Crockpot Beef, Broccoli and Bok Choy

In my latest efforts to eat healthy, I have been trying to not eat out or order in. Which was definitely hard after a whole week of eating out while on vacation. When I was making my grocery list for this past week, I had an intense craving for Chinese take out, and specifically beef and broccoli. I have no idea what they put in that stuff to make it so delicious, but it probably isn’t healthy. So after searching for several beef and broccoli recipes to satisfy my take-out craving, I pieced together my own crock pot version. I decided to throw in bok choy as well, because it sounded like a nice combination. And I’ll fit in my daily servings of veggies wherever I can get them.

Prep and Cook time – ~15 minutes prep plus 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high; plus 15 minutes on high

Servings: 4-5

What you’ll need:

3 green onions, chopped (white and green parts)

1 1/2 pounds of beef round steak, sliced into 1/2 inch strips

3 small heads of broccoli

1 bunch of bok choy (I ended up using only about half the bundle, but its all about your preferred broccoli to bok choy ratio)

1/2 cup water

1 3/4-ounce envelope of reduced sodium beef gravy mix

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon garlic powder

What to do:

Slice the beef and place it in the slow cooker. In a bowl mix together the water, gravy mix, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. Pour mixture over beef. Cover and cook for 8 hours on high or 4 hours on law. 15 minutes before you’re ready to serve, cut the broccoli heads into smaller pieces and chop the bok choy into about 1 inch chunks. Put the veggies in the slow cooker and turn it on high for 15 minutes, or until broccoli is tender but still crisp. Serve and enjoy!

I hope you find this to be a satisfying alternative to take-out, especially if you’re attempting to make some healthy changes. It can be so difficult to change your eating habits, especially if you’re home alone and look forward to the idea of leftovers for lunch. And then maybe dinner again. There’s certainly nothing better than leftover pizza during the middle of a crazy work day. But don’t worry, this recipe warms ups well for lunch, too! And my co-workers were pretty impressed to find out that it was homemade!

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Orzo and Asparagus Salad

I’ve been out of town – on vacation for spring break, visiting J – until yesterday. Vacation was FANTASTIC, but I’m awfully glad to be back in my own kitchen. Eating out is fun, but when you do it for a solid week, you start to crave something homemade.

This Orzo and Asparagus Salad is something that I adapted from this recipe over at Feasting at Home. It is light but filling enough to be a dinner, it can be served warm or cold, and it has a lovely combination of the acidity from the dressing and the olives balanced by the pasta and the feta. Oh, and it is pretty healthy, too. (Except, carbs, yeah yeah whatever I need my pasta.)

Prep and cook time: ~30 minutes

Servings: 4

What you’ll need:

1 bunch of asparagus

1 1/2 cups of orzo, uncooked

1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced

1/2 cup feta cheese

2 green onions, finely chopped

For the Dressing:

1/3 cup olive oil

2 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Break the tough ends off of the asparagus (if you’ve never done this before, it is very easy – you can just snap the bottom inch or so off with your hands). Put some tin foil on a cookie sheet, spread the asparagus out on the tin foil, give them a light coating of olive oil, and put in them in the oven for 20 minutes.

While the asparagus is cooking, bring a pot of water to boil. Cook the orzo according to the package directions (about 10 minutes). Drain the orzo and put it in a large bowl. Chop up the green onions and the olives.

Make the dressing by whisking all of the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.

When the asparagus is done, chop it up into bite sized pieces. Mix the asparagus, onion, and olives in the bowl with the orzo. Mix in the dressing. Sprinkle feta cheese on top and serve warm, or cover and chill.

After a wonderful week of gourmet meals at fancy restaurants (ok, and a couple not so fancy ones that might have included several colorful cocktails), it was so relaxing to cook a simple meal in my own kitchen. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!