(Family Features) No matter what the latest taste trend or hot new celebrity-endorsed recipe, you can always count on a few classic home-style standards to make a comeback around this time every year. Typically known as “comfort foods” for their ability to soothe and warm the soul, these familiar dishes not only taste delicious, but also make us feel warm and fuzzy all over — and are especially welcoming during the chill of the colder months. Perhaps Grandma’s famed chicken noodle soup comes to mind, or Dad’s special meatballs with marinara. Maybe it’s Mom’s ultra-gooey, rich mac ’n’ cheese, your own fork-tender pot roast or delicious turkey and stuffing holiday leftovers.
Whatever the dish, though, all comfort foods have one thing in common — we turn to them for relief when we’re tired, stressed, under-the-weather or simply looking for a taste of home. They are typically simple, hearty, uncomplicated meals, informal and inexpensive to prepare, yet immensely satisfying to those lucky enough to be served them.
Three comfort classics that never seem to go out of style are pot roast, shepherd’s pie and beef stroganoff. The recipes included here require no extensive prep or unusual ingredients, so they’re easy to whip up, even on a weeknight.
The slow cooker pot roast offers a particularly convenient alternative to last-minute cooking, since the prep all occurs in the morning, leaving the roast to cook to tender perfection all day. By using some convenient comfort food shortcuts on your ingredient list, such as Heinz® HomeStyle Savory Beef Gravy and Wyler’s® Beef Bouillon cubes, you can add an extra layer of flavor to the roast, without the fuss of making gravy from scratch. The pot roast also includes a healthy helping of veggies, so it could easily become a complete meal with fresh bread or a green salad.
If you’re looking for a comfort food that doubles as a one-dish wonder — shepherd’s pie has it all. It includes the meat, vegetables and starch most of us associate with a complete home-style meal. Plus, using prepared Ore-Ida® Mashed Potatoes to top the pie eliminates the laborious task of making mashed potatoes from scratch. Also, if you’re craving a comfort food with some added interest, try this creamy beef stroganoff. It’s simple to make and serves up a delicious plate of savory chunks of beef tenderloin, sautéed mushrooms and steaming noodles. And, if you want to add a little extra flare, try pairing it with a glass of merlot. That’s sure to offer some added warmth and a new level of sophistication.
So, with these simple, home-cooking classics in your culinary arsenal this season, there’s no need to rush out and purchase the latest “cookbook du jour.” Just stick to the basics this season and you’ll be sure to find some classic convenience, comfort and good taste.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves 6 to 8
- 1 pound sirloin steak (cut into thin strips) or 1 pound lean ground beef
- 2 cups (8 ounces) sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1/4 cup margarine or butter
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon Wyler’s Beef Flavored Granules or 3 bouillon cubes
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 8 ounces wide egg noodles, prepared according to package directions
- Chopped parsley, optional
- In large skillet, over medium-high heat, cook and stir steak, mushrooms and onion in margarine until steak is browned and vegetables are tender. Reduce heat to medium. Add flour to thicken, if desired; cook and stir 1 minute. Add water and bouillon; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in sour cream; heat through. (Do not boil.) Serve with hot noodles. Garnish with parsley if desired.
Slow Cooker Savory Pot Roast
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 to 10 hours
Serves 6 to 8
- 3 pounds bottom round beef roast
- 1 Wyler’s Mrs. Grass Reduced Sodium Onion Recipe, Soup and Dip Mix pouch
- 1 jar (12 ounces) Heinz HomeStyle Savory Beef Gravy
- 2 Wyler’s Beef Bouillon Cubes or 2 teaspoons Wyler’s Beef Granules
- 1 can (14 1/2-ounces) diced tomato with basil, garlic and oregano
- 2 cups water
- 3 cups mixed vegetables, such as sliced carrots, cut green beans, diced redskin potatoes, green peas, sliced celery
- In large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray, brown beef over medium-high heat 8 to 10 minutes, turning occasionally.
- Combine soup mix, 1 jar of gravy, bouillon and diced tomato in 5-quart slow cooker. Add water and stir well. Add beef and turn until well coated. Cover and cook on low heat setting 8 to 10 hours, turning occasionally.
- Add mixed vegetables during last 2 hours, stirring occasionally. When vegetables are tender, remove beef from cooker. Slice or shred beef as desired, and serve with vegetables and sauce.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 to 30 minutes
Serves 4 to 6
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 jar (12 ounces) Heinz HomeStyle Savory Beef Gravy
- 1 package (10 ounces) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 cups prepared Ore-Ida Mashed Potatoes
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- In large skillet, cook ground beef over medium heat until browned and thoroughly cooked. Carefully drain liquids and return to stovetop. Stir in gravy and vegetables and bring to boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer 8 minutes, or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- While beef mixture is still in skillet, spoon mashed potatoes onto it, forming 8 mounds, and top with cheese. Continue to simmer until potatoes are hot and cheese is melted. Serve immediately.
(Family Features) Turn your St. Patrick’s Day celebration into a chance to enjoy Irish heritage with hearty foods and a lively atmosphere. When it’s the one day each year it’s acceptable to pinch non-conforming friends and family, it’d be a shame not to go all out.
These few simple tips can help you put together the perfect party to revel in all things green – and tasty.
- Decorate with purpose. Everyone knows that green is the color of the day, but go one step further by incorporating it into different items. Banners and streamers work fine, but setting out green candles or even adorning your light fixtures with green bulbs can help you take an extra step forward.
- Create active fun. Instead of limiting your guests to dining and conversation, plan some simple activities to help the fun flow. Games like a “treasure hunt” for gold coins, limerick-writing competitions or even just turning up Irish-themed music can help get the party started.
- Eat festively. Turn your party’s food and drinks into true Irish dining with some delicious recipes like this American Irish Stew, which includes beef, onion, carrots and potatoes for a tasty cultural meal to fill all of your hungry guests.
For more hosting tips and the perfect themed recipes for any occasion, visit culinary.net.
American Irish Stew
Reprinted with permission from the American Institute for Cancer Research
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/4 pounds beef, top round, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 2 medium parsnips, cut into large chunks (optional)
- 3 cups low-fat, reduced-sodium beef broth
- 4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 leek, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- In large pot over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add beef and garlic. Cook, gently stirring until meat is evenly browned. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add onion, carrots and parsnips. Cook 3-4 minutes. Stir in broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 75 minutes, or until meat is tender.
- Stir in potatoes and simmer another 30 minutes. Add rosemary and leeks. Continue to simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are tender. To avoid potatoes falling apart, do not overcook.
- Serve hot and garnish with parsley, if desired.
Nutritional information per serving: 370 calories, 8 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 43 g carbohydrate, 32 g protein, 6 g dietary fiber, 427 mg sodium.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
(Family Features) It’s true that classics never go out of style, but they can also evolve to keep current while still maintaining their original appeal.
For example, take the iconic tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich duo. Today’s tomato soup might be seasoned with herbs and garlic, and the grilled cheese might swap goat cheese and mozzarella for the traditional American or cheddar. Meatloaf could be prepared with sriracha replacing Worcestershire sauce or other seasonings.
Another updated idea is for stuffed peppers. It’s easy to give them a Tex-Mex spin simply by using a can of READ Southwestern Bean Salad as the base for the filling. The salad already has black and kidney beans, hominy and corn in it, as well as a slightly spicy dressing. Build on that flavorful combination by adding browned ground beef or turkey, cheese and tortilla chips. Poblano peppers could be substituted for bell peppers for an even more authentic south-of-the-border flair.
While this meal in a pepper bakes, make a salad of spinach or other greens topped with avocado slices and orange segments. Dinner is done and on the table in under an hour. For more easy, flavorful dinner ideas, visit READsalads.com.
Southwestern Bean Salad Stuffed Peppers
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
- 1 can (15 ounces) READ Southwestern Bean Salad
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 small jalapeno pepper, minced (optional)
- 1/2 pound ground lean beef (90 percent lean)
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 3 large bell peppers, any color or combination
- nonstick cooking spray
- 1 cup crushed tortilla chips, plus 1/4 cup (optional), divided
- 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided
- Drain bean salad; discard liquid. With fork, mash half of beans until chunky. Combine with remaining beans. Stir in cumin and jalapeno, if desired; set aside.
- In medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook ground beef and onion 8-10 minutes until ground beef is completely cooked, stirring frequently.
- Cut bell peppers in half, lengthwise. Remove membranes and seeds. Line baking pan with aluminum foil. Spray with nonstick cooking spray (or brush lightly with vegetable oil).
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Combine ground beef and onion mixture with bean mixture. Stir in 1 cup tortilla chips and 1/2 cup cheese. Divide evenly among peppers. Arrange peppers cut-side up in prepared pan; peppers should fit snugly. Top with remaining crushed tortilla chips, if desired. Bake, covered, 25 minutes, or until peppers are tender and filling is heated through. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake, uncovered, until cheese melts.
Variation: Ground chicken or turkey breast may be substituted for ground beef. Add 2 teaspoons vegetable oil to skillet and heat until hot before adding ground chicken or turkey and onion to skillet.
Nutritional information per serving: 252 calories; 15 g protein; 20 g carbohydrate;
13 g total fat; 370 mg sodium; 40 mg cholesterol; 5 g dietary fiber; 9 mg iron; 0.07 mg thiamin;
708 IU vitamin A; 34 mg vitamin C.
(Family Features) Today’s busy families need meal ideas that are convenient, nutritious, delicious – and affordable. With some simple planning and easy recipes, it’s a snap to feed a family of four in no time.
Creating a weekly meal plan is the easiest way to save time and money.
- Plan meals that call for minimal cooking: Have a salad, bread and cold side dishes ready to go. That way, you only have the main dish to prepare.
- Plan for leftovers: Instead of leaving leftover chicken in the fridge, plan ahead to use it in another dish. Or, cook up the recipe here – Ragú® Pasta Sauce has expanded its offering of convenient large size jars, perfect for making crowd-pleasing recipes or planning for several meals.
- Plan on stocking up: Have plenty of frozen veggies, rice, pasta and other staples on hand so you can easily add something new to your menus.
This recipe makes tasty use of Ragú® Old World Style pasta sauce, which contains more than a full serving of veggies in every half cup of sauce. This means you get convenient, nutritious dishes for less than $2 per serving. For more easy, family-friendly recipes, visit www.Ragu.com.
Skillet Pasta and Beef Dinner
Moms can cook both the pasta and beef in the same pan, leaving only one pan to clean!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Cost per serving*: $1.81
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 jar (2 lb. 13 oz.) Ragú® Old World Style Pasta Sauce
- 4 cups water
- 1 pound uncooked rotini pasta
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Brown ground beef in 6-quart saucepot; drain.
- Stir in sauce and water. Bring to a boil. Stir in uncooked rotini; return to a boil. Reduce heat and cook covered, stirring occasionally, 14 minutes or until rotini is tender.
- Remove from heat; sprinkle with cheese. Let stand covered until cheese is melted.
Visit www.Ragu.com to find out how to make this dish with the traditional 26 oz jars of pasta sauce.
*Based on average retail prices at national supermarkets.
(Family Features) Enjoying warm comfort foods during winter months can serve as an exceptional way to defeat that icy chill. As the frost sets in and winds howl, nothing beats the comforting taste of delicious foods like Roasted Sonoma Chicken with Wild Rice and Carrot Butter, Beef and Potato Tzimmes, or Pumpkin Butterscotch Bread Pudding.
For more comfort food recipes, visit culinary.net.
A Winning Comfort Combination
Almost nothing says comfort food quite like tender, slow-cooked beef and potatoes. Add in sweet honey for a twist on a timeless cold-weather classic and you’re in for a true delight. Find more honey-infused recipes at honey.com.
Beef and Potato Tzimmes
Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 2 pounds beef, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 2 cups carrots, sliced 1-inch thick
- 2 teaspoons garlic salt
- 4 cups water, plus 3 tablespoons (optional)
- 2 cups potatoes, cubed 1-inch thick
- 2 cups sweet potatoes, cubed 1-inch thick
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
- 4 ounces dried apricots
- 4 ounces pitted prunes
- 2 tablespoons flour (optional)
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley (optional)
- In heavy 5-quart pot over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add beef and brown on all sides.
- Remove beef from pan, add remaining oil, if necessary, and saute onion until tender. Return beef to pan; add carrots, garlic salt and 4 cups water to cover ingredients. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 hour.
- Add potatoes, sweet potatoes, honey, cinnamon and pepper; stir and return to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, 30 minutes, or until potatoes are barely cooked.
- Add apricots and prunes and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes, or until beef is tender. Liquid should be slightly thickened. If necessary, dissolve flour in 3 tablespoons water and stir into stew; return to simmer, stirring frequently.
- Sprinkle with parsley before serving, if desired.
Cozy Up to Comfort Foods
(Family Features) Creating a comfort food masterpiece like Roasted Sonoma Chicken with Wild Rice and Carrot Butter is a no-brainer when hunger hits along with chilly winter air. The dish’s warm, captivating spices will help you forget about the frosty climate around you.
But to truly keep winter winds at bay, try pairing your tasty meal with a vibrant, fruit-forward wine, such as Kenwood Vineyards Sonoma County Pinot Noir 2014. The wine works well for nearly any occasion, but it’s the perfect complement to bring out the flavors of the roasted chicken thanks to its aromas of raspberry and red currant combining with spice notes of nutmeg and vanilla, which lead to a smooth, elegant finish.
For more wine pairing tips and recipes, visit KenwoodVineyards.com.
Roasted Sonoma Chicken with Wild Rice and Carrot Butter
Recipe courtesy of chef Ari Weiswasser
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
- 3/4 cup kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 gallon water
- 1 cup carrot juice
- 4 tablespoons butter, diced
- 1 1/2 cups wild rice
- 3 1/3 cups chicken stock
- 2 large onions, diced
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons curry spice
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 4 tablespoons sun-dried tomato, chopped finely
- canola oil or olive oil
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- Brine chicken in 3/4 cup salt, sugar and water. Refrigerate 1 hour; pat dry and store overnight, uncovered, in fridge.
- Add carrot juice to saucepan and reduce to thick consistency on high heat, 10-15 minutes. Whisk vigorously if juice separates. Whisk in butter. Set aside to cool.
- In pot, cover wild rice with chicken stock. Bring to simmer and cook 45 minutes to 1 hour. Season with salt.
- Heat oven to 400° F.
- In frying pan on medium-high heat, sweat onions in olive oil until soft. Add curry spice and toast until aromatic, 1-2 minutes. Add vinegar and salt; stir well. Fold through sun-dried tomatoes.
- Place chicken skin-side up on roasting pan fitted with rack. Brush chicken with canola or olive oil and season with salt. Roast about 25-35 minutes until golden brown; internal temperature should be 165° F. Drizzle with roasting juices; add salt and chopped parsley before plating.
- To plate, add carrot butter to wild rice; scoop 1/2 cup onto each dish. Place chicken skin-side up on top of rice. Dollop with onion, curry and tomato mixture.
Pair each serving with a glass of Kenwood Vineyards Sonoma County Pinot Noir 2014.
Bread Pudding Pick-Me-Up
On cold winter nights, sometimes that one last bite to eat before turning in is the key to finishing your day on a happy note. A warm serving of Pumpkin Butterscotch Bread Pudding with a dollop of cool ice cream is sure to do the trick. Find more dessert options at verybestbaking.com.
Pumpkin Butterscotch Bread Pudding
Recipe courtesy of Nestlé
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 55 minutes
- 1 loaf (14 ounces) cinnamon challah bread or cinnamon brioche, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cans (12 ounces each) Nestlé Carnation Evaporated Lowfat 2 percent Milk
- 1 can (15 ounces) Libby’s 100 percent Pure Pumpkin
- 1 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 1 cup Nestlé Toll House Butterscotch Flavored Morsels
- Vanilla Dreyer’s or Edy’s Slow Churned Light Ice Cream
- Heat oven to 350° F. Grease 13-by-9-inch baking dish.
- On rimmed baking sheets, spread bread cubes in single layer. Bake, tossing occasionally, 10 minutes, or until dry.
- In large bowl, beat eggs; stir in evaporated milk, pumpkin, 1 cup granulated sugar, vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and salt. Add bread; toss gently to coat. Transfer mixture into prepared baking dish; let stand 30 minutes, or until bread is thoroughly saturated.
- Combine brown sugar with remaining granulated sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle morsels over bread mixture; top with brown sugar mixture.
- Bake 45-55 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack 30 minutes to set. Serve warm with ice cream.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (beef stew photo)
(Family Features) Sweaters and scarves aren’t the only ways to brace yourself against blustery weather. There’s no time like winter to putter in the kitchen, where the cozy heat from the stove and the aromas of mouthwatering dishes can warm you from the inside out.
Rich, hearty stews and creamy casseroles are perfect for winter dinners, but when you’re craving something other than traditional comfort food, there are plenty of other options that will chase away the chill, such as a glass of Pinot Noir.
These three dishes feature common proteins – chicken, beef and fish – in preparations that make it easy to reimagine your winter weather menu. Find more recipes and ideas for warming up this winter at culinary.net.
Fruit Juice and Fish Fillets
The temperatures may be falling, but you can still fire up the grill and fill up your plate with a tasty recipe like this Grilled Citrus Rosemary Catfish, which combines sweet juices for a citrus sauce that coats grilled catfish. Find more main dish recipes including catfish at uscatfish.com.
Grilled Citrus Rosemary Catfish
Recipe courtesy of The Catfish Institute
- 1 lime, juice and zest only
- 1 lemon, zest only
- 1 orange, zest only
- 6 ounces pineapple juice
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 U.S. farm-raised catfish fillets
- 2 lemons
- salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Heat grill.
- To make citrus sauce: In small saucepan, combine all sauce ingredients. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
- To make catfish: Place catfish in shallow dish and squeeze 1/2 fresh lemon over each fillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let rest 5 minutes.
- Grill catfish fillets, skin-side-up, 3-4 minutes. Flip over and grill 2-3 more minutes.
- Transfer catfish to serving plates and spoon warmed citrus sauce over fillets.
A Cold-Weather Solution
While it can be a challenge, there are several ways to pair food and wine appropriately during winter, despite bitter weather. A warm, comforting dish, like Roasted Chicken with Salsa Verde from James Beard award-winning chef Jonathan Waxman, combines well with rosé during the cold season. One reasonably priced wine that matches chicken well is Angeline California Rosé of Pinot Noir. The crisp flavors of light red fruits combine with the herbs accompanying the chicken. It’ll also complement the many other flavors of winter, when an array of dishes hit the table and challenge hosts to find the right wine to serve.
For more wines that work well in wintertime, visit angelinewinery.com.
Chicken and Salsa Verde
Recipe courtesy of chef Jonathan Waxman
- 1 fresh free-range organic chicken (4 pounds)
- sea salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup capers in salt
- 4 anchovy filets
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup chopped arugula
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup chopped tarragon
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- To make chicken: Heat oven to 450° F.
- Wash chicken in hot water. Dry with paper towels.
- Using kitchen shears, cut out backbone of chicken and remove any fat (this can be added to chicken stock). Using heavy chef’s knife, cut out breastbone. Season halves with sea salt and black pepper.
- Place chicken halves, skin side up, on two sizzle platters and dab with olive oil. Cut lemon in half and place 1 half, cut side down, next to chicken on each platter.
- Roast chicken 35 minutes, basting every 10 minutes. When done, remove chicken to platter and pour off excess fat. Cut each breast in half and cut the thigh from the leg. Serve with salsa verde (recipe below) and garnish with roasted lemon.
- To make salsa verde: Soak capers in cold water 1 hour then drain.
- Soak anchovies in cold water 15 minutes then pat dry and remove bones.
- Using mortar and pestle, smash capers, anchovies and garlic, until smooth, then transfer to large bowl.
- Add all herbs and olive oil.
- Season with sea salt.
Pair each serving with Angeline California Rosé of Pinot Noir.
Whole and Hearty
A hearty meat-and-potatoes meal is a sure way to warm up on a cold winter night. This heart-healthy, one-dish meal is made with lean top round beef, lots of vegetables and a spicy herb mixture. Find more healthy main dish ideas at health.gov.
Black Skillet Beef with Greens and Red Potatoes
Recipe courtesy of the USDA
- 1 pound top round beef
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
- nonstick spray
- 8 red-skinned potatoes, halved
- 3 cups onion, finely chopped
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2 1/2-inch strips
- 2 bunches (1/2 pound each) mustard, kale or turnip greens, stems removed, coarsely torn
- Partially freeze beef. Thinly slice across grain into strips 1/8-inch thick and 3 inches wide. Trim away visible fat.
- Combine paprika, oregano, chili powder, garlic powder, black pepper, red pepper and dry mustard. Coat strips of meat with spice mixture.
- Spray large, heavy skillet with nonstick spray. Heat pan over high heat.
- Add meat; cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes.
- Add potatoes, onion, broth and garlic. Cook over medium heat, covered, 20 minutes.
- Stir in carrots; lay greens over top and cook, covered, until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes.
- Serve in large serving bowl with crusty bread for dunking.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (fish photo and beef stew photo)
(Family Features) It’s a common scenario: no time for breakfast, so you’re snacking on something sweet in the break room at 9 a.m. Two hours later you hit the vending machine for something salty.
The good news is there is an easy, healthy alternative to taking control of your appetite: protein. In fact, a growing body of research shows that spreading protein intake over the course of a day may be the solution to mindless snacking.
Protein helps you avoid feeling hungry, giving you more control over the foods you choose. Eating the right amount of protein at each meal also helps achieve weight loss goals by keeping you fuller longer, building muscles after a workout and protecting the lean muscle you already have.
The 30 Day Protein Challenge, created by the Beef Checkoff, is a fun, step-by-step plan to help you get a balanced amount of protein at each meal. The challenge helps you keep track of your food, hunger and moods to see how simple diet changes can make a difference in your overall health and wellness for 30 days and beyond.
Recipes that take less than 30 minutes, such as Szechuan Beef Stir-Fry and Tenderloin, Cranberry and Pear Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing, can make balancing protein simple.
Visit BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com to find everything you need to get started with the Protein Challenge, including tools and daily tips. Share your progress and engage with other participants online using #ProteinChallenge.
Szechuan Beef Stir-Fry
Total time: 15 minutes
- 1 package (10 ounces) fresh vegetable stir-fry blend
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 beef ranch steaks (about 8 ounces each), cut 3/4-inch thick
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup prepared sesame-ginger stir-fry sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 cups hot cooked rice or brown rice, prepared without butter or salt
- 1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts
- In large, nonstick skillet, combine vegetables and water; cover and cook over medium-high heat 4 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Remove and drain vegetables. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, cut beef steaks into 1/4-inch thick strips.
- Heat same skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add half of beef and half of garlic; stir-fry 1-2 minutes, or until outside surface of beef is no longer pink. Remove from skillet; keep warm.
- Repeat with remaining beef and garlic.
- Return all beef and vegetables to skillet. Add stir-fry sauce and red pepper; cook and stir 1-2 minutes, or until heated through. Spoon over rice. Sprinkle with peanuts.
Nutrition information per serving: 393 calories; 12 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 5 g monounsaturated fat); 65 mg cholesterol; 969 mg sodium; 41 g carbohydrate; 3.9 g fiber; 28 g protein; 7.3 mg niacin; 0.7 mg vitamin B6; 4.2 mcg vitamin B12; 3.0 mg iron; 45.8 mcg selenium; 6.9 mg zinc; 99.3 mg choline.
Tenderloin, Cranberry and Pear Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing
Total time: 25 minutes
- 4 beef tenderloin steaks (4 ounces each), cut 3/4-inch thick
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1 package (5 ounces) mixed baby salad greens
- 1 medium red or green pear, cored, cut into 16 wedges
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- salt, to taste
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
- 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (optional)
Honey Mustard Dressing
- 1/2 cup prepared honey mustard
- 2-3 tablespoons water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Season beef steaks with pepper. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Place steaks in skillet; cook 7-10 minutes for medium rare (145° F) to medium (160° F) doneness, turning occasionally.
- Meanwhile, in small bowl, whisk Honey Mustard Dressing ingredients until well blended. Set aside.
- Divide greens evenly among four plates. Top evenly with pear wedges and dried cranberries.
- Carve steaks into thin slices; season with salt, as desired. Divide steak slices evenly over salads. Top each salad evenly with dressing, pecans and goat cheese, if desired.
Nutrition information per serving: 332 calories; 12 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 6 g monounsaturated fat); 79 mg cholesterol; 256 mg sodium; 22 g carbohydrate; 3.4 g fiber; 27 g protein; 5.5 mg niacin; 0.7 mg vitamin B6; 3.9 mcg vitamin B12; 3.7 mg iron; 24.2 mcg selenium; 4.4 mg zinc; 75.4 mg choline.
- 4 medium red, green or yellow bell peppers
- 1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/2 cup cooked white or brown rice, cooled
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Chopped fresh parsley (optional)
- Heat oven to 400°F. Cut tops off bell peppers; remove seeds and membranes. Place peppers upright in 8-inch square baking dish, cutting thin slice off bottoms of peppers to stabilize, if necessary.
- Combine tomatoes, tomato sauce and 1 tablespoon parsley in large bowl. Remove and reserve 1 cup tomato mixture. Combine ground beef, onion, rice, remaining 2 tablespoons parsley, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt and black pepper with remaining tomato mixture in bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly.
- Spoon beef mixture evenly into peppers. Top with reserved tomato mixture. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil.
- Bake at 400°F for 30 minutes. Uncover baking dish; continue baking 35 to 40 minutes to medium (160°F) doneness, until beef is not pink in center and juices show no pink color. Garnish with parsley, if desired.
Preparation and Cooking Time
Calories: 328 | Total Fat: 15g
Cholesterol: 77mg | Protein: 25g
Carbohydrates: 25g | Sodium: 824mg
Notes, Tips & Suggestions:
Cook's Tip: Due to the natural nitrate content of certain ingredients such as onions, celery and bell peppers, ground beef may remain pink even when a 160°F internal temperature has been reached. Always verify the internal temperature with a meat thermometer or instant-read thermometer to be certain it reaches 160°F.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cans (10 ounces each) mild enchilada sauce
- 8 small corn tortillas (6-inch diameter)
- 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded jalapeño pepper cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- Dairy sour cream (optional)
- Heat oven to 350°F. In large nonstick skillet, brown ground beef, onion and garlic over medium heat 6 minutes or until outside surface of beef is no longer pink, breaking beef up into 1/2-inch crumbles. Pour off drippings. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in 1/2 cup enchilada sauce from one can. Set aside remaining sauce from that can.
- Pour second can enchilada sauce into shallow dish. Dip tortillas, one at a time, into sauce to coat both sides. Spoon beef mixture evenly down centers of each tortilla; roll up. Place seam-side down in 12- x 8-inch baking dish.
- Cover with aluminum foil. Bake in 350°F oven 15 minutes. Remove aluminum foil. Spoon reserved enchilada sauce over enchiladas; sprinkle with cheese. Continue baking, uncovered, 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with sour cream, if desired.
Preparation and Cooking Time
Makes 4 servings (serving size: 1/4 of recipe)
Choose from Tex-Mex, Swedish, Chinese, or Middle Eastern flavors
Basic Meatball Mixture
- 1 1/2 pounds ground meat or poultry, or any combination (ground beef, veal, pork, lamb, chicken or turkey)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 9x13-inch baking sheet with non-stick spray or olive oil, or line pan with non-stick aluminum foil.
- In a mixing bowl, combine ground meat, onion, bread crumbs, milk, parsley, salt and pepper.
- Add the seasoning for the flavor of meatball you want.
- Form 48 meatballs from mixture and place on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake 15 minutes, or until meatballs reach 160°F (165°F if using ground poultry).
- If not serving immediately, keep warm in a 200°F oven or cool and refrigerate in shallow containers.
- Accompany the meatballs with dipping sauce listed for meatball variety.
- Tex-Mex Meatballs - Ground beef stands up to hearty flavors. Seasoning for meatball mixture: 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder and 1 teaspoon ground cumin. Dipping sauce: purchased chunky salsa or green tomatillo salsa.
- Swedish Meatballs - Ground turkey or chicken gives a delicate flavor. Seasoning for meatball mixture: 1 teaspoon ground allspice, 1 teaspoon sweet paprika and 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg. Dipping sauce: 1 cup sour cream, 1/3 cup milk, 2 tablespoons (half of a 1-ounce packet) dry onion soup mix, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon dried dill weed. Mix together at least an hour before serving.
- Chinese Meatballs - Get best flavor by using some ground pork. Seasoning for meatball mixture: 1/4 cup chopped almonds, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic, 1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon ground ginger. Dipping sauce: purchased (10-ounce) jar sweet and sour sauce.
- Middle-Eastern Meatballs - Get best flavor by using ground lamb. Seasoning for meatball mixture: 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Sprinkle formed meatballs with 2 tablespoons sesame seeds; press into meat. Dipping sauce: 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 cup chopped green onions, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon sugar.