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Tender Beef Snacks…an alternative to Beef Jerky

It’s tough to find beef jerky-type products that aren’t loaded with MSG and other preservatives, while also being gluten-free. However, this week’s review is about PJ’s Beef Snacks.  I tasted all three varieties of PJ’s Beef Tenders and their Cracked Pepper Beef Slices. My overall impression was that these are a great alternative to traditional beef jerky. First, they are (as the name implies) quite tender unlike traditional jerky which can be quite tough to chew. Second, they have distinct flavors that are neither overpowering with salty flavor or greasy (like some other brands of jerky). The snacks are not only gluten-free and free of preservatives, they even have 35% of your RDA of Vitamin C and calcium too.

The Original Flavor of the Beef Tenders might be referred to as “plain”, but I found it to have a nice beefy flavor without being too salty. The Teriyaki Flavor  of the Beef Tenders was slightly different from the Original Flavor, it was like “Original Plus” because it was a subtle teriyaki flavor, not an overpowering one. And, the Cracked Pepper variety of both the Tenders and the Slices definitely had the most kick to it, but again you could taste other flavors besides the pepper so it definitely had some dimension. I believe my favorite flavor was the Teriyaki though.

The only downside to this great snack right now is that it’s not yet in stores. You can order it directly from the company here. Or if you’d like to check out this great snack option in person, you might want to visit a tasting event that PJ’s is hosting in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States.

Disclaimer: PJ’s Beef Snacks provided me with  free samples of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

pizza bake

This week’s recipe, Gluten Free Upside Down Pizza Bake, is now posted at the Stockpiling Moms site.  It appears in the photo that this is meat with potatoes covering it….not so! You’ll have to go and read the recipe to find out just how tasty this gluten-free, dairy-free recipe really is.  Nicholas gave it a rating of a “Trillion Thumbs Up“! (I think that was a bit over the top, but guess it shows you just how much he enjoyed this for dinner the other night!)

mongolian beef

Here’s a very tasty and very easy version of Mongolian Beef, a favorite chinese restaurant dish of mine.  In fact, when I was cooking it, my son came in and said, “This smells like something I’ve eaten before!” Yes, indeed, it was! In addition to dropping the garlic (which I did list below for those who do want to include it), I’ve also modified the liquid content a bit because as you can see by the photograph it turned out to be a little bit soupy.

Rather than serving this with brown rice, I decided to try out the kelp noodles I bought awhile back. (Perhaps you can see them in the photo? They look like clear noodles.) I did not mention this to either my husband or my son and both gobbled them up eagerly.  My only concern with the kelp noodles was that they became absorbed into the liquid rather quickly; maybe this will be better next time with less liquid?  However, they were tasty and a nice change from rice. You’ll also note that Nick got a bit enthusiastic about his rating on this dish – guess he really liked it a lot!

Mongolian Beef (Nick Rating = 12 Thumbs Up!)

2 tsp olive oil

1 Tbsp finely chopped garlic

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 c gluten-free tamari soy sauce

1/4 c water

2/3 c brown sugar

1 lb. beef flank steak, sliced 1/4-inch thick on the diagonal

1/4 c Kingsfords gluten-free cornstarch

1/2 c olive oil for frying

6-8 green onions, cut in 2-inch lengths

Place sliced beef in bowl, stir cornstarch into the beef and coat it thoroughly. Allow beef and cornstarch to sit until most of the juices from the meat have been absorbed by the cornstarch, about 10 minutes.

Heat 2 tsp of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, and cook and stir garlic and ginger until they release their fragrance, about 30 seconds. Add soy sauce, water, and brown sugar. Raise the heat to medium-high, and stir 4 minutes, until sugar dissolves and sauce boils and thickens slightly. Remove sauce from heat; set aside.

Heat several Tbsp of olive oil in a deep sided skillet or wok to 375 degrees. Shake the cornstarch from the beef slices, drop them into oil, a few at a time. Stir briefly, until the edges become crisp and start to brown, about 2 minutes. Remove the beef from the oil with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels to remove excess oil.

Pour the oil out of the skillet or wok, and return pan to medium heat. Return beef slices to the pan, stir briefly, and pour in the reserved sauce. Stir once or twice to combine, and add the green onions (and kelp noodles, if you are using them!). Bring the mixture to a boil, and cook until the onions have softened and turned bright green; about 2 minutes.

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