Dum dum dum. It’s dinner time. The kids are home, tired and hungry, and ready to pounce on anything edible. Your spouse is probably tired and hungry. You are tired and hungry. You need something easy, preferably healthy, and you need it fast.

Luckily you don’t always have to resort to take-out in desperation to fill those bellies. As you know there are many great recipes out there that are a cinch in a pinch. One of our family’s favorite week-night dinners is ground beef and veggies. Beef often gets a bad rap, however my personal feelings as a dietitian is that if you choose lean and eat in moderation, (moderation meaning not every day) it can be a great source of iron and B vitamins. One serving of beef, or 3 ounces, also has a whopping 22 grams of protein for those growing kiddos. If you are not sure what 3 ounces may look like, visualize a deck of cards. In addition, this recipe has a good amount of vegetables packed in, which is never a bad thing. Since cutting up the veggies is the most time-consuming part I sometimes chop it all up and store it in the fridge the night before.

Ground Beef and Veggies:
2 lbs ground beef (I aim for 93% or leaner)
1 1/2 cup onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced (I use bottled minced garlic to speed up this process)
1 cup chopped carrot
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 can low sodium diced tomatoes
1 can low sodium tomato sauce
1 can low sodium green beans (or use frozen)
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup dry white wine (I sometimes substitute with 1/2 cup low sodium beef broth)
1/8 tsp black pepper
Dash of salt
1/2 bag of garden-style spiral noodles (you can use egg-noodles or whole-grain pasta too, depending on your family’s tastes)

Brown meat, drain any fat. Add onions and carrots with garlic. Add rest of ingredients and cover. Let simmer with added noodles until noodles and veggies are cooked through. Eat and enjoy! Total cooking time : approximately 30 minutes. Beautiful!

If you decide to add wine, do not purchase “cooking” wine from the store. It is not as good and the grapes used are of cheaper quality. Worse, it is much higher in sodium as the salt is added as a preservative. Just use a regular white wine such as a Pinot-Grigio or Chardonnay. Life Lesson: Always cook with wine you wouldn’t mind actually having a glass of. Woohoo!

If you are in the mood for a little spice, we add a few drops of hot sauce to our dish to finish it off. Cholula beats Tabasco in this house!

It also makes for great left-overs. I find that it often tastes better the second day.

Until next time!