Does your family eat a lot of takeout? There are certainly healthy takeout options available, but it’s not always faster than cooking at home and it’s certainly more expensive.
In my family, we rarely order takeout on weeknights. But believe me, it’s definitely not because I’m so very organized that I never have “oh my gosh what in the world are we going to eat?” nights (although I’m getting a lot better at it!) It’s because even when those nights inevitably occur, takeout still seems like a big ordeal. First we would have to pick a place to order from, then decide what we want, then wait 45 minutes for it to be ready and then of course there’s the expense of it.
I’m much more likely to slap together some grilled cheese or quesadillas and call it dinner, even though these meals are usually sorely missing in the all-important vegetable group.
But my husband really loves Chinese food and recently lamented how we never have it these days. So I set about figuring out how to make an Asian style meal that I could keep on hand in the freezer and whip together on a busy weeknight. Beef and broccoli is MY favorite Chinese dish, so naturally I’ve modeled this dinner after what I would like to order for takeout.
This isn’t really a stir-fry, of course, because it’s mostly cooked in a slow cooker. Personally, I love to avoid the stovetop juggling act on weeknights and it still tastes like a stir-fry to me, so I’m happy with the slow cooker version.
You’ll cook the beef and sauce separately from the broccoli because broccoli turns to mush in a slow cooker. Once you’ve made the beef mixture, just pull some frozen broccoli and cooked rice from the freezer and there’s your dinner.
This recipe makes enough beef for six adult servings so if you’re cooking for two adults, divide the cooked beef into three individual freezer containers. The beef portions are fairly generous, so there should be enough to spare if you’re also feeding a toddler or two. If you’re cooking for two adults and some ravenous kids, try splitting the cooked beef into two dinner portions instead.
Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli “Stir-Fry”
- 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
- 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 3 tbsp sriracha sauce
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 2 lb beef strips
- 1 large onion (optional)
For two adult portions serve 1/3 of the beef mixture with:
- 10 oz. frozen broccoli or vegetable of choice about two cups
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- Red chili pepper flakes optional
Thoroughly combine beef broth, 1 cup of water, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, sriracha and cornstarch. (I shake it together in a jar, you could also whisk it together or use a blender).
Add beef, sauce to slow cooker, stir to combine. Top with onion slices, if using. Cook on high for three hours or low for six hours.
Allow beef mixture to cool, then portion into two or three freezer-safe containers.
When you are ready to serve the meal: Steam the frozen broccoli and re-heat the beef and sauce mixture. Serve with brown rice and top with red chili pepper flakes if desired.