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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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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Spinach Fettuccine Alfredo

Question: Now truly, who doesn’t love a good Fettuccine Alfredo?

Not many people I know.

Question: Who loves the massive amounts of calories and empty carbs that typically accompany this dish?

Hmm…. I don’t see nodding heads.  Me neither.

The truth is that I love Alfredo sauce, and since I’m italian, I think my veins are even made out of pasta.  But, in this land of healthy eating, Alfredo sauce and pasta don’t get a seat at the table.  Until now…..

Pull out that immersion blender and get ready to puree some spinach, kale, avocado, and a little plain yogurt or low fat sour cream.  Because my friends, not only is this dish healthier, but it is also easier!!!  No finicky consistency to worry about here!

And what about the noodles?  Whole wheat fettuccine or linguine noodles are easy to come by these days (these are what I usually use), or treat yourself and go for traditional fresh hand-cut fettuccine noodles (for extra deliciousness!).

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Well if this isn’t the strangest mishmash of ingredients known to man, then I don’t know what is.  Oh my goodness!  But, please, please, don’t judge this book by its  very, very green cover because I cannot even explain how tasty this dish is.  Although it is mostly vegetables, it tastes nothing like vegetables. I promise!  Its just creamy, saucy goodness over here.  It is the unicorn of pastas: healthy and tasty!  Excuse me while I slurp up some more noodles.  *Sauce dripping from chin.*

I feel like a formal introduction is probably necessary here.  Ya’ll meet the guilt-less pasta dish that is kid, vegetable-hater, picky-eater, & picky-husband approved.  Now that we are all acquainted…..

Spinach Fettuccine Alfredo

Total time: 15 minutes

Servings: 2 as a main, 4 as a side

Special Equipment: Immersion Blender

  • 2 cups packed fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup packed chopped flat leaf kale
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup water, one tbl. at a time
  • 1 tsp. salt, divided
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbl. butter
  • 2 tbl. whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt or low fat sour cream
  • 1 avocado, lightly mashed
  • 8oz. whole wheat fettuccine or linguine noodles (cooked to al dente)
  • Parmesan cheese for serving

In a large skillet, add spinach, kale, garlic, 1/4 tsp. salt, about 1/2 of water.  Cook on medium with lid closed,  tossing occasionally until greens have turned a nice dark green color.

Transfer greens and all cooking liquids to a heat proof mixing container.  Using immersion blender, blend until smooth and well integrated (or use a traditional blender).  This will take less than a minute.

Reduce heat to low, and using the same skillet melt the butter.  When melted, whisk in flour.  Slowly whisk in blended greens mixture.  Add more water if necessary.

Remove from heat and add avocado.  Blend with immersion blender until combined.  Then mix in sour cream or yogurt.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Finally toss sauce with noodles and top with parmesan cheese.   

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Warm Mushroom Tapenade

Why did the mushroom get invited to the party? …… Because he’s a fungi!  *Cue cheesy, bad joke pity laughter.*  But seriously, why have a party without mushrooms?  They are a great solution when you have vegetarian guests.  They soak up flavor wonderfully while adding a unique flavor profile to any dish.

I love mushrooms.  A lot.  Part of the reason is their versatility.  The seasonal varieties are numerous.  The fungi family offers a variety of textures and tastes, ranging from a mild accompaniment to a dominant flavor.

If we want to look at it another way…. You are eating something that is a part of folklore on multiple continents (i.e. toadstools and fairies).  Who doesn’t want to eat something so adorable that it has its own built-in hat?  I cannot think of any other food with such visual diversity.  Fungi can be the beautiful lacy pieces of art like chanterelles, the ugly but highly favored black truffle, the smooth meaty portobello, or have the textured cap of a morel (my favorite!).

On the off chance that you don’t have a wild mushroom patch teeming with truffles, chanterelles, and morels…. This dish uses the boring but much easier to find grocery store variety.  You can use either full sized portobellos or the baby bello variety.  Both will work wonderfully.

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And, you can make this with full sized portions for a vegetarian main course or on mini toasts as an appetizer!  Yay, for easy multi-function recipes!

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Warm Mushroom Tapenade

Servings: 12+ appetizer sized servings, 2-3 main course servings

Total time: 25 minutes

  • 2 portobello mushroom caps (or about 2 cups baby bellos), chopped into 1/2 square pieces
  • 1 bunch of broccolini, cut into thinner pieces and the length halved or quartered
  • 2 tbl. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2-3 tbl. vegetable stock or water
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • 4-6 slices of Crusty Bread toasted or crostinis (mini toasts)

Preheat oven to 375.

On a baking dish sprinkle broccolini with the olive oil, sprinkle with S+P, and toss.  Place in preheated oven.  Bake for 20 minutes, flipping the greens half way through.

On stovetop, melt butter on medium low heat in a large skillet.  When butter has melted, add chopped mushroom.  Stir to coat with butter and sprinkle with a couple pinches of salt and the dried sage.  Increase heat to medium.  Place the lid on skillet to sweat the mushrooms for about 3-5 minutes.  When water from mushrooms has begun to pool  and mushrooms have softened slightly, add the white wine and allow to simmer for 5-8 minutes.  If it looks dry, add the extra broth or water.  When done, the mushrooms should still hold their shape.

When broccolini is done roasting in the oven, remove and throw into skillet to coat with mushroom cooking liquids.  Serve immediately on full size toasts as main course or mini-toasts as an appetizer.

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Easy Buddha Bowls

Have you tried Buddha Bowls?!?  Vegetarians and vegans everywhere are saying a resounding, “Yes!”  With good reason!  Buddha Bowls and their endless variations could be the dish that turns me back into a vegetarian.  Who needs meat with these flavor-packed and oh-so-versatile babies?!  While I don’t know if my husband would be willing to give up meat entirely, even the self proclaimed “meat-eating viking man” likes these.  Just don’t tell him I told you!

My complaint and I think a lot of people’s complaint with most healthy vegetarian and vegan main dish options are simply that they aren’t that filling.  When you are married to a 6’3 giant, you contemplate these things like, “Will cupboard rummaging occur after this meal?”  If the ingredient list leads me to believe that 30 minutes later I or someone in the house will be reaching for a snack, then I won’t make the dish!  This recipe is NOT one of those.  It is a vegetarian and vegan friendly and FILLING!  It is a totally satisfying mixture of protein, whole grains, veggies, and spices.

Oh, I haven’t even told you the best part yet!!  It can be make in around 20 minutes!  The trifecta of delicious, nutritious and fast is a sure-fire way to land on our regular week-night meal rotation, and these Buddha Bowls tick all the boxes. Essentially, the tasty, healthy, and quick trifecta is the other  version of the trinity in our house.  If you work full time and/or have kids and wear the chef hat, then you know how truly rare this combination can be.

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In addition, it can be easily customized to your family’s preferences.  You can make it with a whole slew of grains, proteins, and veggies.  My typical go-to preferences are brown rice, garbanzo beans (chick peas), and broccoli, but there are dozens of other options! Just to name a few:

  • Quinoa or a baked sweet potato can sub for brown rice
  • Black beans or tofu can sub for garbanzo
  • Brussel sprouts or cauliflower can sub for broccoli

Oh, and how can I forget the sauce on top!  Our favorite topping for is my Peruvian-Style Green Sauce.  This sauce is nothing special really.  Its only the most versatile sauce around and in my opinion, the most delicious part of any dish it graces.  (Note: If you use this sauce the Buddha Bowls are no longer vegan.)  The subtle creaminess, freshness, and spice in the green sauce are the perfect accompaniment to this dish!  With that said, there are of course other possibilities!!  For example:

  • Olive Oil and Lemon Juice
  • Green Goddess Dressing (I like Trader Joe’s brand.)
  • Tahini and/or Tzatziki
  • A Burre Blanc sauce (Especially, if you make the Buddha Bowls with Quinoa!)

So friends and family, boys and girls, if you have not been properly introduced to the wonders of Buddha Bowls, get ready to be acquainted!

Easy Buddha Bowls

Total Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 2 large main dish servings

  • 1 large head of broccoli, cut into small florets (or about 1.5-2 cups of another veggie)
  • 1 can of chick-peas, rinsed (or 1.5 cups of other protein)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 tbl. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1.5 tsp. curry powder
  • 1.5 cups of cooked brown rice (or alternative)
  • A few tablespoons of Peruvian Green Sauce  (or other)

Pre-heat oven to 375.

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Spread broccoli, garlic, salt, pepper, and 1 tbl. olive oil on large rimmed baking sheet.  Bake for 5-7 minutes.

Remove from oven.  Add chick-peas, curry powder, another sprinkle of salt, and the remaining olive oil.  Mix all the ingredients to combine and bake for another 13-15 minutes.

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To plate, top brown rice with veggie mixture, and green sauce (or other).  Serve immediately:)

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