How do you handle weekday meals? I place a high value on healthful, home cooked weekday lunches and dinners. However, the reality is that there is only so much time in the evenings, and I don’t want to spend all of it in the kitchen. The occasional Taco Bell meal isn’t going to kill me, but it’s not what I’m going for on a regular basis.
Fortunately, I seldom get tired of eating the same thing for several meals in a row, provided that it was something worth eating in the first place. Many Sundays, Michael and I cook up a big afternoon meal. Ideally, that roast chicken or lasagna, or what have you, will produce enough leftovers to stock our respective refrigerators with containers of leftovers. Things certainly do crop up occasionally to prevent the Sunday food-o-rama though, like a sudden urge to go out for udon instead of cooking…
At whatever point in the week it is time to cook again, stir-fry is my salvation as a solo diner. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s versatile, and it’s mostly vegetables. Add a bit of protein, some form of cooked grain on the side, and hey presto—in less than 30 minutes, a healthful meal is served. I like to make a big wok-full–enough to stash three or four future meals safely away in the fridge, stacked like gold bricks at Fort Knox.
This stir-fry is a riff on a recent recipe from Bon Appetit Magazine. When I use meat, I am careful to buy grass-fed, humanely raised products, and let’s be realistic—that’s not cheap meat. So for that reason, and also just for the sake of good nutrition, I tend to use it in small amounts. In the case of this stir-fry, a couple of ounces of steak, along with twice as much tofu, provide all of the authentic stir-fried beef flavor one could want.
Healthful, economical, convenient, yes. But it also smells heavenly–if heaven is a spicy, Szechuan sort of place; and it tastes even better. And the interplay of chewy beef, yielding tofu, and almost crunchy zucchini make for a textural delight in the mouth.
This recipe will serve four nicely for dinner, or one for dinner, lunch, dinner, and lunch.
Beef & Tofu Stir-Fry
- 3 oz steak, cut into 2-inch-long, 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 6 oz extra firm tofu, cubed
- 1 tsp grapeseed oil
- 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
- 2 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
- 12 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, thickly sliced
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced into thick half-rounds
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 6 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 3 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce
Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ginger and mushrooms; stir-fry until mushrooms are tender, about 3 minutes. Add beef to skillet; stir-fry until beef browns but is still pink in center, about 1 minute. Add zucchini and onions; stir-fry 1 minute. Stir in tofu, hoisin and chili-garlic sauce; sauté until peas are crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes.
Serve with rice or another cooked grain.