As a mum, quick and easy are my two favourite words.
Every time I search for a recipe or an instruction on Google, my query always begins with the phrase, quick and easy.
I love being in the kitchen which is basically contradictory to being a mum to an active toddler, but as I spend more time at home and Liam is off to school, I have been finding ways to make use of either left overs in the fridge or a lone residual ingredient to create yummy, nutritious and simple meals to keep me satisfied and fueled up for when the little terror returns home.
Last week, I was able to take leftover basil pasta and some fresh steak to whip up a yummy salad. The best thing about this meal? It took less than 30 minutes to prepare.
Prep time: 20 mins
- Cooked basil pasta (about 1-2 cups)
- 1 medium-sized angus beef round steak
- 3/4 can of black beans
- 1/2 can of whole kernel corn
- 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of lite soy sauce
- salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- parsley flakes for garnish
I love pasta. But on a quest for eating healthier, more nutritious foods I always raid the supermarket shelves for pasta alternatives or fortified pastas. In the absence of whole grain spaghetti I found a basil spaghetti. I cooked it for dinner beforehand to go with meatballs and tomato sauce, and as usual ended up with a surplus of unused pasta.
Instead of binning it, I decided to put it in a Ziploc bag and freeze it for future salad use.
When it came to using it for my salad, I defrosted it on the day which took about 20 mins which you will need to add to your prep time if you too are going to use frozen pasta. My defrosting method was to keep it in the bag, put it in a stainless steel bowl and run water on it until the outer layers of defrosted pasta were the right amount for about three servings.
I placed the pasta in a separate stainless steel bowl and sprinkled a pinch of salt, a shake of black pepper and the soy sauce. Then, I added the drained corn and black beans. Usually, when I’m doing anything with black beans I retain some of the brine but in this case I didn’t want the brine to mess with the taste of my vinaigrette so I drained most of it off. Black beans are high in protein and fibre so they help make this salad a filling one. You can use a mixture of vegetables for this salad; I imagine green peas would’ve been a nice addition.
I left preparing the steak to last to make sure the beef was fresh and didn’t become contaminated while I was prepping the rest of the salad. After years of living in the dark of a well-done steak, I became enlightened to medium-rare steak and have enjoyed my steak served this way ever since.
To attain a perfect medium-rare steak I simply sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides and brown in a pre-heated skillet for about 2-4 mins each side. Just enough to change the outside to brown and get a nice dark brown edge. However, you can cook your steak how you prefer.
Once cooked, I sliced the beef into thin strips and placed it in the bowl with the other ingredients. Using a clean spoon and fork, or a salad tosser if you have it, gently toss the ingredients together to combine.
For the vinaigrette:
I love vinaigrette as a healthy option to salad dressing, especially as its olive oil base enables you to flavour it with more-or-less anything. I chose to make a honey-lemon vinaigrette to counteract the saltiness of the soy sauce. In a bowl, I added the oil, the lemon juice and then the honey and whisked to combine. I added some black pepper as well. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the contents in the bowl, using a spoon to mix and cover.
Plate, sprinkle with some parsley flakes and tuck in!