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Beef Chat

Jan232015

Getting it Started

Published by Heath Larson at 10:17 AM under Beef Team | General | Nutrition

Each year I take a mental and physical break from hard running between Halloween and New Year's Day.  The break allows me a chance to decompress and rest, so that when spring races roll around (and hard early spring training, for that matter), I'm ready to rock and roll. 

 

One thing I notice every year when I start training again is a big increase in appetite.  Especially first thing in the morning, when I get back to the house from a hard 6-8 mile workout.  Unfortunately, eating everything in sight (especially when there are still so many Christmas cookies left) doesn't bode well for fast distance running.  That said, a bowl of cereal on its own doesn't cut it, either.  So what's to be done?  When hunger calls, especially after a morning workout, I reach for a dose of tasty animal protein.  If time is tight before the kids wake up and the fridge is empty, I love making "egg in a hole," which is essentially just like it sounds...a cooked egg dropped in the middle of a slice of toasted bread.  And if the kids like it too!  But after a really hard run, it's time to double down on protein, taste, and satisfaction.  So, what I really love to do is take a few strips of last night's grilled steak and toss into my breakfast burrito...or omelet, depending on my mood. 

 

In doing so, I'm reaping two huge benefits of lean protein when I need them most:  hunger satisfaction and muscle recovery.  Of course, the recovery aspect helps me to "reload" for tomorrow morning's workout.  As a bonus, lean beef packs more protein into into fewer calories than any other protein rich food...plant or animal based.  And since I'm not hungry 30 minutes later, it keeps me from hunting for empty calories in the pantry at mid morning. 

 

And if I time it right, as soon as I finish, our kids will wake up, give me a hug, and say they're ready for a hearty, protein rich breakfast of their own.  I can't think of a better start to the day than that.



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Jan072015

Ancient Grains and Lean Beef: A Warming Combination

Published by Amber Groeling RD LD at 9:09 AM under Coffee Shop Talk | General | Nutrition | Recipe

Ancient grains like farro are new to most Americans, but they have been around for over 2,000 years. Ancient grains are a delicious source of beneficial nutrients, and have a heartier texture and unique flavor. Pairing ancient grains with lean beef and warm veggies makes an easy and satisfying weeknight meal. 

LEARN TO LOVE

 

FARRO

  • Was once a staple in the ancient Roman diet, widely used in Italy

  • One cup provides 8 grams of cholesterol-lowering fiber and 7 grams of filling protein.

  • Use in place of rice, add to soups, make a grain based salad – see the recipe below for a warming farro dish 

AMARANTH

  • Prized grain of Aztec civilization

  • Integrity of outer layer causes the grain to “pop” when chewed

  • Nutty, malty, peppery flavor

  • Sprinkle on lean beef salads

     

    FREEKEH

  • Traced back to the Mediterranean region, a form of roasted/cracked wheat

  • High in protein and fiber; lower carbohydrate content

  • Smokey, nutty flavor

  • Use in salads, pilaf as a side to steak, or with beef stir-fry

 

KAMUT

  • First grown in Asia or Egypt

  • 20-40% more protein than modern wheat; high in B-vitamins

  • Sweet, nutty, buttery flavor

  • Serve in place of long grain brown rice and pair with lean beef

     

    QUINOA (pronounced “keen-wah”)

  • Grown in the Andes mountains of Bolivia, Chile and Peru

  • Comes in a variety of colors such as red, tan or purple

  • Earthy, nutty flavor

  • Serve as a side dish or add to chili and soups as a thickener

 

BEEF FILETS WITH ANCIENT GRAIN & KALE SALAD

The most tender of them all, the Filet, is served beside a salad of faro, kale, dried cranberries and almonds.

Total Recipe Time: 35 to 40 minutes

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

INGREDIENTS 2 beef Tenderloin Steaks, cut 1 inch thick (about 6 ounces each) 1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper, divided Salt 3 cloves garlic, minced, divided 1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth 1/2 cup pearlized farro 1 cup thinly sliced kale 1/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries or cherries 2 tablespoons sliced almonds 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Combine 1 clove garlic and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; press evenly onto beef steaks. Combine beef broth, farro, remaining 2 cloves garlic and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper in small saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until most broth has been absorbed. Remove from heat. Stir in kale and cranberries. Cover; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in almonds and lemon juice. Season with salt, as desired. Meanwhile, place steaks on rack in broiler pan so surface of steaks is 2 to 3 inches from heat. Broil 13 to 16 minutes for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning once. Season steaks with salt. Serve with farro mixture.

 

2 beef Tenderloin Steaks, cut 1 inch thick (about 6 ounces each)

1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper, divided

Salt

3 cloves garlic, minced, divided

1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth

1/2 cup farro

1 cup thinly sliced kale

1/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries or cherries

2 tablespoons sliced almonds

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

INSTRUCTIONS FOR BEEF FILETS WITH ANCIENT GRAIN & KALE SALAD

1.       Combine 1 clove garlic and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; press evenly onto beef steaks.

2.       Combine beef broth, farro, remaining 2 cloves garlic and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper in small saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until most broth has been absorbed. Remove from heat. Stir in kale and cranberries. Cover; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in almonds and lemon juice. Season with salt, as desired.

3.       Meanwhile, place steaks on rack in broiler pan so surface of steaks is 2 to 3 inches from heat. Broil 13 to 16 minutes for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning once.

4.       Season steaks with salt. Serve with farro mixture.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION FOR BEEF FILETS WITH ANCIENT GRAIN & KALE SALAD

per serving: 550 calories; 14 g fat (4 g saturated fat; 6 g monounsaturated fat); 110 mg cholesterol; 682 mg sodium; 59 g carbohydrate; 10 g fiber; 47 g protein; 15.1 mg niacin; 1.1 mg vitamin B6; 2.0 mcg vitamin B12; 4.5 mg iron; 62.1 mcg selenium; 8.2 mg zinc; 161.8 mg choline.

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



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Nov262014

Simple & Elegant Beef Appetizers

Published by Amber Groeling RD LD at 6:47 AM under General | Nutrition | Recipe

Lean beef can be a simple and elegant addition to your holiday appetizer menu.  Plus, beef provides a filling protein to help keep your weight on track this holiday season.  Taking advantage of deli roast beef and lean ground helps save time and money.  As an added bonus, deli roast beef typically has much less sodium than deli turkey, chicken or ham.  Beef also contains a good source of immune boosting zinc, and B vitamins to help us use energy better.  While these recipes may look gourmet, they are simple to make and sure to impress your guests!

Appetizers using Deli Roast Beef: INGREDIENTS 1 beef Eye of Round Roast (2 pounds) 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon dried basil 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 1/8 teaspoon pepper Vegetables: 3 medium zucchini or yellow squash, sliced (1/2-inch) 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon dried basil 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes halves

Heat oven to 325°F. Combine salt, 1/2 teaspoon basil, oregano and pepper; press onto beef roast. 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 1-1/4 hours for medium rare doneness. Remove roast when meat thermometer registers 135°F. Transfer to board; tent with foil. Let stand 15 to 20 minutes. (Temperature will continue to rise about 10°F to reach 145°F for medium rare.) Increase oven temperature to 425°F. Combine vegetable ingredients, except tomatoes, in large bowl; toss. Place on rack in pan. Roast in 425°F oven 15 minutes or until tender. Add tomatoes; toss. Carve roast. Serve with vegetables. Season with salt.

  • Asparagus Beef Roll-ups: Cook asparagus stalks to crisp-tender and immediately place in ice water to stop the cooking.  Drain and pat dry.  In a small bowl combine 8 oz. light garlic and herb cream cheese (such as laughing cow) and 3 to 5 tablespoons prepared horseradish.  Pat deli roast beef slices dry with paper towels.  Spread beef with the cream cheese mixture, place 1-3 asparagus spears on top and roll up.  Refrigerate until serving.  Modified slightly from Taste of Home and picture source is Pinterest.

  • Beef & Blue Cheese Ball: In a medium bowl stir together 8 ounces of light cream cheese, softened, 5 oz. plain Greek yogurt (Fage works best), 1 cup finely diced lean roast beef, ½ cup shredded 2% cheddar, ½ cup crumbled blue cheese, 2-4 minced green onions and 1 tablespoon worchestire sauce until well combined.  Transfer to a bowl lined with plastic wrap, wrapping and forming into a ball.  Refrigerate overnight.  Remove plastic wrap and roll in chopped walnuts or pecans.  Serve with assorted veggies and whole-grain crackers.

  • Beef & Herb Crostini: Either purchase crostini, or prepare your own by slicing a baguette into ¼-inch slices and toasting at 400 degrees until lightly browned, about 5-6 minutes.  Once cooled spread with a light garlic-herb cheese such as Boursin, top with deli roast beef and a few snips of fresh chives.  Modified from www.hardlyhouswives.com.    

Appetizers using Ground Beef:

Recipes provided by: www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com

 

Mini Meatballs with Apricot Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

1 pound Ground Beef (96% lean)

1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs

2 egg whites or 1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons water

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

TIME SAVER – use frozen, prepared meatballs to make this appetizer a snap!

Sauce:

3/4 cup apricot preserves

3/4 cup barbecue sauce

2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat oven to 400°F. Combine Ground Beef, bread crumbs, egg whites, water, salt and pepper in large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Shape into thirty-six 1-1/4-inch meatballs. Place on rack in broiler pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in 400°F oven 15 to 17 minutes.

 2. Meanwhile, heat preserves, barbecue sauce and mustard in medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil; reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally or until sauce thickens slightly.

 3. Add cooked meatballs and continue to cook 2 to 3 minutes or until meatballs are heated through, stirring occasionally. Serve or keep warm in slow cooker (see tip below).

 Test Kitchen Tips

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.

To keep meatballs warm, place in 2-1/2-quart slow cooker set on LOW. Keep covered to maintain heat. Meatballs can be held up to 2-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Nutrition information per serving, 1/36 of recipe: 45 calories; 1 g fat (0 g saturated fat; 0 g monounsaturated fat); 7 mg cholesterol; 126 mg sodium; 7 g carbohydrate; 0.1 g fiber; 3 g protein; 0.7 mg niacin; 0 mg vitamin B6; 0.2 mcg vitamin B12; 0.3 mg iron; 2.6 mcg selenium; 0.6 mg zinc; 9.1 mg choline.

 

Mini Bell Pepper Beefy Nachos

Serves: 4 main dish size servings

Ingredients:

¾ lb. lean ground beef, browned, drained

6 green onions, sliced, white parts and green parts separated

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1 cup fresh salsa

salt and pepper to taste

1 pound mini bell peppers

1 cup shredded 2% milk Mexican cheese blend

1/4 cup sliced black olives

1/2 large tomato, diced

1/4 cup cilantro

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a skillet heat cooked beef, white parts of onions, seasonings, salsa and cheese.  Heat until combined and warm. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Slice the ends off each mini bell pepper and slice in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and ribs and press each half open so the peppers are as flat as possible. Arrange close together in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Spoon beef mixture evenly over pepper halves. Top with black olives and diced tomatoes. Bake for 10 minutes, or until cheese has melted. Remove from oven, top with cilantro, and green part of onions. Serve.



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Oct302014

Trick or Treat?

Published by Heath Larson at 8:48 AM under General | Nutrition

We take Halloween seriously in our household.  In years past, I've been the one to come up with unique costume ideas for our children that they also enjoy wearing.  This year, though, things are different.  Our children are now old enough to form their own opinions on the topic, and they have made their opinions known:  They will be "Olaf" and "Elsa" from the Disney movie "Frozen."  This is of course fine by me, I just hope they don't get lost in the hundreds of other trick-or-treaters wearing the same thing!

 

In the same vein, when it comes to meal choices, it is important to be able to tell the healthy food from the impostors.  I travel frequently for my career.  While I pack as much food from home in my cooler as I can, I have to eat out for at least 1-2 meals per trip I take.  Something I have noticed when eating out is that restaurants are trying very hard to create healthier-sounding menu options.  The problem is that many such options aren't really healthy at all.  Searching for a truly healthy choice on the menu can be almost as challenging as finding "your" Princess Elsa on Halloween night.  For example, salad is usually a healthy choice, right?  How about a Pecan-Crusted Chicken Salad from a common "fast casual" restaurant?  Think again.  That one salad packs 1080 calories and 71 grams of total fat!  Hmm, perhaps a vegetarian option would work better...a favorite airport sandwich stop of mine has a California Avocado sandwich that sounds good...provided I can handle taking in nearly 1000 calories and 11 grams of saturated fat in one sitting.  Yikes.

 

Fortunately, there's a simple solution to all of this, and it's not skipping lunch.  Lean beef.  Rather than spring for that gargantuan healthy-sounding chicken salad covered with dressing, beat your hunger with a strip steak and grilled vegetables.  A 3 oz serving will only set you back 160 calories and will still pack in plenty of protein and b-vitamins.  And nearly every restaurant has some form of steak on their menu!  Not sitting down for lunch?  Today, I was able to snag two small grilled steak tacos on corn tortillas with fresh vegetable toppings from a quick, authentic Mexican restaurant for a quick protein fix before my flight, so I didn't starve while traveling home.

 

So whether you're searching for your "princess" this Friday in a sea of trick-or-treaters, or searching for a healthy lunch on the road...don't be deceived.  It's hard to be wrong when you pick lean beef.  Happy Halloween!



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Oct152014

Cook Once, Eat Twice (or more) with Roast Beef

Published by Amber Groeling RD LD at 9:42 AM under General | Nutrition | Recipe

Does your busy schedule leave you strapped for time to prepare a healthy meal?  Repurposing leftovers can be a great solution for the dinner dilemma.  Roast is the epitome of Fall “comfort” food, and is an easy way to cook once and prepare two or more meals.  The first step is to determine which type of roast you would like to use.  A round roast will result in a much leaner roast, and the leftovers can be sliced and used in a variety of ways.  Or, you can use a flavorful chuck or arm roast, which is not as lean, but offers a tender roast that can be shredded for leftover dishes.  Try these two basic roast recipes and the repurposed leftover ideas with your family.

Quick Italian Beef Roast and Vegetables -- Cook Once: QUICK BEEF ROAST

INGREDIENTS 1 beef Eye of Round Roast (2 pounds) 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon dried basil 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 1/8 teaspoon pepper Vegetables: 3 medium zucchini or yellow squash, sliced (1/2-inch) 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon dried basil 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes halves

Heat oven to 325°F. Combine salt, 1/2 teaspoon basil, oregano and pepper; press onto beef roast. 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 1-1/4 hours for medium rare doneness. Remove roast when meat thermometer registers 135°F. Transfer to board; tent with foil. Let stand 15 to 20 minutes. (Temperature will continue to rise about 10°F to reach 145°F for medium rare.) Increase oven temperature to 425°F. Combine vegetable ingredients, except tomatoes, in large bowl; toss. Place on rack in pan. Roast in 425°F oven 15 minutes or until tender. Add tomatoes; toss. Carve roast. Serve with vegetables. Season with salt.

INGREDIENTS

1 beef Eye of Round Roast (4 pounds)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

Nutrition

INSTRUCTIONS FOR QUICK BEEF Roast

  1. Heat oven to 325°F. Combine salt, 1/2 teaspoon basil, oregano and pepper; press onto beef roast. 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 1-1/4 – 2 ½ hours for medium rare doneness.

  2. Remove roast when meat thermometer registers 135°F. Transfer to board; tent with foil. Let stand 15 to 20 minutes. (Temperature will continue to rise about 10°F to reach 145°F for medium rare.)

  3. Carve roast. Serve with desired vegetables. Season with salt. Reserve half of the roast beef slices for one of the meal ideas below.

Eat Twice (or more):

  • Beef Fajitas or Tacos: Heat 1 tsp of each; chili powder, cumin and paprika in a skillet over medium heat.  Add oil and sliced beef, toss to heat. Remove beef from heat and set aside.  Add 1 sliced bell pepper and one onion to skillet and cook until softened.  Serve on whole-grain tortillas with salsa, low-fat cheese, plain Greek yogurt and cilantro

  • Black & Blue Salad: Toss romaine and butter lettuce with sliced beef, low-sugar dried cranberries, pecans and Bolthouse Farm’s Greek Yogurt based Blue Cheese Dressing

  • Steak Philly’s: Prepare Au Jus, toast whole grain buns and top with saluted pepper and onions then pepper jack or Monterey jack cheese and beef slices.  Place under broiler until cheese is melted.  Serve with Au Jus. 

 

Slow Cooker Shredded Beef - Indian Variation -- Cook Once: SLOW COOKER SHREDDED BEEF

Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

1 beef Shoulder Roast, Arm Chuck Roast Boneless or Blade Chuck Roast Boneless (2 to 2-1/2 pounds)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil (optional)

1 large onion, chopped

2 tablespoons minced garlic

Salt and pepper

Recipe Variations (recipes follow)

INSTRUCTIONS FOR SLOW COOKER SHREDDED BEEF

1.       For optional browning, heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Brown beef roast on all sides.

2.       Place onion and garlic in 3-1/2 to 5 quart slow cooker; place roast on top. Cover and cook on LOW 9 to 10 hours or on HIGH 5 to 6 hours or until roast is fork-tender.

3.       Remove roast from slow cooker. Skim fat from cooking liquid, if necessary and reserve 1 cup onion mixture. Shred beef with 2 forks. Combine shredded beef and reserved onion mixture. Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Continue as directed in Recipe Variations below, as desired.

Eat Twice (or More):

  • Mexican Shredded Beef for Tacos or Enchiladas: Combine tomato or tomatillo salsa and beef mixture, as desired. Place in large microwave-safe bowl. Cover, vent and microwave until heated through, stirring occasionally. Serve in warmed flour or corn tortillas topped with pico de gallo, slice avocados, shredded cheese, chopped cilantro and/or chopped white or green onions, as desired. For enchiladas roll beef and salsa mixture up in tortillas and place in a baking pan.  Cover with enchilada sauce and cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until bubbly. 

  • BBQ Shredded Beef: Combine prepared barbecue sauce and beef mixture. Place in large microwave-safe bowl. Cover, vent and microwave until heated through, stirring occasionally. Serve on whole wheat rolls topped with creamy horseradish sauce, coleslaw, Cheddar cheese slices, chopped green bell pepper and/or canned French fried onion, as desired.

  • Asian Shredded Beef: Combine prepared hoison or teriyaki sauce and beef mixture. Place in large microwave-safe bowl. Cover, vent and microwave until heated through, stirring occasionally. Serve in lettuce or cabbage cups topped with shredded carrots, sliced cucumber, chopped fresh cilantro or mint, sriracha or crushed red pepper flakes and/or chopped peanuts, as desired.

  • Indian Shredded Beef: Combine prepared Indian cooking sauce, such as Tikka Masala or Vindaloo. Place in large microwave-safe bowl. Cover, vent and microwave until heated through, stirring occasionally. Serve in naan or pita bread topped with toasted chopped pistachios or coconut, raisins, Greek yogurt or mango chutney, chopped fresh mint or cilantro and/or sliced cucumber or green onion, as desired.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION FOR FOUR-WAY SLOW COOKER SHREDDED BEEF

Nutrition information per serving, using Shoulder Roast: 161 calories; 5 g fat (2 g saturated fat; 3 g monounsaturated fat); 57 mg cholesterol; 64 mg sodium; 3 g carbohydrate; 0.5 g fiber; 23 g protein; 7.2 mg niacin; 0.3 mg vitamin B6; 2.6 mcg vitamin B12; 2.8 mg iron; 26.0 mcg selenium; 5.5 mg zinc; 89.1 mg choline.



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Aug282014

Labor Day

Published by Katie Sawyer at 7:32 AM under General | Nutrition | Recipe

Summer is rapidly coming to a close. School is back in session for most, the football season will officially kick off Saturday and Labor Day – the unofficial end of summer – is just a weekend away.

 

Before you pack up the grill and resort to oven-baked meals, use the three-day weekend to enjoy some great beef recipes. Beef is a great source of protein to keep kids full longer and vitamin and nutrients, which are essential to everyone’s diet.

 

If you are looking for more great beef recipes or information on beef cuts and marinades, log onto www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com. Most importantly, the site has a great list of 30-minute meals for those busy, weekend dinners.

 

Here is a great recipe for your last grilled feast:

 

 

SMOKY STRIP STEAKS WITH MEXICAN-STYLE GRILLED CORN

INGREDIENTS

1.      2 beef Strip Steaks Bone-In, cut 1 inch thick (12 to 15 ounces each)

2.      4 ears corn, husked

3.      1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise

4.      2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

5.      Salt

6.      Lime wedges (optional)

 

Seasoning:

1.      1 to 2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder

2.      2 teaspoons brown sugar

3.      2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

 

INSTRUCTIONS FOR SMOKY STRIP STEAKS WITH MEXICAN-STYLE GRILLED CORN

  1. Combine seasoning ingredients in small bowl. Spread 2 teaspoons seasoning mixture evenly onto beef steaks. Spread remaining seasoning mixture onto corn. 
  2. Place corn on outer edge of grid over medium, ash-covered coals; grill, covered, 15 to 20 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, times remain the same) or until tender, turning occasionally. Place steaks in center of grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 9 to11 minutes (on gas grill, 9 to 12 minutes) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally.
  3. Spread mayonnaise and sprinkle cheese evenly over corn. Carve steaks into slices. Season beef and corn with salt, as desired. Squeeze lime wedges over beef and corn, if desired. Serve beef with corn.



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Aug062014

Excuses, Excuses

Published by Heath Larson at 9:47 AM under Agriculture | Beef Team | General | Nutrition

As a longtime runner, I've heard plenty of excuses and smart remarks when others find out about my distance running hobby.  One of the classics I've heard multiple times is:  "I only run if someone is chasing me."  Oh really?  Well, consider the following situations:

 

It's early spring.  On the ranch, that means it's time to round up the cattle from the feedlot and take them to pasture.  While the "take them to pasture" part is the near-celebratory end to a winter of feeding and calving in brutal weather conditions like we had last winter, the "round up" part never fails to create excitement.  There are gates to open, vehicles of all types to drive, and at the end of it, hopefully some 80+ cow/calf pairs and their calves end up in the loading pen for preventive medication before being hauled to pasture for the next 4-5 months.  During our last roundup, we had several cows with no desire of going where they needed to be.  At one point, after an hour of fruitless attempts to bring them into the loading pen, we were close to completing the task.  Then, without warning, the "crazy one" turned around and bolted for the open pasture, with 10 more cows trailing behind.  There was no time to jump in a pickup, turn it around, and give chase.  There was only time to run.  I may not have set a world record for "fastest 3/8 mile across a rutted pasture in jeans and work shoes," but I like to think I came close.  I barely beat the leader to the open gate on the other side of the pasture, and we managed to get the job done shortly thereafter. 

 

I travel for my career, and frequently have tight connections between flights.  Most of the time, I am able to get to my gate in plenty of time by utilizing a brisk walking pace.  However, when I'm trying to catch the last flight home that day and I have 20 minutes to get to the train, go up and down 6 different escalators, and walk at least 1/2 mile with my carry on in tow...well, it's not really a walk anymore.  While I haven't always "made it," I know my family is appreciative when I do get home on time.

 

When it comes to helping out on the ranch or getting home to see my family, there's no time for flimsy excuses.  Do I enjoy training for my next race?  Not usually, because it takes a lot of time and effort to stay in shape!  But I often fall back on my training when life calls for a little extra speed, endurance, or adventure, and that is invaluable to me.

 

Along the same lines, flimsy excuses have no place in your nutritional plan.  I hear how unhealthy "red meat" is from my colleagues frequently...but what is their basis for this?  And have they considered how using beef as a lean source of protein compares with other animal and plant protein sources?  Nothing else comes close!  I also hear "I don't eat red meat because of the hormones they put in it."  First off, if hormones are a problem for you, you can find plenty of non-hormone beef out there.  Second, the hormones in a typical serving of beef are far, far less than are found in many common vegetables that make up a huge part of healthy diets nowadays...not to mention the elevated amount of hormones found in many human medications taken daily!

 

Find the truth.  Ditch the excuses.  Then, go outrun everyone that still thinks you're crazy, and celebrate your victory by refueling with lean beef!



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Jul242014

Taste the Homegrown Goodness

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy seasonal fruits and vegetables. If you do not grow your own garden, you can still enjoy fresh, local produce.  And, you may not even have to travel to a farmers’ market or farm stand to pick up your local produce, many grocery stores including Hy-Vee have teamed up with local farms to ensure the freshest, most nutritious choices right where you buy the rest of your groceries. 

The term local often means that the food was grown within 400 miles from where it will be consumed.  While this is not near as close as your back yard, you will find many vendors much closer, all you have to do is ask. At Hy-Vee our Homegrown label ensures that you are purchasing the freshest items from local family farms. The Homegrown signs indicate where your food was grown and how far the farm is from your Hy-Vee store.

According to the Food Marketing Institute’s U.S. Grocery Shopping Trends report, the top reasons for purchasing locally grown foods include freshness (82%), supporting the local economy (75%) and taste (58%).

Local, seasonal fruits and vegetables are typically more budget-friendly because they are harvested during their peak season for you to enjoy. Many popular produce is packed with a nutritional punch!  The fiber found in sweet corn can aid in weight management and digestive health.  Bell peppers and watermelon are loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C to promote immune health.  Zucchini and other squash has been found to contain compounds that may help control blood pressure.  Tomatoes are naturally sweet and a great source of lycopene which may help prevent against prostate cancer. 

Don’t hesitate! Now is the time to fill half of your plate with seasonal fruits and veggies, along with 4 oz. of lean beef and a serving of whole-grain.  Try this refreshing Steak and Grilled Ratatouille Salad to take advantage of the summer’s bounty!

STEAK AND GRILLED RATATOUILLE SALAD

Steak & Grilled Ratatouille Salad --

Total Recipe Time: 45 to 50 minutes

Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

1 beef Top Round Steak, cut 1 inch thick (about 1-1/2 pounds)

1 small eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices

2 large red or yellow bell peppers, cut lengthwise into quarters

1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise in half

1 medium yellow squash, cut lengthwise in half

1/2 cup grape tomato halves

9 cups mixed baby salad greens

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Shaved Parmesan cheese

Marinade:

1/2 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS FOR STEAK AND GRILLED RATATOUILLE SALAD

1.       Combine marinade ingredients in small bowl. Place beef steak and 1/2 cup 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. Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade for salad.

2.       Spray vegetables, except tomatoes, with nonstick cooking spray.

3.       Remove steak from marinade; discard marinade. Place steak in center of grid over medium, ash-covered coals; arrange vegetables around steak. Grill steak, covered, 12 to 14 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 16 to 19 minutes) for medium-rare (145ºF) doneness, turning occasionally. (Do not overcook.) Grill eggplant and bell peppers 12 to 15 minutes; zucchini and yellow squash 8 to 12 minutes, covered (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, eggplant 6 to 8 minutes; bell peppers, zucchini and yellow squash 7 to 11 minutes) or until tender, turning occasionally and basting with remaining reserved marinade.

4.       Cut grilled vegetables into 1-inch pieces. Carve steak into thin slices. Toss lettuce, tomatoes and grilled vegetables with remaining 1/2 cup marinade. Divide vegetable mixture between 6 serving plates. Arrange beef steak slices over vegetables. Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Sprinkle with cheese, as desired.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION FOR STEAK AND GRILLED RATATOUILLE SALAD

Nutrition information per serving: 334 calories; 19 g fat (4 g saturated fat; 12 g monounsaturated fat); 61 mg cholesterol; 162 mg sodium; 12 g carbohydrate; 5.2 g fiber; 3 g protein; 6.2 mg niacin; 0.7 mg vitamin B6; 1.5 mcg vitamin B12; 4.1 mg iron; 31.4 mcg selenium; 5.4 mg zinc.

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



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Jun122014

Great Grilling for Father’s Day – The MyPlate Way

Published by Amber Groeling RD LD at 8:48 AM under General | Nutrition | Recipe

Looking for that perfect gift for dad this Father’s Day?  Make him a meal that is both delicious and nutritious. Lean cuts of meat such as sirloin or flank steak are great options. Serve with vegetables, fruit and whole grains.   

 

Marinating helps enhance the flavor of meat, without adding a lot of extra calories, fat or sodium found in many sauces.  Marinades also serve to tenderize tougher cuts of meat. It is recommended to marinate in the refrigerator, not at room temperature, to avoid the growth of harmful bacteria. Marinades only penetrate the surface of the meat; therefore, flat cuts of meat such as steaks will benefit more from marinades than large cuts such as roasts.  Try this flavorful steak and delicious summer salad for a your father this Father’s Day!

 

 

Coffee Peppercorn Flank Steak

The coffee in this marinade creates an umami or savory flavor punch when combined with the steak!

Make it a meal: Serve with millet corn and avocado salad (recipe below) and

berries with a dollop with whipped cream for dessert.

http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/7a/6e/1e/7a6e1ef530b8811cde7d5b2bf2b2e614.jpgMakes: 4 servings

All you need:

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/images/MyPlateImages/JPG/myplate_green.jpg3 tablespoons strong brewed coffee

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, crushed

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pound flank steak, trimmed of fat

All you do:

1.       Whisk coffee, vinegar, oil, sugar, garlic, peppercorns and salt in a glass dish large enough for meat to lie flat. Add steak and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.

2.       Heat grill to high.

3.       Remove steak from marinade; discard marinade. Lightly oil grill rack (see Tip). Place steak on grill and cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice thinly across the grain and serve.

Tips & Notes

  • Make-Ahead Tip: Marinate the steak (Step 1) for up to 8 hours.

  • To oil a grill rack: Oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.

Nutrition Per serving: 230 calories; 9 g fat (3 g sat, 4 g mono); 45 mg cholesterol; 3 g carbohydrates; 2 g added sugars; 23 g protein; 0 g fiber; 337 mg sodium; 284 mg potassium.

Source: www.eatingwell.com

 

Millet Salad with Sweet Corn & Avocado

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Hnr7Kpz9gYk/TnlGWL8F27I/AAAAAAAAECM/OEgM6tmAew0/s1600/Millet+Salad+1.jpgServes: 10 (1 cup size serving)

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked millet, rinsed and drained

1 tsp sea salt, divided

4 cups fresh sweet corn kernels (about 8 ears),

    frozen defrosted corn

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/3 cup fresh lime juice plus 1 tsp zest

2 Tbsp chopped green onions

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 ½ tsp cumin

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped

4 cups chopped tomato

1-2 diced avocado

Directions:

1.        Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add millet; cook 8-10 minutes or until fragrant and toasted, stirring frequently.  Add 2 ½ cups of water and ½ tsp salt; bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until water is almost absorbed.  Stir in corn kernels; cook, covered, 5 minutes.  Remove mixture from pan and cool to room temperature.

2.       In a large bowl combine ½ tsp salt, cilantro, lime juice, green onions, olive oil and cumin.  Add the jalapeno peppers, tomato and avocado.  Gently stir in the millet mixture and toss to coat.

3.       Cover and chill 30 minutes.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 190 calories, 5.5 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 250 mg sodium, 36 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, 6 g protein

 



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Jun052014

Grass-fed vs Grain-fed

Published by Katie Sawyer at 10:18 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk | Nutrition

It’s officially grilling season which means Americans are on the hunt for quality beef cuts and possibly a fact or two about where their meat came from. During a recent interaction with consumers, I found myself explaining to more than one person grass-fed versus grain-fed beef.

 

We fed our cattle both grass and grain. About eight months of the year, our cows grazing in pastures, enjoying green grasses in the Kansas Flint Hills. The other four months – during the winter – our animals are on our farm and enjoy a diet of corn silage, dry distillers grain and hay. This is also the time they are calving so nutrition is vital for both mother and baby. By industry standards, this makes our cattle grain fed.

 

To be classified as grass-fed, cattle must only consume grasses. That means no grains, ever. Many people assume that grass-fed cattle produce healthier beef. This has been proven untrue.

 

A recent article outlines two studies comparing the nutritional component of grass-fed beef to grain-fed beef. The results showed a slight different in fats but no significant nutritional difference.

 

Ground beef from grass-fed cattle naturally contains more omega-3 fatty acids than from grain-fed cattle (three times as much), but is higher in saturated and transfat. At the other end of the spectrum is premium ground beef, such as from conventionally produced Certified Angus Beef or cattle with Japanese genetics (available as Wagyu or Akaushi ground beef). Ground beef from these cattle is very high in oleic acid, and also much lower in saturated and transfat, than ground beef from grass-fed cattle.” - Grass-Fed Vs. Grain-Fed Ground Beef -- No Difference In Healthfulness by Stephen B. Smith, Texas A&M University

 

Read the entire article at http://beefmagazine.com/beef-quality/grass-fed-vs-grain-fed-ground-beef-no-difference-healthfulness

 

Consumers must also be aware that grass-fed does not mean anti-biotic-free or hormone-free. Producers of both types of cattle can use both resources to help treat sick cattle.

 

Some consumers believe there is a noticeable taste and texture difference between grass and grain-fed beef and therefore chose one over the other. For those that don’t have a previous bias or favorite, selecting a type of beef based on nutritional components means both are great options. And with both grass and grain fed, you will find 29 lean cuts to enjoy this summer grilling season.



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