Category: Idaho Cattlewomen

Easy Beef Stew: Year of Beef

It’s been a little, or actually, a lot busy around here, so I was thankful for some beef in my freezer and my dutch oven the other day. I was able to prepare an easy and delicious Tex Mex-inspired beef stew for my family. I’m usually pretty good about meal planning for the week, but last Monday I found myself working at the computer first thing in the morning and didn’t think about dinner until lunchtime. As I was prepping lunch, it dawned on me I better also get a jump start on dinner! We had a 4-H meeting with our three oldest children each giving oral presentations that night and had to be out the door by a certain time. We would also get home just in time to get ready for bed and school the next day, so dinner needed to be eaten before we left. I pulled a package of Beef Stew meat from the freezer because it can be used in a variety of ways. Unlike a frozen roast or steaks that would have taken more planning time to use, stew meat can make a meal come together quicker.

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Braising is searing meat on a high temperature then finishing it in a covered pot set at lower temperature with a variable amount of liquid.

Meat for stewing should be lean and can be less tender because we’re going to use braising to create the tenderness. Cuts from the chuck or round are great for stew meat. You can buy it precut at the store or as a larger roast that you cut into chunks yourself. I appreciate that our butcher precuts bite-size chunks into packages for us. It’s usually the scraps after steaks and roasts are cut. Stew meat can be a more affordable cut that still creates a delicious and hearty dish.

I pulled the package, probably about 1 1/2 pounds out of my freezer and defrosted it in the microwave so it broke apart easily. Normally when I’m planning ahead I defrost meat in the refrigerator the day before I cook it. Safe cooking tip: Never thaw meat on the countertop.

I put a little canola oil (around 1-1 1/2 TB)  in a heavy stock pot and browned the pieces, making sure not to crowd them. I wanted them good and brown. As you can see there were lots of bits and pieces stuck to the bottom. After the meat was finished cooking, I added a can of stewed tomatoes and about a can and a half of water. Stirring the liquid helps deglaze the pan and gets all those yummy bits off the bottom. The acid in the tomatoes also help tenderize the meat. I also added in seasonings, including a tsp. of beef bouillion, 1 TB. of taco seasoning, some black pepper, cumin and minced Easy Beef Stewgarlic. This is where you can get creative—add seasonings your family enjoys. I also added one chopped chipotle pepper in adobe sauce. It adds some heat and smokiness. Smoked paprika is another option to add flavor.

I set my temperature to low, which on my stove maintained a low boil/high simmer, then I checked the pot about every hour to see how the meat was tenderizing and if I needed to add additional liquid (I didn’t). It simmered about 3 hours. This braising method helps break down the meat so it pulls apart and is super tender. About 30-45 minutes before I wanted to serve it, I added chopped green bell pepper and chopped onion. I also added a cup of frozen corn and a can of black beans (rinsed). I cooked the stew until the veggies were tender, but still had a little bite to them. I topped the stew with chopped fresh cilantro. Other optional toppings could include shredded cheese, crispy corn tortilla strips, plain Greek yogurt or sour cream. Or you can leave it plain as it has plenty of flavor.

Easy Tex-Mex Beef Stew
1-2 pounds stew meat (chuck or round cut into cubes)
1-2 cans stewed tomatoes plus 1-2 cans of water
1-2 tsp. of beef bouillion
1 TB. taco seasoning
Other seasonings to taste (ie. salt, pepper, garlic, smoked paprika, chipotle pepper)
Green or other bell peppers
Medium onion
1 cup frozen corn or 1 can corn
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)

*If you want to use this in your slow cooker, you can brown the meat in a skillet, deglaze pan with some water or broth, then add it to the slow cooker with the seasonings and veggies. Cook on low heat 6-8 hours or high 4-6 hours.

This Beef Stew is super easy because you can take the meat in different flavor directions. I went with more Tex-Mex Seasonings because I had more of them on hand, but you could easily do a traditional stew with potatoes, carrots and celery or instead add Italian herbs and spices. Don’t be afraid to get creative!

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In addition to a full week of kid activities, it’s calving season on the ranch. Lots of new babies are hitting the ground every day and it’s fun to have pastures full of cows and calves.

I’m sure many of you have busy weeknights also, but still want to get a great tasting and healthy meal on the table for your family. Don’t be afraid to keep a package or two of stew meat in your freezer because this Easy Beef Stew is a great option for a weeknight family dinner.

~ M

Maggie and her husband raise their four children and registered cattle on his family’s southwest Idaho ranch. As a family, they enjoy sports, showing cattle, 4-H, church and other activities when not working on the ranch. She likes to experiment with recipes in the kitchen, shares her love of sweets through baking with her children and has been known to start a DIY project every now and then. Sometimes she actually finishes one.

 

 

Categories: Beef, Blogging, Cattle, Idaho Cattlewomen, Ranch Life

Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef: Year of Beef

Woohooo! Our first Year of Beef recipe in what seems like forever! Unfortunately, the past couple weeks around here have been a bit crazy, so cooking and writing got put on the back burner (see what I did there?). For the first few days of last week, I was in Boise for board meetings with ICA. They always say “if you don’t use it, ya lose it”, and boy are they right. After three years of not being in an office, sitting in one spot for that long was quite the challenge. I’m pretty sure all my board member counterparts probably refer to me as “Squirmy Sally”! I also spent the three following days in Reno, for the AgChat Foundation’s Western Regional Agvocacy Conference. This is the fourth time I’ve been to an AgChat event, and I definitely recommend all my fellow agriculture friends attend a future event.

As much as I loved getting dressed up every day (something that doesn’t happen much on the ranch), and getting involved in some of my industry’s most important aspects, it sure does feel good to be home. I’m now officially back in the saddle, and ready to whip up some delicious recipes! This week’s recipe was emailed to me by fellow Idaho Cattlewoman, Trish. She and her family ranch in Ellis, Idaho—you might remember seeing her featured as one of our Women in Ag—last November.

During my time in Reno, a fellow planning committee member gave me a box of California-grown products, which included a bag of Lundberg Family Farms Brown Basmati Rice. No Mongolian meal is complete without rice, so I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to try it out.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 lbs. Brisket, Round Steak, or Flank Steak

¼ c. Cornstarch

1 Tbs. minced garlic

1 Tbs. ground ginger

3/4 c. brown sugar

3/4 c. soy sauce

3/4 c. water

2 Tbs. Siracha sauce

2 Tbs. olive oil

Directions:

Raw-Brisket-Whole-Map-3First things first, take your meat and slice it thinly, across the grain. Don’t know what that is? Meat is made up of long muscle fibers that are laid out parallel to one another. In some muscles, like the loin (think New York strip steak, Ribeye, etc.), that grain is very fine. Meaning, the muscle fiber bundles are thin enough that they don’t form a significant grain. Cuts from these muscles are going to be very tender, no matter how you slice them.

Cuts from harder-working muscles (think about the Brisket or Round areas from the diagram) are going to have thicker muscle fiber bundles, with a noticeable grain. If you slice WITH the grain, you’ll end up with pieces of meat that are difficult to chew, aka not tender. But if you slice against the grain, you’ll be breaking those muscle fibers into smaller sections, which helps to add that tender aspect we all love. In the Brisket I used, you can see just how visible these muscle fiber bundles are.Beef Brisket

Next you’re going to put your meat in a gallon-sized bag, add the ¼ c. cornstarch and shake until the meat is covered. You can set aside this bag aside while you add the rest of the ingredients into your slow cooker. Once you’ve got everything in, finish off by adding your meat.Mongolian Beef

Your cooking options are setting your slow cooker on High for 2-3 hours, or setting it on Low for 5-6 hours. As mentioned earlier, I paired this meal with a side of rice; a move that I definitely recommend! I actually added about two tablespoons of my slow cooker mixture to my water/rice combo before cooking, and it really helped to give it that extra little bit of flavor.

This shot was my “before”…crockpot

And here’s my after!

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Categories: Beef, Idaho Cattlewomen, Recipes

Steak Bruschetta: Year of Beef

I know this week’s Year of Beef installment was supposed to feature a Blade Roast, but in honor of Sunday’s big game I decided to switch things up a bit. I’ll be saving the roast for a later date, and turning this week’s focus on my ALL TIME favorite beef appetizer, the Steak Bruschetta! The first time I had these was last year at an Idaho Cattlewoman meeting, and I’ve been in love ever since. Megan Satterwhite (Idaho Cattlewoman President) brought these to Sun Valley, and they were a hit! So good, in fact, that a month later I made these and took them to my parent’s house on Christmas Eve!

The original recipe calls for Flank Steak, but if you notice my pictures, that’s not what I used. Unfortunately I couldn’t get one thawed out in time, so I took the liberty of heading to the meat case of our local grocery store. beefdiagramThere wasn’t any Flank Steak available, but there was a great selection of Carne Asada. Carne Asada is a thin beef steak that’s usually cut from a flank, skirt or flap steak, which is why I felt confident in my choice. Flank steak comes from the Flank area, Skirt comes from the Plate area, and Flap comes from the Bottom Sirloin. As you can see, all of those cuts come from close to the same abdominal area, which is why they’re pretty interchangeable in this recipe.

I hope you all have a great Super Bowl Sunday, may the best team win!

Ingredients: (Hang tight on measurements, I’ll go into detail on those in just a bit!)

Flank Steak

Baguette

Onion

Blue Cheese (slices are easiest, but crumbles work just fine)

Measurements: I suggest making these based on sheet quantity. One baking sheet worth, two baking sheets worth…you get the picture! I used an 18”x13” baking sheet, and could have easily fit 25 bruschetta bites on my sheet, without being too crowded (and I had the makings for that many as well). I used 1 pound of Carne Asada, ½ of an extra-long baguette, and one entire large onion. One block of blue cheese would easily cover your bruschetta bites, and leave you with extra as well. On Christmas Eve we made one sheet worth of bruschetta (along with other appetizers) for four people, and didn’t have any leftover—so you can use that as your scale for however many you think you’ll need.

Options: The options/substitutions on this recipe are almost endless. As mentioned above, Flank Steak, Carne Asada, Skirt Steak or Flap Steak are all similar, and can be utilized in this recipe. The original recipe calls for blue cheese; however, Mr. Jarvis isn’t a very big BC fan, so instead I put Feta on his. Gorgonzola would also work, as would thinly sliced smoked Gouda. I’m an onion lover, but I know there are those out there who aren’t. Although my heart breaks at the thought of no onion, taking it away would still leave you with a flavor-full bruschetta bite (and you’ll notice I also made a row of those for Mr. J). If you’re cooking for a crowd and are unsure of their preferences, I’d go ahead and make a row of each—that way nobody gets left out!

Directions: Now, on to the fun part! First, I sliced my onions and started sautéing those up until they were tender.onions_steakbruschetta I also took this time to line my baking sheet with tin foil, making for easy clean up! While the onions cooking, I turned the Traeger up to high, and waited for it to heat up. My onions were done as soon as it was time to put the meat on, which worked out perfectly. While the meat cooked, I got busy slicing up my baguette into pieces approximately ½ inch thick. My favorite baguettes come from the Costco bakery, and can usually be found next to the bagels.

carneasada_steakbruschettaI cooked my meat for about 3 minutes per side. Personally, I don’t like to get my meat too done, because I know it’ll cook even more after everything is assembled and in the oven. After my meat was cooked enough to be considered as rare, I brought it inside and sliced it into 1-2” sections, or whatever size will fit nicely on your baguette.

The assembly for these bites is unbelievably easy!

Step 1) Grab a slice of baguette;

Step 2) Grab a slice of meat, and add that to your baguette slice;

Step 3) Top steak with cheese;

Step 4) Add onion, and set the bite on your baking sheet!

_steakbruschettaThese go in a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. (If you’re going to use Feta, be aware that it’s not going to melt like blue cheese does…so 10 minutes should work just fine.) This recipe is perfect if you like making stuff ahead of time (or the night before), that way all you have to do is assemble the parts and throw your pan(s) into the oven. I hope you enjoy!

And now for a little extra fun…the winners of our “Make Mine Beef” giveaway are:MakeMineBeefWinnerYou can send us an email (info(at)idahocattlewomen(dot)org) to claim your prize!

Categories: Beef, Idaho Cattlewomen, Recipes

Make Mine Beef Giveaway

Hey folks! Can you believe this is our last full week of January?! That first month of the year always seems to go by fast! As you’ve probably noticed, we’ve got lots of fun stuff planned this year, and we don’t want you to miss out! The easiest way to keep up-to-date on what we’re doing is to subscribe to our blog, where you’ll have new ICW posts sent straight to your Inbox! And as a bonus, we’re giving away one of these super cool “Make Mine Beef” caps, to two lucky blog subscribers!

One of our favorite California cattlewomen, Brooke (who blogs at Meet Your Beef) designed these caps, along with lots of other fun “Make Mine Beef” goodies. If you’re interested in seeing what else she has, you can follow this direct link to her store.

Subscribing is easy….scroll about halfway down this post, until you see “Subscribe” on the right hand column (as illustrated in the picture below).

ICWSubscribe

Afterwards, an email will be sent to your Inbox, confirming your subscription. All you have to do is click on the activation link found in the body of your email, and you’ll be set!

Categories: Beef, Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen

Rib Steak: A Year of Beef

Welcome to the second installment of our Year of Beef series! We had a lot of great feedback from last week’s recipe, which we were all really excited to hear!

Beef Diagram; RibThis week we’re going to grill up a couple of absolutely beautiful rib steaks! This delicious cut is located at the top of the rib primal portion of the beef (highlighted in yellow) and generally comes from the section of beef spanning from ribs six through twelve.

So what’s the difference between a Rib Steak and Prime Rib? Not a whole lot! When combined as a multiple Rib Roast section and roasted, it’s considered to be Prime Rib; but when each one section is sliced and then grilled, it becomes a bone-in rib steak.

This marinade recipe comes from the kitchen of my pal Tamzy Hopwood, who submitted it after last week’s O Bone Roast recipe! Tamzy is quite the cook, so I had no doubt what she was sending me would turn out phenomenal!

The last few day’s we’ve been busy moving different sets of expectant mother cows into their new “nursery” fields. It’s been windy, wet and cold—so the last thing I want to do after being out all day is come home and cook some extravagant meal. A recipe like this works perfect for our current schedule, because all I have to do when I get home is turn on the Traeger, and whip up some kind of side to go with it. And did I mention there are hardly any dishes to do?! Now that’s what I call winning!!

Rib Steak; Beef

Ingredients:

1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup olive oil

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

1 ½ tsp garlic powder

3 Tb dried basil

1 ½ Tb dried parsley flakes

1 tsp course sea salt (if desired, not necessary)

Add all ingredients into a gallon-sized Ziplock bag. Add steaks to marinade mixture, refrigerating at least 8 hours, prior to cooking.

Since I knew I would be busy making lunches in the morning, I started marinating these the night before—which gave them almost 24 hours to immerse themselves into this mixture, prior to grilling.

Rib Steak; BeefI fired up our Traeger on high, and cooked each steak for 8 minutes per side. I decided to keep our meal pretty simple, so in between flipping steaks I whipped up a homemade Caesar salad and a few slices of garlic bread.

Rib Steak; Justin JarvisJustin claimed this was the best steak I’ve ever cooked, so I think we can officially consider this recipe to be a success! At first I thought he was just trying to be nice, but after I had a chance to dig into mine, I have no doubts his words were somewhat close to the truth.

Next week I’m planning on making up a pot of hamburger chili and cornbread, along with a fun little giveaway, so be sure to stop by!

Categories: Beef, Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Recipes