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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Red Meat, Do We Eat It?

My husband gave a talk to a high school pre-Ap biology class a couple of weeks ago and one of the questions from the teacher was, "Do you eat red meat?". The answer is somewhat complicated. Barry likes red meat and often orders a steak when we go out to eat. My children like beef too. I do not care for red meat as much and no one can beat me when it comes to turning a piece of beef into shoe leather. Since I do most of the cooking and shopping, that means we seldom eat beef. I almost always use ground turkey instead of hamburger in any recipe such as meatloaf, spaghetti or sloppy joes.

Since we eat so little red meat, I don't worry about whether it's healthy or not. However, I learned early on that a lean piece of meat will not make a good pot roast. That's the problem with beef. It can be tough and have less flavor without the fat or marbeling. Often, we make gravy or rich sauces when we cook beef, further adding to the fat content. Portions served of beef such as steak, tend to be much larger than chicken or fish portions. My conclusion is that beef can be a part of a healthy diet when portions are reasonable and it is eaten occasionally.

If you have never tried ground turkey in your cooking, I challenge you to try it soon. I'm sharing my favorite version of sloppy joes which can be whipped up quickly or even made ahead and warmed up on busy days. I served them last night with cole slaw for added taste and fiber. A side of fruit salad finished the meal.

Sloppy Joes
1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 chopped onion
1/2 chopped green pepper
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 cup ketchup
2 tsp. prepared mustard
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Comine beef, onion, green pepper and celery in a skillet and cook till meat is no longer pink. Drain excess fat. Stir in remaining ingredients and cook until heated through. Serve with slaw if desired, on buns.

I'll share a tip to reduce fat content after you have browned ground turkey or beef. Pour meat into a colander in the sink and rinse with water. Let drain well and return to pan to finish cooking.

Cilantro Slaw
1/4 cup fresh finely chopped cilantro or 1 to 2 tsp. dried
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
3 tbsp. reduced fat mayonaise
1 tbsp. white wine or rice wine vinegar
1 12 ounce package slaw mix
Whisk together first ingredients in a large bowl. Add slaw mix and toss to coat well.

This slaw has less fatty mayonaise than most slaw recipes. It gave our sandwiches a nice crunch and more fiber. I threw this dinner together quickly last night and put it in the fridge. Then I went to a Christmas concert at my daughter's school. My son, who stayed home to study, warmed up the sloppy joes when we were on the way home and we had a nice dinner.

The end of the year fast approaches and we all make New Year's resolutions. In some of my next blogs, we'll talk about exercise. It's so important to find an activity you really enjoy because you are more likely to stick with it. I hope your Christmas shopping is almost wrapped up!

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