Instant Pot Korean Beef | Cooking Through Construction

IMG_9418editedIf you ask my boys, they’ll tell you we rarely have the same thing twice.  I have a handful of favorite recipes that I make over and over again, but usually I’m scouring the internet and my cookbooks looking for new and different things to try.  Sigh…I miss my cookbooks, packed away until the kitchen is completed.  The boys often have to request a meal they miss if they want me to make it again.  Jake has meatball subs in the request pile right now actually.

One of my go to meats to cook with is ground beef because it’s a meat Jake doesn’t usually have an issue with.  Some of his favorite meals include meatballs (see above), meatloaf, and sloppy joe.  Oh and the spaghetti with meat sauce from Wednesday.  You’ll notice all of them have ground beef as the base.  So when I was making my weekly meal plan last weekend and wasn’t inspired by anything on Pinterest, I googled “low carb ground beef recipes” to see what I could come up with.

IMG_9421editedYou see, not only am I cooking without a kitchen, I’m trying to lose a couple pounds before my best friend’s wedding in early April.  I’ve done a decent job so far, but to be honest I’m starting to lose track a bit!  With a night of burger eating in my future, it’s not looking too good…  Yikes!

Anyhow, I searched for the recipes and came across Korean Beef Bowls, which sounded interesting.  I love Asian flavors so anything that has Chinese, Japanese, or Korean in the name is probably up my alley.  Furthermore if they include garlic and ginger, I’m in.

I read through the recipe and decided it was a go!  The best part was I could make everything in my Instant Pot or on my stove, whenever I get that back.  And, unbeknownst to me, the boys were going to love it!  Quick, easy, and a crowd pleaser.  I think that fits the bill in my house.

IMG_9417editedKorean Beef Bowls
(adapted from this recipe)

1 tbsp sesame oil
1½  pounds lean ground beef
3 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 heaping tbsp garlic paste)
½ tsp Stevia drops (or ½ cup sugar)
½ tsp molasses
¼ cup soy sauce
½ tsp fresh ginger (or use the Gourmet Gardens paste…seriously I love this stuff)
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy)
1 tbsp honey (if desired)
1 bunch scallions, chopped
Sriracha (if desired)

Turn your Instant Pot on saute and heat your oil.  Brown your ground beef, breaking it up as you go.  Drain beef if needed.  Add your garlic, Stevia, molasses, soy, ginger, and crushed red pepper flake.  Cook for 5 minutes until flavors have combined.

This is where I deviated a bit from the original recipe.  I tasted the recipe and decided I wanted it a bit sweeter, plus I have an issue with fake sugar sometimes.  It leaves a taste in my mouth I don’t always love, so I added a drizzle (or two) of honey.  I believe it ended up being about a tablespoon.  Then I stirred it up again and tasted it.  Yum!

I served the beef over Trader Joe’s frozen brown rice (a HUGE timesaver in my house) with a drizzle of Sriracha and a sprinkle of scallions.  Both boys raved about it and Jake finished an entire plate!  And it wasn’t small either!

If you are truly trying to do low carb (like I should have been), you can serve this over cauliflower rice instead.  I’m not a big fan of cauliflower so, while I try to get on board with this trend, it can be hard for me sometimes.  Regardless, this beef is worth a try.  Jeff commented that it would be good in tortillas too.  Asian tacos…future blog post maybe?

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Zucchini Crisps

Zucchini Crisps

I like to think I’m a veggie eater but in truth they’re not the first thing I go for.  Or the second thing.  Or even the third thing most of the time.  Until now.

Once upon a time, when I would go to the grocery store, I would pass by the zucchini and squash without a second glance.  Every so often one of them would make it into my cart and end up roasting in the oven or on the grill brushed with a little olive oil and some herbs, but 9 times out of 10, I just kept on rolling.

Ever since Heather posted a picture of her zucchini crisps on Facebook, rarely a grocery trip goes by that a zucchini doesn’t find it’s way into my cart.  These crisps are simple, easy, and sooo yummy.

“Fried” Zucchini Crisps
(adapted from several recipes)

1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 egg whites, beaten until frothy
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper
Penzey’s Sunny Paris seasoning (or any seasoning of your choice)
1 zucchini, sliced into rounds about 1/4″ thick

Preheat oven to 450º.  In a gallon Ziploc bag, add your flour.  Place your eggs in a shallow bowl.  Sprinkle your zucchini with the salt, pepper, and seasonings on both sides and add to the flour bag.  Shake to coat lightly then pull out and put in the egg whites.  You’ll want to shake off any excess flour before dunking in the whites.  I threw the entire contents of the bag into a colander and shook the excess off.

Add your panko and Parmesan cheese to the empty Ziploc bag.  Combine well then add your floured and egg washed zucchini back into the bag.  Once again shake to coat.  Pull out and put on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat or sprayed with cooking spray.

Cook at 450º until crisp, about 25 minutes.

The thinner you make your crisps, the less veggie-ish they taste, so if you don’t really care for the flavor of zucchini, make them 1/4″.  If you don’t mind the flavor of zucchini, you can go a little wider, like 1/2″.  Enjoy!

Caesar Cornflake Crusted Chicken

caesar chicken

Continuing with the theme meals that are so prevalent on the blog lately, this dinner is another great one to have in your arsenal.  It’s quick, easy, and extremely delicious.  It’s definitely a crowd pleaser.  Throw in some rice and a veggie and you’re good to go!

Caesar Cornflake Crusted Chicken
1 pound chicken breasts, butterflied
1 cup Caesar dressing (or more if desired)
2 cups corn flakes cereal, crushed
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425*.  Put your Caesar dressing in a wide dish (I tend to use cake pans).  Put your crushed up corn flakes in a second dish.  Lightly spray a broiler pan or something similar (like a cooling rack set over a cookie sheet) with nonstick cooking spray.

Dredge each of your chicken breasts first in the dressing, then in the corn flakes.  Place on rack.  Repeat for all breast pieces.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake for 30 minutes on 425*.

*You may need more dressing and/or corn flakes if you don’t have enough to cover all your pieces.

That’s it.  Simple as that!

Tortellini with Peas and Pancetta

Who wants a quick, easy, delicious meal that you can throw together in less than 30 minutes?

I DO!  I DO!

I saw this article in Food Network Magazine and it had some of my favorite things in it.  Garlic, Parmesan, pasta, cream half and half.  Yum!  I whipped this up in no time last night!  Try it.  You’ll like it!

Tortellini with Peas and Pancetta
(inspired by Food Network Magazine‘s April 2010 issue)

1 pound meat filled tortellini
2 tbsp olive oil
3 ounces pancetta, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup half and half
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup Le Seur peas, drained
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Once it reaches a boil, salt the water and cook the tortellini according to the package’s instructions.

In another saucepan over medium heat, warm up your oil and start to brown your pancetta.  You want the pancetta to be nice and crispy.  It will take about 5 minutes.

Grate in your garlic…

keep your tortellini from boiling over…

and add the tomato paste.  Stir to combine and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).

Add about a cup of pasta water and simmer until reduced by half (3-4 minutes).

Add the half and half.  Simmer until slightly thickened (2-3 minutes).

Add a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes for good measure.  You know how we do in the Desjarlais house.

A few minutes before the tortellini is done, add your peas to the water.  You want to warm them up so you don’t bite into a cold pea in your warm pasta.  (The original recipe called for frozen peas, so this step would be doubly important if you’re using frozen.)

Drain the peas and pasta and add to the sauce.  Toss to coat.

Top with parmesan cheese and serve with toasty warm croissants (optional).

Easy, peasy, Japanese-y! (This meal literally came together by the time I had heated up the oven and cooked the croissants.  It’s that quick.)

What’s your favorite go to meal during the week?