Weeknight Shorts: Healthy Spice

Many people decide January is a good month to lose weight. This isn't always ideal, though. We may have built up some bad eating habits last month, cold and inclement weather keeps many of us from getting as much exercise as we'd like, and that same weather often has us reaching for comfort food during an otherwise drab time of the year. But what if you just decided to do something simple, like increase the amount of vegetables making an appearance on your plate:

This lovely bowl of stir-fry over noodles is loaded with a lot of different vegetables that bring fun flavors and textures to a simple, spicy meal. I sprinkled some black sesame seeds over the top of it all before I grabbed some chopsticks and dug in, but you could forgo them or sprinkle some green onions or even add more hot sauce to this dish. Tenderloin (venison or beef) is a very lean cut of meat that will have you feeling satisfied without loading up on a lot of fat and calories. And really, this recipe is about what's in the skillet and not the noodles, rice, or whatever you decide to serve it on or in. I mean, look at this beautiful pan:

I used a vegetable combination of red onion, garlic, daikon radish, savoy cabbage, and carrots. You can use what you have on hand or prefer. Have peas? Use 'em. Love bean sprouts? Use 'em. Craving peppers? Use 'em. You get the idea. You could even use a bottled sauce instead of the one outlined here, although they nearly always have a high calorie count. I choose this option to keep the bright colors of the vegetables center stage because that makes a meal even more fun. Happy stir-frying!

Spicy Venison-Vegetable Stir-Fry

  • 1 lb. thinly sliced venison tenderloin steaks (or beef tenderloin steaks)
  • 1 T. freshly grated ginger root
  • 1-2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • 1 T. sesame oil, divided
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 c. peeled, thinly sliced daikon radish
  • 2 c. thinly sliced savoy cabbage
  • 2 c. julienned carrot sticks
  • 1/4 c. rice wine vinegar
  • 2 T. honey
  • 1 T. sriracha or other Asian hot sauce (optional)
  • Hot cooked noodles or rice (or rice wrappers for tucking this mixture inside)

Place the sliced meat, ginger root, crushed red pepper, soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil in a large, resealable bag. This step can be completed up to 48 hours in advance, but please allow at least 8 hours for the meat to marinate in the refrigerator.

Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of the sesame oil in a large, nonstick skillet or wok. Add the meat and stir-fry until it is completely browned: about 7 minutes. Remove the meat to a plate and keep warm. In the meantime, add the vegetables (red onion through carrot sticks) and stir-fry until they are crisp-tender: about 7 minutes. Return the meat to the skillet or wok; add the rice wine vinegar, honey, and hot sauce (if desired). Toss with the meat and vegetables until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Serve hot over noodles or rice. You could also serve the stir-fry in rice wrappers or lettuce leaves.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 25 minutes

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