Quick & Easy Steak with Mushrooms and Bok Choy

jamieIf you have as many chef crushes as I do, here’s some good news: you don’t have to break up with your favorite chefs in order to lose weight, you just have to redefine your relationships…

And here’s a Jamie Oliver “recipe re-do” to prove the point:  Skinny Steak with Mushrooms, Bok Choy and Gingered Tamari Sauce.

From the moment Jamie burst on the scene–with dishes that were both simple and sophisticated, and a style of cooking that was casual and fun–I was a fan; never questioning his recipes, I just cooked. But now, 30+ pounds lighter and with an eye on the health of everyone in my family, I do question the ingredients and instructions for every recipe I make and, though I still adore Jamie and his dishes, I happily alter them.

Found in Happy Days with the Naked Chef, the original version of this quick and easy recipe calls for one 8-ounce sirloin steak per person. Without getting into the other health risks of eating too much red meat, it’s just an awful lot of fat and calories…32 grams of fat, to be exact, and roughly 500 calories–about a third of the calories I need in an entire day… And I’m not talking about the fat and calories in the whole meal,  just the portion of the plate that’s protein!

By reducing that super-sized portion of beef and using meat-mimicking magic mushrooms to fill out the plate you can still enjoy the taste and sensation of a beef dinner but with half the fat, cholesterol and calories.

steakunwrappedAnd since you’re using less meat, you might want to use better meat; by choosing healthier grass fed beef over factory farmed and corn fed beef, you cut even more calories and fat.

And the cost of this better beef can be controlled by the cut you choose.

If you’re feeling fancy and flush, two 4-ounce grass-fed tenderloin filets run about 16 dollars at Whole Foods. If that’s too pricey, you can spend about 10 dollars for a well-trimmed and grass-fed 8 ounce New York Strip that easily serves 2; or, for just a couple of bucks per serving, you can buy grass-fed skirt steak which, if cooked properly, is just as tender and delicious as the fancier cuts.

And you can choose different varieties of mushrooms according to your budget, purpose or mood, too…

If cooking for company, you can serve filets with an assortment of fancy funghi like oyster, shiitake or chanterelle mushrooms; or  use sliced portobello mushrooms and layer them with the sliced New York strip.

roastedchineselongbeansIf cooking on an average weeknight, you can saute simple brown cremini mushrooms and scatter them over the inexpensive skirt steak.

It’s also easy to vary the other veg, too.

Rather than bok choy, try using spinach, chard or kale, oven roasted asparagus or Chinese long beans, haricots verts or regular green beans..nestled under the steak and doused with the flavorful sauce, they’ll all be delicious!

(By the way, I did fool around with Jamie’s sauce just a bit…by removing the 2 tablespoons of oil–no one misses it–I cut 240 calories…And by switching out soy sauce for tamari, the dish is now wheat and gluten free.)

So, remember, you don’t have to break up with your favorite chefs as you get skinny–you can still buy their books and be inspired by their recipes–but, like Oprah says, a good relationship is a two-way street, don’t be afraid to take the wheel!


(This recipe is written for two, feel free to cut in half or multiply.)

1 well-trimmed 8 ounce New York strip steak (or an 8 ounce piece of skirt steak, or two 4-ounce tenderloin filets)

4 baby choy (or substitute spinach, kale, chard, asparagus, broccoli or any green bean you like.)

2 large portobello mushrooms or 4 cups mixed mushrooms

salt and pepper


1/2 cup tamari (a wheat-free soy sauce)

1 t minced garlic

2 T freshly grated ginger

1/2 to 2 t minced hot pepper (any variety you like)

juice of one large, juicy lime (2-3 T juice)

Prepare the Sauce: Make sure you taste the lime juice to make sure it’s sweet and not bitter; and taste the pepper, too, so you can adjust the amount you add according to how much heat you like.

Prepare bok choy: Cut the bok choy in half, lengthwise, and rinse well to remove hidden dirt. If cooking for more than 2, blanch in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5-7 minutes and drain well. (If cooking for one, you can simply use the pan you’ll cook the meat and mushrooms in to save the washing of another pot.)

Prepare the meat and mushrooms: Slice the mushrooms and season them, and the meat, with a tiny bit of salt and pepper. Preheat a non-stick pan over medium high heat for a minute or two and then spray with cooking oil.

When oil is hot, add meat.  For New York strip, filets or sirloin cuts, cook for about 2-4 minutes, flip and cook 2-4 minutes more until it reaches the state of doneness you prefer.  (If using skirt steak, however, sear only a minute and a half on each side…cooking beyond medium rare will make that cut tough.) When meat is done, remove from heat and let rest a few minutes before slicing.

Cook the mushrooms: Spray your pan with cooking spray and heat for a minute before adding mushrooms. If cooking for 1 or two, and your pan is large enough, you can add mushrooms at the same time you’re cooking the steak, otherwise cook mushrooms afterward while the meat is resting. On medium high heat, it will take a total of 5-6 minutes. To achieve the nice golden color, don’t stir or toss the mushrooms for the first 2-3 minutes.

To Serve: Plate the greens. If you cooked them before the meat and they’ve cooled off too much, toss them in the hot pan for a moment or two before you plate.

If using the New York strip steak…slice the steak and layer the meat with the portobello slices.

If using tenderloin filets, perch the filets on a bed of mushrooms and add more on top with the vegetables on the side.

Or if using skirt steak, pile those delicious mushrooms under, on, or around the meat and veg.

No matter which cut you use, drizzle all of the meat, mushrooms and greens with the yummy sauce and enjoy!!

By the way…I don’t think our favorite chef crushes–especially Jamie, who is leading a food revolution- would be crushed by any  healthy recipe re-do, I think the good ones might even be proud…


After 25 years as a local and network anchor, Lisa McRee was just another American mother struggling, and failing, to lose weight. Finally, she cracked the code, and lost 30 pounds, quickly and for good, by doing what she loves: reporting, cooking and eating! Visit The Skinny to see how she did it.