Black Pepper Beef over Fresh Tomatoes & Garlic Watercress

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I realized last week that I was spending way too much on everything, including groceries. This week I decided to see what I could cook w/out doing anymore grocery shopping. So far I’ve made 2 different meals already this week. Guess I forgot how much stuff i had in the freezer! Welcome to my recessionista style meal!


Things found in freezer/fridge/pantry AKA, the ingredients:

  • 2 frozen petite sirloin steaks
  • 1 beefsteak tomato
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • loads of Japanese rice
  • roasted unsalted peanuts
  • some soy sauce
  • sugar
  • black pepper
  • minced garlic
  • 1/2  a gigantic vidalia onion
  • 1 can of coke
  • Basil leaves from my basil plant!


(Loving the basil plant, btw. Great use of $6. I’ve had the plant for about 2 weeks now and am constantly picking off leaves to add the fresh basil punch to everything. So far, I have not killed it. Amazing!)

1. Thaw out the beef – this is best done in cold water or during the day in the fridge. If your steak isn’t thawed out the whole way, that’s actually good as it makes it easier to cut thin slices.

2. Slice steaks across the grain in strips, as thin as you can get them – this aids in the quick cooking and tenderness of the beef

3. Marinate meat – Place slices in a bowl, add enough soy sauce to cover the meat, 2 TB sugar, generous dashes of black pepper and stir to distribute. Then just cover the meat with some coke (about 1/3 of the can). The coke will help tenderize the meat. Let this marinate as you prepare the rest of the food.

4. Slide the tomatoes in rounds about 1/8 in thick, wash the watercress and drain.

5. Cook the onions – Slice 1/2 of the half onion (should have about 1 cup of onion when done, it was a GIGANTIC onion). heat up about 1 TB olive oil in a skillet. Add onions and a dash of salt. Reduce heat to med-low and cook onions, stirring frequently to keep from burning. Cook til translucent and just brown on the edges, about 10 min, then remove to a plate. This process allows the natural sugars of the onion to caramelize a bit.

6. Cook the meat – In the same skillet, add another TB olive oil and heat up to med-high. Add the meat with no marinade and quickly stir fry. Drain out juices as needed, the dryer the better to allow the meat to sear. Cook about 3 min stirring constantly. Add back the onions for a quick stir, then remove everything and set aside.

7. Cook the watercress – In same skillet, add a dash of olive oil and 1 TB minced garlic. Stir and cook quickly bout 30 secs, then add the water cress.  Dash about 1/2 TB soy sauce into the pan and stir quickly. Cover the pan with a lid to allow the watercress to steam cook about 1-2 min. Remove from heat and place watercress onto serving plate.

8. Quickly add the meat/onion mixture back into the hot skillet to reheat.

9. Place sliced tomatoes on top of watercress in 1 layer.

10. Dump the meat/onion mixture on top of the bed of watercress & tomatoes. This slightly cooks the tomatoes and covers them in the meaty flavors.

11. Chiffonade some basil and coarsely chop the peanuts and top off the dish. Voila, there you have it!


Serve this dish with some sticky white rice for a healthy, delicious meal with no shopping required! If you dont have watercress, you could also use spinach, baby bok choy, or any other leafy green.  Another option my mom often made was to just make a salad with romaine or red leaf lettuce, add tomatoes, pour hot meat on top. Makes for a very flavorful warm dressing’ed salad.


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