Electric Lunchbox #12: Quinoa and Ground Beef with Eggplant and Tofu

I figured I should make something healthy today as I’ve been baking and cooking and eating during this pandemic.

I always have different grains in my pantry and found this tricolor Quinoa we got from Peru the last time we were there. It looks so pretty with all the colors.

When cooking quinoa, always remember to rinse thoroughly before cooking otherwise it tends to taste soapy. This step removes the saponin on the outside of the grains. I usually do this by placing the quinoa in a fine meshed strainer and running my fingers through it under running water. You could also rinse them in a bowl with plenty of water, drain and repeat.

I also wanted some tofu and vegetable main dish so I quickly put this recipe together. It is loosely based off a dish I had in Chinatown in Binondo, Philippines ages ago. That dish had eggplants and ground beef and is a mix of sweet and spicy.

Try this dish and let me know what you think!

*Please note that the word “cup” in any of my electric lunchbox recipe refers to the little itaki cup included with the lunchbox. It holds 40ml.*

2 cups ground beef

2 tablespoons chopped onions

2 handfuls cubed eggplant

2 handfuls cubed tofu

1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce

1 tablespoon soysauce

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon chili pepper flakes(adjust to taste)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 cups water

Green onions, to serve

Top bowl:

2 cups quinoa, rinsed very well in a strainer and drained

2 cups broth or water

2 cups water in the base (48 minutes)

Follow me for more recipes for the Itaki!

See Itaki’s offerings here! https://www.itakico.com/theresa

Electric Lunchbox #9: Beef Stew and Corn Bread with optional Flan

Comfort food!

Someone asked for an American dish for the Itaki, so I made beef stew and cornbread! My dad loved beef stew and for me cornbread goes really well with it so here goes!

Disclaimer: I used the Itaki Jumbo since my son and I wanted flan again! 😊 The second tier, medium bowl, had another experimental flan recipe! I am trying to make a softer flan so I upped the amount of milk to see if it would work better.

Although it is perfectly fine to just use the Itaki pro and make beef stew and cornbread only, I figured since we’re steaming for a good amount of time, I want to maximize the food created.

*Please note that the word “cup” in any of my electric lunchbox recipe refers to the little itaki cup included with the lunchbox. It holds 40ml.*

Beef stew:

6.5 oz beef, cubed (I used ground beef as that was what I had)

1 tablespoon flour

1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper

1 small potato, peeled snd diced

1 small carrot, peeled and diced

3 green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 tablespoon diced onions

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 1/2 cups beef broth

Salt and pepper

Cornbread:

2 1/2 T melted butter

1/4 cup milk

1 egg

1/4 c cornmeal

1/4 cup + 1 T all purpose flour

2 T sugar

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Beef Stew:

Place the beef, flour, salt and pepper in the bottom bowl of the electric lunchbox and mix well. The flour will help thicken your stew. Do not pack the meat down.

Place the potatoes, carrots, green beans, celery, and onions on top of the meat. Add tomato paste and beef broth and mix the ingredients in the bowl. You can add a little more beef broth if you want a runnier stew but remember to leave at least an inch space between the ingredients and the top of the bowl. Place the bowl in the Itaki base.

Now for the CORNBREAD:

Grease the small Itaki bowl or spray with nonstick spray. Mix all ingredients in a separate bowl until combined and pour into the prepared bowl of the Itaki. Place over the prepared beef stew bowl and cover with foil.

For the JUMBO:

If you have an Itaki Jumbo and want a flan for dessert after this meal (like me and my son did!), you can use the second tier for it! Follow the Italicized instructions. Otherwise continue to the Steaming instructions below.

Flan in the Jumbo

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon water

1 egg

1 cup condensed milk

4 cups milk

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Place sugar and water in the medium Itaki bowl. Caramelize over low heat until you get a golden syrup, swirling constantly by holding the bowl with a stainless tong. Set aside.

In a bowl, mix egg and condensed milk until smooth and condensed milk is incorporated. Add milk, and vanilla, stir to combine. Strain into the bowl with caramel. Cover with foil and place on the second tier of the Itaki Jumbo.

Steaming:

Add 3 cups water to the Itaki base, clip on the top cover and turn it on. Let it steam until it shuts off by itself, around 1 hour 12 minutes.

Open the Itaki carefully, refrigerate the flan if you made one, stir the beef stew and adjust seasoning to taste. Remove the cornbread from the pan and cut into wedges, if desired.

The flan did turn out softer than my previous trials. It is a keeper for me. Chilled, it firmed up a little but still delicious. I will still try to make an all yolk flan soon.

Enjoy your meal!

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See Itaki’s offerings here! https://www.itakico.com/theresa

Ice Tray Meatballs

My coworker’s husband posted a video of him making meatballs using an ice cube tray a little while back. Interesting right? I knew I had to make it when he said he lined the trays with BACON before adding the meat mixture. My son loves bacon but I rarely make it as it’s highly processed.

In this recipe though it is not all bacon but every single meatball is covered with bacon. The whole thing is baked, so the bacon gets crispy and the grease drains off too – a win-win if you ask me!

Serve with dipping sauce of your choice as an appetizer or snack, or add rice pilaf with some salad and you’ve got an easy lunch or dinner done!

This will be perfect to serve as an appetizer for your holiday spread too!

Makes 28 meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef, chicken, or turkey
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 8 – 10 slices bacon
  • Barbecue sauce, Ranch, sweet chili sauce, etc. for dipping
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the ground meat, onion, garlic, parsley, bread crumbs, milk, egg, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper until combined. Set aside.
  3. Line two empty ice trays with bacon, (my trays took 2 strips per row, total of 4 per tray) overlapping each piece to cover the tray completely. Fill with ground meat mixture, pressing down to fill each cube completely.
  4. Flip the ice tray over onto a baking sheet, gently squeeze cubes to release meatballs, and carefully lift the ice cube tray off.
  5. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes, or until bacon is crisp and browned, and meatball is cooked through.
  6. Transfer the meatball sheets to a cutting board and cut the bacon to create individual meatballs.
  7. Serve with your choice of dipping sauce. Enjoy!
Meat mixture
Lining the ice cube trays with bacon and filling with meat mixture.
Ready for the oven.
Yummy!

Ice Tray Meatballs

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Bacon wrapped meatball made in ice cube trays, need I say more?

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef, chicken, or turkey
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 8 – 10 slices bacon
  • Barbecue sauce, Ranch, sweet chili sauce, etc. for dipping

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the ground meat, onion, garlic, parsley, bread crumbs, milk, egg, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper until combined. Set aside.
  3. Line two empty ice trays with bacon, (my trays took 2 strips per row, total of 4 per tray) overlapping each piece to cover the tray completely. Fill with ground meat mixture, pressing down to fill each cube completely.
  4. Flip the ice tray over onto a baking sheet, gently squeeze cubes to release meatballs, and carefully lift the ice cube tray off.
  5. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes, or until bacon is crisp and browned, and meatball is cooked through.
  6. Transfer the meatball sheets to a cutting board and cut the bacon to create individual meatballs.
  7. Enjoy!

Sauteed Green Beans with Beef, Tofu, and Rice Noodles

I grew up in the Philippines where breakfast, lunch, and dinner consisted of multiple dishes prepared by the household cook/s. Meats, veggies, fruits, sweets, and always, rice. Meat or fish is the main dish, then there would be 1-3 sides of veggies, some fruits and desserts. Usually vegetables were “ginisa” (sautéed) with garlic, onions, and tomatoes. They were always delicious specially with fried main dishes.

Nowadays, with no live in help, a full time job and a kid with a lot of extra curricular activities, I only get to serve one side and one main, usually with some salad or some sort of cooked veggies. Most of the time I would make an all in one dish, meat and vegetables together in the main dish.

This is one of my favorite, although slicing the green beans at an angle is work, it’s worth it as it tastes yummy! You could use ground or cubed beef or pork, even chicken, add cubes of fried tofu, chayote, whatever you feel like. It adapts to whatever you have on hand easily although I always have the green beans, meat, and the noodles. Take the amounts stated in the recipe only as a guideline, add more or less to adjust to your taste.

This is my version for today’s recipe. I added tofu because I had some on hand.

Slice the beans at an angle

Ingredients:

1 pound green beans, ends removed and sliced at an angle

1 block extra firm tofu, cubed

2 tablespoons oil

1 pound ground beef

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, chopped

1 tomato, chopped

4-6 cups water

1/2 package of dried rice noodles, soaked in water

1-2 tablespoons Beef bouillon, adjust to taste

1-2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon fish sauce, optional

Procedure:

Rinse and slice the green beans. You’ll have to do this one by one as i never did a good job with even 2 at a time. Place in a large bowl with water and set aside.

Heat the oil in a fry pan and fry the tofu until browned on both sides. Set aside.

Fry the tofu until browned and crispy.

Heat a dutch oven over medium high heat and add the ground beef. Let it cook and brown, breaking up big pieces with a spatula.

Move the meat to one side of the pan and add garlic to the empty side. Brown lightly then add onions. Cook until onions are softened and lightly browned. Add tomatoes and cook a few more minutes until tomatoes are soft. Stir in the ground beef and mix well.

Add the fried tofu, 4 cups of water (adding more later as necessary), drained noodles, bouillon powder, soy sauce and fish sauce, if using. Make sure noodles are submerged. Simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes, until noodles are cooked. Add water if necessary.

Add the sliced green beans and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Serve hot.

Sauteed Green Beans with Beef, Tofu, and Rice Noodles

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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A refreshing, light veggie side with beef, tofu, and noodles.

Ingredients

1 pound green beans, ends removed and sliced at an angle

1 block extra firm tofu, cubed

2 tablespoons oil

1 pound ground beef

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, chopped

1 tomato, chopped

4-6 cups water

1/2 package of dried rice noodles, soaked in water

1-2 tablespoons Beef bouillon, adjust to taste

1-2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon fish sauce, optional

Directions

Rinse and slice the green beans. You’ll have to do this one by one as i never did a good job with even 2 at a time. Place in a large bowl with water and set aside.

Heat the oil in a fry pan and fry the tofu until browned on both sides. Set aside.

Heat a dutch oven over medium high heat and add the ground beef. Let it cook and brown, breaking up big pieces with a spatula.

Move the meat to one side of the pan and add garlic to the empty side. Brown lightly then add onions. Cook until onions are softened and lightly browned. Add tomatoes and cook a few more minutes until tomatoes are soft. Stir in the ground beef and mix well.

Add the fried tofu, 4 cups of water (adding more later as necessary), drained noodles, bouillon powder, soy sauce and fish sauce, if using. Make sure noodles are submerged. Simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes, until noodles are cooked. Add water if necessary.

Add the sliced green beans and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Serve hot.


Broccoli and Walnut Salad

A quick, healthy, and easy to make vegetable side dish. I bring this to potlucks at work and I always get asked for the recipe. It’s that good!

Ingredients:

1 pound broccoli, cut into small florets

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoon apple cider or white wine vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup walnuts (or pecans, almonds, etc), toasted

1/4 cup raisins (or dried cherries, or cranberries, etc)

Procedure:

Rinse and cut broccoli into small, manageable sizes. Steam in the microwave for 2 – 3 minutes, until it’s slightly cooked.

Make the dressing: Mix mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, and onion in a big bowl.

Toss the broccoli, walnuts and raisins in the dressing mixture until evenly coated.

Broccoli and Walnut Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A crunchy, sweet, salad recipe perfect as a side for dinner.

Ingredients

1 pound broccoli, cut into small florets

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoon apple cider or white wine vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup walnuts (or pecans, almonds, etc), toasted

1/4 cup raisins (or dried cherries, or cranberries, etc)

Directions

Rinse and cut broccoli into small, manageable sizes. Steam in the microwave for 2 – 3 minutes, until it’s slightly cooked.

Make the dressing: Mix mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, and onion in a big bowl.

Toss the broccoli, walnuts and raisins in the dressing mixture until evenly coated.

Pumpkin Rolls

It’s almost officially Fall season here in Southern California…and with it comes everything PUMPKIN! Cereal, coffee, soda, beer, desserts….you name it I’m quite sure you’ll find it!

What about bright orange pumpkin rolls? These smell amazing baking in the oven! I made these twice in a row after devouring the first batch. It’s very easy to make in the Thermomix as it comes together in no time!

The bread is super soft and has a very subtle taste of pumpkin. Some of my tasters didn’t even realize that there is a whole can of pumpkin mixed in the dough. Perfect way to hide veggies!

I love this with butter and homemade jam. Of course, using store bought jam is perfectly fine too! For me and my son, butter and orange marmalade is our favorite!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!


220 g milk
1 Tbsp dry yeast
1 can pumpkin puree
550 g bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
40 g brown sugar
40 g butter
1 egg, for brushing the dough before baking

To make the dough, place the milk and yeast in the Thermomix mixing bowl. Warm 2 Min. / 37°C / Speed 2.5. Add a can of pumpkin puree, bread flour, salt, cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter and knead 2 Min. / kneading function. Add a little more flour or milk as needed to produce a manageable dough.

Leave the dough to rise in the bowl for 2 hours until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a rectangular tray with greaseproof paper. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and cut into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place on the prepared tray, touching the sides to each other.

Cover with a moist towel and leave to rise for another 30 minutes. Brush with the beaten egg and bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes until golden brown at the top and sounding hollow when tapped.


Remove and transfer onto a wire cooling rack. Leave to cool slightly and serve with butter as a side for soup or just for breakfast. Enjoy your yummy pumpkin rolls!

Ingredients:

  • 220 g milk
  • 1 Tbsp dry active yeast
  • 1 15oz (425g) can pumpkin puree
  • 550 g bread flour, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 40 g brown sugar
  • 40 g butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 egg, for brushing

Procedure:

1. Place the milk and yeast in the Thermomix bowl, cover and set to 2 minutes/37 degrees/speed 2.

2. Add pumpkin puree, flour, salt, cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter. Cover again and set to 3 minutes/kneading function. Check to see consistency and add more flour as needed to create a soft dough.

*To make without the Thermomix: Combine milk, yeast, pumpkin puree, flour, salt, cinnamon, brown sugar, and softened butter in a large bowl and mix well. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic, adding flour as needed to make a soft dough. Continue with the recipe.*

3. Let rise in the covered bowl, at room temperature, for an hour or until doubled.

4. Turn out dough onto a well floured board and knead briefly to pop any large bubbles. Divide dough into 50 gram balls to have 24 rolls (or 100 gram balls to have bigger pieces of rolls). Stretch and roll the dough to have a taut top.

5. Place dough balls onto a parchment lined 13×9 pan, 12 rolls each(use 2 pans if making the smaller rolls). Cover with kitchen towel and let rise 45 minutes to an hour, at room temperature, until doubled.

6. Preheat oven to 375F.

7. Beat 1 egg and brush tops and sides of rolls. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, until golden. Remove to wire racks and cool.

Makes 12 big rolls or 24 smaller rolls.

To check out the Thermomix, click on this link: https://shop.thermomix.com

Macaroni Salad

This was adapted from Hawaiian Airlines Instant pot recipe. I needed a quick Hawaiian style macaroni salad to go with my Kalua Pig and cabbage (https://athomewiththeresa.net/2019/09/01/kalua-pig-and-cabbage/) so I gave this recipe a try. I loved it…I’m not from Hawaii so I cannot vouch for authenticity, but my family loved it, and that is what matters to me.

Perfectly creamy, the combination of pasta and veggies were just right as a side to rich Kalua Pig. Make them and try for yourself!

Ingredients:

1 pound elbow macaroni

salt

1-1/4 cups real mayonnaise

1 cup whole milk

1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

2 teaspoons prepared mustard

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon onion powder

1⁄4 cup grated carrot

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

3 scallions, finely chopped (or green onions)

1 small onion, finely chopped

Salt, pepper, and paprika

Directions:

Cook macaroni according to package in salted water.

Meanwhile, mix together mayonnaise, milk, worcestershire sauce, mustard, sugar, and onion powder in a bowl. Set aside.

Dressing looks lumpy right now but don’t worry, it will be fine!

Combine carrot, celery, scallions, and onions in a large bowl. Set aside.

Carrots, celery, onions, and green onions

Drain macaroni and rinse with water. Place macaroni in the bowl with the vegetables.

Add the dressing and mix well.

Taste and adjust seasoning. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Sprinkle with paprika before serving.

Ready to serve…sprinkle with paprika.

No Knead Bread

No knead loaf baked in a Le Creuset dutch oven

Bread made without needing to knead the dough. This is probably the EASIEST way to make bread! No kneading, not much active time actually MAKING the bread.

The important thing to remember when making this recipe is to start the night before since it has to rest overnight.

Between the initial mixing of ingredients and shaping, then baking, it will take about 15 hours. However, the actual hands on time is maybe 15 minutes.

This recipe will give you a very tasty loaf of bread with little effort on your part. I’m sure everyone has a mixing bowl in the kitchen cabinet…the one thing you might need is an oven proof vessel to bake the bread in. I have attached links below on the ones I have and use.

*For the cast iron and ceramic pots, you will need to place them in the cold oven and preheat the oven with the pots(covered) inside.*

*For the silicone bread maker, you can place the shaped dough in it, clip the top, let it rise, and place in a preheated oven to bake.*

You will need:

3 cups bread flour

1 1/4 teaspoons salt (i used less, somewhere between 3/4 to 1 teaspoon)

1/4 teaspoon yeast

1 3/8 cups of water

a dutch oven or a bread pot

How to make it:

Place flour, salt, and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon while adding water until a soft dough forms. Cover with a plastic wrap and prove for 12-18 hours at room temperature. 

Tip dough out onto a floured surface and fold over a few times. Just pull the edges toward the center of the dough and push down. Shape into a ball. Cover and prove for another 15-30 minutes.

No knead bread baked in an Emile Henry Bread Pot

Lightly shape the dough into a ball and place in a banetton lined with a floured couche (in a pinch, a bowl can be used in place of the banetton, a dishcloth floured generously can replace the couche) then cover with a dish cloth. Let rise for about 30 minutes, until doubled.

*If using the silicone bread maker, place the shaped dough directly in in, clip the top and cover with a dishcloth. Let rise.*

Preheat oven to 450F and place a dutch oven or a ceramic bread pot inside while the oven heats up about 15-25 minutes

Carefully remove the dutch oven or bread pot from the oven, remove the cover, transfer dough in, and immediately replace the lid.

No knead bread baked in a Lekue Silicone bread maker

*If using the silicone bread maker, just remove the dishcloth, place it in the preheated oven and bake as directed. Unclip the top the last 10 minutes to brown the loaf evenly.*

Place it back into the oven and bake 30-45 minutes, removing the lid the last 10-15 minutes of baking to brown the loaf.

Carefully remove from the oven and place bread onto a wire rack to cool.

Enjoy! 

Lodge Enamel Dutch oven
Le Creuset 5.5 qt Dutch Oven
Emile Henry Bread Pot
Luekue Bread maker