Menu Planner: Try spicy Portuguese beef kababs at your next gathering

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

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Toss in a little cilantro and bell peppers and enjoy Portuguese spicy beef kekabs.

Cattlemen’s Beef Board

Spicy Portuguese beef kebabs

Cut beef top sirloin steak (1 1/4 inch thick) into 1 1/4-inch pieces. In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce, 1 teaspoon minced garlic and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional).

Add beef; toss. Cut 1 large red bell pepper into 1-inch square pieces. Alternately thread beef and bell pepper pieces onto six 10-inch skewers. Place kebabs on grill over medium ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 8 to 10 minutes (9 to 11 minutes over medium heat on preheated gas grill) for medium-rare to medium doneness, turning once.

Season with coarse salt to taste. Serve over brown rice. Add steamed fresh green beans along with dinner rolls.

Moroccan vegetable stew with couscous

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: about 15 minutes plus couscous

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 medium zucchini, coarsely chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 cup unsalted vegetable broth

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

3/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 (15-ounce) cans reduced-sodium chickpeas, rinsed

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can stewed tomatoes, with liquid

1 1/2 cups water or additional unsalted vegetable broth

1 cup couscous

Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add zucchini, onion, carrot and garlic; cook 5 minutes. Stir in broth, ginger, cumin, coriander, salt, cinnamon, pepper, chickpeas and tomatoes with liquid; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Meanwhile, bring water (or broth) to a boil in medium pot. Remove from heat; add couscous. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with fork. Serve stew over couscous.

Per serving: 293 calories, 12 grams protein, 5 grams fat (14% calories from fat), 0.3 gram saturated fat, 51 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 707 milligrams sodium, 9 grams fiber.

Carb count: 3.5.

Baked spaghetti

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: about 45 minutes, plus spaghetti; standing time: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

8 ounces spaghetti

1 tablespoon butter

1 (24-ounce) carton reduced-fat cottage cheese

3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided

3 cups red pasta sauce with meat

4 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (1 cup)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cook spaghetti according to directions; drain and mix with butter to coat. Meanwhile, coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange spaghetti in an even layer in dish. Spread cottage cheese over spaghetti. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Heat pasta sauce until bubbly. Spoon sauce over cheeses. Top with mozzarella cheese and remaining Parmesan cheese. Cover with nonstick foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake 15 more minutes or until cheese is lightly browned. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Per serving: 307 calories, 20 grams protein, 10 grams fat (30% calories from fat), 4.6 grams saturated fat, 34 grams carbohydrate, 30 milligrams cholesterol, 851 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.5.

Chicken and vegetable udon soup

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

7 ounces Japanese-style udon noodles

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

8 ounces chicken strips, cut into bite-size pieces

4 cups unsalted chicken stock or broth

1 cup diced carrots

2 tablespoons less-sodium soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1 1/2 cups julienned fresh snow peas

1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions

Cook noodles as directed on package. Drain well. Meanwhile, heat oil in large saucepan on medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger; cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add chicken; cook 3 to 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Add stock, carrots, soy sauce and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until carrots are tender-crisp. Stir in snow peas and mushrooms; cook for 2 minutes or until snow peas are tender-crisp. Divide noodles into 6 soup bowls. Ladle soup into each bowl and garnish with green onions.

Per serving: 218 calories, 15 grams protein, 4 grams fat (19% calories from fat), 0.4 gram saturated fat, 28 grams carbohydrate, 28 grams cholesterol, 710 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.

Italian beef sandwiches

Use the beef leftovers: Place 4 split hoagie buns on a cookie sheet and brush lightly with Italian salad dressing. Broil 1 to 2 minutes. In a small skillet over medium heat, pour 3 tablespoons of the salad dressing over 8 ounces thinly sliced beef and brush to coat; heat 2 minutes. Divide meat mixture among bottoms of buns. Add roasted red pepper strips, sliced artichoke hearts and sliced part-skim mozzarella cheese. Broil 2 or 3 minutes or until cheese is melted. Add tops and cut sandwiches in half.

Chili-cheese pierogies

Make it quick tonight: In a 9-by-9-inch baking dish, combine any flavor (16.9-ounce) package frozen pierogies and 1/2 cup water. Cover and microwave on high (100% power) 5 minutes; mix well and drain. Spoon 1 (15-ounce) can turkey chili over pierogies. Cover and microwave on high 5 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle with shredded 50% reduced-fat cheddar cheese and let stand, covered, 3 minutes. Sprinkle with sliced green onions and serve.

Flounder with pesto

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place 4 flounder fillets (4 to 6 ounces each), skin side down, on waxed paper. Divide 4 teaspoons basil pesto and spread on each fillet; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt. Starting at narrow end, roll fillets jelly-roll style. Place roll-ups seam side down in an 8-by-8-inch glass baking dish. Pour 1/4 cup dry white wine (or unsalted chicken broth) over fillets and top with 4 chopped, seeded plum tomatoes. Cover and bake 18 to 20 minutes or until fish is opaque throughout. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and serve with orzo tossed with additional pesto.

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