Paleo Day 4: Turkey Larb Lettuce Wraps

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I know you’re probably reading the word “larb” and thinking that it sounds an awful lot like the word “lard”. I know when I read the recipe titled “Chicken Larb” I was a bit put off by it simply because the word itself is just extremely unattractive. But I went down to the ingredients list and my mouth started watering and I knew I had to make this weird sounding dish! Call it Creepy Angela Food or call it weird Asian stuff, I am telling you now you will not be disappointed with the end result! If you were curious, like me, about what the word “larb” is, according to Wikipedia: Larb is a Lao minced meat salad, and is said to be the national dish of Laos. Often found in Thailand and parts of China.

As you know I am starting this lifestyle change and eating more like our ancestors did a long long time ago. If you are interested in the Paleo Diet, I suggest reading the book The Paleo Diet by Dr. Loren Cordain, Ph.D. It has some really good information and helps break down the diet and the reason it’s so good for you! I am not as strict as the author and some other Paleo eaters, I am just giving it a go for a month to see how I feel. So far it’s been a week and I have seen a big change in the way I feel. I find that I have more energy and less stomach issues. I also find myself not as hungry all of the time, which has always been unheard of for me! I actually am making myself eat snacks throughout the day even though I am not hungry because I know I need the right amount of nutrition and calories. If you’re interested in changing your life, being healthy and feeling great, I suggest you try this diet out! You can still eat the most delicious meals too!

I am doing something new today on the blog! Here is a little video of the making of this easy and delicious recipe! Get a little Jimi Hendrix in the background and you can’t go wrong!

Let’s get started on some grub.

The original recipe I derived this dish from called for chicken instead of turkey. At my local grocery store they didn’t have ground chicken available, and I love turkey meat anyway so I grabbed a pound of that. I say you can cook with either meat, whatever you prefer.

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Whisk together your lime juice, fish sauce, honey, hot pepper paste, and sriracha sauce. If you can’t find the Gochujang or don’t want to go to an asian market you can sub with some chile paste. It’s always available in the asian aisle at local grocery stores. Taste and add more honey or sriracha to your liking. Set aside.

Place your chicken stock in a deep saucepan and place on medium heat until it starts to simmer. Add your ground meat and stir occasionally until it starts to break apart about 6 minutes. Add your shallots, green onion, carrots, lemongrass, cilantro, chilies, and pepper, stir to heat evenly. Take about 4 minutes for the onion to become translucent and the carrots to get soft. Once your meat is cooked through, take of the heat and strain any excess juices (I just use the saucepan lid over the sink).

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Take your lime-chile sauce and pour in the meat mixture. Stir evenly. Garnish with some cilantro on top. Serve with a slotted spoon and bib or butter lettuce leaves.

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What you’ll need:
2-3 limes, juiced
1/3 cup fish sauce
1 tablespoon honey (or more to taste)
1 tbs Gochujang (hot pepper or chili paste)
2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
3/4 cup chicken stock, no msg or preservatives added (or homemade)
1 pound ground chicken or turkey, free range, grass fed
Handfull of carrots, finely chopped
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 of a shallot, minced
1 tablespoon lemongrass paste (gourmet garden) 3 tbs minced if using fresh herb
1 tablespoon thinly sliced serrano chile (seeds removed if you want it to be less spicy)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves (save some extra for garnish and top)
1 head of butter or bib lettuce (sometimes called “Living Lettuce”), washed and separated into leaves

This dish has SO much flavor! And it is even better leftover when all of the juices marinate with the ground meat. If you don’t want to stick to Paleo this will also be good with some steamed rice. This will definitely be a repeat dish for me! I hope you enjoy this meal as much as I did, and have your P.F. Changs lettuce wrap fix at home!

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Seared Ahi Tuna

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I am a sucker for anything seafood. I love ahi tuna, and I’ve always wanted to try it homemade. This is super easy and really not very expensive considering you will have enough to feed at least two people. I must admit I was a little skeptical at first, I’ve been living right by the ocean for the past 4 years and have gotten used to very fresh, right off the boat kind of seafood. So, going to the seafood counter at our local Kroger in Northern Kentucky definitely took some convincing to myself. Of course, I had to ask where they got the tuna steaks from and if they were fresh or previously frozen. (This is always important to me, you will not have the same end result when cooking previously frozen fish, I guarantee you!) After confirming that they were fresh and the color looked really good to me (you can always tell by the color of salmon, tuna, and mahi if they are good quality) I decided to go for it! And I was not disappointed!

The reason why I seem so anal about the quality of the tuna is because ahi tuna is pan seared for just a minute or two on each side, it is not fully cooked. I would say it’s close to medium rare, but more on the rare side. You do not want to eat anything like this unless you know it’s a good fresh piece of fish, or your stomach will have you locked up in the bathroom all night with food poisoning or a nasty stomach bug!

Ok, now that my health inspection- germ freaky rant is done, now we can talk about the good stuff!

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Mix all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl, taste test it and add more honey or tamari if you want it a little more sweet or a little more salty. Take two tbsp and set aside. Take your tuna steak and place in a ziploc bag and pour in the sauce, marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Once marinated sprinkle the steak with salt, pepper, and a decent amount of toasted (or regular if you cant find them toasted) sesame seeds. Press down on the seeds slightly, to help them stick on the steak.

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Take your pan and place the oil. Swirl to coat, and put it on medium high to high heat. Wait until the pan is hot then pan sear the tuna 1 to 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Set on cutting board.

Bring out your greens, avacado, scallions and extra sauce. Place your greens on a plate, then your avacado, then take your ahi tuna and thinly slice lengthwise. Place your tuna over your salad. Drizzle the extra sauce over top of your salad and tuna. Take a lemon wedge and lightly squeeze over top, if you wish. Serve.

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That’s it!! super easy and fast, not to mention healthy! I like to eat mine with a side of white rice. Next time I think I’ll try an Ahi Poke Bowl! If you’ve never had one you’ve gotta try it, Salt Life Food Shack has a pretty mean one!

What you’ll need:
For the Sauce:
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp finely grated ginger (or powder)
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp low sodium tamari (you can also substitute with low sodium soy sauce)
1 tbsp honey (I may have added a tad bit more after my taste test)
2 teaspoon Siracha sauce (I like it spicy!)
1 tbsp gyoza sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
**You can find all or most of these sauces in the asian aisle at your local grocery store**
For the rest:
One tuna steak, raw and not previously frozen (See rant at top for tips)
Salt and pepper
Sesame seeds, preferably toasted
Field greens
Avacado, diced
White Rice or your favorite kind of rice on the side

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Peanut Chicken

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Any day of the week, you ask me what I want to eat and I’ll almost always say Asian food. Could be Japanese, Korean, Chinese, you name it and I’ll eat it! Whenever my husband is gone I always find excuses to cook and/or eat Asian foods. And who could guess the hubby is gone and I went straight to cooking me some Asian sensation!! This one I learned from my step mom Anna, who is Korean. This dish is simple and oh so tasty. You can make it as spicy (or not) as you want and you can mix and match meats and vegetables to your liking. I prefer to use chicken, carrots, and broccoli as my veggies.  Next time I think I’ll add sugar snap peas and baby corn!

To get started, cook your rice according to package directions. I like to use anything that says sushi rice on the package and I like to buy them in the foreign aisle. I have a rice cooker, so that’s what I use.

Next, rinse off the chicken and trim the fat, cut into long strips.  I like to rinse off my chicken because most of them come packaged with preservatives, I don’t like those so I leave them out as much as I can, with anything I eat. Take a medium sized skillet and put some olive oil on medium high eat. Swirl to coat.  Once the pan is warm, place your chicken. Add your spices and mix up your chicken with the spices. After about 5 minutes add your onion and garlic. Cook your chicken for about 15-20 minutes or until no longer pink in the middle.

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While your chicken is cooking, slice up your carrots into long thin strips and cut up your broccoli.  When your chicken is done transfer to a plate. Drain the juices. Add some vegetable oil to the skillet and then place your veggies, leaving on med high. Stir to coat with oil and add salt and pepper. Place a lid on the skillet and steam for about 10 minutes or until they’re soft but still have a little crunch.

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While the veggies are steaming, take a small saucepan and add your coconut milk on medium heat. Once warm, add your peanut butter, peanut sauce, and siracha (if you want it spicy) . Stir until mixed thoroughly. Add the chicken and veggies into the peanut mixture and fold until mixed evenly.  Add on top of rice and enjoy!!

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What you’ll need:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, fat trimmed, rinsed, and cut into long strips
1 tbs olive oil
Several dashes each of curry, cumin, cajun (literally put it on everything), ginger, turmeric powders, salt & pepper
Half medium onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1tbsp vegetable oil
Carrots cut into long thin strips
Broccoli, rinsed, dried and cut
1/2 cup coconut milk (I’ll be honest, I didn’t measure it, I just go by color with my mixture, it should be a light brown color. You can also go by taste! If it’s too milky add more peanut butter)
A heaping large tablespoon of peanut butter with a small amount of crunchy peanut butter added
1/4 cup of peanut dipping sauce (Bangkok brand is what I prefer)
a few squirts of siracha sauce (if you like it spicy)
Your choice of rice

Crispy Salmon & Quinoa

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Crispy Salmon: super easy to make and tastes amazing!! I’ve been posting a lot of easy, fast recipes lately, mostly because I’ve been super busy working and being too tired to make anything that takes longer than 30 minutes. This meal literally took me 13 minutes from the time I dropped the salmon on the pan to the time I took it out of the oven!

I’ve only had quinoa in this Campbell’s soup that I like, so I came across a frozen package of quinoa and vegetables at Whole Foods, and anything with a steam in bag is going to taste just as fresh as if you bought it straight from the garden! I figured I’d give it a try and I was not disappointed. The quinoa has a soft texture, so the crispy salmon paired perfectly with it! This package had sweet potatoes and zucchini mixed, and they tasted great with the salmon.

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To start, preheat your oven to 400°. Take an oven safe skillet and place on high heat, while both are heating, brush your salmon with some olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, I used lemon pepper seasoning. Once the pan is heated up, place your salmon, skin side up, on the skillet and cook for 4-5 minutes. I would suggest at 4 minutes to try and flip, if it isn’t coming off the pan easily leave it on for another minute or two. Once flipped to skin side up, place in the oven for 8-10 minutes. If you like your salmon well done, you will want it to bake for 10-12 minutes.

While your salmon is baking, take your quinoa and microwave according to package directions (mine was 4 minutes, sitting for 1 minute after cooking).

While all of that is cooking, take a small bowl and mix up your special soy sauce concoction! I honestly didn’t measure out anything (I tend to just add more of what’s needed and taste as I go, the best way to cook!!) I will try to guesstimate how much I think I added to make this mixture, but please taste as you go and add more honey or nectar if you want it to taste sweeter, and more soy sauce if you think it’s too sweet. This is a staple for a lot of my asian recipes and I always put it on my salmon, it tastes amazing together! And it has no fat and very few calories.

When everything is ready, spoon some quinoa on your plate, then place your salmon on top. Before I add the salmon to my plate I take a fork or use my spatula and peel off the skin. Then spoon some sauce over top of your salmon and quinoa. I tend to think less is better to start and if you think you need more you can always add more! But since the sauce has soy in it, it’s a strong taste and is very salty, so add a little bit first and see how you like it!

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What you’ll need:
1-2 salmon fillets

1 package of quinoa with vegetables (found in the freezer section by the vegetables)
salt and lemon pepper seasoning (or plain pepper)
For the soy mixture:
about 1/4-1/3 cup of low sodium soy sauce
about 2 tbsp honey
about 1 tbsp agave nectar
about 1-2 tsp fish sauce
a dash or two of ground ginger (or minced)
Whisk 

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Shrimp & Pork Spring Rolls

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I decided to have a Christmas party with a White Elephant gift exchange, so I wanted to make a lot of yummy and different appetizers! You get tired of the same old dips and crock pot foods at these gatherings so I decided to branch out a little and serve some tasty foods you don’t tend to see very often. I ended up finding myself looking at the Martha Stewart recipes (she’s one of those people I wish I didn’t like, but I can’t help but love everything she makes!). These spring rolls were seriously gone as soon as they were set on the table! I was lucky enough to have a piece before it was all gone and it was so good! Next time I make these, I’ll be sure to leave a few pieces for myself 🙂

To get started, heat a small amount of oil on the pan and cook the sausage and break up into crumbles, cook until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add onion, cook until soft, then add the celery, carrot, garlic, and fish sauce. Cook until soft about 2 minutes. Add the cabbage, snap peas, and shrimp until it’s pink and cooked through (about another 2 minutes.) Add the pork and salt and pepper. Set aside off heat and let cool for a bit for easier rolling.

Take your wrappers and if they are a bigger size you can pre-cut them, or you can do what I did and cut the spring rolls after they’re cooked.

Whisk the yolk and water in a small bowl. Place one wrapper on a cutting board or flat surface and take one wrapper with a corner facing you. Keep the rest of the wrappers covered with a damp cloth to prevent them from drying out. Place a tbsp or so of the filling in the middle of a wrapper and fold the bottom corner over the filling and fold the sides in halfway. Roll the wrapper to form a tight cylinder, leaving the top corner exposed. Brush the top corner with the egg wash and press to seal. Cover with a damp kitchen towel. Repeat until done.

Martha’s recipe calls for frying, but I chose the healthier route by baking.

To fry: heat 1/2 inch of oil in a deep skillet until it reaches 350°. Fry in batches until golden brown about 2-3 minutes rolling each side. Add more oil if needed, drain on paper towels.

To bake: Turn oven on 425°. Bake on baking sheets turning once halfway through baking. Bake until golden brown on all sides, about 30 minutes.

Serve with Sweet Chili Sauce, you can buy this in the international section at local grocery stores.

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What you’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more as needed and for frying (or not needed if baking)
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1/4 cup minced celery
  • 1/4 cup finely grated carrot
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup grated cabbage (3 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup sugar snap peas (2 ounces), thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined, thinly sliced crosswise
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 10 spring-roll wrappers (8-inch square)
  • 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water

Vietnamese Pho with Beef

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I love Asian cuisine! RJ has been gone all week, and I have been going Asian fusion crazy. He’s not a big Asian food fan, so this explains my serious excitement. I was in the mood for soup, so I found this yummy recipe on the food network website, they never do me wrong! This soup is very easy to make! I could only find the thin rice noodles at the store, so next time I hope to have the thicker noodles for this dish. Beef is definitely the best pick for this soup.

Prepare the rice noodles per package directions.

Place a large pot over high heat, I used my cast iron covered braiser (Giada DeLaurentiis style) . Poke the meat all over with a fork to tenderize it and season with salt and pepper. Cover with a little drizzle of vegetable oil and sear the meat for 2 to 3 minutes per side, then transfer to a plate.

Add the onion and ginger to the pot and cook about 4 minutes. Add the broth, 3 cups water, the star anise and cinnamon stick, reduce the heat and simmer about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, thinly slice the scallions and jalapenos (remove seeds if you want less heat) and tear the cilantro. Thinly slice the meat against the grain, keep aside. Drain the noodles, once drained keep in cold water until you use in the soup.

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Add the fish sauce to the broth and boil 5 minutes. Add your mushrooms and jalapenos (this was something extra I thought would be perfect with the soup!) Throw out the ginger, star anise and cinnamon stick. Remove and slice the onion. Divide the noodles among your serving bowls; top with the broth, beef, scallions, cilantro, bean sprouts and onion.

Simple as that! And soo soo good. I even think my husband would like it!

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What you’ll need:

  • 8 ounces rice noodles (you will find this in the international Asian aisle)
  • 12 ounces lean beef sirloin, fat trimmed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large onion, halved
  • 1 4-inch piece ginger, unpeeled, halved
  • 3 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 5 star anise pods (you will find these in the international aisle with the packages of dried seasonings)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 scallions
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, preferably red and green
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons fish sauce (you will find this in the international Asian aisle)
  • 1 cup fresh been sprouts

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Teriyaki Chicken and Vegetables

Well kids, it’s been a while since my last post, I have a great excuse though and that is that I just got married!!! I did lots of DIY projects and planned the whole thing by myself. I will definitely be posting DIY how to’s in the next week or two so stay tuned!!

Asian food is one of my favorites, and this teriyaki sauce is outstanding! Way better than the bottle you can buy at the store. Once you make this homemade, you will never want to buy a pre-made bottle of teriyaki sauce again!

Start while making your rice, I would use long grain white rice. If you don’t have a rice maker you can use the stove top. Follow the package directions.

To make the sauce, you whisk soy sauce, honey, garlic, and ginger in a large bowl. I make two separate batches and pour one in a large baggy with the cubed chicken to marinate for a few hours. The other batch you put in the saucepan to warm while the chicken is being fried on the skillet. I found the marinating the chicken prior makes it taste so moist and flavorful verses just using the sauce on top.

After the marinating and the sauce is being warmed on the stove top, start frying the chicken. Take a flat skillet and coat the bottom with either Vegetable or Peanut Oil. Get the pan nice and hot before placing any chicken on it. Take a flat plate or curved plate and pour your flour, salt and pepper and mix well. Take your eggs and beat well, then place on another flat or edged plate.

Dip your chicken in the egg then the flour mixture, (make sure to coat the chicken all over with the flour then pat excess flour off before placing in the skillet); place carefully on the skillet. I like to use tongs for this because the oil will be very hot and you don’t want to get burnt! Believe me, it’s happened to me before!

Take the chicken out once it has a nice brown color to it. Place the cooked chicken on a few paper towels on a plate to the side. Keep dipping the chicken in the egg then flour and placing on the skillet, and aside once cooked. Once all of the chicken is done, oil a small skillet and place your vegetables and cook for 5-7 minutes.

Turn your oven on 450. Place 1/4 cup of your warmed sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Take your chicken and pour into the baking dish, pour the rest of the sauce on top of the chicken evenly. Place in the oven for 5 minutes and after those 5 minutes turn the pan around and leave in the oven for another 5 minutes.

Place in a bowl your rice, vegetables, chicken and then pour the sauce over top. All that’s left is to enjoy with a nice glass of wine or SAKI!

Teriyaki Chicken Salad

Today is the day your teriyaki dreams come true!! This is a new twist on a very common favorite: chicken salad. My future mother-in-law gave me this amazing recipe. She made this for me when I was visiting over Christmas time and came down with a little fever (She’s the best!!)

This is super easy to make, just takes a crock pot and about 4 hours and voila! For about 4 servings worth, (I tend to over due it on the salad portion) you will need 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (trimming fat and rinsing of course!) Place the chicken and all of the ingredients into a slow cooker. Cook on low for about 4 hours. After about 1 1/2 hours you should be able to shred the chicken, this way all of the flavors will blend in together and taste delicious 🙂

Once it’s all cooked, drain the liquid remaining and place the chicken into a bowl. Add mayo until it reaches the right consistency for you. And Enjoy on some toast, crackers, whatever you would like!!

What you’ll need:

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 Tbsp honey
1 clove garlic
1 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/4 cup olive oil
Toast (I thought our Honey Wheat bread tasted great with this!)

  

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Better Than Takeout Asian Beef Strips

If you know anything about me and my favorite foods, you can guess that I love this recipe! It took some convincing on RJ’s part to let me make this (he is not a big Asian food fan) but the second he learned it was beef, he agreed to try it! I was pretty excited when I read the ingredients because it contains many things I already have in my kitchen. The only things I needed to buy were the basmati rice and steak! I also added some veggies to this dish, julienned carrots, onion, and broccoli. I think next time I will also add water chestnuts and baby corn! The one thing I love about Asian food is that there are so many different ingredients you can add and subtract to make your own unique meal! Never hesitate to try something you think will be good, because in most cases you will impress yourself with your creativity.

A little bit about Basmati rice if you haven’t heard of it before or have never cooked it before. It is grown mostly in India and is known by its fragrance. It has a light and almost sweet smelling aroma, it tastes very fresh. It’s not sticky like many other varieties of rice that you might cook. I believe it goes very well with this dish!

To start, you will want to whisk together the orange juice, orange zest, ginger, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, and red pepper flakes. I took the liberty of also adding some Chinese five spice into the mix. (I used about a tsp). Whisk until well blended, and taste to make sure it is to your liking, I ended up adding a little more honey than the recipe called to mine.

Take your flank steak, rinse with cool water, and cut into long strips about the length of your first finger (or about 1/4in slices). Now take the cut strips and place in the sauce, coat. Cover well or place in a freezer bag and refrigerate for 2 or more hours to marinate.

Take your veggies and rinse them off. Peel the carrots and julienne into strips. Cut your broccoli into “trees”. Dice your onion.

Your rice will take the longest to cook, so begin following your package directions. Mine took about 20-25 minutes to cook. Once cooked, place in a strainer and rinse with warm water. Your rice should not come out of the wholes in the strainer because it has stuck together and thickened.

While the rice is cooking, heat oil in a wok or large skillet on medium high heat, swirl to coat the skillet all around. Take the meat and separate it from the marinate. Add the cornstarch to the marinate and whisk until well blended. Stir-fry the meat and veggies for 5 minutes, add the marinate and cook until thickened with a lid over top (this will help steam the veggies to make them soft).

Once cooked, take off the heat. Add the rice to your bowl, then the meat and veggies on top, take a spoon and poor the sauce over top. Serve.

What you’ll need:

1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp minced orange zest
1 tbsp minced fresh peeled ginger
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
Pinch of red pepper flakes

2 lbs flank steak (you may not see it at the store under this name, I found mine under the name “London Broil” and it will should say center cut, it is the same type of meat)
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp canola oil (you can also use vegetable oil)
1 tbsp sesame oil
3-4 cups of basmati rice