FOOD: January a good time to restock your pantry, freezerJanuary is National Slow Cooker month and slow cookers can offer a solution to busy days when you don’t have much time to create a meal.
By: Holly Swee, SD Beef Industry Council
As we make our way through January, many of us are looking for easy ways to simplify our lives and sustain our healthy habits through the New Year. Why not start by taking a look at your pantry and refrigerator and literally begin by putting to work the old saying, “Out with the old and in with the new?”
Take a quick inventory of items on-hand. Make sure all the products are still in the recommended use-by-date timeframe. Then re-stock the pantry and refrigerator with healthy great-tasting ingredients to help make dinnertime a snap! Healthy meal options can be easily created with a little pre-planning and preparation. Beef is one of those easy go-to, yet nutritious, family-pleasing proteins that freezes well and pairs with many other meal components. When planning meals, keep in mind a healthy plate includes: lean protein, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat or nonfat dairy products.
Here are a few simple ways to pair beef with other ingredients and create nutritious meals for your family.
* Frozen vegetables are a freezer staple and help enhance any beef meal. Choose your favorite types and stock-up when there’s a sale. When mealtime approaches, you can grab what you’ve got and add it to any soup, casserole or have it simply as a side to any delicious beef entrée.
* Savory spices like chipotle chili powder, cumin and curry will provide lots of flavor in your healthy dishes, while keeping salt and fat to a minimum.
* Fresh or dried herbs, garlic and ginger can be used in so many ways to boost flavor in a healthy recipe. Fresh herbs have a way of making an everyday meal extra special.
* Frozen fruits are a wonderful option to have on hand for sweet endings to any meal. You can either thaw them or simply eat them partially frozen for a tasty treat.
January is National Slow Cooker month and slow cookers can offer a solution to busy days when you don’t have much time to create a meal. I suggest trying this Chilly Day Beef Chili recipe. This recipe would be great for any day of the week, but it would also make a wonderful addition at any Super Bowl party.
Holly Swee is the director of nutrition and consumer information for the South Dakota Beef Industry Council.
Chilly Beef Day Chili
Total recipe time: On high setting, 6-1/2 hours; On low setting, 9-1/2 hours
2-1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck or round, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cans (15-1/2 ounces each) black beans, rinsed, drained
1 can (15-1/2 ounces) chili-style tomato sauce with diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup prepared thick-and-chunky salsa
Shredded Cheddar cheese, diced red onion, diced green onion, diced avocado and dairy sour cream
1. Combine all ingredients except salsa and toppings in 4-1/2 to 5-1/2-quart slow cooker; mix well. Cover and cook on HIGH 5-1/2 to 6 hours, or on LOW 8 to 9 hours, or until beef is tender. (No stirring is necessary during cooking.)
2. Just before serving, stir in salsa; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until heated through. Serve with toppings, as desired.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
*Recipe courtesy of the Beef Checkoff Program