Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry; Skillet Penne with Sausage, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Spinach; Skillet Pizza with Broccoli and Red Onion

One Grocery Bag Makes Three Dinners


1 1/2 pounds flank steak
1 pound Italian sausage
8 ounces mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 pounds broccoli florets
2 carrots
6 ounces baby spinach
1 red onion
1 knob fresh ginger
1 (1-pound) package ­store-bought pizza dough
1 1/4 cups oil-packed ­sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon sesame seeds


Parmesan cheese
Garlic (10 cloves)
Chicken broth
Soy sauce
Red pepper flakes
Vegetable oil
Extra-virgin olive oil

Dinner 1: Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry



Why This Recipe Works: The key to stir-frying is ensuring that the pan is hot enough to sear the meat, deepen the flavors, and evaporate the excess liquid, all in a matter of minutes. We wanted to take advantage of this technique to make a flavorful beef and broccoli stir-fry. Because a stir-fry comes together so quickly, it was critical to get all the ingredients organized ahead of time. Prepping extra broccoli also helped us save time when we made our Skillet Pizza with Broccoli and Red Onion (see below) later in the week. Slicing the steak very thin ensured that it was in and out of the skillet quickly, reducing the risk of overcooking. A simple combination of hoisin sauce, water, and soy sauce flavored with sautéed ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes gave our stir-fry bold flavor without making our ingredient list too long.


To make slicing the steak easier, freeze it for 20 minutes first. When toasting the sesame seeds in a dry skillet, be sure to shake the pan frequently to prevent them from burning. Serve this dish with white rice.

1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 pounds flank steak, trimmed and sliced thin across grain
1 pound broccoli florets, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch-long matchsticks
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

1. Whisk hoisin, 1/4 cup water, and soy sauce together in bowl; set aside. Combine 1 teaspoon oil, ginger, garlic, and pepper flakes in small bowl.

2. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add half of beef, breaking up any clumps, and cook without stirring for 1 minute. Stir beef and continue to cook until beef is browned around edges, about 30 seconds; transfer to separate bowl. Repeat with 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and remaining beef; transfer to bowl.

3. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in now-empty skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add broccoli, carrots, and onion and cook for 30 seconds. Add remaining 1/4 cup water, cover skillet, and lower heat to medium. Steam vegetables until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Push vegetables to sides of skillet. Add ginger-garlic mixture to center of skillet and cook, mashing mixture into skillet, until fragrant, 15 to 20 seconds. Stir mixture into vegetables.

4. Return beef with any accumulated juices to skillet and toss to combine. Whisk sauce to recombine, then add to skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened and evenly distributed, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.


• Cut remaining 1/2 pound broccoli florets into 1-inch pieces. Refrigerate broccoli in zipper-lock bag for up to 4 days.
• Slice remaining onion thin. Refrigerate onion in zipper-lock bag for up to 4 days. Rinse before using.

Dinner 2: Skillet Penne with Sausage, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Spinach



Why This Recipe Works: For a fast one-dish pasta dinner, we combined penne with hot Italian sausage and ready-to-cook baby spinach. Chopped sun-dried tomatoes provided big, bold flavor (and also came in handy for a simple yet vibrant sauce for our skillet pizza later in the week). We kept cleanup to a minimum by building the sauce and cooking the pasta right in the skillet. A combination of chicken broth and water provided enough liquid to cook the pasta, and leaving the pan uncovered allowed the sauce to reduce, intensifying its flavor. The starch released from the pasta helped to thicken the sauce. Stirring in the spinach at the end kept its color and flavor bright.

The spinach may seem like a lot at first, but it wilts down substantially. Other pasta shapes can be substituted for the penne; however, their cup measurements may vary.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound hot or sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
8 ounces (2 1/2 cups) penne
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed and chopped fine
Salt and pepper
6 ounces (6 cups) baby spinach
Grated Parmesan cheese

1. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add sausage and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Stir in broth, water, pasta, tomatoes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to vigorous simmer and cook, stirring often, until pasta is tender and sauce has thickened, 15 to 18 minutes.

3. Stir in spinach, 1 handful at a time, and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with Parmesan.

TEST KITCHEN TIP: Removing Sausage from Its Casing

Italian sausage is sold in several forms, including links, bulk-style tubes, and patties. If using links, remove the meat from the casing before cooking so that it can be crumbled into small, bite-size pieces. To remove sausage from its casing, hold sausage firmly on one end and squeeze sausage out of opposite end.

Dinner 3: Skillet Pizza with Broccoli and Red Onion



Why This Recipe Works: We wanted to come up with an easier, quicker way to make pizza at home. Our idea was to build the pizza in a skillet, giving the crust a jump start with heat from the stovetop, then transfer it to the oven to cook through—no pizza stone required. The broccoli florets left over from our stir-fry were the perfect choice for a hearty vegetable topping. The bold flavors of red onion and garlic paired well with the mild broccoli, and a quick steam in the microwave gave the veggies a head start, so they were perfectly tender atop the finished pizza. Rather than reach for store-bought pizza sauce, we created a simple yet assertive spread using the sun-dried tomatoes we used in our skillet penne dish. To make the oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes serve double duty, we used their flavorful packing oil both in our spread and in the skillet to brown the crust. To ensure the crispest crusts, we cooked the pizzas over high heat on the stovetop just until the bottoms began to brown, then transferred them to a 500-degree oven to melt the cheese and finish cooking through. A mixture of mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses rounded out our hearty veggie pizzas.

It’s important that the pizza dough be at room temperature so that it will stretch and stay put in the skillet to create an even, crisp crust.

3/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, plus 1/4 cup packing oil
1/2 cup warm tap water
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces broccoli florets, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
1 (1-pound) package store-bought pizza dough
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (2 cups)
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1 cup)

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Process tomatoes, 2 tablespoons tomato packing oil, 1/4 cup water, one-third of garlic, and salt in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

2. Combine broccoli, onion, remaining 1/4 cup water, and remaining garlic in large bowl, cover, and microwave until broccoli is tender, about 2 minutes; drain well.

3. Divide dough in half. Press and roll 1 piece of dough (keep other piece covered) into 11-inch round on lightly floured counter. Grease 12-inch ovensafe skillet with 1 tablespoon tomato packing oil, then lay dough in skillet and reshape as needed. Spread half of tomato mixture on dough, leaving 1/2-inch border at edge, and sprinkle with half each of mozzarella, broccoli-onion mixture, and Parmesan.

4. Set skillet over high heat and cook until edge of crust has set and bottom is spotty brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and bake pizza until edges are brown and cheese is melted and spotty brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Carefully remove skillet from oven (skillet handle will be hot) and slide pizza onto wire rack. Let cool slightly before serving. Being careful of hot skillet handle, wipe out skillet using paper towels. Let skillet cool slightly, then repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon tomato packing oil, dough, tomato mixture, mozzarella, broccoli-onion mixture, and Parmesan. Serve.

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