Korean Steak Sandwiches

Have you heard the phrase “hurry-up and wait?”  I’m not sure where it originated, but, in our house, there are days when I feel like this mantra is a running theme.  Scratch that, most days, I feel like it is a running theme.

As I write this, my husband was supposed to be home from work and hour ago so that we could leave town for Easter weekend.  I was just about ready to go when I got a text from him saying he is held up at work and would be at least two more hours.  Blah!!  So much for beating traffic. In case you didn’t know, Seattle traffic sucks.  I rush, rush, rushed all morning to sit here and wait – i.e. The Hurry-up and Wait.

With frequent hold-ups and interruptions like these, the timing of dinner can be challenging.  Sure, I have a repertoire of fridge to table in 25 min. or less meals, but on the not-so-rare occasion that I make something more time consuming, I  find myself playing a lovely game of hurry-up and wait.  Maybe, I just need to invest in a crystal ball, but until then…..

I would like you to meet my new favorite thing: these Korean Steak Sandwiches! They are the perfect combination of slowly marinated meat (read: lots of flavor!!) and lickety-split prep time!

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They take a little bit of planning since the meat marinates overnight, but then its just 10-15 minutes of cook/prep time right when you are ready to eat!  You can even make the spicy, tangy cabbage slaw while the meat is cooking!!

I am not even a fan of red meat, but I am in steak sandwich heaven.  The flavor! The marinade! The slaw!  These are sure to be on our BBQs rotation this summer too!

Korean Steak Sandwiches

Prep Time: 20 minutes + overnight marinating of meat
Servings: 4

Beef and Marinate:

  • 1 cup mirin
  • 2/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and coarsely chopped
  • 1.5 lb. whole flank steak

Cabbage Slaw:

  • 1.5 tbl. fresh ground chili paste (in the Asian foods aisle)
  • 1 tbl. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbl. reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbl. sugar
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 2 cups shredded green or napa cabbage

For Serving:

  • Crusty rolls or baguette  (If you live in Seattle area, Grand Central Baking Company’s  Bolo Rolls are awesome here!)
  • Mayonnaise
  • 2 tbl. Cilantro leaves

Do ahead: Combine all ingredients for beef marinate, stir to dissolve sugar.  Add steak, cover and chill at least overnight.

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When ready to serve: Heat a pan or, better yet, a grill to medium-high heat.  Once heated, add the marinated steak, removing excess marinate.  Depending on thickness, the steak will cook for 7-9 minutes on each side for medium rare.

While meat is cooking, chop cabbage and make sauce for slaw by stirring all ingredients to combine.  Toss cabbage in sauce.

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Once steak is cooked, slice steak against the grain.

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Slice rolls or baguette in half.  Slather with mayonnaise.  Assemble sawiches, and garnish with a few sprigs of cilantro. IMG_2593.JPGIMG_2595.JPG

Shakshuka Style Roasted Veggies

Shakshuka, also called Eggs in Purgatory, is a delicious Israeli breakfast dish.  However in the States, this tomato saucy poached egg dish is typically enjoyed for dinner with a big ol’ pile of pita.  My version is a completely un-authentic, Indian curry spiced variation that makes up for its lack of authenticity with aromatic, comfort food bliss.

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First of all, I almost forgot to ask!  Do you have a mess of various leftover veggies in your fridge?  Great!  Grab ’em all.  While you are at it, grab a couple eggs, tofu, some curry paste, salt, olive oil, and we, my internet friends, have ourselves a meal!

I get almost giddy with the smell of curry paste roasting away in the oven.  You can add tomato sauce or canned tomatoes to the mix to make it saucier and more similar to true Shakshuka if you desire.  The dish below as is would more appropriately be named roasted veggies and tofu with curry paste and topped with an egg, but that seemed a bit wordy.

Use whatever veggies you have handy! The ones listed below are suggestions based on what I have used in the past!

Shakshuka Style Roasted Veggies

Total Time: 35 minutes                       Active Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4
  • 4 carrots, topped and peeled, quartered lengthwise, then chopped
  • 8-10 asparagus spears halved lengthwise, then chopped
  • 1/2 large onion, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup spinach, kale, or swiss chard
  • 2 tbl. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 cup extra firm tofu, cubed in 1/2 in pieces
  • 2-3 tsp. red or yellow curry paste, divided
  • 4 eggs
  • (Optional: 14oz. can of pureed tomato)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place carrots, asparagus, and onion on large baking sheet.  Add olive oil and salt.  Toss to coat thoroughly before placing in the oven.  Roast for 10-15 minutes, until starting to take on color.  Remove from oven.

Transfer roasted veggies to a casserole dish, cast iron pan, ceramic coated dutch oven or other baking dish.  Toss spinach with veggies in baking dish at this time.  Add 1.5-2.5 tsp. curry powder, depending how spicy you want it to be, and stir to coat veggies.*  (*If adding, you will add the tomato puree at this point as well.)

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Place tofu on baking sheet where veggies had been.  Add 1/2 tsp. curry paste and toss to coat tofu.  Bake tofu for 5 minutes in oven.

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Remove tofu from oven and gently toss with veggies in baking dish.

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Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.

Gently crack eggs on top of vegetable mixture so as not to break the yolks.   You want the  eggs dispersed over the top of mixture.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the egg whites are no longer clear.

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Serve immediately.  While eating, you will want to break your yolks over the top of the veggies for extra sauciness;)

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No-Bake Granola Bars

If you tell me that something can be made in 5 minutes or less, I will look at you skeptically and ask if it comes with with a sous chef to do the prep work for me too?  I want a recipe that is the real-people, real-time 5 minutes.  Not the if-I-have-a-sous-chef to chop, measure, and prep everything for me 5 minutes.  Read: A recipe that takes a whole lot longer than five minutes for those of us in normal people land.

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Fast forward to these no-bake granola bars.  Well ya’ll, you can glare at me skeptically if you want, but this is a TRUE 5-minute granola bar recipe that is made without refined sugar, and gives you tons of sustained energy from oats and lots of protein.  I know that you can buy granola bars, but trust me these are cheaper, tastier, and you control EXACTLY what goes into them (read: protein, whole grains, and natural sweeteners) and exactly what does NOT (read: preservatives and refined sugar).  Did I mention that they are completely customizable to your family’s preferences?  My favorite mix-ins are unsweetened dried cherries, but you can add just about anything!  Dried fruit*, nuts, flax seeds, cacao nibs, dried coconut, or a combination would all be quite tasty.  I even added bits of dark chocolate once when I had a sweet tooth. (*If you are trying to avoid added sugar, be careful that the dried fruit you select does not contain added sugar.  Trader Joe’s has some good “no sugar added” options.)

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Most days, my breakfast routine is not reminiscent of the photo above.  Its a little bit more: put granola bar in plastic baggy, pour tea in travel mug, grab computer bag while running out the door un-mascara-ed.  These are the best grab-n-g0 breakfast I know of.  These bars fill me up and all that protein keeps me full for a good long time!  They are, of course, an excellent snack – its a granola bar after-all.  Also, they are a great healthy way to satisfy a mid-afternoon sweet-tooth;)

For the past few months, there has been a batch of these in my fridge at all times.  Trust me, I am not “that person” who always has homemade granola or fresh baked cookies at the ready, but these only take 5-MINUTES!  And, luckily, 5 minutes for something this satisfying (and handy) is just my speed.

I am addicted and, until there is a 12-step program to cure me of this 5 minute, no-bake granola bar awesomeness, I will not stop.  Despite this development, I think you should join me in the world of never-ending No-Bake Granola Bars.

No-Bake Granola Bars

Total time: 5 minutes

Servings 8-12 (depending on size of bars)

  • 3/4 cup natural peanut butter or almond butter (the kind with oil separation)
  • 2 tbl. coconut oil
  • 2 tbl. molasses
  • 1 tbl. honey (or more if you prefer sweeter)
  • 2 cups oats (I prefer the texture of regular oats, not quick oats.)
  • 1/2 cup total of mix-ins of your choice (i.e. dried fruit, nuts, shredded coconut, cacao, flax)

Combine first 4 ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Stir just until melted enough to combine (about 2 minutes).

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Remove from heat and stir in oats one 1/2 cup at a time.

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Finally stir in mix-ins.

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Pour mixture into a glass loaf pan for thicker bars or a glass 8×8 inch pan for thinner bars.  Cover and store in fridge:)

 

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Cheese Stuffed Turkey Meatballs

I am almost embarrassed to post this recipe.  It is a departure from everything I gravitate towards.  Its not exactly healthy, its messy, and it has guy-meal written all over it.  But, the gooey cheese filled centers have beaten me senseless.

In a post vacation moment of fridge raiding and “what can I do with ground turkey, eggs and ricotta?,” these meatballs were born.

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Admittedly, these are not very Mama-Mia Italiano (sorry, Nonna), nor are they the Ikea-clad Swedish variety.  These are more of the lowly, American football watching, dipped in ranch dressing variety.  Its the jalapeño popper of the stuffed pepper world or the hotdog of sausages.  Not fancy in the least. .

Ok, so maybe these aren’t the best thing to serve at a dinner party, but you caught the part about them being stuffed with cheese, right?  How can they not be good?!  My thoughts exactly. 

These aren’t anything fancy, but their assembly can be a bit tricky so I’m posting a few more process photos and explanations than I typically do below.  So for fluffy pre-recipe banter, I am going to keep things simple.

Enjoy!

Cheese Stuffed Turkey Meatballs

Total Time: 40    Active time: 25

Serves: 3-4 people

Cheese Filling:

  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Turkey Mixture:

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • 3 tbl. olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. sage
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp salt (+ more for cooking onions)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper (+ more for cooking onions)
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal (for rolling)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

First heat, 1 tablespoon olive oil in medium frying pan.  Add onion.  Season with sage and salt/pepper.  Cover the pan and stir occasionally.  Cook until soft  until soft.

Set aside corn meal in a small bowl for rolling.

Combine all other ingredients of the turkey mixture including the cooked onions in a large bowl and mix until well combined.

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For the cheese filling, combine ricotta, green onion, salt and pepper whisk to combine.

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Whisk in egg to combine.

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Then stir in cheddar with a fork.

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Lay out your three bowls: turkey mixture, cheese filling, and cornmeal to make assembly easy. IMG_2467.jpg

Lightly oil a 1/4 cup measuring cup to prevent sticking.  Take a ball of turkey mixture and generously line the measuring cup allowing some to hang out above the edge.  Make sure there is at least a thumb sized depression for the cheese filling to go in.

Place 1 tsp. size blob of cheese fill in in the middle.  Use excess turkey on edge and add more if necessary to enclose the cheese in the turkey.

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Remove from measuring cup and roll in cornmeal until well coated.  Set aside on a clean, dry, flat surface.

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Repeat this process until all turkey/cheese is used up:)  For me, this makes 8 huge meatballs, but of course you can use a smaller measuring cup (or other similar implement) for smaller meatballs

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons. olive oil in pan over medium-high heat.  Gently add meatballs.  You may need to work in batches.  Cook just until browned on all sides.  Set aside.

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When all meatballs have been browned, bake uncovered for 10 minutes.  If you see some cheese oozing out of the middle this is a good sign that they are cooked all the way through!

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Serve immediately with your choice of dipping sauces….I reluctantly inform you that such classy accompaniments as Ranch, bleu cheese, BBQ sauce, and ketchup have all been used to great delight.

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Curry Spiced Avocado Chickpea Salad Pitas

Pita, pita, pita.  Love it.  But, aside from dip it in hummus and hope that someone makes me a gyro, I never know what to do with it.

After a dinner with the fam, that consisted of moroccan chicken brochettes, lots of sauces, hummus, chopped tomatoes, mint leaves, and, you guessed it, pita.  Now, rest assured, my family can eat.  Leftovers are never really an issue.  Knowing this propensity, I stared at the store shelf for far to long trying to estimate how much pita to purchase.  Thoughts like “if we eat it with hummus before dinner, then probably this much.” And, “But, if we only eat it with the meal, maybe this much?”running through my head.  So I bought for the former and the latter occurred.  The result: lots of leftover pita.

Knowing there had to be a solution other than dipping it in gobs of hummus, this Curry spiced Avocado Chickpea Salad was born.  This egg salad texture but with an entirely mediterranean flavor profile.  This is my favorite type of “______ salad” sandwich filling.  EVER.

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The filling itself if vegan, vegetarian, and GF friendly.  While that may be music to some of your ears, I can’t say generally speaking that I share the sentiment.  In the interest of full disclosure, when I see a recipe that has the above dietary labels, I automatically disregard it assuming that it will fall into one of two categories: flavorless mush or cardboard-esque.  And, while this recipe has a certain degree of “mush” since this falls into the salad sandwich category, it certainly is NOT flavorless (thanks to curry spices and chopped mint leaves) or textureless (thanks to whole chickpeas and chopped olives).

So, break out the pita and get ready!  You can customize this recipe many different ways, but here is how it is done in our house…

Curry Spiced Avocado Chickpea Salad

5 minutes                                        4 servings

  • 1 large avocado
  • 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), divided
  • 1/4 tsp. tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp. curry powder
  • 2 tbl. finely chopped mint leaves (or a combination of mint with cilantro or parsley)
  • 5 finely chopped kalamata olives
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pita for serving

Additional toppings:

  • chopped tomatoes
  • mint leaves
  • greens like arugula or spinach
  • feta

Remove avocado skin and pit.  Lightly mash avocado in large mixing bowl.  IMG_2443.jpg

Thoroughly rinse chickpeas.  Add around 3/4 of the chickpeas to the avocado. IMG_2444.jpg

Add curry spice, turmeric, and mint (or other chopped herb mixture).  IMG_2445.jpg

Mash until well combined.

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Add finely chopped olives.  IMG_2447.jpg

Add remaining chickpeas. Gently stir to combine (without mashing the additional chickpeas).

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Place in pita and top with chopped tomatoes, mint leaves, other greens.

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Add a sprinkle of feta if desired.

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