Sunday, January 6, 2013

WebLove: The facts about beef prices

If you've been in a grocery store lately, you've noticed: Food prices are rising. Every wonder what factors influence the prices? I stumbled across this infographic from the CME Group and knew I had to share it with you all. Hope it clears up some of the mystery, at least the mystery surrounding beef prices! (To read about general food prices, click here.)

The facts behind beef prices

Want to enlarge? Click here for a larger version.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Easy appetizer: Steak salad on a stick

I normally make a lot of guy food around here. But, yesterday, with a houseful of girls getting facials and hand treatments as part of a Pink Papaya party, I knew I needed to switch up the menu a little. (I may have also used this as an excuse to by Gerbera daisies and fake snow-dusted poinsettias for the table, but whatever.)

But along with the mimosas, cupcakes, cookies, cheese and fruits…there still had to be beef. Obviously. While this was a mid-afternoon soiree and no dinner was served, I still found a way to incorporate a little ZIP (that’s zip, iron and protein) in the form of lean beef.

I present… Steak salad on a stick.

I recommend grilling your favorite lean beef (I used sirloin, because I had a couple on hand), cutting into cubes and then refrigerating until you’re ready for it. You could actually do this the day before to save time.

Then, all you need are some wooden skewers and your favorite salad ingredients cut into skewer-friendly cubes. Lettuce, cherry tomatoes, carrots, mushroom, onions and cheese all work wonderfully. Skewer them up and serve with your favorite dressings. I poured Ranch and Thousand Island into mason jars to pretty it up a little. Ta-da! 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Restaurant redo: Steak ranchero with homemade refried beans

I love recreating restaurant meals at home. Especially, quite frankly, when I think there’s 1 or 6 small changes that could make the dish even better in our eyes. This is one of those meals.

Recently, I had a dish called steak ranchero at a Mexican restaurant. It had all the potential in the world, but needed, in my opinion, 1 change: a thicker, higher-quality cut of beef. So, I took matter into my own hands.

Ingredients for steak ranchero
2 strip steaks, about 1 ½ inches thick (I used Certified Angus Beef brand from the butcher's case.)

1 cup hot green salsa (I got mine from a local restaurant, but you can also make your own or use store-bought.)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon butter

Directions for steak ranchero
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Heat an oven-safe skillet (I used cast iron) over medium-high heat. Melt butter.

Season steaks with salt and pepper.

Add steaks to skillet and cook 5 minutes per side, or until just seared.

Pour salsa over steaks and transfer to oven.

Cook another 10 minutes or until they reach desired doneness. Pour extra salsa from the skillet over the steaks or serve on the side. Serve with refried beans (recipe follows for homemade, or use store-bought) and flour tortillas.

Ingredients for refried beans
1 pound dried pinto beans

4 ounces salt pork, thinly sliced

1 jalapeno, sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon chili powder

Salt to taste

½ cup cilantro, chopped

2 tablespoons butter

Directions for refried beans

The night before you want to cook your red beans, soak them in water. The next morning, drain and rinse.

Add beans, salt pork, garlic and chili powder to large pot. Cover with water.

Boil about 2 hours over medium heat or until tender.

Beans should always be completely covered with water so if you need to add a little while they cook, do so — but be sure you add hot water.

Add jalapeno, cilantro and salt, and then reduce heat to low and simmer another 30 minutes or even all day.

When you’re ready to refry them, heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. 

Melt the butter.

Drain beans, removing broth, salt pork and jalapeno slices.

Add beans to hot skillet and mash with a potato masher until desired consistency. Cook about 3- to 5- minutes. If desired, you can sprinkle them with a little shredded cheese and allow it to melt.

*Red bean recipe courtesy Tom Perini and from “Cooking the Cowboy Way” by Grady Spears. Refrying goodness courtesy of Katrina and Google.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Beef on the road

The Mr. had a conference to attend in San Antonio this week (where he won an award — sweet!) and I decided to take advantage of this whole being-your-own-boss thing and tag along. After all, it’s nice to get a little change of scenery even if you are working all day from the hotel room. I mean, who else wishes someone would make your bed and clean your tub every time you go to lunch?

We did some pretty good eating en route and once we got there. After all, we have to take advantage when we’re some place with more than one restaurant to choose from!

Here are a few of the highlights…

On the (long) way down there, we stopped along the way at a restaurant I’ve been hearing about since high school. Seriously. And you know what? The Beehive Saloon in Albany, Texas, was worth the wait. We got chicken fried steaks on the lunch, which came with some of the best seasoned fries ever, some good dark bread and a trip to the salad bar. I forgot to take a picture, but you can check it out here.  

That night, we went to Hooters. I know, I know. It sounds weird. But Hooters became a tradition for the Mr. and I when we were dating, and we’ve since started a goal to eat at one in every state. We’re at 8 states right now — not bad considering we’ve only known each other 3 years and been married 2. Oh, and fellow beef advocates, you’ll be interested to know I’ve never had chicken there. Who needs to, with such an awesome burger and curly fries?

Wednesday at lunch, I headed to Texas Land and Cattle for one of my favorite dishes I rarely get to have since I don’t live anywhere near one anymore. It’s their smoked sirloin and it’s super peppery and very delicious.

That night, we drove to the south side of town to meet one of the Mr.’s good friends who lives about an hour and a half south of the city for dinner at a LongHorn Steakhouse. I was happy to see flat iron on the menu. Even though it was a little overcooked, it was still quite good.

And even better? The dessert. This Chocolate Stampede was one of the best desserts I have had in a while. And it was so big that 3 of us ate less than half of it!

It was great to eat some good beef on the road, but it’s also great to be home. You know, aside from the lack of housekeeping service…

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Mr.’s favorite fried egg cheeseburger

The “add a fried egg” option seems to be popping up on burger menus all over these days, and it’s something the Mr. almost always takes advantage of when available. So, tonight, I decided to make him a fried egg burger here at home and share it with you.

Here’s what you’ll need to make his favorite version, which features bacon, lots of cheese and an egg over medium:

½ pound 85/15 ground beef, seasoned generously with salt and pepper and formed into a patty
1 Sara Lee Hearty and Delicious sesame seed bun
1 slice American cheese
1 slice Swiss cheese
1 slice Cheddar cheese
2 slices thick-sliced bacon
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter
Miracle whip


Preheat griddle to 350 degrees.

Add patty. Cook until seared on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip.

Add cheese slices.

Cook bacon.

Cook hamburger to 160 degrees for medium doneness, which will take about 8- to 10- more minutes after the flip for a thick, half-pound patty.

Let rest for 3- to 5- minutes.

Butter the bun with 1 tablespoon of butter and toast on griddle.

Heat a small skillet with 2 tablespoons of butter over low heat. Swirl the butter around so the pan is completely coated.

Crack egg and open over the pan. Increase heat to medium.

Allow the egg whites to cook until solid around the egg. Flip and cook another 60 seconds or so. Remove from heat.

Add Miracle Whip to inside of bun.

Add patty, then slide egg over the top. Place bacon slices on top and close with top half of bun.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The worst of Pinterest: Part 1

A couple of weeks ago, I brought you The best of Pinterest: Part 1. It was filled with Oreos and other goodness and hopefully gave you a few yummy or crafty ideas. But I can't forget the epic fails, so that's what this post is about. My only regret is that I never photographed the disasters. I guess you'll just have to take my word and not attempt these at home.

The pin:

Use spray paint and a stencil to make a monogram outdoor mat - totally solves my problem of not being able to find a doormat I like!

The claim: Use spray paint and a stencil to make a monogram outdoor mat. 

The result: Terrible. I'm pretty handy with a can of spray paint, so maybe I bought the wrong kind of mat (though it looked just like this one to me). But, it ran and just generally looked weird. Also, for the price of a plain mat, stencil and spray paint, you can pretty much buy any "finished" mat you'd like.

The pin:

Pinned Image

The claim: Refreshing, easy-to-make, 105-calorie watermelon margaritas.

The result: Technically, they didn't lie. They are easy to prepare and only contain 105 calories. What they don't tell you is the serving size is quite small (thank of it more as a large shot than a drink) and they taste terrible. I was really disappointed, too, because On The Border's watermelon margs are one of my favorite things on the planet.

The last pin I'll discuss today was so bad I immediately removed it from my board, in hopes none of my followers would make the same mistake I did. Now, I can't find it anywhere. (Maybe everyone else did the same thing after making it.) It was for Texas Roadhouse cinnamon honey butter. The pic featured a frame photo of a couple next to a jar of the stuff. Well, you might think you can't mess anything up that contains honey, cinnamon and butter, but with the random amounts given in this pin, you could. I'll go back to just making my own by winging it, or else buying the Land o Lakes stuff.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Beef and apples: Perfect together for fall

(Note: this post was almost titled “How about them apples?” but then I remembered it wasn’t 1997. I’m a little ahead of Uncle Si on my catchphrase expiration knowledge. Speaking of which, who else is super excited about the return of Duck Dynasty tonight? But, I digress…)

One of the perks of my jobs is getting cool emails in my inbox like the one I received this morning from the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. Amidst news on the South Korean market and producers profiles was a feature called Ingredient of the Month: Apples, which I knew immediately I needed to share with you all.

So, if you love apples and want to whip up some fallish beef dishes, why not try one of these?