The other night, at the last second, (like an hour before people were coming), I found out that there would be eight for dinner. I thought it was just two of us, but when you have a big family, like Pete and I do, then this happens often! However, the last thing I had time or patience for was running to the store, so I made an easy and fast dinner stretching the ingredients I had on hand.
This was another reminder of why it is great to have a well stocked pantry, and plenty of fresh produce in the refrigerator all of the time. It just makes cooking easier and more appealing when you don’t have to run all over town every time you want to make something.
I really wanted to make a one-dish meal, which is casual, but very functional when feeding my family! Before I knew other people were coming to dinner, Pete and I had already planned to have flank steak. There were 2lbs of meat marinating in Kalbi marinade (you can find it in the refrigerator section at the grocery store). It is a sweet and spicy Asian marinade, and if you are going to be lazy and not make your own- this is a great one. While 2lbs of steak doesn’t sound like much for eight people, you can really make meat stretch with a salad.
Making a spicy sesame-peanut noodle dish was a great solution for bulking up the meal, and having an easy and delicious base for the dinner. The sauce is made of things that I always have in the pantry, and the salad is a simple, fresh addition to the spicy steak and noodles. Speaking of the noodles- I used this as a great opportunity to sneak organic whole-wheat spaghetti into my husbands diet. The whole-wheat noodles have a great brown color, and they are slightly chewier and nuttier in flavor than your basic white flour pasta.
For how easy and casual this dish is, it has a great “wow!” factor. The colors that come from the caramelized steak and the brightly colored vegetables are really festive. This salad is also great to serve as a side dish to a crowd, and can obviously be made without the steak, or with chicken or shrimp. And I know from personal experience, that it is great as cold leftovers the next day!
Spicy Sesame-Peanut Noodles with Fresh Salad and Asian Flank Steak
-32oz of whole-wheat spaghetti noodles
-1 red pepper, thinly sliced
-1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
-1 bunch of green onions, green and white parts, thinly sliced, (about 1 ½ cups)
-3 large carrots, peeled into very thin slices
-2 cups of finely shredded purple cabbage
-1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
-Rice wine vinegar
Spicy Sesame-Peanut Sauce:
-1 cup creamy peanut butter
-3 Tbs brown sugar
-½ cup of boiling water
-1 Tbs of sriracha, a hot chili sauce (2 Tbs if you like it spicy)
-2 tsp of sesame oil
-3 Tbs soy sauce
-1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
-1 large clove garlic, crushed or minced
-1” piece of fresh peeled ginger, crushed or minced
-Crunchy head lettuce, (iceberg lettuce)
-Toasted sesame seeds
-2lbs Flank Steak, marinated in Kalbi marinade
1) Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When the water is at a rolling boil, add the whole-wheat spaghetti.
2) Cook the noodles until al dente, because you really want them to still be a little chewy. Please do not overcook, or you will get a mushy mess once the noodles are tossed with the sauce!
3) When the noodles are al dente, drain them into a colander, and rinse them in cold water until they are no longer hot and have stopped cooking. Leave in the colander to drain.
4) Preheat the oven to broil.
5) While the noodles are cooking, get out a large mixing bowl. Add the Peanut butter and brown sugar, and start to mix together.
6) Add the ½ cup of boiling water, (I just dip into the boiling noodle water). The hot water should dissolve the sugar, and make it easy to mix the peanut butter into a smooth paste.
7) Add the Sriracha, sesame oil, soy sauce and vinegar, mixing it into the sauce. Add the garlic and the ginger to the sauce.
QUICK TIP: A heavy garlic press is a great way to handle the ginger. You peel the skin from the fresh ginger, and put the piece in the garlic press. When you go to crush the ginger, you will get all of the juice out of it, (which is the flavor), and a little of the pulp. You have spared yourself the mincing, and left out the stringy, fibrous texture of the leftover ginger root.
Set the sauce aside.
8) In a separate bowl lightly toss the vegetables together with a few dashes of rice wine vinegar. Put in the refrigerator to chill.
9) Put the flank steak into a Pyrex baking pan, and put in the oven under the broiler. Cook for about 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare.
10) Then pull out and let the meat rest for a few minutes. When the meat has rested and slightly cooled, transfer to a cutting board. Slice the steak with the grain into very thin pieces.
11) Transfer the drained, cooled noodles to the large bowl with the peanut- sesame sauce. Gently toss to coat all of the noodles. Mix in about half of the chilled vegetables, reserving the rest.
12) In a large shallow serving bowl, I take some large leaves of head lettuce, and make a “nest” for the salad. Pile the noodles into the “nest”, and top it with the rest of the vegetable salad.
13) Sprinkle everything with a generous amount of toasted sesame seeds. I then put the flank steak on top of the vegetables, and garnish everything with sprigs of fresh cilantro.Print Recipe