Autumn Beef and Vegetable Lo Mein

Whew. Now that we've had the weekend to recover and regroup, it already feels like it's time to tackle the challenges of more holiday entertaining and gift-giving from the kitchen. But wait. It's still November. Doesn't that mean we can take at least a little break? You know what — yeah. Let's take advantage of this unusual little week of November between Thanksgiving and the start of December and enjoy a couple quick and simple recipes before starting in on the big events of December. Let's start with a takeout favorite that can be made in less time than it takes to go out and pick up.

Lo Mein is particularly fun because it's just a typical stir-fry swimming with noodles instead of rice. That means the simplicity of stir-fry helps you accomplish dinner in about 20 minutes. And pasta cooks as fast or even faster than rice so it's basically the same formula.

I like using tenderized round steak because it's inexpensive and thin strips rubbed with garlic and ginger yields a meaty base that is perfect for a fast-cooking dish like this. I paired it with three of my favorite vegetables still available fresh in most parts of the US, but you can pick and choose according to your tastes and what you have on hand. Everything from sweet potatoes to green beans will work in this versatile lo mein.

There are times to make a stir-fry sauce from scratch. This is not one of them. Take it easy and grab a bottle of your favorite Asian sauce to finish this dish. I suggest teriyaki because it is flavorful, but unassuming. You could opt for something spicier or even favor a sweeter sauce. Pick what works for you and then grab a bowl, your chopsticks, and enjoy dinner made and on the table in under a half hour!

Autumn Beef and Vegetable Lo Mein

  • 16 oz. spaghetti noodles, cooked according to the package directions
  • 1 lb. tenderized round steak, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 T. fresh garlic paste
  • 1 T. fresh ginger paste
  • 1 T. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 small head broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and sliced into thin wedges
  • 1 yellow pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
  • ¼-⅓ c. teriyaki sauce (choose your favorite variety)

Prepare the pasta according to the package directions. While the water is coming to a boil and pasta is simmering, prepare the rest of the dish.

Rub the steak strips thoroughly with the garlic and ginger paste. Set aside.

Bring the toasted sesame oil to medium-high heat in a nonstick skillet. Add the steak strips to the skillet as soon as you smell the distinctive nutty aroma of the oil as it heats. Stir-fry for 5 minutes or until the steak is browned. Add the broccoli, onion, and pepper and stir-fry an additional 3 minutes or until the vegetables are crisp-tender.

Using a pair of tongs, lift the cooked pasta from the water and transfer it in batches to the skillet with the steak and vegetables in it. When all of the pasta has been moved to the skillet, add the teriyaki sauce of your choice and toss well to coat. Cook for a minute longer to warm throughout and serve hot.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes

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