Fresh veggies which are both affordable and decent quality can be hard to come by in the dead of our Canadian winters. Thankfully, a real life-saver has been the pre-cut packaged broccoli I find at Costco. For just under $5 for a large package, we can get easily three to four side dishes for our family of 3. If I’m adding broccoli to things like stir fries, curries, or other dishes then it stretches even further.
This recipe for Beef & Broccoli is thrifty on two counts. First, it uses a relatively small portion of the affordable packaged broccoli. Second, it uses ground beef in place of something like flank steak, which is a huge savings.
Side note: in my pre-vegan days I used to buy flank steak a lot and I don’t remember it being a pricey cut of beef. In fact, considering that I’ve been led to believe it almost always has to be marinated to be tasty, I was sure it would qualify as a cheap cut. I guess this is where my lack of meat experience really shows through. In any case, I grabbed a flank steak a few months back and was shocked at the price. I bought it anyway as I was craving Beef & Broccoli. But I know it isn’t something that I can realistically put in the regular menu rotation because of the cost of the meat. Ground beef, on the other hand, especially when on sale, can be a super cheap purchase.
I was actually skeptical about using ground beef in a recipe like this. I thought it would just crumble to nothing and not have any substance. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out and as we were devouring it – my three-year old included! – I knew that I’d never bother with the more expensive flank steak for this recipe ever again. When I first made this recipe last year, my son Jonas, who was just over two years old at the time, kept asking for “more beef?” (yes, phrased as a question), which is a sure sign that this recipe was a definite hit.
Another awesome bonus to this recipe is just how fast it comes together. I had no idea what I was planning to make on a lazy Sunday night but it came together in less than 20 minutes, with the ground beef being completely frozen yet. I had leftover cooked rice in the fridge which cut down on some of my prep time but with my Instant Pot I can cook rice in about 13 minutes, so this is absolutely a recipe that makes it into the Fright Night archives.
I steamed the broccoli on its own to help cut down the overall cooking time. If I was to try to cook the broccoli to tenderness with the ground beef it would take longer.
I use this special silicone steamer dish to use in the microwave that I got from Epicure Selections ages ago. My mother raved about it and insisted I get one and I have to say, she was right. I use mine at least 4 or 5 nights a week for steamed veggies. In 3 minutes, I had perfectly steamed broccoli to add to the pan at the last minute with the sauce. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy. I found a very similar one on Amazon, if you don’t have access to Epicure Selections in your area. I haven’t tried the one I’ve linked to, but it looks nearly identical to mine. If you don’t have a silicone steamer like I do, go ahead and steam the broccoli in the microwave in a bowl or the old fashioned way on the stovetop.
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup gluten free soy sauce (Bragg's)
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes (use less or none if you can't handle heat)
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef and fry it up until no longer pink, breaking up larger chunks, but not breaking it into a fine mince. You want some substance to the ground beef.
- Meanwhile, steam the broccoli florets until tender-crisp. Do not overcook. You want them to be bright green with a tiny bit of a bite still.
- In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, gluten free soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, garlic powder, chili flakes and ground ginger.
- Once ground beef is cooked through and broccoli is steamed, add broccoli and sauce to the skillet and remove from heat. Stir to combine. Sprinkle with additional sesame seeds for garnish, if you're so inclined. Serve over hot jasmine rice.
This recipe is one of a variety of blog posts I’ve got planned on the topics of thriftiness and simplifying our lives. I hope you’ll find the posts and tips I have to share from our own experiences helpful and motivating. Stay tuned!
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