“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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Real Food Rendition of Mom Kimball’s Pepper Steak
- Cut meat into strips and brown in a large pot with oil or butter.
- Cut 2 onions into thin slices and add to meat, sauteing until translucent.
- Pour molasses in and add and pepper.
- Cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer on low 1.5-2 hours.
- When the meat is practically falling apart, add strips of pepper, the 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.
* Note: Grassfed beef should be cooked over low heat when pan frying or grilling, but with this method, it doesn’t matter. Anything will be tender!
* 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! Just use the “saute” function to brown the meat and saute the onions. Add everything else (at least 2 cups water) and cook on 30 minutes at high pressure (the Stew/Meat function). Use a natural pressure release, then add the peppers and onion and cook with the “Saute” function a few minutes. Add the cornstarch slurry last (never pressure cook with a thickener already in the liquid). (More easy Instant Pot meals here) and be sure to download our Guidebook below (which includes this recipe in IP form). Enjoy!
Where to Find High Quality Meat
Having trouble finding good quality meat locally? Would you like to fill your freezer with local and pastured options?
If you’re in Canada, check out TruLocal.ca.
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If you’re west of the Mississippi, check out Wild Pastures.
If you live in any of the 48 contiguous states, click here to find out what Butcher Box’s new member deal is!
I’m grateful that there’s an online source of incredibly high quality meat that I can always count on. A subscription from Butcher Box includes grassfed, organic, pastured, and free range = all the labels important to your family’s health!
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Make your Instant Pot work for you!
I won’t tell if your Instant Pot is still in its box, pinky swear. 😉
I left mine abandoned in the basement for almost a YEAR because I have a new-thing-instructions phobia, but now I have TWO Instant Pots and they’re both in constant use!
Turns out it’s so easy, a kid can do it — I’ll send you a quick video of my children unboxing and setting it up when you grab your FREE download mini eBook:
Get the Instant Pot Guidebook for FREE!
What’s in the Guidebook?
You’ll love the simplicity of your Instant Pot, and the free downloadable guidebook will help you:
- Adapt your own favorite recipes from the slow cooker
- Cook FROZEN ground beef
- Hard boil eggs perfectly
- Cook squash, steam veggies, and make applesauce in your IP
- Make dry beans in an hour and perfect rice without boiling over
- Steam veggies al dente and make Paleo cauli rice in minutes
- Cook a whole chicken and make FAST bone broth
Whether yours is still in the box or you’ve used it a little but want to know more about those techniques, or if you’re still pining for an IP on your wish list, I can’t wait to give you these simple baby steps to success!
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).
Other husband-friendly recipes:
Where to Buy an Instant Pot
This is the 6-quart Instant Pot I started out with. After a few years, we added an 8-quart partly because I knew I would use two at the same time often enough, partly because it was the Prime Day sale, and also because I wanted more space for certain recipes. Both are a pretty basic model and you don’t need more bells and whistles than that!
If you’re deciding on size, most people say it’s better to get a deal on the 6-quart and just have 2 rather than go big, BUT if your family has 5 or more people or you really like to batch cook or do more than a pound of beans, the 8-quart may be the best choice. My full Instant Pot review and buying guide for features, size, and model.
If you’re still on the fence about adding an Instant Pot to your kitchen appliance arsenal here are my Instant Pot pros and cons.