When I was eleven, I declared myself to be a vegetarian. I don't remember why - it was likely the cool thing to do at the moment. My mother rolled her eyes at me but put on a brave face as she agreed to meatless spaghetti sauce and plenty of PB&J sandwiches and mac n' cheese.
My vegetarian period lasted three days. Turns out, McDonald's doesn't make a non-meat burger, and what's the point of eating just the fries? Since then, I've never been tempted to go meatless again.
My husband is even more of a meat lover than me. When we first met, I remember he described himself as a "carnivore" and declared that vegetables were "stuff that food ate." (Thankfully, he has since learned to embrace some vegetables to round out his diet.)
There are all kinds of exquisite cuts of beef out there, many touted as the best part of the cow, but today I'd like to pay homage to the lowly staple of ground beef. Ground beef is often seen as the cheap, red-headed step-child of the culinary world, reserved for such non-gourmet classics as casseroles, sloppy joes, and meatloaf. But ground beef has more uses beyond food your great-aunt Wanda would bring to the family cookout in her slow cooker. I'd argue ground beef is the most versatile cut of meat and deserves a lot more respect in the world of meat.
No matter what, my downfall will always be the cheeseburger. Give me a well-cooked patty of good beef, and I'll always show up for the party. Sure, there may be thousands of cheap burgers shoveled out in fast-food chains daily, but a burger is certainly not classless. Many of the fancier restaurants I've visited still have a burger on the menu, only it's better prepared and served on a higher quality bun with more exotic toppings. Dressed up well, a burger can be a work of art. (My fav? An American Kobe beef burger with portobello mushrooms. Yum...)
I've been bouncing around on the BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com website looking for more proof that ground beef can be stylish, and I found a recipe I had to share with you: Ground Beef Stuffed Peppers. Sounds wonderful, right?
First, I should state up-front that I prefer organic, grass-fed beef. Your tastes may differ, but for my family we find organic, grass-fed beef to have a richer flavor, and I like knowing it's free of all those pesky added hormones and antibiotics.
Here's the recipe for Beef Stuffed Peppers:
1 pound ground beef
4 medium green, red or yellow bell peppers
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup uncooked regular white rice
3 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) Italian-style stewed canned tomatoes, undrained
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Cut tops off bell peppers; remove seeds.
2. Combine ground beef, onion, rice, 3 tablespoons ketchup, salt, 1/2 teaspoon oregano and pepper in large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Spoon into peppers; stand peppers in 8 x 8-inch baking dish.
3. Combine sauce ingredients; pour over peppers. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake in 350°F oven 1-1/2 hours, until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of pepper registers 160°F.
I'm making it again tonight, and will have photos of my dinner in tomorrow's post, along with another favorite recipe of mine. So be sure to check back to see if this domestic zero can make it look anything like the professional photo!
You can find hundreds more recipes at Beef It's What's For Dinner, along with cooking guides, videos, and tips on how to select and prepare various cuts of beef.
Now it's your turn to share, and in return I've got a $100 Omaha Steaks gift card to give to one lucky reader!
How to enter: I may love ground beef, but that doesn't mean it's your favorite cut of the cow. Take a look at Beef It's What's For Dinner and browse their recipe section - you can search by cut of beef, cooking style or type of cuisine. Then come back here and leave me a comment with a link to a recipe you'd love to try from the site and a quick story about a favorite meal or memory involving beef. This entry is required.
For an additional entries:
1. Tweet about this contest with a link back to this post and include @mommystory in your tweet. You must leave a separate comment with a link to your tweet for your entry to count.
2. Follow @BeefForDinner on twitter.
3. On Facebook, become a fan of Beef It's What's For Dinner.
4. Write a blog post about a favorite beef dish with a link to Beef It's What's For Dinner and this post.
**For all of these additional entries, be sure to leave a separate comment for each method of entry!
Entries will be accepted until Sunday, February 28, 2010 at 11:59PM EST. One winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) and contacted by e-mail. Winner must respond within three days or another winner will be chosen. Please be sure you leave a valid e-mail address in your comment entries.
Good luck and good eating!
Full disclosure: I wrote this review while working on a “I Heart Beef” campaign with TheMotherhood.com on behalf of The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. I was compensated for my time and given the gift card as a giveaway for one reader. All opinions are my own, however, including my true love for a good cheeseburger.