Beefy Mexican Lasagna

Back to school time calls for hearty meals that are tasty and satisfying. This is a family favorite my mother found in a community newsletter several years ago.

Ingredients:
1.5 pounds ground beef
1 medium yellow or red onion
9 corn or 5 flour tortillas
2 10 oz cans mild enchilada sauce
1 (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 t. cumin
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
crushed tortilla chips

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Brown ground beef and onion in skillet.
2. Combine in a large bowl- black beans, corn and cumin, mix well.
3. Spray 11 3/4″x 7 1/2″ baking dish with non-stick spray. Arrange 2-3 tortillas on the bottom, cutting as needed. Spread 1/3 of meat/ onion mixture and 1/3 of bean/ corn mixture over tortillas. Repeat 2 more times until all ingredients are used. Top with enchilada sauce.
4. Cover with foil. Back 30 minutes.
5. Uncover. Top with cheese, cilantro and tortilla chips. Return to oven for about 5 minutes to melt cheese.
6. Enjoy with green salad, hot veggies and dessert.

Additional info: This can be put together in the morning and stored in the refrigerator until afternoon. Cooking time may be increased a few minutes.

Hope you enjoy this,

Rachael

Labor Day Beef Kabobs

Happy Labor Day, beef lovers! Although it is nice to have a day off work and without classes, Labor day always brings a little air of sadness because it officially signifies that summer has ended, school has begun, and fall is already in the air. So as one final tribute to summer, let’s cook up one of the most treasured summer time recipes; Beef Kabobs!Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 7.53.17 AM

Teriyaki Beef Kabobs
Ingredients
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 lb boneless beef top sirloin
1 (19 ounce) can pineapple, drained
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
4 skewers

1.) Cut your beef into bite sized cubes

2.) Whisk brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, and ground ginger together in a bowl; pour into a gallon-sized sealable plastic bag. Add beef, coat with the marinade, squeeze out excess air, and seal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours, flipping the bag several times as the meat marinates.

3.) Begin soaking your skewers in water; this will prevent them from burning when on the grill.

4.) Prepare your fruits and vegetables by cutting them into cubes about the same size as your beef.

5.) After 2 hours, remove your beef from the marinade and discard the remaining juices.

6.) Thread beef, pineapple, green bell pepper, and red bell pepper onto skewers.

7.) Cook the skewers on the preheated grill, turning frequently until nicely browned on all sides, and the meat is no longer pink in the center; 10 to 15 minutes.

Although Labor Day is supposed to be a day where we put all work aside and take a break, we all know that farmers and ranchers are still out in the fields and pastures from dusk until dawn. To agriculturalists everywhere, I raise my Kabob to you!

All for the Love of Beef,
Sierra Jepsen

Rump Roast Recipe

A few days ago, my mom asked me if I would cook dinner for the family. I agreed, but was slightly nervous. What should I cook? Will they like it? Then it hit me: I needed to use beef! Nutritious, delicious, and always a crowd-pleaser (if you call the 5 members of my family a crowd–I do). I went to the grocery store and whipped out my iPhone to check www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com‘s butcher counter for some inspiration and recipes. I scanned the meat options at the grocery store, and saw that a 3 lb rump roast was on sale. Perfect! After consulting the website, I decided to put a rub on it and roast it in the oven. Here’s what I did:

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Some of the rub ingredients

The Rub:

  • 3 tbsp. Garlic Salt
  • 1 tbsp. Dark Roast Coffee
  • 2 tsp. Basil
  • 1 tsp. Ground Celery Seed
  • 3 tsp. Cracked Black Pepper
  •  2 tsp. Chili Powder
  • 4 cloves freshly minced garlic
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Notice the thermometer in the side of the roast for a more accurate reading. Yum!

After applying the rub, I wrapped the meat tightly in cling wrap and put it in the refrigerator for 2.5 hours (you can do more than that but that’s all I had time for).  I preheated the oven to 325°F. I read that the correct time to cook meat can roughly be determined by 30min/lb so I put the roast in for 1.5 hours. When it was done, I used an easy-read thermometer to check the temperature. It read 150 so it was just about perfect after that amount of time. I served the roast with diced roasted potatoes and a green salad. The meal was delicious and my family definitely approved! 

The great thing about this recipe was that it took very little preparation and I was able to complete other chores while I was waiting for the rub to settle and the meat to cook. After it was done, I simply cut it thinly into pieces and served it up!

Happy Friday everyone!

 

Emma

Stuffed Bell Peppers: “College Kid Approved”

With classes starting up again this week at Ohio State, friends are back in town, and kickoff to football season drawing closer and closer, the last thing on my mind every night is what I’m going to make for supper; that is, until I’m digging hungrily through the pantry in my new college apartment, trying to piece together ingredients to make a decent meal for myself and my six roommates! Here is a quick and easy beef recipe that is college kid tested, approved, and highly recommended for when you need a late night, last minute dinner idea.
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Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ingredients:
4 large bell peppers (any color)
1 lb lean ground beef
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 cup cooked rice
1 teaspoon salt
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (3 oz)

1.) Remove the top of the peppers and cut in half so you have a pepper “boat.”  Remove seeds and membranes; rinse peppers. In a 4-quart pot, add enough water to cover peppers. Heat to boiling; add peppers. Cook about 2 minutes, then drain.

2.) In skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes until beef is brown; drain. Stir in rice, salt, and 1 cup of the tomato sauce; cook until hot.

3.) Heat oven to 350°F.

4.) Fill peppers with beef mixture. Place in ungreased 8-inch square glass baking dish. Pour remaining tomato sauce over peppers.

5.) Cover tightly with foil. Bake 10 minutes. Uncover and bake about 15 minutes longer or until peppers are tender; sprinkle with cheese.

Serve with garlic bread, and enjoy!

All for the Love of Beef,
Sierra Jepsen

What do Gordon Ramsey and Boiling Water Have In Common?

I have a confession….or rather a few…

I am COMPLETELY addicted to cooking shows!

There are few things I love more than curling up on the couch to watch a season of drama, deliciousness, and all-out culinary war as chefs compete to be the next Top Chef, Cooking Star, or whatever new title they’ve come up with to battle it out for. However, even while being the big Masterchef fan that I am I’ve never really considered myself much of a “master” in the kitchen. In fact, up until this past year all you would catch me making would be something to the equivalent of Mac and Cheese, pasta, or anything else that didn’t require more skill than boiling water. In truth, even now as I have gained a lot more experience in the kitchen and a lot more tips and tricks on how to cook beef, it’s still a bit of an insecurity of mine. If I’m being completely honest, it feels a little odd giving cooking advice to others at retail events when I still feel so new to it myself. The truth of the matter is we all have some insecurity when it comes to the kitchen (even if you really are the next Masterchef). I mean even well known, talented cooks like Gordon Ramsey have to learn from someone, and I guarantee it took years of training and instruction before any of them had become confident in their abilities. Point is whether you’re a master in the kitchen or just starting out, there is something we all can love about beef. This week I’ll be starting a new segment focused on all things beef in the kitchen. I hope no matter what your experience level you find these blogs insightful, refreshing, or at the very least find yourself reminded of when you first began cooking (or in my case, boiling water). Tune in tomorrow for #meatcutmonday and share your favorite cut of beef on social media!

Peace, Love, and Beef!!

Tori

Norwegian Agriculture

Last week, I had the opportunity to travel to Norway with my grandparents and aunt. While it was a leisurely trip (a graduation present from my grandparents), I couldn’t help but notice all the agriculture that was around us throughout our journey. I was very curious as to what Norway’s leading agricultural commodities were, so when I got home I did some research. Norway isn’t known for its agricultural production–in all honestly, Norway is mainly known for being cold and for the fjords (which are outstandingly awesome), but they do have some interesting production methods.

Norwegian Red Cow

Horned Telemark Cow

Fjords of Norway

Agriculture in Norway only accounts for 3% of the annual Gross Domestic Production, and only 2% of the land there is cultivated as farmland (roughly 2,000,000 acres) due to the cold climate and rocky, mountainous terrain. The leading crops in Norway are barley, wheat, oats, and potatoes.  A survey conducted in 2000 showed that there were 2.5 million sheep, 998,000 cattle, and 768,000 hogs in the nation. Over 95% of the farms in Norway are less than 125 acres in size including pastures and meadows. Hiring help is very difficult, mostly because laborers see no long term advantages to working on farms, so many farming families pursue other occupations, such as ones in forestry and fishing.  Two breeds of cattle originated in Norway: Norwegian Red and Telemark. Norwegian Red cattle are used for dairy, and are desirable for their wide range of health and fertility traits. Telemark cattle are also primarily a milking breed, but do not grow to be very large. Though Norway does produce some agricultural products domestically, a majority of their food and ag commodity sources are imported.

I had such a great time in Norway and loved learning about their agricultural production methods. While it’s a beautiful country, I am glad to be home to our ranch in California.

 

Have a great week!

 

Emma

Why Science Matters: Research

There are three main concerns that we as consumers should have as we analyze the research that is being done in beef science. The first is safety. Does more research increase the safety of the beef that you and I purchase from the grocery store? Secondly, does advancements in science and technology lead to a product that is of greater of lesser quality? And finally, does research contribute to a safe, high quality product at a lower cost?

For more information on studies from A&M: http://animalscience.tamu.edu/livestock-species/beef/research/

For more information on studies from A&M: http://animalscience.tamu.edu/livestock-species/beef/research/

When considering the first issue of safety there are several contributing factors that should be talked about. One study by Texas A&M studied the effect of a feed yard ration that contained ethanol co-products and the prevalence of salmonella as a result. The study is significant in several regards, but the results which concluded that feeding wet distillers grain (a co-product of producing ethanol) did not lead to an increase in salmonella allow farmers to have confidence in using wet distillers grain as a feed for their cattle. If the results would have show a risk of higher contamination then action would have been taken to stop using those feeds. It is this type of research that might seem like a minor discovery, but they are actually ensuring a safe beef product for you and I to consume. There are countless studies concerning food safety that directly impact that quality of the food we eat.
Beef Cattle being fed Wet Distillers Grain

Beef Cattle being fed Wet Distillers Grain


One form of technology that has led producers to identify superior genetic is ultrasound. Now its not what your thinking. Ultrasound technology is used to detect pregnancy, but it has several uses in carcass analysis. With the use of ultrasound a live animal can be measured for certain characteristics that previously required post slaughter analysis. By ultra sounding the rib eye for example, a bull can be selected that will sire progeny with higher carcass quality. What does that mean for you at the grocery store? It means that beef producers are better able to select cattle with genetics that will produce a larger, more evenly marbled steak. ultrasound_title_image
At the end of the day, whether or not new research is interesting to you, what is significant is the result of that research. The hope and intention of advancements and research is to increase efficiency, reduce inputs for the producer, and make a safer, higher quality steak for you and I.

Beef & Blessings,

Rachael

#ManCrushMonday – Baxter Black

Cow Attack – By Baxter Black

Reciting "Cow Attack" from memory with Baxter Black has been one of my favorite memories this year.

Reciting “Cow Attack” from memory with Baxter Black has been one of my favorite memories this year.

“What happened to your pickup seat? Is that a buffalo track?”
Well, I guess you had to be there. We had a cow attack.
It all began when me and Roy went out to check the cows.
We’d finished lunch and watched our “soap” and forced ourselves to rouse.

We”s pokin’ through the heavy bunch for calves to tag and check.
I spotted one but his ol’ mom was bowin’ up her neck.
She pawed the ground and swung her head a-slingin’ froth and spit
Then bellered like a wounded bull. “Say, Roy,” I says, “Let’s quit!”

But Roy was bent on taggin’ him and thought to make a grab.
“Just drive up there beside the calf, I’ll pull him in the cab.”
Oh, great. Another stroke of genius, of cowboy derring-do.
Sure-’nuff when Roy nabbed the calf, his mamma came in too.

And I do mean climbed up in there! Got a foot behind the seat
Punched a horn right through the windshield and she wasn’t very neat.
She was blowin’ stuff out both ends till the cab was slick and green
It was on the floor and on the roof and on the calf vaccine.

If you’ve been inside a dryer at the local laundromat
With a bear and 50 horseshoes then you know just where I’s at.
At one point she was sittin’ up, just goin’ for a ride
But then she tore the gun rack down. The calf went out my side.

I was fightin’ with my door lock which she’d smashed a-passin’ by
When she peeked up through the steering wheel and looked me in the eye.
We escaped like paratroopers out the window, landed clear.
But the cow just kept on drivin’,’cause the truck was still in gear.

She topped a hump and disappeared.The blinker light came on
But if she turned I never saw, by then the truck was gone.
I looked at Roy,”My truck is wrecked. My coveralls are soaked.
I’ll probably never hear again. I think my elbow’s broke.

“And look at you–yer pitful. All crumpled up and stiff
Like you been et by wild dogs and pooped over a cliff.”
“But think about it,” Roy said. “Since Grampa was alive,
I b’lieve that that’s the firstest time I’ve seen a cattle drive.”

The Values of Growing Up as a Ranch Kid

If you could take a look at my house right now, it would be needless to say, I’ve been packing for college this week.  It is such an exciting time for me, but also a time for me to reminisce on the past 18 years of my life.  Growing up on my family’s ranch, I have never moved or had a dynamic change in what I considered “home.”  Home has always been in the middle of a pasture surrounded by livestock; 10 miles from the closest neighbor.  But now “home,” will be considered my new college dorm room, in the middle of a town I have only been to a few times, with a “neighbor” just across my room.

I consider myself extremely blessed to grow up the way I did.  Not only was it a fun place to grow up, but it also taught me numerous life lessons and values.

  1. No one knows hard work like a farm/ranch kid does.  From early mornings to the middle of the night I’ve been helping alongside my family.    Sometimes in the summer heat and other times it has been below freezing and blowing snow, but work still has to be done.  Not only was hard work a given, you aren’t paid either.

2. You learn to appreciate Mother Nature.  Mother Nature can make or break you each year.    Whether it is Christmas morning or the 4th of July you NEVER complain when it rains, because we’ve seen what a drought can do.  When school was canceled for a snow day, while most of my friends would spend the day watching movies or sledding, not us.  We were helping put out hay and break water for the livestock.  Mother Nature can bring you the greatest blessings and the worst destructions.  Either way you develop a huge respect for Mother Nature.

  1. You know the meaning of team work more than any of your friends on the basketball team.  Team work isn’t just a game on the farm/ranch, it’s a necessity, and without everyone pulling their weight it can’t be done. Working with my family can sometimes be a real challenge, but we learn to work together, as a team.

4. Time is yet a number.  While I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have a set time for lunch, dinner, or bed time, I have never know what this was like.  Many nights my family doesn’t eat supper until 10 o’clock because we were still outside doing chores, but other nights we might eat supper at 6 o’clock because it was an early morning and everyone is exhausted.  Either way, you learn to go with the flow, you usually don’t even ask what time it is, because it really doesn’t matter until you have finished the chores for the day.  Sometimes livestock don’t quite work on the same time clock as we do.

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  1. A driver’s license doesn’t mean much.  I first learned to drive when I was about five; yes I was five driving across a pasture, by myself.   Driving was a rite of passage at a very young age.  Driver’s Ed was a breeze, by the time I was 15 I had almost a good decade of driving under my belt.  Not only do you learn to drive at a young age, you also learn to ride a horse, learn to ear tag new calves, call cows in (because most time the siren doesn’t work), and countless other tasks around the ranch.  If you were old enough to walk you were old enough to help do chores.
  2. You develop a passion and respect for agriculture.  Growing up on a farm/ranch, agriculture is your family’s way of life.  Generation after generation has tended to the land and livestock in a sustainable and responsible manor; you learn that it is your job as the next generation to do the same.

I am beyond excited to leave for college tomorrow, but I know I will truly miss the life I have come to love so much and the beauty of the rolling planes.

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Beef & Blessings,

Justana

 

A Summer Worth Working For – Part 2

Earlier this summer, I introduced you to a few young agriculturalists from around the U.S who were all embarking on summer internships. Throughout the past 12 weeks, these college students have immersed themselves in new cultures, explored potential career opportunities, and devoted themselves to their work. As their internships came to an end this past week, I had the chance to ask them the question, “What has this experience meant to you?”IMG_3073-2

“It’s always been my goal to have a career with a purpose. Having this internship on the Crop Insurance team has been so fulfilling because I have been able to find that purpose and make a difference by protecting farmers from losses.” –Joanna King, Crop Insurance Intern with Farm Credit Mid-America.
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“Traveling half way across the country to work for Monsanto has taught me more about corn, Texas, Monsanto, and myself than I ever expected. This internship gave me the opportunity to start my professional career in agriculture and truly contribute to my team in Texas. The people I have met and the knowledge I have gained this summer will continue to help me along the way as I hope to continue my career with Monsanto.” – Seth Erwin, Field Sales Intern with Monsanto.
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“Working for Harris Ranch this summer has been incredible for a myriad of reasons, but gaining the hands on experience in the final stages of the beef production cycle; learning or being instructed in Spanish rather than my first language; and building relationships with all of the people I had the privilege to work with and learn from were the top three aspects I loved the most.” – Gabriella De Simone, Harris Ranch Intern.
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As for me, working with the Certified Angus Beef® brand has taught me to never underestimate the amount of work that goes into transitioning beef from the pasture to the plate.  While it may take 18 months to raise one beef animal, a chef only has four minutes to make it great.  I have greatly enjoyed my time working with the Public Relations team and further recognizing the importance of meeting the needs of consumers and understanding how we can better serve them in the future.

Internships are truly one of the best parts of the college experience. Thank you for allowing Joanna, Seth, Gabriella and I to share our favorite moments from our internships, which made this summer worth working for.

All for the Love of Beef,
Sierra Jepsen