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Lazy Dinner: Soy-Orange Beef with Rice (and Other Variations)

Sometimes you want something really yummy for dinner but don’t want to put much effort into it. My go-to in those situations (if I’m not in the mood for pasta or takeout) is to just throw something in a pan with some sauce and make a pot of rice. One of my favorites is to just mix up some OJ and soy sauce, toss in some seasonings, and chow down on the delicious results. And the best part is, you can customize it however you want! (And that my ridiculously picky five-year-old will actually eat both components!)

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup uncooked white rice
  • 1 Tbsp. butter, margarine, or oil (optional)
  • Orange juice
  • Soy sauce
  • Honey
  • 1-1½ lb. beef strips
  • Seasonings: salt, ginger, onion powder, garlic powder
  • Corn starch or flour (optional)

Ingredients for soy-orange beef and rice, as listed above

Directions

In a measuring cup, mix about ¼ cup each of OJ and soy sauce (you can alter the ratio however you want to make it more or less sweet, but you’ll want about ½ cup total), then add enough water to bring the total to just over 2 cups. Bring to a boil in a small pot, adding butter/margarine/oil and a dash of salt if you want, then add the rice, cover, reduce heat, and cook according to the package directions, probably about 20 minutes. Be careful not to over-cook it; it’s best if it’s still a little bit juicy.

In a wok or large saucepan, cook the beef strips over medium-high heat until all the pieces are just browned. Remove the beef from the pan and drain all of the accumulated juices. Reduce heat to low, pour some OJ and soy sauce into the pan (no need to measure, just cover the bottom of the pan with a decent layer), add the seasonings (I don’t measure those either, just dump some in and taste it as you go) and a drizzle of honey, then add the beef back in and stir to coat. If you want a thicker sauce, you can stir in a little bit of corn starch or flour until you get the consistency you want. You can leave it in the sauce on low heat until the rice is done; that’s why we drained the beef before it was fully cooked through.

Beef strips in wok with soy sauce and orange juice

Be sure to save the sauce to spoon over the rice and so you can dunk the beef in it. It’s so good, you’ll keep piling more on your plate!

Yellow plate with a serving of soy-orange beef and rice.

Variations

  • Substitute brown rice or your favorite side dish for the white rice.
  • It’s fantastic with egg noodles — slightly undercook them and then stir them right into the beef mix if your pan is big enough, or remove the beef and add the noodles to the sauce in batches if your pan is too small. You may need to add more sauce or seasonings.
  • You can use fresh-squeezed oranges, but you’ll need a lot of them. I’m lazy, cheap, and always have OJ in the house, so I decided to try that and it’s just easier. But it’s really freaking good with fresh juice.
  • Add your choice of veggies. (Yeah, so my kiddo isn’t the only picky one in the house. Oops.)
  • Mix up the seasonings to add your favorites, or use fresh garlic and ginger if you’re in the mood for some mincing.
  • The sauce also works really well with pork; you can slice a pork chop or tenderloin into thin strips. Or try it with chicken, or shrimp.
  • Make it vegetarian or vegan by substituting your favorite non-beef protein and omitting the honey and butter if need be.
  • Use gluten-free soy sauce or replace the butter to make it dairy-free.
  • You can probably make it paleo-friendly but I can’t for the life of me remember those restrictions, so maybe not. You do you.
  • Throw it all in a slow cooker with a beef roast or pork loin to make shredded beef or pork. I just thought of this and will definitely be trying it soon!
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[E] Hillary

Hillary is a giant nerd and former Mathlete. She once read large swaths of "Why Evolution is True" and a geology book aloud to her infant daughter, in the hopes of a) instilling a love of science in her from a very young age and b) boring her to sleep. After escaping the wilds of Waco, Texas and spending the next decade in NYC, she currently lives in upstate New York, where she misses being able to get decent pizza and Chinese takeout delivered to her house. She lost on Jeopardy.

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