Over the past few months, I got into a terrible pattern of not planning ahead for weeknight dinners. Too often, I was starting to think about what's for dinner at 6 pm as I was leaving the office--which would usually result in a meal that was either disappointing, very late, or expensive (Thai take-out, I'm looking at you). It also meant going to the grocery store way too often. I decided I can do much better, and I've been trying to turn over a new menu-planning leaf. This means setting aside some time on Sundays to plan meals for the week, create a master shopping list, and brave the Sunday crowds at our local Whole Foods. It definitely takes some effort, but I think it is already paying off in better meals and reduced stress during the week. I'm about 2 weeks into this new regimen--we'll see if I can keep it up!
This new plan has allowed me to explore some new recipes, which has been fun. I'm still trying to keep it simple and relatively quick, though, and stir-frying is a great option for those concerns. Stir-fries are flexible, since you can use whatever vegetables and proteins you have lying around or look good at the supermarket, and they cook fast. I also love that if you add some steamed brown rice, you have a whole meal, ready to go. The key to this recipe, and stir-frying generally, is to prep everything in advance, since once you start cooking, everything will go very quickly.
Flank Steak and Brussels Sprouts Stir-Fry
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Serves 2-4, depending on appetite
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 pound brussels sprouts, halved if small, quartered if large
1/2 pound flank steak, thinly sliced against the grain
4 scallions, sliced (keep green tops separate from white and light green parts)
3 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated or chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced on a diagonal
1 jalapeño, sliced into rings (seeds and all)
Steamed brown rice for serving
Measure 1/4 cup water in a measuring cup. Add oyster sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, and cornstarch and whisk together. Set sauce aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the brussels sprouts and cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to brown, about 4 minutes. Cover the pan and cook until the sprouts are still crisp but cooked through, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer the sprouts to a plate or bowl and set aside.
Season the steak with salt. Increase the heat to high, add 1 tablespoon of the oil to the skillet, and turn on the exhaust fan over your stove to avoid any unpleasant smoke alarm interruptions. When the oil is just starting to smoke, add the steak in a single layer and cook until nicely browned, about 3 minutes, then flip to quickly cook the other side, about 30 seconds more. Add the steak to the reserved brussels sprouts.
Reduce the heat to medium, and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the same skillet. Add the scallion whites/light greens, garlic, and ginger and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute, adjusting the heat as needed to make sure the garlic doesn't burn. Add the mushrooms and cook until they are starting to soften, about 5 minutes, then add the carrots and jalapeño and cook about 2 minutes more, until the carrots are also slightly softened.
Return the brussels sprouts and steak to skillet and add the sauce. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 3 minutes. Serve with steamed rice and garnish with scallion greens.