Beefing it up

Alabama Living Magazine

Food styling and photos: Brooke Echols

For sheer deliciousness, it’s hard to beat the aroma of a juicy steak or hamburger cooking on the grill. Steak and burgers are just a few of the many ways to enjoy beef, which is second only to broilers as a top farm commodity in Alabama. In fact, ground beef was the most popular type of this popular meat submitted in recipes for this month’s “Cook of the Month” contest. Our friends at the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association weren’t surprised to hear that, as “Ground beef accounts for more than 50 percent of all beef sales in the U.S.,” says Kayla Greer, director of communications. “It’s certainly the most popular cut!”  Ground beef is also probably the most versatile cut, as you’ll see in the reader-submitted recipes ranging from chili, to meatballs, to soup and stroganoff. A beef cow has several cuts of meat to appeal to a variety of tastes and menu options, from chuck, sirloin, round, shank, flank and brisket to the numerous cuts of steak alone, from Porterhouse to filet mignon. Beef remains a top choice for protein as part of a healthy, balanced diet: a 3-ounce serving of beef provides more than 10 essential nutrients, and about half your daily value for protein, according to the website, beefitswhatsfordinner.com. The site also has dozens of recipes for all cuts of beef, as well as nutrition guidelines and safety tips on cooking and storing beef safely.


Cook of the Month: Kirk Vantrease, Cullman EC

Beef Oxtail Stew

  • 12 beef oxtail cuts
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped 
  • 32 ounces beef stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon wine
  • 12 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 stick butter 
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Dust the oxtail with flour and place in a large skillet with the canola oil on medium-high heat. Turn the oxtail to get a good sear on them. Remove the oxtail and place into crockpot. Add carrots, onions, mushrooms, celery and butter to the skillet and sauté until tender. Pour veggies into crockpot and add beef stock, water, wine, tomato paste, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook low and slow for 8 hours. Stir every hour.


Beef Stroganoff

  • 16 ounces lean ground beef
  • 8 ounce box Banza noodles
  • 1½ cups Primal Kitchen Foods Cashew Alfredo Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 stalks green onion, sliced using only the green portion
  • Salt, pepper, and garlic salt, to taste

Sauté ground beef in pan on medium heat until meat is cooked all the way through, about 5-7 minutes. While meat is cooking, boil a pot of water and cook Banza noodles. If you’ve never cooked with these before, they cook a lot faster than regular noodles. They only need to boil about 3-4 minutes. Stop once they get soft or they will become mushy. Strain and rinse noodles with water. Dump noodles into pan with cooked ground beef. Add in Primal Kitchen Sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon, and salt, pepper and garlic salt to taste. Mix until warm. Top with sliced green onion. Optional: Fresh parsley also goes great on top.

Kelli Bettridge, Baldwin EMC


Beef Vegetable Soup

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 32 ounces tomato juice
  • 2 packs Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 large potatoes, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 14.5-ounce can lima beans
  • 1 14.5-ounce can Veg-All
  • 1 14.5-ounce can cut green beans
  • 1 14.5-ounce can corn
  • 1 14.5-ounce can green peas

Cook ground beef with onion over medium heat until done, drain. Add tomato juice and soup mix, stir until combined over medium heat. Add all canned vegetables including water. Add fresh potatoes and carrots. Stir until thoroughly combined. Cook over medium-low heat 30 minutes without lid. Serve with your favorite cornbread recipe.

Iris C. Holley, Cullman EC


Porcupine Meatballs

  • 1-2 pounds ground chuck
  • 1 box beef flavored Rice-A-Roni
  • Salt

In a large bowl, combine Rice-A-Roni and ground chuck. Mix together very well. Form into 1-inch balls. Add 3 tablespoons of corn or vegetable oil into a large skillet or Dutch oven. Place meatballs in the oil one at a time until the bottom of the pan is covered. Brown on both sides until all meatballs are browned. Add 3 cups water and packet of seasoning from Rice-A-Roni. Stir gently until mixed well, making its own gravy.

Wanda Monk, Cullman EC


Bean Burgers

  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup Glory Goods seasoned southern-style great northern beans, completely drained and mashed with a fork
  • ¼ cup Rotel diced tomatoes, 
  • completely drained
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • ½ cup Panko Japanese style bread crumbs
  • 4 slices American cheese singles
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • Optional toppings: ranch dressing, lettuce, remaining Rotel tomatoes, onion and bread and butter pickles

Spray grill with cooking spray. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. In a bowl, stir together beef, cumin, mashed beans, tomatoes, egg and Panko crumbs. Divide mixture into four portions and shape into patties. Let patties cook 5 minutes before trying to turn them over. Grill until a meat thermometer registers 160 degrees. Top each patty with one slice of cheese and remove from grill. Grill buns until toasted 1-2 minutes per side. Yield: 4 servings. Note: must use Glory Goods northern beans. 

Teresa Hubbard, Franklin EC


Beef Barley Soup

  • ½ pound ground beef
  • 2½ cups cold water
  • 1 14.5-ounce can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup quick-cooking barley
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ pound Velveeta, cubed

Brown ground beef; drain. Stir in everything except cheese. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes. Uncover and stir in cheese until melted.

Colleen Vines, Joe Wheeler EMC


The Buttered Home

Beef is one of our favorite staples at The Buttered Home. There is no end to what you can do with it. It’s a versatile and delicious addition to any meal! This month, we’re sharing  one of our favorite ways to make it. It is simple, yet complex in flavor and its easy on the waistline, too! Pair it with a salad and you have a well-balanced meal of lean proteins and healthy veggies. And if you want to not be concerned with all that business, it sure serves up nice with cooked pasta, a toasted open-face bun or even delicious homemade mashed potatoes!

Hamburger Skillet with Mushrooms and Spinach

Photo by The Buttered Home
  • 1 pound lean ground beef 
  • ½ cup chopped onion 
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms  
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic 
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt 
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper 
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese 

   Brown meat and drain. Cook onion and mushrooms until softened. Return meat to pan. Season with salt, pepper and garlic. 

   Clear space in the middle of pan. Add eggs in that space. Cook eggs until firm, pulling in some meat mixture a little at a time. Mix well once eggs are cooked.

   Add spinach and fold in. Cook until wilted. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.


Submit to win $50!

Recipes can be developed by you or family members. You may even adapt a recipe from another source by changing as little as the amount of one ingredient. Chosen cooks may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year. To be eligible, submissions must include a name, phone number, mailing address and co-op name. Alabama Living reserves the right to reprint recipes in our other publications.

Themes and Deadlines:

August: Peppers | May 6

September: Finger Foods | June 3

October: Sweet Potatoes | July 1

3 ways to submit:

Online: alabamaliving.coop

Email: recipes@alabamaliving.coop

Mail:  Attn: Recipes 

           P.O. Box 244014 

           Montgomery, AL 36124

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