Here is a fun project that you can do with your kids. Make some beef jerky! Prep time is less than half an hour for marinating and prep time to go into the oven is about the same.
What you’ll need:
1 bottle of spicy or regular yakitori sauce
2 pounds of top round, have your butcher slice it (with the grain) about 1/8 inch thick
bamboo skewers (6-8)
one small dish towel
Pour bottle of yakitori sauce into a small bowl. Take each strip of top round and dunk in bowl to coat both sides well. Place each piece into the ziplock bag as you go. When all the pieces have been coated, pour any excess sauce into the bag. Remove as much air as possible, seal bag and massage in the sauce. Lay bag flat in your refrigerator for 48 hours or more. I turn it over and work in the sauce every 12 hours. When you are ready to dehydrate the meat, lay out paper towels a couple of layers thick. Line bottom of oven with aluminum foil. Remove other racks. Pre-heat oven to 170-180 degrees. Pull strips from bag a lay flat on paper towels. Fold over a handful of paper towels and pat dry, do not rub! Skewer the meat on one end and space about a half inch apart. I like to use two skewers (to keep the meat spread apart).Place about six or seven slices on the skewer and fit between the wires of your oven rack. When you have finished this process, place the rack in the oven on the topmost level.Pry the oven door open about a half inch at the sides by placing a rolled up dish towel inthe top of the door and push the door shut against it until there is the half inch opening at the sides. This will allow for the moisture to escape. I check on the meat at the 4 hour mark. If it still looks and feels too wet, go for a half an hour longer. You shouldn’t have to go past 5 hours, you don’t want it too dry either. When it’s ready, remove from the oven and lay out on wax paper to cool and to air dry a bit further, about 2-4 hours. Place a second sheet of wax paper on top to protect the jerky. At this point I like to take kitchen scissors and cut the strips into pieces. Put the finished jerky in the refrigerator and enjoy!
Note, if you would like hotter jerky, I use hot shot, a combination of red and black pepper, and pat it into the jerky after drying with the paper towels.
Here is a relatively quick idea for a stir fry. It is pretty much anything goes as far as preference for vegetables you use. I have a list to follow. You may use or omit as you please.
2 tablespoons of oil
1 medium onion, sliced and quartered
1 cup of broccoli florets
2 medium carrots, sliced diagonally
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced, (wedges or slices)
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced, (wedges or slices)
1/2 cup yellow squash, sliced
1/2 cup zucchini. sliced
1 cup snow peas
Optional, 2 cups bok choy (sliced), 1 cup bean sprouts
In a wok or a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add onion and bell peppers. Stir for about a minute. Add carrots and broccoli florets. Stir for a couple of minutes more. Add squash and zucchini, keep stirring! As carrots (and other vegetables) become slightly tender add 1/2 cup of original or spicy yakitori sauce to mixture. Finally, add the snow peas, bok choy, and bean sprouts. Mix for a couple of minutes and remove from heat. Serve alone or with steamed rice. Note: you may add chicken or tofu to this dish. If you would like to use chicken, cube two chicken breasts, and sauté first. I usually cook the breasts stirring frequently until most of the juices have evaporated from the wok or skillet. The meat should be white throughout. Then proceed from the beginning, starting with the onions and bell peppers. If you want to use tofu, I like to cube extra firm tofu into 1/2-3/4 inch cubes. Add the tofu right before the sauce. Enjoy!
Sometimes I look for something quick and easy but not necessarily ordinary as a side dish. Here is something that takes little time to prepare and little time to cook, but has lots of flavor! I start with two zucchini, two yellow squash, and one white onion: cut the zucchini and squash into about one eighth inch thick slices; slice the onion, then quarter it. Sauté the onion (in a skillet) in a little olive oil or butter until it starts to become translucent. Add in the sliced zucchini and squash (nice combination of colors too!) and stir until they start to turn soft. Add some spicy yakitori sauce to coat the vegetables and stir until the sauce starts to caramelize. Remove and serve. Outstanding accent to any dish or great with steamed rice if you don’t want any meat. Enjoy!