This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of Alexia
Alright, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. It’s something I don’t go blabbering to just anyone, either. So I hope you walk away from this with your newly found cosmic wisdom and have a better appreciation for the finer things in life….
The truth is…. I’m the biggest cheater of a food blogger you’ll ever meet. What do I mean? I mean, you’d probably expect me to do things like make mashed potatoes from scratch every time we have them. Or make a homemade vinaigrette for an impromptu salad before dinner. Or make pasta dough, roll it out, cut it, dry it, and cook it for family spaghetti nights.
Seriously, if you think I do any of those things, you’re straight kookie-dukes and haven’t been paying attention to anything I say! Yes, mashed potatoes are the easiest thing to whip up. And if you have the ingredients, a homemade vinaigrette is one of the simplest pleasures. And pasta! Homemade pasta is… well, it’s always a pain in the rear and you’d probably never catch me ever saying I made homemade pasta for anything. Like, my mom could ask me for her birthday (which is also Valentine’s Day, mind you) to make her homemade pasta for dinner and it would be hard for me to not laugh in her face.
Why? Why, if things are simple (except pasta), why not take the time to make dinner a little extra special for my family? Here’s the reason, flat out, cut n’ dry, nice and clear:
I’m a family man, and with that comes a packed daily schedule that revolves around the kids. Being a stay-at-home dad, I have a lot more responsibilities than you might think. On top of keeping the kids from going all Tom and Jerry on each other, and keeping the house semi-presentable, making sure dinner is ready is one of the bigger tasks of my day. And I’d be lying if I told you it wasn’t stressful sometimes. Maybe it’s my experience in the kitchen and always having that strict ticket time I had to adhere to, I dunno. But knowing the clock is ticking and the wife gets off work at a certain time, I can’t help but feel the pressure of making sure her night starts off right.
Queue Alexia Premium Side dishes.
When I’m cooking, a lot of things are being juggled around. It makes dinner worlds easier if I had something that was no fuss, and quick to make. Super ultra bonus points if I can just empty a bag into a dish to cook it. And that’s exactly what I got with Alexia’s sides! Usually, if I’m making a frozen side, I feel like I have to doll it up with extra spices and whatnot so it doesn’t feel so meh. But these seriously didn’t need anything! Matter of fact, it’s kind of weird referring to them as a frozen side. These are complete side dishes, where in less than 10 minutes for each bag, I was able to plate two awesome tasting premium vegetables. They not only showed me how great they were as starch alternatives, that I don’t need to bother with regular mashed potatoes or french fries anymore. They also gave me more time to focus on the main event of dinner.
Speaking of the main event! You can’t go wrong with a grilled steak. Or, however you choose to cook it. Personally, it’s been hard to not grill anything since we moved back to Florida. Heck, I can’t remember the last time I used the oven or stove to prepare a protein. I can’t help it, it’s too nice out to not grill.
Anyway, I made this sauce a few weeks ago because I had some extra mushrooms in the fridge. I used to work in a restaurant where we had a peppercorn sauce for the filet so it all sounded so right for this post. The sauce is insanely simple and can be easily prepared and finished by the time the sides are done cooking. There are a ton more things you can add to the sauce to make it have more depth, but we’re aiming for simple, quick, and delicious. And that’s what the mushroom peppercorn sauce will give you.
Mushroom Peppercorn Cream Sauce
A quick and easy cream sauce that will take your grilled steak from a good meal to a memorable dinner. Earthy mushrooms, whole peppercorns, and a creamy sauce will be your steak's new BFF.
- 1 each, per person - Your Favorite Cut, grilled
- to taste - Sea Salt and fresh pepper
Mushroom Peppercorn Cream Sauce
- 1.5 tablespoons - Olive Oil
- 1 carton - Mushrooms, sliced
- 1 1/4 cups - Milk
- 1 teaspoon - Cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons - Peppercorns, whole
- 1 teaspoon - Garlic, chopped
- to taste - Salt and Ground Pepper
Alexia Premium Sides
- 1 bag - White Cheddar Riced Cauliflower
- 1 bag - Butternut Squash Risotto
Sauté the mushrooms in the olive oil for about 5 - 6 minutes, until they're browned and your kitchen smells amazingly earthy and rustic.
Put the corn starch in the milk and stir until it's dissolved. Then add the milk to the mushrooms.
Add the peppercorns, garlic, some salt, and ground pepper to the sauce. Let it cook for about 7 - 8 minutes, while stirring regularly.
Taste and make sure to add salt and pepper if needed. Spoon over prepared steak and enjoy!
Follow the directions on the bags.
Phew! It's a lot to take in, I know!
- As far as the steak goes, we are HUGE fans of Flank. Grilled right, I am extremely partial to it. Though, this cut in particular that I used was a N.Y. Strip.
- And no, you don't need to go all crazy. Sea salt, and pepper, and olive oil to coat is all you really need for a steak. If you're feeling frisky, throw some rosemary or thyme on there, but that's all.
- I used Crimini Mushrooms. I feel like the earthy flavor is more rich than Buttons. But if you're partial to Buttons or Shiitake then go for it.
- Technically, the sauce should be made with cream. It'll be a lot.. uhh... creamier. But we don't usually buy cream in this house and I wanted to try and keep the recipe simple, without things someone wouldn't normally buy. Almost everyone should have milk in their fridge and cornstarch in their pantry.
- Cornstarch! I know, I told you I'm a cheater! If you'd rather make a roux, go for it.
- Equal parts butter and flour, about 1 1/2 tablespoons each. Add it to the mushrooms after they've cooked for 5 minutes. Incorporate the milk and make sure the roux is completely dissolved.
- If you decide to go the cream route, don't add any roux or cornstarch. Instead, just simply reduce the cream until it thickens.
- Add as many peppercorns as you feel you can handle. They're not as intense as you would expect when you bite into them.
- For the Alexia Sides, I decided to microwave them to see how easy they could really be. And they came out amazingly good. If you want to go the stovetop route, that's on you. But microwaving and following the directions on the bags give you a great tasting side!
Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. This is a sponsored post, so sure these things are “great”. But seriously, I’m going to be buying these on the regular now. The wife and I were both thoroughly impressed with how it all came out.
We’re not the type to have butternut squash risotto or riced cauliflower as sides for dinner. But Alexia made it so incredibly easy to have such things on a regular basis. On top of the ease of preparing, the flavors were great as well. Fresh tasting, creamy, and I just wanted more when I was done. They use organic dairy ingredients (as you can see in the pictures above of the chunks of cream out of the bag), it’s Non-GMO Project verified, and it’s all gluten-free! Like, I’ll go as far as saying these are going to be my default sides from now on!
And the sauce should speak for itself. It takes roughly 15 minutes start to finish, so you have no excuse. If you’ve never had such a sauce touch your steak, then please, do yourself a favor and step outside your comfort zone, Sally. I’m a sucker for caramelized onions on my steak, but this is a nice change of pace and makes dinner feel a lot more fancy than it should. And like I said before, the peppercorns are not as intense as you might think. The slight bite you get from a peppercorn is perfect with the cream, so don’t be afraid, because trust me, I am ultra sensitive to big chunks of pepper and I should be terrified of this sauce. But it’s good!
Here’s to hoping you can give all of this a try! I’d love to hear about it if you do. Let me know what you think!