With the number of kids home on a daily basis slowly dwindling, I’m trying to use my time more wisely when they’re away. I think I’m easing out of the stage where someone needs something all the time, and easing into a stage with a bit more time to actually get things done beyond the bare minimum. Having never been one to ease gracefully into a new stage of life, and regularly being one to waste time, I’m trying to be intentional about my days.
If I can have dinner in the freezer for two days of every week, I feel like I’m winning. This means I have time to sign all the papers they can throw at me after school, listen to 20 minutes of reading from this one and read for 20 minutes to that one, hear about classroom drama and bus adventures, and even go on the occasional field trip. Basically it means my time with my kids is more with my kids, and a whole lot of my brain space is freed up from thinking about dinner, since thinking of what to make for dinner at 4 pm is the literal worst, and too often my habit. Pre-thinking and pre-prepping – it’s like I’m living the dream every time I pull something delicious out of the freezer.
So today, a good freezer meal that doesn’t go in the slow cooker or a casserole dish! This is perfect for a freezer meal prep day because there is NO pre-cooking involved. It takes about 7 minutes to throw together, so even if you want to eat it tonight, do yourself a favour and double everything so you can throw one in the skillet and one in a freezer bag for another day.
I don’t have a huge amount of freezer space, so things that freeze in bags are way more realistic for me than things that go in a casserole dish. Also, I don’t have a lot of spare casserole dishes, so I don’t want them out of commission in the freezer for long. If it’s in a bag, labelled with instructions, it’s also super easy to pass to a friend who could use a meal. Food is love in physical form, I’m pretty sure.
The picture doesn’t really do this meal justice, since I snagged Carl’s lunch of the leftovers before he could finish it – I had neglected to tell him I was saving that serving for pictures. Clearly it’s been too long since I blogged regularly because he genuinely looked uncertain about my request for his plate. He added the red peppers because he’s healthy like that – peppers are one thing I don’t love, and rarely add to food, but they do look pretty, so if you’re into peppers, that’s an option. This is basically a really basic stir fry that you could dress up as much as you like – onions, shredded carrots or cabbage, mushrooms, you name it. But it is supposed to be easy, so don’t get too carried away :)
Let me know if you give it a try!
- 1-2 lbs thinly sliced steak
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¾ cup soy sauce
- ⅓ cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- ¼ tsp ginger
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- ¼ tsp chili pepper flakes or cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp sesame oil (optional - I've also used olive oil)
- 3-4 cups broccoli florets, fresh or frozen
- For cooking: 3-4 Tbsp canola oil
- Rice or thin noodles for serving.
- Put sliced steak in a large freezer bag with the cornstarch. Seal and shake well to evenly coat meat.
- In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, pepper flakes, and oil.
- TO COOK NOW: Add 3-4 Tbsp canola oil to a large skillet over high heat. Once oil is hot, add the cornstarch-coated steak (it should sizzle when it hits the pan). Stir fry, stirring frequently, until most pieces of meat have some golden edges, 3-4 minutes. Add broccoli and cook for 2-3 minutes, until crisp-tender. Add sauce and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute, until everything is coated and the sauce thickens slightly. Serve over rice or thin noodles.
- TO FREEZE: Label large freezer bag with recipe name and cooking instructions. Toss steak and cornstarch in that large freezer bag. Combine all sauce ingredients in a separate small bag, seal and place in the larger bag. Put broccoli in a third bag, also inside the labeled large bag. Freeze together.
- COOK FROM FROZEN: Put the frozen bag in your fridge in the morning so it will be thawed enough to cook by dinner time. Or, to thaw quickly, run frozen steak and sauce packets under warm water until you can break the contents up. The broccoli can cook from frozen. Follow cooking directions above to finish.
*Adapted from HappyMoneySaver.com