Handheld Meals for Families On the Go

By Elesha Ergle, RDN

 

It is that time of the year when we aren’t quite ready for summer, although in Alabama it could go either way, and we are tired of the cold. Spring forward into March with some new and exciting beef recipes. Beef is an excellent source of protein and iron and is a versatile staple that can create a wide variety of recipes to satisfy any time of the year. With spring activities beginning, quick and easy recipes are the go-to for a lot of families. If you’re burned out on the same old things, give these tasty ideas a try!

 

Will Travel for Beef

Travel sports parents everywhere know that one of the keys to not losing your mind (or spending all your money) is to be prepared for the weekend’s upcoming events. A tried-and-true staple for our family is all beef hotdogs that we cook ahead and put in a thermos to keep warm. Add buns and condiments and the whole family can eat without breaking the bank. Make up a container of  Roast Beef and Veggie Wraps to add to your cooler and you will have a super satisfying  on-the-go meal. For those cooler times, make some meatballs with sauce such as these Four Way Mini-Meatballs and keep warm in an insulated container, grab some sweet rolls and have mini-meatball sliders to fill you up. Don’t forget about all the delicious flavors of beef jerky and beef sticks that you can always keep handy to grab at any time.

 

Late Night Dinners

Homework, sports, jobs…how do you keep your family fed without running through the drive-thru every night?  Plan ahead for the week by cooking up large batches of easy, reheatable foods such as a roast to make roast beef sliders, tacos, or quesadillas. Cook a large batch of ground beef that can be quickly seasoned for spaghetti or sloppy joes. Take advantage of your slow cooker and have these Tangy BBQ Sandwiches ready when you get home.

 

It is a busy time of the year! Take advantage of beef’s versatility, portability, and great protein to keep your family going. For more great recipes and information on beef from pasture to plate, visit Beef It’s What For Dinner.

 

Happy Spring from all of us at Alabama Cattlemen’s Association!

 

State Checkoff color_nobackgroundThis article was funded by the Alabama Beef Checkoff Progam. Paid for by Alabama beef farmers and ranchers.

Beef for Heart Health

By Elesha Ergle, RDN

 

It is hard to believe that we are already on the second month of another new year, and February is American Heart Month. Beef is not only a great source of protein, but lean beef can be a part of your heart healthy diet. Beef It’s What’s For Dinner has a library of recipes certified by the American Heart Association, and you can find a recipe to satisfy any taste. If you are searching for the leanest cuts of beef, look for cuts with the term “round” or “loin”, or keep this link handy while you are grocery shopping or surfing the internet for recipes.

 

Steak In
Nothing says “Valentine’s Day” quite like a steak for your sweetheart. If you are looking to stay in and cook up your Valentine’s dinner this year, top sirloin is a great choice for a lean and delicious meal. If you are not sure how to cook the perfect sirloin, here is a great reference guide, complete with YouTube links for further instructions. If you are still looking for more steak cooking tips, or you prefer a different cut of steak, Cowboy Kent Rollins has you covered in this step-by-step video.

 

Beef Snacking
If you are looking for a great way to keep healthy, protein-filled snacks on-hand, look no further than beef. Beef jerky is available in all kinds of flavors and package options, many of which are available at grocery stores and online. If you are a kitchen gadget junkie like myself, knock the dust off your food dehydrator and make a batch of your own beef jerky! This beef jerky recipe is a great option, and suggests using flank steak or eye of round. Most cuts of lean beef will work well for jerky, so buy what is in your budget or on sale. If you find yourself with a thicker cut of meat, try partially freezing to make thin slicing much easier.

 

Make lean beef a part of your heart healthy diet this month, and every month! Try some new recipes, new kitchen techniques and gadgets, and eat more beef. Be sure to check out Beef It’s What’s for Dinner for more recipes, tips, and to learn more about beef from pasture to plate.

 

For more information on heart health and American Heart Month, visit the American Heart Association’s website at www.heart.org.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month from all of us at Alabama Cattlemen’s Association!

 

State Checkoff color_nobackgroundThis article was funded by the Alabama Beef Checkoff Progam. Paid for by Alabama beef farmers and ranchers.

A Lean New Year

By Elesha Ergle, RDN
Welcome to 2020, the year of hindsight! As we start this fabulous new year, set your sights on some new and creative ideas to add to your lunch boxes and dinner plans. If your previous years’ recipes are starting to lose their luster, let beef help you come up with some exciting and healthy ideas that will keep you going all year long.

 

Beef’s Nutrition
Beef is a healthy option! Here are the fast facts: a 3-ounce portion of lean beef (about the size of a deck of cards) contains less than 10 grams of fat and about 170 calories with about 25 grams of protein! If you are curious about all the lean cuts that beef has to offer, Beef It’s What’s for Dinner has you covered.<

 

BOLD Beef
In 2012, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the study Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD), which promoted four different diets, each integrating beef in varying amounts. At the end of the study, the participants that received larger amounts of lean beef were found to have lower cholesterol levels than those of diets with lower amounts of lean beef. The study provides “support for including lean beef in a heart-healthy dietary pattern.”

 

Fast Foods
While there are many beef recipes that require a lot of your time to prepare, Electric Pressure Cookers (EPC)— such as an Instant Pot— can cut your cooking times more than half. If you love a good roast with potatoes and carrots, try using a lean rump roast in your EPC for your next meal. This recipe uses only 3-4 ingredients and is ready in under 2 hours! (Tip: add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar OR substitute 1-cup water with 1-cup cola to the recipe to further increase tenderness.)

 

Snacking with Beef
If you have resolved to add more exercise in to your new year, try some beef snacks for the trip to the gym or post-workout routine. Beef It’s What’s for Dinner has a great Beef Trail Mix, and this recipe for beefy sweet and savory trail mix can be the answer to your afternoon snacking routine. If you are looking for a great home workout, try the Farm To Gym workout at the link below.

 

No matter what your resolutions, resolve to eat more healthy, lean beef! Set your sights on some of these new ideas or visit Beef It’s What’s for Dinner for more information and recipes. Let your hindsight be 2020 as the best year ever!

 

Happy New Year from all of us at the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association.

 

 

State Checkoff color_nobackgroundThis article was funded by the Alabama Beef Checkoff Progam. Paid for by Alabama beef farmers and ranchers.

 

Screenshot 2020-01-07 15.01.55

All About Holiday Roasting

By Elesha Ergle, RDN

 

 

It is hard to believe that Christmas is upon us! Whether you’re busy trying to finish up those last-minute gifts or scrambling to get paperwork done before the end of the year, count on beef to help make your holidays go smoothly. The holidays are the perfect time to try out some new techniques and recipes for the perfect Christmas Roast.

 

 

Oven Roasting

Many will shy away at the very thought of an large and pricy cut of meat that you have to cook in the oven. Fear no more! Beef It’s What’s for Dinner is here to the rescue with all the information you could need bring the perfect Christmas roast to the table. If you are looking for a step-by-step tutorial, here is a great video from Fine Cooking on how to reverse sear the perfect prime rib roast.

 

 

Slow Cooking

Slow cookers are among the favorite ways to cook a delicious, tender roast. If you enjoy a roast with gravy and vegetables this Ultimate Slow Cooker Pot Roast is a must for your recipe collection. Wow your guests with a Mississippi Roast from your slow cooker and the only worry you will have is washing the dishes.

 

 

Electric Pressure Cooking (EPC)

Did you get an EPC for Christmas last year and still haven’t used it? Now is a good time to start! You can produce an easy, delicious holiday roast in less than half the time of oven roasting or slow cooking. If you are worried about where to start, Conquer Your Instant Pot with Chef Alli. When you’ve mastered the basics, give this Pot Roast with Potatoes and Carrots recipe a try.

 

 

The Perfect Cut

When you are shopping for the perfect cut of meat for your roast, be sure to choose a size that will work well for the equipment that you are going to use. Most slow cookers or electric pressure cookers can comfortably hold a 4-5 pound roast. While prime rib or chuck roasts are among the most popular for holiday roasting, there are many other choices as well. Beef It’s What’s For Dinner can help with a listing of different cooking methods, the best choice of cuts, and recipes for all your roasting needs

 

 

Be Merry and get roasting this holiday season. Merry Christmas from all of us at Alabama Cattlemen’s Association!

 

 

State Checkoff color_nobackgroundThis article was funded by the Alabama Beef Checkoff Progam. Paid for by Alabama beef farmers and ranchers.

Beef Up the Holiday Season

By Elesha Ergle, RDN

 

The holidays are here! It is hard to believe that we are already in preparation for our Thanksgiving feasts. Thanksgiving may lovingly be known as “Turkey Day,” but every holiday spread deserves some beef! Beef is a versatile choice for the holidays providing high quality protein in a low-calorie package. Reach for some of these awesome ideas over the coming days and weeks.

 

 

Beefing Up Breakfasts

Many of us have overnight guests during the holidays, and we want to feed them more than a toaster pastry or bowl of cereal for breakfast. This easy Breakfast Scramble can be made ahead of time and cooked when your guests are ready to eat. If you have a house full of people with a variety of tastes, grab some mugs and a variety of ingredients for Beef and Egg Breakfast Mugs. Your guests can make their own creation to their liking and cook individually in the microwave.

 

 

Hors d’oeuvres

In many families the holiday meal isn’t at a regular “meal time,” and appetizers might be the key to keeping everyone from becoming hangry until the main course is served. Try some Corned Beef and Pickle Dip that’s a cinch to make and serve. Simple, easy, and loaded with flavor, these Flaky Beef Stuffed Pinwheels are a wonderful addition to your holiday appetizer tray. If you’re looking for something tasty and different for a football gathering or a “Friendsgiving” party, try these Cheeseburger Egg Rolls.

 

 

Beef Up Turkey Day

Yes, maybe it’s turkey day…but you can have your turkey and beef too! Bring some beef to the table with some amazing side dishes. Change up your stuffing with Beef Stuffing with Apples and Cranberries. Add new tradition to your table with this Beefed Up Mac and Cheese that will have the kids asking for more. If you really want to change it up this year, make beef the star of your Thanksgiving with this Classic Beef Tenderloin Roast with Cranberry Drizzle. This healthy recipe is certified by the American Heart Association and will bring flavor and nutrition to your table any time of the year.

 

 

The holidays are a great time to try  new recipes and eat more beef with the company of friends and family! While it can be a time of over indulging and putting on added weight, lean beef can play a part in keeping your holidays fit. A 3-ounce serving of lean beef provides 25 grams of protein and only 173 calories! For more information on beef’s nutrition and health benefits, and to find out more about beef from pasture to plate, visit Beef It’s What’s For Dinner.

 

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Alabama Cattlemen’s Association!

 

 

State Checkoff color_nobackgroundThis article was funded by the Alabama Beef Checkoff Progam. Paid for by Alabama beef farmers and ranchers.

Savor the Flavors of Fall

By Elesha Ergle, RDN

Follow Elesha on Twitter & Instagram: @EleshaErgleRDN

 

 

October is Beef Month in Alabama, and it’s time to get some fall recipes together for cooler weather! Whether it’s your first pot of chili or a new recipe for meatloaf, you can make beef the star of your comfort foods for the season. A three-ounce portion of lean beef provides 25 grams of protein for only 173 calories, so you can have your protein without all the additional calories!

 

 

Quick Comforts

Meatloaf is one of the favorites at our house, and nothing says comfort food quite like a hearty meatloaf and mashed potatoes. With our busy schedules, who has time to make a homemade meatloaf? Insert the Instant Pot here! This recipe for One-Pot Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes Supreme. You can have this home-cooked meal in minutes, not hours. Beef up your macaroni and cheese with this Cheeseburger Macaroni recipe that will keep the kids asking for more! Quick, easy, and just a few ingredients to get it together.

 

 

Chili Day

Kick off the cooler weather with your first pot of chili! So many options, which one to choose…with beans or without, with tomatoes, hot or mild. Whatever your taste buds prefer, get warmed up with these favorites. This Three Bean and Beef Chili is packed with protein and deliciousness or this Stovetop Chili Mac that is a combination of flavors that is sure to be a hit with your family.

 

 

Pot Roastin’

The ultimate comfort food…pot roast. So many variations of this wonderful dish, many have their own favorites. For a delicious, tender roast, start with a chuck or shoulder roast. For optimal tenderness and flavor, cook low and slow in slow cooker, oven, or in an electric pressure cooker. This Instant Pot Mississippi Pot Roast is a favorite around our house. If you like a more traditional roast, try this Classic Sunday Pot Roast.

 

Get your fall recipes going with beef! For more recipes, nutrition and food safety information, and to learn more about beef from pasture to plate, visit Beef It’s What’s For Dinner. Happy Beef Month and Happy Fall, Ya’ll!

 

 

State Checkoff color_nobackgroundThis article was funded by the Alabama Beef Checkoff Progam. Paid for by Alabama beef farmers and ranchers.

Food Safety For the Win!

Be the MVP of Your Tailgate with Unbeatable Food Safety Skills

By Elesha Ergle, RDN

 

 

College football season is here, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Whether your favorite tailgating memories are from childhood, college, or just last weekend, a few of your memories are sure to include some of your favorite foods. Beef is always a staple in our family football gatherings or for tailgating near campus, and food safety is always a top priority for my team. Safe food handling before, during and after cooking can be the difference between a win or loss at your next gathering. Be the MVP of your party and know proper preparation, cooking and holding techniques for beef to prevent food-borne illnesses.

 

Pre-game Instructions

When purchasing beef, pay attention to the ‘use-by’ or ‘best before’ dates stamped on the packages, and keep beef refrigerated at 40 degrees (or below) until ready to use. Store raw beef on the bottom shelf of refrigerator or place in a shallow pan to prevent package from leaking on to other items.  If purchasing frozen beef, avoid packages with ice crystals, which is an indication of thawing and re-freezing. Always wash your hands before and after handling raw beef, and keep raw foods separate from cooked foods. For more information, Beef It’s What’s For Dinner has an entire page to assist you in safely handling beef from start to finish.

 

Kick-Off

You have safely handled your pre-game warm up, now it’s time to cook some delicious beef recipes for your football party! No tailgate is complete without some sort of nachos or cheese dip. Beef up your regular old queso with this Crock Pot Queso Dip, using the slow cooker to safely hold your dip for up to four hours, so you can graze over it the whole game. Call an audible on your nacho game with some Cowboy Nachos by Ree Drummond, which uses brisket instead of ground beef; or give your fans something to cheer about when they make their own nacho creations with these easy Big Game Fritos Pies.

 

The After Party

Using proper heat sources such as chaffing dishes or slow cookers, beef can be safely held at 135 degrees or higher for up to four hours; foods should then be discarded and not kept for reuse, even if they are to be reheated. Use this USDA guide for safe food handling to help you keep all your foods safe at home and away games.

 

No matter what team you are cheering for, football season is a great time to grab some beef and get your party going! For more recipes, food safety information, and to learn more about beef from pasture to plate, visit Beef It’s What’s For Dinner.

 

State Checkoff color_nobackgroundThis article was funded by the Alabama Beef Checkoff Progam. Paid for by Alabama beef farmers and ranchers.

Back to School with Beef Jerky

By Elesha Ergle, RDN

 

 

The summer heat continues to bear down, and it seems impossible that it is time for the kids to go back to school already.  Whether your baby is just starting kindergarten this year, or your “baby” is starting high school, there is no doubt you have given some thought about how to help your kids power through the day.

 

Children need proper nutrition to keep their growing bodies fueled for learning throughout the school day. Studies have shown that children who eat breakfast are able to pay attention better in classes, perform better on tests and have less behavior issues.  If you are confused about how to get your family going this school year, beef is here to help.

 

Beef Jerky at Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! If your kiddos are scrambling to get out the door in the mornings, whip up some Beef Jerky Trail Mix for a healthy meal on the go. Mix it with different dried fruits (no added sugars are best) and nuts, or let the kids make their own mixture to inspire their imagination and get them involved in the kitchen. Loaded with 25 grams of protein per serving, trail mix a great way to get your kids’ school day started off right. It even packs easy into a lunch box for snack time.

 

After School Treats
Beef Jerky Granola Bars are another great option for on-the-go breakfasts or snacking. Kids who are active in sports and other after-school activities will also love to keep these treats in their packs for busy afternoons. For a delicious snack after they hop off the bus, have some Peanut Butter Chocolate-Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Beef Jerky Cookies to keep the kids powered through homework until suppertime. These beef’d up cookies are sure to be a hit, and you can feel good knowing they have had a nutritious snack packed with protein.

 

Individually-wrapped beef jerky sticks come in all sizes and flavors and are delicious and handy for those days when you just thought the calendar looked light. You can find these in large quantities online for reasonable prices and have them delivered to your door, saving you time and money. Keep them packed away in the car, backpacks, and athletic bags for a quick and nutritious snack that will keep your scholars and athletes full and focused.

 

Everyone’s lives are busy, but we can still pack in healthy foods to fuel our active agendas. One serving of lean beef provides 50 percent of our daily protein needs, so while you are busy chasing kids, you can put your mind at ease knowing that their snacks are one less thing to worry about. Visit BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com to explore all kinds of unique beef jerky and back to school recipe ideas for this busy time of year!

 

 

State Checkoff color_nobackgroundThis article was funded by the Alabama Beef Checkoff Progam. Paid for by Alabama beef farmers and ranchers.

Burger Mania for the End of Summer!

By Elesha Ergle, RDN

 

Hamburgers. 

That one word can get your mouth drooling! From diner smash burgers to gourmet cheeseburgers, burger lovers desire the best of the best.  Cooking the perfect burger at home can be intimidating with so many different methods, but you can find one that suits your taste. Check out this great video from Epicurious that gives different cooking methods and the science behind cooking a great burger. Start perfecting your own recipes or try out some of these great ideas!

 

 

Burgers for Breakfast   

Burger lovers will flock to the idea of having a tasty burger at breakfast.  If you cook hamburgers and have leftovers, try making yourself a burger for breakfast!  Reheat a burger (165 degrees), top with some bacon, fried egg, or cheese on a bun or roll, and you’ve got yourself a high protein breakfast that is quick, delicious and packed with protein!  If you would rather have a recipe, try this Bistro Breakfast Burger.

 

 

Smash burgers

The delicious diner favorite. Ground beef is rolled into a ball, placed on a hot griddle or skillet, smashed thin, and served 1-3 patties thick, usually slathered with cheese and all kinds of delicious toppings. Use a cast iron skillet and make some of these delicious burgers at home. This recipe for smash burgers gives step-by-step instructions if you are a first timer.  Warning: after having these you may never want to cook a burger any other way!

 

 

Grill Masters Unite

If the thoughts of frying a burger in a skillet annoys you, don’t hesitate to craft a delicious, juicy burger on your grill. Whether you’re using charcoal or gas, be sure that you know the safety instructions for both methods, or refer to this video for some great tips. When you are ready to grill, try out this recipe for Classic Beef Cheeseburgers. For those of you who have mastered the art of grilling and are looking for a great new burger recipe, try these Gourmet Grilling Burgers.

 

 

Low-Carb and Gluten-Free

With many people focusing on low carb or gluten free diets, there are ways to enjoy a good burger while sticking to diet restrictions. Try having your favorite burger wrapped with all your favorite toppings inside whole leaf lettuce. You can have all the deliciousness of the burger sans the bun.  This spicy Western Burger is cool with avocado and wrapped in crispy leaf lettuce for a fresh, delicious, summer-worthy burger.

 

Whether you love them grilled, fried, leftover for breakfast…or any way that you can get them…burgers are a great way to pack in beef’s excellent protein in a delicious, affordable way. While burgers may seem like they aren’t the healthiest choice for your dinner plate, there are many methods of cooking and leaner choices available in ground meat to provide numerous options, and don’t forget to top it with fresh veggies such as lettuce, tomato and even avocado for an added boost of nutrition to complement all that delicious protein. For more recipes, cooking methods and to learn more about beef from pasture to plate, visit Beef It’s What’s For Dinner.

 

Stay cool, and go eat some burgers, ya’ll!

Grab the Garden-Fresh Tastes of Summer

By Elesha Ergle, RDN

 

 

Rocking chairs, shucking corn, the sound of snapping beans and purple-dyed thumbs…anyone else starting to feel like you’re on your grandma’s porch?

 

 

We spent a lot of time during the summers growing and storing our own fresh vegetables straight out of the garden. I do miss those days, and look forward to summer when fresh vegetables are more readily available. While canned and frozen vegetables are fine choices, summer is a perfect time to grab some fresh vegetables and pair them with lean beef for a nutritious meal. Lean beef is a protein power-house that provides 25 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving with only 173 calories!

 

 

Egging You On

Fresh eggplant…I remember getting some from neighbors and trying countless recipes with my mom to decide if we really liked it or not. If only we had internet then…now we can find countless recipes to fit any taste!  This recipe for Ground Beef Eggplant Parmesan will be one that you will want to make all year long.  Simple, delicious and even the kids will love it!

 

 

Burgers+ Fruits & Veggies

Yes, we can have vegetables with a real beef burger!  Grab your veggies and try this Grilled Burger with Fresh Garden Vegetables. If you want to stick to your own favorite burger recipe, add garden-fresh tomato, lettuce and onion slices for a hit of freshness with each savory bite.  If you have fresh peaches and are looking for something new and different, give this Old South Burger with Peach Compote a try!

 

 

Beef on a Stick…With Fruits and Veggies, Of Course

Kabobs are a delicious and exciting way to pair lean beef and fresh garden goodies. Dice up your favorite lean cut of beef and pair it with whatever veggies you have on hand…onions, sweet peppers, squashes, mushrooms, tomatoes…even fruits like pineapple, mango, oranges or peaches are delicious when grilled! Don’t believe me? Try this recipe for Citrus-Marinated Beef Top Sirloin & Fruit Kabobs.

 

 

Summertime Pizza

Any time is pizza time at our house, and I love this recipe for Beef and Garden Vegetable Pizza.  Mix it up different veggies, and let the kids chose their own toppings for a pizza any parent can be proud of.  This is a great recipe to use those leftover vegetables in the fridge and try something new to keep things interesting this summer!

 

 

Try your local farmer’s markets for fresh veggies and local beef, or grocery store shelves will be filling up with in-season produce at lower prices. If you aren’t used to buying fresh vegetables, use this guide to help you make the best choices and know what’s in season. Let’s get started with some of these great beef recipes, or you can check out Beef It’s What’s For Dinner for even more recipes and learn all about beef from pasture to plate. If you have an Amazon or Google Home device, Ask Chuck to help you with all your beef preparation needs.

 

Stay cool and have fun this summer, and EAT MORE BEEF!


 

 

State Checkoff color_nobackgroundThis article was funded by the Alabama Beef Checkoff Progam. Paid for by Alabama beef farmers and ranchers.