The Beauty in the Beef

For the love of South Dakota Beef

Layered Veggie & Beef Casserole

IMG_1376It’s a beautiful Friday in South Dakota, full of warm, radiant sunshine.  Although that certainly wasn’t the case yesterday as I was driving with my windshield wipers on high fighting through sleet, rain and wind.  But that’s the way it goes this time of year, with each day you never know what “Springtime” in South Dakota will feel like.

I featured a “Beef & Squash Spring Casserole” this time last year on the blog and I’m bringing it back again with a twist.  These Spring Casseroles are inspired by the unpredictable weather that can have you grilling burgers in shorts and flip-flops one day and craving a warm comfort food the next.  This is a quick and easy dish to throw together that’s nutritious, filling and full of fun-spring colors! Enjoy!

Layered Veggie & Beef Casserole
Ingredients
1 lb. lean ground beef
salt-free seasoning
1 medium zucchini
1 medium yellow summer squash
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 1/2 Cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 425°
2. Brown ground beef, draining and rinsing any excess fat.  Season beef with your preferred salt-free seasoning, such as Mrs. Dash or any dried herbs.
3. Slice squash and potatoes into thin, even slices.
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4. Spray an oven-safe cooking dish and layer potatoes and squash.
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5. Cover with ground beef crumbles and top with shredded cheese.
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6. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is golden and potatoes are fork-tender.
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7. Enjoy!

Beefy Zucchini Boats

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Despite the cool temps and snow falling in some parts of South Dakota this week, Spring is officially here! Yes, believe it or not, warm summer days full of sunshine, grilling and garden fresh produce are near.  My taste buds have been longing for summer fresh recipes and these beefy zucchini boats hit the spot!

This light and flavorful recipe is a great spring and summer dish to serve with a fresh fruit or quinoa salad!   Lean ground beef will help keep you feeling satisfied and you can add in any additional ingredients you wish to fill your “boat”!

Ingredients:
1 lb. lean ground beef
salt & pepper
4 medium zucchini
1/2 Cup mushrooms, chopped
1/2 Cup red & green pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 Cup plain Greek yogurt
1 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions: 
1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. Brown ground beef, draining and rinsing excess fat, if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, as desired.
3. Meanwhile, slice zucchini in half, lengthwise.  
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4. Using a spoon, scoop out the inside flesh of the zucchini.  You can reserve the flesh and add it back into the ground beef mixture or freeze for future cooking or baking use. 
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5. Add mushrooms, peppers and onion to ground beef and let simmer over low heat.
6. Stir in yogurt and shredded cheese until fully melted and evenly combined.  I like using plain Greek Yogurt when cooking as a healthy option to add creamy textures to recipes.  
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7. Lastly, add beef mixture to each boat and place on a baking sheet.
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8. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until zucchini is fork-tender.
9. Slice and enjoy!
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Asian Steak Bites

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Valentines Day all about showing the love.  We’re certain this recipe for Asian Steak Bites will do just that- but what’s even better is the heart-healthy benefits that these flavorful bites of beef contain.

New this week, the American Heart Association certified extra lean ground beef (96% lean) to display its recognized and respected Heart-Check mark.  Extra lean ground beef joins great company as seven other cuts already proudly display this emblem:

• Extra Lean Ground Beef (96% lean, 4% fat)

• Bottom Round Steak (USDA Select grade)

• Sirloin Tip Steak (USDA Select grade)

• Top Sirloin Petite Roast, Boneless (USDA Select grade)

• Top Sirloin Strips (USDA Select grade)

• Top Sirloin Filet (USDA Select grade)

• Top Sirloin Kabob (USDA Select grade)

• Top Sirloin Steak, Boneless, Center Cut (USDA Select grade)

Before putting its Heart-Check mark on any food, the American Heart Association evaluates it against nutrition requirements based on sound science regarding healthy dietary recommendations, food categories, specific product ingredients and nutrient values.

Just another reason for you to show some love to your valentine on this significant day- and every other day!

Asian Steak Bites
Ingredients
Marinade:
1/2 Cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 Cup red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp ground ginger
2 lbs. Top Sirloin Steak, cubed
Sesame seeds for garnish
Directions
1. Combine marinade ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and whisk together.
2. Slice steak into 1 inch cubes.
3. Add steak to marinade, cover and place in the refrigerator for 6 to 24 hours.

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4. Preheat broiler on high.
5. Place steak tips on rack of broiler pan and put in the oven approximately 3 to 4 inches from heat.
6. Cook for 15-20 minutes, flipping once.  Check internal cooking temperature for desired level of doneness.
7. Sprinkle with sesame seeds prior to serving.

Slow Cooker Beefy Burrito Bowl

IMG_9140We may be experiencing some abnormally warm temperatures, but it’s still winter which means my slow cooker stays on the counter.  The moment it comes out of the dishwasher, another recipe goes in.  This week’s dish will be making its way back into my slow cooker time and time again.  Simple, delicious and full or colorful and nutritious ingredients.  This “Slow Cooker Beefy Burrito Bowl” is a must make!

Consuming a diet that contains many different colors is an easy and fun way to encourage a healthy diet for you and your family.  Mexican cuisine is full of bright and radiant colors- see how many different colors you and your family can add to this dish and share a photo using #beautyinthebeef to show us!

Ingredients
1 lb. lean ground beef (I used ground round)
1/2 onion, diced
1-2 bell peppers, diced
2 Tbsp garlic, minced
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
2 Cups dry quinoa
2 Cups low sodium beef broth
1 can diced tomatoes with chilies
1 can low sodium black beans
1 can low sodium pinto beans
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
*avocado, green onion, cilantro, shredded cheese for topping. whole grain tortilla or mixed greens for serving

Directions
1. On the stovetop, brown lean ground beef with onion, peppers, garlic and seasonings.
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2. Add mixture to crockpot and pour in quinoa, beef broth, tomatoes, beans and tomato sauce.  Stir until evenly combined.
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3. Cook on high for 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally.
4. Top with desired ingredients and serve in a bowl, on a whole grain tortilla or over mixed greens.
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5. Enjoy!

BBQ Cheeseburger Cups – For Kids!

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Whew! You made it through the holidays and you’re back to the daily grind.  Perhaps this year you resolved to eat healthier or to be more organized.  I think it’s safe to say those are two things we could all use more of in our daily lives.  That’s what today’s blog recipe is geared towards, a simple meal solution that is nutritious and can be made in a timely manner or ahead of time and frozen.

Some of my favorite recipes to prepare are ones that can include my daughter in the process.  Although she is only two, she loves to help me in the kitchen.  Introducing your children to cooking techniques and fundamentals at a young age may spark an early interest.  This could lead to them being more comfortable preparing foods when they are older and less likely to resort to prepackaged meals and snacks.  Simple tasks such as stirring or pouring ingredients may be all it takes for your child to love the art of cooking!

This recipe is a fun and perfect way start a new year in the kitchen, for yourself and your family!  Wash your hands, roll up your sleeves and let the memories begin as you and your kiddos create these fast, easy and nutritious “BBQ Cheeseburger Cups- For Kids!”

Ingredients: 
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 diced onion
1 Cup BBQ sauce
1 Roll Pillsbury Artesian whole grain pizza crust
Shredded Low Fat Cheddar cheese

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Brown ground beef, draining and rinsing any excess fat.
3. Add diced onion and BBQ sauce. Stir until evenly combined, then reduce heat.
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4. Roll out dough and cut circles using an open end of a drinking glass.  (Get the kiddos to help here!)
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5. Add dough circles to a coated muffin tin and top with BBQ ground beef.
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6. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
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7. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until cheese has melted and dough is golden.
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8. Enjoy!

Step-by-Step Holiday Roast!

IMG_8071Your house is decorated and the tree is trimmed.  Your shopping list is complete and the presents are wrapped under the tree.  Now you can sit back and relax until the big day is here.  But have you thought about your holiday dinner? If you haven’t, don’t sweat- there’s still plenty of time to get everything you need to create a beautiful and delicious beef roast for your loved ones to enjoy.

Follow these simple and foolproof steps to make your holiday meal stress-free and enjoyable for all, including yourself!

1. Choose your Cut. There are a variety of beef cuts to choose from to create your show-stopping Beef Roast centerpiece.  From the traditional and elegant Prime Rib to a flavorful beef Tenderloin, choosing the cut that’s best for you and your family is easy to do.  Using the Interactive Butcher Counter from beefit’swhatsfordinner.com is great way to do so.  This tool provides you a visual of your roast options and also tells you which cuts are lean.  Once you select a cut, the site will prompt you with recommended cooking methods as well as delicious recipes that are simple and easy to follow.

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2. Celebrate the Season with seasoning.  The prep work is quite minimal with beef roasts because the natural flavor and juices will do the work for you! Choosing a simple and rub is all you will need to accent the savoriness of beef.  Combine seasonings and press it evenly onto all surfaces.  Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty- make sure your entire roast is covered; top, bottom, and sides.

3. Bottom’s Up. Heat your oven to the specified temperature.  Place your roast fat side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan (if you’re making a Rib roast the ribs will form a natural rack.)  If you don’t have a roasting pan, I strongly encourage you to pick one up.  They are very affordable and well worth it. Insert an ovenproof meat thermometer so tip is centered in thickest part of roast, not resting in fat or touching bone. Do not add water, do not cover. Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 10.50.37 AM Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 10.51.45 AM

4. Roast & Rest. Cook according to guidelines, or desired level of doneness.  Roast meat 5 to 10 degrees below desired doneness.  If you prefer medium rare, remove at about 135° and temperature will continue to rise as it rests.  To rest your roast, tent with foil for 15 to 20 minutes before slicing or serving.  This will allow all juices to distribute evenly and create a juicy and flavorful eating experience.
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5. #ToastToRoast. Raise your glass and make a toast.  You’ve just created a beautiful and delicious meal that your loved ones will enjoy and cherish as you take in all of joy and cheer that the Holiday brings.

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For a great collection of roast recipes, click here.

The South Dakota Beef Industry Council would like to wish you a safe and warm Holiday and Happy New Year! 

Beef & Kale Queso Fundido

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‘Tis the season to entertain! If you’re not hosting a holiday party, odds are you’ve been invited to one (or ten!).  Time is tight this time of year so simple dishes are essential.  This recipe for beef & kale queso fundido is not only simple and quick, it’s festive and delicious too! The best part- you can use leftover roast! We feel that calls for a #ToastToRoast!

Create this recipe for your next Holiday party or gathering! Snap a picture and share it using the hashtag #ToastToRoast

Recipe Source: Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner:
http://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/recipe.aspx?id=6035

Ingredients:

  1. 8 ounces cooked (leftover) beef Pot Roast, finely chopped, (about 1-1/2 cups)
  2. 1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes with mild green chilies, undrained
  3. 1/2 cup beer
  4. 2 cups shredded regular or reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend
  5. 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  6. 1 cup finely chopped kale leaves
Serving Suggestions:
  1. Tortilla chips, celery sticks, carrot sticks, apple slices, pita wedges, toasted baguette slices.

Directions
1. Combine tomatoes and beer in medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Meanwhile, toss cheese with cornstarch until coated.
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2. Reduce heat to low; cook 3 to 6 minutes, adding cheese mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, and stirring constantly until cheese is melted. Do not boil.
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3. Stir in beef and kale; continue cooking 3 to 5 minutes or until beef is heated through, stirring frequently. Pour into serving dish. Serve immediately with serving suggestions, as desired.
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4. Enjoy!
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Beef & Barley Soup – in a jar

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Happy Holidays from the South Dakota Beef Industry Council! I’m sure you’re already enjoying the many wonderful traditions that come with the season; decorating the Christmas tree, baking goodies, holiday parties, concerts, shopping for presents, and so many more! For as much joy as these things brings us, there’s also a lot of stress this time of year.  Make certain that you keep your health a priority throughout the hustle and bustle so you can start the new year feeling great!

Exercising regularly and eating a nutritious diet should remain a priority for yourself and your family, especially when there’s extra goodies being passed around and the cooler temps keep us from getting outdoors and being active.  Incorporating lean protein, such as beef, into your regular diet along with whole grains, plenty of fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy will keep you healthy and feeling energized through the holidays!

Speaking of energy, here’s a recipe that requires very little!  I received this as a Christmas gift from Holly and had to share.  Not only is it a delicious soup that’s perfect for any winter day, but it’s an adorably unique and thoughtful gift any friend, family member or coworker would love to receive (I certainly did!).  Oh, and don’t forget to raise a glass and #ToastToRoast this holiday!  Post a photo of your beef roast creation with the hashtag “#ToastToRoast” and you could win $100 in Beef Certificates!

This soup only takes a few minutes to put together and you can get as creative and festive with the jar as you wish!  Below are the directions to create the jar as well as the preparation directions.

Beef Barley Soup Mix in a Jar
1 (1 pint) jar
3/4 cup medium pearl barley, separated
1/2 cup dried lentils
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1/4 cup dried minced onions
1/4 cup instant beef bouillon
2 tablespoons dried celery flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried minced garlic

Layer soup kit ingredients in jar in order listed, using half of barley first and then remaining barley at the top. Close jar securely with lid. Attach cooking instructions.

Beef Barley Soup

1 (2 pound) boneless beef chuck, cut in 1/2-
to 3/4-inch pieces or 2 pound lean hamburger
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Contents of gift jar
10 cups water

Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat and brown the meat. Pour off drippings. Add the contents of soup kit jar and water to Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover tightly and simmer 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours or until beef is fork tender.

Discard bay leaves.

The Hot Beef

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On a cold winter day is there anything better to sit down to than a hot beef sandwich? It wasn’t until just recently I became aware that this delicious beast of a sandwich is regional to the Midwest.  How tragic for the rest of the world!  While portion size is an important factor to consider when constructing your creation, you can also make more nutritious ingredient swaps as we did in this rendition of the Midwest trademark, hot beef sandwich.

Recreate this recipe at home and share a photo with #ToastToRoast! You could be selected as our random winner to receive $100 in Beef Certificates!  We look forward to sharing more creative and delicious ways to serve your family beef roast this holiday season!

Ingredients
2-3 lbs. Beef Chuck Roast
2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 Cups Low Sodium Beef Stock
2 tsp dried rosemary
2 large sweet potatoes
1 packet reduced sodium brown gravy mix
Whole Grain bread

Directions:
1. Mix together garlic and pepper.  Press into the roast, coating evenly.
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2. Heat olive oil in the bottom of a large pan or pot.  Add roast and brown each side for approximately 4 minutes.
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3. Transfer to slow cooker and add beef stock.  Sprinkle with rosemary.
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4. Cover and let cook on low for 6-8 hours.
5. Once roast if finished, prepare sweet potatoes.  I made mine on the stovetop by peeling and boiling until tender.  Then mashing.  You may also add your sweet potatoes to your roast in the slow cooker.
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6. Prepare gravy per instructions on package.  I used drippings from the roast in my gravy.
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7. 
Shred roast by pulling apart with two forks.  Layer on top of one slice of bread, cut in half. Note: pictured is 2 recommended servings.
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8. Next add mashed sweet potatoes.
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9. Top with remaining bread slices and drizzle with gravy.
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10. Dig in!

Mexi-Roast #ToastToRoast

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We’re welcoming the Holiday Roast Season in true South Dakota fashion; with snow, ice and bitterly cold temps.  It’s the time of year when we drive the dreaded (and now dark) commute home on slippery, snow-packed roads only to walk in the door and be welcomed by the aroma of a hearty and delicious beef roast awaiting us in the slow cooker.  Yes, you know that smell.

There isn’t a more convenient way to feed your family a nutritious and wholesome meal that you know they will love.  Because of the that, we feel it’s only appropriate to propose a toast this holiday season to roast, a #ToastToRoast.

Cheers to the versatility it provides, allowing us the choice to create a different meal each night of the week.
Cheers to the comforting and savory flavor that you can always count on.
Cheers to the 25 grams of protein and 10 essential nutrients that you and your family receive with each serving.
Cheers to the ability of being able to put the perfect meal on the table with minimal time and effort.

We could surely come up with many more reasons to toast to roast, but we’d like to give you an opportunity!  This holiday season when you’re enjoying a beautiful beef roast, from traditional roast and potatoes to an elegant prime rib, we want to see how you toast to roast! Snap a pic and post it using #ToastToRoast.  On 1/5/15 a random winner will be selected and awarded $100 in Beef Certificates! #freebeef #winning.  The more photos you enter using #ToastToRoast, the more chances you have to win!

Intimidated by preparing roast?  No fear!  I’ll be sharing a recipe with you each week from now until January.  From soups to sandwiches, never underestimate the versatility of a roast.  We’re kicking things off with this recipe for a super simple yet flavorful Mexi-Roast!  Slice and serve with a side of brown rice and beans or shred it and use it in tacos or soup!  So many options with this recipe, you simply can’t go wrong with Mexican!

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Ingredients:
– 2 lbs. Bottom Round Roast (a lean cut!)
– 1 Tbsp olive oil
– 1 cup low sodium beef broth
– Juice of 1 lime
– 1 Tbsp chili powder
– 1/2 Tbsp cumin
– 1/2 Tbsp onion powder
– 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
– 1 tsp garlic powder
– dash of salt and pepper

Instructions:
1. Heat olive oil in the bottom of a skillet or pot.  Add roast and brown each side for approximately 4 minutes before rotating.
2. Add roast and broth to the slow cooker.
3. Squeeze half of the lime over the roast, reserving the remaining half.
4. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and sprinkle over roast.
5. Cover and let cook on low for 8-10 hours.
6. Remove roast and shred, if desired.  Return to the crockpot and let cook for an additional 15 minutes.
7. Squeeze remaining lime juice over roast prior to serving.
8. Enjoy!
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