Take Out Fake Out | Beef with Snow Peas

Beef with Snow Peas | Once Upon a Recipe

Dudes, it’s Tuesday. And in case you didn’t know/needed a reminder, this week is a short one thanks to Good Friday. Which means, it’s basically hump day TODAY. Which means, we’re halfway to the weekend. I have big plans to pig out on ham (no pun intended) and chocolate this weekend. Easter Feaster!

Just call me the bearer of good news. I am here to make you smile.

Beef with Snow Peas | Once Upon a Recipe

And if a short work week + a long weekend isn’t enough to turn the corners of your mouth upwards into a $%@#-eating grin, then I’ve got a back-up plan.

Take out fake out!

Beef with Snow Peas | Once Upon a Recipe

Indeed friends, you are mere minutes away from creating a delicious take-out-esque meal right in the comfort of your own kitchen. Put those Chinese food menus aside and your phones down. In all honesty, I’m not a big fan of Chinese take-out. I rarely crave it, and when I do eat it – as good as it may taste during it’s consumption – I always feel less than great about an hour afterwards. Thanks MSG…not.

Beef with Snow Peas | Once Upon a Recipe

This recipe comes from trusty Ree over at The Pioneer Woman. I first made this dish many months ago and was stunned by how easy and flavorful it is, despite its short ingredient list and quick prep and cook time. Yesterday, after a hectic day at work and a severe case of the Monday blues, I was ready to give in to a dinner of cereal/toast/cookies, or some combination of the three, when this dish came to mind. A quick stop at the grocery store + 20 minutes in my kitchen = saved. Before I knew it I was planted in front of my TV watching the Girls season finale (recorded from last weekend – umm, loved it!) with a tasty meal. This is good stuff people.

Life is short. Make yourself a delicious dinner.

Beef with Snow Peas | Once Upon a Recipe

Beef with Snow Peas (slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman)

Serves 4-6.

1 pound flank steak, sliced very thin

1/2 cup soy sauce

3 TBSP. rice vinegar

2 TBSP. brown sugar

2 TBSP. cornstarch

1 TBSP. fresh ginger, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

2 cups fresh snow peas, ends trimmed

1/2 cup chopped scallions (about 4-5)

2 TBSP. olive oil

4 cups cooked jasmine rice

Combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, cornstarch, ginger, and garlic in a small bowl. Place the sliced flank steak in a large bowl and pour half of the mixture over top, tossing to coat. Set the remainder of the marinade aside.

Heat the olive oil in a wok over hight heat. Add the snow peas and cook for about a minute, stirring constantly. Transfer the cooked snow peas to a plate and set aside. Allow the pan to heat up again to cook the steak. Add half of the steak to the pan in a single layer, along with half of the scallions. Allow the steak to cook for a minute and then turn over, cooking for an additional 30 seconds. Transfer to a clean plate. Repeat with the remaining steak and scallions.

Add the first batch of steak back to the wok, along with the snow peas and remaining marinade. Stir for another minute, then remove from heat. Serve immediately over rice.

Beef with Snow Peas | Once Upon a Recipe

PS. I am on dessert-making duty for two Easter dinners this weekend. Any suggestions?!

Be My Schmalentine | Quick Sticky Chocolate Cake for One (or Two)

Sticky Chocolate Cake for One | Once Upon a Recipe

Here we are again. It’s almost February 14. Schmalentine’s Day. Hooray.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Valentine’s Day just ain’t my jam. It kind of makes me want to gag. I am a big believer in giving and receiving love every damn day of the year, and therefore I fail to see the point of devoting an entire day to over-the-top demonstrations of love when it’s much nicer to spread it around all year. Flowers? Yes, I’d like to receive them a little more regularly, please and thank you. Chocolate? I already eat it nearly every day. A nice dinner out? Let’s do it. Weekly. Jewelry? I’m not really into it. Jewelry makes my body feel…cluttered.

Sticky Chocolate Cake for One | Once Upon a Recipe

Simple acts of love? Now we’re talking. Slip a sweet note into my coat pocket. Make me a simple dinner at home. Pick up a nice bottle of wine to enjoy with dinner. And don’t wait for February 14 to do it.

Whether or not you have a significant other to celebrate with this Valentine’s Day, you’re probably looking for a sweet treat to enjoy. If nothing else, V-day is a total excuse to eat as much chocolate as your little heart desires. How about this quick and dirty chocolate cake? I came across this recipe for chocolate cake for one in the beautiful cookbook “Home Made Winter” by Yvette van Boven. The recipe is described as a 3-minute chocolate mug cake.

Sticky Chocolate Cake for One | Once Upon a Recipe


Cringe. Friends, I don’t do mug cakes. The microwave, while useful for many things, does not cook cakes very well. Have you ever tried it? The texture is just…ugh. Gummy. Spongy. Yuck. But what intrigued me about this recipe is the fact that Yvette suggested that the cake could be baked in the oven for those who find microwave cakes to be off-putting. For the record, I tried the cake both ways. And I maintain my sentiments about microwave cakes. But you may wish to give it a try, especially if you’re in a pinch for time.

For me, this cake serves a particular purpose. Either you’re having a mad craving for chocolate cake and you don’t want to go to the trouble of making a big cake, and then be left with an entire cake to entice you until it’s gone. Or, you’re in a pinch for a quick dessert for one or two. The cake batter comes together in a flash, and even if you choose to bake it in the oven, it will be ready within 20 minutes. Go the microwave route, and you’ll be taking your first bite in just over 3 minutes. The best part? No leftovers!

Sticky Chocolate Cake for One | Once Upon a Recipe

Quick Sticky Chocolate Cake for One (or Two) ~ adapted from Home Made Winter

3 TBSP. all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. baking power

Pinch of salt

3 TBSP. sugar

2 TBSP. cocoa powder

1 egg

1/2 tsp. vanilla

3 TBSP. milk

3 TBSP. vegetable oil

3 TBSP. dark chocolate chips

If using the oven, preheat it to 350°F and spray your baking dish with non-stick spray (I used a large ramekin dish). If using the microwave, pick a large microwave safe mug. Use a separate bowl to mix together all of the ingredients and pour into the baking dish. If using a mug, you can simply add everything into the mug and mix it together. No clean-up! However, with the microwave technique, you can omit the baking powder and salt. Bake your cake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. If using the microwave, pop your mug into the microwave and cook on high for 3 minutes. The cake will rise over the rim of the mug, but don’t sweat it.

Enjoy the cake while still warm, and definitely feel free to add a scoop of ice cream on top. I’m a bit of a chocolate cake purist and prefer to eat it straight up.

Sticky Chocolate Cake for One | Once Upon a Recipe


Need some other Valentine’s Day ideas? I suggest that you start your day with Banana Bread Oatmeal Pancakes or my Nana’s Cinnamon Buns. If you’re in the mood for a love day beverage, I highly recommend a Red Lotus Martini (or two) or a big glass of Red Wine Sangria.

Cooking together is so romantic (in my opinion). Get in the kitchen with your significant other or your friends and make some heart-shaped pizzas with this Whole Wheat Pizza Dough. For a festively colored side dish, try this creamy and dreamy Beet Risotto.

Sweet treats? These Red Velvet Sandwiches are delicious and easy. If you’ve got a little more time on your hands, make some decadent Rice Pudding. Or Homemade Snickers Bars. Or Bourbon Pecan Pie Brownies. For something a little lighter, try Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips. And diving into this Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie might just be the most delicious thing you can do on February 14.

Happy love day, my friends. And remember to share some love, each and every day of the year. <3

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