The average American dinner is getting a makeover.
Before: Relying on a hunk of meat as the star of the meal leads to portion distortion, an inability to accurately measure a serving.
After: With the New American Plate, the American Institute of Cancer Research suggests shifting the emphasis from meat to vegetables, fruits and grains — each a bountiful source of phytochemicals, health-promoting nutrients that can protect against cancer.
The Plan: Simply fill two-thirds of your plate with vegetables and one-third with meat, poultry or fish.
“People trying to change their diet often get so overwhelmed with counting things, ” says Karen Collins, registered dietitian and nutrition adviser for the institute. “The neat thing about the New American Plate is that it does provide structure, but there’s not really any counting.”
One way to subtly alter lopsided proportions is to serve up more stews, casseroles, stir-fries, grain-based salads and other one-pot meals. The Star’s Beef and Mushroom Stew is a tasty way to create a quick, convenient and nutritious meal.
Celery, leeks, carrots, mushrooms and peas offer vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals; the small amount of red meat used is lean; and the broth is a low-sodium variety. Serve the meal with cooked brown rice and you’ve added a healthy whole grain to round out the meal.
To remove all the grit that can hide in the layers of a leek, slice or chop first, then put in a bowl of water to clean. Swish the pieces with fingers and the dirt will fall to the bottom; lift pieces of leek out with hands. Avoid pouring leeks through a colander; this can trap the dirt with the leeks.Beef and Mushroom Stew
Makes 6 servings1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, divided 1 pound beef top round, trimmed of all fat and cut into 3/4-inch cubes 1 onion, chopped 1 leek, chopped (white part only) 1 clove garlic, minced 12 ounces mushrooms, sliced (button, small portobello, shiitake or a combination) 2 stalks celery, chopped 3 carrots, halved and sliced 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 1/2 teaspoon paprika 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 bay leaf 1 (14.5-ounce) can reduced-sodium beef broth 1/2 cup red wine 1/2 cup frozen peas 1 tablespoon cornstarch 3/4 cup hot, cooked brown rice Green onions, chopped
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add beef cubes and cook, stirring frequently, until browned. Drain and set beef aside.
Add remaining oil to Dutch oven. Add onion, leek and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is tender. Add mushrooms and sauté, stirring frequently, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in celery, carrots, seasonings, broth, wine and browned beef. Heat to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 1 hour or until beef is tender. Stir in peas. Increase heat to medium. Dissolve cornstarch in 1 tablespoon cold water; blend cornstarch mixture into stew and cook, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes or until slightly thickened and bubbly.
To serve, ladle stew into individual serving bowls. Top each serving with 2 tablespoons hot, cooked brown rice and garnish with chopped green onions.Per serving: 259 calories (31 percent from fat), 9 grams total fat (3 grams saturated), 36 milligrams cholesterol, 21 grams carbohydrates, 22 grams protein, 194 milligrams sodium, 4 grams dietary fiber.