Food & Drink

Quick Fix for 2: Stir-fry beef dish gives even leftover rice a burst of flavor

Szechuan beef and rice can be a fast meal for 2.
Szechuan beef and rice can be a fast meal for 2. Linda Gassenheimer/TNS

Peppery, hot flavors mix with a sweet and sour sauce in this quick Szechuan stir-fried beef.

Any type of steak can be used for this recipe. Many markets sell beef already cut into stir-fry pieces. This will save you a few minutes in the kitchen. Another time-saver: The rice is stir-fried in the same wok as the beef.

The wok or skillet should be very hot, otherwise the ingredients will steam and not become crisp.

After cooking the beef, don’t rinse the wok; the rice will pick up the beef sauce flavor as it cooks.

Email Linda Gassenheimer:

Szechuan Beef and Rice for 2

1 package microwaveable brown rice to make 1 1/2 cups cooked rice

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 tablespoon low-salt soy sauce

2 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/4 cup fat-free, low-salt, chicken broth

1 teaspoon cornstarch

Vegetable oil spray

1/2 pound skirt steak (or strip, flank or tenderloin)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 cup thinly sliced carrot

1/2 cup thinly sliced celery

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup frozen peas

4 sliced green onions

Cook rice according to package instructions. Measure 1 1/2 cups and set aside. (Save any leftover rice for another meal.)

Mix red pepper, soy sauce, sugar, tomato paste, chicken broth and cornstarch together and set aside. Remove visible fat from meat and cut into very thin strips, about 2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide.

Spray wok or skillet with vegetable oil spray and heat. When smoking hot, add beef, ginger, carrots and celery. Stir fry 2 minutes and move to side of pan. Pour sauce into center of pan. Stir the beef and vegetables into the sauce and toss over heat for 1 minute. Remove meat and sauce to a plate. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add sesame oil to wok. When oil is hot, add rice and frozen peas. Toss 1 minute. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve rice with meat and sauce spooned on top. Sprinkle with green onions.

Per serving: 482 calories (30 percent from fat), 16.3 g fat (4.5 g saturated, 7.3 g monounsaturated), 72 mg cholesterol, 32.6 g protein, 53.4 g carbohydrates, 7.6 g fiber, 413 mg sodium.

Yield: 2 servings.