Sunday, July 22, 2012

"Beef Sirloin and Bell Pepper Kebabs"

I'M BACK!  Did ya'll miss me?  I certainly missed you.  I'm ready to get this thing flying again.  I hope you've all had a wonderful two years.  I did!  When you have children, you certainly experience so many wonderful things.  Oddly, not much has changed during this hiatus.  I'm still working, still trying to manage to, well, manage everything.  It's still rather difficult.  Any working parent knows that.  Unfortunately, I don't think I managed all that well in the food area for my family.  There was a lot of pre-packaged food consumption.  A lot of fast food and restaurant eating over the past two years.  And we all know how horrible that is -- not only for our health, our waist-lines, but also for our financial health and our general well-being.  The economy sucks so bad right now (and no, I refuse to bring politics into this blog), and I have a hard time understanding why I and my husband opted to waste so much of our hard-earned money on paying for sub-par meals.  It's not like we were dining at 4-star restaurants known for people-healthy and earth-friendly cuisine.  No.  It was Denny's, Burger King, Ruby Tuesday, McD's, Subway, etc.  So, a renewed resolve for myself.

To relaunch the site, I cooked a "quick" meal last night.  No, it wasn't by Ramsay.  I didn't give myself any advance notice that I was starting this again.  I just picked a recipe and, on a whim, picked up the camera and said, "I'm doing this again."  So, my return recipe comes from the July 2012 issue of Clean Eating Magazine.  

Beef Sirloin and Bell Pepper Kebabs in Rosemary Garlic Marinade

These are a wonderful way to streamline your meals (and a great way to make sure your kids get their veggies).  The prep can be done the day before (or a few hours before like I did yesterday).  

Sirloin (or a good cut of steak).  Make sure you use a tender cut of meat.  Even though you're marinating the beef, the cooking process is quick and you don't want a tough cut.  Garlic, fresh rosemary, vinegar (the recipe called for red wine -- I was out so I used cider vinegar), low-salt soy sauce, olive oil (again, I was out so I used canola) and black pepper.  A large onion, bell peppers and salt.

Mince the garlic
and the rosemary.

Combine them with the soy sauce, vinegar and oil.  Season with pepper.

Add chopped bell peppers
 and more peppers.
Add in your chopped onion and realize that you ran out of room in your marinating dish.
Chop up your beef into about 2-inch chunks.
Pour everything into a gallon-size plastic bag.  I should have done this from the start.  It's so much easier to make sure everything is completely coated.  It also makes things easier because when it's marinating in the fridge, all you have to do is flip the bag.  You don't have to stir and worry about food flipping out of the pan when you're stirring.  Plus it makes for quicker clean up.  You toss the bag, rather than washing the pan and fork/spoon.

So up to this point, it took about 20 to 25 minutes to chop everything and get it into the bag.  The recipe said to refrigerate for 6 to 24 hours.  I only had about 3 hours for mine.  Note to self -- Pre-Planning is a must!  This is something you could make way ahead for a freezer meal.  If doing this, after marinating, thread it onto the skewers.  On each end, place a cherry tomato so that there are no pointy ends.  Wrap each kebab in plastic wrap and place into a large freezer bag.  Freeze until ready to cook.  Thaw and grill or broil.  

Thread everything onto skewers.  If using wood or bamboo; don't forget to soak them for about 30 minutes. I love flat skewers!  They don't allow the food to turn around all willy-nilly when you're trying to flip them.  When using bamboo skewers, I use two together to create it's only flat surface.
Place the skewers on a pre-heated and oiled grill.  I grilled mine over direct heat for 6 minutes per side (12 minutes total) for medium rare to medium.  
They came out just right.
I let them sit for about 5 minutes before serving so all the juices could redistribute.
Awesome.  C and I gobbled ours up.  Even the boys loved it -- including the veggies!  There were some left overs from the boys and I will be using those up to create a steak and veggie omelet with a little pepper jack cheese.

So, no one can say they don't have time to cook a kebab.  They are so versatile.  Things I would do differently?  I would have reserved some marinade to use as a baste or as a finishing sauce.  That's about it really.  

Another wonderful thing about kebabs -- you can make a lot extras to keep in the freezer (as described above).  You can defrost as many or as little as you want.  Keep some on hand for an omelet or for a salad. Toss the meat and veggies with some rice or orzo or couscous.  With this marinade you could mix up the meats and veggies.  Steak with onions and mushrooms.  Lamb with peppers and cherry tomatoes.  Even all veggie kebab would be succulent.  Give it a try!  Cooking time is only 12 minutes.  What have you got to lose?

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