, so I planned to use that with the steak for beef and broccoli from Pinch of Yum. It was delicious! I served it with white rice and kimchi for a quick tasty dinner. It made enough for leftovers, so we’re going to have the same thing for dinner tomorrow night.
The key to a good beef stir-fry is to cut the beef very thin. I find this is easiest when the steak is still slightly frozen. By transferring the steak to the fridge yesterday morning, I was able to slice it last night with no problem. It was frozen enough to make it easier to thinly slice, but not so frozen that I couldn’t easily get the knife through it. I stored it in a container and it also made dinner come together a lot faster tonight. I highly recommend this extra prep/step!
Leftovers for dinner tomorrow night and dinner out on Friday means I’m done cooking for this work week! It’s a good feeling to utilize the ingredients I have on-hand to minimize waste and to inspire creativity.
Let me know what you come up with for a meal plan with no grocery trip!
Last night I moved some lean ground beef burgers to the fridge to thaw so I could use them as my protein tonight. At first I had planned on making patty melts (basically cheeseburgers on regular bread since I didn’t have any hamburger buns) but then I realized I had mushrooms in the fridge as well! I decided to use the burger patties in salisbury steak instead that way I could utilize the mushrooms.
I paired the salisbury steaks with mashed potatoes and a caesar salad. You can’t have caesar salad with croutons, so I toasted up 2 slices of bread with olive oil and herbs to make some quick croutons.
In about 30 minutes dinner was served and it was the hearty, meaty, stick to your ribs meal that I was craving, but with less calories:)
What I love about this recipe is that you get a rich mushroom sauce without all the cream and butter that is typically in a rich salisbury steak.
Season beef patties on both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat a large heavy bottomed skillet (iron skillet works great) with 1 TBSP olive oil.
. Once the pan is hot, brown the beef patties on both sides, 2-3 minutes per side depending on the power of your stove. Don’t worry about cooking them the entire way through at this point because they will finish cooking in the sauce later. Remove from pan.
Add 1 TBSP oil to pan. Add mushrooms, onion, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Allow the mixture to brown slightly and pick up the tasty meaty bits on the bottom of the pan (3-5 minutes).
Add about 2 cups of beef stock and dried thyme. You can add more stock here if you want a thinner sauce. Bring to a simmer and add cornstarch (if you used more stock, add a little more cornstarch here. You can’t mess it up- thin with more stock, thicken with more cornstarch. Just keep in mind that you have to cook it a bit before it starts to thicken from the cornstarch. This won’t happen right away). Stir until the cornstarch dissolves and add the beef patties back into the sauce.
Simmer the sauce and patties until the sauce is the thickness that you want and the patties are cooked through. For me it took about 5 minutes. Simmer longer or shorter until your desired sauce consistency. Serve over mashed potatoes.
To make these potatoes lower in fat and calories, I used chicken stock to flavor and thin them rather than milk and butter. I added a splash of fat free half and half and about 1 TBSP of low-fat sour cream to give some creaminess.
I toasted 2 slices of bread with about 1 TBSP of olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried thyme. I stirred them occasionally until they were crispy. For the salad I used romaine, tomatoes, parmesan cheese, croutons, and store bought caesar dressing. Right before serving I topped the salads with fresh pepper. Easy!
I’m so happy with how this meal turned out. It was a great use of the ingredients I had on-hand and now I’m really looking forward to the leftovers for lunch.
Tonight I was cooking for 1, and I had all intentions of coming home and eating a bowl of cereal while watching a chick-flick. When I turned on the TV, a cooking show came on and they were making gnocchi… I was inspired to stretch leftovers this week into meal 3! I used some leftover mashed potatoes from night 1, and the rest of the shredded beef from night 2, to create this comforting dinner for 1. Don’t worry, I didn’t eat it all, so my husband still gets a taste when he gets home 🙂
Make the Gnocchi
Take about 1 cup of leftover mashed potatoes, 1/2 cup of flour, 1 egg, and a pinch of salt and mix it together in a bowl until a rough dough forms. Transfer the dough to a floured clean countertop or cutting board and knead until a soft dough forms. You can add a little more flour to make the dough come together, but don’t add too much or your gnocchi will be tough.
Divide the dough into 3 sections and roll each section into a log, about 3/4 in. thick. Cut into 1 in pieces, cutting on the diagonal. Gently drop the gnocchi into a small pot of salted boiling water, and boil for about 2-4 minutes until they float.
While the gnocchi boil, melt 2 TBSP of butter in a small saute pan over medium heat. Once the gnocchi is cooked, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the saute pan. Add 1/4 cup of half and half (or heavy cream if you have it) and about 2 TBSP of grated parmesan cheese. Crack some fresh pepper on top and simmer for a few minutes until the sauce coats the gnocchi. Transfer to a serving dish, top with remaining shredded beef and a little more grated parmesan. I added a little parsley and some more freshly ground black pepper.
Thoughts on Leftovers
I enjoyed this little game this week, of using my leftovers in new ways. Having a nice meal at home every night doesn’t mean you’re spending hours in the kitchen. Use what you have and be creative! Who knows what you’ll come up with, but I want to see it!
I love when a dinner serves double duty. I almost always make enough for dinner to have leftovers for lunch, but leftovers are even better when they can be adapted into a whole new recipe. This week I made a beef roast in the crockpot on the first night and served it with mashed potatoes and sautéed carrots. Then the next night I shredded the beef and mixed it with a soy ginger sauce for some asian-fusion tacos. I topped the tacos with cotija cheese, cilantro, and some spicy mayo. Here is how I did it:
Day 1- Morning
I salted and peppered the beef. Then I placed it in my slow cooker and added about 2 cups of beef stock. That’s it! Set it on low, and cook it for at least 8 hours (depending on how big your roast is). I cooked mine for 10 hours and it was about 2 lbs.
Tip- Some good cuts to use for roast are chuck roast, or bottom round roast. You will be cooking it low and slow, so the tougher (more inexpensive cuts) work great. Look for good distribution of fat within the cut of meat. This will all break down as it cooks and you will be left with a super tender roast.
Side note- I know a lot of crockpot roasts have you add the veggies in such as onions, potatoes, and carrots. Meh. I like it, don’t get me wrong, but there is nothing exciting to me about veggies lacking in texture and flavor after they’ve been cooked in the crockpot like that. I’ve come to enjoy crockpot roasts more when I cook the veg separately, so I can really develop the flavor and so they can maintain some sort of texture. Now, roasting the meat and veggies in the oven in a nice large cast iron dutch oven is a different story, but that’s a thought for another time.
The other reason I chose not to add veggies in with the meat is because I knew I would be using the beef in 2 different recipes and I didn’t want my tacos the next night to taste like potatoes.
Day 1- Evening
I prepped the sides and made the gravy. I chose to serve this with mashed potatoes and sautéed carrots.
Mashed Potatoes- When I make mashed potatoes I like to add butter, milk, and something tangy like sour cream or greek yogurt. I probably add about 1/4-1/3 cup of sour cream/yogurt to 4-5 cups of potatoes. I also throw in a few garlic cloves with the potatoes while I boil them. They soften and mash right into the potatoes adding a subtly garlic flavor.
Gravy- Once you have your potatoes on to boil, begin working on the gravy. Remove the meat to a cutting board and cover with foil to rest while you finish prepping. Ladle out about 2 cups of liquid from the crock pot and whisk in about 2 TBSP of corn starch. Whisk until no lumps remain, then slowly whisk that mixture back into the remaining juice in the crockpot. Depending on how much juice you have will determine how much cornstarch you need. Replace the lid and turn it up to high. Let this simmer while you finish prepping. Check it about 5 minutes later to see if it’s starting to thicken. If it hasn’t thickened at all, repeat the step and add more cornstarch. Thicken it to your desired consistency.
Sautéed Carrots- My friend showed me how to make these, and I love how simple and delicious they are. I used baby carrots this time, but you can use large carrots sliced into smaller pieces. Melt about 2 TBSP coconut oil to the pan and add your carrots. I cooked about 2 cups of carrots. Move them around in the pan, then put the lid on and cook them over medium until they soften. Once they’re almost there, remove the lid and let them finish cooking for 2-3 minutes. This helps them caramelize a little bit. I sprinkle in salt and some thyme. Done!
Reserve enough beef for tacos the next day and enjoy your roast dinner!
Day 2- Night
You can totally just shred the beef and serve it in taco shells with your desired toppings and you will have a great dinner. I like my shredded beef tacos with a soy ginger glaze.
Prepare the glaze (this makes enough for about 2 cups of shredded beef): Heat 1 tsp sesame oil in a small saucepan and add 2 cloves of garlic. Stir for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Add 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 2/3 cup water, 1/2 brown sugar, 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce, 1 TBSP oyster sauce, and 2 tsp ground white pepper. Whisk together and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until it begins to bubble and becomes thicker.
Add the beef: Shred the beef with your fingers or with 2 forks and add it to the sauce. Stir to coat and continue to simmer for a few minutes as the sauce continues to thicken.
Serve: I served them with cotija cheese, cilantro, pickled onions, pickled jalapeños, and a spicy mayo (mix mayo, lime juice, and sriracha to your desired consistency and heat level). I also grilled some pineapple chunks to go on the side and made these street corn croquettes. Finally, I lightly grilled the tortillas and it was time to eat!