Beef stroganoff makes for simple dinner

Courtesy of Cattlemen's Beef Board
Beef stroganoff
Courtesy of Cattlemen's Beef Board Beef stroganoff

SUNDAY (Family) -- Easy beef stroganoff (see recipe) will become a favorite at your house just as it is at ours. Add steamed fresh broccoli and whole-grain rolls. Buy a boston cream pie for dessert.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough pie for Monday.

SHOPPING LIST: sirloin tip steaks, garlic, vegetable oil, coarse salt, pepper, mushrooms, brown gravy mix, wide egg noodles, fresh parsley, sour cream, fresh broccoli, whole-grain rolls, Boston cream pie.

MONDAY (Express) -- For a good, quick meal, serve spaghetti and meat sauce tonight: Cook 12 ounces whole-grain spaghetti according to directions. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, cook 1 pound lean ground beef for 6 minutes or until no longer pink; stir in 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Combine cooked beef with 1 jar any nonmeat red pasta sauce. Bring to a boil over medium heat; reduce heat to low and simmer 8-10 minutes. Spoon sauce over spaghetti and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Add a packaged italian salad and garlic bread. Bring out the leftover pie for dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: whole-grain spaghetti, lean ground beef, Italian seasoning, jar nonmeat red pasta sauce, Parmesan cheese, packaged Italian salad, garlic bread.

TUESDAY (Kids) -- Bake your own pizza for a make-the-kids-happy meal. Munch on celery sticks stuffed with lower-fat cream cheese on the side. For dessert, halve some kiwis and scoop the fruit with a spoon.

SHOPPING LIST: ingredients for pizza, celery sticks, lower-fat cream cheese, kiwis.

WEDNESDAY (Budget) -- Meatball and vegetable soup with pasta (see recipe) is colorful and easy to prepare. Serve it with a red-tipped lettuce salad and cornbread (from mix). Pineapple chunks make a good dessert.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough soup for Thursday.

SHOPPING LIST: lower-sodium beef broth, canned cannellini beans, canned diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano, frozen cooked meatballs, frozen mixed vegetables, small pasta (such as elbow macaroni or small shells), fresh parsley, red-tipped lettuce, cornbread mix, pineapple chunks.

THURSDAY (Heat and Eat) -- You'll like the leftover soup better tonight after the flavors have had time to blend. Accompany the soup with a spinach and grape tomato salad and crusty rolls. For dessert, dip vanilla ice cream.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.

SHOPPING LIST: fresh spinach, grape tomatoes, crusty rolls, vanilla ice cream.

FRIDAY (Meatless) -- Egg salad sandwiches have always been one of my favorites, especially when they are on whole-grain toast with lettuce and tomatoes. Buy the egg salad or make your own. Add a pickle or two and some olives on the side. Serve with baked chips. Instant chocolate pudding made with 1 percent milk and topped with light whipped cream is a good dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: deli egg salad (or ingredients for your own), whole-grain bread, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, olives, baked chips, instant chocolate pudding mix, 1 percent milk, light whipped cream.

SATURDAY (Easy Entertaining) -- Serve your own grilled grouper to your guests tonight. Accompany the fish with this mango salsa: Combine 1 cup peeled and diced mango, 1 cup peeled and diced papaya, 1 tablespoon minced green onion, 1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeno pepper, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice and 1 tablespoon honey. Mix well and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Alongside, add orzo tossed with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and glazed baby carrots (see recipe). For dessert, top the leftover ice cream with raspberries and a little light whipped cream.

SHOPPING LIST: grouper to grill, mango, papaya, green onions, fresh jalapeno pepper, limes, honey, orzo, Parmesan cheese, baby carrots, butter, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, coarse salt, raspberries, light whipped cream.

------ The recipes Easy beef stroganoff (Sunday)

Servings: makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: less than 10 minutes

Ingredients

1 pound beef sirloin tip steaks, cut 1/8 to ¼ inch thick

1 teaspoon minced garlic

4 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided

¼ teaspoon coarse salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

½ pound mushrooms, cut into thick slices

¾ package (¾ ounce) brown gravy mix

1 cup cold water

4 cups cooked wide egg noodles

Snipped fresh parsley for garnish

Sour cream

Stack steaks; cut lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1-inch-wide strips. Toss with garlic. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add ½ of beef; stir-fry 1 minute or until outside surface of beef is no longer pink. (Do not overcook.) Remove. Repeat with remaining beef. Season with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in same skillet on medium-high. Add mushrooms; cook and stir 2 minutes or until tender. Remove skillet from heat. Add gravy mix and water; blend well. Return skillet to heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 1 minute or until sauce is thickened, stirring frequently. Stir in beef; heat through. Serve over noodles, garnish with chopped fresh parsley and pass the sour cream.

Per serving: 385 calories, 32 grams protein, 14 grams fat (33 percent calories from fat), 3.6 grams saturated fat, 33 grams carbohydrate, 115 milligrams cholesterol, 459 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.

------ Meatball and vegetable soup with pasta (Wednesday)

Servings: makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

3 (14-ounce) cans lower-sodium beef broth

1 (15-ounce) can rinsed cannellini beans

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano, with liquid

1 (12- to 16-ounce) package frozen cooked meatballs, thawed

1 (10-ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables

1 cup small pasta (such as elbow macaroni or small shells)

Snipped fresh parsley for garnish

In a Dutch oven, combine broth, beans, tomatoes, meatballs and vegetables. Bring to a boil; stir in pasta. Return to boiling; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until pasta is tender. Ladle into bowls; garnish with parsley.

Per serving: 263 calories, 13 grams protein, 11 grams fat (36 percent calories from fat), 4.6 grams saturated fat, 29 grams carbohydrate, 20 milligrams cholesterol, 915 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.

------ Glazed baby carrots (Saturday)

Servings: makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 8-10 minutes

Ingredients

1 (16-ounce) package baby carrots

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon coarse salt

Cook carrots in boiling water 8-10 minutes or until tender; drain and return to pot. Immediately add butter, sugar, cinnamon and salt; stir to coat carrots evenly.

Per serving: 55 calories, 1 gram protein, 2 grams fat (36 percent calories from fat), 1.3 grams saturated fat, 9 grams carbohydrate, 5 milligrams cholesterol, 91 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

Carb count: 0.5.

Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email: [email protected]. The Menu Planner is also accessible at 7daymenuplanner.com.

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