Competition Tips and Tricks

As my year on the 2015 National Beef Ambassador Team comes to an end, I would like to share my tips and tricks for the competition. Both Will and I competed at the 2011 National Beef Ambassador Competition as juniors, so this wasn’t our first rodeo. Whether you are a returning contestant or if this is your first time, it is important to remember to keep your nerves in check. This experience is supposed to be fun! With or without a title, you can still advocate for the beef community. Some of the best beef ambassadors I know are just ordinary people that spark up conversations with friends and family about beef. ResidueDon’t be overwhelmed by the competition! This is a time to meet other people with similar interests as you. Some of my closest friends are my teammates, and I never would have met them if I hadn’t become involved with this program.ResidueBe yourself! The best way to relate to people is to just be yourself. People will notice if you are trying to be someone that you aren’t. Everyone has a different personality and style of relating to people.
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Remember to smile and have fun! This is a learning experience. Whether you walk away with the title or not, you took the initiative to make it to the national competition. Enjoy every moment of it. Good luck to all of the National Beef Ambassador contestants! Go beef!

Stroganoff in a Flash!

 

Life always gets hectic after school begins. When I get home from class and meetings at night, the last thing I want to do is make dinner.

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I make some kind of casserole very frequently. They are easy and fast. Last week my mom gave me the recipe for Stroganoff casserole. It is very quick and tastes great.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tube of biscuits
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1-7 oz. Can of mushrooms
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • Optional Cheese to sprinkle over the top

Directions:

Cook the ground beef to 160° F add the onion and cook until soft. Mix in the mushrooms and  sour cream. Open the can of biscuits.

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Place the individual biscuits into a greased 9×9″ dish. Place the beef mixture over the biscuits in the dish. Sprinkle cheese over the top. Bake at 350° for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

I like to serve this with peas and a fresh garden salad. Bon Appétit!

Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day everyone! I always think Labor Day marks the official end of summer. Labor Day is a good day to kick back and spend time with friends and family. Most years, my family and I would load up and head to the mountains. The weekend would be spent with family and friends at a remote cabin in the mountains. It was a nice mini vacation from the work of the farm before school started for my brother, mother, and I.

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The view wasn’t bad either!

At the cabin, we played countless board games, hiked for miles, and enjoyed everyone’s company. One thing was always the center of our pilgrimages to the cabin-the food! Each family that went would take turns cooking meals for everyone. Since the cabin lacked the amenities of indoor plumbing or electricity, cooking was always interesting. Grilling was always popular on Labor Day. vote

I love grilling, I think it really brings out the robust flavor profile of beef. Beef It’s What’s For Dinner has some great resources for cooking beef any way you could think of. Check out their grilling page for tips, tricks, and recipes to make any barbecue a success! My personal favorite meal on the grill is kabobs. I really love using the vegetables that are in season to pair with beef. Here’s a recipe for kabobs to kick off your Labor Day weekend:

Beef, Pepper, & Mushroom Kabobs

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INGREDIENTS:
1 pound beef Top Sirloin Steak boneless, cut 1-inch thick
1 large green, red or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-1/4-inch pieces
12 large mushrooms
1 package (6.0 ounces) long grain and wild rice blend
1/4 teaspoon salt

SEASONING:
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Trim fat from beef steak; cut into 1-1/4-inch pieces. In large bowl, whisk together seasoning ingredients; add beef, bell pepper and mushrooms, tossing to coat. Alternately thread pieces of beef, bell pepper and mushrooms on each of four 12-inch metal skewers.
  2. Prepare rice according to package directions; keep warm.
  3. Meanwhile place kabobs on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill kabobs, covered, 8 to 11 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 9 to 11 minutes) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally; season with salt. Serve kabobs with rice.

Happy Meaty Monday!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

Freezing For Later

Another semester at the University of Wyoming begins today. As soon as classes begin free time becomes a rare commodity. This year I decided to finally “grow up” and get an apartment. I no longer have a veritable smorgasbord of food hot and ready to eat at the cafeteria. I enjoy cooking, however during the week I might not have much time to prepare delicious and nutritious meals. Preparing in advance helps with time management.

zucchiniIt saves money to buy beef in bulk and freeze it for later. I like to have large packages of ground beef and cook it before I freeze it.

Ground beef

Last night, I cooked a 2 pound package of ground beef so I have recipe ready ground beef in the freezer whenever I need it.IMG_9097I like to use plastic containers to freeze my beef in. Although you can use freezer bags as well. It is important to label the dates on the containers. Cooked beef can stay in a freezer for up to 3 or 4 months.

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Happy Meaty Monday!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

 

Beef Up Zucchini

Every fall, it seems like zucchini is always abundant from gardens. This recipe is a great way to beef up zucchini. Zucchini bread gets boring eventually.

Beef-Stuffed Zucchini Recipe

TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
MAKES: 4 servings
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Ingredients
  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup marinara or spaghetti sauce
  • 1 egg, beaten
  •  1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  •  1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  1/4 teaspoon pepper
  •  1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
  • Additional marinara or spaghetti sauce
  1. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise; cut a thin slice from the bottom of each with a sharp knife to allow zucchini to sit flat. Scoop out pulp, leaving 1/4-in. shells.
  2. Place shells in an ungreased 3-qt. microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave on high for 3 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Remove from the heat; stir in the marinara sauce, egg, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup cheese.
  4. Spoon about 1/4 cup into each shell. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 4 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Microwave 3-4 minutes longer or until a thermometer inserted into filling reads 160° and zucchini are tender. Serve with additional marinara sauce.

Get Creative in the Kitchen!

We talk a lot about the “no recipe recipe.” This basically means you find a recipe to base your meal off of, to provide inspiration. After finding this recipe, you use whatever you want in it and make it your own. Everyone has different tastes, and the fun thing about cooking is that you can tailor to your own tastes! Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner makes some fabulous YouTube videos on this very concept. Check out these great videos:

Ultimately cooking is a great way to experiment with different flavors. Good luck!

Happy Meaty Monday!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

The Dinner Dilemma

We have all been there. It’s 6:00 p.m., you are hungry, and you have no idea what to make for dinner. Typically I encounter the dinner dilemma as I am at the grocery store roaming the aisles trying to decide what to eat. The interactive butcher counter can help solve this problem!

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The interactive butcher counter (found here) is a great resource!

My favorite tool is the guide me to the right cut feature. From here, you can enter different criteria to find the perfect cut for the occasion. specialI love I am on a college budget, so I selected an economical cut for the other criteria. I really like stir-frying beef. It is great because there are minimal dishes involved, and it is delicious!

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Seven results popped up! I picked top round steak, because it is one of the many lean cuts. After following the links, I found this fabulous recipe:

Steak USAEasy Asian Beef Stir-Fry
Total Recipe Time: 30 minutes
Makes 4 servings

1 pound beef Top Round or Top Sirloin Steak Boneless, cut 3/4 inch thick or Flank Steak
3/4 cup prepared stir-fry sauce
1 package (16 ounces) frozen Asian vegetable blend (such as broccoli, carrots and sugar snap peas)
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons sesame seeds (optional)
Cut beef steak lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/8-inch thick strips. Place beef and 1/4 cup stir-fry sauce in food-safe plastic bag; turn beef to coat. Close bag securely and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot; add vegetables and water. Cover and cook 7 to 8 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Remove vegetables; keep warm.
Remove beef from marinade; discard marinade. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in same skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add 1/2 of beef and garlic; stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes or until outside surface of beef is no longer pink. (Do not overcook.) Remove from skillet. Repeat with remaining oil, beef and garlic.
Return vegetables and beef to skillet. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup stir-fry sauce; cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through. Garnish with sesame seeds, if desired.

This recipe only takes 30 minutes! So once you pick up the ingredients at the store, you can have a home cooked meal in no time at all.

Happy Meaty Monday!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

Spice It Up!

One of my favorite dinners to make is quesadillas. They are very easy and delicious. Plus, who needs an excuse to eat guacamole?

Here is a recipe from Beef It’s What’s For Dinner:

Crazy Quesadillas

Steak USA
Total Recipe Time: 25 to 30 minutes

This recipe makes 4 servings.

1 pound Ground Beef (90% to 95% lean)
1 jar (16 ounces) prepared salsa with black beans and corn
1-1/2 cups shredded spicy Mexican cheese blend or shredded Cheddar-Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 large flour tortillas (10-inch diameter)
Chopped fresh cilantro
Heat oven to 350°F. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add Ground Beef; cook 8 to 10 minutes, breaking into 3/4-inch crumbles and stirring occasionally. Pour off drippings.
Reserve 1/2 cup salsa. Add remaining salsa, cheese and 1/4 cup cilantro to beef; mix well. Spoon 1/4 of beef mixture onto half of each tortilla. Fold tortillas in half to close. Place on baking sheet.
Bake in 350°F oven 10 to 11 minutes or until filling is heated through and edges of tortillas are lightly browned and crisp. Sprinkle with cilantro, as desired; serve with reserved salsa.

I like to add extras into the quesadillas like tomatoes, refried beans, onion, or green chiles to spice things up. Quesadillas are a quick and delicious meal for people on the go!

Happy Meaty Monday!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

Life Hacks: Beef Edition

Saving money is always a good thing! Here are some tips to save time and money.

  • Buy in bulk! I like to buy the bigger packages of hamburger or steaks because they are cheaper per pound.Steak USA
  • Separate and freeze! For steaks, wrap it in cling wrap as tight as possible. Then wrap it in butcher paper and label it with the date and what the package is. I like to put it into individual servings, because I am only cooking for myself. For ground beef, see the video below. 

     

  • During the week, I do not have a lot of time to prepare meals. I like to cook some ground beef and then freeze it. When I need some cooked ground beef for a recipe it is very simple to just pull it out of the freezer and microwave it and be ready to go.Steak USA
  • Plan your meals for the week. By getting organized, you can get the ingredients you need in one trip to the grocery store.

If you need some beef-spiration, check out this website!

Happy Meaty Monday!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

Life’s a Picnic

July is National Picnic Month!picnic_scene I love eating outside, it is such a great way to enjoy the wonderful summertime weather. Here are some beefy recipes to provide inspiration for your picnic!

  • Roast Beef Tea Sandwiches: These are so fun and easy to make. You can experiment with different fruits or vegetables in them too. Some ideas are: cucumber, baby spinach leaves, tomato, red onion, pear, or apples.Steak USA
  • Mediterranean Beef and Veggie Wraps: In about 10 minutes you’ve got an easy, portable wrap made with common ingredients and fresh vegetables. Perfect to pack in your picnic basket!Steak USA
  • Beef and Cheese Roll-Ups: These wraps tend to be less messy than sandwiches. Steak USA
  • Beef and Broccoli Wrap: This recipe is also great for picnics. The broccoli slaw helps incorporate vegetables into the meal too.Steak USA
  • Vietnamese Beef and Vegetable Spring Rolls: Spring rolls are new to the picnic table, but if you make them at home and bring to your picnic they are a fun change of pace.Steak USA

Picnics are a fun way to make eating a meal an experience. I still remember fondly a picnic that I ate with my host family in France last summer. It is such a fun eating experience to sit on the blanket and watch the world around you. Food, friends, and location make a meal memorable. It’s also a fun date!

Happy Meaty Monday!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer