Whenever I go to any sort of Asian restaurant, I am always dying to order orange chicken. I never actually do, choosing instead something with vegetables and without the fried stuff and the gloppy, wonderful sauce that I could eat by the bucketful. But that orange chicken is always in the back of my mind.
This stir-fry is a compromise between my wants and my needs. See all of those carrots? A need. Carrots are really good for you. The baby bok choy adds crunch, plus the feeling of virtue that comes from eating something green. The beef? Protein, of course.
But it’s all enveloped in this sweet, salty, deliciously orange-y stir-fry sauce that’s a definite want. If you don’t love the idea of orange and beef, feel free to use chicken instead, but the orange and ginger play perfectly with the sweetness of the carrots. Plus, I mean, aren’t you sick of poultry by now? You can, if you like, replace the beef with a crown of broccoli if you need even more vegetables.
Best of all, this reheats beautifully, making it the perfect packable lunch for this week. Enjoy!
Orange-Ginger Beef Stir-fry
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 30 mins
A delicious 30-minute orange-ginger stirfry with tons of veggies and a touch of sweetness. Gluten-free, and can be made vegetarian by replacing the beef with broccoli.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 pound top round or ribeye, cut into thin slices
- 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
- 2 medium carrots, spiralized (you can also just use a normal peeler to peel thin noodle-like strips, or a julienne peeler)
- 1 bunch baby bok choy, thinly sliced
- juice and zest of one orange
- 2 Tbsp honey (less, if you like)
- 3 Tbsp gluten-free tamari
- 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
- white rice, for serving
- Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add meat strips, and cook until browned on all sides. Remove to plate and set aside.
- Add onion to the pan, still over medium heat. Deglaze the pan with the rice vinegar and continue cooking onions until soft, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the orange juice, orange zest, honey, tamari and ginger in a small bowl. Set aside.
- When onions are soft, add carrots and bok choy to the pan and cook, stirring, until the green parts of the bok choy are soft. Add your stir-fry sauce and continue to sautee until the carrots are starting to become more tender. Add beef and stir until the beef is heated through.
- Remove from heat and serve over white rice (or the grain of your choice). Store in the refrigerator for up to two days.
There’s not much to say about this recipe except that it’s basically an excuse to buy an entire pound of shiitake mushrooms and eat them all in one delicious meal.
I mean, sure, there’s a rich tomato-based sauce. There’s a complex blend of flavors. There’s a long, slow simmering time that imitates braising, but with stew meat, cutting the time by two-thirds. And, best of all, you can serve it over everything from mashed parsnips to crusty sourdough bread or even thick homemade noodles (though the stew itself is gluten-free).
But really, all I can say is that you should make this. Make it this weekend, when you won’t be rushed and tempted to skimp on the simmering time and you can enjoy the delicious smells wafting all through your home.
Hint: close your closet/bedroom door unless you want to go to work on Monday smelling like beef—though your coworkers might oddly gravitate to you if you forget.
Beef Stew with Mushrooms
- 2 pounds of chuck stew meat (I always use Teton Waters)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 1 can tomato paste
- 2 ½ cups red wine
- 2 ½ cups beef or bone broth
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
- Preheat oven to 250. Heat olive oil in a heavy oven-proof pan over medium-high heat. Brown meat on all sides, then remove meat from the pan with a slotted spoon. Lower heat to medium and sautee the onions until translucent and soft, about six minutes.
- Add tomato paste and wine to the pan, then broth, garlic, and beef. Stir to combine. Remove from stove, and place in oven. Allow to simmer away in there for about an hour and forty minutes.
- Remove pan from oven and place back on the stove. Remove beef again with a slotted spoon. Turn heat to medium high and bring sauce to a boil. Allow to reduce slightly, then add mushrooms and fresh thyme. Simmer another 15 minutes.
- Return beef to pan, then serve over whatever starch you like. This can be made a day ahead and just reheated.
(Edited for photos Feb. 2, 2014. You’ll note I made the broth a little differently this time — I used 1 pound of oxtails, 1 pound of beef bones and leftover red onion and white onion I had in the fridge. I also simmered it for a total of 18 hours. By the time I was done, there wasn’t much left of the bones.)
Bone broth is like the Zen koan of food. Clear, but full of flavor; goes down like water, but is incredibly nourishing; takes a long time, but is incredibly easy.
I use this in every recipe that calls for stock, now that I have found the recipe in the Nom Nom Paleo Cookbook. I was looking for an easy weekend cooking project, and after an awful experience with store-bought broth that ruined an entire gumbo, I knew I needed to begin making my own stock.
Short ribs were one of those cuts I was never sure how to deal with. As a former vegetarian, sometimes I have difficulty imagining how to prepare anything that comes from a cow and isn’t steak. It’s a weird gap in my knowledge; give me a whole chicken, and I’ll whack the backbone out of it in no time flat. Give me a boneless leg of lamb and I’ll have it smothered in mint persillade and roasting within the hour.
Now that I have this recipe, though, I am no longer confused. Clearly, the destiny of all short ribs is to be braised in a mixture of cider, stock and balsamic vinegar and served with horseradish-laced parsnips. Braising makes the meat so tender, it falls off the bone if you even breathe on it wrong. The horseradish keeps the creamy parsnips and deep, dark braising liquid from becoming too heavy, while complementing the flavors of the cider perfectly.
I have mentioned this dish before — it’s the perfect companion to my tomato salad, posted here.
But it’s also the perfect way to use just one steak. And at the end of the month, when maybe buying $25 worth of steak for two people is not so appealing, it’s a good way to stretch a good cut of meat into a satisfying dinner.
The first time I made this was for Valentine’s Day, our first Valentine’s Day living at the fire station. It was also our second together, and instead of trying to go out for a nice dinner in a super-crowded restaurant on a weekday, I decided to make an intimate romantic dinner. I paired this with the tomato salad, some mashed parsnips and a beautiful salad — and it disappeared about 10 minutes after I put the plate in front of my boyfriend.
Since then, I’ve made it more often. It’s easy enough for a weeknight dinner; just follow the instructions, slice the steak thinly, then place over spring mix and drizzle with the marinade. Served with microwaved acorn squash, it makes the perfect fall meal.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus some for oiling
- 1⁄2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Kosher salt or 1⁄2 teaspoon table salt, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 New York strip steak (approximately 12 ounces)
- Heat a grill pan, or cast-iron or heavy nonstick frying pan.
- In a small dish that can take the steak snugly later, combine the extra-virgin olive oil, red pepper flakes, dried oregano, salt and red wine vinegar.
- Oil the steak lightly and put it in the hot pan and cook for 2 minutes on each side, then remove it to the dish of spicy marinade and sit the cooked steak for 2 minutes a side in the dish. Your steak will be rare, but that’s the way it’s meant to be.
- Remove the steeped steak to a board, ready for slicing. Cut the steak into thin slices on the diagonal and arrange over spring mix on 2 dinner plates.
Meatloaf is one of those foods I thought only moms could make. My mother somehow makes the most delicious meatloaf in the entire world, juicy and flavorful without being overpowering. Currently, writing this post, I can remember exactly how it tasted — a bite of the meatloaf, swirled in a mashed potato “volcano” with a slosh of mushroom gravy.
Unfortunately, the secret to my mother’s meatloaf is a packet of Lipton’s onion soup mix. So when we got a craving over the weekend, I went on the hunt for the perfect meatloaf recipe.
This is not the perfect recipe, but it’s good. It reminds me of restaurant meatloaf, or maybe something my grandmother would make. My mom’s meatloaf is pretty uniform, with every bite tasting the same as the one before — which I love. But this meatloaf has more character, more mystery and variation, with pieces of onion and red pepper all embedded in the meat with salt, pepper, garlic powder and a dash of Worcestershire sauce.
- 2 medium sweet onion, chopped finely
- 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped finely (optional, but I like the kick)
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp homemade ketchup or tomato paste
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 large egg
- 2 lbs ground beef, bison, venison or turkey
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Saute onions, red pepper and all spices with olive oil over medium heat until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in tomato paste, stock and Worchestershire sauce.
- In a large bowl, crack eggs over your beef and fold in the cooled onion mix.
- Pat the meat mixture into a 9×5 loaf pan. Pour ketchup over the top and bake for 90 minutes, or until internal temperature measures 160 degrees F.
Adapted from Paleo Comfort Foods
One of the things I love about the paleo lifestyle is its full-fledged embracing of grass-fed red meat. While I still have enough vegetarian in me to avoid pork (pigs are smart, guys), I have enjoyed eating much more beef than I previously had.
When I have time to cook something elaborate, I like to cook a recipe that makes a lot and will reheat well. That means something my boyfriend will like enough to eat for a few meals, and something that I can also eat cold for lunch.
Enter Dave Wendel‘s Flank Steak Roulade. Man, did I feel healthy and full of iron after eating this. Yes, it takes some time to prepare, but it is awesome and well worth it. Dave seems to have developed this recipe for Nom Nom Paleo, one of my favorite blogs. If you click “Flank Steak Roulade” above, you can find the original post.