Quick tasty meals for just $10

Between working, socializing and last minute shopping, it can be tough to make a decent dinner. So how about some help from a guy who knows how to make meal magic in minutes.

"It's fast and easy for those who don't spend a lot of time in the kitchen," said Chef Craig Strong.

Langham Huntington Hotel's Craig Strong says quick food and inexpensive food aren't always the same thing. Yet Marinated Grilled Beef on Baked Ginger Rice with veggies brings the two concepts together.

The price for bagged rice, produce, and a cheaper cut of meat?

"For a family or four it is under $10. I can do it for under $10," said Strong.

Strong starts rice on the stove like we all do, except he adds chopped onion and ginger then bakes it in the oven for 17 minutes.

"It is done and perfect every time. It is never sticky or over cooked. As soon as it comes out of the oven it is still steaming so you can just throw your vegetables right into that and cover it," said Strong. "It will steam you veggies and rice all in the same pot. Then you only have one to wash."

That's a selling point. He marinates meat while the rice is cooking, with a mixture of soy, chili and Worcestershire sauce anywhere from 15 - 30 minutes, then throws it on the grill or pan. It is quick and and easy.

If dessert is called for, it's his five minute mousse to the rescue.

"It is one part chocolate and one part cream. We bring the cream to a boil to melt the chocolate and one part whipped cream," said Strong.

Once cream boils, he strains it over the chocolate and blends it until it is smooth. He then cools the chocolate slightly cooler than room temp, then folds in the whip cream. Then layers seasonal fruit for a sassy surprise.

It's tough to pass on dessert this time of year, and we know chocolate mousse is a high in fat and calories, yet Craig has a smart idea when dishing out dessert to dieters.

"Sometimes a great way to do dessert is to serve it in a smaller glass. That way you get to satisfy that sweet tooth without blowing your diet," said Strong.

Serve family style, or pour into a baggy, snip the corner and pour out petite portions to please the palate while preventing pounds.

Web Extra Information: Recipes

Marinated Beef with Gingered Baked Rice, Broccoli, and Carrots

  • ¾ pound top round
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic grated
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tap Sambal hot sauce

Marinate beef for 3-4 hours. Remove from marinate and grill 3 min per side. Let stand for 3-4 minutes before slicing.
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 11/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pepper

In a 3 qt. sauce pan on medium heat add butter, onion and ginger. Sauté until tender about 5 min. Add rice, water and season with salt and pepper. Bring to boil and cover. Place in preheated 400 oven for 17 min. remove lid and add vegetables cover again and let vegetables steam.

Dessert in 5 minutes

  • Chocolate cardamom mousse with bananas and berries
  • Milk chocolate 2 cups
  • Heavy cream 1 cup. whipped to soft peaks
  • Heavy cream 1 cup
  • Cardamom seeds 1 tsp.
  • Bananas 1 each sliced ¼ inch
  • Blueberries 1/2 pt
  • Raspberries 1/2 pt
  • Pound cake 1 cup diced into ½ inch squares
  • Mint leaves for garnish

Chocolate mousse is very easy you only need to watch three things.
  • Don't over whip cream
  • Don't fold in cream when too hot or too cold
  • Don't over mix when adding cream
If you follow these three points it will work every time.

Bring to boil 1 pt. cream and cardamom seeds. Strain out seeds and pour onto milk chocolate, stir together. Cool chocolate and cream mixture to come to room temperature and whisk in 1 third of whipped cream, then fold in two thirds cream.

To assemble start with one third of mousse. Add one layer of pound cake. Add 1 sliced banana and sprinkle 1/3 raspberries and 1/3 blueberries. Repeat for a second layer of mousse, pound cake, fruit. Make last with remaining third of mousse top with remaining fruit and mint.


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