Friday, December 13, 2013

Easy Asian Beef

Christmas is in less than two weeks. Holy cow, I am so not ready. If I am going to get everything purchased/wrapped/baked/shipped on time, I need some crazy easy meals. That means it's time for Easy Asian Beef.

This simple but delicious dinner comes together in twenty minutes. Seriously. And it reheats really well if you happen to have any leftovers, which is unlikely. I was counting on Easy Asian Beef for lunch the next day when I made this such luck. Every last morsel was devoured at dinner, and we all sat looking longingly at the empty pan. Maybe the moral of the story is to double the recipe.

This is a simple recipe, so it helps to use ingredients that really pack a punch. Since I don't always keep fresh ginger on hand, I often substitute powdered or candied ginger in recipes that call for fresh. In this case, though, I think it's worth a trip to the store for fresh ginger. It really adds pizzazz. If you have leftover fresh ginger, you can store it in the freezer so you're ready next time it's called for. The dark brown sugar is a bit richer and more complex than typical light brown sugar. And sesame oil adds a nutty depth to the dish that makes it complete.

Now you know one of my favorite easy meals. What do you make to save time? These presents aren't going to wrap themselves!

Easy Asian Beef
Serves 4
Adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Pinch crushed red pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Hot cooked rice for serving*

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add ground beef and cook, breaking up the beef into bite-sized pieces with a spatula, until beef is browned and cook through, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in dark brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and crushed red pepper. Allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes until the sauce is thickened and all the beef is evenly coated. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve over rice.

*You could totally serve Easy Asian Beef in lettuce cups instead of rice. That would make a lovely appetizer, too.

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