Beef Chat


Details, Details

Published by Heath Larson at 9:10 AM under Beef Team | General | Nutrition

The start of the Boston Marathon is less than three weeks away.  It's crunch time.  Thankfully, the long training runs of 16 miles and longer are complete.  However, even with the best of training, there are many seemingly insignificant details that I will be busy dealing with before toeing the line on April 21st.  One example:


Electrolytes--The last time I ran the Boston Marathon was in 2009.  With only 4 or 5 miles to go, I just KNEW that something wasn't quite right.  But, spurred on by the raucous crowds, I was too stubborn to stop to figure it out.  In fact, I even quit stopping for water and Gatorade.  Bad idea.  When I finally drug my poor carcass across the finish line, I was quickly carted to the medical tent.  Elated about my finish but a bit "foggy" from the electrolyte imbalance, I was relieved when the staff cured me with a true miracle remedy: Two bags of the best potato chips I've ever tasted.  My electrolytes and hydration need to be dialed in on race day to prevent a reprise of this awful experience.


When I also think about the details of pacing strategy (math+hills+weather=confusion), crowds (Is it even possible to run fast in a crowd of 36,000?), blister avoidance (ouch), and chafing (even worse), it's easy to become overwhelmed.  However, to ignore these details is to invite disaster.


Most of us know that lean beef contains a large amount of muscle-building protein without a lot of calories.  But what about the details?  What about some of the unsung, dare I say, "forgotten" nutrients?


Zinc--Lean Beef is the number 1 food source for zinc. Many may know that zinc helps maintain a healthy immune system, but it also plays an important part in synthesizing protein.  How about that?  A high amount of protein, and an increased ability to process it too...all in that single 3 oz. serving of lean beef!


Vitamin B12--Lean beef is also the number 1 food source for vitamin B12.  This vitamin helps convert carbohydrates (which all runners love) into glucose (energy).  What more could a runner ask for?  Better hair in the finish line photo?!  Amazingly, vitamin B12 is important for healthy hair too!


I'm looking forward to putting all the details together for a solid race while representing Team Beef in Boston.  Many of them will have to come together at the last minute.  One thing, however, has already been decided:  There's nothing better than a steak the night before the race.


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National Nutrition Month

Published by Amber Groeling RD LD at 3:48 AM under Coffee Shop Talk | General | Nutrition | Recipe

March is National Nutrition Month. The theme for 2014 is “Enjoy the taste of eating right.” The key to eating right is to combine both taste and nutrition to create healthy meals.  During busy weeknights, meals need to combine great taste and nutrition, along with convenience.  Lean beef is a tasty solution to this dinnertime dilemma.  With 29 cuts meeting the requirements for lean, beef is a tasty and nutritious addition to any meal.  Plus, lean beef is an excellent source of high quality protein, zinc and iron; and can be simple and easy to prepare.  Portion size is key, the recommended serving for beef is 3-4 ounces of cooked lean beef.  To complete your meal, aim to fill half of your plate with veggies and fruits, ¼ whole grain and one serving of low-fat dairy.  Try these winning recipes during your busy weeknights.


Buffalo-Style Beef Tacos - Combine cooked ground beef crumbles with buffalo wing hot sauce, as desired. Cook until heated through; spoon into hard or soft corn tortillas. Top with shredded lettuce, chopped carrots and celery. Drizzle with low-fat ranch or blue cheese dressing. Serve with Healthy Choice frozen yogurt and fresh or frozen berries.


Rock and Roll Beef Wraps


Rock and Roll Beef Wraps - Consumer -- A colorful way to introduce quinoa to your kids with ranch-seasoned Ground Beef and slaw.

A colorful way to introduce quinoa to your kids with ranch-seasoned Ground Beef and slaw.

Makes 4 servings


1 pound Ground Beef (93% lean or leaner)

1 cup water

1/3 cup uncooked quinoa

2 tablespoons dry ranch dressing mix

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups packaged broccoli or coleslaw mix

4 medium whole grain or spinach tortillas (7 to 8-inch diameter)

Toppings (optional):

Apple slices, red bell pepper strips, cucumber slices, carrot slices, sliced almonds or chow mein noodles


1.       Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add Ground Beef; cook 8 to 10 minutes, breaking into 1/2-inch crumbles and stirring occasionally. Remove drippings.

2.       Stir in water, quinoa, ranch dressing mix and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender. Stir in slaw; cook, uncovered, 3 to 5 minutes or until slaw is crisp-tender, stirring occasionally.

3.       Divide beef mixture evenly among tortillas; garnish with toppings, as desired. Fold over sides of tortillas and rolling up to enclose filling.

·         Cooking times are for fresh or thoroughly thawed Ground Beef. Ground Beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F. Color is not a reliable indicator of Ground Beef doneness.

Nutrition information per serving: 418 calories; 12 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 3 g monounsaturated fat); 76 mg cholesterol; 695 mg sodium; 41 g carbohydrate; 6.8 g fiber; 31 g protein; 6.4 mg niacin; 0.5 mg vitamin B6; 2.3 mcg vitamin B12; 5.6 mg iron; 19.6 mcg selenium; 6.6 mg zinc; 84.2 mg choline.

This recipe is an excellent source of fiber, protein, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, iron, selenium and zinc; and a good source of choline.


Asian Beef & Vegetable Stir-Fry  -- Beef & Vegetable Stir-Fry

Complete meal in minutes! 

Serves: 4


1 ½ lbs. chuck tender fillet, cut across the grain into thin strips

1 tsp. sesame oil

1 tbsp. canola oil

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups assorted precut Asian veggies (if frozen, cook a few minutes longer)

3 tbsp. water

½ cup prepared stir-fry sauce, House of Tsang classic stir-fry is a good one

2 cups cooked hot brown rice

2 tbsp. dry-roasted peanuts, optional


  1. Place the water and veggies in a large nonstick skillet.  Cover and cook over medium-high heat four minutes, or until crisp-tender.  Remove and drain.

  2. Heat the same pan over medium-high heat with both oils and garlic.  Add beef in batches; stir-fry 1-2 minutes until outside is browned.

  3. Return all beef and veggies to pan.  Add stir-fry sauce and heat through.  Spoon over rice.  Sprinkle with peanuts if desired.

    Nutrition Facts per serving (with ½ cup rice): 390 calories, 5 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 1100 mg sodium, 35 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 35 g protein *Recipe provided by The Beef Council

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What It Takes

Published by Heath Larson at 10:15 AM under Agriculture | Beef Team | Coffee Shop Talk | General

It's Time for the Winter Olympics!  And whether you're a curling fanatic or a downhill skiing fan, chances are strong that you heard about the Jamaican bobsled team's improbable run to this year's Olympic Games.  They qualified for the games for the first time since 2002, only to realize they had one week to raise $80,000 for team costs in order to compete at the games.  But nothing is impossible when you're a Jamaican bobsledder.  They raised the cash, and managed to compete in Sochi, against obstacles most would find insurmountable. 


The first ever Olympic Jamaican bobsled team was of course immortalized in the 1993 Disney Classic "Cool Runnings."  One of my favorite parts of the film occurs between the coach (Irv) and Sanka, who thinks he should be the driver, instead of his more dedicated friend, Derice: 

Irv: You see Sanka, the driver has to work harder than anyone. He's the first to show up, and the last to leave. When his buddies are all out drinking beer, he's up in his room studying pictures of turns. You see, a driver must remain focused one hundred percent at all times. Not only is he responsible for knowing every inch of every course he races, he's also responsible for the lives of the other men in the sled. Now do you want that responsibility?

Sanka: I say we make Derice the driver. 

Irv: So do I, Sanka. So do I.


This spring, I will be running the Boston Marathon, which is essentially a combination of a world class 3 hour foot race and a parade.  The weather will be nice (hopefully), and the crowd of 500,000 spectators will be incredibly supportive.  What few people realize is how much sacrifice, how much time "studying pictures of turns" each runner has put into that one single race.  Without a treadmill at home and no gym membership, I am often out running for 2-3 hours in very unfriendly late winter weather in preparation for Boston.  Two days ago, the wind was so strong on my 15 miler that I wasn't even sure I'd be able to finish.    However, that's the price that must be paid for a strong race in Boston.


In a similar vein, it's calving season on most ranches across the state.  While everyone loves seeing new baby calves take their first steps, few understand the sacrifice it takes on behalf of the rancher to keep each calf alive.  New calves must be protected from brutal late winter snowstorms and "rookie" heifers that don't know how to take care of them.  It's often the case that the rancher has to help pull the calf out by hand during labor.  And during calving season, there are no hours or schedules.  Ranchers are up at all hours of the night and day, sacrificing sleep and sanity, ensuring that the newest members of their herd (and their mothers) are safe and sound.


So whether you're sitting inside watching the luge, or out playing with your kids in the next winter storm, don't forget to say a prayer for the ranchers working overtime to protect their cattle from the elements.  And while our task isn't remotely as important, don't forget about the crazy spring marathoners trying to grind out another long training run in the cold!

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Heart Healthy Beef for You and Your Valentine

Published by Kassie Curran at 10:38 AM under Coffee Shop Talk | General | Nutrition | Recipe

As we have shared many times on Kansas Beef Chat, lean beef is good for the heart. As part of the Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD) study, individuals had a 10 percent decline in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol when they consumed lean beef as part of heart-healthy diet.

To celebrate your heart and Valentine’s Day, try one of these recipes using Tenderloin or T-Bone steaks. Not only are these beef cuts delicious, they are heart healthy, lean choices that are packed with nutrients including protein, zinc, vitamin B 12, vitamin B6, niacin, selenium, phosphorus, choline, iron, and riboflavin.

Spicy Five-Pepper T-Bone Steaks

Total Recipe Time:  60 minutes


2 beef T-bone steaks, cut 1 inch thick (about 16 ounces each)

Five-Pepper Seasoning:

3 tablespoons coarsely ground mixed peppercorns (black, white, green and pink)

2 teaspoons kosher or table salt

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

Spicy Peppercorn Steak Sauce:

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 cup ketchup

1/2 cup beef broth

1/3 cup raisins

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon molasses

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Additional beef broth (optional)

1.  Combine Five-Pepper Seasoning ingredients in small bowl; mix well. Reserve 2 teaspoons for Spicy Peppercorn Steak Sauce. Set aside remaining mixture for seasoning beef steaks.

2.  To prepare Spicy Peppercorn Steak Sauce, heat oil in small saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until tender but not browned. Stir in ketchup, broth, raisins, vinegar, molasses, soy sauce and reserved 2 teaspoons Five-Pepper Seasoning; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer gently 10 minutes to blend flavors, stirring occasionally. (Sauce will thicken slightly.)

3.  Place sauce in blender or food processor container. Cover; pulse on and off for slightly chunky texture. (For a thinner sauce, additional broth may be added 1 tablespoon at a time; pulse on and off after each addition.) Return sauce to saucepan; keep warm until ready to serve.

4.  Press remaining Five-Pepper Seasoning evenly onto beef steaks. Place steaks on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, uncovered, 14 to 16 minutes for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally.

5.  Remove bones; carve steaks crosswise into slices. Serve with sauce.

Makes 4 servings

Cook's Tip:  Spicy Peppercorn Steak Sauce may be prepared ahead and frozen in an airtight container for up to 2 months. To reheat, heat from frozen in a saucepan over medium heat until hot, stirring occasionally.

Cook's Tip:  Mixed peppercorns are sold in specialty food markets and some supermarkets. If a four-peppercorn mix is not available, a three-peppercorn mix may be substituted. Or make your own mix by combining equal amounts of whole black, white, green and pink peppercorns.

To easily grind whole peppercorns, use a pepper mill or coffee grinder (used only for seasonings). They can also be crushed in a food-safe plastic bag. Place the peppercorns in the bag, squeeze out the air and seal. Use the bottom of a custard cup, rolling pin or side of a heavy pan to crush the peppercorns.

Cook's Tip:  Serve this classic steak with simple sides such as steamed broccoli and roasted new potatoes.

Nutrition information per serving: 335 calories; 11 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 5 g monounsaturated fat); 48 mg cholesterol; 1984 mg sodium; 35 g carbohydrate; 3.1 g fiber; 26 g protein; 5.1 mg niacin; 0.5 mg vitamin B6; 1.9 mcg vitamin B12; 4.5 mg iron; 9.8 mcg selenium; 4.6 mg zinc.


Grilled Beef Steaks with Espresso-Bourbon Sauce

Total Recipe Time:  35 minutes


4 beef Tenderloin Steaks, cut 1 inch thick (about 4 ounces each) or 2 Strip Steaks boneless, cut 1 inch thick (about 1-1/4 pounds)

Salt and pepper

Espresso-Bourbon Sauce:

1/4 cup bourbon

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1.  Combine all sauce ingredients, except pepper, in small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 8 minutes or until sauce is thickened and reduced by about half, stirring occasionally. Stir in pepper. Keep warm.

2.  Place steaks on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill tenderloin steaks, covered, 10 to 14 minutes (top loin steaks 11 to 14 minutes) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally. Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Serve with sauce.

Nutrition information per serving, using Tenderloin Steaks: 271 calories; 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 3 g monounsaturated fat); 67 mg cholesterol; 658 mg sodium; 15 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 26 g protein; 7.2 mg niacin; 0.5 mg vitamin B6; 1.4 mcg vitamin B12; 1.8 mg iron; 28.9 mcg selenium; 5.4 mg zinc; 95.1 mg choline.

Find these and more great beef recipes at www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com.

Eat Beef!!!


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Good Fats for Good Health

Published by Amber Groeling RD LD at 3:26 AM under Coffee Shop Talk | General | Nutrition | Recipe

There’s news about your health and the fats you eat that may surprise you… you don’t have to avoid fat! The key is to eliminate trans fats and limit saturated fats in your diet; while focusing on increasing unsaturated fats as much as possible.  Examples of this would be to choose lean cuts of beef that contain the word “round” or “loin”, or simply replace a high-fat salad topping (bacon) with nuts. Research has shown substituting 5% of saturated fat in the diet with more heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats may decrease the risk of developing heart disease by 7%. Celebrate National Heart Healthy month by taking steps to protect your heart with healthy, unsaturated fats. It may be easier than you think! Plus, it doesn’t mean you have to give up eating red meat. The BOLD (Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet) study compared the consumption of 4 ounces of lean beef daily to the gold standard of heart-healthy eating, the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. Both diets contained a similar mix of nutrients, including fewer than 7% of calories from saturated fat, but the BOLD diet contained 4 ounces of lean beef each day while the DASH diet limited red meat. At the end of the study, BOTH diets lowered LDL “bad” cholesterol in participants by 10%, providing evidence that beef may not be as bad for cholesterol and heart health as once thought. 

Which types of fats should I look for?
Omega 3s (Polyunsaturated Fat)
Omega 9s (Monounsaturated Fat)
Steric Acid – a non-harmful form of saturated fat found naturally in beef

What are the possible benefits?
Healthy Heart
Improved Blood Cholesterol
Blood Sugar Control
Brain Development & Function
Improved Mood

Healthy Fat Shopping List:
Avocado & Olives
Almonds, Pistachios, Walnuts, Hy-Vee Natural Peanut Butter
Canola, Olive, Sunflower
Round & Loin cuts, 95% lean ground beef or leaner
Salmon, Tuna, Mackerel


Grilled Steaks with Beets & Radicchio
Makes: 2 servings

2 tablespoons crumbled reduced fat feta cheese
2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon minced shallot
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small head radicchio, halved, cored and each half quartered
1 8-ounce can baby beets, drained
8 ounces top sirloin steak, trimmed and cut into 2 portions
1. Preheat grill to high.
2. Place cheese in a medium bowl and mash it with the back of a spoon until creamy. Add vinegar, dry mustard, shallot, parsley, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle in 2 teaspoons oil and whisk until blended.
3. Thread radicchio chunks and beets onto skewers and drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil. Rub steaks with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon oil. Season the steaks and skewered vegetables with the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper.
4. Grill the steaks 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Grill the vegetable skewers, turning frequently, until the radicchio is wilted and lightly charred, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the steaks to a plate; let rest for 5 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the skewers. Serve steaks and vegetables with the sauce.
Recipe slightly adapted from EatingWell, Inc.
Nutrition Facts per serving: 302 calories; 16 g fat ( 4 g saturated , 9 g monounsaturated ); 64 mg cholesterol; 15 g carbohydrates; 26 g protein; 3 g fiber; 458 mg sodium; 819 mg potassium.

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Big News for Beef Loving Students

Published by Kiley Stinson at 4:16 AM under Coffee Shop Talk | General | Nutrition | Recipe

As a child I was a picky eater and struggled to eat much during lunch time in school. Looking back, I’d say the only way I made it through most school days was because I very rarely turned my nose up at beef. Beef is an important part of a healthy diet for kids and an alarming percentage of school age children struggle to receive the right amount of essential nutrients they need to learn and grow. Our schools are tasked to provide meals that help growing kids get the balanced diet they need while still meeting the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) requirements for healthy school meals.  Many of these requirements set by USDA were originally intended to battle childhood obesity by limiting portion sizes served to children. However, after many frustrated parents and community leaders voiced their concerns with the new change, about a year ago, the department temporarily lifted the limits on meat and grains. Luckily, USDA just announced earlier this month that it is making permanent changes in flexibility to the National School Lunch Program, allowing schools to serve larger portions of lean beef and whole grains in school lunches. Hooray for BEEF!

 I’ve also found this super useful resource when talking about incorporating lean beef into school food service. It comes complete with recipes and pictures that are free for your schools and educational centers to utilize.   http://www.beeffoodservice.com/k-12foodservice.aspx

Cheers to lean beef and satisfied students,


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“Charge the Hill” in 2014

Published by Heath Larson at 10:23 AM under Beef Team | Coffee Shop Talk | General | Nutrition | Recipe

It was 6:00 A.M., and even though I was standing at 2 miles above sea level, I was looking up at the steepest hill I would face all day.  Though I hated to think about it, I needed to save some energy for what came after the hill:  50 miles of mountain trails, much of it above timberline.  As a flatlander in Leadville, I had already cemented my place among the foolhardy.  But, to erase all doubt, I sprinted up the ¼ mile ski hill, chasing the dubious honor of winning the silver dollar given to the one that reached the top first. 


We are at the starting line for 2014, and chances are strong that your enthusiasm for reaching your fitness goals is sky high.  But, if you sprint out of the gate with a fitness plan that is unsustainable or perhaps not even healthy at all, you are setting yourself up for failure.  While the sales pitch may sound convincing, the cayenne pepper/maple syrup/lemon juice/water cleanse diet didn’t earn the title of “Worst Fad Diet in 2013” for nothing.  Not only are such diets unhealthy due to their elimination of multiple food groups, but they make you completely miserable.  With a family, career, and an active social life, who can afford to be miserable?


With diet and exercise, one has to start with common sense.  Never ran a 5K before?  Set a goal of running a local race that intrigues you early in the year.  If that goes well and you have fun, then consider stepping up to a 10K or longer.  Are you looking to eat less processed foods, but don’t have time to spend in the kitchen?  Try making a giant salad early in the week to take care of multiple side dishes at once.  Add a tasty, simple recipe with lean beef and presto!  You’re one step closer to your fitness finish line.  My favorite beef chili recipe shown below can get you started in 15 minutes or less.


Did I reach the top of the hill first?  Almost…and it hurt to breathe for a solid mile after my starting line stunt.  But did I make it to the finish line later that day?  Absolutely!  And so will you, provided you channel that January enthusiasm toward a plan that will work for you.  Go for it!



Easy Lean Beef Chili


2 pounds lean ground beef

½ red onion, chopped

½ head garlic, minced

1 tsp. ground black pepper

½ tsp. garlic salt

2½ cups tomato sauce

8 oz. salsa

4 tablespoons Williams Chili Seasoning

15 oz. dark red kidney beans


Brown the ground beef with the onion.  Drain fat.  Combine with remaining ingredients in a crock pot for at least one hour on low.

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The Color of Victory

Published by Heath Larson at 9:10 AM under

 The color of victory is bright red.  While Oakland Raider fans may take exception to that statement, it’s pretty hard to argue with success.  The Kansas City Chiefs, the worst team in the NFL last year, currently stand alone as the sole remaining undefeated team in the league at 9-0.  It is a special family tradition for the Larson family to listen to the entire game on the radio every Sunday after Mass.  Each week, we tune in to see if they will do what was simply unthinkable in past years:  Extend their winning streak.
After the attacks at the Boston Marathon this past spring, I also set my sights on a seemingly impossible set of tasks:  Qualifying and entering for the Boston Marathon, Running under 3 hours in a marathon, and winning my favorite local trail 10k, all while making the transition to a completely new job and being the family man that I needed to be.  “Is this even possible?”  I thought.  I didn’t know, but I donned my bright red Team Beef jersey and started training. 
Qualifying for Boston would not be easy.  The only marathon that fit my schedule was in Pocatello, ID.  Not the most glamorous (or convenient) place to be traveling to on one’s off days.  Add in the fact that the race would occur at an average elevation of one mile above sea level, and it was a recipe for disaster.  With nine miles left in the race, I was wondering if the best part of the weekend would be the free five-pound bag of potatoes I got for showing up.  Looking at my watch, I realized that running under 3 hours would require a pace of 6:30/mile…well under my usual marathon pace of 7:00/mile.  With little to lose but my lunch, I went for it and somehow crossed the line over 3 minutes under my 3 hour goal, and well under the qualifying time for Boston.  This spring, Team Beef will be heavily represented by a sea of red jerseys, including mine, running Boston’s streets in the most storied marathon in the world.

After successfully completing the final goal of winning my favorite local trail race (after about 10 years of trying), it was time to fire up the grill in celebration not only of a successful running season, but also my son’s first birthday.  When a celebration is in order, there’s only one color of meat I want to see on my grill:  The deep, glorious red of protein-packed lean beef.  Our family must agree with me, because there wasn’t much left over!

So whether you’re looking for a lean yet filling fuel for tomorrow’s long run, or the perfect cut of meat to feed the masses at your Kansas City Chiefs tailgate, don’t forget:  The color of victory is bright red.  Eat beef!


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"Fall"ing for Flavorful & Nutritious Soups

Published by Amber Groeling RD LD at 8:38 AM under Coffee Shop Talk | General | Nutrition | Recipe

Chilly weather is here making it the perfect time to cook up a pot of warming soup or stew.  Soup is a great one-pot meal that can easily be nutritious by following a few key tips.

Load up the Veggies! Half of your meal should be vegetables.  Veggies are naturally gluten-free and LOADED with nutrients and antioxidants that will keep you feeling and looking your best.  A mirepoux which consists of equal amounts chopped celery, carrots and onion provides a great base for most soups or stews.  But you don’t have to stop there; canned tomatoes easily enhance the mirepoux and provide a healthy dose of the antioxidant lycopene.  Lycopene is best known for its role in fighting prostrate cancer, but it also has heart and skin benefits as well.  Adding an extra can of diced tomatoes to any soup or stew is an easy way to boost the nutrition.  Fresh chopped Kale or spinach, provide a mild nutrition boost to your soup.  Winter squash, purred pumpkin, parsnips and jicama are also noteworthy additions to try. 

Got Pulses?  Dried beans, lentils and chickpeas are collectively called pulses.  Don’t let your soup miss out on the nutrition they provide!  Pulses are loaded with fiber, protein, antioxidants, iron, B vitamins and other nutrients!  What’s more, pulses are inexpensive!  If going for the convenient canned variety look for no salt added.  Hy-Vee now makes no salt added chili beans, pinto, black, kidney and garbanzo beans. Red lentils are smaller and therefore cook faster than the green variety, making them a great choice when you are short on time.

Don’t forget the BEFF!  While pulses provide some protein, about 9 grams in a ½ a cup serving, they are mostly carbohydrates.  Based on research, I recommend including 20-30 grams of protein at each meal.  Protein is key for keeping your muscles fueled and your hunger at bay. Lean beef provides an excellent source of protein, zinc, which boosts the immune system and iron.  Be sure to choose a lean cut by looking for the word “round” or “loin” in the name.  Any round roast cut into 1-inch pieces is perfect in soup or stew.  Ground 90% lean is a great economical and lean choice. 

Stock it! Stock or broth is a key ingredient in many soups.  My personal favorite brand is Kitchen Basics because they are all much lower in sodium than other brands.  Low sodium tomato sauce or juice works great for your liquid as well. 

Here are a couple of my favorite beefy soups for you to try!  Enjoy!

Mushroom Beef Stew
Serves: 6
2 pounds beef Stew Meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
3/4 cup Kitchen Basics Unsalted Beef stock
1/4 cup unsalted tomato paste
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound red-skinned potatoes (1-1/2-inch diameter), cut into quarters
8 ounces mushrooms, cut into quarters
1 cup baby carrots
Fresh parsley (optional

1. Combine flour, salt, pepper and thyme in small bowl. Place beef in 4-1/2 to 5-1/2-quart slow cooker. Sprinkle with flour mixture; toss to coat.
2. Combine broth, tomato paste, wine and garlic in small bowl; mix well. Add to beef. Add potatoes, mushrooms and carrots; mix well.
3. Cover and cook on HIGH 5 to 6 hours, or on LOW 8 to 9 hours, or until beef and vegetables are tender. (No stirring is necessary during cooking.) Stir well before serving. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

Recipe modified from the Beef Council.

Nutrition information per serving: 306 calories; 9 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 4 g monounsaturated fat); 73 mg cholesterol; 244 mg sodium; 25 g carbohydrate; 3.1 g fiber; 29 g protein; 7.3 mg niacin; 0.7 mg vitamin B6; 2.3 mcg vitamin B12; 4.3 mg iron; 6.6 mg zinc.

This recipe is an excellent source of protein, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, iron and zinc; and a good source of fiber.



Hearty Beef Stew with Squash, Quinoa and Black Beans
Serves: 6

1 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded & chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
3 1/2 cups unsalted kitchen basics beef broth
1 1/2 lbs. cubed stew meat
1 tbsp EVOO
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 can (14 oz) petite diced tomatoes
2/3 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and sorted if from bulk
1 cup rinsed and drained black beans
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1. Steam the butternut squash in the microwave until barely tender, about 5-10 minutes.  Remove half of the squash pieces and set aside.  Continue cooking the remaining squash until very tender, about 4-6 more minutes.  Mash this squash with a fork and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a large stock pot over medium-high heat, bloom the oregano, once fragrant remove.  Heat the olive oil and add the stew meat and onions and sauté until both are browned, about 6-8 minutes.  Add the garlic and oregano.  Stir in the beef stock and bring to simmer, cover and simmer 15-20 minutes.
3. Add the tomatoes, butternut pieces and mashed squash, stir.  Add the quinoa and bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the quinoa turns translucent, about 15 minutes.
4. Add the black beans, salt and pepper and simmer, uncovered about 5 minutes.
5. Garnish with cilantro.

Nutrition Facts: 315 calories, 7 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 220 mg sodium, 37 g carb, 4.5 g fiber, 26 g protein, 978 mg pot




Hungarian Mushroom Beef Stew
Serves: 5

1 Tbsp oil
1 lb. lean stew meat, cut into small pieces
1 T butter
1 onion, diced
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. flour
1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
4 cups unsalted kitchen basics stock
2 teaspoons dried dill
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt +extra for garnish, optional
1 splash lemon juice
1 handful fresh dill, chopped (optional)
1. Season stew meat with pepper and toss with 2 Tbsp of flour.  In a stock pot heat 1 tbsp of oil and cook beef until browned on all sides.  Remove and set aside.
2. Melt the butter in pot over medium heat, add the onions and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms have released their liquids and it has evaporated, about 10-15 minutes.
3. Mix in the flour and paprika and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.
4. Add the browned beef, broth, dill, soy sauce, and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for one hour to 1 ½ hours. 
5. Just before serving; mix in the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, dill and desired salt and pepper. Garnish with Greek yogurt.

Nutrition Facts per serving:  230 calories, 7 g fat, 300 mg sodium, 13 g carb, 2.5 g fiber, 28 g protein

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The Final Countdown

Published by Heath Larson at 6:27 AM under Beef Team | Coffee Shop Talk | General | Nutrition | Recipe

Late summer is a frantic time of year.


Families scramble to get one last trip to the lake or fishing pond, anticipating the chill of fall to be just around the corner.  Children beg for another trip to the swimming pool, knowing that very soon, they will be very busy with school and the homework that goes along with it. And here at the Larson household, I find myself immersed in all the last minute preparations that accompany my running of the Pocatello Marathon on August 31st.


Running is a simple sport, requiring little else than proper shoes, determination, and a water bottle for longer runs.  However, running a 26.2 mile race takes much forethought and even more last minute preparation.  There are travel plans to confirm.  The weather must be checked and prepared for so you aren't running through 20 degree weather in nothing but your standard warm weather running gear (ask me how I know).  As the race nears, the "frantic index" is very, very high, causing me to stick to lengthy packing checklist of items I will need to get me through those merciless 26.2 miles as quickly as possible.


For most families, "frantic" is an adequate description of the hour leading up to dinner time.  Homework, kids, housework, who has time to make a home-cooked (let alone healthy) meal anymore?  When the frantic index is shooting through the roof and dinner is just around the corner, we find ourselves reliant on simple, healthy meals with beef.  Strip steaks?  I've got a lightning-fast 3 ingredient rub for that.  Fajitas?  As long as I had the forethought to start marinating a lean flank steak last night, I'll have a tasty family fiesta ready in under an hour.  No complicated seasonings.  No need for fancy smokers or kitchen tools.  And no nasty "chicken slime" to clean off my counter!  Plus, we might even have time to sneak in one last summer game of "washers" in the backyard while the grill heats up.  In this frantic season, that's just what the doctor ordered.




Classic Fajitas

Total Recipe Time: 40 to 45 minutes

Makes 6 servings


1.     1 beef Flank or Skirt Steak (1-1/2 pounds)

2.     2 small onions, cut into 1/2-inch slices

3.     2 medium green bell peppers, cut into quarters

4.     12 small flour tortillas (6 to 7-inch diameter), warmed

5.     Salt and pepper

6.     Prepared guacamole (optional)


1.     1 package (about 1.25 ounces) fajita seasoning mix

2.     1/4 cup water

3.     2 tablespoons fresh lime juice


1.     Combine marinade ingredients in small bowl. Place beef Steak and marinade in food-safe plastic bag; turn Steak to coat. Close bag securely and marinate in refrigerator 6 hours or as long as overnight, turning occasionally.

2.     Remove Steak from marinade; discard marinade. Place Steak in center of grid over medium, ash-covered coals; arrange onions and bell peppers around Steak. Grill Flank Steak, covered, 11 to 16 minutes (over medium heat on pre-heated grill, 16 to 21 minutes); Skirt Steak 7 to 12 minutes (8 to 12 minutes on gas grill) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally. Grill vegetables 13 to 16 minutes or until crisp-tender, turning occasionally.

3.     Carve Flank Steak lengthwise in half, then crosswise into thin slices. (Carve Skirt Steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices.) Cut bell peppers into 1/2-inch strips; coarsely chop onions. Place Steak slices on tortillas; top with vegetables. Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Serve with guacamole, if desired.



Nutrition information per serving, using flank steak: 365 calories; 11 g fat (4 g saturated fat; 5 g monounsaturated fat); 42 mg cholesterol; 1154 mg sodium; 36 g carbohydrate; 3.2 g fiber; 29 g protein; 9.1 mg niacin; 0.7 mg vitamin B6; 1.4 mcg vitamin B12; 3.6 mg iron; 4 mcg selenium; 4.8 mg zinc.

This recipe is an excellent source of protein, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, iron and zinc; and a good source of fiber.

Nutrition information per serving, using skirt steak: 405 calories; 17 g fat (6 g saturated fat; 9 g monounsaturated fat); 49 mg cholesterol; 1186 mg sodium; 36 g carbohydrate; 3.2 g fiber; 26 g protein; 6 mg niacin; 0.6 mg vitamin B6; 3.7 mcg vitamin B12; 4.4 mg iron; 28.8 mcg selenium; 5.3 mg zinc.

This recipe is an excellent source of protein, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, iron, selenium and zinc; and a good source of fiber.


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