Teriyaki Beef Jerky Recipe

by Kelly R. Smith

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Beef jerky, ready to eat
Beef jerky, ready to eat

I love beef jerky and I suspect that I am not alone in that respect. But, there are three issues that I have with the commercial variety:

  • It’s too expensive.
  • The texture tends to be to hard.
  • God only knows what kind of chemicals and preservatives are used.

And that is one reason why I invested in a food dehydrator. Now I can make my own marinades and control the texture. I made a batch yesterday so my new appliance is paying for itself already. Next, I’m going to run a batch of apples. But here is the simple jerky recipe.

Beef Jerky Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 pounds of thin round sirloin tip. Any lean cut will do. Organic grass-fed is preferable. If you’ve got deep pockets, substitute bison. I know my sister will. That woman knows her food.
  • 1 12 oz. bottle of Lawry’s Teriyaki with Pineapple juice.
  • Spices to taste. I did not add salt due to my high blood pressure.

Jerky Preparation

Marinating beef for jerky
Marinating beef for jerky
  • Slice the meat thin. I prefer about 1/4″. Remember that the meat will shrink as it cooks. As for length, about 6″ is what I like but take into account the geometry and size of your food dehydrator. You will likely end up with some irregular pieces, but that’s OK; it’s jerky after all.
  • Put the slices in a container. The Pyrex dish you see above worked well.
  • Pour the marinade over the beef and mix it up well to ensure a thorough coating.
  • Put in in the refrigerator overnight. Some recipes only call for a few hours but the way I see it, I’m already in it this far. Do it up good. I know Perry’s smokes their famous pork chops for several days. If you’ve had one you know that patience is a good habit.
  • Stir it all up every few hours. I get up sporadically during the night for a bodacious swallow of ice water so no problemo, friend.
  • Pat the slices on paper towels to remove excess marinade.
  • Arrange slices on your dehydrator trays. Allow space for air circulation.
  • Set the temperature for 160 degrees F.
  • Set the timer for 4 hours.
  • Check it every so often for your desired degree of done-ness. Mine was perfection at 3 1/2 hours. Turn off the unit.
  • Leave it in the dehydrator until it cools.
  • Enjoy!
Beef jerky properly spaced on the dehydrator tray
Beef jerky properly spaced on the dehydrator tray

That’s all there is making your own teriyaki beef jerky. Of course, any other marinade works just as well. Buy your favorite or make your own.

Other Recipes You will Enjoy (I Did)



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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Ivation 6-Tray Food Dehydrator: a Product Review

by Kelly R. Smith

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Ivation 6-tray stainless steel food dehydrator
Ivation 6-tray stainless steel food dehydrator

There are many ways to cook and preserve food. In recent years the increasing number of homesteaders and preppers have made canning and dehydrating popular again. Processing food with a food dehydrator is great for storing food in the home and keeping the nutritional value while reducing weight for campers, hikers, or just going on a road trip with family and friends.

I was motivated to buy the Ivation 6-tray dehydrator pictured above, I won’t lie, because I love beef jerky. Well, to be honest, my daughter is crazy for the jerky from Buc-ee’s. So I called her and asked, “What flavor?” She said, “Teriyaki beef jerky.” So I shopped. There are many out there but led me to choose this one was size, materials, and the fact that it’s commercial-grade. In for a dime, in for a dollar, I always say.

By the way, if you were wondering when looking at the picture above, the dehydrator is set up on one of the work benches in my wood shop. No sense in heating up the kitchen during the Texas summer.

Features of the Ivation Dehydrator

  • Six trays. These trays measure 13” X 12”. Plenty of room for processing an assortment of food.
  • Rear-mounted automatic fan. The fan circulates warm air with 600W of heating power. This ensures that the food is evenly dried from all angles.
  • Easy to clean. The 6 stainless steel trays as well as the drip tray are all removable. Just slide them out and wash as you would anything else in your kitchen.
  • Stainless steel body and trays. All parts are BPA-free, this means they are safe and durable.
  • Digital temperature and timer. The temperature range is 95ºF to 167ºF. You can set the timer to automatically shut off your unit at the time you specify. Set it in 30-minute increments for up to 24 hours.

Conclusion

Despite the fact that this Ivation 6-tray food dehydrator is a commercial-grade appliance, it is very easy to use; the controls are simple, it is easy to clean, and the heavy-duty fan is properly placed to do its job evenly. I recommend it.



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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Turkey Italian Sausage and Peppers Recipe

by Kelly R. Smith

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Italian sausage and peppers
Italian sausage and peppers

Yes, I am back in the experimental recipe zone again. So comfortable with my culinary thinking hat on; I have an affinity for Frank Zappa’s Muffin Man. This recipe combines good veggies and spices with Italian sausage but with aorta-healthier turkey rather than pork. I don’t need to further push my high blood pressure. This recipe serves 6 and is ready in about an hour.

Ingredient List

  • 3 tpsp. olive oil
  • 1 tpsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 bell peppers, sliced and diced (why not use all the colors)
  • 1/2 large red onion, diced
  • Himalayan or pink salt to taste (it’s chock full of minerals and nutrients, unlike the regular stuff)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 6 Italian sausages sliced thin (hot or sweet, your choice)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, sliced up

Preparation

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine and mix the vinegar, red pepper, oil, and garlic in a mixing bowl.
  3. Mix in the onion and bell peppers.
  4. Put the mixture into a 9″ X 13″ Pyrex dish.
  5. Distribute the sausage on top.
  6. Bake until the sausage is done, about 45 minutes.
  7. Take it out and distribute the basil on top.
  8. Enjoy.

More Recipes

This turkey Italian sausage and peppers recipe is very filling which is good if you have been working out or are on an intermittent fasting routine. It also keeps well in the refrigerator and even makes a tasty sandwich.


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Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Black Rifle Coffee: A Product Review

High-Quality, Small-Batch Coffee Beans From Veterans

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith

Black Rifle Coffee and destruction on auto. Yeah.
Black Rifle Coffee and destruction on auto. Yeah.
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This article was updated on 03/26/21.

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We have all gone through a lot after the COVID-19 lockdown. Not a lot of us are hitting up Starbucks on the way to the daily grind. Hey, we’re working at home in our PJ’s. But we still need out caffeine fix. Starbucks for me? No. I have Black Rifle Coffee Beans delivered twice a month.

Once a month used to do me right but since the Corona virus lockdown, my wife is working from home and coffee consumption has doubled. So… I went from once a month delivery to two. Is it expensive? Hmm. Not cheap but when you commit to being in the delivery “club” shipping is free. All that’s left is brewing the perfect cup of coffee.

How Good is Black Rifle Coffee?

I would say, “exceptional” but you want more details, yes? OK, they start with the best beans. Then, they don’t roast until they are getting your stuff together. That stuff on the shelf at the grocery store? How long was it sitting? How long before it was roasted and ground? Belay that; this discerning coffee-fiend only uses whole beans. I am not adverse to adding some mint from my garden.

Now that you have the beans you have to use your coffee bean grinder. Most people buy already-ground coffee but I do not for two reasons:

  1. As soon as coffee beans are roasted they start releasing carbon dioxide and begin to slowly decay. The chemicals begin to transform and the cell structure of the bean starts to fall apart, and the best flavors of the beans start to become bitter and dull, rather like life during the pandemic. Grinding the beans accelerates the process.
  2. There are ground-up bugs in that can of pre-ground coffee you bought the other day. The FDA only gets concerned if more than 10 percent or more of green coffee beans are affected. Regarding “Insect filth and insects” the FDA Handbook says, “Average 10% or more by count are insect-infested or insect-damaged.” When I pour those whole beans into the grinder I can verify non-buginess.

Types of Coffee

They offer whole-bean, ground, instant, rounds (pods), canned, and bags (Just Black Cold Brew Packs). Something for everybody. There is more evidence accumulating all the time of the coffee’s health benefits. So pick your favorites and enjoy. The coffee brews are:

  • Light roast: Silencer Smooth, Gunship
  • Medium roast: Just Black Cold Brew Packs, Liberty Roast, Caf Coffee Roast, BRCC Instant, Thin Blue Line, AK-47 Espresso Blend, Five Alarm, Just Black
  • Dark Roast: Freedom Fuel, Blackbeard’s Delight, Beyond Black
  • Extra dark: Murdered Out (this is the one I brew up for myself and She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed every morning and afternoon). It’s a good habit.

You might notice a theme in both the name of the company and the names of the products. That’s because this is a veteran-owned and operated company. I have to give Black Rifle Coffee high marks — 10 out of 10. Their brew is as good as I’ve ever swilled and their delivery is always on time. The beans are always roasted in small batches unlike the big industrial operations. The video below explains how they are handling the CoronaVirus situation.

References

Further Reading



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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

No-Fry Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

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Breading Eggplant Parmesan
Breading Eggplant Parmesan

Although eggplant is often considered to be a vegetable, it is actually a berry by botanical definition. I know, I know; I don’t get it either. Health-wise, it’s got a lot going for it. According to naturalremediescenter.com, ” It is said that eggplant may have effects in preventing and treating high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol. Eggplant is rich in phenols which may inhibit an enzyme tied to high blood pressure. Thus eggplant may do your body some favors in lower high blood pressure.” And it tastes great. So what’s to lose?

This recipe is a meatless dish so if you are the kind of person who opts for a soybean-based burger rather than traditional beef, you can’t go wrong here.

Ingredient List

  • 1 large eggplant, sliced 1/4 inch rounds
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 oz. Marinara or tomato sauce of your choice
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil (add other herbs as desired)
  • 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs, regular or your choice of flavor
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (more is fine)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (more is fine)
  • Optional: hot sauce to taste, added to the tomato sauce

Eggplant Parmesan Preparation

  • The first step is to “sweat” the eggplant rounds. Since eggplant absorbs so much water by itself, it is important to remove as much moisture from the rounds as possible. Do this by salting both sides and then placing them in a colander in the sink. Two colanders should work for one eggplant. Let them sweat for at least 2 hours. More is better; just like the rising you allocate for homemade bread.
  • Rinse the salt off and press dry with paper towels.
  • Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • Apply olive oil to a large baking sheet pan.
  • Whisk the eggs in a small bowl.
  • Spread some panko on a dish.
  • One at a time, dredge the rounds in the egg, coat both sides liberally with panko, and arrange on the baking sheet.
  • Bake 9 minutes, flip the rounds, bake another 9 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and allow them to cool.
  • Lower oven temperature to 350°F.
Layering Eggplant Parmesan
Layering Eggplant Parmesan
  • Stir the basil into the sauce.
  • Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of an 8″ X 8″ Pyrex baking dish.
  • Lay out a layer of rounds in the dish. Since they are round you can cut one up to fill the “gaps.”
  • Sprinkle with both kinds of cheese; the amount is up to you.
  • Top with another layer of rounds.
  • Spread sauce and sprinkle with cheese.
  • Keep layering in this fashion until you run out of rounds. The top layer should have sauce and cheese.
  • Bake for 35 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

That’s all there is to it! Of course, you can try different kinds of cheese. This really is a bonus if you are feeding picky kids. This no-fry eggplant Parmesan is very versatile for the adventurous cook. You might pair it with a Tuscan kale salad or homemade low-carb egg noodles.

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Top New Year’s Resolutions; Path to Success

Strategies For Self-Improvement During the Covid Pandemic

Photo of Kelly R. Smith

  by Kelly R. Smith; © 2022

Running for fitness and health
Running for fitness and health
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This article was updated on 01/05/22.

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As the old year fades into the sunset and the new one is ushered in, people all over the world will be indulging, not only in partying but in vowing to self-help. To make permanent changes, you must make new habits. Here is a list of the top New Year’s resolutions year after year.

  • Getting in better physical shape. This is one we should all be doing and there is always room for improvement. Choose something you enjoy — running, walking, cycling, swimming, yoga; the list is endless. Physical fitness can be as frugal or expensive as you want. My favorites are running and walking (with the dog). I only shell out about $200/year in running and/or walking shoes. The walking shoes I currently have on order the Rockport Men’s Activflex Sport Perf Mudguard Walking Shoe model. That’s quite a mouthful, isn’t it? Can’t wait to try them though. When you put in as many miles as the pooch and I do, you have to baby your feet.
  • Stop procrastinating. The largest obstacle keeping most people from closing in on their goals is the natural desire to relax and indulge in some frivolity rather than working hard. As soon as you get used to procrastinating it’s hard to avoid, so be prepared to put in a lot of work to change this normal tendency.
Low-carb spaghetti carbonera
Low-carb spaghetti carbonera

Eat healthier. We could all do a bit of cleaning up our eating habits. The good news is that access to better food choices is better than ever. Try making something new like my low-carb carbonara pictured above. Eating out is fun but spending time in the kitchen will save you money (so you can pay for that workout gear) and allow you to control the ingredients. Go with whole wheat bread rather than fluffy white. James Hamblin of The Atlantic says, “As many eaters of bread came to understand that white bread is a nutritional equivalent of Pixy Stix—the nutritious, fibrous shell of the wheat having been removed, leaving us with only the inner starch, which our bodies almost instantly turn into sugar—it needed some rebranding.” Eat more fruit. Incorporate nuts into your daily eating regimen. Try a new diet. Experiment with new ways of preparing unprocessed food. For example, I’ve recently been making chicken and beef jerky as well as low, low-cost dog treats in my food dehydrator. And remember, if you are on a weight-loss journey, it is not all about compulsive overeating, it is also what you eat.

Lose weight (if you need to). There is a multitude of diets out there. Some work and some don’t. I personally have used intermittent fasting with success. It is restrictive in the sense that you have to wait for mealtime, but the great thing is that when you do eat, you are not restricted like you are on the Atkin’s Diet.

Expand your confidence and take some chances. Most people don’t exercise their confidence enough and this limits their potential. This is true in the workplace and out of it. In fact, in most cases, workers that display confidence are the ones that get ahead. This is true of taking chances as well. If you don’t try, you’ll never know. The best time to start the new you is the beginning of next year when New Year’s Eve is in the rearview mirror. Try making a list of things you’ve always wanted to do and go for it; kind of like a bucket list.

Bring in more money. It’s never enough, is it? The more you make, the more the government will “confiscate” to pay for things like Biden’s bloated Build Back Better bill. While it is important to strike a work/play balance in life, there’s a lot to be said for having a cash cushion. It is never too soon to plan (and save) for retirement. Take up a new side hustle while keeping your day job. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And while we are on the topic of bringing home more bacon, consider improving your credit score.

Stop smoking. This one is a classic. Unfortunately, it is one of the hardest to achieve. I should know; I quit about 35 years ago. While we are on the topic, the jury is still out on vaping. Whichever habit is in question, it’s too much money for too little return. Besides, it really looks dumb. What, are you a whale coming up to the surface to vent your blow hole?

Indulge in more quality sleep. Most people don’t get enough. The recommended amount is 7-8 hours. Do you get that much? According to livescience.com, “About 65 percent of Americans get a “healthy” amount of sleep, or at least 7 hours a night, while 35 percent get less than 7 hours of sleep per night.” My Garmin 235 watch syncs with the computer and one of the things it does is generate a graph of my sleeping time and pattern. It’s very eye-opening.

A money house
A money house

Read more books. Everything competes for our attention today — the internet, TV, radio, the cell phone. Books may seem old school but they educate, entertain, and improve the function of our brains more than anything electronic. And if you use your local library, it’s a (gasp!) free activity! One of my best reads this past year was Dennis Prager’s Rational Bible: Exodus. That said, electronic still has its place, and it can be portable. I favor the Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet because it comes with the Kindle app built-in. Here’s a list of my book reviews.

Get out of debt. We’ve already touched on the topic of making more money. If you are in debt (and who isn’t) it is just as important to change that. Look into consolidating your loans. Move credit card balances to a lower-interest card. Ditch your bank and join a credit union; you will get favorable interest rates on savings and loans. All these small changes add up.

Learn a new language. This is good for your brain health and communication skills. For example, I am fluent in Spanish. Living in Texas, that’s a good thing. Learn a language that you can use locally. Use it or lose it, as they say.

Maggie the Border Collie
Maggie the Border Collie

Adopt a pet. We’ve got 4 adopted dogs. Science tells us that pets are good for us so we must really be doing great! Even petting your dog has been shown to lower blood pressure. Of course, having a pet involves responsibility so be ready for that.

Take up a new hobby. As an example, my favorite is woodworking. Some people even parlay this into a side gig.

Hopefully, this list of top New Year’s resolutions will get you off to a great start. Share it with your friends and social media! Enjoy a bit of frivolity as the old year drifts away.


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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at Considered Opinions Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Creamy Potato Gratin Recipe

Creamy Potato Gratin
Creamy Potato Gratin

This very-familiar comfort food is just as well known as Pizza Margherita but the following recipe for Potato Gratin is my take on it and I find it superior to the mainstream version. The name sounds fancy but in reality, gratin just means ” a dish with a light browned crust of breadcrumbs or melted cheese.”

Potato Gratin Ingredient List (use organic when possible)

  • Cooking spray such as Pam
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup mayo (I use the kind made with olive oil because it is more heart-healthy)
  • 1 tsp Himalayan or pink salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (I leave the skins on for the nutrition)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 3/4 cup chopped basil

Preparation Steps

Creamy Potato Gratin Preparation
Creamy Potato Gratin Preparation
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Spray the bottom of a 9″ X 9″ glass baking dish with the cooking spray.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk the mayo, pepper, salt, cream, and cheddar cheese.
  • Wash and slice potatoes 1/8″ thick.
  • Arrange potato slices in the baking dish, spread on a layer of the cream sauce, and sprinkle on some parsley and basil.
  • Repeat layers as needed (you might have some potato left over).
  • Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.
  • Remove foil, sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top, and broil until the top is lightly browned, about 2-5 minutes.

That’s all there is to it. Creamy potato gratin is suitable for a side or a main dish by itself. Give it a try; if you have any interesting ingredients to add, let our readers know in the comment section. Feel free to pass this recipe along to your friends and social media.


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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation and financial and energy trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.


Classic Beef Stroganoff Recipe

Classic Beef Stroganoff
Classic Beef Stroganoff
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What’s not to like about Beef Stroganoff ? It’s a timeless dish that won’t break the budget and is easy to prepare. When I got a hankerin’ for it yesterday I did an internet search and was surprised by all the variations.

If you are on a low-carb diet but are hankerin’ for something pasta-y and this dish sounds a bit too much, I suggest trying my low-carb spaghetti carbonara recipe.

In case you are curious — the Stroganoff (or Stroganov) family in 18th century Russia is mainly associated with the popular beef dish which bears its name. The dish likely goes back to a much earlier peasant favorite, but is now usually attributed to the household of Count Pavel Stroganoff (1774-1817).

Beef Stoganoff Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds of beef sirloin steak, 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced (2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups Progresso™ beef flavored broth (from 32-ounce carton)
  • 1/4 cup butter (I prefer Kerrygold unsalted Irish butter but suit yourself)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups hot cooked egg noodles

Preparation Steps

  1. Cut the beef across the grain into roughly 1 1/2×1/2-inch strips.
  2. Cook the mushrooms, onions, and garlic in butter using a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the onions are tender. Then, remove from skillet.
  3. Cook the beef strips in the same skillet until they’re brown. Next, stir in 1 cup of the broth, the salt, and the Worcestershire sauce. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover the skillet and simmer 15 minutes.
  4. Stir the remaining 1/2 cup of broth into the flour and stir into the beef mixture. Stir in the onion mixture and heat to just boiling, stirring constantly to maintain consistency. Boil and stir for 1 1/2 minutes and reduce heat. Finally, now stir in the sour cream. Heat until hot but do not boil it. Serve over noodles and enjoy.

So that’s all there is to making classic beef Stroganoff. Like most of the recipes that I enjoy, it is very adaptable; throw in any extra ingredients or condiments that you like (I’m fond of homemade habanero hot sauce). If you like this recipe, please share the link with your friends. Enjoy!

Nutritional Information

Calories: 435Calories from fat: 295
Total Fat 23 g
Saturated Fat10 g
Cholesterol 115 mg
Sodium 620 mg
Potassium 560 mg
Total Carbohydrate 31 g
Dietary Fiber2 g
Protein 28 g
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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation and financial and energy trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Brewing the Perfect Cup of Coffee

Avoid Making These Mistakes With Your Caffeine Fix

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith

Cup of coffee and coffee beans
Love a hot cup of coffee!
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This article was updated on 03/26/21.

Ads we feature have been independently selected and reviewed. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission, which helps support the site. Thank you for your support.

Coffee; there’s nothing like it, whether when waking up to a breakfast of toast made with homemade bread, taking a social break, of settling a satisfying dinner. It seems so easy but many people make the following mistakes when brewing the perfect cup of coffee. Don’t be that guy or gal.

Using Water from the Faucet

Tap water can be full of impurities and various minerals. This is not to say that it will make you sick, but there is a strong possibility that it will throw the flavor of your java off and deposit scale in your coffee pot. Instead of using tap water, use bottled spring water or filtered water.

Buying Grocery Store Cold Brew Coffee

This is convenient but expensive. Why? I’m guessing because it’s trendy with the hipsters. Instead, invest in a good quality cold brew coffee maker. Then you can spend that big money on high-quality beans. I use the Zulay cold coffee maker (there’s a link to my product review at the bottom of this page). This allows me to amend the grounds with cinnamon and fresh mint from my garden. Complete control.



Purchasing Pre-Ground Beans

OK, in today’s busy world, you might not want to take the time to grind up some beans in the morning. Just grind it before you go to bed the night before. It will still be great in the morning. Why is this important? Many of the aromas contained in coffee are volatiles. This means they are in a gas form and they are imprisoned in the cells of the beans. But when you grind the beans, these gasses are liberated. Ground coffee from the store, whether it is Free Trade or not, has lost aromas 40 times faster than whole beans by the time you see it. This is why a home grinder is a must-have for someone whose java is near and dear to them.

What Kind of Grinder? I’m Confused.

There are basically two kinds of coffee grinders, blade grinders and burr grinders. The blade models have just that–blades, similar to your blender. Of course they are the less expensive of the two.  

Burr grinders utilize two revolving abrasive surfaces (the burrs), in between which the coffee is ground, a few beans at a time. Coffee aficionados will pick burr grinders over blades every time. The reason is that that the beans are ground in a uniform size, the machine is sturdier and will last longer, and you have more control over your grind than you do with a blade. I use the Capresso 560.01 Infinity. It has commercial-grade solid conical steel burrs with advanced cutting design. And the price is reasonable.

Using a Cold Coffee Cup/Mug

This one is a no-brainer, right? There is no sense in having a hot beverage if you are just going to pour it into a container that is going to cool it off. So pre-heat your cup!

You can either pour boiling water into it or pour cold water into it and microzap it for 45 seconds or so. Either way you will be off to a good start. I work out of my home office and use a small heated coaster (a Cosori Automatic Coffee Warmer) on my desk to keep my brew hot so I can drink it sloooowly.

Not Using the Correct Sugar and Milk

OK, if you’ve made it this far in the article, you are serious about your cuppa Joe. There’s no point in not doing it right all the way. Now, I am a stickler about drinking mine black and strong but I realize that many of you like the milk and sugar thing. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, as Seinfeld would say.)

As far as the sugar goes, raw sugar (turbinado sugar) simply tastes better than white sugar. As for milk, put away the skim, nonfat, or 2% stuff; it will just water down your brew. Instead opt for whole milk or half-and-half. It won’t add that much cholesterol to your diet. If that’s a concern, ask your doctor about statins. A good cup is worth it.

Storing Coffee Beans in the Wrong Place

A popular misconception is that the freezer is a good place to store your coffee beans and grounds. That might sound logical but it doesn’t work that way, no matter what Grandma said.

Ideally, they should be stored in a cool, dry place. They will remain in tip-top shape for 1-3 weeks in your pantry if you should store them in an airtight opaque container. They degrade quickly in the presence of light, heat, or oxygen. In our home, we enjoy Black Rifle Coffee. A new package arrives in the mail every other week.

So there you have it. Following these tips will ensure that you don’t make the most common mistakes brewing the perfect cup of coffee. And it never hurts to buy organic coffee beans.

Further Reading


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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Delicious Pizza Margherita Recipe

This Classic Pizza Boasts Minimal Ingredients and Classic Taste

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith © 2022

A homemade pizza Margherita baked and ready
A homemade pizza Margherita baked and ready
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This article was updated on 02/18/22.

Ads we feature have been independently selected and reviewed. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission, which helps support the site.

The pizza Margherita is something of a minimalist pizza pie (in my opinion). That doesn’t mean you can’t tweak it by adding anything that floats your boat.  Word has it that in June of 1889 Neapolitan pizzamaker Raffaele Esposito created it to honor the Queen consort of Italy, Margherita of Savoy. He garnished it with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil to represent Italy’s national colors as they are on the Italian flag. In case you wanted that bit of trivia.

Despite the simplicity of the recipe, there are a number of variations. For example, some recipes call for the basil to be added after the pie is done. I prefer to put it under the cheese before baking so the herbs’ flavor cooks into the cheese and sauce. Your option; no judgment here.

Optional Pizza Making Equipment

If you really get into making your own pizzas, I recommend:

My well-used pizza stone
My well-used pizza stone
  • A pizza stone. This is essential if you want top-notch pizza. A good pizza stone does wonders for your crust development because, unlike a baking sheet, it’s completely heated before the pizza is placed upon it. and that, my friend, is how you achieve a crisp and chewy crust that you can’t get out of a box. As you can see above, mine has some serious mileage on it.
  • A pizza peal. This is one of your best friends when using a stone. The one in the image below is typical. You build the pie on it, you transport the pie on it, and you can cut the pie on it. No muss, no fuss.
My pizza peal
My pizza peal

Pizza Crust Considerations

You basically have two choices. If you have the time and inclination, make your own. Check out this pizza crust recipe. If you are pressed for time, simply buy a crust in the grocery store. Don’t go for the really cheap ones. You get what you pay for.

The good thing about making your own crust is that you can add in just about anything—herbs, flax seeds, you name it. Use organic ingredients whenever possible. If you don’t have issues with glutin, toss in a teaspoon. Glutin is a wheat protein that holds breads together.

Pizza Topping Ingredients

  • 7 roma tomatoes. You can use the big slicers but the romas are much more economical. Slice ’em or dice ’em, or blend ’em.
  • Mozzarella cheese. How much you use is up to you. Slice it about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick and place it randomly (see the video in the link below under Preparation to see what I like).
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil.

That’s pretty much it for the basic ingredient list. Have fun with it and throw on anything that suits your fancy.



Preparation

This is very easy. Spread the tomatoes out evenly leaving about 1/2 inch around the edge “naked.” Add the basil. Add the cheese randomly. Watch the video. Have patience; it takes a while to load.

Bake that Baby

Preheat your oven (with the pizza stone on an oven rack) to 500 degrees. Slide your pie off the peal onto the stone. Bake it until the dough is crisp and browned and the cheese is golden and bubbling in spots. This will usually be from 13 to 16 minutes; just keep an eye on it.  Let it rest for about 5 minutes and then slice and enjoy!

Looking for more great content? Visit our main page or partner sites:

I Can Fix Up My Home

The Green Frugal

Running Across Texas


As Featured On Ezine Articles

I offer article and blog-writing services. Interested? Contact me for a quote!


Did you find this article helpful? Millions of readers rely on information on this blog and our main site to stay informed and find meaningful solutions. Please chip in as little as $3 to keep this site free for all.

 




Visit Kelly’s profile on Pinterest.

About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at Considered Opinions Blog where he muses on many different topics.

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