Entertaining Made Easy with Beef Stroganoff

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SUNDAY: Family Day

Pack a fully cooked 2-3 pound cooked ham for family day out. Place ham in shallow dish and heat to 350 degrees, uncovered, 15 to 18 minutes per pound or until internal temperature reaches 140 degrees.

Accompany it with a parmesan risotto with peas (see recipe). Add a lettuce wedge and whole grain buns. Make an old-fashioned pineapple upside-down cake (from a mix) for dessert.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough ham and cake for Monday.

SHOPPING LIST: fully cooked cooked ham, unsalted chicken broth or homemade broth, arborio rice, parmesan cheese, dry white wine, butter, pepper, frozen peas, lettuce, whole grain rolls, upside-down cake mix pineapple.

MONDAY: Heat and Eat

Use leftover ham for grilled ham and Swiss rye sandwiches. Serve with a German deli (or other) potato salad. Add spinach salad. Slice remaining cake for dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: Swiss cheese, rye bread, charcuterie German potato salad (or other), fresh spinach.

TUESDAY: The children’s favorite

Kids will love Mexican pizza: Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Spread 1/2 cup prepared black bean dip onto ready-to-bake pizza crust, leaving 1/2-inch border. Place the crust on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup grated Mexican cheese. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the cheese melts. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine 1/4 tsp lime zest, 2 tbsp fresh lime juice and 1 ripe avocado cut into chunks. Mix 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce with 1 tablespoon lime juice. Top the cooked pizza with the romaine mixture, a chopped tomato and then the avocado mixture.

Serve with baby carrots. For dessert, enjoy peach slices.

SHOPPING LIST: prepared black bean dip, ready-to-bake pizza crust, shredded Mexican cheese, limes, avocado, romaine lettuce, tomato, baby carrots, peaches.

WEDNESDAY: Budget dinner

Keep it simple and inexpensive with tuna puttanesca pasta. Toss 1 pound of cooked pasta with a can of tuna (12 ounces) in oil (drained and crumbled) and a jar (26 ounces) of green or black olive (or other) pasta sauce.

Serve with a green salad and Italian bread. Try grapes for dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: choice of pasta, canned tuna in oil, jar of pasta sauce with green or black olives (or other), green salad, Italian bread, grapes.

THURSDAY: Meal without meat

Nothing beats a hearty bowl of vegetable bean soup (see recipe) on a cold March night. Serve soup with egg salad sandwiches on whole grain bread. Strawberry ice cream is good for dessert any time of the year.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough soup for Friday; save enough ice for Saturday.

SHOPPING LIST: canned reduced-sodium black beans, canned reduced-sodium pinto beans, diced tomatoes with canned jalapenos, frozen corn, unsalted vegetable broth, red potatoes, onions, salsa medium, frozen green beans, egg salad, whole grain bread, ice cream.

FRIDAY: Express cooking

Since the flavors have blended, leftover soup will be even better tonight. Spruce up the entree by incorporating diced cooked chicken as you reheat it. Add a packed green salad and crackers. Fresh tropical fruits are a light dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: diced cooked chicken, packaged green salads, crackers, fresh fruit.

SATURDAY: Easy Fun

Our guests loved the easy beef stroganoff (see recipe). Next, add fresh steamed broccoli, mixed greens and a baguette. Top leftover ice cream with chocolate sauce.

STORE LIST: beef sirloin tip steaks cut 1/8-1/4 inch thick, garlic, canola oil, coarse salt, pepper, mushrooms, brown gravy mix, wide egg noodles , sour cream, broccoli, mesclun, baguette, chocolate sauce.

Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email: [email protected] menu.com. Follow Susan on Twitter: @7DayMenu.

The menu planner can also be accessed at 7daymenuplanner.com. Read Susan’s blog: makingthemenu.com.

And check out Susan’s book! “7-Day Menu Planner for Dummies” is now on the shelves. Order yours from Amazon.com today!

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“RISOTTO” WITH PEAS PARMESAN (Sunday)

Makes: 8 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: about 50 minutes

5 cups unsalted chicken broth or homemade broth, divided

1 1/2 cups arborio rice

1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons diced butter

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 cup frozen peas

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring the broth to a boil. Place rice and 4 cups of broth in Dutch oven, reserving 1 cup of broth. Cover and cook for 45 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente. Remove from oven; add remaining broth, cheese, wine, butter and pepper; stir vigorously for 2-3 minutes until rice is thick and creamy. Add peas; stir until heated through. Serve hot. (Adapted from “Barefoot Contessa: How Easy Is That?” Ina Garten, Clarkson Potter.)

Per serving: 220 calories, 7 grams protein, 6 grams fat (25% calories from fat), 3.4 grams saturated fat, 32 grams carbohydrates, 19 milligrams cholesterol, 767 milligrams sodium, 2 grams of fiber. Number of carbohydrates: 2.

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VEGETABLE BEAN SOUP (Thursday)

Makes: about 12 cups

Preparation time: less than 15 minutes

Cooking time: 6 hours

1 can (15 ounces) reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed

1 can (15 ounces) reduced-sodium pinto beans, rinsed

2 (14.5 ounce) cans undrained diced tomatoes with jalapenos

2 cups frozen corn

1 can (14 ounces) unsalted vegetable broth (see NOTE)

2 medium red potatoes, chopped

1 cup chopped onions

1 cup medium salsa

1 cup frozen green beans

In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, combine all ingredients. Mix well. Cover and cook on High 6 hours or until vegetables are tender. NOTE: Dilute with additional broth or water if desired.

Per cup: 109 calories, 4 grams protein, no fat (no calories from fat), no saturated fat, 24 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 268 mg sodium, 5 grams fiber. Number of carbohydrates: 1.5.

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EASY BEEF STROGANOFF (Saturday)

Makes: 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: less than 10 minutes

1 pound beef sirloin tip steaks cut 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick

1 teaspoon minced garlic

4 teaspoons canola oil, divided

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 pound sliced ​​mushrooms

1 package (3/4 ounce) brown gravy mix

1 cup cold water

4 cups cooked wide egg noodles

1/4 cup dairy sour cream

Stacked steaks; cut in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 1-inch-wide strips. Mix with the garlic. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the beef; stir-fry 1 minute or until outside surface of beef is no longer pink. (Do not overcook.) Remove; repeat with remaining beef. Season with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook and stir 2 minutes or until tender. Remove from fire. Add sauce mix and water; mix well. Bring to a boil. Lower the temperature; simmer 1 minute or until sauce thickens, stirring frequently. Stir in beef; warm up. Serve over noodles. Skip the sour cream.

Per serving: 461 calories, 36 grams protein, 15 grams fat (29% calories from fat), 4.3 grams saturated fat, 47 grams carbohydrates, 129 milligrams cholesterol, 465 milligrams sodium, 2 grams of fiber. Number of carbohydrates: 3.

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