Chevy Chase, Md., resident Aviva Goldfarb, founder of the Six O'Clock Scramble, an online meal-planning service, has a solid game plan for September, when school activities really kick in. She has compiled research that shows kids and teens who share family dinners at least three nights a week are better off in lots of ways. You can find a grocery list for each of the recipes featured in this space at www.familydinnerchallenge.com.
We're offering you a head start this month. These sandwiches pack a meaty mouthful, with a combination of quickly marinated steak and mushrooms; you can easily adapt to an all-portobello option for the vegetarians at your table. Serve with potato salad; you can find a quick version on the Six O'Clock Scramble site as well.
Grilled Steak and Portobello Mushroom Sandwiches
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika (pimenton), or more as needed
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 or 3 cloves garlic
2 to 4 portobello mushroom caps (6 to 8 ounces total)
1 pound boneless steak, such as flank steak (less than 1 inch thick)
3 tablespoons herbed or plain soft goat cheese
4 whole-wheat buns, such as Arnold Sandwich Thin Rolls
Preheat one or two large grill pans on the stove over high heat, or position an oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the broiler element.
Combine the vinegar, oil, smoked paprika (to taste) and salt in a gallon-size zip-top bag.
Mince the garlic (to taste) and add to the bag. Use a vegetable brush to clean the portobellos; or rinse, then pat dry thoroughly. Place them and the steak in the bag, pressing as much air out as possible before sealing. Massage to coat evenly. Marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes, turning as needed; take the goat cheese out of the refrigerator.
Arrange the steak and the portobellos, gill sides up, in the grill pan, discarding any excess marinade; you may need to use a second pan to cook them all simultaneously. Cook them for 4 to 6 minutes per side (for medium-rare meat). Cut the portobellos into thin slices while the meat rests.
Meanwhile, toast the whole-wheat buns, if desired. Spread their inside surfaces with the goat cheese.
Arrange a bun on each plate. Thinly slice the meat against the grain on a slight diagonal. Place equal amounts of portobello and steak slices on the bottom buns, drizzling with any accumulated juices from the cutting board. Serve warm.
Nutrition per serving (with buns): 370 calories, 33 g protein, 25 g carbohydrates, 17 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 55 mg cholesterol, 340 mg sodium, 6 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugar