Resolve To Have Hassle-Free Post-Holiday Meals

IN THE KITCHEN

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Want to impress your dinner guests without all the stress? A simple trip to the deli counter will help you produce marvelous meals in minutes.

While roasts can require hours of kitchen time under the watchful eye of a skilled cook, sliced deli meats are a quick and tasty dinner solution.

Buy meats sliced to your liking and smother with gravy, or cube thick slices to toss into piping hot noodles. Thinly sliced beef, ham, turkey or chicken will pile high to make a satisfying hot sandwich.

Here some suggestions for using deli roast beef:

Carpaccio

Named for the Renaissance artist Vittore Carpaccio, best known for his use of red in his paintings, the dish Carpaccio was invented in 1961 at Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy. Thinly sliced raw beef was served on a bed of greens with a cold vinaigrette made of olive oil, lemon juice and Parmesan cheese.

20 slices deli roast beef, sliced thin

2 cups arugula

1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

6 tablespoons good quality olive oil

4 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons capers

Salt and pepper to taste

Arrange arugula on four plates. Layer each with slices of roast beef. Sprinkle with equal amounts of Parmesan. Add capers. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Serves four.

Quick Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Purchase deli roast beef, sliced thick and serve with 10-Minute Mashed Potatoes and Easy Gravy. Add a green vegetable and dinner's done.

10-Minute Mashed Potatoes

8 medium red potatoes

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream

1 tablespoon horseradish sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Quarter and simmer potatoes until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and return to cooking pot. Mash with potato masher or large fork. Add butter, sour cream and horseradish sauce a bit at a time, and continue to mash until desired consistency reached. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves four.

Easy Gravy

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon flour

1 minced shallot or 3 tablespoons minced shallot

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can beef broth

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Melt butter, add flour and whisk 1 minute over medium heat, Add shallots and continue to whisk 1 minute longer. Whisk in broth until smooth, then add ketchup, lemon juice and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until gravy coats back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Serves four.

Effortless Beef Stroganoff

1-1/2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) beef broth

6 mini carrots

1/2 cup boiling onions, peeled

1 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon butter

1 shallot, minced or 3 tablespoons minced shallot

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, to taste

1/4 cup good red wine or brandy (optional)

1/2 pound, 1/4-inch sliced deli roast beef, julienned

2 tablespoons sour cream (may be low fat)

8 ounces egg noodles, cooked to taste

Cook carrots and onions over low heat in beef broth until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, reserving broth. In 8- to-10-inch sauté pan, melt butter over low heat, then whisk in flour and shallots. Cook until shallots soften, about 4 minutes. Add Dijon mustard and pepper, and whisk until blended. Add beef broth, stirring over low heat until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Add wine or brandy and simmer over low heat to reduce mixture, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream. Add beef, carrots and onions and toss. Serve over egg noodles. Serves four.

The French Dip sandwich received its name in 1918 when Philippe Mathieu, a Frenchman working in a Los Angeles deli, accidentally dropped a sliced French roll into the drippings of a roasting pan. The customer enjoyed the sandwich so much that he returned the next day with friends to order the sandwich "dipped" in pan meat juices. The "French Dip" was born. Today it's possible to create your own version at home.

Instant French Dip Sandwich

4 crusty French rolls cut in half

1 tablespoon garlic butter, melted

1 pound thinly sliced Boar's Head Londonport roast beef

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can low-sodium beef broth

Slice rolls in half, brush with garlic butter and toast under broiler. Layer roast beef on half of each roll. Cover with remaining halves. Heat beef broth in small saucepan, then pour into 4 dipping bowls. Serve broth alongside sandwiches and dunk before each bite. Enjoy with cole slaw bought at the deli counter or made fresh at home. Serves four.

Boar's Head products are available at select supermarkets and at fine delicatessens. For more product information, visit www.boarshead.com.

Roast Beef Lavash with Basil

1/2 cup bottled tomato chutney

6 large thin slices rare deli roast beef (about 1/4 pound total)

16 fresh basil leaves

8 arugula leaves

4 large, flour tortillas

Spread 1 side of two tortillas with 1 tablespoon chutney, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around. Arrange slices roast beef, in one layer, over chutney and season with salt and pepper. Spread 1 tablespoon chutney evenly over roast beef and top with basil, arugula, and two other tortillas and salt and pepper to taste. Tightly roll up each lavash around filling and wrap individually in wax paper and plastic wrap. Sandwiches may be made 6 hours ahead and chilled, wrapped in plastic wrap.

Garnish sandwiches with arugula and basil and serve with chutney. Makes four sandwiches.

For more information on this and other recipes, visit www.epicurious.com.

Recipes courtesy of Family Features Editorial Syndicate

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