Spicy Orange Beef

This is a public service announcement in the name of friendship and dinner.  Listen up!

The other day, a best girlfriend of mine (this one's for you Kippy) handed me a friendship reality check.  It was probably overdue.  She was totally in the right!

You see, I've known her since we were three.  We've bonded over a freak McDonald's cheeseburger with two top buns, high-kicking idiots in our dance class, and SNL's take on Romanian gymnastics coaches.  (Don't ask.  Just...I can't.)  She once threw her shoes at me during an all-out screaming match.  I love her to death.

She's my side-kick.  My sister from another mister.  You get it.

There's no doubt that the security of this lifelong friendship has made the geographical distance between us a non-issue, but it's also made me pretty lazy when it comes to keeping in touch.  What can I say?  That I despise the phone because I spend the majority of my day on it?  That I'm so busy with life that I can't seem to schedule a weekly phone date?

No excuses!   This is friendship maintenance 101.   Get it together.

After a teensy misunderstanding, mainly because I lacked a smidge of consideration, we realized it had been ages since we had a good chat and cleared the air.  And then I got to thinking about my priorities. 

How much time do I invest in my friendships?  How often do I put off a phone call because I'm too busy doing other things that, at the time, seem more important? 

Turns out, this happens quite often.  Shame on me.  But, we're human!  It happens to the best of us.  Thankfully the truest friends are the ones who understand and love you anyway.

And thankfully I keep Cooking Light's "Superfast" section handy for when a quick phone call turns into a much-needed and much-enjoyed gab sesh.  These recipes are literally super fast to put together: twenty minutes or less, no fuss, no melt downs.  Good nutrition and great taste only.

This super fast orange beef stir fry is a perfect weeknight meal.  Tender sirloin steak combines with a spicy, tangy orange sauce, giving it rich and exotic flavor.  And the best part?  Versatility!  Serve it over rice or chinese noodles, and bulk it up with as many veggies as your family can handle.  I added green peppers to the sauce, and we ate it over rice with a side of steamed broccoli.  It was a huge hit!

Moral of my story?  Call your bestie, and make your dinner.  You have time for both with this one, and your partner in crime will be grateful.  You'll feel pretty good too!

Spicy Orange Beef
Serves 4-6

1 (3-1/2 oz) bag of boil-in-a-bag brown rice
1 tsp bottled minced garlic
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 lb boneless sirloin steak, cut into 1/4 inch thick strips
1 tsp grated orange zest
1/4 c fresh orange juice
1 tbs cornstarch
2 tbs low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
3/4 c scallions, sliced into strips
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
Cook rice according to the package instructions.  Set aside and keep warm.
Meanwhile, combine the garlic, red pepper, and beef, tossing well.  I use a zip-lock bag for this.  It works great!

In a small bowl, combine orange zest, juice, cornstarch, and soy sauce.  Stir well with a whisk.

Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the beef mixture, scallions, and peppers, and saute for 2 minutes. 

Add the juice mixture, and cook for 2 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly, stirring frequently.

Serve beef mixture over rice and top with sauce.  Enjoy with broccoli or your favorite green vegetable.

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