Beef Bites

Beefing up your day with a variety of beef related information!

Beef will always have my heart…

4
Posted by: on February 28, 2013

Today is the last day of “The Month of Love” and the last of my heart-themed posts. I had planned to write about something about cooking with your family (which you should do), but I’ve had a change of heart (pun absolutely intended!). Today, I’m getting a little more personal.

531459_10150831075428101_861568447_n

I find it extremely fitting and symbolic that on this last day of February, I write my final blog post for BeefBites.org. In the next two weeks, I’ll  transition from the Missouri Beef Industry Council to a new career in advertising and online communications here at home in Maryville, Mo. In more than two years with MBIC, and nearly four years in Missouri’s beef community, I’ve learned so much, grown personally and professionally, and hopefully accomplished some successes for my beloved farmers and ranchers.

It’s all about the people

We all hope to leave our mark, to make a difference, to be remembered as someone who accomplished great things for the cause about which we are so passionate. Of course that’s what I hope I’ve done. Of course I hope I’ve moved the needle in beef promotions and in how and to whom the beef story is told. But what I leave this role with, more than anything, is a very, very long list of amazing people who made a difference to me.

67114_10100945193107360_1860920337_nI am a true believer that life is really about two things. 

  1. Living life in a way that gives all our glory and praise to God.
  2. Sharing our passions, missions, and lives with those we love.

It’s all about serving people, folks. It’s about working together, learning from one another, touching lives with our stories and listening to theirs. It’s about building friendships and bonds that make us better people, caring for others when they need it, and leaning on friends and family as we go through life’s transitions. It’s about enjoying experiences and making memories with those people. It’s about learning which people are blessings and which are lessons. And it’s about growing. Growing together, growing apart, growing up, growing in God, and growing into the people we want to be, all thanks to God’s plan, and to the people with whom we surround ourselves.

Community of servants

If I’ve learned nothing else over the last four years, I’ve learned this: the beef community is full of servants.

  • 543620_10100837612205380_1106537435_nFarmers and ranchers work hard each and every day to provide food for families across the globe. They serve their animals before themselves daily, and sacrifice some major life conveniences to make growing our food their very top priority. They are stewards of their land and lifestyle, serving future generations with something a little better than they found it.
  • State Beef Council staffs work with limited staff and budgets to be good stewards of checkoff dollars, to share the beef nutrition and production stories on behalf of cattle farmers and ranchers.
  • NCBA and national staff serve states through resources, research, staff support, time, energy, and expertise, to serve one consistent, unified beef success story with many different facets.
  • Advocates serve agriculture by telling their stories, by connecting in person and through social media, to flip the switch for just one unsure beef eater (or anti-beef eater) at a time.

And to be a honest (and a little selfish)…IMG_6949

  • ALL of these folks serve as blessings in my life. I’ve built friendships with and learned from people across the country. I’ve made long-lasting memories with some of the very best friends I never thought I’d make in my work life. And I received guidance, gratitude, encouragement from the best of the best across that entire list up above.

Thank YOU!

While I step away from this role (but don’t worry, I’ll be starting my own personal blog soon!) hoping I somehow made at least one difference to someone, please know it’s YOU that has made the difference in my life. It’s YOU that I’ll miss working with every week. It’s YOU I’ll think of when you all get together for conventions and meetings. And it’s YOU who help make the beef community a network of friends that have impacted my life more than I could have ever imagined. Thank YOU, and thank God for putting YOU in my life.

tumblr_mb5ma5OZTE1qjm9bpo1_500

Lean Beef as a Heart Health Helper

 1
Posted by: on February 22, 2013

Americans have always had a love affair with beef. Whether celebrating a special occasion or enjoying an everyday meal, Americans love beef. Yet, people are often surprised to learn that lean beef can also be good for their heart. BOLD (Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet) research shows naturally nutrient-rich lean beef can be an important part of a heart-healthy diet. So, as you can see, beef’s got a lot going for it, aside from taste, of course.

BOLD-logo-1Heart Health Helper: A growing body of evidence shows that lean beef, trimmed of visible fat, can be a part of a balanced diet that does not increase heart disease risk factors.

  • A nine-month clinical trial suggests lean red meat can be part of a cholesterol-lowering diet.
  • A separate research study found that moderately overweight women, who exercised and consumed lean protein as part of a nutritionally balanced, reduced calorie diet, successfully lost weight, lowered bad cholesterol, maintained good cholesterol, and reduced body fat.

Naturally Nutrient-Rich: On average, a 3-ounce serving of lean beef is only 150 calories yet a naturally rich source of 10 essential nutrients – including protein, zinc, iron and B-vitamins – that are needed for a healthy, active lifestyle.

  • Choline, one of the 10 essential nutrients found in beef, may play a role in breaking down homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood that may be associated with increased risk of heart disease.

Beef up your exercise routine with lean protein

  • Hospital Hill 2011-6Regular physical activity or light exercise is much more effective when coupled with a protein-rich diet. Research indicates that a protein-rich diet, which falls within the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation for protein intake, coupled with a moderate exercise program, increased weight loss by helping women become more toned by losing significantly more fat and maintaining more muscle mass.
  • Research also indicates that increasing daily high-quality protein intake may optimize muscle strength and metabolism, and ultimately improve overall health. A growing body of evidence suggests muscle metabolism may also play a role in the prevention of many chronic diseases, such as type-2 diabetes and osteoporosis.
  • Lean protein, such as lean beef, provides essential nutrients to fuel activity and also help people consume more essential nutrients in fewer calories, while balancing their food intake with physical activity.
  • Because protein promotes satiety, eating a protein-rich meal or snack makes you feel full longer, and satisfies cravings faster.
  • Eating lean beef as part of a balanced diet can be part of the solution to maintaining a healthy weight and being active. A substantial body of evidence shows the nutrients in lean beef, such as protein, iron and B-vitamins, help maintain a healthy weight, build muscle and fuel physical activity.

Find more information here, from BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.

Filet Mignon… Fancy Talk for Mouthwatering

 1
Posted by: on February 20, 2013

“Filet Mignon” might seem fancy, but did you know it’s just another word for the tenderloin? And, most likely, tenderloin  sounds a little more familiar and a little less intimidating. Am I right?

What I love most about the tenderloin is that is often associated with special occasions, but the tenderloin itself is special because it is… wait for it… one of the 29 lean cuts. That’s right, one of the top choices for a tender, flavorful, juicy steak, is actually lean. The tenderloin is worth celebrating and a way of celebrating, so let’s get to celebrating!

So because February is a month of love, many of us are enjoying special occasions. Because February is Heart Health Awareness Month, we’re exploring new ways to take care of our bodies. And because those two go hand-in-hand, the tenderloin is the perfect choice to enjoy with your loved ones. Whether you’re ordering Filet Mignon at a restaurant or grilling the tenderloin at home on a random weeknight, you’re definitely going to want this for dinner!

Bistro-Style Filet Mignon with Champagne Pan Sauce

Ingredients102042d_NCBA_342_FiletStandard_a07.indd
  • 4 beef tenderloin (filet) steaks, cut 1 inch thick
    (about 5 ounces each)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse grind black pepper

Risotto:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking barley
  • 1/2 cup brut Champagne or sparkling wine
  • 1-3/4 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1 cup diced butternut squash
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • Salt

Champagne Pan Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-1/2 cups assorted mushrooms, such as shiitake, cremini or button, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup reduced sodium beef broth
  • 1/2 cup brut Champagne or sparkling wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in 3-quart saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add barley and cook 3 to 5 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1/2 cup of Champagne. Bring to a simmer. Cook and stir 30 to 60 seconds or until liquid is almost absorbed. Add 1-3/4 cup broth, squash and garlic; return to simmer and continue cooking 10 to 15 minutes or until barley is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in peas, cover and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes; keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, press coarsely cracked pepper on both sides of beef steak. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Place steaks in skillet; cook 10 to 13 minutes for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally. Remove to platter; season with salt, as desired. Keep warm.
  3. Heat oil in same skillet over medium heat until hot. Add mushrooms and garlic; cook and stir 3 to 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and browned. Add 3/4 cup beef broth, 1/2 cup Champagne and thyme to skillet, stirring until browned bits attached to bottom of pan are dissolved. Bring to a boil; cook 4 to 8 minutes or until mixture is reduced to 1 cup. Combine cornstarch and water; stir into mushroom mixture. Bring to a boil; cook 1 to 2 minutes or until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. Season with salt, as desired.
  4. Serve steaks with sauce and risotto.

See “Beef and Wine are the Perfect Couple” from earlier this month, to make the perfect wine pairing with your steak.

Setting a romantic dinner scene

Comments Off
Posted by: on February 13, 2013

Valentine’s Day preparations should be coming to their final stages, so I’m here with my “finishing touch” tips to make your Valentine’s Day unique to you and the ones you love. Here’s a 30-second video to help you get started:

Whether you’re cooking for your special someone, your entire family, friends, or coworkers, you can show you care in a lot of different ways. And because this holiday can seem cliche and made for those newly in love, I’d encourage you to step out of that mindset, and step into the mindset that you can use this day as a good reason to show anyone around you how much you love them. Tailor the day to them, not to big red hearts and a dozen red roses.

Romantic Recipes

I encourage you to try this Top Loin with Red Wine Sauce recipe from my last blog post. Not what you had in mind for your someone(s) special? We’ve got a ton more recipes.

Find them here on the blog (scroll down!), visit our website, MoBeef.org, for recipes and cooking tips, or repin mouthwatering beauty shots with recipes on our Pinterest page (see “Romantic Recipes” board)

Why Beef this Valentine’s Day?

dinner with hunk

Well, you know I LOVE giving beef some LOVE! But, if my enthusiasm doesn’t convince you, here’s some fun facts for you!

  • Let the sparks fly! More than half of Americans surveyed believe serving steak to someone best says “I love you,” more than all other proteins combined.
  • Americans love steak just the way it is – twice as many people think steak can truly stand alone on the dinner plate, where chicken and other proteins fall flat.
  • Americans are keeping the protein flame alive – nearly half of people surveyed can’t imagine ending their relationship with beef.

Setting the Scene

Sure the steak can serve as the center of your showing of affection, but their are some fail-proof pieces you just can’t leave out.  What says love to you?

  • While you’re getting your ingredients, be sure to grab a bottle of wine that will pair well with the steak. (See my beef and wine pairing guide from last week!)
  • Select a dessert that is decadent, maybe a favorite of your loved ones that they don’t get to have very often. Make it indulgent, because they indulge you with their daily love and support.
  • Eat dinner at the table, without the TV on. We can all get set in our routines, but take this time to enjoy real conversation with one another.
  • Put personal touches on the evening to match the personality of those you love. Maybe it’s the cliche candle light and soft music. Maybe it’s board games and family fun. Maybe it’s a rented movie. Whatever it is, make it personal, make it matter, and make sure you say “I love you” to those you care about.
  • If you’re going OUT for Valentine’s Day, don’t just pick a “nice place,” pick their favorite restaurant, fancy or not. Just make sure they’ve got a good steak. Cooking at home or dining out, steak still says I love you the best!

Tell me, how do you show your love and affection on Valentine’s Day?

Show your love with steak and wine

Comments Off
Posted by: on February 8, 2013

I’m truly a believer that cooking up the perfect meal, with real thought and care into every step, is one of the best ways to say “I love you” to your special someone, or even your entire family. And making steak the center of that perfect meal says “I love you to the moon and back.” Makes your heart feel all warm and fuzzy, doesn’t it?

Earlier this week, we learned how to choose the perfect wine for a romantic steak dinner (See Beef and Wine Pairing here). That’s a great start to your planning. But what’s the next step?

Well, in my attempt to make planning Valentine’s Day bliss as easy as possible, I’m now bringing you a simple recipe that actually uses a red wine sauce. This recipe screams “UMAMI” – or the fifth taste, meaning meaty or savory – and intense flavor. In love yet?

Top Loin Steaks with Red Wine SauceTop Loin red wine sauce2

Total Recipe Time:  40 to 45 minutes
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless beef top loin (strip) steaks, cut 1 inch thick or beef shoulder top blade steaks (flat iron) (about 8 ounces each)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • Chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Red Wine Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced cremini or button mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/3 cup ready-to-serve beef broth
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Press lemon pepper evenly onto beef steaks. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Place steaks in skillet; cook top loin steaks 12 to 15 minutes (flat iron steaks 11 to 14 minutes) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally. Remove to platter; keep warm.
  2. To prepare Red Wine Sauce, add oil to same skillet and heat over medium heat until hot. Add mushrooms; cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes. Add garlic; cook and stir 20 to 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add wine; cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until browned bits attached to skillet are dissolved and liquid is reduced by half. Stir in broth, cream and black pepper. Continue cooking 5 to 7 minutes or until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. Season with salt, as desired.
  3. Spoon sauce over steaks. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

Find more romantic recipes at BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com and Mobeef.org.

Our friends over at Missouri Wines are always here to help if you have more questions.
Visit MissouriWine.org to find Missouri wines and wineries, learn about more food and wine pairings, and download the Missouri Wines app. 

Next week’s posts will feature two “How-To” posts about cooking with beef and setting the perfect dinner scene. Stay tuned, my fellow beef lovers!

Beef and Wine are the Perfect Couple

Comments Off
Posted by: on February 4, 2013

I Heart Beef (Vertical)As you may know, February is Heart Health Awareness Month. This is one of my favorite months, first of all, because I get to talk for 28 days about how lean beef can be a very important part of leading a heart-healthy lifestyle. But secondly, it’s also my favorite month because it’s all about LOVE, where beef fits in perfectly, because, if it’s not obvious, I LOVE BEEF!

So, to start off a month of connecting beef to the heart in every creative way I can imagine, I’m starting you off with a little romance. Everyone knows beef and wine go hand-in-hand when you’re planning a romantic dinner for two, so I thought I’d offer you some good tips to pair beef and wine for Valentine’s Day, or any day, for that matter.

Here’s what you need to know…

The density and deep flavors of beef have an affinity with rich, powerful wines. Here are some pairings to try for rich, flavorful meal:

  • Chimichurri-MarinatedBeefSteaks_smallNorton is the wine that pairs best with most beef dishes. Flank steak & beef chuck cuts pair well with Norton or Chambourcin.
  • The flame-seared flavor of grilled steak echoes the toasty oak of Norton for a perfect match.
  • Braised beef dishes taste best with soft and seamless wines; pair beef stew with Chambourcin.
  • Thai beef salads and beef stir-fries are fantastic with Vignoles.
  • Steak salads with greens and vegetables are terrific with Vidal Blanc.
  • A dry Rose is a must-try with garlicky beef dishes.
  • Asian beef dishes with lots of chili heat or piquant garlic & ginger are good with Traminette or Vignoles.
  • Beef dishes with a significant fruit component to them often pair beautifully with fruity red wines. Try your local proprietary blend!
  • Salty foods dull the flavor of many wines. Counter with a touch of sweetness. An Asian beef stir fry seasoned with soy sauce is a terrific match for Traminette.

And of course, I’m a firm believer that your favorite wine goes well well with whatever you want it too. Maybe that’s just me… No? Didn’t think so!
Missouri Wines

 

Our friends over at Missouri Wines are always here to help if you have more questions.
Visit MissouriWine.org to find Missouri wines and wineries, learn about more food and wine pairings, and download the Missouri Wines app. 

Beer Braised Brisket sure to score big

Comments Off
Posted by: on January 31, 2013

IT’S GAMETIME! I understand your competitive need to kick off the party with the best dish anyone’s ever tried. I know you want the half-time chow down to score as big as your favorite team. I get it.

So as I searched through my recipes for the champion of Super Bowl recipes, I found it. The Wasabi-Beer Braised Brisket recipe. I mean, it’s BEEF braised in BEER, people! How do you go wrong with that as a Super Bowl food? And what I love about this recipe, is that you can make use sandwich sized baguettes, or slice them thinner, into appetizer sized sandwiches. I give you, absolute brilliance. Go TEAM, Go BEEF!

Wasabi-Beer Braised BrisketBrisketHiResolution

Total recipe time: 4 to 4-1/4 hours
Makes 10 to 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 boneless beef brisket, flat cut (4 to 4-1/2 pounds)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 medium onions, each cut into 12 wedges
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) beer
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) chili sauce
  • 2 teaspoons wasabi paste
  • Coleslaw (recipe follows)
  • 3 whole wheat baguettes, cut into 10 to 12 pieces (4-1/2 to 5 inches each), split

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Press garlic evenly onto all surfaces of beef brisket. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat until hot. Place brisket in skillet; brown evenly. Remove brisket from skillet; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add onions to large stockpot or large baking pan. Place brisket over onions. Stir in beer and chili sauce; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover tightly. Continue cooking in 325°F oven 3-1/2 to 4 hours or until beef is fork-tender.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare coleslaw.
  4. Remove brisket; keep warm. Skim fat from cooking liquid; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes. Stir in wasabi paste.
  5. Carve brisket diagonally across the grain into thin slices. Return beef to cooking liquid; keep warm. Divide beef and onions evenly over roll bottoms; close sandwiches. Serve remaining sauce for dipping, if desired. Serve with coleslaw.

Coleslaw: Combine ½ cup rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger and 2 teaspoons honey in large bowl. Add 1 package (16 ounces) coleslaw mix and 1 package (8 ounces) shredded red cabbage; toss to coat. Season with salt, if desired.

Have a favorite beef recipe you plan to make? Make it a team effort, and share your recipe in the comments below!

Find more gametime appetizers on at MoBeef.org!

Winning BEEF recipe worth $25,000

Comments Off
Posted by: on January 24, 2013

nbco-logo

Healthy.  Easy. Worldly.

These are a few words to describe this year’s recipe categories for the checkoff-funded National Beef Cook-Off (NBCO), and we are looking for your winning creation!

The Cook-Off seeks recipes that meet the tastes and techniques of the home cook while demonstrating the benefits and versatility of cooking with beef.

This year’s contest theme is “Making the Most of MyPlate,” which will encourage delicious, healthy recipes from a variety of food groups. Entrants are asked to develop original and tasty beef-focused recipes that include broadly appealing ingredients from the fruit and vegetable, grain products and dairy products groups. (The MyPlate initiative is led by the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion and is designed to help consumers make better food choices.)

Recipes can be submitted in the following categories:

  • Belt-Tightening Beef RecipesBeefStroganoffNuevo
    Healthy and affordable beef recipes that are great values to prepare
  •  Semi-Homemade Beef Recipes
    Recipes that combine beef and fresh ingredients with prepackaged food products
  • Real Worldly, Real Simple Beef & Potato Recipes
    Easy & healthy lean beef and fresh potato recipes that feature international flavors
  •  Craveable Fresh Beef & Fresh California Avocado Recipes
    Easy, fresh beef and avocado recipes that highlight California cuisine and cooking trends

Whether it’s a healthy twist on grandma’s favorite recipe or a dish with international flavor, we at the state and national Beef Checkoff levels are encouraging home cooks to get their creative juices flowing. This is a cooking contest you will not want to miss!

Enter the contest at www.beefcookoff.org through April 15, 2013 for a chance to win $25,000. Official contest rules, online entry form, recipe guidelines and other resources also can be found there. All participants must be 18 years or older.

For more information on the National Beef Cook-Off, contact Sherry Hill, program director for the American National CattleWomen, Inc., which contracts to manage the National Beef Cook-Off for the Beef Checkoff Program at shill@ancw.org, 303-850-3441. 

A Testimony to Lean Beef and a Healthy Lifestyle

9
Posted by: on January 22, 2013

So I blog all the time about how great beef is. How it’s healthy and tasty and convenient and versatile and … oh the list goes on. And I believe it. Every word of it. But sometimes, I wonder if YOU believe it. If you think I’m just writing those words because that’s my job. That’s part of it, yes. But I live it, too. Here’s my Show-and-Tell.

These two photos were taken two years a part, in September of 2009 and 2011, about 20 pounds separates the two photos.

These two photos were taken two years a part, in September of 2009 and 2012, about 20 pounds separates the two photos.

College Gain

I began this job in January 2011, straight out of college. I’d just finished three and a half years of living the college lifestyle. You know what I mean…

  • Regular eating out as part of social events
  • Lack of a consistent eating or exercise schedule
  • Working 25+ hours in addition to 15 hours of class and organization activities and leadership
  • New year’s resolutions that I abandoned by February
  • A “I’ll lose the weight after this semester” or “I need to lose this much weight by this event” mentality
  • And something I’ll call “an excellent social life”

 

Yeah, none of those exude the “healthy and active lifestyle” I talk about with you all every week, right?  I gained 30 pounds in those 3.5 years.

Turning around, to go back down

Then I began my new job at the Missouri Beef Council. And in the two years I’ve been here, I’ve officially lost 25 pounds. I told myself I could blog about my weight-loss journey when I hit the 120 lb. mark. And here I am!

I see myself as a true testimony to incorporating lean beef into a healthy lifestyle. My husband and I eat beef at last five days a week, and we’ve learned to incorporate into so many healthy meals (and the occasional unhealthy one!). I make smarter choices, and learn to balance lean beef with fruits, vegetables, dairy and grains. I think about food in an entirely different way, and it’s so rewarding to enjoy food knowing I’m making the right choices (and can occasionally indulge in the wrong choices, I’m not going to pretend I don’t!)

In addition to making lean beef the star of my life in so many ways, I also eat out less, watch portion sizes, and make an effort to be more active. I’ll be honest, I’m not a runner, I don’t enjoy going to the gym (though I did go regularly in the beginning), so working out is hard for me. I’ve learned how to incorporate more movement into my daily routines. I also counted calories and kept a food journal at the beginning of the process, and with time, I was able to discontinue that, as those smarter choices became second nature to me.

Photos taken in September 2006, 2009, 2012.

Photos taken in September 2006 (age 17), 2009 (age 20), 2012 (age 23).

My victory over weight

I hit plateaus, I cursed the elliptical, and I probably indulged in dessert a little too much. But I did it. And now I enjoy shopping and fashion for the first time in my life. I have more energy and am happy with the way I look for the first time since high school. I did it, and it’s my win. Thanks, in major part, to lean beef, my gateway food to a healthy lifestyle I can share with you all.

So go, get out there and do it. Start with lean beef, see where that gets you, and don’t stop until you see the results you want. It’s worth the wait. It’s worth the skinny jeans, and it’s worth clearing out old clothes to buy new in the size you’ve been working for. Five or 50 pounds, it doesn’t matter. It’s yours for the taking. Now get out there and do it!

Find lean beef recipes and nutritional information at MoBeef.org.

 

 

Future dietitians enjoy a day on the farm

Comments Off
Posted by: on January 18, 2013

Last fall, we at the Missouri Beef Council took 26 dietetic interns on a farm tour, so they could see firsthand what happens on cattle farms and dairy farms on a day-to-day basis. The interns enjoyed the tour and learning about how their food is really produced.

Why am I blogging about this? Because sometimes I’m afraid those of you who don’t live on a farm think we’re just trying to feed you propaganda. But these young ladies want to share their points of view, as unbiased, health-minded professionals. And instead of summarizing what they had to say, I’ll let them share their findings.

farm tour 3On Caring for Cattle

“My key takeaway from the cattle farm was that great deal of time, effort, and care go into raising good, quality beef. The owners truly care about their cattle’s health and take great pride in raising healthy beef that consumers can enjoy.”

“Antibiotics are used when necessary if cattle get sick, but all traces of antibiotics must be out of the cow’s system before harvesting it.”

“After seeing an actual dairy and beef cattle farm, I have a new perspective. When I think of a cattle farm now, I see hardworking, passionate, family-oriented farmers doing their job to keep these cattle safe and happy in order to provide us with dairy and beef.”

“The family spoke of how they have to be on call to help deliver new calves and that they can’t take vacations because there aren’t ‘cattle kennels.’ I haven’t thought about the sacrifices cattle farmers have to make until this field trip, and I am very thankful for their hard work.”

“Being a vegetarian, I worry about the human treatment of animals and have always envisioned cattle farms as very inhumane places. After seeing a small cattle farm first-hand, I realize a lot of my previous ideas were wrong. You can tell they care deeply about their animals and are passionate about what they do.”

On Cattle Nutrition

farm tour 1

“Cattle need a variety of nutrients, just like humans. However, cattle digest certain nutrients differently than humans, due to the rumen in their gastrointestinal tract. Cattle nutrition experts work hard to ensure that adequate amounds of the nutrients are provided to the animals.”

“This need/balance of nutrients changes in cattle depending on their stage of life, just as human nutritional needs change over time.”

“Many of these nutrients come from the grass they graze, or from the feed that is blended by the farmer or the nutritionist.”

On Nutrition Trends

“Grain-fed or grass-fed? There is not necessarily a ‘better’ way to raise cattle. When beef is ready for human consumption, the differences in grass- and grain-fed cattle are negligible. As long as beef is lean, it is a great protein option to include in your overall healthy diet.”

“In reality, lean beef contains as little fat as some cuts of chicken, and can fit very nicely into a balanced diet.”

“People cut red meat from their diet simply as a trend. I’ve learned that red meat, especially lean beef, can still be included in a healthy diet. Who knew there were 29 lean cuts of beef!?”

“The buzz words often attract consumers to certain products, but the claims may not actually be supported or accurate.”

On Taking the Tour

farm tour 2

“Visiting the dairy and beef cattle farms offers far more information and memorable lessons than a classroom or journal article could ever provide. By being there, I have an honest and true belief to accompany my knowledge.”

“Knowing that farms like this one – where children are taught lessons on the farm and bulls have names – gives me a more positive feeling toward the beef cattle industry.”

“Visiting these farms has given me a better understanding of how a farm actually works, which will allow me to make sound food choices and recommendations for myself and future clients.”

“They (farmers) enjoy talking about their role in producing healthy, nutritious, and safe foods that help to nourish children and adults all over the glove. Stop by and visit your local farmer today, you will be amazed at what you will learn.”

 

Beef and Cream Cheese Bagels

Comments Off
Posted by: on January 9, 2013

As 2013 begins, a good nutrition resolution to keep is eating a healthy breakfast each morning. We know breakfast is an important meal for our daily diet, and research tells us how important it is to include a quality lean protein in our first meal of the day. Each day seems more hectic than the last, no matter what time of year it is, so my suggestion (with no shock to you, I’m sure) is to include lean beef in your breakfast to start your day off right.

Read Related Post: 13 things you need to know to keep your 2013 resolutions

Okay, okay. If I’m going to tell you to make time for breakfast, I better offer up the easiest recipe ever, right? Well, the beauty of this recipe is that you can utilize leftover steak or roast, OR you can simply used pre-packaged roast beef from the deli at the grocery store. And, honestly, you can completely alter the other ingredients to match your taste buds and nutritional needs. Take it, and make it your own. Happy breakfast eating!

Beef and Cream Cheese Bagelwich

Beef and Cream Cheese Bagels

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces cooked beef (such as steak, roast, pot roast or deli roast beef), thinly sliced
  • 4 thin-style flavored bagels or regular bagels, split
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons nonpareil capers (if desired)
  • 8 thin slices tomato
  • 4 thin slices red onion, separated into rings
  • Nonpareil capers (optional)

Instructions

Spread cream cheese evenly on cut sides of each bagel half. Evenly sprinkle capers over cream cheese. Evenly top with tomato slices and onion rings; top with beef. Garnish with additional capers, if desired. Serve immediately.

Or…
Bagelwich-To-Go: This sandwich can be made to take on-the-go. Prepare recipe as directed. Close sandwich; wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Keep refrigerated until ready to eat.

 

 

Find more beefy breakfast recipes here.

 

 

13 things you need to know to keep your 2013 resolutions

Comments Off
Posted by: on January 4, 2013

As 2013 is off to a jumpstart, and your schedules are packed with ambitious goals of getting into shape, eating right, and spending more time with loved ones, I’ll keep this short and simple…. I give you the 13 most important tidbits and tips you need to know about cooking with and eating beef to keep your resolutions all year long!

living well image

1.  Eighteen of the top 25 most popular beef whole muscle cuts are lean, including the Sirloin, 93 percent lean ground beef, T-Bone, Tenderloin, and more.

2.  The recommended serving size of lean beef is 3-4 oz., which is about the size of a deck of cards.

3.  A 3 oz. serving of lean beef averages about 150 calories.

4.  Three ounces of lean beef contributes less than 10 percent of calories to a 2,000-calorie diet, yet it supplies more than 10 percent of the daily value for 10 essential nutrients. (The 10-10-10 rule)

5.  Search for the terms round and loin when purchasing beef at the grocery store, those guaranteed to be lean.

6.  Lean beef is packed with Zinc, Iron, Protein, and B Vitamins that are beneficial in fueling your body before and after a good workout.

7.  New BOLD research shows that eating lean beef even daily, as part of a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle, can improve cholesterol levels.

8.  Beef is one of the most versatile proteins to cook,with so many cuts, cooking methods, and ways to pair with fruits and veggies.

9.  Put a roast in the slow cooker early in the day to save yourself precious family time after work.

10.  Lean ground beef can easily be cooked in large batches and put in the fridge or freezer to use later in the week, again, saving yourself time!

11.  When dining at a restaurant, you’ll very rarely get only 3 oz. of beef. Ask for a box and put away the extra ounces to be sure you have leftovers for the next day.

12.  We provide all the lean beef recipes you could ever want, here on the blog, at MoBeef.org and BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.

13.  We’ve also got cooking videos, infographics, and beef safety tips to make cooking with lean beef super easy!

There they are – 13 simple reasons and tips to include lean beef in your resolution. I want you to succeed, and I hope this helps you do just that! Happy New Year, all!

 

The 12 Beef Recipes of Christmas

Comments Off
Posted by: on December 20, 2012

483580_10151138712661627_1905828446_nChristmas is here!! I’ve collected 12 of our favorite holiday recipes for you to try for your holiday celebrations. I’ve got kid-friendly meals, appetizers, stews, breakfast dishes, roasts, and more, all to help you choose your favorites for the next week. You can always find more here on the blog, at BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com and MoBeef.org.

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

12. Beef Pinwheels – using roast in an appetizer, so many perks!

11. Beef Pot Roast with Maple Sweet Potatoes and Cider Gravy – let it cook while you wrap your gifts… so many gifts.

10. Chili in single portions – for the kiddos to reheat over Christmas break.

9. Herb-Topped Beef Roast with Roasted Cauliflower – holiday roasts gather the family, even the crazy ones!

8. Beef and Sweet Potato Hash – to serve for breakfast as you open gifts.

7. Dijon and Herb Rubbed Beef Roast with Cranberry Sauce – a family tradition worth starting!

6. Beef and Barley Stew – a recipe that showcases that lean beef can be part of a heart-healthy diet, and it tastes good too!

5. Easy Beef Pinwheels – an easy appetizer the youngsters can make (different than 12).

4. Autumn Beef and Cider Stew - to fill your home with warmth and happiness… yummy happiness!

3. Meal Solutions – you’re gonna need to do SOMETHING will all those holiday leftovers…

2. Grilled Prime Rib – because we need an excuse to light the grill all year long! :)

1. Herbed-Mustard Topped Beef Roast – it doesn’t get much merrier than this!!!

Grill your Prime Rib this Christmas!

Comments Off
Posted by: on December 17, 2012

This Christmas, we’re featuring one of our blogger friends, Scott Thomas of “Grillin’ Fools.” Scott and his fellow Grillin’ Fools bloggers are dedicated to teaching others how to grill by showing them step by step, picture by picture instructions to make amazing meals on the grill. I hope you enjoy reading and TRYING this Grilled Prime Rib recipe!

With the holidays right around the corner, prime rib will be on the menu and thus on those well decorated dining room tables. Skip the oven and put it on the grill. Many people are too intimidated to grill a prime rib. The temperature of the grill could fluctuate and it could cook too fast and be overdone or too slow and have to go back on the grill, interrupting the meal.  Putting it in the oven is much safer, right? Set the temp and it will stay at that exact temperature until it’s time to eat. But it couldn’t be easier to grill a prime rib and besides, cooking in the oven will not impart that wonderful smokiness only a grill can produce.

Grilled Prime Rib

And just to show you how easy it is, I will make this prime rib with exactly three ingredients:

Grilled Prime Rib Ingredients:

  • 1 prime rib (or standing rib roast)
  • salt
  • rub

gpr-000

You can use your favorite rub, but for this cookout, I used a product from Code3Spices. Not only is it a great rub, but also part of the proceeds from their rubs go to charities benefiting first responders (police, firefighters, and paramedics) and the military:

gpr-001

First, trim a little of the fat of the back of the prime rib, but not all so it will baste the meat as it cooks:

gpr-002

gpr-003

Then hit with a heavy dose of coarse salt:

gpr-004

Then coat it on all sides with the rub, finishing on the fat side up in an aluminum pan:

gpr-005

Set up the grill for two zone grilling, coals on one side and none on the other:

gpr-006
This is so easy, I can do it on a cheap kettle grill that is worth less than the roast.

Toss in some smoke wood over the coals. For this I used sassafras, but other good woods are oak, pecan and hickory. Then put the aluminum pan with the meat on the other side of the grill with no coals. The aluminum pan will act as a heat shield to keep the prime rib from grilling too quickly:

Now time for the insurance policy to make sure you don’t over or under cook the roast. Insert a probe thermometer. For this unit I can set the target temperature on the remote and it will tell me when it gets within 5 degrees, in this case the target temperature is 125:

gpr-008

If you don’t have a probe thermometer, I highly recommend you get one before doing this for the first time. This is the one I have. Grilled prime rib is easy to do, but for the first time, it can be nerve racking. One of these will be worth the price in piece of mind.

After one hour it looks like this:

gpr-009

And a little over two hours, I have reached my target temperature of 125 and it looks like this:

gpr-010

125 sound a little underdone to you? That’s because we aren’t done yet. Now that we have the smoke flavor infused into the meat, it’s time to get that amazing flavor crust. This is called the reverse sear method. Leave the lid open on the grill to let the coals get good and hot again. Then put the prime rib over the red hot coals:

I know that looks crazy and there is no way you would do that to an expensive cut of meat like this. But trust me, that flame job is the key to the flavor crust. I picked that picture in particular because I wanted you to realize that the fat is going to flame up something fierce. This is he hardest part: being patient enough to let those flames flare all over the prime rib and not yank it off.

Sear it on all four sides and then take it off the grill and let it rest:

gpr-012

Resting will allow the juices that are in an excited state from the heat to calm down and redistribute throughout the meat. Let it rest for 20 minutes and slice:

gpr-013

Happy Holidays, from the Grillin’ Fools!

Find more holiday roast recipes on Grillin’ Fools’ blog and at MoBeef.org/HolidayRoastCentral.

Beef Community is Dedicated to Safety

Comments Off
Posted by: on December 10, 2012

Food safety requires a deep commitment from both those who produce food, and those who prepare and serve it. So that really means it’s not only important to know what the beef community is doing to ensure cattle are care for to result in safe, quality beef, but also how you at home can properly prepare it in your kitchen.

Commitment to Safety, From the Farm…

From farm to table, the beef community has a long-standing commitment to providing the public with the safest food possible. This is proven through the in-depth research, application of safety best practices, and public education.

Cattle farmers and ranchers have invested more than $30 million in ongoing beef safety research and programs since 1993. As a whole, the beef community spends more than $550 million each year on testing, interventions and other safety strategies. I don’t know about you all, but that makes me feel pretty good about cooking with and eating beef!

Beef’s primary focus is E. coli prevention. Today, because of research and the cooperative efforts of many partners in the beef supply chain, extensive efforts to reduce and eliminate E. coli are in place on farms, in feedyards and in packing plants across the country.

To your Fork: In Restaurants

Sure, rigorous testing and inspection ensures that the beef community distributes only the safest food to the public. Nonetheless, it is important for those who prepare food — either at home or in restaurants— to know the proper cooking techniques to ensure optimal safety.

The Missouri Restaurant Association makes food safety and their guests’ health top priorities. Hear this message from our friend, Steve Cole, MRA Chief Operating Officer.

To your Fork: In your Kitchen

For those of you who at home who enjoy cooking with beef, remember these four keys to proper preparation of beef:

  • Properly refrigerate beef until time of preparation
  • Prepare beef on a clean work surface
  • Test the internal temperature of beef as it cooks
  • Store and refrigerate leftovers in an air-tight container.

Safe and savory ground beef requires a higher temperature than steaks and roasts, with 160 F being the optimal cooked temperature.

Get more beef safety information at BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com, and learn about beef and the beef community at FactsAboutBeef.com.

A Merry Mid-Afternoon Snack

Comments Off
Posted by: on December 7, 2012

Because roasts are more common this year, that means roast LEFTOVERS are common too! I thought I’d share a quick blog today to showcase a quick recipe: Roast Beef and Veggie Wraps. This recipe is great to make with leftover roast, thinly sliced, or even deli roast beef from the grocery store.

These wraps can serve as an after-school snack that your kiddos can make themselves, or a mid-afternoon snack when they’re home over Christmas break. The ingredients can be swapped with others, to meet their tastes, while still highlighting lean beef, packed with the zinc, iron and protein we all need to stay active and healthy.

MBIC’s John Kleiboeker demonstrated this recipe on KTVO in Kirksville this morning.

Roast Beef and Veggie Wraps

St. Louis area Girl Scouts loved learning how to make this tasty snack for themselves!

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces cooked roast beef or deli roast beef, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups shredded broccoli slaw
  • 6 tablespoons reduced-fat or fat-free ranch dressing, divided
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat or fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 4 flour medium tortillas

Directions:

1. Place the broccoli slaw and 1/4 cup of ranch dressing in medium bowl. Toss to coast slaw evenly.

2. Place the cream cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons ranch dressing in a small bowl. Stir with rubber spatula to mix well.

3. Place one tortilla on a cutting board or flat surface. Spread about 2 1/2 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture on the tortilla using a rubber spatula.

4. Place 1/4 of roast beef slices in an even layer on top of the cream cheese.

5. Place approximately 1/3 cup of the broccoli mixture on top of the roast beef. Spread the broccoli mixture in an even layer, using the rubber spatula or back of a spoon.

6. Starting at the bottom edge, roll tortilla up tightly to enclose filling. Cut as desired.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy leftover roast beef?!

Find holiday roast recipes at MoBeef.org!

“No Recipe” Meal Solutions

Comments Off
Posted by: on November 28, 2012

Imagine this. It’s the end of a work day, during the most hectic season of the year, and you have no idea what to serve for dinner tonight. What if you had inspiring “no recipe” meal ideas right at your fingertips when you’re in a time crunch?

We’ve got your solution: an awesome, new online tool called “Meal Solutions!”  You can use it to solve dinner dilemmas and prepare fast, healthy meals, without a formal recipe, and with ingredients you most likely have on hand. Sold yet? Here’s a sample…

Meal Solutions features three meal options: salads, tacos and sandwiches. Click on your choice and follow the colorful visuals. Many of the meals utilize leftovers or pre-cooked items to be paired with fresh ingredients. Full recipes are posted alongside, for those who prefer to follow written instructions when preparing meals.

And it just keeps getting more awesome! The online tool includes a shopping list designed to help you stock your pantry, fridge and freezer with essentials. Print it out and take it to the store for easy, budget-friendly shopping.

 

For more beef recipes, preparation and cooking information and nutritional facts, visit www.BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com and MoBeef.org.

Giving #FoodThanks

Comments Off
Posted by: on November 21, 2012

Wow, these next few days are going to be busy days. Multiple family dinners, nice weather to complete outdoor projects before winter really sets in, cooking, cleaning, Black Friday shopping and setting up Christmas decorations (I can’t wait!). If I’m not careful, this list can easily stress me out. Lucky for me, those around me are all pausing to be thankful, and that slows me down a little. THANK goodness it slows me down, because I’ve got an awful lot to be thankful for this holiday season.

I get a little overwhelmed when I think about how blessed I am that Missouri cattle farmers and ranchers trust me to utilize their money to promote their beef. When I think about promoting something that happens to be the livelihood of my dad, my grandpa, and much of my family, I realize that I am so privileged to have this job and to tell their stories on a day-to-day basis. Those are some hardworking folks who have risked their families’ necks time and time again to stay in the business of providing families across the country with quality food from healthy animals. Man, that sure puts my 40-50 hours a week in perspective, let me tell you.

I know I don’t tell my dad and my family often enough “thank you” for doing what they do and trusting me to do what I do, but I sure think it every day. Having worked three and a half years for Missouri’s cattle farmers and ranchers, that term “family” has grown to staff and board leadership, outstanding spokespersons, other beef community organizations, and, really, the whole state of Missouri. So THANK YOU…

Thank you for caring for your land and animals on a daily basis, all year long, in such a sincere way. Thank you for working from before the sun rises until we’re all in bed, to see continuous growth in your way of life and ensure our tables never go without food. Thank you for always searching for new technologies and ways to do more with less. Thank you for caring about your customers, no matter where stand within the beef community. And Thank you for being so selfless that you don’t just worry about how YOUR families will stay fed, but how EVERYONE’S families will stay fed.

Know a farmer? Tell them thanks this weekend. Don’t know a farmer? Comment below to share your gratitude. You can also use “#FoodThanks” to join in the conversation and connect with farmers and ranchers on Twitter.

 

Herbed-Mustard Topped Beef Roast

Comments Off
Posted by: on November 19, 2012

‘Tis the Season to enjoy delicious food! I’m going to suggest you ditch whatever your tradition you follow, and celebrate your holiday with BEEF! (Unless of course your tradition already includes beef, then carry on…) I mean, I know we all love this time of year because of tradition, but just imagine it now:

Everyone is raving over your flavorful, juicy beef roast.
They laugh and seem so happy after enjoying an exciting main dish
along with their favorite sides. Everyone demands you make it
again next year… And a new tradition is born.

One magnificent change can begin your family’s favorite tradition. So we’re sharing this game-changing recipe. OR, find more recipes and tips on how to tackle this new challenge at our very own Holiday Roast Central. Fa la la la la, la la, la la.

Herbed-Mustard Topped Beef Roast

Total Recipe Time:  2 to 2-1/4 hours
Makes 6 to 8 holiday or 12 to 16 (3oz) servings

  • 1 beef top round roast (3 to 4 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
  • 1 teaspoon coarse grind black pepper
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat or regular dairy sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup minced shallots
  • Salt
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine 1/4 cup mustard, 1 tablespoon thyme and pepper. Spread mustard mixture evenly over all surfaces of beef roast.
  2. Place roast on rack in shallow roasting pan. Insert ovenproof meat thermometer so tip is centered in thickest part of beef. Do not add water or cover. Roast in 325°F oven 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 hours for medium rare doneness.
  3. Meanwhile, combine remaining 3 tablespoons mustard and sour cream in small bowl; set aside. Heat oil in small saucepan over medium-low heat until hot. Add shallots and remaining 1 tablespoon thyme. Cook and stir 4 to 5 minutes or until shallots are tender and begin to turn golden. Remove from heat; stir into mustard mixture. Season with salt, as desired.
  4.  Remove roast when meat thermometer registers 140°F for medium rare. Transfer roast to carving board; tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let stand 20 minutes. (Temperature will continue to rise about 5°F to reach 145°F for medium rare.)
  5.  Carve roast into thin slices. Season with salt, as desired. Serve with mustard mixture.

Cook’s Tip:  For 12 to 16 servings, mustard mixture can be doubled. Prepare in a medium saucepan.

 So tell us, how do you make beef part of your traditions, any time of year? 

Team Beef: Fueled to Inspire

Comments Off
Posted by: on November 7, 2012

Today I write to you from a different point of view than I’ve given in a while. Less recipe, more life lesson. I’m sitting here in my office, thinking about how inspiring our running team really is and feeling proud that I get to work with folks who literally showcase everything I sit here and blog about to you all. It’s really powerful to see them in action, on the race course, in daily conversation, and in social media.

Team Beef has a story to tell. Well, more like 150 unique stories that make up one huge success story. Our runners are diverse in their backgrounds, lifestyles, locations, and running goals. But one thing they all have in common is their love for and desire to promote beef as an important centerpiece of their race training and recovery methods.

Lean beef’s got a lot going for it…

Beef is a naturally nutrient-rich powerhouse that is an excellent source of five essential nutrients: protein, zinc, vitamin B12, selenium, and phosphorous. It’s a good source of five more essential nutrients: choline, niacin, vitamin B6, iron, and riboflavin. With 29 lean cuts averaging 150 calories per 3 oz. serving, beef gives us a lot of bang for our calorie buck.

So we all know beef tastes great, but it’s also important to know that scientific research confirms the good news about beef’s nutritional benefits and its vital role in a healthy diet for your family. Physical activity is more effective when coupled with a protein-rich diet because it helps to maintain muscle mass while losing fat. Whether you’re a beginning athlete or seasoned pro, lean beef can help you power up for races and enhance recovery following a run.

So Team Beef is spreading the word!

Team Beef is made up of more than 150 runners from around Missouri. Some have been on the team for three years, and others just began on the team last month. Some run full marathons and iron man events, and some take on the occasional 5K. Some are farmers and ranchers who raise cattle, and some have lost weight and improved their health by eating lean beef. Some are busy moms who want to show their children the importance of being active, and some are seasoned athletes running all across the country.

With all this diversity, it might be easy to ask how all these people can be on one team. Because they see Team Beef as an opportunity to rally together with one another, with one passion, to spread their stories of how lean beef has affected them in a positive way, from pasture to plate.

These red-jersey-wearing runners can be seen in races across the state throughout the year. They run in large races around Missouri that we sponsor, like the Rock ‘n Roll and Go! St. Louis races in St. Louis, the Bass Pro Family Fitness Weekend in Springfield, and the Go Girl Run in Columbia. They can also be seen at 5K races in their local communities and around the state. Either way, it’s hard to miss what the power of protein is helping these runners accomplish – their goals of staying healthy and promoting beef.

Learn more about Team Beef at MoBeef.org.

Jack-O-Lantern Stuffed Peppers

Comments Off
Posted by: on October 30, 2012

Happy Halloween Week! While my husband and I don’t have children yet, we still like to have a little fun on holidays like Halloween! And we all know that eating all the candy we bought for our little Trick-or-Treaters is not the best way to do that (or so I’ve reluctantly made myself decide). So, to celebrate Halloween “grown-up” style, I decided to make stuffed peppers with Jack-O-Lantern faces last night. Oh my goodness, guys. They turned out adorable AND yummy!

I started with this beef-stuffed pepper recipe from the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner website. But I decided to make a few modifications to it that fit my cooking style, time slot I had to get dinner ready, and our taste preferences.

The original recipe was a little more like meatballs, calling for rice, ketchup, onion and uncooked ground beef. And man, that all sounds great, but we like SPICY. So, I decided to go a little more Mexican. I also didn’t have an hour and a half to cook them by the time I decided what I wanted to make. So I chose an alternate time-saving route that I’ll divulge in just a moment. And I, of course, carved little faces in my peppers to make them Halloween-themed for this couple of forever kids.

Jack-O-Lantern Stuffed Peppers

My Ingredients

  • 93% lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup brown, whole grain rice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 of an onion
  • 1/2 cup salsa (spiciness of your choice)
  • 1 package Taco seasoning
  • A little pepper and chili powder
  • Taco-flavored cheese to top (amount is your choice)

Method to my Madness (Halloween-appropriate, right?!)

1. While preheating the oven to 400 F, cut the tops off my peppers and hollow them out. Carve their faces (triangles for eyes and nose, and a fun mouth, depending on shape of pepper and how much room you have).

2. Put the lids back on the peppers, put them in a dish and cover the dish with aluminum foil. Place them in the oven, without the filling, for 25 minutes.
This was an adaptation on my part. By doing this, I cut my total recipe time by about 30 minutes and cooked my filler while they peppers were cooking in the oven. I think this is much more conducive to those of us who just don’t have that long to cook dinner or maybe don’t think about dinner before the end of the workday.

3. While that cooks, chop the 1/2 onion and put it in the pan with the browning ground beef. Once the internal temperature reads 160 F on your meat thermometer, drain the mixture and return it to the pan. Then add the 1/4 cup brown rice and 1/4 cup water, and let that simmer, covered, for about 5 minutes.

4. Uncover. Add 1/2 cup salsa, and pepper, chili powder and taco seasoning. Mix thoroughly.

  • As you can see from the photo, I used fajita seasoning, simply because I just didn’t have any taco seasoning on hand at the time.
  • Once the ingredients were all mixed together, I heard my timer go off on the oven. Timing like that NEVER happens to me, so I must have been on a roll!
  • Looking back, we wish we would have added corn and black beans for just a little more flavor and depth.

5. Remove the peppers from the oven, and spoon in the beef mixture. Put the “lids” back on the peppers, recover with aluminum foil, and return to the oven for another 25 minutes.
This is the point when I do all the dishes so I don’t feel overwhelmed after dinner!

6. Uncover the peppers and sprinkle taco-flavored cheese under the “lids,” as much or as little as you prefer. Put the “lids” back on the peppers and return to the oven for 5 more minutes, without the foil this time, to let the cheese melt.

We enjoyed ours with side salads and chips and salsa, and the little-less-pretty version you don’t see shows that they actually ended up as taco salads… a little too “gory “to show on the blog!

I think the beauty of stuffed peppers is that you can make them match your family’s taste buds and your cooking style. (I even considered putting spaghetti in them to look like brains, but we were in the mood for Mexican, so we stuck with what you see here!) Get creative, get the kids involved, and have some fun with dinner!

Here’s my final result! They turned out perfectly! And we felt better about eating these healthy little guys instead of the bowl full of Haloween candy we’ve purchased for our little Trick-or-Treaters!

Find more recipes at MoBeef.org and on our Pinterest pages!

Celebrating CROCKtober!

Comments Off
Posted by: on October 25, 2012

CROCKtober is a month to celebrate entering into Fall weather and foods. And of course our favorite food any time of the year is – you guessed it – beef! So I want to share a rockin’ good slow-cooker recipe with you that gives you all the flavors of fall at at a low calorie cost.

Why do we love crock pot/slow-cooker recipes? Because Fall is a busy time for all of us. School, sports, work – all these activities seem to be in full force right now. And crock pots give us the opportunity to put a bunch of yummy (and sometimes random) ingredients into a crockpot before we leave for a busy day and return to a smell-good home with dinner ready to serve. Magic, pure magic!

Here are a few of my best crock pot tips to help you along as you make this recipe, or your own family classics.

  •  Resist the temptation to peek while you’re slow cooking. Every time you open the lid, you add on 15 to 20 minutes of cook time.
  • Cuts that slow-cook the best include the Chuck pot roast, Short Ribs, Round steaks and roasts, and Brisket.
  • Thicken the liquid the beef cooked in using corn starch or another thickening agent.

I want to know, what crock pot or slow-cooker tips or recipes do you want to share with us!?

Beef Pot Roast with Maple Sweet Potatoes and Cider Gravy

Total recipe time: 3-1/2 hours
Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 boneless beef chuck shoulder roast (3 to 3-1/2 pounds)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1-3/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 cup ready-to-serve beef broth
  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut crosswise into 1 to 1-1/2 inch pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons brandy or water

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in stockpot over medium heat until hot. Place beef pot roast in stockpot; brown evenly. Remove pot roast; pour off drippings and season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
  2. Add onion and thyme to stockpot; cook and stir 3 to 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add broth and cider; increase heat to medium-high. Cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until browned bits attached to stockpot are dissolved. Return pot roast to stockpot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover tightly and simmer 2-1/2 hours.
  3. Add sweet potatoes and garlic to stockpot; continue simmering, covered, 30 minutes or until sweet potatoes and pot roast are fork-tender.
  4. Remove pot roast; keep warm. Remove sweet potatoes and garlic with slotted spoon to large bowl, leaving cooking liquid in stockpot.
  5. Add maple syrup, ginger, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to sweet potatoes. Beat until sweet potatoes and garlic are mashed and smooth; keep warm.
  6. Skim fat from cooking liquid; stir in cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir 1 minute or until thickened.
  7. Carve pot roast into slices; serve with mashed sweet potatoes and gravy. 

Recipe as seen in The Healthy Beef Cookbook, published by John Wiley & Sons

Find more CROCKtober recipes at BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com and on Facebook.

Autumn Beef and Cider Stew

Comments Off
Posted by: on October 4, 2012

Is it feeling like Fall at your house? It sure is here, and that means stews and warm scents are surrounding my house. With temperatures, hours of sunlight and leaves are all “falling,” I tend to want something rising, so that’s where warm soups, kitchens, colors, and scents provide a cozy, comfy atmosphere.

So, in the spirit of being warm, I’d like to share one of my favorite Fall recipes with you. I mean, even the name is a perfect fit, so just imagine how excited you’ll be when you actually make it! Try it out this weekend, you won’t regret it, I promise!

Autumn Beef and Cider Stew

Total recipe time: 2 to 2-1/2 hours
Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds beef for stew, cut into 1 to 1-1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 can (10-1/2 ounces) condensed French onion soup
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened dried cranberries

Instructions

  1. Cook bacon in stockpot over medium heat until crisp; remove with slotted spoon to paper-towel-lined plate. Brown 1/2 of beef in bacon drippings over medium heat; remove from stockpot. Repeat with remaining beef; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Return beef and bacon to stockpot. Add soup and cider; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover tightly and simmer 1-3/4 hours.
  3. Add sweet potatoes and cranberries to stockpot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; continue simmering, covered, 20 to 30 minutes or until beef and potatoes are fork-tender.

Finding common ground in a passion for food

 1
Posted by: on October 2, 2012

Cattle farmer Matt Hardecke engages mom and food bloggers in a discussion about how cattle are raised.

We recently hosted some pasture-to-plate discussions at Busch Stadium. The events were put on as part of the Missouri Farmers Care coalition’s Cardinals promotions. We coordinated conversations among Missouri’s farmers and ranchers and folks involved in the restaurant, retail, health, school foodservice, and blogging worlds.

Why these groups? Because we know these folks have the same passion about food as Missouri’s farmers and ranchers, and we believe it’s important for the gates of communication to be open among those who have a serious passion for food.

Of the four events we hosted, one that sticks out in my mind is the final event, the discussion with St. Louis and Columbia area bloggers. I’ll admit, I was nervous to get all these folks together, just for fear of the unknown. But I was immediately relieved to see how warm and enthusiastic this group really was. They received the farmers’ stories very well, asked their most pressing questions, and even laughed at the farmers’ jokes (which I know they appreciated!).

Sometimes in my line of work, I am always prepared to be on the defense because the beef community can tend to have a lot of critics. I hate that that’s how it is sometimes, but I’m sure you can understand.

But that day, I was so pleased to see the positive, encouraging conversation unfold among these food and mom bloggers and the farmers in the room. It was enthusiastic and showed this sense of passion for really WANTING to understand where one another was coming from. I saw bloggers learning from the farmers, and farmers asking bloggers about their concerns and opinions. It was beautiful.

So let’s raise our hypothetical glasses to beginning an open conversation and some strong relationships. To seeking out our new resources (on either end, really) when we have questions raised by other food-lovers. To keeping lines of communication open for the sake of continuously improving farming practices and understanding throughout the food chain. And finally, to the victory the St. Louis Cardinals brought to create the perfect ending to an encouraging evening.

Guest bloggers who posted about the event
HealthyLifeDeals.com: Great night for a Cards game and chatting with some local farmers

Triathlete for the weekend

 1
Posted by: on September 27, 2012

Meet Ashley McCarty, a cattle farmer and Team Beef runner from Northeast Missouri. This is Ashley’s first post as a regular guest blogger here on BeefBites.org. She is a busy mother of two busy boys.  “I mother full-time, work part-time and work with my husband to take care of our farm and fifty cows.”  Whew, and now we’ve got her blogging too!? Let her know what you think of her post in the comments below.

Meet Ashley on Triathlon day!

You swam across Thousand Hills Lake?  Then biked 18 miles? Then ran 5 miles?  Such has gone the line of questioning from most everyone I have spoken to this month. In my second year as a member of Missouri Beef Industry Council’s Team Beef, I represented the team in the NEMO Triathlon near Kirksville, Mo. It was so fun to see the smiles of competitors and onlookers when they cheer on Team Beef.

If you are thinking, there is no way that will be me, let me interject. Competing in a sprint distance triathlon is an amazing but achievable challenge.  In the midst of our busy lives it was still possible to carve out a bit of time each week to swim, bike and run. As a long-time runner, it is actually a relief to change up the routine and engage the whole body. My body feels fit and strong while training for this multi-faceted sport.

Most competitors on the course aren’t ultra-athletes. I swam, biked and ran with individuals of all ages and abilities. What we shared was an interest in being fit and challenging ourselves. I only marginally improved my time from last year, finishing 45 seconds faster in a two hour and fifteen minute event. That is where I am in life, and I am so happy just to have the time and the health to compete. 

Representing Team Beef is a great way to connect the two things I invest my energy in to stay grounded and healthy. It was rewarding to represent Team Beef and the power of protein in healthy diets. To have the chance to proudly talk about the care we provide our cows and calves and the nutritional benefits of beef in our diets. While testing my own fitness and pushing myself outside my daily limits, I can share my confidence in beef as a healthy, and tasty, way to fuel our bodies. Next time you run or just have an active day, I’d encourage you to refuel with lean beef!

Find lean beef recipes at the recipes tab above, at BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com and MoBeef.org.