Menu planner: Add variety to your meals with spicy Portuguese beef kebabs

Thinking ahead to your next few meals? Here are some main dishes and sides to try.

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Spicy Portuguese beef kebabs

Cattlemen’s Beef Board

Spicy Portuguese beef kebabs

Servings: 6

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 8 to 11 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 pounds boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut 1 1/4 inches thick

1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)

Coarse salt to taste

Cut beef into 1 1/4-inch pieces. Combine cilantro, olive oil, pepper sauce, garlic and crushed red pepper in medium bowl. Add beef; toss. Alternately thread beef and bell pepper onto 6 (10-inch) skewers. Place kebabs on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 8 to 10 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 9 to 11 minutes) for medium-rare to medium, turning once. Season with salt as desired.

Per serving: 174 calories, 21 grams protein, 9 grams fat (46 percent calories from fat), 2.1 grams saturated fat, 2 grams carbohydrate, 56 milligrams cholesterol, 55 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber. Carb count: 0.

Squash rice casserole

Servings: 10

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 medium onion, chopped

8 cups sliced zucchini (about 2 1/2 pounds)

2 cups cooked rice (cook with unsalted chicken broth)

1 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1 cup shredded 50% light sharp cheddar cheese

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided

1/4 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Cover and microwave onion on high (100 percent power) in large microwave-safe bowl 3 minutes; drain. Add zucchini and microwave 10 to 12 minutes or until softened. Drain; partially mash with potato masher. Combine zucchini mixture, cooked rice, sour cream, cheddar cheese, 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and eggs in a large bowl; mix well. Spoon mixture into a 9-by-13-inch microwave-safe baking dish. Microwave on high 10 to 12 minutes or until bubbly. Heat broiler. Remove dish from microwave; sprinkle with remaining parmesan. Place under broiler 3 to 5 minutes or until lightly browned.

Per serving: 152 calories, 9 grams protein, 4 grams fat (23 percent calories from fat), 2 grams saturated fat, 20 grams carbohydrate, 49 milligrams cholesterol, 308 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber. Carb count: 1.5.

Linguine with mushrooms

Servings: 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 25 minutes, plus linguine

INGREDIENTS

8 ounces linguine

1 cup frozen petite green peas

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 (8-ounce) package sliced white mushrooms

1 (4-ounce) package assorted sliced mushrooms (gourmet blend)

1/2 cup diced ham (if desired)

3/4 cup unsalted chicken broth

1/4 cup half-and-half

Coarse salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Cook linguine according to directions. Place peas in colander; drain linguine over peas. Return linguine and peas to pot. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium-high. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes or until softened and golden. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until tender. Stir in ham (if desired), broth, half-and-half, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add mushroom sauce to linguine and peas. Toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Per serving (without ham): 332 calories, 13 grams protein, 7 grams fat (18 percent calories from fat), 1.7 grams saturated fat, 56 grams carbohydrate, 6 milligrams cholesterol, 237 milligrams sodium, 5 gram fiber. Carb count: 4.

Grilled ham and Swiss sandwiches

Mix 1/3 cup rinsed and drained refrigerated sauerkraut with 1/4 cup Dijon mustard and 2 tablespoons honey. Spread on rye bread and layer with ham and Swiss cheese. Grill on both sides in a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray.

Kasha, bean and corn tacos

Cook 1/2 cup whole kasha in a large, nonstick skillet on medium-high, stirring constantly, 2 minutes or until hot and slightly toasted; spoon into a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to same skillet and heat. Stir in 1 1/2 cups chopped onion and 1 cup chopped green bell pepper; cook and stir 5 minutes or until softened. Add 2 tablespoons chili powder and 1 tablespoon minced garlic; cook and stir 1 minute or until fragrant. Add reserved kasha and 2 cups boiling water. Simmer, covered, 7 minutes or until kasha is almost tender. Stir in 1 (15-ounce) can rinsed reduced-sodium pinto beans, 1 cup thawed frozen corn and 1 teaspoon coarse salt. Cook 3 more minutes or until kasha is tender. Divide and spoon into 8 taco shells. Top with any shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes and reduced-fat sour cream.

TIP: Kasha is the roasted form of buckwheat. Look for it in the grains section or in the ethnic foods section.

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