Flexible recipes to rotate through your weekly menu plan keep mealtime flavorful and fun. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

This meal in a bowl is cooked up frequently at the cove. I pull out my trusty cast iron skillet and cook up beef, chicken, pork, tofu or eggs with my grains. I particularly like the stir-fry steak or chicken sold in most supermarkets. It’s easy enough, however, to slice up your own. Just be careful with that sharp knife!

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at [email protected]

Next I make the must-have sauce and use whatever vegetables are in season then serve my stir-fried goodies with the grain of the week. Barley, farro, couscous, white or brown rice and quinoa are all fair game.

Pickled vegetables are a yummy addition you can make yourself and have on hand at all times to punch up any entrée, salad or slide into a sandwich. These carrot ribbons are tasty and easy, but you might also want to try cauliflowerettes or shredded cabbage.

For dessert, these fruity crumble bars are delightfully versatile and will get you through many a lunchbox tuck-in, a quickie potluck offering or a “just-because” snacking frenzy. If you don’t have a stand electric mixer, simply use your hands to work the butter into the dry ingredients. For the filling, you can use other autumnal fruits, berries or stone fruits.

Try substituting the fruit and sugar with dollops of canned pie filling, fruit preserves, lemon curd or even a combination of peanut butter and jelly with crushed peanuts on top!

The rule of thumb is to bake the bottom crust then spoon on the filling, top with the remaining crumbly dough and nuts, then bake until golden and gooey.

For the topping, experiment with a variety of nuts or even the trail mix blends with dried fruit and chocolate pieces.

You can halve the recipe and use a pie plate or an 8-inch square pan, but I’d go for a double batch baked in a large rimmed baking sheet because they freeze well. You’ll never get tired of designing your own meal bowls and crumble bars!

Meal Bowl with Condiments

1 pound beef steak, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
Juice of 2 limes
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4-1/2 teaspoon. cayenne pepper
1 pound broccoli, broken into florets
2-3 cups cooked white rice
2 tablespoons sesame seeds for garnish

For the marinade, combine soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, lime juice, lemon zest and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.

Pour only half the marinade over the beef slices in a separate dish, reserving the remainder. Marinate for at least 1 hour.

When ready to cook, heat canola oil in a large heavy skillet over high heat. Add broccoli in one layer and sear on both sides until browned. Remove and place in a bowl and set aside.

Place steak and the marinade it was in into the pan, cooking and stirring constantly for 2 minutes or until cooked through. Turn off the heat and pour in the reserved marinade. Add the broccoli back into the pan and stir to coat.

Divide rice between four bowls and top with steak, broccoli and sauce. Garnish with pickled carrot ribbons and sesame seeds. Yield: 4 servings

Pickled Carrot Ribbons

1 1/2 cups rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground coriander
6 medium-sized carrots

Combine all ingredients except carrots in a quart mason jar. Make carrot ribbons by shaving the length of each carrot with a vegetable peeler. Place the ribbons into the jar and shake to combine. Chill for at least one hour. The carrots will keep for several weeks. Yield: 4-6 servings

Designer Crumble Bars

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups flour
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoons salt
2 large firm apples, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour with oats, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Add butter using the electric mixer paddle attachment on medium low, forming crumbs. Measure and reserve 1 cup crumbs. Pat the remainder into the baking pan to form the bottom crust. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

In a large bowl, toss apple slices with lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon. Spread apples evenly over crust in baking pan and sprinkle with almonds and bits of reserved crumble. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until apples are tender and juices are bubbling. Allow to cool before slicing into squares. Yield: 12 bars

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