February 17th, 2018

Broccoli Beef

Broccoli beef

Broccoli beef is an easy recipe to make on those nights that you don’t want to put a lot of time into dinner. Thinly sliced beef cooks very quickly. I use my Instant Pot to make rice as a side dish, so that part takes almost no effort at all. There’s still some work to do, but broccoli beef isn’t a difficult recipe at all.

Chopping takes most of the time with this recipe. The beef is best when sliced thin, which is easiest to do when it’s partially frozen. You don’t want it frozen solid, but a partial freeze is so helpful. I usually try to slice meat for more than one meal when I can. It saves a lot of time for the next meal.

sliced beef

If you want to get out of chopping the broccoli, buy the prechopped stuff or have one of the kids do it. I’m sure one of them can use the practice.

Once everything is chopped, mix up the sauce. Put the flour, broth, sugar, soy sauce and fish sauce in a small bowl. A dash of fish sauce helps this recipe so much. That’s a trick my mother learned from some Japanese exchange students, who were completely amazed by the lack of fish sauce in her refrigerator. Don’t add a lot. A dash is plenty. The flavor it adds is subtle, but really helps the dish overall. Stir the sauce until the sugar and flour dissolve. Put it aside for now.

Preheat your wok or skillet, then put the sliced beef in. Stir it up occasionally as it cooks, until all of the meat is browned.

cooking sliced beef

Now add the rest of the ingredients, including the sauce you made at the start. Stir to coat, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Stir occasionally.

Always be careful with how long you cook broccoli. Cook it too long, and it becomes this awful mushy stuff with a horrible flavor. I think overcooking is the biggest reason why so many people hate broccoli. They’ve only ever had it cooked to awfulness. Cook broccoli so it is just a little soft, but still has some firmness, and the flavor is so much better.

I’ve done this recipe with a variety of vegetables. Zucchini works well, as does asparagus. In this case, I used green beans with the broccoli. Some vegetables need a little longer cook time, while others should barely be cooked at all. When I make this recipe with bell peppers rather than broccoli, for example, I aim for less than five minutes of cook time for them. Bell peppers get soggy fast, and I like a little crunch left in them.

Depending on your family’s preferences, the broccoli beef can be served over rice or just beside it. My kids prefer to have it beside the rice, so that’s how I do it.

Broccoli Beef

Broccoli Beef

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 10.5 oz beef broth
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • dash fish sauce
  • 1 lb round steak cut into strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 cups chopped broccoli
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Mix flour, broth, sugar, soy sauce and fish sauce in a small bowl until sugar and flour dissolve. Put aside.

  2. Cook steak strips in wok or large skillet over medium-high heat until browned. 

  3. Add broth mixture and the rest of the ingredients. Stir to coat beef and broccoli with the sauce. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook until sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally.

January 27th, 2018

Brown Sugar Meatloaf

Brown sugar meatloaf

Meatloaf is one of those meals people joke about a lot. There’s good reason for that – dry meatloaf is awful. Properly made, on the other hand, meatloaf is a wonderful meal. My family loves this recipe for brown sugar meatloaf.

I often make a double recipe when I do this – one to cook that night, the other for the freezer. It freezes well, and that means the next time we want meatloaf, it takes hardly any effort. Best of all, making a double batch is hardly any more work than making a single. It’s always nice to have a few meals ready in the freezer. They make busy days so much nicer.

I hardly ever get complaints from my kids about meatloaf. The only one who does complain can be soothed with the addition of ketchup to her meal.

The only bad part about meatloaf is the prep and cook time. It’s not something you can make if you’re in a rush. Cooking time usually runs about an hour.

Meatloaf is a great recipe to have the kids help make. They’ll either love the mess or be completely horrified at how raw meat feels. Either one works for me. They have to get comfortable with all that sometime.

I start out by sprinkling some brown sugar in the bottom of my pan and topping it with some ketchup. This isn’t absolutely necessary, but I think it helps. I don’t use a loaf pan. I prefer my 8×8 baking pan. I’m not going for pretty looks here. It gives me more flexibility on the size of the brown sugar meatloaf.

Then it’s time to get my hands dirty and mix up the ingredients. Everything except the brown sugar and ketchup go into a large mixing bowl. If you’re doing a double recipe so you can freeze one for later, it needs a pretty big bowl. Get your hands in there and mix those ingredients together.

brown sugar meatloaf ingredients

When everything is sufficiently mixed, make the meat mixture into a loaf or two. If you made one for the freezer, put it in a freezer bag and get it put away. Otherwise, put the loaf into the pan on top of the brown sugar and ketchup.

Wash your hands really well. They’re a mess after handling all that meat.

Sprinkle the top of the meatloaf with brown sugar and spread ketchup over the top.

brown sugar meatloaf in pan

Put the whole thing in the oven and bake for about an hour or until the interior temperature of the meatloaf reaches 160 degrees F.

brown sugar meatloaf temperature

Brown Sugar Meatloaf

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1-1/2 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 cups oatmeal

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Spread half the brown sugar in your baking pan, topped by half the ketchup.

  3. In a bowl, thoroughly mix remaining ingredients, except ketchup and brown sugar. Shape into loaf and place in pan.

  4. Cover with remaining brown sugar and ketchup.

  5. Bake for 1 hour or until interior temperature reaches 160 degrees F

Recipe Notes

Double this recipe and put the extra meatloaf into the freezer for an easy meal another day.

December 1st, 2017

Double Bacon Feta Burgers

Double bacon feta burgers

My kids get so excited when we make this recipe. Making double bacon feta burgers comes close to eating out in terms of happy kids. Happy adults too. Bacon in the burger patty itself along with strips of bacon on top makes a great burger.

Being burgers, the burger part is best made on the grill, but that doesn’t always work out. My propane grill is out of order, so if there’s no time for heating the charcoal or if we have a no-burn day, we resort to making them in the oven. It still works.

That’s what happened the day I most recently decided to make these. My niece was visiting, and we wanted to have something fun to eat without spending as much as we would by taking her out to eat. Unfortunately, due to local air quality, we had a no-burn order, so grilling over charcoal was out.

If you have to make your burgers in the oven, make sure you have them up on racks to get them out of the grease. It helps. You can also make your burgers in a skillet, but I find the oven easier when making these for a crowd.

You can use your favorite burger recipe for the burger part. We mix bacon crumbles from Costco and feta into the burger mix. The feta gets mixed in last because one of my kids really doesn’t like it. I have to track the burger without feta carefully for her.

ground beef bacon

If you’re cooking outside, be warned: flies really, really love this mix. We have to get them on the grill fast if we’re making them during warm weather. I think it’s the strong smell of feta combined with the meat that does it. We get a lot of flies here sometimes because there’s a chicken farm about a mile away.

These, of course, were prepped for the oven. It’s really hard to keep up with the burgers if you want to make them in a skillet when you’re cooking for seven people. They won’t all fit in the skillet, and who wants a cold burger? The oven makes sense sometimes.

bacon burger patties

The regular bacon used to top the burgers I make in the oven. That’s easier when you’re making a bunch of bacon. Watch it carefully – it can burn quickly. I line up skewers to keep the bacon from lying flat on the baking sheet if my racks are being used for the burgers. If the bacon is flat on the baking sheet it can be difficult to remove.

Oven bacon

 

The other toppings for double bacon feta burgers depend on what you like. I make sure to have sliced tomatoes, sliced pickles, lettuce, ketchup, mustard, and pickle relish ready. Sometimes I thinly slice bell peppers as well. I’m often lazy with the lettuce and just use the packaged stuff for salads. It’s more likely to get used up with other meals than a whole head of lettuce around here.

Get your double bacon feta burgers

This is one of those self serve meals for the family. Once everything is ready, everyone gets called to come make their burgers. Things get a little chaotic for a few minutes, but it’s a happy chaos.

Double bacon feta burgers

Double Bacon Feta Burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup crumbled bacon
  • 1/4 cup feta
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 package sliced bacon
  • 1 package hamburger buns
  • lettuce, tomatoes, etc.

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together ground beef, crumbled bacon, feta, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and black pepper by hand. Form into patties.

  2. Place patties on grill and cook for about 5 minutes per side or until done. Burgers may also be cooked on a skillet or in the oven if grilling isn't possible.

  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

  4. Cover baking sheet with foil. Place baking rack or several skewers on baking sheet. Spread sliced bacon on the rack or skewers. Bake for 12-20 minutes. Check frequently starting around 12 minutes. Bacon goes from not done to burnt very quickly.

  5. Move the cooked bacon to a plate lined with paper towels.

  6. Set up burgers, bacon, buns, and toppings for everyone to assemble their burgers. Call in the hordes to come eat.

August 8th, 2017

Shepherd’s Pie

1 lb lean ground beef
1 cup low sodium beef broth
2 bay leaves
dash thyme leaves
1 cup sliced carrots
1 sliced onion
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn

1/2 cup low sodium beef broth
1-1/4 tbsp flour
2-3 cups mashed potatoes
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

  1. Brown ground beef in large skillet. Drain excess grease. Add 1 cup broth, pepper, bay leaves and thyme. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Add carrots and onions. Cover and simmer until carrots are slightly tender. Add peas and corn and continue to simmer until all vegetables are cooked.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  4. Combine 1/2 cup broth and flour. Mix until smooth.
  5. Add to beef and vegetables. Simmer until slightly thickened.
  6. Place beef mixture in bottom of casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake 10 minutes.

This one takes a long time to make, but it’s wonderful! Pretty healthy too if you stick with the lean ground beef.

August 8th, 2017

Pepper Steak

1 round steak cut into bite size strips
2 green peppers
1 med. onion
1 package brown gravy mix
1 cup water
soy sauce to taste

Directions

  1. Brown meat in pan; drain well and return to pan.
  2. Add all ingredients above and cook until peppers and onion have softened. Serve with rice.

August 8th, 2017

Maui Meatballs

1 1/2 lb ground lean beef
2/3 c rolled oats
1/2 c finely chopped onion (or onion flakes)
1 egg lightly beaten
dash of salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Mix these ingredients and roll into meatballs.
  2. Bake at 350 on a draining rack in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until done.

Sauce

2 Tbsp corn starch
1/2 C packed brown sugar
1 can 13 oz pineapple chunks–put liquid into corn starch mixture and reserve chunks
1/3 c vinegar
1Tbsp soy sauce
1/3 c chopped green pepper

Directions

  1. Mix corn starch and brown sugar.
  2. Add pineapple juice, vinegar and soy sauce. Stir on med-high until thick.
  3. Add pineapple and green pepper.
  4. Add a bit of water to the sauce if too strong.
  5. Add meatballs to sauce and serve over rice or noodles.

August 8th, 2017

Lasagna

1 lb ground beef
1 cup chopped onion (one large)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 71/2 oz can tomatoes, cut up
2 8 oz can tomato sauce
2 6 oz con tomato paste
2 tsp dried basil, crushed
1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 cup red wine (optional)
6 dried lasagna noodles
1 beaten egg
2 cups cottage cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan
3 tbsp snipped fresh parsley (optional)
approx 1 lb sliced or shredded mozzarella

  1. For sauce, cook meat, onion, and garlic till meat is brown. Drain fat.
  2. Stir in undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, basil, oregano, and 1/4 tsp pepper bring to boiling, reduce heat, simmer 15 min, stirring occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, cook noodles for 10 to 12 min or till tender, drain and rinse with cold water.
  4. For filling combine the egg, cottage cheese, parmesan cheese and the parsley.
  5. Layer half the noodles, spread with half the cheese filling, half the mozzarella, half the meat sauce, repeat.
  6. Bake at 375 for 30 to 35 min or till heated through. Let stand 10 min before serving.

Make ahead directions are as above except after assembling, cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Bake covered at 375 for 40 min. Uncover, bake for 20 more min or till hot. Let stand 10 min.

Hints: For the parsley, a smaller amount of dried parsley works just as well. And I usually find it easier to make it before boiling the noodles so that assembly can begin right after the noodles are done. For the meat sauce, I like to simmer it covered for at least a couple hours if I’m feeling that ambitious.

August 8th, 2017

Crockpot Beef Stroganoff

1 1/2 to 2 lbs stew meat
1 cup chopped onion
10 3/4 oz. can condensed golden mushroom soup
10 3/4 oz. can condensed cream of onion soup
6 oz. jar sliced mushrooms, drained
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, cubed
8 oz. carton sour cream
Hot, cooked noodles or rice

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients except cream cheese and sour cream in crockpot; cover and cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours, until beef is very tender.
  2. During last 20 minutes of cooking stir in cream cheese and sour cream. Stir until cheese is melted and well blended.

August 8th, 2017

Beef Steaks Provencale

2 lean beef cubed steaks
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon black ground pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
4 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Combine garlic, basil and pepper; divide mixture in half. Press half of seasoning mixture evenly to both sides of cubed steaks; set aside.
  2. Heat oil and remaining seasoning mixture in large nonstick frying pan over medium heat.
  3. Add tomatoes and zucchini; cook 1 minute.
  4. Remove vegetables to warm platter; sprinkle with cheese and keep warm.
  5. Increase heat to medium-high; pan-broil steaks 3 to 4 minutes, turning once. Season steaks with salt. Serve with reserved vegetables.

August 8th, 2017

Beef Enchiladas

1 lb lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
10 10-inch flour tortillas
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 2.25 oz can sliced black olives, drained

Sauce

1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp flour
1/4 cup chili powder
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1-1/2 cups water
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic
salt to taste

To make sauce:

  1. Heat oil in a skillet. Stir in chili powder and flour, cooking over medium heat until slightly brown. Stir constantly.
  2. Add tomato sauce, water, cumin, garlic and salt. Cook for about 10 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  3. This recipe makes more sauce than you will need for the enchiladas. Freeze remainder after making enchiladas for next time.

To make enchiladas:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cook ground beef and onion in a skillet.
  3. Pour 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce into a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  4. Put aside 1/2 cup cheese for topping.
  5. For each flour tortilla, place equal amounts of ground beef and cheese. Roll tightly and place with the seam down in the baking dish.
  6. Pour about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce over the top. Sprinkle with cheese and olives.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes in the oven or until cheese is thoroughly melted.

I know making the sauce is more work than buying the dry mix in the grocery store, but this one is well worth it. My husband didn’t think he liked enchiladas until he tried these.

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Disclosure: Home with the Kids is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. I also review or mention products for which I may receive compensation from other sources. All opinions are my own.