Tag: Recipes

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

A Year’s Worth of Beef

Hello there, and Happy New Year! I hope the first few days of 2016 have treated you well!

One of my goals for the upcoming year is to really focus on getting better at the things I’m already good at. That probably sounds a bit silly, but sometimes I think we get lost in wanting to add new things to our lives, when we really should be working to perfect the skills we already have. I’m the kind of person who likes to be the best, so why not work on bettering the things I’m already pretty decent at?! For instance, although my husband continually tells me I’m a great cook, I know I have a lot of room for improvement—and I know exactly how I can channel my inner Ree Drummond.

At the tail end of last year, our ranch had two animals butchered, which we split three ways. The great part about butchering your own animal is having a freezer full of beef. The somewhat unfortunate part of that is the daunting feeling of “What am I going to do with all of this?” This isn’t a bad thing if you know how to cook it all; but that my friends, is where I fall short. While I know I’ve eaten every traditional cut of beef, I also know that cooking them all (on my own) is something I have not accomplished in my 25 years of life. Until now!

Isn't a freezer full of beef just heavenly?!

Isn’t a freezer full of beef just heavenly?!

In an effort to keep my cooking creative (and my husband’s stomach full), each week or so for the rest of the year I plan to write about my culinary experiences with a new cut of beef. Some cuts will be repeated over the course of the year, but each cut will be guaranteed to feature a different recipe. I also plan on enlisting your help every now and then—asking for your tips, tricks, and fabulous recipes!

Join me on my quest for 2016, as I take on beef—one cut at a time!

~J

Categories: Beef, Idaho Cattlewomen, Lifestyle, Recipes

How to Buy Beef

Grilled Tri-Tip, right off the barbeque! Seasoned with a dry rub of kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, dried chipotle, cumin, garlic powder and onion powder. An easy and economical cut of beef!

Can you believe Memorial Day weekend came that fast? It doesn’t seem like we can be that far through the month of May, let alone 2015, but here we are! It probably doesn’t come as much surprise that Memorial Day kicked off the summer grilling season. I just love the thought of burgers and steaks flying off backyard grills all across America. But something I don’t love is the fact that a lot of people forgo grilling because they feel intimidated when buying beef. I completely understand that feeling, because even as a beef producer, I’ve been there. But, let me be the first to tell you, anyone can learn more about how to buy beef.

The town closest to where we live is lucky enough to have two of the best locally-owned grocery stores—and when it comes to meat, there’s no one I trust more than our hometown butchers. Last week I sat down with meat cutter/grocery store owner, Brock Lenz, and asked him to give his insight on all things buying beef. Here’s what he had to say:

If you’re planning on buying a steak, the first thing to do is pick out the cut you want. Muscles that don’t get used by the animal make the best steaks. Those include your Tenderloin, T-Bone, Ribeye, and New York steaks—to name a few. Any muscles that the animal uses to move, (known as motor muscles), are going to be your tougher cuts. However, there are a lot of delicious cuts hidden within those motor muscles, such as the Flat Iron, that are just as good as those that come from the top and back of the animal.

This print from Chasing Delicious is one of my absolute favorites! If I had enough room, I’d love to have one hanging in my kitchen! -Jessie

This print from Chasing Delicious is one of my absolute favorites! If I had enough room, I’d love to have one hanging in my kitchen! -Jessie

Once you’ve decided on a cut, the next thing to look for is what’s called “marbling.” Marbling refers to the white flecks of fat that is found inside a cut of red meat. The more marbling a cut has, the more flavor it’ll have and the more tender it’ll be.

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A lot of people think that a steak has to be expensive to be good. You can’t really go wrong with cuts like the tenderloin, ribeye, etc., which tend to be higher priced; however, there are many other cuts that provide a great eating experience. And they are more economical. When it comes to value, I think Sirloin is your best bet. A Top Sirloin or the Sirloin Tip steak are middle of the road cuts when it comes to price, and the taste is hard to beat. (Note: Even though both cuts have sirloin in the name, they are different. Check out top sirloin vs. sirloin tip to get more info on how to prepare each.)

In my opinion, one of the most versatile cuts is the Tri-Tip. It’s great for grilling and can be used for groups, big and small. It can be tricky to cut if you’ve never done it before, but that shouldn’t keep you from putting one on the grill. Idaho ranchers work hard every day to produce beef that provides a consistent, tender and high-quality eating experience every time!

buying beef

buying beef

I love all the selections at my hometown grocery store. A great resource when buying beef is the butcher behind the meat counter.

The worst mistake you can make with beef is overcooking it. Beef can be consumed at a lower internal temperature (145 degrees) than any other animal protein. And keep in mind that your steaks will continue to cook internally for up to ½ hour after they’re taken off the grill (when resting), so don’t cook them until they’re crisp; otherwise you’ll be losing a lot of taste.

Many thanks to Brock for all his tips on how to buy beef!

The Idaho Cattlewomen hope you have lots of beef on your barbeque this summer. Feel free to ask questions in the comments section if you want to know about buying or cooking beef. We are happy to answer!

~ Jessie

Categories: Beef, Idaho Cattlewomen, Recipes

Petite Shoulder Tender Steak

beefThe other night I tried a new cut of beef for dinner. I had heard about it, but never seen or cooked one before. Even though I’ve been cooking with beef a long time, there are several new cuts that I don’t have a lot of experience with. And I love trying something new.

They tout it as the mock tender or filet, saying it’s just as juicy and tender. But like half the price. Well, this little cut of beef did not disappoint!

I knew it needed to be marinated so I put it in a Ziploc baggie with soy sauce, olive oil, rice wine vinegar and garlic. I let it hang out in the fridge overnight. I decided to try grilling it. Tip: let it sit out of fridge about 30 minutes to come to room temperature before throwing on a 400 degree grill. I grilled it to medium rare, 145 degrees, about 14-19 minutes. Then I let it rest before slicing thinly to serve.

I also made Roasted Broccoli with Parmesan and Garlic. I took fresh broccoli and cut in it into pieces (you could also use frozen broccoli) then I put it on a sheet of heavy duty foil. I drizzled it with a little olive oil, and sprinkled it with shredded Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. I wrapped up the edges and put it on the grill also. I cooked it until vegetables were tender, about 8 minutes.

Here are a couple other links about this cut of beef. It’s really easy to cook and makes a great presentation. I hope you try it out. If so please leave us some comments or if you have any questions about cooking with beef, feel free to ask. Beef is part of my family’s healthy diet and I hope you make it part of yours too!

Petite Tender Roast

Chef’s Secret

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The pictured shows the entire petite shoulder tender steak with a few slices. Those slices equal around 3 oz., which supplies you with 22 grams of protein plus 10 essential nutrients and only 150 calories.

Nutrition information per 3-ounce cooked serving: 150 calories; 6 g fat (2 g saturated fat; 2 g monounsaturated fat); 22 g protein; 0.5 mg vitamin B6; 4.4 mcg vitamin B12; 2.2 mg iron; 4.5 mg zinc.

 

~ M

Categories: Beef, Recipes

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Not sure what the weather as been like for you lately, but it’s been unseasonably warm around here. If I’m being honest, I really love it. Being a farmer’s daughter and a rancher’s wife, though, makes me think forward and hope this early spring weather doesn’t mean an extra hot, dry summer. Nevertheless, everyone seems to be enjoying the weather as the calves are thriving and the bulls we’re getting ready to sell are not bogged down in a mucky mess due to rain or thawing snow.

The recipe I’m sharing today was inspired by my friend, Lisa, who not only teaches full time, but has a busy ag teacher/coach husband, is raising three kids and is in the middle of calving their small herd of cows too. Even though she’s busy, she always has time to make an extra meal for a neighbor or friend in need. She brought this meal to us after our son was born (several years ago), and it was a hit. I didn’t grow up eating meatballs, but this Sweet and Sour Meatball Recipe is definitely one my family enjoys. And as Lisa proved, it’s a great meal to share with others too.

IMG_1239__meatballsSweet and Sour Meatballs
2 lbs. lean ground beef
1/2 c. Panko or dry bread crumbs
1/4 c. milk
1/2 c. finely diced onion
1/2 c. finely diced green pepper
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
Salt and Pepper

Sauce:
Combine 1/4 c. brown sugar, 1 T. cornstarch, 1 can of tidbit or chunk pineapple, 1/3 c. vinegar and 1 T. soy sauce. Bring to boil, add chopped red or green peppers (optional), then simmer until sauce thickens and veggies get tender. Add in meatballs. Serve with rice.

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All meatball ingredients were mixed together then shaped into 1″ balls, then baked in oven for 20-25 or cook in pan. (photo taken midway through baking)

The last time I made them, I adapted her original recipe by making the meatballs ahead of time and putting them in the freezer. I put them in the slow cooker along with the sauce (which I didn’t cook beforehand). These turned out great!

I love being able to make these ahead of time and store them in the freezer for an easy weeknight meal. You can even double or triple the recipe easy enough to feed a crowd. Or share with a friend…

~M

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Sweet and Sour Meatballs served over brown rice.

 

Categories: Beef, Blogging, Recipes