Tacos are my ultimate go-to food when I’m wondering what to cook with just a few ingredients. A good taco seasoning (without MSG) makes the job even easier! Try this one for a great DIY seasoning mix.
Just fry up some good Lone Star Farm ground beef, maybe add a few peppers and onions or even a jar of salsa if you’re feeling adventurous, add in the taco seasoning, grab a few toppings and you’re good to go!
In our house, it’s a must to have some kind of fresh salsa with our taco feast. Often it’s guacamole or corn salsa like this amazing Chipotle Style Corn Salsa. This past “taco time,” I had a few white peaches on hand, so I decided to make peach salsa. It was delicious and simple! Peaches are in season still for the next few weeks, so now’s the perfect time to take advantage of them! Farms like Weaver’s Orchard and Wolff’s Apple House even sell our beef at their markets, so you can pick up peaches and beef all at once.
Here’s the recipe for the refreshing summer peach salsa:
A fresh summery peach salsa to serve with taco salad.
4-6 tomatoes (Roma tomatoes are best)
½ a red onion
1 bell pepper
½ a jalapeno pepper, or dried cayenne pepper to substitute if needed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch cilantro
Salt to taste
Chop the tomatoes, peaches, and pepper into about ½ inch pieces. Dice the onion, jalapeno and cilantro very finely - or pulse in a food processor. (Everything can actually be placed in the food processor if you prefer to save time and don't mind a more blended salsa.)
Juice the lime.
Mix all ingredients together and add salt to taste. Serve with chips.
For the taco salad, you’ll need:
1/2 a head of iceberg lettuce, washed and chopped
1 pound ground beef
Optional: diced peppers and onions and/or a jar of salsa
Nothing says summer quite like firing up the grill. The smell of grill smoke wafting through the neighborhood brings back so many great memories of lazy summer evenings. Since few of our friends have a grill like we do, we end up hosting a lot of barbecues throughout the spring and summer. What more perfect item to grill than burgers, which have endless possibilities for toppings, as witnessed in our previous article listing SEVEN ways to top your burgers, including:
Blue Cheese Barbecue
Plus, you can make a juicy-lucy burger with the cheese stuffed on the inside, or even make a cheeseburger wrap if you are one of the unlucky ones without a grill. If you’re feeling quite adventurous, you can even make your own pretzel rolls and try two more combinations:
Curry-Feta Burgers with Tomato on a Pretzel Roll
Gorgonzola Stuffed Sun-Dried Tomato Burgers on a Pretzel Roll
Dare I suggest two more burger topping options to add to this already substantial list? I don’t have a choice. They’re just too good.
Bruschetta Blue Cheese Burgers
Bruschetta & Fresh Mozzarella Burgers
Bruschetta is one of my signature dishes. For years I’ve grown tons of tomatoes in my garden. I even got to a point where I had too many tomatoes to make more salsa with (once I reached more than 60 jars!). So I set to work testing a bruschetta recipe that would work for canning, and landed on a truly delicious one. It uses white balsamic vinegar so as not to discolor the tomatoes. I loved the bruschetta recipe so much that I made an entire cookbook with over 25 recipes using fresh or canned bruschetta, which is available online and in-store at Weaver’s Orchard in Morgantown, PA and in-store at Wolff’s Apple House in Media, PA (coincidentally, you can also find Lone Star Farm beef at both of these markets!)
The cookbook shares a recipe for portabella bruschetta burgers with blue cheese, but in my house meatless “burgers” are quite often snubbed, so a burger made of Lone Star Farm ground beef is a much better option to keep everyone happy!
A few weeks ago, when my husband asked what was for dinner, I told him “meatballs.”
“Just meatballs? Not spaghetti and meatballs?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” I replied, “I’m not really in the mood for pasta or marinara sauce, but I have the ingredients for meatballs.”
So my work was cut out for me: find a recipe for meatballs that didn’t call for smothering the meatballs in tomato sauce. (Of course, when you’re in the mood for tomato sauce, spaghetti and meatballs can be quite delicious! Perhaps I had overdone the tomato recipes with my 50+ jars I canned from our garden the last summer).
I already had parsley on hand, so when I found a recipe for Lebanese Kibbeh meatballs, I knew this was what I’d be making for dinner. Instead of breadcrumbs, it calls for bulgur wheat. And bonus! Bulgur wheat is a whole grain, so that’s better for your health than breadcrumbs. It uses some different spices too: cumin, allspice and cinnamon, as well as fresh parsley, garlic and onions. Set aside some of those ingredients and make some delicious tabbouleh too!
The next time I made this, I went all out and made my own hummus (even down to the tahini), plus a tzatziki sauce and tabouleh. I loaded everything into a wrap (either pitas or tortillas work), but my husband skipped the tortilla and just used his fork. Either way is delicious!
When it comes to hummus, I’m not too picky about recipes, although this was the recipe I used this time around. To get creamy hummus, I always use canned chickpeas and remove the shells first (that filmy casing on the chickpea). This keeps the hummus more moist and creamy!
I grew up with one sister, but now thanks to marriage I have 5 sisters. Sisters are a great resource for recipes. On so many holidays we’d savor each other’s recipes and tuck a few of our favorite recipes written out on index card into each other’s stockings. When my recipes all feel a little blah, I can email a sister and get some awesome recipe inspiration.
This is what happened the other week while I was Facetiming with a sister-in-law. She was in the middle of making beef stew – a recipe she had gotten from another sister-in-law. It was a gravy-style beef stew, similar to my favorite beef stew recipe, but instead of calling for beer like my recipe did, it called for red wine.
Since I had some stew beef in the freezer and was eager to try a new recipe with it, this was the perfect solution!
The original recipe calls for bouillon cubes, which often include MSG, to which, incidentally, that sister and I are both allergic. If this is the case for you, try making your own beef stock using soup bones and our beef stock recipe or make your own powdered vegetable bouillon cubes.
Serve over potatoes (baked or diced and baked or sauteed) with a side of a roasted green vegetables such as Brussels sprouts.
1 bouillon cube, 1 tablespoon powdered vegetable bouillon (recipe noted above) or 1 cup beef stock
3 tablespoons cornstarch
freshly cracked black pepper
1½ cups dry red wine
salt (to taste)
Garnish with fresh herbs, if desired
Dutch Oven Instructions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a Dutch Oven on a stovetop, add olive oil and turn to medium heat. Brown beef in batches and set aside. Add onion and garlic and deglaze the pan.
Return beef to Dutch Oven. Add stock or bouillon and pepper and stir.
Sprinkle with cornstarch and stir until coated.
Add wine and stir. Transfer Dutch Oven to oven and allow to cook for 3-5 hours.
Add beef, onion, garlic and oil to crockpot. Add stock/bouillon and pepper and stir. Sprinkle with cornstarch and stir until coated. Add wine, cover and allow to cook 5-6 hours on high or 10-12 hours on low.
If you haven’t noticed yet, we’re a little obsessed with Philly Cheesesteaks. Why? Well, obviously they are delicious. What’s better than beef smothered in cheese? Philly Cheesesteaks take it to the next level with hot and/or sweet peppers and sauteed onions and/or peppers. And then there’s those fluffy Amoroso rolls. Or are there? Perhaps the Philly Cheesesteak taste can be achieved without the empty carb of the roll.
Enter: Philly Cheesesteak Baked Potatoes.
Since I’ve been trying to find ways to cut out “bad” carbohydrates, I’ve started looking for other alternatives. Sure, you may be thinking “but aren’t potatoes a carb too?” Yes, they are, but according to Livestrong.com, they fit the criteria to be considered a “good” carb. That’s because they contain fiber, vitamins and minerals, all of which help prevent your blood sugar from spiking and allow you to feel more sustained fullness.
So last week I made these delicious Philly Cheesesteak baked potatoes. They rocked my world. Why?
Baked potatoes beg for delicious toppings – and sometimes a change from the regular ol’ sour cream, cheddar and chive topping is quite welcome! I used Yukon Gold potatoes too, which achieve a much smoother interior texture than the more dry Russet potato, and the exterior became nicely golden brown.
Plus, the option to use ground beef makes them so much more versatile! I use up my portion of chip steak all too quickly from my Lone Star quarter cow, so I’m always looking for things to do with ground beef!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Poke potatoes all over with a fork. Brush with olive oil and set in a casserole dish. Bake one hour until potatoes skins look nicely golden brown. (You can speed this process up by microwaving them first and then transferring to the oven if time is of the essence).
In a large sauté pan, sautée onions in 1 tbsp. oil until translucent - or even until caramelized, according to your preference. Set aside in a small serving bowl
In the same pan, sautée the peppers with 1 tbsp. oil. Set aside in a small serving bowl. (If you plan to serve the onions and peppers together, you can sautée the peppers once the onions are about half-way cooked).
In the same sautée pan, brown the beef. Set aside in a serving bowl.
Arrange cheese on a plate and put hot and sweet peppers in serving dishes.
Set all ingredients out on table and let everyone build their own baked potato cheesesteak with the toppings of their choice.
Traditional chili gets spiced up with a chipotle pepper
There’s something about eating a bowl of chili that has the ability to warm you up, despite what the name of the dish may lead you to believe about its temperature. A few weeks ago I was invited to dinner three times in one week, and all three times the host prepared a delicious dish of chili. Each time it tasted different, and the hosts paired it with unique pairings like rice, crusty French bread, baked potatoes and cornbread.
These hosts got me hungry for chili leftovers, so I decided to make my own pot of chili for my family using new favorite ingredient: a chipotle pepper. Chipotles are smoke-dried chili peppers that add a nice kick and a pleasant smoky flavor to any dish. When using a chipotle pepper, just be sure to dice it finely so that the flavor is evenly distributed throughout your dish.
Try serving chili with boxties (Irish potato pancakes) to use up leftover mashed potatoes this Thanksgiving!
I also decided to experiment with other sides including baked sweet potatoes and Irish Boxties (potato pancakes), which may come in handy as a way to re-purpose Thanksgiving leftovers. Plus, chili is an easy meal to keep on hand for overnight guests you may have this Thanksgiving. Another one of my favorite ways to serve chili is over cornbread waffles like in this recipe from PinchofYum.com.
Tastes and smells have the ability to conjure up memories from years gone by. For me, the taste of Sloppy Joe makes me reminisce of Saturday afternoons spent with my family as a child. The smell of Sloppy Joe would waft from the crockpot and greet our hungry noses all afternoon as we worked on projects around the house. Every once in a while we could sneak a taste of the Sloppy Joe by dipping a chip into the crockpot when mom wasn’t paying attention.
When dinnertime finally arrived, we’d assemble around the table and devour our Sloppy Joes, hopefully not too sloppily and comment on how my dad’s name was Joe, so he must be the sloppiest eater at the table.
There must have been a time when we were pretty messy eaters, because my mom imposed a rule to help our manners. At each meal, we’d begin with 5 nickels. For each rule of etiquette we broke, we’d have to give up a nickel. At the end of the meal we got to keep whatever was leftover. If we used up all our nickels and still made faux pas, we’d have to dip into our stash from previous nights. I have to give my mom credit for turning a mundane task of improving children’s manners into a fun game with room for extra allowance earning!
So now it’s possible to save yourself the step of cooking Sloppy Joe by purchasing a container of pre-cooked Sloppy Joe from Lone Star Farm beef. This delicious, slightly sweet and salty ground beef meal in minutes is available at our farm or at the Farmer’s Market at Elverson. Pick up a container this week, and be sure to share this meal around the dinner table with your family!
The affordable Ranch Steak is a lesser-known gem in the steak offerings from Lone Star Farm. This tasty boneless steak is cut from the center of a chuck shoulder with all of the excess fat removed.
I first tried a Ranch Steak on Ernie & Elmina Beiler’s recommendation as one of their best steaks – especially for the budget-conscious shopper. It certainly didn’t disappoint!
Ranch steaks are quite flavorful yet they should be marinaded about 2-3 hours for optimum flavor and tenderness. Any marinade should work well for this recipe, just keep a few simple tips in mind:
Don’t over-salt the steak – Lone Star steaks have so much flavor on their own!
Don’t over-marinate the steak – 2-3 hours is plenty of time. Otherwise the steak can become too soft.
Keep it simple. Only a few spices are needed to draw out the natural flavor in the steak.
Try this simple, flavorful marinade:
1 1/2 cups olive oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
juice of one lemon
1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Combine marinade ingredients in a zip-lock bag with steak and marinade 2-3 hours.
Allow the steak to reach room temperature (about 30 minutes) prior to grilling.
Grill on high for a total cooking time of about 10-12 minutes. After 2.5 minutes, rotate the steak 45 degrees to get nice grill marks. In another 2.5 minutes, flip the steak over. Only flip the steak ONCE! After another 2.5 minutes, rotate the steak 45 degrees and cook the final 2.5 minutes.
What makes a great hamburger? Well, it starts with high quality meat, of course. For crowd-pleasing burgers this Fourth of July, grill some Lone Star patties. And in addition to all-American condiments like ketchup, mustard and pickles, why not serve up some gourmet burgers?
Our 80% lean ground beef makes juicy burgers, but you can simplify your preparations by using our ready-made 4 or 6 ounce patties. All Lone Star beef is vacuum packed and flash frozen to preserve freshness. Pre-made patties should be frozen until grilling time. So, no matter how many guests turn up for dinner, you can stock plenty of patties in the freezer. They’ll be ready when you are.
Crafting gourmet burgers is easier than it sounds. An ordinary hamburger becomes extraordinary when you add a slice of your favorite cheese, savory sauce, a few toppings and a tasty bun. All sauces in the following combinations are available at your local supermarket–or you can mix up your own signature sauce at home.
When the burgers are cooked to desired doneness, turn the heat off or keep it on low. While you warm the buns on the top rack of the grill, place the cheese on the burgers to melt. Then just put your burger on a bun and add sauce and toppings. Here are a few ideas to get you started—but once you’ve broken out of the ketchup and mustard routine, there’s no limit to the combinations you can try!
For each burger:
A slice of cheddar cheese
A spoonful of creamy horseradish sauce
One or two pieces of cooked bacon
A sliver of tomato
Dill pickle slices
Onion or potato roll
For each burger:
A slice of mozzarella cheese
A spoonful of pesto sauce
A sprinkle of parmesan cheese
Ciabatta bread or Italian roll
For each burger:
A spoonful of hummus
A spoonful of feta cheese (sprinkled on hot burger)
Green leaf lettuce
For each burger:
A slice of Pepper Jack cheese
A spoonful of salsa
Onion roll or Bolillo (crusty Mexican roll)
For each burger:
Mozzarella or mixed Italian cheese
A spoonful of Marinara sauce
Sauteed mushrooms and onions
Sliced black olives
Ciabatta bread or Italian roll
For each burger:
A slice of Mozzarella cheese
Spinach artichoke dip
Crusty bread or Italian Roll
Blue Cheese Barbecue
For each burger:
A spoonful of zesty barbecue sauce
A handful of crumbled blue cheese (sprinkled on hot burger)