Coconut Orange Ginger Beef Stir-fry

30 Minute Meal Coconut Orange Ginger Beef Stir-fry

By Lindsey Proctor, contributing writer

Would you like another quick, easy, nutritious meal to add to your menu rotation? Then this quick stir-fry is just the thing for you! Made with grass-fed beef, rice noodles, yummy veggies, fresh-squeezed orange juice, coconut water, and toasted sesame seeds, spices, fresh ginger, and fresh garlic, this dish is full of flavor!  Best of all, it comes together quickly (it took me just under 30 minutes from stovetop to table) thanks to the quick-cooking rice noodles and a hot sauté pan, plus a few other time-saving tips.

Plan ahead, prepare ahead

The key to getting dinner on the table quickly is to plan ahead and do a few quick preparations earlier in the day when you have just a few minutes of time to spare. For example, when you go to the freezer to get your meat out to thaw, grab your veggies, too! This will cut down on the time needed to sauté them, since they won’t have to thaw in the pan before they cook.

If you are working with a whole piece of meat – say a sirloin or flank steak – that will need to be cut into smaller strips for this dish, try to cut the meat when it’s still partially frozen. It’s so much easier that way, and when cooking time comes, your meat will be completely thawed and ready to sear.

When you put the water in the saucepan for the pasta, if you can safely use water straight from your kitchen faucet, make it hot! If you need to use bottled or filtered water, measure it out and put it in the pan earlier in the day so it can at least be at room temperature. This way, there’s less time needed for the burner to heat up the water, and it’ll reach boiling just a bit faster than if you start with cold water.

And I know that this is a commonsense tip, but sometimes I forget – when it’s time to start cooking, read over the recipe and gather your ingredients and supplies. It’s a lot easier to walk over to the spice cupboard and cooking gadgets drawer once and get everything you need, than to walk around your kitchen several times grabbing things as you need them!  Read over the recipe instructions and come up with a plan of action. Start the water boiling before you heat your oil, so that you can boil the noodles while you’re cooking the meat and drain them while the veggies are cooking. Make the most of your time, and you’ll have more moments to spend around the table enjoying a great meal with your loved ones.

Note: This recipe calls for soy sauce. Please see this previous post by Kimi for advice on choosing the right kind

Coconut Orange Ginger Beef Stir-fry
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Asian Fusion
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb sirloin or flank steak, cut into small strips, thawed
  • 1 lb frozen stir-fry vegetables - I used a mix containing broccoli, carrots, peas, red pepper, and onion, thawed
  • 3 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
  • ½ teaspoon white sesame seeds
  • ½ teaspoon black sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp Chinese 5 Spice powder
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ⅓ cup fresh orange juice
  • ⅓ cup coconut water
  • 3 Tablespoons organic, naturally brewed soy sauce (use tamari for gluten-free)
  • 2 Tablespoons organic, non-GMO cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 1 8 oz package rice noodles
Instructions
  1. Bring water for pasta to a boil, cook according to package directions.
  2. In a large skillet or wok, toast sesame seeds over medium heat. Add sesame oil, Chinese 5 spice powder, ginger, and garlic. Cook until garlic is browned. Raise heat to medium high. Add beef strips and cook until meat is no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Remove beef from pan and set aside. Do not remove any liquid that may have accumulated during the cooking of the meat. Add vegetables and cook until they are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together orange juice, coconut water, soy sauce, and cornstarch or arrowroot powder. Pour over cooked vegetables and stir to combine. Cook until liquid has thickened, about 3 minutes. Add meat back into the pan and stir to combine ingredients. Serve over rice noodles. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honey Garlic Drumsticks (a simple summer crockpot meal)

Honey Garlic Drumsticks (a simple summer crockpot meal)

By April Swiger, Contributing Writer

Sweet, tangy, and a little bit of red-pepper-kick, these honey garlic drumsticks are the perfect meal for a hot summer night. I love the flavorful dark meat that chicken legs have to offer. Not only are they an incredibly frugal cut of meat, but the seasoning possibilities are near endless. Add in the simplicity of a slow cooker/Crockpot, and you have a nourishing meal for the whole family, or a crowd, without much effort.

When the weather is beautiful and warm, it’s much more difficult to give up time outside for prepping meals. We don’t have central air in our home, so turning on the oven during the summer can be a little uncomfortable. It’s easy to forget that crockpots aren’t just for hearty wintertime soups, stews, and chillies! I’ve learned that it’s a great option to beat the summer heat, and a convenient way to enjoy a delicious meal after a fun day outside.

This recipe can be easily prepared in the slow cooker crock itself, minimizing the amount of dishes needed to be washed. It’s also easy to adapt based on how much “kick” you desire. You can thicken the sauce with a little cornstarch or arrowroot powder after the chicken is cooked. Pour it over the meat, or into a bowl for dipping. You definitely don’t want to skip this part as the sauce is absolutely delectable!

More time in the sun with family and friends, and less time in your kitchen – a win all around in my book! Keep it simple and serve these drumsticks with a side salad, carrot and celery sticks, rice or quinoa, or some sautéed veggies with butter or coconut oil.

Kimi uses this (affliate links)  slow cooker, and uses this clay cooker for making quinoa or rice on hot days.

Time at the stove: 10 minutes if you choose to sauté or steam some vegetables. 20 minutes if you make rice or quinoa. Or none if you serve it with cold vegetables or a salad.

Time at the oven: 5 minutes if you choose to broil the legs for a crispy skin.

Other drumstick/wing recipes:

Other crockpot recipes:

Honey Garlic Drumsticks (a simple summer crockpot meal)
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dish
 
These drumsticks are a perfect mixture of sweet and tangy, with a bit of kick! They are effortless to prepare and make a great summertime meal for your family, or a crowd.
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs chicken legs
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 Tbls coconut oil, melted
  • 3 Tbls apple cider vinegar
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic, minced (garlic lovers use 5!)
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated, or about ¼ tsp dried
  • ⅛-1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbls arrowroot powder or cornstarch (used at the end to thicken the sauce)
Instructions
  1. In the crock of your slow cooker whisk together the honey, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, minced garlic, ginger, crushed red pepper, and salt and pepper.
  2. Add the drumsticks to the crock, and toss them until they are fully coated with the sauce.
  3. Cook the drumsticks on low for 4-6 hours, or high for 2-4 hours.
  4. When the chicken legs are fully cooked, remove them from the crock, leaving the sauce inside.
  5. OPTIONAL - If desired, you can place the legs under the broiler at this point to crisp up the skin. About 5 minutes at 400 F should be sufficient.
  6. Ladle out ½ cup of the sauce into a small bowl, and whisk in the arrowroot powder or cornstarch (this step may not be necessary, but I find it's easier to get the lumps out in a smaller amount of sauce).
  7. Pour the sauce and arrowroot/cornstarch mixture back into the crock with the rest of the sauce. Whisk it in and allow it to thicken for a few minutes with the crock on 'high.'
  8. Serve the drumsticks with the sauce poured on top, or in a small bowl for dipping!

 

6 tips for packing healthy meals for a trip

6 tips for healthy meals to bring on a vacation. Perfect for this time of year!
I was pretty quiet last week, but for good reason, it was our yearly family vacation to the beach! We had a wonderful time. Plus, we ate well for less because I had premade all of our dinners, and most of our lunches!

After a beautiful day on the beach, it was lovely to be able to reheat a homemade meal with little bother. We felt well nourished and fed, and it certainly saved us a lot of money too. We ate out for one lunch, and when I saw our bill, I was thankful again that I had made most of our meals!

And let’s face it, it can be really hard to find yummy food that is also allergy-friendly. As a family with gluten, dairy, and egg sensitivities, it can be a real chore to find food that we can eat.

I’m no expert on packing for trips, but I thought I’d share some of what I did as I know many of you have vacations planned as well. This plan works for those staying somewhere with a kitchen (or in my case; we borrowed the kitchen of my sister whose unit had one). I’d love to hear your ideas too!

(Some links may be affiliate. Thank you for supporting my blog!)

Stews and soups
Anyone who has read my blog for a while (or who has my cookbook, Ladled) knows that I’m a fan of soups. I brought a stew and a couple soups. I loved a couple things about specifically bringing them on a trip like this. First, they are super fast to reheat, so kitchen work is minimal. Secondly, soups tend to taste even better after a day or two of flavors melding together, which makes them the perfect food to pre-make for a trip. When much of the day is spent outdoors, I find that especially hearty stews and soups fill the bill.

My soups were from Ladled, but here are some similar soups:

Burritos 
We had “bean” burritos for several of our lunches. I made a big pot of Mexican lentils (one daughter can’t have many beans), and then brought along gluten-free tortillas and salsa for a simple lunch. They were hearty and filling and frugal too! You could also bring along freezer breakfast burritos!

Freeze meals in gallon bags if without a refrigerator
One thing that I wish I remembered to do was to freeze all of my premade meals. Once frozen and placed in a cooler, they act as their own ice packs. When I had gone on a camping trip with my family before I was married, my mom did this, and it was amazing how long the meals stayed frozen and chilled. In fact, the only thing you may need to do is to remember to defrost your frozen meal before meal time!

Cold cuts and produce
Meals don’t have to be fancy! Bring along some organic cold cuts and sausage to slice, or cheddar cheese, and serve with thick slabs of butter bread or crackers. Serve with sliced cucumber, carrots, and apples, or whatever produce you like! These types of meals are also great to bring along on picnic lunches – whether you are in a state park or at the beach.

Bring snacks
I don’t know what it is about vacations, but they just seem to make everyone hungry! We brought along plenty of snacks with us, and they saved us. Because I was already making so many meals ahead of time, we decided to bite the bullet and buy snacks during a good sale a local store had on gluten-free products. We were very thankful for that sale! But snacks are great to make as well. Here are some recipe ideas:

One nourishing spurge item we brought? These coconut oil sweet potato chips. SO good.

Slow cooker meals
Another great idea is to bring slow cooker meals. Last year, I brought several crockpot meals which meant just a little prep for me in the morning. You could make Slow Cooker Pot Roast (for three meals!), slow cooked whole chicken with vegetables, quinoa and chicken stew, or whatever else you fancy! Those eating a paleo diet will appreciate this Paleo Slow Cooking book too.

Finally, these are all ideas for those vacationing with a kitchen. But what about those camping? Katie from Kitchen Stewardship has a great eBook on nourishing camping food, The Family Camping Handbook. Check it out

15 Freezer Burrito Hacks for Nourishing Cooks + Goat Cheese-Green Chile Breakfast Burrito Recipe

15 Freezer Burrito Hacks for Nourishing Cooks: Wrap & Roll Tutorial (No Plastic!) + Hacks for Allergies, Budget, Speed, and MoreBy Alison Diven, Contributing Writer

Burritos just the way you like them whenever you like them, in minutes. No additives,no plastic, , no iffy oils—just nourishing goodness for no-brainer breakfasts or dinners. Can you tell I love homemade freezer burritos?!

Since I started experimenting with them, my husband has devoured a hot and hearty breakfast every morning with zero fuss, leaving him extra space for his 5 a.m. coffee ritual before work.  He just pops one into the toaster oven to heat while he dresses.

And I, queasy pregnant mama, have an easy lunch or snack for those days when nothing sound good, and I’ve already spent all my energy scrounging for food my toddler deigns to eat.

You know what I mean. Whether you’re tending to babies, stocking the freezer for postpartum life, carting teens around, or just plain busy, we all need convenience food sometimes. These knock the nutritional socks off Evol and Amy’s burritos, can meet your special dietary needs, and are far cheaper to boot.

Wanna know how I’m making it work? Here are 15 freezer burrito hacks to get you started—including ideas for allergy and budget needs—plus my favorite breakfast burrito recipe to inspire you: eggs, goat cheese, and green chiles. You’ve gotta try this killer combo!

Essential Success Hacks

1. Cool all fillings to room temperature or colder before filling burritos. Steam=soggy tortillas. (Thanks to TheKtchn for this tip!)

2. Warm tortillas to room temperature or until they’re pliable for less cracking and breaking, then roll like this:

Classic Burrito Rolling

3. Go easy on wet ingredients like salsa and sauces. Drain extra fluids off sautéed vegetables.

4. Wrap your burritos first in parchment paper, then in foil, then in gallon size freezer bags. They’ll last for months this way and are oven-safe, but you’ll never have questionable materials touching your food. Like so:

Wrapping Burritos for Freezer without Plastic Wrap.jpg

Time-Saving Hacks

5. Mix all filling ingredients together in a single bowl. Any sacrifice in presentation is worth the faster assembly. Plus, you won’t prematurely run out of an ingredient. (Hats off to Tammy’s Recipes for this awesome tip.)

6. Use store-bought tortillas, but check ingredient lists. In my current season of fatigue, this is my biggest shortcut. I’m fortunate to have locally-made organic wheat tortillas at my fingertips, and I’ve chosen Rudi’s Gluten Free Tortillas for my gluten, dairy, egg, and soy-free son.(Kimi notes: We are also a gluten-free family. Rudi’s probably has one of the nicest textures, but it does contain corn products in it for those sensitive. You could also use (affiliate links) these brown rice tortillas , or these these multi-grain gluten-free tortillas).

7. Bake your scrambled eggs in the oven if you’re making a giant batch of breakfast burritos. They can cook and then cool while you attend to other tasks. See this method.

8. Slow-cook chicken, beef roast, or pork roast the day before for hands-off shredded meat. I do it like this.

9. Make just one flavor variety per burrito prep day and keep it simple, only 2-4 components. You’ll dirty fewer dishes and streamline the whole process.

Allergy Hacks

10. Gluten-free or grain free? Don’t despair! GF people can choose non-GMO corn tortillas (blue corn or organic are sure bets), store-bought GF tortillas, or even better, homemade options like these nutrient-dense soaked buckwheat wraps or these egg-arrowroot paleo wraps. The last recipe is grain-free too, high protein, quick, and wraps beautifully with zero cracking.

11. Egg-free? Wheat tortillas, like Katie’s soaked ones, corn tortillas, or Rudi’s Gluten Free are good choices.

12. Dairy-free is a piece of cake. Almost any tortilla will meet this criterion, and then it’s up to you to leave dairy out of your fillings.

*NOTE: Many of these alternative tortillas are more prone to cracking (except the egg-arrowroot paleo wrap), so fold like this instead:

Folding Fragile Freezer Burritos.jpg

Frugal Hacks

13. Use thrifty ingredients like yard eggs, rice, home-cooked beans, or diced potatoes to stretch indulgent items like grass-fed beef, pastured pork sausage or bacon, and cheese.

14. Go pungent with your cheese—think sharp cheddar or goat cheese—so you can use less. Also, check out Costco.. We often get fabulous imported, grass-fed cheeses for much less there.

15. Make your own tortillas. Here’s a soaked whole wheat recipe, Natalia offers a gluten-free buckwheat wrap here, and I can heartily recommend this grain-free paleo wrap.

And now, on to my very favorite breakfast burrito, inspired by Albuquerque’s fabulous Grove Cafe & Market.

Goat Cheese-Green Chile Breakfast Burritos.jpg

Goat Cheese-Green Chile Breakfast Burritos
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: New Mexican
Serves: 6
 
These creamy dreamy Southwest burritos will spice up your mornings! Prepare them for a quick fresh treat or freeze a double batch for later (see blog post for details). Select tortillas according to your allergy or dietary needs (again, many ideas in the blog post). You can find New Mexico, or "Hatch," green chiles frozen in many grocery stores or fresh in late summer. Or, substitute sauteed poblano peppers. It'll still be spectacular! A little sausage wouldn't go amiss either.
Ingredients
  • 12 pasture-raised eggs
  • ¼ cup grass-fed butter (we love Kerrygold)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces soft goat cheese (chevre), separated into chunks
  • ¾ cup chopped roasted New Mexico green chiles, without seeds
  • 6-10 tortillas, depending on size
Instructions
  1. Heat butter in a large skillet on medium-low heat. Gently scramble eggs until soft set, sprinkling with salt and pepper.
  2. Gently warm tortillas.
  3. For a pretty presentation, layer scrambled eggs, goat cheese, and green chiles in tortillas and wrap.
  4. For speed, gently mix goat cheese and chiles in scrambled eggs and divide among tortillas.
  5. Enjoy!