We tried our first recipe from February’s cookbook this month … Szechuan Beef and Broccoli which I adapted based on what we already had, namely the GIANT bag of stirfry veggies that we buy at Costco and pretty much always keep on hand. The kids already know and love them (they are BIG fans of the baby corn, water chestnuts and carrots) and it’s an easier sell than just broccoli. Tabby is probably the only kid I know who doesn’t like the tree part of the broccoli, but rather the stem. Same with asparagus.
In some ways I’m kind of bummed that I selected this recipe to try. I wish I’d read through it a bit more. It uses bottled sauce and is really really close to what we already make for our weekly stirfry night recipe, just different sauce. But it is a good recipe and it’s a good lesson to me – read these recipes before picking them for the cookbook challenge.
Szechuan Beef with Veggies
adapted from The Biggest Loser Family Cookbook
- frozen veggies in as large a quantity as you like (we use about 2 cups per person minimum) – onions, broccoli spears, snow peas, baby corn, carrots (smaller pieces), water chestnuts all stirfry well and I’m sure fresh would be good too
- 4 oz steak per person, cut into thin strips or bite-sized chunks; we opt for leaner meats
- stirfry sauce of your choice for the kids or spice scaredy cats
- Sezchuan sauce for spice lovers
- a small amount of cooked rice to serve alongside
- 1 tsp olive oil or cooking spray
To make this SUPER quickly, I pre-cook the veggies somewhat. If they’re frozen, I microwave them until they’re about half defrosted. If they’re fresh, it’s less necessary, but you can still steam them in the microwave a bit. I pour off the excess water as well to speed it up. While the veggies are getting defrosted, spray a big skillet with cooking spray or use some olive oil. Heat over med-high heat. Once the veggies are done, throw them in the skillet and hear it sizzle. Keep them moving as they cook. It doesn’t take long.
When the veggies are cooked, set them aside and make sure your pan is nice and hot and add a little more oil/spray if needed. Place the steak in the pan in a single layer. Cook, stirring around a bit until all browned, about 2 minutes. Don’t over cook it or you will be rewarded with tough beef. Ick.
Return the veggies to the pan and warm everything a bit. If everyone likes the same amount of sauce, add your sauce and stir it up. This is easiest to do in the skillet, but if not, put everything into individual bowls and add the sauce there. Not too much sauce! You can always add more.