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Celebrate beef

By Angie Sutton

www.mothersapronstrings.com

May is National Beef Month and the perfect reason to try a few new dishes.


Moroccan Beef Stew with Couscous

This dish is a show stopper! I made this dish in the slow cooker (after step 2) and added two large sweet potatoes cut in 1-inch cubes and added another cup of beef broth. Then all you need to prepare when you get home is the couscous!

Ingredients:

3 Tbps. olive oil, divided
1 3/4 lbs. beef tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 Tbsp. paprika
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 c. beef broth
1/2 c. Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1/2 c. golden raisins
1 (15-oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained
1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

1. Heat 2 Tbps. oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.

2. Season beef with salt and pepper. Add beef to saucepan and brown on all sides, about 3 minutes. Remove from pan to paper towel-lined plate.

3. Add remaining tablespoon of oil, onion, carrot and garlic to pan. Cook until vegetables are soft, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add spices and stir 1 more minute. Add broth, olives, raisins, garbanzo beans, and cilantro; bring to boil. Simmer until juices thicken, about 5 minutes. Add beef and stir until all ingredients are warm.

4. Meanwhile, prepare couscous according to package directions. Spoon stew over couscous.


Country-Style Steak

This cube steak recipe was gobbled up by the kids in the house. Serve it over wide egg noodles or rice for a complete entree.

Ingredients:

1 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. black pepper
3/4 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 lb. cube steaks
1/3 c. olive oil
2 c. beef broth

Directions:

1. Mix flour, pepper, seasoned salt and garlic powder in a shallow bowl; reserve 3 Tbsp. Coat steaks thoroughly on both sides with remaining mixture.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Pan fry steaks until golden brown, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to slow cooker crock.

3. Whisk the remaining flour with beef broth, pour over the steaks and cook on LOW for 8 hours.

Apron Strings Tip: This dish is oven ready as well. Bake in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish at 350 degrees F. for 1 1/2 hours. If you like thicker gravy, stir in a package of brown gravy mix with about 30 minutes left to bake.


5-Ingredient Beef Hash

This incredibly simple meal is a favorite of my household. This recipe serves about 4 four so I always double it.

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. frozen potatoes O'Brien
1 1/2 c. thick and chunky salsa
1 (4-oz.) can chopped green chilies
1 c. shredded Mexican cheese blend

Directions:

1. In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef and break into crumbles. Remove any grease.

2. Stir in potatoes and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Potatoes will thaw and brown slightly.

3. Stir in salsa and chilies and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

4. Sprinkle with cheese and let stand 5 minutes before serving.


Guide to ground beef..

Ground beef is one of the most versatile go-to staples in a Midwest Kansas kitchen. It provides 10 essential nutrients your body needs like zinc, iron, protein and B vitamins. Because it is affordable and easy to prepare, it's often the base for many casseroles, soups and appetizers. In a busy household, these types of dishes find their way to the table fairly often, so I'm always on the look-out for a new twist!

Understanding the type of ground beef you need for a particular dish is essential. The lowest cost option is typically the 80 percent lean/20 percent fat ground beef, which is great for making burgers on the grill. One step up is 90 percent lean/10 percent fat, which I select for meatballs or meatloaf. It holds shape nicely while retaining flavor with some fat content. The 93 percent lean or leaner ground beef meets government guidelines as a lean cut according to the Beef Checkoff at BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com. I will choose this percentage for casseroles that are baked in a glass baking dish or for sauces that call for browned ground beef.

I like to buy in bulk, watch for sales and freeze a supply of browned ground beef. I season a batch with onions and a batch with onions and green peppers. Before browning, pat the meat with a paper towel to remove any excess liquid. I add 1/2 tsp. of salt and 1/4 tsp. of ground pepper for each pound of beef once the browning process is complete. My friend, Rachel, prepares a lot of Tex-Mex dishes so she likes to brown her ground beef with taco seasoning before freezing it.

After browning, let it completely cool in the refrigerator and then scoop it into portions in small freezer bags. One pound of ground beef generally serves three to four people. Squeeze out as much air as you can and seal tightly. These will be good for about four months. Label each with the contents and date. When I'm ready to use a bag, I defrost it in the microwave but you can also thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. To be safe please reheat it to 165 degrees F.

If you are forming your raw ground beef into a patty or a loaf, handle the meat as little as possible. Add your seasonings and other ingredients and lightly mix them to avoid an end product that is too firm and compact. This is particularly important for meatloaf and meatballs.

Ground beef is a great staple to stockpile as the base for quick-to-the-table meals.

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