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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Beef Noodle Soup with an Asian Bent

I can't really call this Pho (I couldn't begin to get THAT right - bones, those wonderful seasonings...nope, don't know how) and I can't really call it Won Ton Soup...so I decided it is just a Beef Noodle Soup with an Asian Bent.

My son likes Ramen - Beef Ramen to be exact.  I think those little flavoring packets have some undesirable contents (although I'm not sure what they are).  I wanted to try to make a beef soup that has an oriental taste and is brothy like the Ramen...but hopefully is healthier and tastes "better".

This is my attempt to mix up a soup that is similar to a Ramen soup or a Won Ton soup, but where the beef is cooked longer and is extremely tender as a result.  I am going to add some strips of won ton noodle at the end.

When we went to a wonderful restaurant in South Austin, Hao Hao...an old family favorite...he ordered a noodle soup with Shrimp Won Ton and he loved it.  I watched what he added and what he didn't...so I'll try to "sort of" recreate that, with beef instead of shrimp.

I had bought some beef chuck flat iron steak I had intended to dice up and add to my chili...and I never got around to doing that (only had a brief cold spell and haven't had any significant cold since then) so I pulled it out of the freezer to thinly slice and use in this recipe.

My secondary consideration was that I have a doctor's appointment today and wanted something I could leave in the slow cooker and I could then, when I arrived home, finish it off with some fresh ingredients.  I got a new slow cooker for Christmas (mine was over 20 something years old) and I am anxious to give it a try.  My old one was round and couldn't accommodate some of the rib, chicken, and flank steak recipes I wanted to try out.  The new one is oval, matches my kitchen, and I'm happy, happy to have it! (Proof that my husband listens to things I say when we walk around and talk...he amazes me...he helped the teen get it for me for Christmas).

So, all of that said, here's the recipe I came up with.

BEEF NOODLE SOUP WITH AN ASIAN BENT

Ingredients:

3/4 lb beef chuck flat iron steak, thinly sliced on the bias
1 can low sodium beef broth (I used Swanson's)
4 cans of water (using the beef broth 15 oz. can)
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp Roasted Sesame Oil
1/2 tsp Chili Garlic Sauce
1 carrot - finely diced
1/4 large white onion, very finely sliced

1 package of ramen noodles (discard the seasoning packet)
20 pieces of refrigerated Won Ton noodles, sliced diagonally (if I had to do it over again, I wouldn't add this)
Fresh Cilantro
Fresh Lime
Hoison Sauce
Duck Sauce
Extra Soy Sauce to taste

Method:

Prep the carrot and onion and set aside.  Thinly slice the still-partially-frozen steak diagonally.  I cut each piece in half long way so I ended up with bite size pieces.  It is a very inexpensive cut ($2.50 for these two pieces) and tough as could be unless cooked long and slow.

Add the onion and carrot to the bottom of the slow cooker and top with the beef.  Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, and chili garlic sauce on top of the meat.  Add the beef broth and 4 cans of water and turn the slow cooker on low (with the lid on).

Cook for 5 hours and turn to Keep Warm setting (while I go to the doctor)
Upon return, put on high and after it begins to simmer (30-45 minutes), add Ramen noodles, and 5 minutes later add the won ton triangles (they got soggy - I wouldn't add them at all if I make this again).  Allow to cook until desired tenderness of the noodles.  Taste broth and add more Soy Sauce if desired (I did desire).  Add fresh cilantro and squeeze half of the lime into the pot.  Serve with Hoison Sauce and Duck Sauce and a lime quarter for each bowl.


This was a good beef soup. My son, however, thought it was too sour for his taste.  He tried it but ended up opening a can of something and ate it for dinner.  Oh bother.

I saved the leftovers for my hubby...we'll see what he thinks.  I, personally, liked it a lot.  The very marbled beef was tender as could be and very flavorful.  The vegetables, thanks to the slow cooker, retained some firm, almost crunchy, texture, which I liked.  I enjoyed the fresh burst of flavor from the cilantro (wish I'd had some fresh basil too, but all of mine died during our brief cold snap).  Some fresh mushrooms would not have gone amiss either.  I could feel the gentle heat of the Chili Garlic Sauce on the back of my throat.  Yum.

I quite enjoyed just a small squirt of hoisin sauce and a blob of duck sauce added to mine after I'd had a few bites and decided it needed something more.

I guess the kid is still going to eat packets of Ramen with the mysterious packet of "flavor"...he's a teen-ager after all...it seems to be their thing. 

Bon Appetit, Y'all!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Healthy Food Helping Me Mend


For those who follow me, you know I have been MIA for several weeks.  I have been laid low with Acute Bronchitis and some other stuff that has initials and words...but way TMI for general consumption!  Let's just leave it at I've been sick as can be...but I'm on the mend.

I haven't felt like cooking nor eating since the Wednesday after New Year's.  I got home after 10 days in Austin and the very next night began the downhill slide.  Now, the interesting part of the debacle is that I lost 10 pounds during that episode...but as I got re-hydrated and began to nibble on crackers and toast and lots and lots of yogurt to offset the bad effect of antibiotics...I gained 5 of it back.  Soooo, I'm thinking starting off the New Year 5 pounds down is not a bad thing!  I'd like to keep it that way :-) and that is always a challenge when I get into my baking frenzies.  Since that won't happen for me until Valentine's Day, I'm going to make every effort to eat healthier until then (and through then if I can control myself).

This week-end I did make my family some chicken and dumplings - they were happy.  I made some delicious omelettes for me and my hubby filled with low-fat mozzarella and fabulously beautiful avocado and some sweet grape tomatoes for him.  Those two tasks nearly laid me out again...I have NO ENERGY.

Last night I made some spaghetti for the teen and ate myself a nice salad with the rest of that plump avocado and some beautiful leaf lettuce.  I felt like I wanted to get back to keeping some homemade vinaigrette in the fridge - so I made up a jar of a fairly healthy mixture.  It is indeed yummy.  I like sweet and tart, so my mixture was 1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar, 1/3 White Wine Vinegar, 1/3 White Balsamic Vinegar, a teaspoon each of salt and pepper, 12 packets of Splenda, and 2 tbsp of olive oil and 2 tbsp of canola oil.  I hate it when my olive oil solidifies in the fridge, so the addition of canola makes it work for me...and I like a more vinegary vinaigrette without as much oil as most utilize.  It is delish I must say!
What's left of the vinaigrette after a salad last night
and dressing the Quinoa Salad today.


This morning I have the doors thrown open, listening to sea birds and ducks calling, the palm trees are rustling in the wind and it is a comfortable mid 60's down on the Texas Gulf Coast.  It is the most normal I have felt in over 2 weeks.  That prompted me to cut up some pineapple, cut up some celery, and to make a container of Quinoa Salad.  Having good food on hand helps me be "better" when making food choices.

For the Quinoa Salad I used what I had on hand.  I have another pasta salad, similar to this, posted and you can find it here.  I also have another Quinoa Salad posted...it has "more stuff"...this one is much more simple and I skipped garlic because I just didn't feel like it would feel good in my tummy right now.  Here's what I used:

Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 cucumber
1-2 green onions
1/2 cup halved Kalamata olives
1/4 cup crumbled Feta Cheese (I like more but that's all I had)
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of the vinaigrette described above

Mix quinoa and water in a small saucepan.  Stir and bring to boil.  Reduce heat to simmer, cover and allow to cook until all water is gone...10-15 minutes.  Mine took 12 minutes.
Remove from heat, fluff, and stir in 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette to the hot quinoa.  Stir well.  Allow to cool.

Peel and halve cucumber, scoop seeds from the middle with a spoon, half the halves and dice.
My green onions were fairly large so I just wanted one.  I'm not up to intense oniony flavors yet.
Remove roots, half the onion down the center and finely slice, including all of the green end too.

Add the diced cucumber, thinly sliced onion, Kalamata olives, and Feta Cheese to a bowl large enough to accommodate the entire salad.  When the quinoa is cooled sufficiently, stir it into the vegetables.  Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette and stir thoroughly.  Allow to chill in fridge.


Next I prepped an entire bunch of celery so I could snack on them at whim (I like to dip them in low-fat Pimento Cheese for lunch too). 

I also cleaned up a bag of sweet peas (excellent sweet crunch) and, of course, peeled, cored, and diced the beautiful Golden Pineapple which is incredibly sweet.

This will help me slowly move back into eating more regular meals and get me back the energy I need to resume normal life.  I miss Zumba terribly.  I tried to do two songs last night and went into a paroxysm of coughing that had me back on the couch gasping for breath.  I'll work on it every night until I can make it 20 minutes.  Then I think I can resume class.  I hope that is by next week, because I feel so weak...where I had been feeling so strong after 9 months of Zumba!

This might not be my most exciting post - but if you take away nothing else, know that starting 2012 in a more healthy fashion can be obtained with a little prep and maintaining good fresh food so you aren't tempted to pick up a cookie and nibble (my downfall). 

So, Bon Appetit, Y'all...  I may not be posting very regularly yet (this endeavor has tired me out and I'm heading back to the couch with my comforter) ...but I'll be back on track within the next few weeks at least!

My yummy lunch plate which I'm almost too tired to eat!

 

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Down and Out with a Bad Cold!

Updated January 13th.  Well...it's been quite the horrific week.  The "bad cold" evolved into Acute Bronchitis with temps of 104 spiking out of the blue and then breaking, only to return hours later.  I thought I was a potential for hospitalization at one point. 

Thank goodness we live in the days of modern medicine and good antibiotics and antivirals. 

I'm weak, but improving.  I'm told to expect to feel bad for another week.  Ugh.

Thanks to those who sent emails, and Facebook notes, and called to check in on me!!!

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I haven't disappeared off the face of the earth...I've been flattened by a horrific cold with fever for 4 days running.  I returned home Tuesday night, had a happy Wednesday, then Wednesday night I started wheezing.  It was downhill all the way after that.

This is the first moment I've even felt like giving an update.  Haven't had fever since 1:00 today (Sunday) so I'm hoping this is the corner and that I am TURNING IT!

I am truly sick of being sick.

Back in the kitchen soon.
Blech :-(

Bon Appetit, Y'all!StumbleUpon

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!


I'm still away from my kitchen - visiting friends and family - but wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a very Happy New Year!  We've been eating out A LOT during this little vacation and my gift to my family is not taking photos of everything they put in their mouth.  They are growing to hate my desire for photographing food.  Giving them a break will hopefully ease their hostility :-)

I am really looking forward to the year 2012.  My last "chick" graduates from high school, will begin college, and prepares to leave the nest... giving me more freedom to blog and maybe take a class myself!  This is a pivotal year in my life.  I've had kids in my home for 35 years... it's gonna be strange to think of this last one preparing to jet off into adult life.  He actually plans to live at home through 2012...so I have time to adjust... but we are certainly in a transition stage!  Who will eat my goodies???

I think this transition will also be a challenge for my blogging.  I'm excited to see how it evolves as well.  I'll see you again in a few days...Happy New Year!

Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!StumbleUpon