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This is how you turn a budget cut of beef into the most meltingly tender version of this popular Chinese take out. And you can make it freezer friendly!

All the ingredients of authentic Chinese Beef & Broccoli, adapted for the slow cooker. Plus, how to make it freezer friendly (inc. the rice)! #chinese #crockpot #slow_cooker

“Very few stir fries can be converted into a slow cooked version without compromising flavour or texture. Beef and broccoli was made for it.”

Have you noticed that when you order Chinese that the meat is always incredibly tender? It’s not because they are made with expensive fillets. It is because of a technique used to tenderise the meat called “velveting”. All you do is marinate the meat in cornstarch and sauces.

But even with velveting, you can’t disguise cheap beef cuts because stir fries are cooked quickly over high heat so the meat is still quite tough. And if you use an expensive cut of beef, it will be tender but it won’t be meltingly tender.

The solution? SLOW COOKING. Not an authentic method, but the ingredients in the recipe are. Time savvy? YES. Cost efficient? DOUBLE YES.

“I took an authentic Chinese Beef & Broccoli recipe and adapted the quantities and directions to suit slow cooking and freezing.”

There are 2 basic steps to make this:

1. Throw the beef and sauce ingredients in the slow cooker. Then let it cook on High for 3 hours, or pressure cook it for 40 minutes on High.

2. Toss in lightly cooked broccoli. Just steam or boil broccoli until it is “tender crisp” (which means the broccoli is just cooked, still bright green and crisp). I once saw a recipe where the broccoli was slow cooked with the beef. Please do not be tempted to try this! The broccoli gets overcooked to the point that it practically turns to mush and it’s horribly brown. The extra few minutes it takes to toss in freshly cooked broccoli is worth it.

“Thie entire meal can be made ahead and frozen, including the cooked rice.”

This recipe can also be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen. I didn’t realise that broccoli could be frozen until I researched it for this recipe! It actually freezes really well, you just need to make sure you blanch it before freezing. So the recipe includes directions for how to make this freezer friendly as well. It worked perfectly – when I thawed and reheated it, the broccoli was perfectly cooked and bright green.

Plus the other tip is to freeze cooked rice. It’s not common knowledge, but cooked rice freezes incredibly well and it’s a standard thing to do in Asian households. All my relatives in Japan do it, and I’ve never known any different because my mother always did it.

Hope you enjoy it! Leave me a comment if you have any questions.

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PS This recipe is part of my mission to consume an abnormal pile of broccoli I stockpiled because it was insanely cheap at the grocery store. Here are the other broccoli recipes I’ve shared as part of the Broccoli Consumption Mission:

Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli (Freezer Friendly)
Recipe Type: Main, Slow Cooker
Cuisine: Chinese
Author: Nagi | RecipeTin Eats
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 3 hours
Total time: 3 hours 10 mins
Serves: 4 as a main
This slow cooker version of Beef & Broccoli is made using the same ingredients as the authentic way of making this but the quantities have been adjusted to make it suitable for slow cooking. Making this in a slow cooker means you can use a budget cut of beef and it makes it meltingly tender. AND it’s freezer friendly!
Ingredients
  • 500g / 16 oz chuck steak or other beef cut suitable for slow cooking
  • 300g / 16 oz broccoli florets (about 6 cups, 1 giant broccoli or 2 medium)
  • 2 tbsp corn flour (corn starch)
  • 1 cup water (see note 2)
  • Sauce
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp finely sliced fresh ginger (note 1)
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce (normal dark soy sauce)
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 4 tsp rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (optional)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 4 dashes white pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut the beef into thin slices against the grain (which means at 90 degrees to the direction of the fibres in the meat).
  2. Place beef in slow cooker.
  3. Mix the corn flour with the water, then add to the slow cooker.
  4. Add the Sauce ingredients to the slow cooker.
  5. Cook on HIGH for 3 hours (or pressure cook on high for 40 minutes).
To Serve Immediately
  1. Steam or boil broccoli until “tender crisp” (just cooked, still bright green and still crisp).
  2. Add to beef and sauce, toss to combine. Serve over rice.
To Make Ahead to Freeze (2 months) or Refrigerate (2 days)
  1. Let the beef and sauce cool.
  2. Meanwhile, blanch the broccoli very briefly, then run under cold water or plunge into ice water to stop from cooking further.
  3. Drain broccoli, then combine with the beef and sauce.
  4. Place into ziplock bags or airtight containers and freeze or refrigerate.
  5. To cook, thaw then reheat in the microwave, covered. Be careful not to heat for too long because otherwise the broccoli will overcook.
  6. Serve with rice.
Notes
1. If your ginger is fresh and has thin skin, you don’t even need to peel it.[br]2. The amount of water required will vary depending on what cut of beef you use and whether your slow cooker leaks moisture. My slow cooker leaks very little steam (almost none) and 1 cup of water makes the perfect amount of sauce for this recipe. If your slow cooker leaks a bit of steam, 1 cup of water should be ok as a starting point and check it once the beef is cooked and add a touch of water if the sauce is too thick for your liking.[br][br]If your slow cooker leaks a lot of steam then you should increase the amount of water to ensure the sauce doesn’t dry out during cooking. Don’t worry if you end up with too much liquid at the end, you can easily reduce it by simmering on the stove. [br][br]3. I used a fairly lean cut of beef – chuck steak. And I also trimmed off the fat. If you are using a fatty slow cooking cut of beef, you could reduce the oil by half or so. I added it because the beef I was using was so lean.[br]4. You can also make ahead the rice. Cooked rice freezes very well. Just cook it, let it cool then wrap it in cling wrap and freeze. Then defrost and reheat (in the cling wrap) in the microwave.

The nutrition analysis will vary depending on the type of beef you use as different cuts of slow cooking beef can have very different amounts of fat. I used chuck steak and cut off the excess fat which is reflected in the nutrition analysis below.

Slow Cooker Beef Broccoli Nutrition

Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli (Freezer Friendly) This is how you turn a budget cut of beef into the most meltingly tender version of this popular Chinese take out. 
Cheese and Garlic Crack Bread (Pull Apart Bread)

Cheese and Garlic Crack Bread (Pull Apart Bread)

“Crack bread” is an appropriate name for this because it’s garlic bread – on crack! This is a great cost effective FUN centrepiece for your next gathering!

Like garlic bread - but even better! #crack_bread #stuffed_bread

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20 Minute Free Form Chicken Pot Pie (from scratch, no cream)

20 Minute Free Form Chicken Pot Pie (from scratch, no cream)

Is there a law that says pies have to be baked with the pastry on top? If there is, it’s time to break the rules because this is everything you know and love about chicken pot pie, but you can get it on the table – MADE FROM SCRATCH – in 20 minutes. 

Who says pies have to be baked WITH the pastry? This free form version is made in just 20 min from scratch!

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There is a seriously high ratio of broccoli in these! A great way to hide a lot of greens into irresistible little bites. And they’re freezer friendly too!

An entire head of broccoli and only 3/4 cup of batter. Hidden greens to the max!

“You will be amazed how little batter there is for the mound of broccoli used.”

I’ve been posting a broccoli recipe every week for the last few weeks because it’s been insanely cheap lately! For those of you in Australia, it’s currently $1.00/kg (that’s $0.50 / lb) at Coles (usually it’s $4+/kg!). So me being me, who can never resist a good bargain, I stocked up big time which means I’ve had to get seriously creative to get through the ridiculous amount of broccoli stockpiled in my fridge. Here’s what I’ve shared lately:

  • Creamy Bacon, Chicken and Broccoli Bread Bake – made from scratch, ready to pop into the oven in just 15 minutes, this is a great way to use up any leftover stale bread lying around.
  • Magic Broccoli – it truly is magic how a little roasting with garlic, a drizzle of lemon juice and a scattering of parmesan completely transforms broccoli!

Plus prior to this, I also posted a Creamy Broccoli Soup (amazing how creamy it is even without cream!) and Roasted Broccoli with Pangritata (which is a fancy word for toasted bread crumbs).

So the Broccoli Mission continues. And today it’s bite size goodies that even kids love! These are seriously tasty fritters. And you will be amazed how much broccoli there is in them. There is an entire head of broccoli to make 6 fritters, and it only uses about 3/4 cup of batter. The “secret” step is to use a potato masher to lightly crush the cooked broccoli. This loosens them up so you only need enough batter to hold them together, and they mould into a fritter shape with a smooth golden brown surface rather than lumps of broccoli sticking out.

“These fritters freeze well. Just pan fry briefly to reheat them so you get the crispy crust.”

I made these with a quick yoghurt sauce but you don’t even need the sauce to be honest, they are great eaten plain. These also freeze really well! To reheat, just thaw then cook them quickly in a dry fry pan to make the surface slightly crispy as well as heating them through. I don’t recommend microwaving them as they will go soggy, and in the oven the underside goes soggy though the top crisps up nicely.

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Parmesan Garlic Broccoli Fritters
Recipe Type: Fritters
Author: Nagi | RecipeTin Eats
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 6
There is a very high broccoli to fritter batter ratio in this recipe. It’s a fabulous way to hide a lot of greens in irresistible little bites that even kids will gobble up! Makes 6 fritters about 9cm/3″ in diameter, 1cm/1/3″ thick.
Ingredients
  • 3 cups broccoli florets and stem, roughly chopped into 2cm/1 inch pieces (see notes) (about 1 medium head of broccoli)
  • 2 tbsp oil (vegetable, olive oil, canola)
  • Batter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk (low fat or full fat)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • Yoghurt Sauce
  • 1/4 cup plain yoghurt
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Steam or boil the broccoli until quite tender (but not mushy). I did this in the microwave using a steamer, it took 3 minutes on high.
  2. Use a potato masher to roughy “squish” the broccoli. Not to look like mashed potato, but just to squish it a bit so when cooked it can be flattened with a spatula to make fritters with a smooth surface rather than having big lumps sticking out.
  3. Combine the Yoghurt Sauce ingredients and mix well.
  4. Place egg in a bowl and use a fork to lightly beat the egg. Add the remaining Batter ingredients and mix until combined. The Batter may seem a little thick but it will loosen up when you add the broccoli because when you squish it, it will release some liquid.
  5. Add the broccoli and mix to evenly disperse throughout the Batter.
  6. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a fry pan over medium heat.
  7. Scoop 1/4 cup of Batter and drop into the pan and use a spoon to gently flatten to about 1cm/1/3″ thickness. Cook 3 fritters at a time.
  8. Cook each side for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown. Repeat with remaining Batter.
  9. Serve with the Yoghurt Sauce and extra lemon wedges, if desired.
Notes
1. I also add most of the broccoli stems into these fritters. For the thicker part, I recommend peeling it with a potato peeler as I find the skin can be quite tough. Then roughly chop them into a medium size dice so they cook in the same time as the florets.[br]2. This recipe also works great with cauliflower.

Broccoli Fritters Nutrition

Broccoli Fritters There is a seriously high ratio of broccoli in these! A great way to hide a lot of greens into irresistible little bites.
Sticky Chicken With Vegetable Fried Rice (Freezer Friendly)

Sticky Chicken With Vegetable Fried Rice (Freezer Friendly)

Sick of all your freezer meals being casseroles and pasta sauces? Here’s something different for you! Budget friendly. Freezer friendly. A flavour explosion in a bowl. This dish has it all!

A fresh stir fry that can be largely made ahead and frozen. The sticky chicken is irresistible!

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This is how you make 5 AWESOME freezer friendly Mexican Meals for 4 people in 1 hour for $50. Includes free printable shopping list (by recipe and consolidated) and labels!

Enchilada Stack, Mexican Pizza, Taco Soup, Mexican Sliders and Quesadillas. Free printables! #meal_plan #budget #mexican

“You can feed 25 people with just one pork shoulder. It’s incredibly cost effective!”

In this post I want to share with you how you can make 5 freezer friendly meals for 4 people in 1 hour for just $50. All the meals are made using just one batch of Pork Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork). Pork Carnitas  are incredibly cost effective because a little bit goes a long way. A 2.5kg/5lb bone in pork shoulder (2kg/4lb without bone) will make about 10 cups of shredded pork which is plenty to make 5 to 6 meals for 4 people.

To put that into perspective, you can feed about 25 people with one pork shoulder. On average, each serving is about 80 – 100g (3oz) of pork which might not seem like much, but because the meat is shredded it seems like more.

My Pork Carnitas recipe is made using a slow cooker which uses a lot less energy than cooking slowly in the oven for 3+ hours, and it keeps the pork incredibly moist. Plus there’s also the added benefit that you can just “set and forget” it. It only takes 5 minutes to prepare so it’s a really easy recipe – no fail!

“Making these 5 meals together is time and cost efficient because there are so many common ingredients.”

I calculated the cost in Australian dollars based on current prices at my local supermarket. If you are in the US, it will probably be even better value as even taking into account foreign exchange, groceries in the US are noticeably better value than in Australia.

If you love Mexican food as much as I do, you’ll happily dine on these for 5 consecutive nights. Otherwise, each of these will keep in the freezer for 2 to 3 months so there is certainly no rush.

What We’re Making

To Use in the Recipes

Pork Carnitas Mexican Pulled Pork

Pork Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork). 1 batch makes enough to prepare 5 meals for 4 people.

1. Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas – this will take you 5 minutes to prepare to put in the slow cooker, then set and forget.

2. Homemade Enchilada Sauce – this recipe is a classic, simple recipe that takes 10 minutes to make. It makes around 3 1/2 cups which will be used for Mexican Pizza, Pulled Pork Sliders as well as the Mexican Enchilada Stack. You can buy Enchilada sauce if you prefer. It will cost more but will save you a bit of time.

The Meals

3. Mexican Pizza – topped with Pork Carnitas, corn, capsicum (bell peppers) and made using Lebanese flatbreads as the base which are cheaper, healthier and bake crispier than pizza bases.

4. Mexican Sliders – soft white rolls piled high with Pork Carnitas, Enchilada Sauce and caramelized onion. These are simply divine.

5. Taco Soup – all the flavours of a taco, in a bowl!

6. Quesadillas – crispy on the outside, and filled with Pork Carnitas, corn, capsicum and caramelised onions. And cheese of course!

7. Enchilada Stacktastes just like an enchilada, but in lasagna form with tortillas used in place of the lasagna sheets.

What You Need

1. A copy of the recipes we are making (click on the links above). If you have RecipeTin app, you can just pop them in with just a tap – you can even create a Pork Carnitas collection if you want! Just open each recipe using the built in browser, put it in Print view then tap Save Recipe.

2. Ingredients for each recipe. I’ve put together a shopping list with each recipe listed PLUS a combined shopping list.  Click here for a PDF Printable version or click here for an Excel version.

3. Print out the Labels. They include instructions for cooking so you don’t have to pull out the recipe again.

4. Follow the instructions below to prepare the meals. You can pop those into your RecipeTin app too!

Hope you find this useful! Just leave a comment if you have any questions and I’ll respond!

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5 Freezer Friendly Mexican Meals in 1 Hour (Pork Carnitas)
Recipe Type: Make Ahead Freezer Friendly Mexican Meals
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: Nagi | RecipeTin Eats
Prep time: 45 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 1 hour
Serves: 20
This is how you make 5 AWESOME freezer friendly Mexican Meals for 4 people in 1 hour for $50!
Ingredients
  • [url href=”http://www.recipetineats.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/5-Mexican-Freezer-Friendly-Meals-in-1-Hour_Shopping-List.pdf” target=”_blank”]PDF version[/url] or [url href=”http://www.recipetineats.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/5-Mexican-Freezer-Friendly-Meals-in-1-Hour_Shopping-List.xlsx” target=”_blank”]Excel version[/url] of Shopping List (combined + individual recipes)
  • [url href=”http://www.recipetineats.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/5-Mexican-Freezer-Friendly-Meals-in-1-Hour-Labels.pdf” target=”_blank”]Labels[/url] for food to be frozen.
Instructions
Night Before or In the Morning
  1. Cook the [url href=”http://www.recipetineats.com/pork-carnitas-mexican-slow-cooker-pulled-pork/” target=”_blank” title=”Pork Carnitas (Mexican Slow Cooker Pulled Pork)”]Pork Carnitas[/url] per the recipe instructions. It will only take you 5 minutes to prepare to put in the slow cooker.
  2. When the Pork Carnitas are ready, shred the pork and pour over the juices from the slow cooker. You can store the cooked pork in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Preparation
  1. Brown the Pork Carnitas: Heat 1/2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan. Add half the Pork Carnitas and press down lightly with a spatula to help them brown evenly. Once the underside is brown and crispy, remove from the pan and set aside (about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes). Do not flip – only one side should be crispy (see notes). Repeat with remaining Pork Carnitas.
  2. Make the [url href=”http://www.recipetineats.com/enchilada-sauce-easy-classic-recipe/” target=”_blank” title=”Enchilada Sauce – Easy Classic Recipe”]Enchilada Sauce[/url] as per the recipe.
  3. Make the caramelised onion (for the Quesadillas and Pork Rolls) at the same time you are making the Enchilada Sauce (both are fairly low maintenance). Use the directions from one of those recipes and double it (the quantities and directions are the same).
  4. Dice the capsicum and set aside.
Assemble each of the meals as per the recipe instructions. Ensure you follow the instructions for making the recipes to freeze.
  1. [url href=”http://www.recipetineats.com/mexican-pizzas-freezer-friendly/” target=”_blank” title=”Mexican Pizzas (Freezer Friendly)”]Mexican Pizza[/url]
  2. [url href=”http://www.recipetineats.com/mexican-pork-rolls-caramelised-onion/” target=”_blank”]Mexican Pork Rolls with Caramelized Onions[/url]
  3. [url href=”http://www.recipetineats.com/taco-soup-pork-carnitas/” target=”_blank” title=”Express Taco Soup with Pulled Pork”]Taco Soup[/url]
  4. [url href=”http://www.recipetineats.com/pulled-pork-carnitas-quesadillas-caramelized-onions/” target=”_blank” title=”Pulled Pork Carnitas Quesadillas with Caramelized Onions”]Quesadillas[/url]
  5. [url href=”http://www.recipetineats.com/mexican-lasagna-enchilada-stack/” target=”_blank” title=”Mexican Lasagna Enchilada Stack”]Enchilada Stack[/url]
Notes
1. By only browning one side of the Pork Carnitas, you get the slightly crunch whilst still keeping the pork incredibly juicy.

If you want more ideas for recipes you can make using Pork Carnitas, have a look at my Pork Carnitas Collection!

Recipes Using Pork Carnitas - Collection of Recipes

5 Freezer Friendly Mexican Meals in 1 Hour for $50 This is how you make 5 AWESOME freezer friendly Mexican Meals for 4 people in 1 hour for $50.
Pulled Pork Carnitas Quesadillas with Caramelized Onions

Pulled Pork Carnitas Quesadillas with Caramelized Onions

Don’t you love freezer friendly meals? Especially when you don’t even need to remember to take them out of the freezer before you go to work! This recipe is part of a series where I show you How to Make 5 Mexican Freezer Friendly meals (for 4 people!) in 1 hour using one batch of Pork Carnitas

Pork Carnitas Born Caramelized Onion Quesadillas

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Mexican Lasagna Enchilada Stack

Mexican Lasagna Enchilada Stack

A great throw together lasagne that’s freezer friendly! 

10 minutes to assemble, it's an enchilada - layered up like lasagna! Great for freezing, either before or after baking. #enchilada #mexican #lasagna

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No Washing Up Ham, Egg & Cheese Bread Bowls

No Washing Up Ham, Egg & Cheese Bread Bowls

The only thing I hate more than a sink full of dirty dishes is WASHING a sink full of dirty dishes. So this post is dedicated to everyone who hates doing the dishes as much as I do! 

Not a single pan or utensil to be washed! Great for feeding an army and you can make ahead. #breakfast #brunch #bread_bowl #baked #eggs

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Cinnamon Sugar Bread Crust Treats

Cinnamon Sugar Bread Crust Treats

Please don’t EVER throw out bread crusts or stale bread! Look at these amazing treats you can make – and they only take 10 minutes to make! Find me a kid that can resist these…..

Use leftover bread crusts or stale bread for these treats that taste like cinnamon doughnuts - only crunchy and ALOT healthier! #snack #kids #breadcrusts #stale_bread

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