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Beef stir fry makes for an inexpensive, quick meal

Bonnie S. Benwick

Eating Well food editor Jessie Price confirms that this dish, from the new "Eating Well on a Budget," has it all going on: It's thrifty, filling, easy to prepare and healthful.

Instead of the usual flavorings, this dish is made brighter with a sauce combining orange juice, peanut butter and soy sauce. Serve with udon noodles or brown rice; if you choose the noodles, toss them with a little sesame oil before topping them with the stir-fry.

Beef and Cabbage Stir-Fry With Peanut Sauce

1 lb. sirloin steak (may substitute eye of round or top round)

1/4 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped (optional)

1/4 cup smooth peanut butter

1/3 cup fresh orange juice

3 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce

1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

2 tsp. sugar

4 tsp. canola oil, divided

2 to 5 Tbsp. water, divided

3 medium cloves garlic, minced

1 small head cabbage, cored and cut into thin slices

2 medium carrots, grated

2 tsp. toasted sesame oil, for serving (optional)

If you have time, pop the steak in the freezer for 5 minutes while you prep the vegetables; that will make the meat easier to cut.

Whisk together the peanut butter, juice, soy sauce, vinegar and sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Heat 2 tsp. of the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, trim any visible fat from the steak. Cut the meat crosswise into very thin slices. Add the garlic to the hot oil and cook for 30 seconds, stirring so it doesn't burn. Add the steak and stir-fry for 2 to 4 minutes, until barely browned but not completely cooked through. Use tongs to transfer to a bowl.

Add the remaining 2 tsp. of oil to the wok or skillet. When it is hot, add cabbage and 2 Tbsp. of the water. Stir-fry for 3 to 5 minutes so the cabbage starts to wilt. Add carrots and water as needed to keep the vegetables from sticking. Return steak to the wok or skillet, along with any accumulated juices; stir to incorporate. Pour in peanut sauce and stir-fry to heat through and coat evenly.

Divide among individual wide, shallow bowls; if you're serving this stir-fry on top of noodles, sprinkle each portion with 1/2 tsp. of the toasted sesame oil before adding the stir-fry on top. Garnish with chopped peanuts, if using.

— From 'Eating Well on a Budget,' by Jessie Price and the Eating Well Test Kitchen (Countryman Press)