- Cooking Time (Including Prep): 30 Minutes
When I saw this beef-and-broccoli recipe on Linda Etherton’s blog GlutenFreeHomemaker.com, I knew I wanted to try it out for myself. The instructions seemed easy to follow, the end-result sounded tasty and the required ingredients are gluten free, which is a medical must for me. When replicating the dish, I took a few convenient shortcuts so the meal prep would be even easier and everything came together in less than thirty minutes, which is always a plus in my household.
Although Linda’s a savvy homemaker who minces her own fresh ginger and garlic gloves in addition to chopping up onion and handling a full head of broccoli, I’m a reach-into-the-freezer-or-pantry kind of a gal. Hence, my under-ten minutes of prep was admittedly unique, including steps like setting the microwave to a defrost setting so the frozen hamburger would start to thaw and making sure I know how to convert the measurement for minced garlic into one for garlic powder.
After verifying that I did, in fact, have in my possession all of the necessary ingredients so I wouldn’t have to desperately run to the store again, I threw some rice and water into my go-to rice cooker. If you do this step at the beginning, a satisfying bed of grains will be ready and waiting for you when it comes time to serve the meal. Conversely, if you put this step off thinking “I’ll get to that in a minute,” the meaty topping will easily be done before you know it–and before you actually started cooking your rice.
I poured some extra light olive oil into a heated frying pan and added some pre-chopped onions, which conveniently live in my freezer. (Yes, even if you call me a cheater, I’ll take that over stinging eyes any day of the week.) Linda pointed out that mushrooms are optional so I took that counsel to heart and opted out, but a fungus lover will easily want to throw some mushroom slices into the pan while sautéeing the onions, which only took a few minutes on medium heat in my case.
Meanwhile, I rounded up all the seasonings I needed: ground ginger, garlic powder, ground black pepper and some good old salt. Of course, when substituting in ground ingredients for freshly minced counterparts, one-to-one ratios are often disastrous. Thankfully, Team Internet had me covered and I opted for only a fraction of what the original recipe calls for. I also skimped on the salt since I eat enough junk food to cover my daily sodium needs, but that’s just a personal choice.
I pulled my defrosted ground beef from the microwave and piled it on top of my softened onions before adding in the ground-version of the called-for seasonings. Needless to say, raw hamburger is not the prettiest sight so perhaps I should’ve spared you the image. If your appetite has decreased as a consequence, you have my apologies. I gave the contents of the pan a good stir and continued to let the stovetop do its job on medium heat.
The way Linda prepares this dish results in broccoli that’s lightly steamed rather than stir fried, which made a light bulb go off in my head: “if the end goal is a steamed veggie, why don’t I just throw a frozen Steamfresh bag into the microwave now?” Hence, as my ground beef was browning, my broccoli cuts were already steaming. Whether that’s lazy or logical, you can be the judge.
For the beef broth, I combined a smidgen of gluten-free beef base with hot water. Technically, you’re supposed to bring water to a rolling boil over high heat before stirring in the base and simmering the combo for a minute. Predictably, I opted for a simpler route: microwaving the water until it was boiling and then stirring in the base without any of the simmering business. The results were still great.
After pouring the beef broth into the browned hamburger, I added the already steamed broccoli into the pan, but I still put a lid on top to let all of the delicious flavors merge while I got out a plate and checked on the rice. Thankfully, my rice cooker didn’t let me down–the auto-warm setting had automatically kicked in after cooking was complete. I dished up a bed of white rice and then piled on some ginger-infused, onion-flavored, broccoli-accented ground beef.
Although ground beef paired with broccoli and rice isn’t a meal you’d necessarily write home about, the results–including the taste–were good overall. The way I made the meal, I ended up spending just-under ten minutes prepping and about twenty minutes cooking. The most time-consuming part was simply browning the hamburger, which is the kind of low-pressure task I can get behind. If you want a quick, easy and inexpensive homemade dinner to serve a gluten-free crowd, this dish certainly fits the bill.