Saturday, December 31, 2011

The New Year’s Eve menu

While some are off to festive parties or crowded clubs tonight, the Mr. and I are pretty excited about our New Year’s Eve in. We’ll be catching up on our recorded television (I hope to finish this season of Boardwalk Empire) and possibly even watching whatever DVDs we’ve had from Netflix for the last 3 months or so. And, of course, we’ll be ringing in the New Year with beef. I’ve developed a special menu for the evening and thought I would share it with you (along with a few instructions on how to duplicate it).
I’ll be serving:
Grilled ribeyes seasoned with Perini Ranch Rub
Twice-baked potatoes
Homemade honey beer bread
Chocolate chip cookie bowls
For the entree, you’ll need:
2 Choice or better ribeyes, 2 inches thick
Perini Ranch Rub (Recipe courtesy of the Texas Beef Council and Tom Perini)
2 teaspoons corn starch or flour
2 teaspoons salt
5 tablespoons coarse-ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
4 teaspoons garlic powder
4 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon beef stock base (granulated)

Mix ingredients well and rub on steaks 1-2 hours before cooking. Any unused rub can be stored in an airtight container for future use. Grill steaks to desired doneness and serve.

For the potatoes, you’ll need:
2 baking potatoes
Olive oil
Sea salt
Coarse pepper
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
Cheddar cheese
Sour cream
Brush or spray potatoes with olive oil and dust with sea salt. Bake at 350 degrees until tender — about 1.5 to 2 hours.
When the potatoes are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool off for about 5 minutes before slicing each in half, lengthwise.
Scoop the insides out of 2 of the halves and add to a mixing bowl, while trying to preserve at least 1 of the skins. (I like to do the potatoes one at a time since the Mr. and I don’t like the all of the same ingredients in ours, but you can do them all at once if you’re making them all the same.)
Add desired toppings, a splash of milk, salt and pepper. Mix well with an electric mixer.
Identify the most intact potato skin and scoop potato mixture back into it. Top with more cheese and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Repeat with the next potato.
Now, you’re ready to do the second baking. I recently learned from the Pioneer Woman that you can, alternately, place these potatoes in the fridge if you’re not ready to do the second baking yet. Sometimes I do this a few hours ahead, and it’s a real time saver.
But when you are ready to finish them up, just place the baking sheet in the 350-degree oven for 15- to 20- minutes, and you’re all done!

I’m using Gimme Some Oven’s Honey Beer Bread Recipe. You’ll need:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons honey
12 ounces beer
1 stick melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9″ x 5″ x 3″ inch loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. 

Using a wooden spoon, stir the beer and honey into the dry ingredients until just mixed. 

Pour half the melted butter into the loaf pan.

Then spoon the batter into the pan, and pour the rest of the butter on top of the batter. 

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until top is golden brown and a toothpick/knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Serve immediately.

Now, for the cookie bowls, you’ll need:

Premade chocolate chip cookie dough (I like Pillsbury’s slice and bake roll)
Vanilla ice cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Fill 2 oven-safe custard cups about 2/3 full with cookie dough. Pack it tightly.
Place cups on a baking sheet and cook 16-20 minutes. You want them to be slightly underbaked.
Remove cups and place on saucers. Add a scoop of ice cream to each bowl and serve immediately.
Note: I got this idea from here, but decided to skip a step and use premade dough. The results are still amazing!
What are you doing (and eating) tonight?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

In case you missed it: Most popular posts of 2011

It’s the last week of the year, so it only seems fitting to recap the best of Make Mine Beef (as decided by number of page views) for 2011. Drum roll, please.

It took a couple of tries for me to master this dish, but man was it worth it. They may not be as pretty as On The Border’s, but they are easy and delicious. And if you need a go-to queso recipe, look no further than my adaption of Grady Spears’ Dutch’s Queso found in this post. Yum!
Want to see my home office and hear a little about what I do from within its walls every day? Look no further than this post.
Christmas may be over, but there’s always Valentine’s Day and birthdays to consider. Need the perfect gift for a beef lover? Check out my suggestions here.
In this popular post, I describe how to pan fry a strip steak for those times grilling just isn’t the best option. I also feature my favorite method for baking restaurant-style, sea salt-crusted potatoes.
Nachos have to be one of my favorite foods. In this post, brought to you by Certified Steak and Seafood, I use flat iron steak as a tender and economical topper for the classic dish.
There’s really no need to move beef from the center of the plate just because it’s morning. Lean sirloin steak makes these breakfast burritos amazing, and it’s a great way to use leftovers.
This recipe, sponsored by Certified Steak and Seafood,  was the result of me beefing up one of the Mr.’s favorite dishes from a local restaurant. If you like beef with lots of cheese and spice, check this out.
This is the world’s easiest roast recipe and just happens to be my new favorite. These are also my favorite mashed potatoes, perfect for accompanying roast, chicken fried steak or a host of other beef dishes.
My post on the most valuable trophy in sports just happens to be one of the most popular on my blog.
And the No. 1 post for 2011 is….
In my first of 3 posts sponsored by Certified Steak and Seafood, I drizzled grilled flat iron steaks with a super easy garlic butter sauce. The post was visited, shared and Stumble(d)Upon more than any other all year and finishes out today with 1,415 views.

What do you think about this list? Did your favorite make the top 10?

Monday, December 26, 2011

The first annual Make Mine Beef Christmas wrap-up

Hello, fellow beef lovers! I hope you all had a fun, safe and blessed Christmas — and a big hunk of beef in the center of your plate.

The Mr. and I had a wonderful Christmas, and had the opportunity to celebrate 3 times. Thursday evening was spent at the Mr.’s parents’ home just down the street from us; Saturday and Sunday was spent with my side of the family at my aunt and uncle’s home in West Texas; and Sunday night we were able to catch the tail-end of Christmas at the Mr.’s grandparents’ home about 10 miles from where we live.
Of course, beef was on the menu both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Christmas Eve we had Sonora casserole and an huge assortment of snacks, appetizer and desserts, and Christmas Day we had some delicious ribeyes cooked on my uncle’s smoker.

I guess Santa thought I was pretty good this year.

The Mr. got me an awesome gift — a Canon digital SLR I got to pick out myself. I had so much fun taking pictures with it at Christmas. It’s very similar to what I use for work and I am so excited to have my own!

...and my parents not only gave the Mr. and me money which we SO appreciated and can't wait to use to get some work done around our house, but gave us lots of awesome goodies! A few of my favorites (Tasha Polizzi zebra vest, Consuela makeup bag, black tunic with black and turquoise embroidered skirt, red cowhide coasters, Urban Decay eye makeup palette in Naked, zebra rhinestone scissors and a sparkly, furry black ear band for cold days) are in the picture below! They also gave me a mini cupcake maker I cannot wait to try.

My aunt and uncle gave the Mr. and me a 6-pack of Choice ribeyes. Awesome gift! We can’t wait to cook them.

Here’s a few of my favorite pics from our multiple celebrations…

 The Mr. and me on Christmas Eve.
My parents on Christmas Eve. 

My aunt, my mom and me on Christmas Day. 

My cousin's sons working on opening the youngest one's biggest present. 

 That's an excited face!

 "I saw this online!" he said when he opened the giant cheetah.

 The ladies on my side of the family. I'm sitting between my mom and my cousin's wife (and wearing one of my presents). My 2 aunts are standing.

 My sister-in-law, brother-in-law and nephew at the Mr.'s family's Christmas.

 My sisters-in-law and me at the Mr.'s family Christmas. Contrary to how I dressed, the celebration was actually not brought to you by Pfizer.
I hope you all had as great of a Christmas (or Christmases) as we did. So, tell me. What were your favorite foods and gifts this year?

Monday, December 19, 2011

A meaty Monday night dinner with friends

About a week ago, I was sitting at On the Border, munching on chips and queso and playing with my phone while I waited on my friend to arrive. After I caught up on my WordFeud games, I moved on to Facebooking.  I noticed The Double R Ranch was doing a contest, so, of course I just had to enter.
That’s the thing with me and Facebook contests. I feel compelled to enter them. I guess it’s because, as someone who manages Facebook pages both for the magazine I work for and for my Make Mine Beef, I know how good it feels to have lots of people enter your contests. It’s just so fun, and I love sharing that with other admins out there. Plus, there’s always the chance I’ll win, so there’s that.
Later that evening, I was Facebooking again — this time from the checkout line at the grocery store —when my own name caught my attention in the news feed. I’d won 4 strip steaks! Needless to say, I was overjoyed. And when the package arrived Friday, I was just plain giddy to open the box and find my free beef.
I decided to serve the steaks with twice-baked potatoes, rolls and individual deep dish chocolate chip cookie pies with ice cream on top. A good friend of ours and his little girl (who loves steak!) joined us.

Our steaks were delicious! I cooked them indoors in my cast iron skillet and they looked like this: 

The dessert was yum-o, and oh-so-easy. I got the idea from this blog, but cheated for time’s sake and used premade dough. Shh! Don’t tell anyone. They looked like this:

WebLove: 6 reasons to choose beef for Christmas

Still trying to decide what to cook for this year’s Christmas celebrations? No doubt, I recommend beef, but here’s a great video with 6 solid reasons — featuring 6 very persuasive little advocates!

Which is your favorite?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Making Make Mine Beef better

As I close in on my 100th blog post on Make Mine Beef, I wanted to make a couple of additions to the site as a means of improving navigation. But since these small changes may not be immediately noticeable, I thought I would point them out in hopes they will better your experience on my little blog.
(Who knows? One day I may even go crazy and design a really pretty, really professional-looking page. But, in the meantime, since I prefer cooking to designing web pages, I’ll just make the best of a free and easy Blogger template.)
Here’s a little info on the new items you’ll find on the right-hand side of the page.
Browse by topic.
This feature is designed to make browsing easier and faster. Want to only view recipes? Click on Cooking. Want trivial knowledge for bar bets or impressing your friends? Click Fun Fact Friday.
Most popular posts.
Here you’ll find a list of the top 10 blog posts of all time, as determined by page views. This list will update automatically as the statistics change.
What else would you like to see on Make Mine Beef? Don’t forget, you can always comment here, on or send me an e-mail to I’d love to hear from you!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A good sale and a great prime rib

I love a good sale. I mean, seriously, what girl doesn’t? But I don’t need the Nordstrom Semi-Annual Shoe Sale to get all giddy (although it is one of the best things ever). Nope, give me access to some discounted high-quality beef and I’m ecstatic.
As I wrote in Beef Buying Basics: The most bang for your buck, I’m a huge proponent of watching the specials. It’s a great way to get to occasionally upgrade your grocery cart without blowing your budget. Like yesterday, for instance. I arrived at the grocery store’s full-service meat counter to find Certified Angus Beef bone-in rib roasts (also known as prime rib) discounted to half-price.  While rib roasts don’t regularly fit into my grocery budget, I can usually get 2-3 per year at a reasonable price just by keeping any eye on the specials board. And what a treat they are!
I got a small 2-rib roast that weighed in at 3.5 pounds, perfect for one special meal for the Mr. and me, plus enough leftovers for some amazing sandwiches or salads.
I served it with corn, my roasted garlic mashed potatoes and fresh yeast rolls.
Now, for a couple of notes on rib roasts in general, before I get into the recipe and instructions:

1. Cooking time will vary greatly depending on size of roast (and remember not all 2-rib or 3-rib roasts will weigh the same) and your oven. To be sure, always use a meat thermometer.

2. The roast will continue to cook as it rests, so remove it from the oven when the meat thermometer reads 5 to 10 degrees lower than your desired final temperature. (For medium rare, aim for 135 degrees. For medium, remove it about 150 degrees.)
3.5 pound bone-in rib roast
3 tablespoons coarse black pepper and 1.5 tablespoons garlic pepper, combined

Two hours before cooking, place rib roast, fat side up, in a roasting pan. Rub generously with the pepper blend. Return to refrigerator until time to cook.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Insert ovenproof meat thermometer in the roast so tip is centered in thickest part, but not resting in fat or touching bone.
Cook roast about 1.5 to 1.75 hours for medium rare, or until meat thermometer reads 135 degrees.
Remove from oven and place on carving surface. Tent with foil and allow to rest approximately 20 minutes.
Carve and serve. The Mr.'s plate looked like this:

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fun Fact Friday: Beef and your heart

So, we all know beef is delicious and a great way to get your daily doses of zinc, iron, protein (ZIP) and more. But did you know it’s also good for your heart?

A new study, Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD), recently released and published in the January 2012 issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows that diets including lean beef every day are as effective in lowering total and LDL "bad" cholesterol as the gold standard of heart-healthy diets (DASH, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). Researchers at Pennsylvania State University evaluated adults with moderately elevated cholesterol levels, measuring the impact of diets including varying amounts of lean beef on total and LDL cholesterol levels. Study participants experienced a 10 percent decrease in LDL cholesterol from baseline, while consuming diets containing 4.0 and 5.4 ounces of lean beef daily.

Want more information on how to build a heart-healthy diet featuring beef? Check this out.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Crown Royal marinated strip steaks

I’m a firm believer a good steak doesn’t need any extras — no sauces, no marinades, no fluff. But, sometimes, it can be really fun to try something new.
I’d wanted to attempt a Crown Royal marinade for a while, and when I landed some awesome-looking Strip steaks on sale this week, I decided to make the leap. I was pleased with the results, so of course I thought I’d share the recipe with you.

Ingredients and materials:
2 strip steaks, 1 ½ inches thick (Mine weighed in at just under 2 pounds total)
1 cup of Crown Royal
2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
1 gallon-sized Ziploc bag

Place steaks in Ziploc bag.
Mix Crown Royal and peppercorns, add to bag.
Refrigerate for 4 hours up to overnight.
Remove steaks and pat dry. Knock off any peppercorns.
Discard marinade.
Sprinkle steaks with black pepper or garlic pepper and grill or pan broil to desired doneness.

Ours looked like this:

Beef Lover's Gift Guide

If this were a big-time blog with corporate sponsors (or, say, if the blogger had deeper pockets), there would be a massive giveaway of fun freebies for all you beef lovers this month.
But, until either of those things happens, I thought why not share a few items I would give away — and, in turn, maybe help you with your Christmas shopping, assuming you have at least 1 beef lover on your list?
For the hungry beef lover, or the beef lover who will be hosting this Christmas, I recommend...

The mesquite-smoked Perini Ranch beef tenderloin, $110, available here.

For the beef lover who loves to cook or needs a little inspiration in the kitchen, I recommend a great cookbook such as...
The Great Steak Book by Grady Spears is available on as a traditional book or for the Kindle.
The Healthy Beef Cookbook by Chef Richard Chamberlain and Betsy Hornick. The book, a joint venture between the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the American Dietetic Association, is available via as a traditional book or for the Kindle.
For the beef lover who needs a little art in his or her life, I recommend...
This mouthwatering 22” by 17.5” poster from YeeHaw. Priced at $30, it’s also available as a Porterhouse or New York Strip.
For the beef lover who takes the concept of branded beef to heart, I recommend…
The Williams Sonoma personalized steak brand. For $39.95, you can get 1, 2 or 3 initials. Note: Since each one is handmade, it’s too late to order these for Christmas delivery, but there’s always Valentine’s Day or next Christmas!
For the beef lover who takes steak serving seriously, I recommend...

A great set of steak knives — preferably the big, heavy kind. This particular set is available here for $41.54, but there are many great knife sets out there for every taste and price range. Just, please, whatever you do, don't buy steak knives at Ikea. I love the store, but man are their knives bad. (And who wants their favorite beef lover to think his or her steaks are tough? That's just bad for the cook's self-esteem.)

Which of these would you most like to see under the tree this year?

Friday, December 2, 2011

WebLove: Beef for the Holidays

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for new party-appropriate foods — especially this time of year, with all of the Christmas, New Year’s and college bowl game gatherings ahead.
I was super excited to come across the first edition of this blogging series brought to you by my friends at the Texas Beef Council this morning and knew I had to share it with you all. This one is from, so be sure to stop by and show them some love!
Doesn't this look yummy?
Photo courtesy of

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cool stuff for cooking

We’ve been eating a lot of our favorites this week since we were without a kitchen for so long. While it’s made for a very yummy week, it hasn’t lent itself to any recipe sharing since I’ve already shared all of these meals with you.
So, while we continue favorites week, I thought it would be fun to show you a few of my random favorite ingredients and convenience items.  Maybe you’ll find something that will help you make things better or faster, too!
(Disclaimer: None of the makers of the items below have paid me in exchange for this super prestigious endorsement. They, like most, have no clue I exist.)
Rhodes dinner rolls are a staple in our house. I first discovered them when preparing Western burgers, but since have used them for just about every roll-having occasion. Not only are the relatively quick (if you use the fast method on the back of the package) and super easy, I love that you can just cook the amount you want.
Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers Niblets Corn is one of those items I buy and serve weekly. Pop the bag in the microwave for 5 minutes, let it cool for 1 minute, toss the contents in a bowl with some salt and pepper and a little butter and it tastes oh-so-close to fresh. Amazing! I make it a lot for lunch since it’s so quick. Served with a grilled sirloin, you’ve got a healthy lunch for 2-3 in less than 20 minutes.
Garlic pepper is my go-to seasoning for steaks or burgers. We actually buy ours in a much larger container from Sam’s because I use so much of it.
Confession: I no longer use the salt and pepper out of the shakers. For anything. The coarse stuff is just so much prettier and tastier.

Unsalted, real butter is the only way to go for cooking and general baking. (Except, of course, for those baking recipes that call for salted butter or margarine.) I like to keep one box of the regular-sized sticks and one container of the half sticks at all times.
Fiesta fajita seasoning is by far my favorite for seasoning flank steaks or sirloins for Mexican dishes.

If I’m making anything with taco meat, you can bet it’ll be seasoned with McCormick’s hot taco seasoning mix. I let my simmer longer than the package calls for to add a little more spice. I’ve made homemade taco seasoning before, but always come back to this. Who knew 59 cents could taste so good?
We love peppercorns in my house and this marinade is awesome! I regularly use it on the 500 degree roast or for grilled steaks.
I hope you enjoyed a photo tour of some of my favorite things. What are your go-to convenience items?