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LifestyleColumnistsMarge Perry

3 Simple recipes to make with ground beef

A casserole of lean ground beef, elbow pasta

A casserole of lean ground beef, elbow pasta and a light, creamy cheese sauce is topped with golden panko breadcrumbs. Photo Credit: Marge Perry

CHILI BEEF AND PASTA CASSEROLE

8 ounces elbow pasta

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound lean ground beef

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1⁄2 teaspoon oregano

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup nonfat milk

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded low-fat Cheddar

1⁄2 cup panko crumbs

 

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat a 6-cup capacity baking dish with cooking spray. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high; add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until somewhat softened, about 3 minutes. Add the beef, crumbling it with your spoon; stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt, and cook, stirring, until the beef is no longer pink, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste, and simmer 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in the pasta pot or a saucepan, whisk the flour with about 2 tablespoons of the milk until smooth; add the remaining milk and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until thickened to the consistency of heavy cream, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cheese until smooth. Add the pasta and meat sauce, and transfer to the prepared baking pan.

4. Combine the panko with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, sprinkle over the casserole and bake until the crumbs are golden, about 10 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 438 calories, 32 g protein, 44 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 16 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 812 mg sodium

TIP: To give the casserole smoky heat, stir in 1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle in ado sauce with the tomato. 

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SRIRACHA MEATLOAF

2 large eggs

1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano

1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme

1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper

1 1⁄4 cups ketchup, divided

2 tablespoons Sriracha (or to taste)

1⁄2 cup breadcrumbs

2 pounds lean ground beef

 

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 9-by-11-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Beat the eggs lightly with a fork in a large bowl; add the oregano, thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

3. Combine the ketchup with the Sriracha in a separate bowl: add 3⁄4 of the mixture and the breadcrumbs to the meat and stir thoroughly. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and form into a 10-by-5-inch loaf. Spread the remaining ketchup mixture over the loaf and bake until a meat thermometer inserted in the center registers 165 degrees, about 1 hour. Allow to stand 5 minutes before slicing. Makes 8 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 241 calories, 24 g protein, 16 g carbohydrates, 0 fiber, 10 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 870 mg sodium

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OVERLOADED SWEET POTATOES

4 large sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium red onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 pound lean ground beef

1 teaspoon chili powder

1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder

1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 1⁄2 cups chopped broccoli florets (1-inch pieces)

1⁄2 cup reduced-fat shredded Cheddar

1⁄4 cup chopped scallion

 

1. Pierce sweet potatoes all over with a fork. Place on a plate in a spoke pattern and microwave 6 minutes; turn over and microwave until fork tender, about another 6 minutes (depending on your microwave). Allow to cool slightly before cutting a 1⁄4-inch slice off the top and splitting about 3⁄4 of the way down. Scoop out the interior, leaving a 1⁄2-inch-thick wall all the way around and along the bottom. (Reserve the scooped flesh for mashed sweet potatoes another night.). Place the potatoes on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray and heat the broiler.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add the onion, garlic and green pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the beef and break it up with a wooden spoon into crumbles. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, salt, garlic powder and cayenne; cook until the meat is no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and broccoli; cook until broccoli is tender, about 5 minutes. Scoop the filling into the potatoes and top with the cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted, remove from the oven and top with the scallions. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 388 calories, 29 g protein, 38 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber, 15 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 800 mg sodium

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