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. 

Give the Gift of Delicious Family Meals

By Elesha Ergle, RDN

 

 

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The movies, magic, gifts and the biggest part of it all…the stress.  I love Christmas, but the stress it can bring with cooking, traveling, gift-buying, elf moving and decorating doesn’t seem worth it. We all spend plenty of time in the kitchen during the holidays, so here are some beefy, time-saving and stress-relieving ideas to help you manage your holidays.

 

 

Crowd Pleasers and Stress Relievers

We spend a lot of time in crowds during the holidays. Whether it’s church socials, school parties, work parties or family traditions, there is always some kind of gathering that requires our attendance. I love to take finger foods to parties or have plenty on-hand when hosting a gathering, and beef is the perfect, versatile ingredient that can make it all possible. Make several batches of these Cranberry Meatballs and then you will only need to reheat when you need them.  And who doesn’t love a good dip?  This Slow Cooked Reuben Dip is sure to be a crowd pleaser…and with a prep time of only 10 minutes, it will lighten your cooking load!

 

 

Christmas Morning

The kids are up at the crack of dawn and you’ve been up half the night assembling a trampoline that you wish you had paid the assembly fee. We’ve all  been there. The last thing you want is to spend the following morning cooking breakfast.  Prepare for Christmas morning by prepping ingredients for these Beef Sticky Buns a couple of days in advance. Then, on Christmas morning, all you have to do is assemble the sticky buns and bake. A much easier task than the trampoline, I assure you.

 

 

Traveling Home for the Holidays

So many of us travel to family during the holidays and don’t want to show up empty-handed. It seems like such a chore to get something prepared that we end up volunteering to bring rolls. Make your life easier by choosing dishes that can be prepped ahead of time and then cooked in a slow cooker or an electric pressure cooker (EPC).  If you plan to take something that requires an oven, it will likely be full of other dishes. Carry your EPC or slow cooker with you and impress your family by bringing beef this year!  Make your dish center stage with this amazing roast recipe using an EPC and all your family will want the recipe. No EPC? No problem! Use this recipe for the slow cooker version.

 

 

Visit Beef It’s What’s For Dinner for even more recipes, nutrition information and to learn all about beef from pasture to plate.  Here’s to hoping your holidays are filled with love, joy, peace and plenty of beef!

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

 

 

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

Low & Slow: It’s Beef for the Holidays

By Elesha Ergle, RDN

 

Changing colors. Changing seasons. Changing wardrobes. Hallmark Christmas movies. Pumpkin-spice everything.

 

 

It’s that time of year where we embrace the coming of fall and winter holidays and the going of yet another year.  Most of us cattle farmers in Alabama are done with calving season for the year and are busy preparing our herd to be bred back for fall calving next year while others prepare for spring calves soon to arrive.

 

 

While Thanksgiving may be dubbed “Turkey Day,” as a beef producer and dietitian, I wanted to change it up a bit and highlight some amazing, nutritious ways we can use beef during this holiday season.  Let’s try some new things, bring up some memories and maybe even start some new traditions!

 

 

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

In Alabama we may or may not experience a cold winter…but when it’s cold, it’s COLD (to us Southerners anyway). When the cold weather starts to come, there’s always the first pot of chili.  Whether it’s stove top, pressure cooker or in a slow cooker, a good, hearty chili is the love language that will warm you up from inside out. Most of us have a chili recipe we love that might spark a childhood memory or two…maybe it’s grandma’s recipe, or maybe you remember it from your first Iron Bowl tailgate.  I love to make chili in an electric pressure cooker (EPC) and keep it warm in a slow cooker as the flavors continue to marry.  If you’re like us and have plenty of frozen ground beef, use you’re EPC to thaw and cook.  Place the frozen meat (approximately one pound) in the EPC along with about one inch of water.  Close the lid and seal, pressure cook on high for 22 minutes.  Quick release the pressure and drain water.  Turn the EPC on sauté, chop the meat into crumbles and continue cooking to 160 degrees.  Now all you have to do is add the other ingredients and your chili will be ready to go!  Don’t have a good chili recipe?  Give this easy Chili Recipe from Beef It’s What’s For Dinner a try!

 

 

Cooking for a Crowd

Before sitting down to celebrate “Turkey Day,” as family starts to pile in, get a hearty pot of beef stew together. Whether you like the ease and quick cooking of the EPC or cooking it low and slow in the slow cooker, greet your family with the smell of a home-cooked beef stew. If you decide to go the EPC route, this recipe from Family Fresh Meals is a great one to try. Taste of Home has a great slow cooker Beef Stew recipe that you will want to use over and over again. I love to serve beef stew with a good crusty bread to top off a quick and easy meal.  Stock your pantry with ingredients for these recipes and maybe even some disposable bowls for easy clean up!  You can grab a quick bowl of stew while you’re still prepping items for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving Day meal.

 

 

Beefy Sides

It’s Thanksgiving Day. Your mom cooks the turkey, your grandma makes the dressing, Aunt Betty makes the pies. What are YOU bringing to the table?  These easy beef recipes will give you time to sit down and watch the Macy’s parade or check the Black Friday sale papers. Try this easy One-Pot Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes Supreme in your EPC. Put everything in your EPC and let it do all the work. One-pot means little to no mess, which is a win-win if you ask me!  Start a new Thanksgiving mac and cheese tradition with this Slow Cooker Beefy Mac and Cheese that you will want to add to your regular recipe collection or add a Shepherd’s Pie to the Thanksgiving spread that even the pickiest of kids will love!  Set it and forget it in the slow cooker to have an easy, beefy and delicious dish that is sure to please even the biggest turkey lover.

 

 

Lasso Those Leftovers

The day after Thanksgiving is a coveted day for many. I have been Black Friday shopping one time…but never again. I have tons of friends who will deny themselves sleep and maybe even throw a punch to get a hand mixer for $5. Not me. I opt to stay home, watch a Christmas movie, shop online or go hunting. Whether you’re planning your shopping strategy or getting your camouflage ready on Black Friday Eve, look ahead to the morning with this easy slow cooker Cheesy Potato Breakfast Casserole recipe from Pillsbury, substituting the bacon for a pound of cooked Basic Beef Country Breakfast Sausage.  Using lean beef instead of bacon will lower the fat and calorie content as well as giving it that beefy protein boost.  Loaded with flavor and protein, it will be the perfect fuel after a long morning of power shopping, decorating or hunting.

 

 

War Eagle, Roll Tide

The end of Black Friday marks a State of Alabama tradition in two words…Iron Bowl.  Those words inevitably stir up some sort of memory in all of us. It is said that we Alabamians declare at birth whether we will yell “War Eagle” or “Roll Tide.”  My brother and I grew up in a house divided. As much as my parents loved each other, the Iron Bowl was the time that my dad was on one side of the house and mom on the other. With Eli Gold on the radio and televisions muted, watching the Iron Bowl was always fun no matter what side of the house we were on.  My mom loved to cook, and beef was often a staple of our Iron Bowl gatherings. Beef is the perfect food for the Iron Bowl, providing 12 percent of our daily value of iron per 3-oz serving.

 

What beefy foods do you think about for the Iron Bowl?  How about some beefed up cheese dip?  Give this Slow Cooker Cheese Dip a try at your next tailgate- it is sure to be a keeper.  Beef up your Iron Bowl party with this amazing recipe for Brisket Cowboy Nachos. Cook the brisket in a slow cooker instead of the oven and hold on low.  Set up other toppings and ingredients for a delicious beefy nacho buffet that your friends will want a repeat for the playoffs. Finally, what could be better for the Iron Bowl than using some flat iron steaks!? Flat iron steaks are packed with flavor and plenty of protein to keep you going through the entire game. This recipe for Slow Cooker BBQ Flat Iron Steak Sandwiches will be your new Iron Bowl tradition.  Serve as suggested on a hoagie roll, or grab some Hawaiian sweet rolls to serve in smaller portions for your guests to graze during the big game.

 

 

While the holidays are usually a time of indulging and often associated with packing on the pounds, you can cut down on calories and increase your intake of protein, vitamins and minerals by using lean beef. Lean beef is a protein powerhouse that provides 25 grams of protein per 3-oz serving with only 173 calories.

 

 

So let’s get this season started by grabbing some of these great beef recipes or visit Beef It’s What’s For Dinner for even more recipes and learn all about beef from pasture to plate.  Happy Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Iron Bowl and Fall Y’all!

 

 

 

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

Fall in Love with Slow Cooker Beef Recipes

By Elesha Ergle, RDN

Flank steak, short ribs, oxtails, oh my!

If you’re like me, this time of year brings about a new schedule, time to start revamping my cooking style (or lack the thereof from the crazy summer months) and get full-swing into fall recipes.  The slow cooker is always at the top of the list to get some cozy meals going for those shorter days and cooler nights.

Here in Alabama, we consider a high of 70ºF as a cold front and start to break out the scarves and sweaters, and of course, make that first pot of chili.  While chili is a longtime fall favorite at my house, in celebration of October Beef Month in Alabama, I wanted to draw some attention to a few lesser-known and used cuts of beef to help diversify our recipe portfolios.

We are cattle farmers, so it goes without saying…we eat a lot of beef.  Steaks, roasts and ground beef make up the majority of our recipe box.  As much as we love beef, though, I rarely stray from my usual routine. We recently took three of our steers to a local processor and were given options of how to have the meat processed. Flank steaks and short ribs would most always make the cut when processing a steer, but we also chose to get the oxtails.  Given that I now have these cuts on hand, I Googled, scoured cookbooks, watched YouTube videos and asked friends how they like to cook different cuts of beef.  I hope my findings inspire you to try something new as well.

Flank steaks, often referred to as jiffy steaks or London Broil, are cut from the abdominal muscles under the loin.  Flank steaks pack a whopping 23g of protein per 3-oz serving with only 6g of total fat and 160 calories. These lean steaks are very flavorful and work well when marinated and grilled or whipped up in a slow cooker to increase tenderness. There is nothing like coming home to the wonderful smell of beef that has been slow cooking all day, and this Taste of Home Slow Cooker Flank Steak recipe works well for those busy days when you need to have your meal ready when you get home from work.

While I do love my slow cooker, I have absolutely fallen in love with the ease and quick use of an electric pressure cooker.  An electric pressure cooker will also increase tenderness while adding flavor and significantly reducing cooking time.  For those days that you didn’t have time to start the slow cooker before work (or didn’t have all your ingredients that morning) the electric pressure cooker can make you look like Betty Crocker in minutes!  If you have an electric pressure cooker and are looking for a great use of flank steak, give this recipe for Asian-inspired Mongolian Beef a try.

Short ribs are often overlooked and underutilized but are very versatile and delicious. They can be purchased boneless or bone-in, and a 3-oz serving of short ribs pack 24g of protein, 12g of fat and just 200 calories. Short ribs have a rich flavor that shines after slow cooking all day. When slow cooking bone-in short ribs, you will find that they have an even richer flavor.  This slow cooker short rib recipe is one you can set and forget until dinnertime.

I have a lot of friends that regularly cook oxtails, and they were excited when we came home with oxtails from the steers we had processed. Due to their cost and where the cut originates, a good friend of ours refers to oxtails as the “swinging sirloin.”  Unlike sirloin, oxtails have a high fat content with approximately 200 calories per 3-oz serving, depending on cooking method. Even with the high fat content, oxtails still pack that awesome beef punch with about 20 grams of protein per serving.  Oxtails are easily prepared and have many different variations on cooking methods.  From baking to boiling and braising to slow cooking, these cuts have so much versatility.  Nothing says “Southern Soul Food” quite like oxtails smothered in gravy. This recipe for Southern Smothered Oxtails is sure to be a keeper! While this is a rather high-fat meal, a splurge of this warming comfort food with some biscuits is just the ticket as the cooler weather starts to approach.

Another way to highlight the “swinging sirloin” is in beloved fall stews! Oxtail stew is in a slow cooker is delicious and filling, and ingredients can vary depending on what you have available at home or what is in season.  This Simply Recipes version of Oxtail Stew is simple and gives great step-by-step instructions.  While this recipe calls for parsnips, you could easily substitute potatoes for a more Southern flare.  I suggest serving oxtail stew by itself, over rice or serve with hot cornbread close by!

Check out BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com where you can find thousands of nutritious, delicious beef recipes and learn about beef from pasture to plate. Happy cooking and Happy October Beef Month!

 
This article is funded by Alabama Beef Checkoff Program. Paid for by Alabama beef farmers and ranchers. 

Tailgating with Beef

By Jessica Ivey, RDN

 

When I moved to Alabama in 2011, someone asked me on my first day of work, “Auburn or Alabama?” Not being an Alabama girl, I wasn’t really all that concerned about football, but I quickly learned that football is so much more than a sport in this state. During the fall, life revolves around the teams’ schedules, and people even told us we better not plan our wedding on a football Saturday. But as I was introduced to this whole new culture, I realized that football provides a great excuse to get together with people you love and enjoy good food… that’s something I can get behind!

 

 

Few things say football like a juicy burger. But there are so many additional crowd-pleasing, hunger-tackling ways to enjoy beef this fall.

 

 

Whenever you are taking food outside it’s important to remember food safety. Transport raw beef and other perishable foods, like potato salad and cheese, in an insulated cooler with plenty of ice. Store the raw meat in zip-top plastic bags to prevent leakage of juices onto other foods. Keep the meat in the cooler until you’re ready to cook, and be sure to take along a meat thermometer and cook your beef to the safe temperature. Also pack water and soap or sanitizing wipes to keep hands and surfaces clean, and eat cooked foods within 2 hours (or within 1 hour if the outside temperature is above 90°F).   

 

 

If you’re planning to set up a grill, burgers are a budget-friendly option to feed a crowd. I love these Lean Mean Cheeseburgers for a lighter spin on a classic. If you want to spice things up, try these Zesty Barbecue Cheeseburgers with pepper Jack cheese. Want to really step up your game for the big game? Make up these Classic Beef Kabobs with steak before leaving the house and grill on site for a festive option.  

 

 

If you’ll have access to power or a generator, a slow cooker can be the perfect tool for keeping food hot during the festivities. Plus, a slow cooker allows you to do all of the work at home ahead of time, leaving you free to enjoy the party. This Four-Way Slow Cooker Shredded Beef has four flavor variations to suit your tastes, and can be served up with sandwich rolls or tortillas, depending on the flavor. This Chilly Day Beef Chili is sure to warm you through before a cold evening game. For smaller bites, these Beef Pinwheels are will disappear quickly (who doesn’t like beef and puff pastry together?), or try these Easy Mexican Beef Sausage Cornbread Muffins.
For those mid-day games, tailgating starts early, so be ready with some protein-packed beefy breakfast dishes to keep you full and satisfying throughout the game. These Easy Beef Breakfast Rolls could be made in advanced and baked while you get ready and gather your supplies at home. Transport the rolls wrapped in foil in an insulated container to keep warm as you travel to your tailgating site. Or make up these Beef Sausage and Egg Muffin Cups up to three days in advance and reheat just before leaving home. Again, remember to ensure hot food stays hot and eat within 2 hours.

 

 

What are you planning for your first tailgate of the season? I’m excited to try these Mini Meatball Appetizers with Apricot Dipping Sauce! Join me as I take over the @alcattlemen Instagram Story tonight to show you, step-by-step, how to make this beefy game day appetizer.

 

 

State Checkoff color_nobackgroundThis article is funded by Alabama Beef Checkoff Program. Paid for by Alabama beef farmers and ranchers.