Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Status

Just as I was prepping a new feature for this site and its accompanying YouTube channel, I had emergency surgery.  Between the hospitalization and the recovery, I wasn't able to work on anything for Our Small Table for an extended period.  About the time I was feeling up to it again, things got extra complicated, between my mom getting a cancer diagnosis and subsequently starting treatment, and an unusual summer with me travelling back and forth from one state to another.  Then I moved, had serious vehicle issues, and my beloved mom passed away. The hope is that now that we're more properly settled, and I have a vehicle again, I'll be able to end the extended hiatus for Our Small Table.  He's been talking about wanting to add gardening videos to the YouTube channel, so that's a possibility, and I have three videos already recorded for the new feature I was working on.  I've also been testing small batch InstantPot recipes, and I have a few "just for fun" recipes planned (Firefly fans? Watch this space!).

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Mushroom Fried Rice

This great and simple vegetarian dish will use up any leftover rice and mushrooms in the house.
  • 1/4 C fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp chopped onion
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 C cold cooked rice
  • 1/4 C frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
  • 2 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 egg, beaten
1.  In a medium skillet, cook mushrooms and onion in oil until tender.  Stir in the rice, vegetables, and soy sauce and cook over low heat for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are cooked through and most liquid is evaporated.
2.  Add egg; cook and stir for1-2 minutes or until egg is set.

Robyn's notes: I'm really very much a scent cook, certain ingredients make a dish smell so good that I get much more excited about it than you would expect.  Soy sauce is one, as soon as I add it to the skillet my tummy starts rumbling!  Try Chicken Fried Rice for another tasty version.  Watch me demonstrate this recipe on youtube!

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Sirloin Steak with Balsamic Mushrooms

As a careful shopper, I got the smallest sirloin steak available at my market in order to make Sweet & Salty Beef Salad, which meant I had 8oz remaining after making the salad.  I went digging through my recipes and found this little dish, which only required the purchase of mushrooms--the rest of the ingredients were already in the house!  That's how we keep from wasting food!
  • 2 tsp + 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 8 oz boneless sirloin steak, trimmed of fat, halved
  • 2 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 6 oz button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 C beef broth
1.  In a medium (nonmetallic) bowl, stir together 2 tsp vinegar, garlic, oregano, and pepper.  Add steak, turning to coat.  Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours, turning several times if marinating longer than 30 minutes.
2.  In a large skillet, heat 1 tsp oil over medium-high heat, swirling to coat the bottom.  Cook steaks for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until browned and of desired doneness.  Transfer to plates.  Cover with foil to keep warm.
3.  In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tsp oil, swirling to coat the bottom.  Cook mushrooms over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until they start releasing their juices.  Pour in the remaining 1 Tbsp vinegar and the broth, scraping to dislodge any browned bits.  Cook for 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally.  Serve over the steaks.

Robyn's notes: this is actually a fairly low-cal dinner!  Each serving of steak with mushrooms will be about 200 calories (try to use beef broth without extra salt and fat-free if you can find it).  This would go well with a spinach salad and maybe some garlic toast.  Watch me demonstrate this recipe on youtube!

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Ice Cream

My favourite sweet flavor combination is chocolate and peanut butter, so this really hits the spot!
1.  In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed to combine peanut butter and sugar until smooth.  Add milk and mix on low speed until sugar is dissolved, about 1-2 minutes.  Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.  Cover and refrigerate 1-2 hours
2.  Process mixture in ice cream maker until soft, creamy texture is achieved.  Stir together with chocolate ice cream, creating a swirled pattern.  Freeze at least one hour until both flavours are the same consistency.

Robyn's notes: the peanut butter ice cream on its own does taste good, but it becomes too much very quickly.  Another option is to add chopped Reese's five minutes before the ice cream is completely mixed, making peanut butter cup ice cream, instead of swirling it with the chocolate.  

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Sweet & Salty Beef Salad

A filling dinner salad with just 340 calories, this will help keep you on track, starting the year on the right foot!
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce (or fish sauce, if preferred)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, halved, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp canola oil, divided
  • 8 ounces sirloin steak, trimmed of fat and thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 orange, peel and white pith removed, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped dry-roasted peanuts
1.  Stir soy sauce (or fish sauce) and brown sugar together in a small bowl and set aside.  Divide lettuce between two plates.
2.  Heat 1 tsp oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking.  Add beef and cook, stirring, until browned on the outside and still pink inside, 1-2 minutes.  Spoon over the lettuce.  Add remaining 1 tsp oil, jalapeño (or serrano), onion, and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add soy sauce mixture, remove from heat and stir in orange (and cilantro, if using).  Spoon the sauce over the salads and sprinkle with peanuts.

Robyn's notes: there is a prep time component to this, because the lettuce has to be sliced, the steak has to be trimmed and sliced, the pepper, onion, garlic, orange, and peanuts...a knife must be taken to all of them.  But once the ingredients are prepared, it moves quickly and the kitchen starts smelling like a dream right away (I love all citrus smells as well as the scent of soy sauce).  Watch me demonstrate this recipe on youtube!

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Small-Batch Chocolate Ice Cream

A nice, simple, creamy chocolate ice cream, just right on its own or perfect to swirl with another flavour.
  • 1/4 C + 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp packed dark brown sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 C whole milk
  • 1 C heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
1.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, and salt.  Add the milk and whisk to combine until the cocoa, sugars, and salt are dissolved.  Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.  Cover and refrigerate 1-2 hours.
2.  Process mixture in ice cream maker until soft, creamy texture is achieved.

Robyn's notes: I don't often pick up chocolate ice cream, because I find it too one-note.  This, however, I quite enjoyed, and since it's a small batch, I didn't have time to get tired of it.  Use this recipe with the recipe for Peanut Butter Ice Cream to make a great swirl.

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Coconut-Lime Chicken & Snow Peas

During the winter and over the holiday season, many of us eat a lot of rich, heavy meals.  Come January, a lighter entree is often very welcome.  This dinner salad is a good choice for those trying to keep to resolutions to eat more greens.
  • 1 C "lite" coconut milk
  • 1/4 C lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 oz chicken tenders
  • 4 C shredded romaine lettuce
  • 1 C shredded red cabbage
  • 1 C sliced snow peas
  • 2 Tbsp minced red onion
  • 3 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro (optional)
1.  Preheat oven to 400°F.  In an 8 inch square glass baking dish, whisk coconut milk, lime juice, brown sugar, and salt.  Transfer 1/4 C of this dressing to a large bowl and set aside.
2.  Place chicken in baking dish; bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes.
3.  Meanwhile, add lettuce, cabbage, snow peas, onion, and cilantro if using to the large bowl with the dressing; toss to coat.  Divide between two plates.
4.  Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and thinly slice.  Arrange the chicken slices on top of the salads.  Drizzle 1 Tbsp of the cooking liquid over each of the salads.

Robyn's notes: dinner salads are a challenge for me, because they include so many ingredients that I can't have.  This was a pleasant surprise, because the chicken was really good--I'd eat it with couscous or rice happily.  Watch me demonstrate this recipe on youtube!

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often