Chinese takeout is one of my family’s favorite dishes, and honestly one of mine too because I feel like I’m feeding them better than when we get fast food or pizza. However, take out for a family of four can run $30-$40 dollars on any given night, and higher if we get appetizers and soup, making it more of a splurge than a regular meal. Many of our favorite dishes include some form of stir fried beef, and I’d been looking for ways to recreate those dishes at home to take advantage of my local grocery store’s regular sales on top sirloin and New York strip. If I make the stir-fry myself, I can feed our whole family for $20 or less, and because a stir-fry is based on thinly sliced meat, it comes together very quickly. I can have dinner on the table in 25 minutes or less, and it only takes that long because the rice needs 20 minutes to cook after it comes to a boil. I also like being able to select the vegetables that go into the stir-fry because I can avoid the ones that my family absolutely doesn’t like and maybe even sneak in a new taste like edamame or water chestnut along the way.
In the end, this recipe is really a template for how to put together a quick and healthy take-out style meal. It’s ripe for variation. Swap the steak for chicken or pork, and try different frozen vegetable mixes. You can also substitute ¼ c. peanut butter for the hoisin and add a sprinkle or two of red curry powder for a more Indian-inspired dish. Toss in some chunk pineapple or mandarin oranges at the very end for a little bit of sweet, or even sprinkle the finished dish with sesame seeds for a bit of crunch. It’s also a great way to use up the last steak or two from the grill pack you bought last weekend. Or, if you’re really in a fridge clean out mood, combine the meats and use a chicken breast plus a boneless pork chop.
What are you favorite at home stir-fry combinations? Please share in the comments.
Recipe: Seven Minute Steak Stir-Fry
- Difficulty: Easy
- Serves: Four
- Prep Time: 2 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- 16-20 oz. steak (sirloin, NY strip, or just about any other steak that is on sale will do)
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- 1 package frozen stir-fry or Asian vegetable mix (look for ingredients like edamame, peppers, and water chestnuts)
- 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1-3 dashes of hot pepper sauce such as Tabasco
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- ¼ c. hoisin sauce
- 3-4 c. cooked rice or noodles
- Slice the steak across the grain into very thin slices. Season the sliced steak with salt and pepper.
- Cook the vegetable mix in the microwave according to package directions.
- While the vegetables are cooking, heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat until it just begins to smoke.
- Add all of the steak to the skillet at once and sear it for 3-4 minutes, or until almost completely cooked, keeping it moving in the pan to avoid burning.
- Add the soy sauce, hot pepper sauce, and sesame oil to the pan. Stir to combine.
- Add the vegetables and hoisin sauce to the meat in the skillet. Toss to combine.
- Serve immediately over hot rice or cooked noodles.
Tips, Tricks, and Tweaks
- The stir-fry comes together quickly. Start the rice or noodles first so they will be done and ready to go when the stir-fry is finished.
- This recipe doubles very easily so you can feed a larger family or have leftovers for lunches. The stir-fry and rice reheat in no time flat in the microwave.
- Toss the steak in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to make it easier to cut into thin slices. You can do this while you’re getting the rice or noodles ready. The meat won’t be frozen, just more firm and easier to slice thinly. This technique works for just about any type of meat.
- Thinly sliced meat cooks quickly so it really will be done in 3-4 minutes.
- If your family really likes soy sauce or you want to amp up the heat in this dish, add a bit more soy or hot pepper sauce than the recipe calls for.
- If the veggies don’t give off enough liquid to make a nice sauce, add a little water or stock to the pan along with the hoisin.
- If you’re feeling adventurous, add a couple of teaspoons of grated fresh ginger or minced garlic to the hot oil about 30 seconds before you start to sear the meat. Add the steak and follow the rest of the steps as written.
- For a healthier alternative to white rice, consider serving this recipe with brown rice. You might also try soba noodles instead of traditional egg noodles.
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