July 13, 2013

Chinese Takeout Takeover: Beef & Broccoli

After returning from a week vacation in Maine that was filled with binges on bags of Cape Cod potato chips, late night ice-cream sandwiches, giant lobster rolls dripping in butter, "taste testing" beer variety packs, and multiple rounds of BBQs, I returned determined to get back to healthy. Don't get me wrong, my vacation indulgences were exactly what I wanted, but the swollen feeling I noticed coming over me at about day 5 was not exactly what I wanted.

Wait, what? I can't eat a diet solely of fat, sugar, and carbs?

If only....

I threw back the last bag of chips on the return drive home, bought myself a McDonald's ice cream cone outside of Philly, and vowed to get back to healthy for the week ahead. Bye bye vacation, hello balanced diet.

I'm surprised I wasn't shaky from the withdrawal, but I started off my week focusing on protein and produce without sacrificing flavor or fun. That's how we fell in love with this beef and broccoli dinner we ate three times this week.

Thinly sliced soy-sauce marinated beef, tossed with loads of broccoli and peppers and combined with light and scrumptious tofu noodles was a trick to our tastebuds. It was a takeout takeover.

Ok, so we might have had a beer with it, and a bit of chocolate for dessert afterward, but with dinner this good it simply felt like we were still on vacation.

And that's exactly how every day should be.

Chinese Beef & Broccoli: serves 4
canola oil for the pan
1.5 lb Thinly sliced steak, marinated 30 min. in 2 T. soy sauce
1 green pepper, cut into 1" dice
1 lb. frozen broccoli, thawed
1 t. grated ginger
1 bag of tofu "linguini"*
sesame seeds for sprinkling, optional
1 cup broth
6 T. oyster sauce
6 T. red wine vinegar
1/2 t. garlic powder
2 t. sesame chili oil
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. cornstarch

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add enough oil to coat, and sear the beef strips in batches quickly, giving each piece enough room to sit and brown before turning over with tongs (this ensures the meat does not steam, but instead browns). Add oil between each batch. Remove beef strips immediately after they are browned on each side, as they will finish cooking through once added back into the stir fry. Cover and keep warm.

Add more oil to the pan and then sear the peppers. Meanwhile, whisk together the sauce ingredients. Clear a hole in the center of the pan then add more oil and the grated ginger. Bloom in the oil 30 seconds, then stir. Add the sauce, bring to a boil, reduce 5 minutes until thickened. Add the tofu noodles and the broccoli and heat through, then stir the meat back in.

Serve topped with sesame seeds.

* Tofu pasta is sold in the refrigerated section of Whole Foods stores.

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