Saturday, October 31, 2009

Spooky Brownies!!!

Happy Halloween all !!! To celebrate I made these brownies for the kids. My original plan was to make them for Mr.B's school party, but he's been home all week with a cold/flu. I knew I wanted to make today special, just in case his sniffles stopped him from enjoying his Trick or Treat fun, tonight. One of the fellow group owners on Cooking for your Family, had made these last year and I could pass up the chance to try my hand at them. I used my go to Fudgy Brownie recipe and piped red hair on Frankenstein, rather than use fruit leather. They are a bit time consuming, but the cuteness factor overuled the time spent frosting the darn marshmallows, LOL. Mr.B was over the moon when he saw them this morning and is anxiously eating his breakfast, so he can sample a Franken Brownie.

I also wanted to wish everyone a safe night of Trick or Treating tonight !!!!



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Spooky Brownies
Submitted by Michelle via Betty Crocker

Spooktacular fun and scrumptious eating are coming your way! Gather your goblins to share lots of baking tricks and treats.


1 box Betty Crocker® Supreme brownie mix (with chocolate syrup pouch) Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for in brownie mix directions

1 container Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy creamy white frosting
Neon green, pink and blue food colors
24 large marshmallows
Miniature candy-coated chocolate baking bits
Betty Crocker® black decorating gel (from 0.68-oz tube)
1 roll Betty Crocker® Fruit Roll-Ups® chewy fruit snack (any red variety) Gummy worms candies

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Make and bake brownies in 13x9-inch pan as directed on box, using water, oil and eggs. Cool completely, about 2 hours. Cut into 6 rows by 4 rows, making 24 brownies.

2. Divide frosting among 3 small microwavable bowls. Heat frosting as needed: microwave 1 bowl uncovered on High about 10 to 15 seconds until frosting can be stirred smooth. If frosting becomes too firm while decorating, microwave on High an additional 5 seconds; stir.

3. Decorate as directed below, using 8 brownies for each bowl of frosting.

Franken-Brownies Add 5 drops green food color to frosting in 1 bowl; mix well. Top each of 8 brownies with 1 large marshmallow. Spoon 1 tablespoon green frosting over each marshmallow to coat. Decorate with green baking bits for eyes and ears. Use black gel for mouths and centers of eyes. Cut fruit snack to use for hair.

Boo-Brownies Top each of 8 brownies with 1 large marshmallow. Spoon 1 tablespoon white frosting over each marshmallow to coat. Use black gel for eyes and mouths.

Spider Brownies Add 5 drops pink food color and 3 drops blue food color to frosting in 1 bowl; mix well. Top each of 8 brownies with 1 large marshmallow. Tuck gummy worms candies under each marshmallow for legs. Spoon 1 tablespoon purple frosting over each marshmallow to coat. Use orange baking bits for eyes. Use black gel for mouths, centers of eyes and eyebrows.

High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Follow High Altitude brownie mix directions.
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Friday, October 30, 2009

Chicken Divan

I saw Paula Dean make a version of this dish a while back, and wondered where it originated from. The original dish takes its name from the Divan Parisienne (restaurant) in New York. The restaurant no longer exists, but this dish lives on to please families everywhere.

I had a ton of broccoli that I needed to use and wanted something creamy and ooey good, so I was happy to find this recipe. Once again good ole Cooking for your Family came to the rescue. I always have all these ingredients on hand, so it's a great go to meal. The only thing I will do differently next time is use Mayonnaise instead of Miracle Whip. I grabbed the MW out of the fridge, without giving it a second thought, since I prefer it to Hellmans. I found it made the dish slightly too sweet and that resulted in the children picking out the broccoli and chicken. I was certain the remaining 3/4 of the dish would sit in the fridge for a week, until I threw it out. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Hubby and my nephew had happily eaten the remainder, once they had gotten home from work.


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Here is what it looked like on the plate


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Chicken Divan
Submitted by Rachel

2 cups cooked chicken
1 cup mayo
1 can cream of "fill in the blank" soup*
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. curry powder
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tbsp. butter, melted
cheddar cheese, shredded
9 oz. frozen broccoli florets, cooked

Arrange broccoli in a 9 inch pie plate, salt and pepper to taste. Combine chicken, soup, mayo,lemon juice and curry. Spread over broccoli. Sprinkle cheese over top. Mix melted butter and breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over cheese. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Serve over rice.
Rachel's notes* I like to use cheddar cheese soup, but you can use broccoli, chicken or whatever you like.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Soft Baked Pretzels

I grabbed this recipe online quite a while back, intending to make these for a movie night. Well I never got around to it until now. My nephew was talking about getting a soft pretzel at the movies the other night and that sparked the craving. These are so easy to make!! The kneading is the hardest part, LOL. They are soft, chewy and oh so delicious. I served ours with mustard and salsa for dipping. You could even get adventurous and brush them with melted butter and sprinkle with Parmesan or cinnamon sugar. It's a perfect snack, or pair them with soup or sandwiches for a twist on lunch.


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Soft Pretzels

1 1/2 cup warm water
1 pkg yeast (or 1 Tb)
1 Tb sugar
1 tsp salt
4 cups flour

Add sugar to warm water then sprinkle yeast on top. Let float for a minute then stir to dissolve the yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes as yeast activates and starts to foam. Add salt and flour and knead 5-10 minutes; adding more flour as needed to reduce stickiness. Divide dough in to 12 pieces and roll each piece into a long rope. Twist into pretzel shape and place on nonstick baking sheet. Make an egg wash with one egg and a Tb of water, lightly beaten together. Brush pretzels with egg wash then sprinkle liberally with Kosher salt. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Orange Glazed Pork Chops with Quinoa Pilaf

Well, this dinner was a hit and miss. I'm pretty sure it's partly my fault, for not rinsing the Quinoa properly. I forgot to rinse it until the water ran clear and just did a quick rinse. The result was a huge bitter mess. The Pilaf was virtually inedible. I thought adding salt to my serving would improve the taste, but it didn't. Mr.B and Queenie took one bite and refused to eat anymore, LOL. My nephew ( the sweet heart) choked down his first serving with soy sauce and attempted a second serving with Ketchup. He said it's quite bad when even Ketchup won't help, LOL. I'm very tempted to make this again, but am certain no one will want to try it.

The pork chops were great! I really enjoyed the way the savory Rosemary paired with the sweetness of the orange juice and the tangy saltiness of the mustard. We don't use mustard powder, so I simply replaced it for 1 tsp of yellow mustard. The chops came out sweet, tender and juicy. The pan was a bit difficult to clean, due to the sugar, but quite worth the effort.


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Quinoa Pilaf
Adapted from Allrecipes.com

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, chopped
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook onion in oil for 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add carrot, and cook 3 minutes more. Stir in quinoa and vegetable broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender and fluffy. In a bowl, toss quinoa together with walnuts and parsley. Serve hot or at room temperature.


ORANGE GLAZED PORK CHOPS
Adapted from Cooks.com

6 pork chops
1/2 c. orange juice
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. rosemary

Place pork chops in 9 x 13 inch pan. Mix other ingredients, except rosemary and pour over chops. Sprinkle with rosemary. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to one hour, depending on thickness.

Classic Cream Scones, with Strawberry Preserves

The last strawberries of the season were on sale last week, so we bought quite a few. I noticed yesterday morning, that the last few cups were about to go bad, so I decided to make my Mom's strawberry preserves. Mom usually makes these at Christmas time and turns the preserves into these delicious strawberry tarts. We all fight over the tarts, but it's the preserves we love best. So once I made the preserves, I wondered what to do with them. I decided they would pair nicely with a sweet scone or biscuit. So when I woke up this morning and the kids were still sleeping, I took the opportunity to search some of my favorite sites for a scone recipe. I knew I wanted to pair the preserves with a vanilla flavor, so I was happy to find this recipe. These were easy to put together and taste great. The vanilla flavoring is just right and compliments the slight sweetness of the preserves. The scones are light, fluffy and smell divine!








CLASSIC CREAM SCONES
Adapted from Cooks.com

2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/3 c. unsalted butter, chilled
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 lg. egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. currants, optional
1 egg mixed with 1 tsp. water for glaze, optional

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly butter baking sheet. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into 1/2 inch cubes and distribute them over flour mixture. Mix with pastry blender or two knives used in scissors fashion. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.In a small bowl stir together the cream, egg and vanilla. Add the cream mixture to the flour mixture and stir until combined. Stir in currants, if desired.
With lightly floured hands, pat dough into 1/2-inch thickness on lightly floured cutting board. Using a floured 2 1/2 inch round biscuit cutter or the top of a tumbler, cut out rounds from the dough and place them on prepared baking sheet.

Gather the scraps together and repeat until all dough is used. Lightly brush the tops of scones with egg mixture, if desired. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove sheet to wire racks, cool 5 minutes. Remove scones to rack to continue cooling. Serve warm or cool. Makes 14 scones.

Cindy's notes: I made a half inch thick round and cut the dough into triangles, using a pizza wheel. I also omitted the currants, subbed half-and-half for the cream and sprinkled the scones with sugar, before baking.

Strawberry Preserves

2 C strawberries, chopped
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C water

In a small pot bring all ingredients to a boil. Simmer for about 1-2 hrs, until strawberries have broken down and liquid has thicken and almost reduced to nothing. Keep refridgerated for up to 2 weeks.

Cindy's notes: My Mom also uses these to make strawberry tarts at Christmas time. Simply fill your tart shells 2/3 full with preserves and bake at 350, until tart shells start to brown.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Meatballs!!

I'm not a big ground beef fan, so when Mr.B requests spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, when Hubby is working, I cringe a little inside. Tonight was the case. We've been eating a lot of different foods lately and Mr.B hasn't been a big fan of them, so I wanted to make something he wanted for a change. I browsed meatball recipes on line and tried to recall what Hubby puts in his and I came up with a pretty good recipe, I think. The meatballs were seasoned just right, tender and juicy. I actually ate 3 without wanting to gag, so that must account for something, LOL. Mr.B cleaned his plate ( the first itme in weeks) and said they were the best meatballs ever. He says that about many of my dinners, but then proceeds to not eat what's on his plate, so I never know if I should take his comments at face value. Queenie and my nephew also ate with much gusto and I'm proud to report only 4 meatballs are left. If they make it until lunch tomorrow, we'll see if they meet Hubby's approval too.



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Meatballs

1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 C Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 egg

Mix all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Try to make sure all is combined, without working the meat too much. Form into meatballs, about the size of a golf ball. Heat 1 Tbs olive oil in a large skillet or soup pot. Brown meatballs on both sides, making sure not to break any. Remove meatballs from pot and drain any remaining oil. Pour in 1 bottle of your favorite pasta sauce, making sure to scrape up any yummy brown bits at the bottom of the pot. Gently return meatballs to the pot and simmer in the sauce for 1 hr. Serve over hot cooked spaghetti.
Crock pot: Form and brown meatballs as above. Place meatballs in crock pot and cover with sauce. Cook on low for 6-8 hrs.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hubby's Chicken and Dumplings and Cranberry Orange Loaf

Hubby makes the most amazing Chicken and Dumplings. The first time he made it for me, was about 9 yrs ago, when I was having a Crohn's flare up. To be honest, I wasn't too impressed with the dish and hardly ate any of it, LOL. I found it had too many herbs in it and thought it tasted weird. Now this was after living most of my life eating food seasoned with only salt and pepper. So any foreign herbs and spices threw me for a loop. Despite my initial reaction to the dish, I kept trying it, every time Hubby would make it. It is now one of my favorite cold weather dishes he makes. The tender noodles paired with the savory chicken and vegetables, blend so well with the fluffy dumplings. Hubby has made this for several of my family members and it has now become one of his most requested dishes.



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Hubby's Chicken and Dumplings

1 lb chicken thighs ( with bones and skin)
2 C carrots, chopped
1 C celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
5 C chicken stock
2 tsp thyme
2-3 bay leaves
salt and pepper
1/2- 1 bag medium egg noodles (depending on size of pot)

Dumplings

1 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C milk ( may need more if too dry)

In a large soup pot heat oil and brown chicken thighs on every side, until golden brown. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken stock, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for 1 hr. Remove chicken thighs. Remove meat from skin and bones and chop to bite size pieces. Return to pot also adding egg noodles. Cook until noodles are just shy of aldente. Mix flour, baking powder and salt. Add milk and stir until well combined, adding more milk if needed, to make a thick batter. Drop by tablespoonfuls into pot and cook another 20-30 minutes, until dumplings are cooked through.


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One of the poster's on Cooking for your Family had posted about free downloadable Taste of Home Magazines. I browsed them to see if I could find anything that caught my attention. My Mom had brought a bag of fresh cranberries, in hopes that I could use them up, before they went bad, so I was pleased when I found a recipe for Orange Cranberry Loaf. This turned out wonderfully. It has a slight sweetness that compliments the tart cranberries perfectly. The hint of caramel from the topping added a nice warmth to it all. We all enjoyed it and my Mom requested the recipe. I'm fixin' to make up another batch in the next few days, since I have more cranberries in the freezer.



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Kelsey's Favorite Cranberry Bread
Adapted from Taste of Home Magazine

2 C flour
3/4 C sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 C cold butter
1 egg
3/4 C orange juice
2 tsp orange peel
1 C chopped cranberries
1/2 C golden raisins

Streusel:

1/3 C brown sugar
3 Tbs flour
2 Tbs butter

Glaze:

1/2 C powdered sugar
2 tsp orange juice

In a large bowl combine first 5 ingredients; cut in butter until crumbly. In a small bowl whisk egg, orange juice and peel. Stir into ingredients just until moistened. Fold in cranberries and raisins. Pour into a greased 8x4 inch loaf pan.

Combine brown sugar and flour; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over batter. Bake at 350 for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

For glaze combine powdered sugar and orange juice until smooth. Drizzle over bread.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cheddar Baked Chicken

My Mom is visiting for a week or so, so when I planned dinner, I knew I didn't want to make just any ordinary meal. She lives a life of plain ole cooking, so when she comes to visit, I like to treat her to the flavors she loves but lives without. I searched the Cooking for your Family Recipe Box, for a chicken recipe, that would be easy, delicious and different. This recipe was right up my alley, since I love cheese. It came together quickly and tasted wonderful. I used bone in, skinless breasts of chicken. The chicken was juicy, the breading crunchy and salty. Everyone enjoyed the chicken and voiced that they would have loved if I had made more, LOL.


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Cheddar Baked Chicken
Amy via All Recipes
Yields: 6 servings

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup crispy rice cereal
3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut in half
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat a medium baking dish with 1/4 cup melted butter. In a bowl, mix the flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. In a separate bowl, beat together the egg and milk. In a third bowl, mix the cheese, bread crumbs, cereal. Dredge chicken pieces in the flour mixture, dip in the egg mixture, then press in the breadcrumb mixture to coat. Arrange in the prepared baking dish. Drizzle 2 tablespoons butter evenly over chicken. Bake 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until coating is golden brown and chicken juices run clear.

Cindy's notes: It didn't specify if the rice cereal should be crushed or not, so I crushed it and mixed it with the bread crumbs and cheese.

Friday, October 9, 2009

White Chili with Turkey and Applesauce Banana Loaf

I made these recipes yesterday. I had cooked a huge 17 lb turkey, a few weeks ago, so I have a ton of leftover meat in the freezer. I saw this chili recipe in the Family Fun Magazine, that I'm subscribed to. I have never had white chili, so I decided to try this one, since I had all ingredients on hand. I made some homemade turkey stock and used it for the chili as well. It came together quickly, which is always a bonus. The chili was slightly spicy, but not too spicy, since I only used 4oz of green chilies. The kids loved the creamy beans and sweet corn. It was a big hit at home, we cleaned the pot, LOL.


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White Chili with ChickenAdapted from Family Fun Magazine

3 Tbs olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
2(15 ounce) cans white kidney or navy beans
3-4 C diced cooked chicken
1 C frozen corn
1 (7 ounce) can green chilies
2 C chicken broth, plus more for thinning if desired
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbs butter, softened
1 1/2 Tb flour
pepper
3-4 Tbs half and half or light cream (optional)
Grated Cheddar or Monterrey Jack

Warm the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute, stirring often, for 7 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano and garlic and saute for another minute. Stir in the white beans, chicken, corn, green chilies, chicken broth and salt. Bring to a gentle simmer and allow it to continue simmering partially covered for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, blend the butter and the flour. Add the mixture to the chili and stir until it thickens, about a minute. Add more salt and pepper to taste. If you like, add more broth to thin the chili or 3-4 Tbs of half and half or light cream to thicken it. Serve topped with cheese if desired.

Cindy's notes: I used homemade turkey stock, cooked turkey and a 4 oz can of green chilies. I also subbed some curry powder for the cumin, since we don't have any.


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I saw the recipe for the banana loaf on the Recipe Review thread on Cooking for your Family. I liked how it was reviewed to be a very moist sweet bread. My banana bread always dries out, before we can finish it all ( unless it's the double chocolate kind, LOL). So I thought I'd give this one a try, since I had 4 bananas I was about to throw into the freezer. The review was right and it is very moist. You can't really tell that there is applesauce in it, but it does have a slight different taste to it. The kids love it, so I guess that's all that counts.



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Applesauce Banana Bread
Katie- adapted from Recipezaar

4 bananas, ripe
1 c sugar
1/2 c applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 T baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 c flour

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place bananas in large bowl and mash with electric mixer. Stir in sugar and let stand 15 minutes. Add applesauce, eggs and vanilla and beat well. Combine dry ingredients, add to banana mixture and mix well. Pour into greased 9x5 loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before removing from pan, cool on wire rack.

Cindy's notes: I used half a cup of brown sugar, for the white, since we were low on sugar.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Indian Tacos

Indian Tacos you ask? When most people here me talk about these, they think East Indian, when it's really Native American Indian. It starts out with Indian Scone or Fry Bread, depending on which part of the world you are from. I first had these at my mother in laws house. DH is Native American Mohawk and scone or fry bread is one of my favorite ethnic foods he makes. You can eat these in so many ways, with soup, PB&J, with fried ham or of course as Tacos. The scone are chewy and lend a new and interesting flavor to the taco fixins. I prefer these tacos to Mexican tacos. I'd have to say this is one of my favorite dinners we make in this house.

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Indian Scone or Fry Bread

3 c. flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. warm water
vegetable oil, for frying

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add warm water in small amounts and knead dough until soft but not sticky. Sometimes more flour or water will be needed. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick and cut with a large round cookie cutter. In a heavy skillet fry (deep fry) rounds in lard or other oil (just enough to cover the bottom) until bubbles appear on dough, turn over and fry on other side until golden.

INDIAN TACO is made by covering the fry bread with layers of fried taco meat, shredded lettuce, cheddar cheese, chopped onions and diced tomatoes. Cover the top with red or green chili sauce/salsa and sour cream, according to taste.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Beef with Broccoli

We had a cookout with family this past weekend, which left us with a pretty good amount of top sirloin steak. It was cooked medium rare, which I can not stomach, so I took the opportunity to use it up in a new dish, that would allow me to cook it fully. The kids are always fond of broccoli, so I figured I pair the 2, aiming for something similar to what you find at a Chinese restaurant. I browsed online to get the basic concept of how to recreate the meal and came up with a pretty tasty dish. It got rave reviews from the kids and Hubby. Mr.B came running into the kitchen exclaiming that whatever I was cooking sure smelled delicious. My only thought was " yeah, I hope you eat it too", LOL. Everyone cleaned their plates so I was happy. The beef was tender with a nice garlicky Asian flavor. I served it over plain Ramen noodles, but it would be equally good over plain rice.

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Beef with Broccoli

3 C top sirloin steak, thinly sliced
2 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 tsp ground ginger
3 C broccoli , cut into small spears
1 can mushroom soup
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs worcestershire sauce
1/4 C water
pepper

In a large fry pan heat oil. Add garlic and ginger; toss to coat. Add steak and cook for 3 minutes, until no longer pink. Add broccoli, toss to coat and cook 2 minutes. Meanwhile mix the mushroom soup with the water, soy sauce, worcestershire and some pepper, to taste. Add to the pan, bring to a boil and simmer until broccoli is tender crisp and the sauce has thickened slightly. Serve over hot plain Ramen Noodles or rice.