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Menu planner: Try delicious and filling French country beef stew

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

French country beef stew
Cattlemen’s beef board

French country beef stew

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 2 1/2 hours

INGREDIENTS

2-1/2 pounds beef for stew, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 cups water

1 package (about 1 ounce) dry vegetable soup mix

1 pound baby red-skinned potatoes, cut into quarters

8 ounces halved white mushrooms

1 pound asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water

Coarse salt and pepper

Combine beef, water and soup mix in stockpot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover tightly and simmer 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 hours or until beef is fork-tender. Add potatoes and mushrooms to stockpot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in asparagus; continue cooking, covered, 8 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in cornstarch mixture; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Per serving: 289 calories, 31 grams protein, 10 grams fat (31% calories from fat), 3.7 grams saturated fat, 18 grams carbohydrate, 88 milligrams cholesterol, 430 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Carb count: 1.

Chicken alphabet soup with peas

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: about 10 minutes

Cooking time: less than 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups alphabet pasta

1 tablespoon butter

3 medium carrots, finely chopped

2 ribs celery, finely chopped

6 cups unsalted chicken broth

1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, chopped

1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

Coarse salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to directions; drain and set aside. Melt butter in a medium pan. Add carrots and celery and cook on medium 7 to 10 minutes or until softened. Stir in broth, chicken, cooked pasta and peas; bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste; serve warm.

Per serving: 258 calories, 15 grams protein, 5 grams fat (19% calories from fat), 2.1 grams saturated fat, 34 grams carbohydrate, 31 milligrams cholesterol, 216 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.5.

Lemon Orzo with peas and mint

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: less than 15 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups orzo

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1 cup frozen petite green peas, thawed

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon minced fresh mint

In a large saucepan over high heat, bring 3 cups water to a boil. Stir in orzo and salt; cover, reduce heat to medium and cook 10 minutes. Add peas and cook 5 more minutes or until water is absorbed and pasta is tender. Add butter, lemon juice and lemon zest; stir to blend. Sprinkle with mint. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 209 calories, 7 grams protein, 5 grams fat (20% calories from fat), 2.5 grams saturated fat, 35 grams carbohydrate, 10 milligrams cholesterol, 381 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.5.

Mediterranean wrap

For each wrap: Place a burrito-size flour tortilla on flat surface. In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup salad greens, 1/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes, 1/4 medium peeled, seeded and chopped cucumber, 2 tablespoons chopped kalamata olives and 1 thin slice red onion; mix well and spread on tortilla. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons crumbled Greek feta cheese and 2 tablespoons light vinaigrette. Bring bottom of tortilla to top and fold sides over.

Barbecue pizza

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spoon refrigerated barbecue shredded pork from a 20-ounce container onto a large, ready-to-heat pizza crust. Sprinkle with 1 cup shredded 50% light cheddar cheese and arrange 6 green bell pepper rings on top. Bake according to pizza crust directions. Serve with a packaged green salad and peaches.

Sea scallops with pineapple salsa

For the salsa: Combine 1 cup diced (small) fresh pineapple, 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper, 2 tablespoons diced red onion, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, 1 tablespoon minced gingerroot and 1 tablespoon olive oil; mix well and season with coarse salt and pepper to taste. Chill at least one hour.

For the scallops: Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Coat 1 pound sea scallops with cooking spray and then with coarse salt and pepper to taste. Add half the scallops to skillet; sear 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove from skillet and keep warm. Repeat with remaining scallops. Serve warm with salsa.