Weeknight Shorts: Holiday Quick

December often becomes a blur of lights, holiday music, the faint aroma of peppermint, and more than a little festive exhaustion. Don't get me wrong. It's one of my favorite times of the year, but things get really busy. So I love it when dinner is so easy, it nearly makes itself and I don't have to look at a boring plate:

Here's where one of my favorite ground beef recipes comes in. Instead of using sliced meat, this Korean-inspired dish combines lean ground beef and broccoli with crushed red pepper, jalapeño pepper, and ginger for heat, along with soy sauce and brown sugar to produce one of my favorite quick Asian stir-fry sauces. Spoon it all over hot rice and dinner is served. And when you can get all of that on your plate in under 20 minutes, that's something to smile about.

I usually just have this dish on its own with whatever beverage catches my fancy. That said, a quick Asian slaw, egg rolls, or even dumplings would be lovely when paired with this flavor-rich dish. If you happen to have fresh melon or pineapple on hand, they would also be a fun way to cut the heat in this dish and pair well with its inherent sweetness. Me? I might grab a juicy slice of melon as a healthy dessert and keep going with the holiday rush!

Korean Beef and Broccoli

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, sliced into coins (optional)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli flowerets
  • 2-3 cups cooked white rice

Brown the ground beef, garlic, and jalapeño pepper (if desired) in a large skillet. Drain off any fat. Add the brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and chopped broccoli. Cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes (or as long as it takes your rice to cook and the broccoli to steam). If desired, add more red pepper flakes to taste before serving. To serve, spoon the beef mixture over hot cooked rice.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes