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Power of Protein

All materials courtesy of The Beef Checkoff | 1/30/2008, 5 p.m.

Beef helps fuel an active lifestyle by providing a powerhouse of protein. This is good news considering research by Donald Layman, Ph.D., professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois, that suggests many Americans may need more protein in their diets. Americans can feel good about loving beef because the protein in beef is a powerful nutrient that strengthens and sustains their bodies. Protein is essential to building muscle and helping enhance strength.

These recipes are all winners, literally - not only do they provide powerful protein, they were also chosen top finalists in the 2007 National Beef Cook-Off®.
* There are 29 cuts of beef that meet government guidelines for lean, including favorites such as sirloin, T-bone and flank steaks. It's easy to "go lean with protein" and follow the U.S. Dietary Guidelines.
* Lean beef is a naturally rich source of nine essential nutrients, including high quality protein, iron, zinc and B vitamins, that people need for a healthy, active lifestyle. In fact, a 3-ounce serving of lean beef supplies more than one-half the amount of protein most people need each day.
Visit www.BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com for nutrition information, recipes and more.

Nuevo Chipotle Beef in Butternut Squash Boats
Total preparation and cooking time: 2 to 2-3/4 hours
1-1/2 pounds beef for stew
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons ground chipotle chile pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 medium butternut squash (about 3 pounds)
1-1/2 cups water
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 small ripe avocado, cut into cubes (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place beef, water, tomato paste, sugar, vinegar, chipotle pepper, cumin, salt and black pepper in stockpot. Cover and bake in 325 degrees F oven 1-3/4 to 2-1/4 hours or until beef is fork-tender.
2. Meanwhile cut squash lengthwise into quarters; remove seeds. Place squash cut side down in 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish, overlapping if necessary. Add water. Bake in 325 degrees F oven 1 to 1-1/4 hours or until fork-tender.
3. Place each baked squash quarter onto serving plate. Fill with equal amounts of beef mixture. Top with tomato and avocado, if desired. Sprinkle with cilantro.
Makes 4 servings.
Cook's Tips: One tablespoon minced, seeded chipotle pepper in adobo sauce may be substituted for ground chipotle chile pepper.
Chipotle Beef mixture may also be cooked on the stovetop. Bring beef mixture to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 1-3/4 to 2-1/4 hours or until beef is fork-tender.
Nutrition information per serving: 355 calories; 9 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 3 g monounsaturated fat); 73 mg cholesterol; 528 mg sodium; 44 g carbohydrate; 9.7 g fiber; 29 g protein; 7.0 mg niacin; 0.7 mg vitamin B6; 2.2 mcg vitamin B12; 5.3 mg iron; 20.5 mcg selenium; 6.3 mg zinc.

Crispy Beef Lettuce Wraps with Wowee Sauce
Total preparation and cooking time: 25 to 30 minutes
1 pound ground beef
1/3 cup sliced green onions
2 tablespoons reduced sodium or regular soy sauce
Pepper
8 large lettuce leaves (such as Bibb, leaf or iceberg)
3/4 cup sliced water chestnuts
3/4 cup shredded carrots
Wowee Sauce:
1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple in juice, drained
1/3 cup orange marmalade
2 tablespoons reduced sodium or regular soy sauce
1. Combine Wowee Sauce ingredients in small bowl. Set aside.
2. Brown ground beef in large nonstick skillet over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until beef is not pink, breaking up into small crumbles. Pour off drippings, if necessary. Add green onions and soy sauce; season with pepper, as desired. Cook and stir for 1 minute.
3. Evenly spoon beef mixture onto each lettuce leaf. Top with equal amounts of water chestnuts and carrots. Spoon some Wowee Sauce over top. Wrap lettuce around filling. Serve with remaining Wowee Sauce.
Makes 4 servings.
Cook's Tip: Three-fourths cup crushed baked tortilla chips may be substituted for sliced water chestnuts.
Nutrition information per serving, using 95% lean ground beef: 389 calories; 10 g fat (4 g saturated fat; 4 g monounsaturated fat); 114 mg cholesterol; 750 mg sodium; 35 g carbohydrate; 3.8 g fiber; 40 g protein; 9.8 mg niacin; 0.7 mg vitamin B6; 3.4 mcg vitamin B12; 5.0 mg iron; 27.6 mcg selenium; 9.2 mg zinc.