Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Quick and Easy Dinner for a Lazy Day

I get lazy sometimes. OK, often. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my time in the kitchen developing and trying out new recipes. But sometimes I'm just not in the mood to use every pot and pan I own and then spend the whole afternoon cleaning up the resulting colossal mess that always seems to be the aftermath of my creative process (yes, I use that term loosely). 

It's true, there are times when I'm just not in the mood for standing on a stool scraping spaghetti sauce off of the kitchen ceiling. There are those occasions when I just want quick and easy. Some days just tend to get away from me. I start doing whatever the hell it is I do all day and look up to find, boom, just like that the day is over. 

Sometimes you just need quick and easy | www.BakingInATornado.com | #funny #MyGraphics

And honestly, more and more there are days when I'm really just plain lazy. 

Don't tell anyone but it's possible I'm getting a smidge older too. I blame my kids for this but chances are the passing of years has something to do with it also.
The crockpot is great for quick and easy, but I'm not one of those people who likes everything made in the slow cooker. I love soups, stews, sauces and meats that lend themselves to cooking slowly in liquid. And don't get me wrong, I make a lot of meals in the crockpot all winter long. I even love making many desserts in there. How amazing the house smells all day long when I do a crockpot cake

But I find that I don't like the texture of many of the dishes I've tried in the slow cooker. Often meats fall apart or have a weird mealy texture. Maybe that's just me, I don't know, but over the years I've worked to figure out which recipes will lend themselves to slow cooking for hours and which will not produce the results I'm looking for.

So last week, on one of my more and more frequent lazy days, I knew I wanted not only a quick and easy dinner, but I was looking to develop a new recipe while also sparing my hands a day of dish washing chapping and cracking. It was last minute so I didn't turn to my trusty slow cooker, I needed another option for a quick and easy meal. And ditto for the clean up. Is that too much to ask?

I searched my pantry and my fridge and an idea started to form. In the pantry I had some ramen soup packets, I always do, they're a throwback to those lean college years when 17 cents for a bowl of soup fit right into the budget. I had made Grilled Marinated London Broil just the day before and there were leftovers in the fridge that I'd planned to use in sandwiches. I had mushrooms, snow peas, green onions and bok choy in the vegetable crisper. Wheels were turning, gears were burning, thoughts were coalescing, and a recipe was coming together.

uick Beef and Ramen Dinner, a fast and easy way to use soup packages, leftover beef and a few vegetables to make a flavorful dinner | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner #beef
Quick Beef and Ramen Dinner

Now I'm not going to pretend that I'm the first person to ever use ramen soup packets in a meal, I know people have done it before me, but it was something new for me. 

To start with, I knew that I wanted to make the soup, but with less water, and let the noodles soak up some of the flavors from the provided packet. And I knew that I wanted to add more oriental flavor to the meat and the vegetables too.

And just like that, a dinner was born. Quick, easy, one pot and one saute pan so no doing dishes until midnight and, best of all, we really enjoyed it. I just may play with those ramen noodle packets more often. So many flavors, so little time!

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Quick Beef and Ramen Dinner         
Printable Recipe
2 packages Ramen Soup, Oriental flavor (will only use one of the enclosed seasoning packets)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 TBSP olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp sesame oil 
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 - 3/4# leftover steak (can substitute deli roast beef)
2 green onions
4 oz mushrooms  
1 cup bak choy, cleaned and sliced 
2 oz snow peas
1/3 cup roasted unsalted cashews

*In a medium sized bowl, mix together the soy sauce, 1 TBSP olive oil, sesame oil, ginger and minced garlic.
*Thinly slice the beef, then cut each slice into (long, thin) quarters. Cut the green onion on the bias into 1 inch lengths. Slice the mushrooms. Add the beef, onion and mushroom to the bowl with the sauce. Mix well and set aside.
*Crush or chop the cashews.
*Boil 2 cups water. Add the noodles from both packets of soup, breaking up a little as you add them. Bring back to a boil, lower heat and allow to boil for 3 minutes stirring now and then to separate the noodles. Remove from heat and mix in one of the seasoning packets. Set aside.
*In a saute pan, heat the remaining TBSP of olive oil over medium heat. Add the meat, vegetable and sauce mixture from the bowl. Cook and stir for 3 minutes or until the mushrooms are softened. 
*Add the bak choy and snow peas. Cook and stir two more minutes. Drain.
*Using tongs, remove the noodles from the pot and add to the pan of beef and vegetables. Stir well. 
*To serve, top with the crushed cashews.


  1. Ramen restaurants are all the rage here. You are so intrend! I agree about the slow cooker crock pot, somethings made in it are great and others not so much. I love throwing leftovers together for a yummy meal.

    1. Oooh, I'm in trend. Now there's something I don't get accused of very often!

  2. Quick and easy is good, we all have days when we can't be bothered with cooking, I remember when I was a child mum would let us just have toast for tea once a week or fortnight if we wanted to generally when dad was at work

    1. Those are the kinds of meals that we remember, too. Fun because they're different and not following the normal dinner rules.

  3. Many times when the boys were little I'd use ramen noodles. Cheap and quick.

    1. Yes, a great cheap, easy option. And so many things you can do with the noodles. This is our favorite so far.


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