Every week, as I plan my dinner menus, I ask the family what they would like to eat that week, and my son Jake usually asks for this Korean beef and noodle stir fry. Jake is our only son and youngest child. He was born in South Korea, and he has been an adopted member of our family since he was 12 months old. He is a terrific kid, and I’m incredibly lucky I get to be his mom. Jake is proud of where he came from, and maybe that’s the reason he loves this dish. Or maybe he just loves it because it’s so tasty.
This quick and easy stir fry has the flavors of bulgogi, a marinated grilled beef that is one of Korea’s signature dishes. A bulgogi-style marinade becomes a cooking sauce for a stir fry of ground beef, Napa cabbage, noodles, edamame and green onion, for a quick and easy weeknight dinner. I would describe this dish as a glorified hamburger helper, but it’s a whole lot tastier and better for you.
It’s been cold here in Salt Lake City – really cold, like single digit lows at night and highs in the teens during the day. It’s a perfect time to cook up something warm and spicy, like this Ropa Vieja beef stew. “Ropa vieja” is Spanish for “old clothes,” and this dish is traditional in Cuba. The name is a play on the ragged shreds of beef that are cooked in a peppery tomato broth and served over rice.
This version of Ropa Vieja is adapted for the slow cooker, so it doesn’t use traditional browning and braising techniques. To be honest, I don’t know much about Cuban food, but I love this dish. Most Ropa Vieja recipes call for flank steak, which tastes amazing and shreds beautifully, but can cost $8 or more per pound. I’ve substituted rump roast, which was on sale for $2.99 a pound when I bought it for this recipe, putting it on a par with chicken breast. I like beef as much as the next girl, but if I’m going to spend $8 a pound on steak I’ll probably use it in a recipe that showcases the meat a little more. This recipe makes eight large or 12 medium servings, so unless you have a big family, you can put half of it in the freezer for a day when you don’t have time to cook.