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.

 

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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.

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!