HOISIN BEEF LETTUCE WRAPS
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
4 scallions, thinly sliced, divided
1 pound lean ground beef (93 percent lean)
3 tablespoons roasted salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
8 to 12 butter or Boston lettuce leaves
1. Combine the hoisin, soy sauce and lime juice in a small bowl.
2. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 15 seconds. Stir in the bell pepper, carrot, and 3/4 of the scallions; cook, stirring often, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the beef and cook, breaking it into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon, until it begins to brown, about 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in the hoisin mixture and cook, stirring to heat it through, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining scallion, peanuts and cilantro.
3. To serve, spoon some of the beef mixture into each of the lettuce leaves. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 295 calories, 25 g protein, 16 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 16 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 562 mg sodium
PENNE AND BEEF SKILLET CASSEROLE
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped, about 1 cup
1 medium carrot, finely chopped, about 1/3 cup
1 rib celery, finely chopped, about 1/3 cup
1 teaspoon dried oregano
12 ounces lean ground beef (93 percent lean)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
12 ounces penne
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut in 1/8-inch slices
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium. Add the onion, carrot, celery and oregano; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the beef and garlic; cook, breaking the beef into smaller pieces with a spoon, until lightly browned, 9 to 10 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste; bring to a simmer and cook 2 minutes. Stir in the penne, 3 cups water, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often until the sauce is somewhat thickened, about 18 minutes. Add 1 cup of water and cook until the pasta is tender, about 9 to 10 minutes.
3. Place the mozzarella over the pasta and sprinkle with the grated Pecorino Romano.
4. Bake until the cheese is melted and a little bubbly, about 10 to 12 minutes. Makes 6 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 450 calories, 26 g protein, 56 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 14 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 629 mg sodium
MIDDLE EASTERN MEATBALLS
1 pound lean ground beef (93 percent)
1 large egg
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1/2 red onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 (16-ounce) bottle marinara sauce
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1. Combine the beef with the egg; add the bread crumbs, onion, cumin, coriander, oregano, cinnamon and salt and mix well. Form into 1 1/2-inch meatballs.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high. Add half the meatballs and cook until lightly browned, about 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining oil and meatballs.
3. Add the marinara sauce and crushed red pepper flakes to the pan; bring to a boil and immediately reduce the heat to simmer. Place the meatballs in the sauce and simmer gently 10 minutes. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 348 calories, 27 g protein, 21 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 18 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 883 mg sodium
TIP: Lean beef gets tender texture and bold flavor when paired with higher-moisture ingredients.