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I am on a mission.

Several weeks ago I confessed that I am a food hoarder collector. Simply put, I have too many pastas, cheeses, stuffed pantries and overflowing cabinets. When you are violently attacked by flying sausages upon opening the freezer door, you have a problem my friend. I could have been maimed or killed! Can you imagine an epitaph that reads “The Sausage Got Her?” Yes, there is definitely a joke in THERE somewhere. In summation, my kitchen desperately needed a purge.

I set out last week with one goal in mind; To create nightly menus using every single ingredient in my freezer(s), refrigerator(s), cabinets and pantries before stepping a single pinky toe into a grocery store. Do you even know how huge it is for me to refrain from visiting a store that sells…food? Me? The managers of Publix and Ingles have put out an APB. They have offered a reward for my safe return. I even have my own Publix name tag. They call me Mel and carry photos of my grand-kids in their wallets. They love me like that.

So. No produce sniffing, no price reviews, no visiting the seafood counter and dreaming of new ways to prepare the offerings, no long discussions with the meat manger on the freshest and best cuts, no feeling the soft baked breads, nope. None of that. Not even a good old squeeze on the Charmin until I use what I have. Sigh.

I’m a week and a half into my mission and hanging in there. Thanks for asking. I appreciate the cards and letters offering support. It’s hard y’all. So far I’ve made some really great meals including this Tangerine Pepper Steak I’m sharing with you today. It should only take two more weeks before I can grocery shop again. Yes, I had enough food stored for a solid month! I could have realistically fed a small third world country.

My sweet Hass is hanging in there with me too. Last night, after explaining this entire mission to him in great length and explaining in detail how cleansing and de-cluttering this would be he said, “So, to clarify, your real mission is to clean all of this out so you have more room for all of the new ingredients you’re going to buy.”

I smiled. He’s a very smart boy, that one. He puts my fluff into perspective.

With my head innocently cocked to the side, a beautiful virtuous smile on my face, batting eyelashes fully engaged and using the sweetest southern drawl I could muster, I genuinely and most honestly replied, “Well of course.”

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Tangerine Pepper Steak

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound sirloin beef, cubed or cut into thin strips
  • 2 tangerines, sectioned
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. Chinese Five Spice
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 bunch Bok Choy, leaves and stems, sliced
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch or flour
  • Tuxedo Sesame Seeds – optional
  • Salt & pepper to taste – optional

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Directions:

Combine all juices and sauces with the Chinese Five Spice. Place half of the marinade in a gallon zip lock bag or large non-reactive bowl with a tight fitting lid. Reserve the remaining half in a separate container. Add beef to the ziplock or bowl. Marinate for at least 30 minutes; overnight is preferable to break down the proteins and for best flavor.

Add Sesame oil to skillet. Drain meat from marinade discarding the marinade. Stir fry all vegetables and tangerines until the veggies are crisp tender then add the beef. Lightly stir fry about 2-3 minutes. Add cornstarch to the reserved marinade and add to the stir fry. Bring to a boil and allow to cook about 2 minutes. Serve with noodles or rice and top with Sesame seeds.

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Life is too short to eat ugly food y’all.