It is easy to find information warning about the adverse effects of red meat consumption and how bad it is for cardiovascular systems, contributes to causing cancer and packs on the pounds. So, what’s a person to do if, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t give up a good steak every now and then? The solution is to find out the healthiest way to prepare that steak.
The average American eats about half a pound of red meat daily. I’m fairly certain that’s too much. On an every-day basis, I’ve decided to consider a juicy steak a treat. Rather than have it take up the largest area of my plate, I honor it as an exotic side dish to the vegetables taking center stage. I also select higher quality cuts of meat. This results in buying smaller portions to stay within my grocery budget. I only use red meat as a main course on special occasions. A special dinner party is when I let those T-bones or rack of lamb shine in the spotlight.
I also changed my thinking on how I prepare meat. Instead of consuming a whole pork chop all by myself, I cube it and toss it in a stir fry dish for four. That 12-ounce sirloin I’m drooling over? I grill it then slice it into strips and dress up a salad that will serve four to six people. In my new healthy diet plan, meat fades into the background, adding some texture and flavor, rather than being the main course. Instead, meat becomes the supporting cast member to the vegetables who are the real stars.
Growing up a Texas gal, I would have never believed I could make such a transformation. However, I no longer cry into your my apron as I contemplate sharing that thick, delicious ribeye. Here are a few recipes to get you started on your own meat minimalist meal plan:
Steak Salad (makes about 4 servings)
8 ounces of steak
6 cups of leafy green vegetables
½ cup chopped sweet bell pepper
½ cup chopped fresh herbs (such as mint or basil)
¼ cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped zucchini squash
Juice of 2 limes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 hot pepper (optional)
- Keeping the meat about four inches from the source of heat, grill or broil for about 10-15 minutes, turning once or twice. Timing and turning depends on thickness of cut. Reserving juice, set aside to cool as you prepare the vegetables.
- Toss vegetables and herbs in a bowl with a tablespoon of water.
- Slice beef thinly.
- Combine meat prep juice with olive oil, soy sauce and lime juice to make dressing.
- Slice pepper thinly.
- Lay beef slices over vegetable mixture.
- Drizzle dressing over entire mixture and serve with sliced peppers on the side.
Vegetable Beef Soup with Noodles (serves 6)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound of beef
2 large, coarsely chopped onions (one red, one white)
5 coarsely chopped carrots
5 coarsely chopped stalks of celery
2 large potatoes cut into bite-size chunks
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 large sprigs of thyme, chopped
4 ounces of egg noodles
- Heat oil in 6 quart pot on medium-high heat and sear beef until brown on all sides. It should take about ten minutes.
- Lower heat to medium and add vegetables. Sautee until golden brown, about another ten minutes.
- Add herbs and spices and sautee for another minute or two. Add water until all ingredients are covered and simmer, covered, for about one hour. Maybe longer, depending on the cuts of meat used.
- Remove meat and cut into bite size cubes and return to mixture.
- Prepare egg noodles according to package directions.
- Skim fat from meat and vegetables, add egg noodles and serve.
Meat Minimal Bolognese (serves 4)
1 pound of mushrooms, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 parsnip, chopped
1 medium sized zucchini, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces of lean ground beef
¼ cup tomato paste
½ cup red wine
3 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
¼ cup heavy cream
- Heat oil in large skillet over medium-low heat.
- Sautee vegetables until tender, about 15 minutes.
- Add beef and sautee additional 15 minutes.
- Stir in tomato paste and red wine, simmer additional 5 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, reduce heat, simmer until thickens, about 30 minutes.
- Stir in heavy cream, serve over pasta.
Skillet Tacos (serves 6)
8 ounces steak
Pinch of salt
Large pinch of black peppercorn, gently crushed or ground
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
1 cup corn
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
1 cup zucchini, chopped
1 cup yellow squash, chopped
½ cup leafy vegetable, shredded
½ cup onion, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of one lime
6 flour tortillas or 12 white corn tortillas
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees, place rack in lowest position.
- Heat pan in oven.
- Sprinkle steak with salt and pepper, add to hot pan.
- Roast for 3-5 minutes, turn, and roast 3-5 additional minutes.
- Remove beef from pan, transfer to cutting board and return pan to oven.
- Slice beef into thin strips and rub with any remaining salt and pepper.
- Toss bell peppers, corn, tomatoes, zucchini and squash with oil, spread into pan and roast in oven for about 5 minutes.
- Remove, mix roasted vegetables in bowl with sliced beef and sprinkle with lime juice.
- Serve with onion in warm tortillas (double corn tortillas)