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3 High-Protein Winter Stew Recipes

By Ben Kallen
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As we move into the last frigid months between winter and spring, it's the perfect time to fortify yourself with some hot and hearty comfort food. And if you're careful, you don't have to screw up your nutrition plan to do it. Winter stews can be high in protein, low in fat, and full of healthy veggies—all the elements you need to help you gain lean muscle and lose excess pounds. They're also easy to prepare and brimming with flavor.

3 High-Protein Winter Stew Recipes

Many stews can be cooked in a single pot, without too much prep work. Or you can simply place the ingredients in a slow cooker in the morning, so you'll have a fresh, delicious meal waiting for you when you get home at night. (Follow your cooker's instructions for time and temperature settings.) Make more than you need and save the leftovers—stews tend to taste even better when they're reheated the following day.

Remember, when you're working out regularly, whether it's with ChaLEAN Extreme®, P90X®, or Slim in 6®, your body needs plenty of protein to build muscle. And high-protein meals have been shown to spur more fat loss than the same amount of carb-heavy foods. Best of all, a moderate portion of these rich-tasting dishes will keep you satisfied for a long time. (However, we don't recommend you eat stew right before a workout.)

Here are 3 recipes to get you started.

Hungarian Goulash

Hungarian GoulashThis meaty dish gets its unique Eastern European taste from paprika and caraway seeds. Our version is lower in fat than most and includes carrots for flavor and nutrients.

1 tsp. vegetable oil
1-lb. lean round steak, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 cup sliced onion
2 cloves crushed garlic
4 carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. caraway seeds
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. mustard seed
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 cups water
2 Tbsp. flour
1/4 cup cold water
3 cups whole wheat pasta, or 6 slices whole-grain bread
Reduced-fat sour cream, if desired

Coat bottom of a saucepan with oil and cook meat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the edges begin to brown. Add onions, garlic, and carrots, and stir. Mix ketchup, tomato paste, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings; add to pan and stir. Add 2 cups water, cover, and simmer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until meat is tender. Blend flour and 1/4 cup cold water, and pour into meat mixture. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

Serve over 1/2 cup cooked whole wheat pasta per person, or with a slice of good whole-grain bread. Top with a dollop of reduced-fat sour cream (if desired). Serves 6.

Nutritional information (per serving):
Calories: 270  Protein: 27 g  Fiber: 3 g
Carbs: 21 g    Fat Total: 9 g

Irish Stew

Irish StewThis traditional full-meal-in-a-bowl is high in protein, low in fat, and gets its nutrients from veggies such as cabbage. If you can find them, blue potatoes have a unique "nutty" flavor and are rich in healthy antioxidant chemicals called anthocyanins.

3/4-pound boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of fat and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
3/4 pound Yukon gold or Peruvian blue potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
6 cups water
2 cups fat-free, low-sodium beef or vegetable broth
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 leeks, sliced
2 parsnips, sliced
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 large onion, diced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
4 slices whole-grain bread, if desired

In a saucepan or Dutch oven, combine all ingredients except parsley. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer for 45 minutes. Uncover pot and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 45 more minutes, or until lamb is tender. Remove bay leaf and garnish with parsley.

Serve on its own or with a slice of whole-grain bread. Serves 4.

Nutritional information (per serving):
Calories: 309   Protein: 24 g   Fiber: 9 g
Carbs: 42 g     Fat Total: 5 g

Vegetarian Lentil Stew

Vegetarian Lentil StewVegetarian dishes tend to be lower in protein than those with meat, but this delicious stew has a decent amount—and it's loaded with vitamins and fiber, too.

1-1/2 cups water (plus more as needed)
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup dry lentils, rinsed and sorted
1 15-oz. can low-sodium diced or crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup dry brown rice
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 red or yellow pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 tsp. salt (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. curry powder
Plain low-fat (or soy) yogurt

Combine water, broth, and lentils in a large pot, and cook on medium heat. When the liquid starts to boil, reduce heat and stir in tomatoes, rice, onion, garlic, and vegetables. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes, adding more water as needed to keep some liquid in the pot. After the first 30 minutes, stir in the salt, pepper, and curry powder. Cook for 15 more minutes, or until lentils are firm but tender.

Top with plain low-fat (or soy) yogurt. Serves 4.

Nutritional information (per serving):
Calories: 323   Protein: 18 g   Fiber: 19 g
Carbs: 58 g     Fat Total: 2 g

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