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3 simple healthy dinners


LENTIL SOUP

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

3 celery stalks, chopped

2 medium carrots, chopped (about ¾ cup)

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon dried basil

12 ounces lentils, rinsed

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes

6 cups unsalted chicken broth

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic and basil; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the lentils, tomatoes, broth, salt, coriander and cumin; bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the heat and just before serving, stir in the parsley. Makes 6 servings

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 284 calories, 21 g protein, 46 g carbohydrates, 8 g fiber, 3 g fat, 0 saturated fat, 732 mg sodium

CHICKEN, GREEN BEAN AND CASHEW STIR-FRY

1 cup unsalted chicken broth

1/3 cup lower-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 pound thin sliced boneless chicken breasts, cut in strips

2 teaspoons minced ginger

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 pound green beans, cut across in half

1/2 cup cashews, coarsely chopped

1. Combine the chicken broth, soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar and cornstarch in a bowl, stirring until the cornstarch is dissolved.

2. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken, ginger and garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add the green beans and cook 2 minutes. Stir the sauce and add it to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, 6 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the cashews. Makes 4 servings

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 326 calories, 29 g protein, 22 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 14 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 846 mg sodium

BALSAMIC-GARLIC FLANK STEAK WITH ONIONS AND PEPPERS

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

3 minced garlic cloves

½ teaspoon thyme

½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 ½ pounds flank steak

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)

1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

1. Combine the balsamic, garlic, oregano and pepper in a bowl or zip-top bag. Add the flank steak and turn to completely coat it. Allow the meat to marinate 30 to 60 minutes.

2. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add the peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Cover the skillet to keep the remaining vegetables warm.

3. Heat the broiler; coat a broiler pan and rack with cooking spray. Transfer the meat to the broiler pan rack; discard the marinade. Season the steak on both sides with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of the salt; broil about 5 minutes per side for medium-rare (or to desired degree of doneness).

4. Allow the meat to rest 5 minutes. Slice it thinly across the grain and serve with the onions and peppers. Makes 4 servings

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 309 calories, 35 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 14 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 511 mg sodium

TIP: The lentil soup freezes beautifully, keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, and may be microwaved to reheat.



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