“I don’t think I can use onion soup mix anymore,” I said, and his world came crashing down around him. “You’re going to mess with Pepper Steak!?!?” he cried.
This is the recipe I emailed my mother-in-law for during our first months of marriage. I definitely wooed my man through his stomach and loved every second of surprising him with his favorite meal in the world. I had already hurt his feelings gustatorially by switching the white rice to brown a few years ago. Now I was going to experiment with the recipe that worked so well. He was justifiably skeptical.
I nearly used the box, just to preserve the peace in the home. Reading the ingredients, though, I just couldn’t:
onions, salt, cornstarch, sugar, caramel (color), corn syrup solids, yeast extract, natural flavor.
For two reasons, I decided to strike out on my own: half the ingredients were not even close to real food, and the other half were so stinking simple I couldn’t believe that I couldn’t replicate it!
If you’ve read my story, you know part of the craziness that happened within my own head and in my home as I learned more and began to make changes in our diets. Luckily, this one has a happy ending.
Successful Real Food Rendition of Mom Kimball’s Pepper Steak
My mother-in-law’s recipe is simple and anecdotal. She made it up using a few different recipes: cut round steak into strips, brown in pressure cooker, cover with water and cook 35 minutes. Add dry onion soup mix , simmer, thicken with corn starch and cold water, then add strips of green pepper. Serve over rice. I documented my adjustments and fleshed out the ingredients so I get consistent results.
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- Cut meat into strips and brown in a large pot with olive oil or butter.
- Cut 2 onions into thin slices and add to meat, sauteing until translucent. Pour 1-2 Tbs molasses in and add salt and pepper.
- Cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer 1.5-2 hours.
- When the meat is practically falling apart, add strips of pepper, last onion cut into chunks, and optional tomato.
- Bring to a low boil.
- Mix cornstarch with cold water and add to hot liquid, stirring constantly until thick.
- Serve over cooked brown rice.
* Timesaver: I keep a glass jar just for mixing cornstarch and water. I know it will close watertight, and I just rinse it out instead of washing it after use.
* UPDATE: You can make this recipe in the Instant Pot too, super easy! (Details here)
The Husband Review Board Says:
It’s a keeper. (Phew!) This remains a very simple meal, and using real onion increases the nutrition a whole bunch. It’s a classic reverse engineering (see guide here).
Be sure to come back tomorrow to link up homemade salad dressing recipes!
Other husband-friendly recipes: