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.

Fire Up the Grill

By Elesha Ergle, RDN

 

It’s May, and summer is on its way!  What better way to get your summer going than with some beef on the grill? While some take on grilling as an art form, others feel less comfortable with firing up the coals or lighting the grill.  If you’re a novice on the grill, not to worry…start simple, find some recipes and read up on your grill’s instructions.  If you’re looking for some great grilling tips, here are some from the pros at Weber.com to get you started. 

 

 

Best of Both Worlds

Love Pizza AND grilling? You can have the best of both worlds with these recipes for grilled pizzas that don’t leave your kitchen overheated. Say hello to this recipe for Grilled Cheeseburger Pizza that will be a hit with all the kids.  If you’re looking for a pizza with more of a BBQ flare, try this BBQ Beef Pizza on the grill. If your diet restrictions require gluten-free pizza crusts for your beefy creations, try this recipe for Gluten Free Pizza Dough for Grilling.

 

 

For the Love…of Burgers!

Most burger lovers have their requirements for the best cheeseburger to meet their tastes.  Many grillmasters have their own methods, and you may be hesitant to try cooking them on your own.  To make you feel more comfortable, here are some great grilling tips just for burgers. If you want some delicious recipe options for all kinds of burgers, go to Beef It’s What’s For Dinner to find the perfect match for your tastes.

 

 

Everybody’s Fave

Steak…the one word that gets everyone dreaming of those grates of greatness.  From ribeyes to sirloins and Delmonico’s to filet mignon, steak is the love language for all beef lovers. If you’re confused about the nutrition of steak, or think that because you have high cholesterol you shouldn’t eat steak, think again!  Did you know that most of the intramuscular fat (marbling) in beef is actually monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats—the same “good” fats that are found in olive oil, nuts and avocados. These fats melt into the steak giving it more flavor and juiciness. Ribeyes contain the highest saturated fat content of the steak family, but still only having 4 grams per serving. If your taste buds do prefer a leaner steak, go for a filet or a sirloin. Keep this grilling chart handy for times and temperatures that meet all your beef grilling preferences.

 

 

Be sure to visit Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner for more information on grilling, beef safety, recipes and beef from pasture to plate; or from your Alexa or Google Home devices, ask Chuck any of your beefy questions.

 

Happy summertime and happy grilling!

Savory Springtime Salads

By Elesha Ergle, RDN
Photo: BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com

 

Baseball, softball, proms, and graduation invitations…all things that tell us that summer is about to be upon us.  Will your summer plans include a beach, cruise, mountains or hiking? Or will it be like a lot of us cattle farmers, life as usual…just a lot hotter? No matter what your summer plans are, you can include beef as a part of your healthy diet whether you are looking forward to swim suit season or just keeping it real around the farm.

 

Most people immediately think of salads when they think of healthy eating.  Salads can bring a variety of fruits and vegetables to our diets, but can also be deceiving by the amount of calories they pack in due to the addition of high-calorie items such as dressings, cheeses and high-fat meats. Pack your salads with lean beef to cut down on calories and ramp up the protein!

 

Sprout up your Salad
Check out this Four Seasons Beef and Brussel Sprouts Chopped Salad from Beef It’s What’s For Dinner.  There are several variations listed in the recipe, one that is sure to fit all your preferences, and at only 360 calories and 32 grams of protein per serving, you couldn’t ask for a better meal. The addition of nutrient-dense brussel sprouts is a great way to pack in extra vitamins and minerals!

 

Meat and Potatoes
Are you a self-proclaimed “meat and potatoes” person? How about turning that passion in to a salad?  Food Network’s Steak-and-Potato Salad is one to give a try.  Full of a variety of ingredients, but simple and easy.  Here’s a Warm Steak and Potato Salad  that might be the keeper for your family. Try something different with it and substitute your favorite salad greens instead of the mixed baby salad greens.

 

Taco Tuesday
On Taco Tuesday, you don’t always want a salad…try this Beef Confetti Taco Salad that has only 220 calories, 31 grams of protein and is certified by the American Heart Association as a Heart-Healthy Meal.  Delicious and easy to prepare, it is sure to be your new Taco Tuesday ritual!

 

Salad Tips
Remember to keep the variety going no matter what kinds of salads you enjoy.  Try different recipes and salad dressings to keep from getting “burned out” on the same things. Try dressing the entire salad and tossing it rather than taking a portion out on a plate and then adding the dressing.  You will find that you will use less dressing (thereby cutting down on calories) because the ingredients are more fully coated when tossed.

 

Not Sold on Salad
If you are just not sold on salads, or your body just cannot tolerate the roughage, no worries…it doesn’t mean you’re not healthy!  All food is fit, and you can get in your lean beef and vegetables in many other ways. Cook up your favorite lean beef recipe and add your favorite cooked vegetables as your sides.

 

For more information on beef nutrition, recipes and to learn more about beef from pasture to plate, visit www.BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.  On your Amazon or Google Home devices be sure to check out the new “Chuck Knows Beef” platform that can answer all your beef questions and look up quick recipes for you.

 

Happy Spring!!


 

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

Celebrating Nutrition with Trendy Beef Cuts

BY Elesha Eagle, RDN

 

Welcome, sweet springtime! 🌿🌼 We are seeing new calves, green grass popping up, and flowers starting to emerge.  March is National Nutrition Month, so let’s spring in to March by focusing on the awesome nutrition found in some of our favorite beef cuts.

 

 

Stewing Up Nutrition

Even though the cold weather is (hopefully) starting to leave us, you can utilize stew meat to keep making stews even through the spring.  Stew meat packs the beefy protein punch of 25 grams per serving and will beef up any of your favorite stew recipes.  I found this recipe for Instant Pot Tex-Mex Beef Stew that is full of flavor and great for those cool spring evenings.

 

 

Flanks for the Memories

Flank steaks are often over looked at the meat case, but this lean steak can be the centerpiece of your family dinner.  Packing 23 grams of protein with only 160 calories, use flanks steaks for fajitas and fill up your table with toppings and condiments.  Make memories around your dinner table by letting the kids prepare their own fajitas and having a happy, peaceful mealtime sponsored by lean beef.

 

 

Get Shorty

Short ribs are full of flavor and fall-off-the-bone tender when slow cooked or braised.  With flu season continuing to linger here in the south, keep your immune system going with this delicious cut of beef.  Short ribs contain 70% of your DV for immune-boosting zinc and are packed with beef’s awesome protein of 24 grams per serving…you are going to want to serve these all year long.  Never tried short ribs? Try this recipe for Braised Short Ribs from Taste of Home.

 

 

A Brisket-a-Tasket…

A Brisket is fantastic. Brisket Half Flat is a lean cut of beef from the animal’s breast and is loaded with beef’s awesome protein of 28 grams per serving with only 170 calories.  This super lean cut is great for braising, roasting, slow-cooking or pressure cooking. I don’t know about you, but I’m celebrating St. Patrick’s Day all month long using brisket for this recipe for Homestyle Corned Beef with Dilled Cabbage.

 

Be sure to check out Beef It’s What’s For Dinner for more recipes, tips, nutrition information, and to learn more about beef from pasture to plate. For more information on National Nutrition Month, visit the website for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  Happy National Nutrition Month and celebrate good health with beef!

 

 

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 Month

By Elesha Eagle, RDN

 

Beef, beef, good for your heart…the more you eat it, the more you…ok, that’s not how that goes, but the fact is, beef really IS good for your heart!  In 2012, the checkoff-funded Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet Study (BOLD) was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  The study found that participants consuming lean beef daily as a part of their heart-healthy diet experienced a 10% decline in LDL (bad) cholesterol.  So let’s get going with some heart healthy recipes that are great all year long, not just during American Heart Month!

 

The term “lean beef” means that a 3-ounce cooked portion provides less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat and less than 95 mg of cholesterol.  Look for cuts of beef with the term “round” or “loin” as an indication that the cut of beef is considered lean.  Lean ground beef can be purchased that is 95% lean and 5% fat, and is a tasty and healthy option for all your favorite recipes that call for ground beef.

 

I Heart You

Show your Valentine how much you care by preparing them a tasty, beefy, heart-healthy meal.  Grill up some delicious sirloins such as these Balsamic Marinated Beef Top Sirloin Steaks with Asparagus. If you already have your main dish in mind, spice it up with some Spicy Korean Beef and Cucumber Appetizers.  This recipe is certified by the American Heart Association as a heart healthy recipe.

 

Every Day Lean

Most days are busy and we all need some healthy go-to recipes that will satisfy everyone in the household. Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner has an entire page of American Heart Association-approved recipes that are sure to please any tastes.  These Beefy Sweet and Sloppy Joes are sure to be a new favorite to add to your list, and you will feel good about giving it to your whole family.  Chili is another good option to satisfy everyone in the family and this Beef Chili Recipe will make your evenings healthy and easy.

 

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!

Power Through Your New Year Resolutions With Protein-Packed Beef

By Elesha Ergle, RDN

 

Well, it’s that time of year again.

 

All of us searching frantically for the magic potion to make us exercise and eat healthier.  I will admit…I did spend January 1 trying to figure out how to get more protein in my kids’ diets and trying to explain to my 10-year-old boy how peanut butter is not the best sole source of protein.  Protein is an essential nutrient that our bodies need retain and build lean body mass (muscle). At only 173 calories per 3 ounce serving, beef has a whopping 25 grams of protein, which is almost half of our daily value in one serving!  To get 25 grams of protein from peanut butter, you would have to eat 6.5 tablespoons that would equal 613 calories. Curious about what 25 grams of protein looks like? Check out this page from Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner.

 

Beef Up Your Breakfast

Our grandparents would say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and I would agree. Not eating breakfast can cause you to over eat at other meals throughout the day.  Start your day with these Beef and Egg Breakfast Mugs. Quick, easy, and so versatile!  Let the kids decide what they want to add to their creation, and feel confident you’ve started the day with 21 grams of protein and only 181 calories.

 

Snack Attack

It’s 10 a.m. and your lunch break is still a couple of hours away. How can you incorporate beef at snack times?  Try keeping a bag of your favorite flavor beef jerky nearby, or go for these tasty Beef Jerky Granola Bars.

 

Lift Those Leftovers for Lunch

Lunch time can be especially difficult during the work day.  Fast food isn’t always a good option, and often we don’t have time to search out a healthy place to dine.  Make a resolution to pack your lunch with healthy, protein-filled beef options.  Revive your leftovers!  Use steak in Steak and Bleu Cheese Wraps that are tasty and portable or hamburgers in Burger on a Salad. Your coworkers will be jealous of your tasty lunch creations!

 

Dinner…and Dessert! 

Like they say, Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner! Keep your dinnertime routine going with this simple recipe for Tender Juicy Skirt Steak, or try this Low Calorie Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry.  Keep your grill going during the colder months and grill sirloins, filets or lean beef burgers.  Don’t deny yourself a small sweet treat occasionally.  Try these Peanut Butter, Hazelnut Spread and Beef Jerky Cookies for an after-dinner treat that has 5 grams of protein per serving.

 

The key to maintaining your New Year resolutions is planning. Plan and pre-prep meals on the days when you aren’t as busy. Don’t set yourself up for failure by making resolutions that are too difficult to maintain; start slow, and know your schedule and limits. For more lean beef recipes, and more information on beef from pasture to plate, visit Beef It’s What’s For Dinner.  Happy New Year!

 

 

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