Late yesterday afternoon.

Kids are home from school.

Homework is being avoided attempted.

Younger kids are playing a wild game of chase through the kitchen and living room.

The phone keeps ringing.

The typical controlled chaos that is my life. Thirty minutes before our normal dinner hour I realize that, once again, I have failed to plan out dinner. Ack! Why do I do this? Throughout the day the thought flashed in my mind that at some point I would have to place dinner on the table for my family and I would simply remind myself that I had a package of steaks in the refrigerator. Beyond that I had no plans.

Before I hit full panic mode, I grabbed my go-to cookbook The Healthy Beef Cookbook. I thumbed through the pages looking for anything that could be made quickly and involved steak. Szechuan Beef Stir-Fry caught my eye because of this one line: Total preparation and cooking time: 15 minutes. Score!

I started the water boiling for rice, grabbed a bag of stir-fry vegetables and started slicing the steaks. Between hollering out spelling words for my older boys to practice and holding my daughter’s injured stuffed teddy bear, I had dinner ready and on the table in 15 minutes!

The recipe calls for shoulder center steaks (aka: Ranch Steaks). The steaks I had sitting in my refrigerator were sirloin tip steaks. Did I let that stop me? No way! Sirloin tip steaks are a great cut to use for stir-fry (tri-tip or strip steaks also work well) and this recipe was no exception. It was delicious!


Szechuan Beef Stir-Fry
Total preparation and cooking time: 15 minutes
Makes 4 servings.
1 pkg. (10 oz) fresh vegetable stir-fry blend
3 T. water
2 beef shoulder center steaks (Ranch Steaks), cut 3/4 inch thick (about 8 ounces each)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 C. prepared sesame-ginger stir-fry sauce
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 C. hot cooked white or brown rice, prepared without butter or salt
1/4 C. dry-roasted peanuts
1.   Combine vegetables and water in large nonstick skillet; cover and cook over medium-high heat 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove and drain vegetables. Set aside.
2.   Meanwhile, cut beef steaks into 1/4-inch-thick strips.
3.   Heat same skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add half of the beef and half of the garlic; stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes or until outside surface of beef is no longer pink. Remove from skillet; keep warm. Repeat with remaining beef and garlic.
4.   Return beef and vegetables to skillet. Add stir-fry sauce and red pepper; cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through. Serve over rice. Sprinkle with peanuts.