4/11/16

0 5 Rules for Cooking With Grass Fed Beef



May contain affiliate links.  Please refer to my disclosure policy

I had the opportunity to try cooking some beef from the Jones Creek Beef company, a local company that has their product in Walmart and other stores nationwide

What does "grass fed" mean? Jones Creek Beef raises their cattle from birth to harvest, in its natural environment, a grassy pasture, left alone to graze to its hearts content. Cows are meant to eat grass and most beef marketed to the consumer is fed on grain. 

Grass fed beef from Jones Creek is:
  • lower in total fat, so it requires a different approach to cooking
  • lower in saturated fats
  • higher in vitamin E
  • higher in B vitamins
  • higher in minerals, calcium, magnesium and potassium
  • higher in total omega-3 healthy fatty acids
  • NO growth hormones or steroids 
I was so excited to try their chuck roast, and used my tried and true method of cooking it. Much to my dismay, it cooked faster than I expected, leaving me with a very well done roast. This is NOT the fault of the meat ~ I made the mistake of not being educated about cooking grass fed beef. If you follow these 5 rules, you will have a tender and tasty cut of meat.



Rule # 1 - Preparation is Key
Never, ever thaw out your grass fed beef in the microwave. Allow it to thaw in the refrigerator, which may take up to 3 days, depending on the size of the package.

Bring your meat come to room temperature by letting it sit on the counter for at least 30 minutes. This prevents the meat from being "shocked" when browned/seared over high heat.

Use a marinade (2 T. olive oil rubbed on the meat; sit for 2 hours at room temp or overnight in the fridge) to keep the meat from drying out. Grass fed beef is naturally lean. You can also use a needle meat tenderizer to allow heat, marinade, and allow your meat to cook more uniformly. Using these methods will also reduce the cooking time.

Rule # 2 - Cooking Temperature is Important
Preheat your oven, pan or grill before cooking. When grilling, sear each side QUICKLY over med-high heat to seal in juices then reduce to a MEDIUM or LOW heat for finish. When roasting, sear each side of the beef in a light oil, then bake in a covered oven safe dish. Low and slow is the way to go. A general rule of thumb is to reduce the temperature by at least 50 degrees. For roasts, bake at 225 degrees or in a crock pot on low. Time is dependent on the weight of the cut.

Rule # 3 - Adjust your cooking time
Grass feed beef is high in protein, low in fat, will cook in 30% less time and will continue to cook when removed from the heat source. Resting meat will typically rise up to 10°F-15°F in temperature in 8-10 minutes. Resting also allows the juices in the meat to redistribute, allowing for a juicy, tender piece of meat. 


Rule # 4 - Don't Lose Precious Moisture
Never use a fork to turn your beef or juices/moisture will be lost. Use tongs instead.

Rule # 5 - Check Internal Temperature 
Use a thermometer for consistent results. Grass fed beef can go from perfectly cooked to overcooked in less than a minute. Grass fed beef is very lean and the internal temps for doneness are lower than the USDA recommendations. Remember to remove the meat from the heat source 10°F-15°F before your desired final temp. 
  • Rare 120°F
  • Medium Rare 125°F
  • Medium 130°F
  • Medium Well 135°F
  • Well 140°F
Now that I understand more about grass fed beef, I am excited to try their steaks, ground beef and roasts!  Stay tuned for some yummy recipes!

Want to see Jones Creek Beef in your area? Simply down load this pdf, fill it out and give it to your meat manager:





4/5/16

0 5 Minute Homestyle Mac N Cheese?




Hot, cheesy goodness with a buttered bread crumb topping. 

It is one of the few comfort foods that can immediately transport any grown adult into their childhood with the very first bite...

Having owned a pressure cooker for several years, it has only been in the last couple of years that I have expanded my repertoire of recipes using my Cuisinart electric pressure cooker. Now, I own an Instant Pot pressure cooker. Yep! Electric pressure cookers are a really cool kitchen tool! 

I have made veggies, meats, soups, and even *gasp* eggs & DESSERT using a pressure cooker, and recipes for macaroni and cheese have been on my mind.

Really?  Can you cook pasta in a pressure cooker? 

The answer is YES. I have used Country Pasta, a thick, homestyle egg noodle that is superb in my Creamy Chicken Noodle soup.  These noodles typically take 18-20 minutes to cook, but using a pressure cooker, they only take 6 minutes!

Cooking pasta on the stove top only takes about 10-12 minutes of cooking time, so how does the pressure cooker stand up?

My son made a Mac N Cheese recipe from scratch and told me it took 45 minutes, from start to finish. Let's see if this recipe can cut our time, yet still retain its cheesy flavor.

When I make a recipe for the first time, I halve it if possible. When you use your pressure cooker, you need to have at least 1 cup of liquid in it, or it won't come up to pressure. The electric pressure cooker will automatically turn off if you have too much liquid or not enough in it. Cool, huh?


Watch the video or read along. I promise you won't be disappointed!


Dry macaroni and water go straight into the pot. Add salt and dry mustard powder for seasonings. Yes, mustard powder sounds weird, but trust me, it works. Doesn't overpower the dish and adds a depth to the mac n cheese. 

Cover, lock, and align the pressure gauge with the dots. Set pressure to HIGH and the timer for 5 minutes. If you like your noodles more al dente, choose 4 minutes. 

It took 4 minutes to bring to pressure. 

At the 5 minute mark, QUICK release (in short spurts) the gauge and let all the steam release, about 1 minute. 

**NOTE: Some brands of pasta will foam and when you do a quick release, it may SPEW out of the release valve, spraying noodle/water everywhere. You can add 1 tablespoon of oil to your mac/water before cooking to reduce foaming issues. Also, do the Quick Release in short, quick spurts. That will help.

Wow. The noodles absorbed all the liquid and they were perfect. Al dente.


Add evaporated milk to your pasta. Evaporated milk has about 60% off the water removed, resulting in a creamy style milk. Stir and watch till the milk begins to thicken, about 2-3 minutes. 

Add your shredded cheese, handful by handful, till melty. This is the beauty of this recipe. You can add whatever cheeses you like: white cheddar, sharp cheddar, Colby, jack, pepper jack....

I used a combo of Cheddar/Jack. If you want your MacNCheese to be super creamy, use an American style cheese. *Do not use pre-shredded cheese. It is coated with potato starch that will make your mac n cheese grainy and gritty. 

**NOTE:  Your mac N cheese may appear soupy at first, but after stirring for a minute or two, it will thicken. You can turn on your browning/sauté setting, but stir constantly to avoid burning or scorching the bottom of the pan. 



Growing up, our Mac N Cheese had bread crumbs on top. Transfer your Mac N Cheese to an oven safe dish and liberally sprinkle bread crumbs on top. Kitchen Tip: I save the crusts from bread and freeze them. When I need bread crumbs, I break up a couple of crusts into a food processor and pulse till I see fine crumbs. Want an extra crispy topping? Use Panko bread crumbs, tossed with melted butter.

Put under an oven broiler for 2-3 minutes. Again, DO NOT WALK AWAY.... bread browns quickly, depending how far away it is from the broiler.


From start to finish, I had homestyle Mac N Cheese in less than 15 minutes. Sweet, huh?

No boil-over on the stove, no soggy noodles, and only one pan to clean up. 
Well, two...if you include the bowl I ate it in. 
This tastes SO much better than the blue box!

Creamy. 
Cheesy. 
Toasty breadcrumbs.

I'm a kid again.

Print Friendly and PDF PRESSURE COOK MAC N CHEESE

Adapted From Pressure Cooker Perfection

Ingredients
2 c. elbow macaroni (8oz)
2 c. water, or chicken broth (16 oz)
1 t. salt
1 t. dry mustard
pinch of Cayenne pepper (optional)
1 T. cooking oil to prevent foaming
12 oz. evaporated milk (1.5 cups)
1 c. sharp cheese, shredded by YOU
1 c. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (or any melting type cheese)
1 c. dried bread or Panko crumbs (optional)
2 T. butter, melted (optional)
*Optional Add ins:
15 oz can drained diced tomatoes to macaroni
8 oz cubed ham steak and/or ½ c. frozen peas with evaporated milk
8 oz. Keilbasa sausage, chopped
4 t. whole grain Dijon mustard with milk

Instructions

Pour water into pressure cooker. Add dry macaroni, salt, cooking oil, dry mustard and Cayenne pepper, if desired. 
Pressure cook on HIGH for 5 minutes, with a QUICK release. 
Pour evaporated milk over macaroni and stir for about 2 minutes. 
Turn PC off. Add cheese by handfuls till melted. 
If desired, put mac N cheese into an oven safe dish. Mix bread crumbs and melted butter and sprinkle on top. 
Broil in oven for 2-3 minutes until brown and toasty.

Serves 4-6
Recipe can be cut in half

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