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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Pepper Steak

When I was in high school, I got home from school around 2:30. At lunch, I would have a pack of those awful orange cheese crackers. (I liked them then.) and wait until I got home to have lunch. There were often leftovers in the fridge which was always a treat since my mom is a great cook. My favorites were pepper steak and shrimp creole.

 This recipe is a 70's home made version of the popular Chinese restaurant dish. I usually make a couple additions to make it more interesting. I add two or three minced cloves of garlic when I brown the meat, and if I have it, a teaspoonful or two of toasted sesame oil just before serving .

Pepper Steak
1-1 ¼ lb round steak
2 cups beef broth (or 2 boullion cubes and 2 cups water)
1 large green pepper, sliced (or half green and half red)
4 Tablespoons soy sauce (low sodium works well)
2 Tablespoons cornstarch

Cut steak into strips and brown in a little oil.  Add green pepper and sauté a few minutes to begin softening peppers.  Add broth and soy sauce, and simmer 30 minutes.  Mix cornstarch in ¼ cup water, add to pan and stir constantly until thickened.  Serve over rice.

Serves 4-6

Friday, June 14, 2013

Banana Pudding in a jar

When we had friends with kids coming for dinner, I wanted to make a fun dessert. Since I have gotten caught up in the craze for making everything from no-cook oatmeal to salads in Mason jars, banana pudding came to mind. It seemed like a perfect recipe to adapt to individual servings. We have loved Paula Deen's Not Yo' Moma's Banana Pudding since my mom introduced us to it years ago so I started there.

(Our friends' son liked it so much he used two spoons.)

  I did use Trader Joe's Ultimate Vanilla Wafers since the Chessmen cookies wouldn't fit in 8 ounce jars. I also have changed the procedure to dirty fewer bowls.

You could use regular vanilla wafers, but these are really rich and good and have vanilla beans - see the black flecks.

 After gathering the ingredients, I mixed the cream cheese, condensed milk, milk, pudding mix and whipped topping. Then it was time to start layering.The pudding mixture set quicker than I would have liked. It doesn't need to be as firm when it is going in jars as it does in a large pan, so I think I will change things next time. (I didn't need as much filling as this made either.)

 This recipe makes a large dish of banana pudding, so after I filled the ten jars I had pudding left. I layered it in a casserole with strawberries.

 Banana Pudding in a Jar

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened (I use reduced fat)
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk 
2 cups milk (I use skim)
1 (5-ounce) box instant vanilla pudding
1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping thawed
1 pkg Vanilla Wafers
4 large bananas, sliced
12 8 ounce Mason jars

In a large mixing bowl mix cream cheese and condensed milk until smooth. Add the milk and pudding mix and mix until well blended. Add the whipped topping and mix until just combined. Place one cookie in the bottom of each jar. Add a couple of Tablespoons of the pudding mixture, then top with about half of the bananas. (5 or 6 slices in each jar.) Add a cookie to each jar and press down to remove some of the air space. Add some more of the pudding and the rest of the bananas. Top with pudding almost to the top of the jars and finish with a cookie before putting the lids on. Refrigerate at least several hours before serving.