- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 18, 2009

When one hand is on the remote and the other is shielding your eyes, you know it’s March Madness, when 65 college basketball teams compete for the championship title.

This is not the time to break for a leisurely dinner away from the television set, but if the other half of Two’s Company shares your enthusiasm - or mania - you can create a mealtime game plan for two.

Stock up on tortilla chips, salsa, crunchy carrot sticks and beer for starters.

The main course should be an entree you can eat while watching your favorite teams. Avoid any recipe that requires pointy utensils. There’s nothing worse than a frenzied fan waving a sharp-tined fork. Finally, think of food you can pick up and put down whenever you’re shouting at the television set.

Sandwiches score points on all counts. You’re getting a fuss-free entree you can ignore and turn to as the game progresses.

For the following roast beef and slaw sandwich, make the carrot, cabbage and dried apricot slaw in advance and assemble the sandwich parts at the last minute.

However, if you don’t plan to eat during the game, or if by some chance your team loses, prepare a roast beef open-face sandwich instead. It’s as comforting as the knowledge that you’ll have another season.

Roast beef and slaw sandwich

Makes 2 servings.

1 medium carrot, trimmed and shredded

1 cup shredded cabbage

2 tablespoons minced dried apricot

1/8 teaspoon curry powder

1/8 teaspoon chili powder

1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard, divided

1 tablespoon reduced-fat mayonnaise

2 sourdough rolls

4 ounces sliced, cooked roast beef

Combine carrot, cabbage and dried apricot in a bowl. Stir in curry powder, chili powder, 1 teaspoon mustard and mayonnaise. Mix well. Cut rolls in half and scoop out some of the insides to form cavities. Spread 1 teaspoon mustard on bottom half of each sandwich. Top each sandwich with 2 ounces roast beef and half the slaw. Close sandwiches.

Each serving has: 280 calories; 5.5 grams total fat; 20 grams protein; 38 grams carbohydrates; 45 milligrams cholesterol; 431 milligrams sodium and 2 grams dietary fiber.

Roast beef and cheese sauce open-face sandwich

Makes 2 servings.

2 teaspoons butter

1 shallot, finely chopped or 1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1 tablespoon flour

1 cup hot reduced-fat milk

3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Salt to taste

2 large slices sourdough bread, cut 3/4 inch thick

2 ounces sliced cooked roast beef

Melt butter in small pot. Add shallot. Cook over medium heat for 1 minute or until tender. Stir in flour to make a paste. Gradually stir in hot milk. Stir constantly until sauce is slightly thickened and lump-free. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cheese, 1/4 cup at a time. Cook until melted. Stir in red pepper flakes. Season with salt.

Place 1 slice of bread on each plate. Arrange 2 ounces roast beef over each bread slice. Spoon on some of cheese sauce; pass the remainder. Serve with knife and fork.

Each serving (using all the cheese sauce) has 375 calories; 16 grams total fat; 29 grams protein; 26 grams carbohydrates; 69 milligrams cholesterol; 1244 milligrams sodium and 1 gram dietary fiber.


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