Confession (I seem to do that a lot here) . . . before I met Farmer J, beef was not typically what was for dinner. Let me explain.
As a single gal in the city, beef seemed scary for a few reasons:
- How do you cook it? – I had no grill nor a boyfriend to grill it.
- What do you buy? – There are a million different ways to slice a cow.
- Won’t that make me fat? – I was pretty sure a diet of only chicken breasts was the solution (never mind that I rarely exercised).
From talking to a few of my friends, I know that this is a somewhat common fear among female 20-somethings, and because of our beef-phobia, we often default to a boring chicken breast as our safe bet (disclaimer: I still love chicken breasts and work them into the meal plan when possible).
Today, I am here to tell you, that I have seen the light and you too can cook and enjoy beef!! When I finally realized that eating beef didn’t have to be a steak or a hamburger every night, my view of beef was greatly expanded. Here is what I have learned about my initial doubts:
(1) How do you cook it? – The options are endless. The grill is amazing, but there are plenty of other options. Here are some favorites:
- Roast in the slow-cooker – this may be the easiest meal ever. Roast + beef broth + veggies of choice (potatoes, carrots, onions, etc.) on low for 8 hours or so. The result is tender juicy beef which also makes an excellent sandwich the next day.
- Stir-Fry – sometimes it’s even better than take-out. Cut up steak of choice (we have found any steak will do, but flank steak, which is pretty thin would work great) + veggies of choice + stir fry sauce of choice (I choose Soy Vay Very Teriyaki . . . I cannot say enough good things about this sauce, and they most certainly aren’t paying me to plug it. We find it at Target typically).
- Martha Stewart’s Steak Quesadillas – before our wedding, this is all I ate for about 3 weeks straight. I also typically put corn and black beans in the quesadilla as my special touch.
I could go on and on . . . but I will save more recipes for another day!
(2) What do you buy? – See point #1. I would first recommend deciding what recipe you’re going to attack, and then simply follow the recipe’s recommendation (I am boring like that). If you are adventurous, and want to just buy a cut of meat and figure it out later, my favorite for cooking is the flank / skirt steak. If you are really lost and need help, ask the friendly people at your grocery store’s deli or try the Cattleman’s Beef Board’s Interactive Butcher Counter. It even gives you the nutritional information . . . the website also has tons of beef recipes!
(3) Won’t it make me fat? – Anything can make you fat without moderation, even chicken breasts. The truth is that beef has lots of excellent nutritional characteristics (and in my opinion, it has a lot more flavor than my standard chicken breast). I am not nutritionist, but beef has protein, iron, and B12 . . . which are all supposed to be good for you. Based on my non-scientific anecdotal evidence, I have actually lost weight since meeting J, and my diet includes much more beef. I would encourage those who are really curious about the nutritional facts to do some research and not just assume that it’s bad for you!
To sum it up, I have learned to overcome my beef insecurities, and I feel much more confident when planning any meal with a beef component . . . which for us is usually the case. Plus, how can anything Matthew McConaughey promotes really be that scary? (Apparently that website thought it was creepy . . . I am assuming many women would beg to differ.)
Have a wonderful weekend, and if you are brave, take a chance on beef!