MENU: Dinner for 5 in an hour (or so)

With three children, we don’t do a lot of eating out (a familiar refrain, I am sure). However,  a pleasant consequence of our “housebound” status is that we entertain a lot. After many years of devising complicated menus that had us sitting down to eat at 10:00-ish (right Emma), it finally occurred to me that the name of the game is choosing dishes that don’t require 87 steps to create. So, when good friends were due over a few Saturdays ago, I devised the following plan:

  • Grilled Flank Steak with a “Pacific Rim” Glaze
  • Steamed New Potatoes with Fresh Chives
  • Grilled Asparagus and Sweet Peppers
  • Vanilla ice cream with fresh berries and Hot Fudge Sauce

The flank steak is inspired by a recipe I found while cruising the Saveur website. I was immediately sold on the “serve with sliced oranges and sprigs of rosemary”, as it sounded so fresh and summery. I have played with the original recipe a bit, adjusting the honey and OJ and adding some soy and ginger in an effort to dial down the sweetness a bit.

Steak & Marinade

  • 1 c. teriyaki sauce
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1/3 c. fresh orange juice
  • 1 Tsp. dark sesame oil
  • 2 Tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 large clove of garlic, peeled and smashed (go for 2 if you love garlic as much as I do)
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ginger
  • liberal amounts of fresh ground pepper
  • 1.5 – 2lb flank steak
  • orange slices
  • rosemary spears


  • 1.5 lb of fresh new potatoes (red or white, whatever your preference)
  • 1 bunch of chives
  • olive oil (or butter, whatever you prefer)
  • coarse salt
  • 1 lb of fresh asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 sweet pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • olive oil

T – 60 minutes:

1 ) Whisk all of the ingredients for the marinade into a shallow non-reactive dish that is large enough to hold your flank steak. Reserve 1 c. of the marinade and put it in a small saucepan on the stove (do not start to cook yet).

2 ) Score your flank steak on both sides with a paring knife in a criss-cross pattern and add to marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for 30 minutes, turning once at the 15 minute mark.

T – 50 minutes

3 ) While your steak is doing its thing, wash and quarter your new potatoes and set up your steamer. As well, now is a good time to wash and trim your asparagus and slice your sweet peppers into very thin strips (a little thicker than matchsticks, but any length will do).

4 ) Set asparagus and sweet peppers in shallow dish and give them a glug of olive oil and season with coarse salt and pepper. Mix around so that all of the aspargus is coated.

T-35 minutes

5 ) Be sure to turn your flank steak and spread some of the marinade around on the top. Recover and return to fridge.

6) Slice oranges into thin slices, pick the seeds out (if any) and arrange on your serving platter. The steak will sit on top of these, so you can arrange them around the edges of your plate for a nice presentation. Pray there’s room in your fridge to leave the platter. If not, cover with plastic wrap.

T- 30 minutes

7 ) Fire up the grill on high and make sure you use some sort of olive oil or spray as this marinade has a lot of sugar and is prone to sticking to your grill. NOTE: If you are luck enough to have a “grill man” in the house, now is the time to recruit him/her.

8 ) Start the water in your steamer boil.

T – 20 minutes

9) Grab the steak from the fridge and pop it on the grill. Grilling time will vary a bit on the thickness of your steak, but the idea is that you want to shoot for about 5 – 7 minutes a side. I like my steak with quite a bit of pink in the middle, so I am closer to 5 minutes, but if you are like my friend Jeff C., you would prefer to err well on the 7 minutes a side of things.

T – 10 minutes

10) Pop your asparagus and peppers into a grilling basket and set those on the grill…the closer you can get them to the high-heat area of your BBQ the better (our grill is so small that we have 2 zones…high head and no heat).

11) Turn the heat on for your sauce bring to a gentle boil for about 5 minutes.

12) Remove potatoes from steamer and add your choice of butter or olive oil. Chop up some chives and a pinch of coarse salt. Give them a good toss and cover until you are ready to serve.

T-5 Minutes

13) Get your serving plate for the steak out and remove your steak from the grill. Cut the steak into medium-thin pieces across the grain (this is important, it will make the steak far more tender to chew). Arrange on platter and garnish with a few rosemary sprigs and any orange slices you have left.

14) Remove asparagus from the grill and place in serving dish (I usually put it on the same platter as the steak). Give it a squirt from a fresh lemon and serve.


NOTE: For those of you who would like to try the orginal recipe, you can find it here: Pacific Rim Glazed Flank Steak at Saveur.


2 thoughts on “MENU: Dinner for 5 in an hour (or so)

  1. Hi K,

    Looking fwd to reading more of your kitchen explorations! I have a big interest in cooking & flavour combinations. I like to try out new recipes & feel confident now about tweaking them to suit our palates better. I would love to be the kind of cook to be able to whip up a decent meal on the fly & know what flavour combos really work. Baby steps….my main concern now is lunches to pack for Luke for school.

    Have a good rest of the summer. I’ll check back from time to time.

  2. Love your blog K. I remember that Chicken recipe well. It was just fabulous. And I’m doubly pleased that you’ve shared that flank steak recipe. Oooh man, that was good! You’ve got a real talent in the kitchen K. There’s a whole new career out there waiting for you! Thanks for sharing. Catherine

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