A one-dish meal that is great for a full house or an empty nest

By Brenda Stanley

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Nov. 2 2012 5:05 p.m. MDT

Belle's Steak and Pasta Stir Fry is a one-dish meal.

Brenda Stanley

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I’m not sure why, but now that Dave and I are “empty nesters,” I seem to have fewer hours in the day than when the kids were all young. I hear this comment as well from people who are retired. Is it that we are busier or just not as efficient with our time now that we aren’t obligated to be? I find that my priorities have gone from making sure the homework is done and the bills are paid to making sure I get my Sunday nap. Life is certainly different when it whittles down to just the two of you.

When it comes to preparing meals for two people, sometimes you feel it will be easier just to pick something up or grab a pizza from the freezer. But regardless of what I hear from reports, I find that fixing meals at home is cheaper, and I know it is better for you.

I love one-pan meals. They are not only easy to plan and prepare, but the combination of flavors makes these dishes really special. I try to use a combination of meat, starch and vegetables. One of my favorites is my steak and pasta stir fry. It is perfect for using zucchini and tomatoes out of the garden, but it also is a hearty dish with seasoned steak and cheese filled tortellini.

Like many of my favorite recipes, I created this out of necessity. I had no recipe, but went through my fridge and found what I had on hand. It is now one of my favorite go-to dishes. And even better, you can make as much or as little as you want. Just reduce the amounts and cook in a smaller pan.

Belle’s Steak and Pasta Stir Fry

2 cups frozen cheese filled tortellini

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cups asparagus (trimmed and cut into 1 inch slices) or 2 cups sliced zucchini

3 green onions, chopped

1 pound rib eye or sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch strips

1 teaspoon garlic salt

½ teaspoon lemon pepper

1 teaspoon parsley flakes

Boil the pasta in lightly salted water for about 3 minutes. Drain. In a large fry pan, heat the oil and sauté the asparagus or zucchini and green onions until tender. Add the steak and cook for about 3 minutes or until brown, but still pink inside. Add the pasta and toss with the seasonings.

Brenda Stanley is the mother of five children, including two sets of twins, and a grandmother of three. She is a cookbook author and novelist. Her website is at talesofthedinnerbelle.com.

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