Then, came college, and studying suddenly became a priority. Yes, sometimes a secondary priority to a toga party or to ten-cent wing night at BJ's downtown, but a priority nonetheless.
After college, flung desperately into what is commonly referred to as "the real world" time suddenly became more precious than ever. I wanted to spend the time that I wasn't busy at work recharging, which often meant weekends full of mom's cooking, on-demand movies and countless evenings trying to stay awake past midnight.
Once I grew more accustomed to the initial period of post-grad exhaustion I wanted to get to know my city better, take on more activitives and hobbies, make some new friends. Socializing became a bigger priority for me than sleep and I started learning to accept the fact that we - as humans? Americans? - have busy lives and there are simply not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything on your to-do list.
I have some friends who don't even eat dinner from time to time because they don't have time to cook, or even order and wait an hour for take-out to arrive.
I may have vices, but skipping meals is certainly not one of them. In fact, if you can count on one thing, it's that I'll figure out a way to squeeze in dinner and I've found that the best way to get a good, healthy meal is to pick something that I can make quickly and using as few plates or dishes as possible.
One of my favorite shortcuts is using pre-sliced vegetables to add variety and flavors to different meals. They might cost an extra dollar or two depending on where you shop, but what you'll save on takeout more than makes up for it.
For this stir-fry I used asparagus and mushrooms in addition to broccoli, which was the hero in this dish, absorbing the perfect amount of orange sauce and complementing the tender beef nicely with a subtle crunchiness.
Orange Beef & Broccoli Stir Fry
1 1/4 cup(s) fat-free chicken broth, reduced-sodium
3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. orange juice
PAM cooking spray, for wok or frying pan
2 tbsp orange zest
2 medium garlic clove(s), slivered
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound(s) lean sirloin beef, boneless, sliced against grain into 1/8-inch-thick strips
4 cup(s) mixed vegetables (I used broccoli, asparagus & mushrooms)
2 tbsp corn starch, dissolved in 2 Tbsp of water
1. Whisk broth, soy sauce, sugar and orange extract together in a small bowl; set aside. Coat a large nonstick wok (or skillet) with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. Add orange peel or zest, ginger and garlic; stir-fry until softened and aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and stir-fry 20 seconds.
2. Add beef; stir-fry until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add sugar snap peas and continue stir-frying until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.
3. Pour in broth mixture and bring to a simmer; cover wok (or skillet) and cook 1 minute more.
4. Stir in cornstarch mixture. Cook just until sauce thickens, about 5 to 10 seconds; immediately remove from heat and serve. Yields about 1 1/2 cups per serving. vegetables (I used broccoli, mushroom, asparagus and onions, would suggest the same).
How do you find the time to squeeze in an evening meal if you're-on-the go? What is your go-to dish?