Nothing warms us more on a cold day than Vegetable Beef Soup. In a large pot, combine 6 cups less-sodium multi-vegetable juice (such as V-8), 1 (14-ounce) can lower-sodium beef broth, 1/2 packet dry onion mushroom soup mix, 1 (16-ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables, any leftover broccoli and 3 medium baking potatoes (cubed). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add the leftover chopped steak and heat through.
Serve with a romaine salad and sesame bread sticks. Fresh orange sections are good for dessert.
Tonight's no-meat dinner, Creamy Pasta With Tomatoes, gets to the table in a hurry. Cook 12 ounces linguine according to directions; reserve 1/2 cup cooking water and then drain pasta. Return linguine to pot; add 1 (4-ounce) tub refrigerated light garlic-and-herb spreadable cheese (softened), the reserved water and 1 pint cherry tomatoes (halved); toss until cheese melts and coats pasta and tomatoes. Serve immediately with a spinach salad and garlic bread. Slice the leftover cake for dessert.
You won't know you're saving money because the flavor of Hungarian Beef Stew (see recipe) is so rich. Serve it over noodles (no-yolk) along with a lettuce wedge on the side and crusty bread. Strawberries are a light dessert.
Try any one of the many brands of heat-and-serve noodle bowl dinners (such as Simply Asia or another brand). If you have any leftover vegetables or chopped chicken, add to the noodles. Accompany the bowls with packaged salad greens and whole-grain rolls. Fresh pineapple is an easy dessert.
The kids will think it's their lucky night when you serve them Mac 'n' Cheese Soup. Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in medium pan. Add shells from 1 (12-ounce) package of macaroni-and-cheese mix; cook 7 to 10 minutes or until shells are tender; do not drain. Stir in cheese from mix, 2 cups 1 percent milk, 1 cup frozen green peas and 4 thinly sliced reduced-fat and reduced-sodium hot dogs. Cook 5 to 8 minutes or until soup is heated through.
Serve with celery sticks, red bell pepper strips and the kids' favorite dip, along with soft rolls. Apple slices are good for a crunchy dessert.
Easy Entertaining Saturday
If you can't take your guests to the South of France for dinner, serve them Pan-Roasted Grouper With Provencal Vegetables (see recipe) instead. Serve the fish with brown rice, sugar snap peas and baguettes. For dessert, peach sorbet and chocolate wafer cookies are just right.
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Pomegranate Steak (Sunday)
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 boneless beef strip steaks, cut 3/4 inch thick (about 8 ounces each)
2 ounces crumbled goat cheese
In a medium bowl, combine pomegranate juice, vinegar, rosemary, thyme, olive oil, garlic, mustard and pepper. Reserve 3/4 cup for basting sauce. Place steaks in remaining marinade in resealable plastic bag; turn to coat. Refrigerate 15 minutes to 2 hours.
Meanwhile, pour reserved sauce into small saucepan; bring to boil. Reduce heat; cook 15 to 20 minutes or until reduced by half and slightly thickened; stir occasionally. Set aside. Remove steaks and discard marinade. Grill, covered, 7 to 10 minutes on medium for medium-rare to medium-doneness (135 to 150 degrees), turning occasionally and basting with sauce. Sprinkle with goat cheese. Serves 4.
Note: To cook on grill pan, heat nonstick grill on medium. Grill 7 to 10 minutes for medium-rare to medium, turning occasionally and basting with sauce.
Per serving: 224 calories (percent calories from fat, 45), 26 grams protein, 3 grams carbohydrate, no fiber, 11 grams fat (5.1 grams saturated fat), 73 milligrams cholesterol, 136 milligrams sodium.
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Hungarian Beef Stew (Wednesday)
1 1/4 pounds beef stew cubes
1 pound fresh carrots, sliced
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
3 cups thinly sliced cabbage
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 cups water
1 (6-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato paste
1 envelope dry onion-mushroom soup mix (from 1.8-ounce box)
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, combine beef cubes, carrots, onions, cabbage, red wine, water, tomato paste, soup mix, paprika and caraway seeds; mix well. Cover and cook on low 8 hours. Turn off cooker; stir in sour cream and serve. Serves 8.
Per serving: 227 calories (percent calories from fat, 35), 17 grams protein, 18 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 9 grams fat (4.3 grams saturated fat), 60 milligrams cholesterol, 332 milligrams sodium.
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Broiled Grouper With Provencal Vegetables (Saturday)
2 cups thinly sliced fennel bulb (about 1 medium bulb)
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
12 nicoise olives, chopped
1 (28-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
4 (6-ounce) grouper fillets (about 1 inch thick)
Heat oven to 450 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine fennel, orange juice, olives and tomatoes; add half the salt and pepper; toss to mix. Spoon mixture into bottom of broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Bake 10 minutes; stir once.
Meanwhile, combine remaining salt and pepper, oil and garlic; brush evenly over fish fillets. Remove pan from oven. Place fish on rack in broiler pan over fennel. Bake 10 minutes more or until fish flakes and is opaque throughout. Serve fish with vegetables. Serves 4.
Per serving: 273 calories (percent calories from fat, 24), 35 grams protein, 15 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 7 grams fat (1.1 grams saturated fat), 63 milligrams cholesterol, 559 milligrams sodium.