Spiced Beef Stew {Recipe ReDux}

When the weather cools down, there’s nothing I love more than stew. Okay, maybe I love pumpkin more, but I digress.

Not only is stew fool-proof, but it allows for creativity. Have carrots? Peppers? Onions? Eggplant? Great! Now throw in some meat and seasoning and you’re good. You can change up the protein or vegetables or spices and create a completely new and delicious stew.

The true beauty of stew, though, is the leftovers! Make a big batch and freeze the leftovers in individual containers for a quick meal when you get home late from work or just don’t feel like cooking.

The whole make-extra-and-freeze-for-later principle was the theme for this month’s Recipe ReDux:

Fantastic Freezer Meals:

Share your tips and tricks for making one – or more freezer meals. It’s the end of the gardening season for some of us; let’s store away that produce in heat-and-eat-from-the-freezer-meals. Show how convenient healthy freezer breakfast, lunches or dinners can be!

My freezer meal is the aforementioned stew, but with a spiced Moroccan twist.

The key ingredient here is grass-fed beef, which provides a rich, slightly gamey taste that I absolutely adore. Look for 100% grass-fed beef because it, along with all 100% grass-fed meats, contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is the plant form of omega-3 fatty acids. In other words, grass-fed meat has a healthier fat source, not to mention it means the animal had a happier, freer life.

lamb chili

Spiced Beef Stew

Top this stew with a little quinoa or some sauteed potatoes and you’ve got a hearty, filling meal. Make a big batch of the quinoa/potatoes and you’ve got another side ready to go for later eating. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil (virgin)
  • 1.5 lb. grass-fed beef cubes (such as sirloin)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 10 carrots, sliced
  • 1 small eggplant, cubed
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes, preferably no salt added
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. cardamom

Directions:

  1. Heat coconut oil in a large pot. Add onions and saute for 2-3 minutes, then add beef. Saute beef for 5 minutes, making sure to sear all sides of the beef cubes.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil, then simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until carrots and eggplant are tender.

For more amazing freezer meals, check out the link below! 

Zesty Heirloom Tomato Taco Salad {Sponsored Recipe ReDux}

One of the best parts of summer is the amazing produce that’s available in Chicago — especially fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes (or fresh-from-the-CSA in my case).

Top those tomatoes with deliciousness in the form of taco-seasoned lean ground beef (plus some other goodies), and you’ve got a light summer meal.

heirloom_tomato_taco_salad

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by The Beef Checkoff and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Now, I am not a chicken breast all day, every day kind of girl. I love beef, whether it’s a perfectly-grilled steak, juicy burger, tacos, meatballs or meatloaf, beef frequents my table.

Beyond the delicious flavor of beef, it’s got loads of nutrition. First off, let’s talk protein. A 3-ounce serving of lean beef provides 25 grams of protein and 10 essential nutrients.

Emerging research indicates that evenly distributing daily protein intake at meals and snacks throughout the day (~20 to 30g/eating occasion) may potentially contribute to benefits for body weight management and appetite control.

On a related note, protein-packed foods — like beef — promote satiety which can help cut down on mindless eating. I’ve found that my clients who eat more high-quality protein and fats are better able to cut down on sweets and snacking throughout the day.

I especially love grass-fed beef, as it contains a better fat ratio (more conjugated linoleic acids, which function similar to omega-3s). You can find great grass-fed options at most grocery stores and your local farmers market.

To find out more about grass-fed and grain-fed beef, check out the Beef Checkoff’s infographic.

zesty_heirloom_tomato_taco_salad

The Beef Checkoff program also offers a great interactive Butcher Counter where you can learn all about the cuts of beef, including which options are considered lean.

Zesty Heirloom Tomato Taco Salad

Salads don’t have to be made with greens! Top fresh tomatoes with all the toppings for a nice, light dinner. Heirloom tomatoes are super-delicious here, but cherry or regular tomatoes would also work great.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef (90% or better), preferably grass-fed
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 4 tomatoes, preferably locally-grown (because they taste soooo much better)
  • 1 avocado, washed, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 1 green onion, sliced (white and green parts)
  • 1 Tbsp. each lemon and lime zest
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • Plain Greek yogurt (optional)

Directions:

  1. Add lean beef to medium skillet and sprinkle with cumin, ground pepper and chili powder. Saute until cooked through.
  2. While beef is cooking, wash and core tomatoes, then cut into 8 wedges. Prepare avocado, green onions, lemon and lime zest and cut lime into 4 wedges.
  3. Lay tomatoes onto four separate plates, then sprinkle cooked ground beef over tomatoes, and garnish with avocados, green onions and zest. Sprinkle with sea salt and squeeze a lime over each serving. Add a few dollops of optional plain Greek yogurt if desired.

zesty_tomato_taco_salad

For more awesome lean beef recipes, check out the link below! 

Toasted Coconut Cashew Butter {Recipe ReDux}

Wow! I can’t believe it’s already May 21. That means t-minus one week until yours truly’s birthday AND it’s Recipe ReDux time! This month we were tasked with showcasing kitchen staples that we now make from scratch – but in the past purchased.

For me, that’s got to be nut butters. Ever since discovering how easy it was to make nut butter thanks to my Homemade Nutella recipe from a previous Recipe ReDux, I’ve been making a new type of nut butter weekly.

And I literally have to make a new jar weekly. The boyfriend likes to eat massive spoonfuls straight out of the jar, so we go through nut butters pretty quickly in our household. [I also eat it straight from the jar but in much smaller, daintier bites.]

coconut_cashew_butter

After making some bomb almond butter (#nerd) and delicious peanut butter, it was time for the big dog: CASHEW BUTTER.

This started out as one-ingredient cashew butter, but as the butter was “churning” in my food processor, the evil genius in me came out and I felt compelled to elevate the butta’ with, what else but unsweetened shredded coconut. Because coconut is delicious and full of healthy fat (yes, saturated fats can be healthy too). And because I’ve been wanting coconut in everything lately.

Whatever you do, please, pleeaasseee don’t be intimidated by “homemade nut butter” — it’s super-easy and while it takes about 10 minutes to get all dreamy and creamy, it only takes about 2 minutes of hands-on time and the flavor combinations are endless. Add some cinnamon, smoked sea salt, ginger or go savory with paprika, curry or rosemary. This is your nut butter party and you’ll add what you want to.

Toasted Coconut Cashew Butter

This really is amazing straight out of the jar, but is also fantastic drizzled over Greek yogurt, as a dip for fruit (pears are especially delicious) or as part of the most insane-good cashew butter and jelly sandwich known to man.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. raw, unsalted cashews
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp. sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lay cashews on a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, or until fragrant. toasted_coconut_cashew_butter
  2. Let cashews cool for about 15 minutes (or longer) — they get hot in the food processor so the cooler they are, the better.
  3. Add to food processor and process for about 10 minutes, or until it forms a creamy butter. See stages of nut butter chart below.
  4. Once cashews form a creamy butter, add coconut and sea salt and process another 2-3 minutes.

stages_nut_butter

STAGES OF NUT BUTTER

  1. Intact Nuts
  2. Nut Meal/Flour
  3. Giant blob of nut butter (it helps to smash this apart a couple times)
  4. Creamy, dreamy nut butter

Check out more amazing homemade creations from the talented Recipe ReDuxers by clicking the icon below. Enjoy!

Low Carbohydrate, Low Calorie Pasta

My favorite boss and fellow foodie got me what I believe is the greatest kitchen gadget of all time (lots of hyperboles there): the Spiral Slicer, made by Chef Joyce Chen. This magical thing device essentially can turn any cylindrical vegetable (e.g. zucchini, squash, carrots, cucumbers, etc.) into ribbons or spaghetti. The spiral slicer takes cooking time out of the equation and will save valuable time. Plus, keeping the vegetables raw helps preserve nutrients that can be lost during the cooking process.

It is incredibly easy to use, too (and so is clean up). Just cut your veggie into smaller — no more than 3″ long — pieces, place in the center of the device, put the lid on and turn the lever at the top. Here are some visuals to give you a better idea of how it works:

spiral_slicer

 

vegetable_spaghetti

I would love to show you a picture of the finished product, but since I ate it all while taste testing, AKA stuffing my face, I’ll tell you about it instead.

Mix balsamic vinegar and olive oil into the “spaghetti,” add sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan cheese (NO GREEN TUBES — use the good kind!), fresh basil, crushed garlic and salt and pepper to taste. You can also add in chicken, fish or steak — or garbanzo beans for a vegetarian option — to amp up the protein and satiating factor of the dish.

I’ve also tried it with teriyaki sauce and ginger, topped with grilled salmon, but the sun-dried tomato creation was my favorite.

Regardless, vegetable-based “pasta” is low in carbohydrates and calories, high in fiber and other nutrients and a great new way to get your daily vegetables.

 

What other non-traditional “pastas” have you tried?