Lone Star Farm Beef

Lone Star Farm Blog – A Free Range Beef Farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

Free-range, antibiotic & hormone-free, grass fed beef

Taco Salad with Peach Salsa

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:

Fresh Peach Salsa
Recipe type: Side Dish
A fresh summery peach salsa to serve with taco salad.
  • 4-6 tomatoes (Roma tomatoes are best)
  • 2 peaches
  • ½ a red onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • ½ a jalapeno pepper, or dried cayenne pepper to substitute if needed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lime
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • Salt to taste
  1. 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.)
  2. Juice the lime.
  3. 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

Taco seasoning

Optional: diced peppers and onions and/or a jar of salsa

1 block cheddar cheese such as Conebella Farm Sharp Cheddar, shredded

Tortilla chips

Sour cream (optional)



Sautée the beef in a skillet with the taco seasoning until no longer pink, stirring frequently.

Wash and chop the lettuce

Shred the cheese

Make the fresh salsa or guacamole (if applicable)

Layer everything starting with the lettuce, then beef, then the other toppings as desired.

Dig in and enjoy!



Greek-Style Beef Sandwiches

About a year ago, I lived down the street from a Greek Orthodox church in a neighborhood on the north side of Chicago. Every hour, the church bells would play a hymn, and even though most were hymns I had never heard before, the music filled me with hope and slowed down time. As I toted my groceries back from the store on blustery midwest afternoons, I felt like grace was filtering down over my neighborhood.

Living down the street from this church brought another blessing. Every August, the church sponsored “Greek Fest,” filling the street with a Tilt-a-whirl, a Carousel, many giggling children and the smell of beef and lamb roasted on a rotisserie.

The last August I spent in Chicago, my husband, some neighborhood friends and I decided we finally needed to experience Greek Fest for ourselves. I sat on a ledge with my friends and savored the last of summer and the soft saltiness of an authentic Gyro.

When I miss my Chicago friends, this is one moment I remember.

I can’t bring us all back together again in my new home just yet, but I can attempt to make Greek-style sandwiches reminiscent of the ones we enjoyed at Greek Fest.

The ones I made recently are not true gyros, since those use slow-roasted lamb, but if you are craving a similar soft saltiness and looking for an easy way to replicate gyros at home, this recipe does the trick–and uses up some of that Lone Star Farm beef you either bought on sale or have in your freezer from buying a portion of a Lone Star cow!

Greek-Style Beef Sandwiches
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Juice of one lime
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 cup peeled, finely chopped cucumber
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (8-ounce) carton plain fat-free Greek yogurt
For assembly:
  • 4 pocketless pitas/flatbreads
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  1. Brown beef and accompanying spices and lime juice. Drain.
  2. Mix together sauce ingredients.
  3. Sprinkle cayenne onto pitas. If desired, warm them in a toaster oven. Then, layer beef and sauce on pitas and serve.

Grill Up Bruschetta Burgers with this AMAZING Sale on Ground Beef

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:

  • Horseradish Cheddar
  • Pesto Parmesan
  • Mediterranean Feta
  • Mexican Jack
  • Cheesy Pizza
  • Spinach Artichoke
  • 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!

You can find my recipe for canning bruschetta here, but for now I’ll leave you with a smaller-scale recipe to enjoy on your burgers.

Bruschetta Burgers
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 4 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ball fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 4 oz. gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 burger rolls
  1. Combine diced tomatoes, minced garlic and chopped basil leaves with olive oil, white balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Divide ground beef into 4¼ lb portions. Add salt or olive oil, but nothing else. Form into large, thin patties. Press your thumb into the center to make room for the burger to expand while cooking.
  3. Preheat the grill to high heat. Add the burgers, then turn to medium. Grill until desired doneness, turning over only once (each time you flip it you lose more of the juices)
  4. Slice or crumble the cheeses.
  5. Remove burgers from grill.
  6. Add your burgers to buns, top with cheese and bruschetta and serve.

Now you can also find Lone Star Farm’s beef on an AMAZING sale.

Single 1-pound packs are only $4.99/lb, and a case of 36 1-pound packs are on sale for $3.99/lb ($143.64 total). This special is for pick-up only, so be sure to email ernie@lonestarfarmbeef.com or place your order online and come by to pick it up.

Bibimbap: Korean Beef with All the Fixin’s

You can’t beat having friends who will make you an amazing meal and then send you the recipe. I don’t know if I ever would have tried bibimbap unless one of my friends made it for my husband and me one weekend while we stayed with her family. I’d never even heard of it before!

I am sure glad she had heard of it and knew how to make it. This Korean beef dish is full of fresh ingredients and bursting with all kinds of tangy, savory, spicy flavors.

It was such an impressive dish that I thought it would be very difficult to make. So, you know how it goes. She sent me the recipe… and I waited. In fact, when I emailed her to tell her I finally made some bibimbap of my own, I noticed in shock that two years had passed since she sent me the recipe!

I won’t let two years slip by before I make this again. It wasn’t tricky to make. It’s really just four easy salads and some beef, and the salads and rice could easily be made ahead of time so it doesn’t feel like a lot of active kitchen time all at once. I’m already thinking about the next time I’ll make this, and looking forward to the first crispy, savory, mildly spicy bite.

Bibimbap: Korean Beef with All the Fixin's
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Korean
Serves: 4
This recipe is 4 easy salads plus seasoned beef over rice—topped with a fried egg.
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 oz can soybean sprouts, drained
  • ¼ cup minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 5 ounces matchstick carrots (approx. 1 ½ cups)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Chili Pepper Dressing (see below)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar or maple syrup
For topping: one fried egg for the whole dish, or one fried egg per person.
Before starting the salads:
  1. Cook rice according to package directions (you can even do this the day before. Giving it this time to dry out a little will make it crispier).
  2. Toast 4 tablespoons sesame seeds.
  1. Sauté shallots in oil in a medium sauté pan. Mix shallots together with the remaining ingredients.
  1. Heat oil. Add carrots and salt and stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.
  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  1. Whisk all ingredients together.
  1. Heat thawed spinach and add remaining ingredients. Mix well.
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the ground beef, soy sauce, sesame oil and brown sugar. Let marinate for 15 minutes.
  1. Have seasoned salads and beef ready in individual bowls.
  2. Heat a cast iron skillet or pot and add 2 tablespoons sesame oil. Cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add the rice and spread in an even layer across the bottom of the pot. Cook the rice until it starts to brown on the bottom. (You'll hear it sizzle.)
  4. Arrange each of the seasoned salads on top of the rice, like a pie chart. Place the beef in the center. After 2 minutes, turn off heat.
  5. Set one fried egg in the center on top of the beef. Add extra Tangy Red Pepper sauce on top. Mix everything together before serving.


Mmm! Bibimbap is Korean Beef with all the fixin's!

Spice Things Up with Lebanese Kibbeh Meatballs

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!

Lebanese Kibbeh Meatballs
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • ¾ cup uncooked bulgur
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • ¼ cup minced onion
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  1. Cook bulgur according to instructions and strain out excess liquid.
  2. Combine bulgur with everything except olive oil in a food processor. Process until smooth.
  3. Form meat mixture into about 20 meatballs.
  4. Heat oil in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Add meatballs to pan; cook until no longer pink in the center, about 12 minutes, browning on all sides.
  6. Serve with tzatziki sauce.

To recap, here are the other recipes I used, more or less (I’m terrible at following recipes to a T – I usually use them as a very loose guideline!)

Creamy Garlic Hummus recipe (remember to shell the chick peas!)

Tahini recipe (to use in the hummus – I made half a recipe in the food processor, then just added the hummus ingredients.)

Tabbouleh recipe (I used less bulgar, and substituted red onions instead of  spring onions. If I don’t have mint, I just skip it.)

For tzatziki dip, I just mix together about 1 cup of yogurt, 1 clove of garlic and 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice. Some people add salt or dried dill too.



Lebanese Kibbeh meatballs with parsley and bulgur. Plus recipes for hummus, tzatziki and tabbouleh and tips for creamy hummus.


The Zeal of Zucchini Beef Taquitos

Taquitos are usually deep-fried, but this Mexican meal using ground beef from Lone Star Farm bakes to perfection in about 15 minutes.

Here are some factoids to help you feel even better about each savory (and especially filling) bite in this Zucchini Beef Taquitos recipe.


Zucchini isn’t ordinarily blended with beef, but these taquitos are a great opportunity to add some garden nutrients as you cook. The shredded zucchini bulks up the taquitos well in combination with the beef. Once the meat is more browned, the zucchini tends to match the shade of the beef. For anyone who has kids who aren’t quite in love with zucchini yet, rest assured that it’s almost entirely undetectable by the tongue and is mostly hidden away in the beef and seasonings.

Some nutritional perks of zucchini are fiber, magnesium, manganese, calcium, folate, potassium, copper and phosphorus as well as vitamins B1, B2 and B6; vitamins A and C also make special appearances as bonus benefits. While zucchini is often treated like a vegetable, it’s actually a fruit, so if it could talk, it’d probably identify well with how the almighty tomato knows the same botanical confusion.

And since it’s often said that in some cases fresh produce loses the potency of its nutrients when cooked, it’s good to know that “a cup of cooked zucchini gives you more calcium, potassium, vitamin A, beta-carotene and vitamin K than raw zucchini does.”

Perhaps surprisingly, it’s nice to learn that corn tortillas in this recipe join in fiber, phosphorus, copper and manganese. You don’t always expect that of something like tortillas.

When you make this recipe, it serves 4 people with 3 to 4 taquitos each, but bellies often become so full after you eat the second and third ones that any side dishes almost seem unneeded. With this in mind, you might be able to stretch the recipe to feed more than just 4 people, and this is all the more likely if you do decide to prepare more than just the taquitos. Adding veggies, starches or fruit as separate portions of a meal might be another way to extend the full-belly factor across more family and friends as you’re putting this together for lunch or dinner.

For anyone who has an iron deficiency, pay attention to ground cumin. It is incredibly rich in iron, to the point that one teaspoon alone has 22% of the amount a body needs daily.

Enjoy testing out this recipe. Remember, responsibly raised local beef is a form of love to its community, and zucchini can share some of that palate-hugging affection with its nutrition-savvy elements in this mix.

Zucchini Beef Taquitos
Serves: 4 servings-- 3 to 4 taquitos each
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 pound Lone Star Farm ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 12-16 6-inch corn tortillas
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • 1 to 1½ cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Shred zucchini in a cheese grater or food processor. Heat olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Join together the zucchini, beef, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder cumin and salt. Cook for about 5 minutes until beef is no longer pink, being sure to stir frequently. Remove the blend from heat.
  3. Spread the tortillas out on two large baking sheets in slightly overlapping rows. Warm the tortillas in the oven for two minutes. Remove the tortillas, and put them on a plate.
  4. Coat the baking sheet with a thin layer of olive oil. On a flat surface, sprinkle a tortilla with one layer of cheese, then spread ¼ cup beef mixture in a thin layer across the tortilla. Sprinkle with more cheese, and tightly roll it up. Repeat this with the other tortillas.
  5. Place each taquito facing with its side-seam down onto the baking sheet. Brush the tortillas with olive oil, and be certain to spread adequate olive oil on the edges—not enough olive oil on the tortillas may lead to dry and lightly burned ends.
  6. Bake the taquitos until browned and crispy, approximately 15 to 17 minutes. Once removed from the oven, allow the taquitos to cool for a few minutes.
  7. Serve with a crave-worthy salsa, guacamole and sour cream or some plain Greek yogurt.


Use Up That Zucchini

Make Juicy Lucy Burgers for Father’s Day

I’m a food tourist. I’ve decided to embrace this. While I love to unwind by a lake front or see the view from a mountain top, one of the most memorable parts of any trip is the food that the region has to offer.

Globalization has made a lot of America look (and taste) the same, and yet when I lived in Chicago, I couldn’t get a decent hoagie and would have gotten strange looks if I ever tried to order one. And when I lived in Pennsylvania, nobody had pizza that tasted quite the same as a Giordano’s deep dish.

So when I travel, I look for food that’s unique to the region. I’m in Florida right now, so that means BBQ, gator meat (it tastes like very juicy chicken, I promise) and authentic Cuban food (I’ve just got to figure out how to make amazing authentic vaca frita- “fried cow”- for an upcoming Lone Star Farm blog article!).

And a few weeks ago I was in Minneapolis/St. Paul, and that meant Juicy Lucys. Before this trip, I had never heard of a Juicy Lucy. Have you? It’s basically an inside-out cheeseburger, with all the cheesy gooey goodness in the middle of the burger instead of slapped onto the outside. It makes the whole burger a lot cheesier.


Our friends took us to Matt’s Bar in Minneapolis, home of the original Juicy Lucy… depending on who you ask. Others will say this famous burger got its start at the nearby 5-8 Club. After trying one, though, you’ll just be glad somebody thought to stick some cheese between two thin burger patties because it sure is good. Make it this Father’s Day!

Juicy Lucy
Serves: 4
  • 1.5 lbs ground beef
  • ½ teaspoon dried minced onion
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ pound sliced American cheese
  • 4 hamburger buns
  1. In a medium bowl, mix ground beef and seasonings. (Keep seasonings simple so that you don't leave pockets where cheese can seep through the beef.)
  2. Make 8 meatballs of uniform size and shape. Use a small heavy skillet to flatten each one into a thin beef patty--as thin as possible so the cheese and beef layers will all cook thoroughly.
  3. Place cheese slices, folded in half, on the beef patty, place another beef patty on top, and close the edges firmly so no cheese pokes through.
  4. Grill until well done. (If your grill is hard to clean, place aluminum foil on top because you may get some cheese dripping out.)


Philly Cheesesteak Baked Potatoes


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.

Philly-Cheesesteak-Potatoes-2 600

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!


Philly Cheesesteak Baked Potatoes
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 4 russet potatoes or large Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 pound ground beef or chip steak
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 2 medium cooking onions, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • [For toppings:]
  • ½ cup hot peppers, such as pepperoncini
  • ½ cup sweet peppers
  • 8 slices Provalone or Mozarella cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. 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).
  2. 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
  3. 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).
  4. In the same sautée pan, brown the beef. Set aside in a serving bowl.
  5. Arrange cheese on a plate and put hot and sweet peppers in serving dishes.
  6. Set all ingredients out on table and let everyone build their own baked potato cheesesteak with the toppings of their choice.


If you just can’t get enough of these Philly Cheesesteaks, try our Philly Cheesesteak recipe with portobello mushrooms or our smokey Philly Cheesesteak dip recipe.



Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps with Sriracha

Thai lettuce wrap 2

Learning to cook and finding a repertoire of recipes has been a process of finding out what is healthy, and finding out how to make healthy food taste so good it’s what I crave.  This doesn’t exactly come naturally to me.  When I was about six, my mom asked me what I wanted to eat.  I told her: “Something from a bag or a box.”

When I got married seven years ago and started to cook more often, my husband and I still ate a lot of things from bags and boxes.  Over the past seven years, though, I’ve added new healthy recipes and learned more about using local ingredients, avoiding big brands and finding out the sources of our food.  I buy free-range meat.  We eat lentils and salads.  Sometimes we even eat kale.

But lately.  Oh, lately we’ve been busy.  And that means that instead of a yummy home-cooked dinner, I crave a dinner that comes in a box and is handed to me at the door.  And dinner that’s handed to me at the door is rarely healthy.

A few weeks ago, I realized it was time to get back on track.  We needed more veggies and more meals sourced from local farmers.

As I thought back over the past few months for inspiration, I remembered a delicious dish someone had added to the refreshment table at a party.  Thai Beef Lettuce Cups.  These used butterhead lettuce, and you scooped a little bit of the most deliciously prepared ground beef into the lettuce, pinched the leaves together, and let the flavors hit your taste buds.

Thai lettuce wrap

I played with similar recipes and made these Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps as my approximation of that fantastic party meal.  The tasty result packs in the health benefits:

So here’s a meal that doesn’t come from a bag or a box but is easy to prepare, packed with healthy goodness and will dazzle you with flavor.  If you prefer to use butterhead lettuce instead of romaine, you can make these as “cups” instead of wraps.  They’re delicious either way!

Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps with Sriracha
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • 1 pound Lone Star Farm ground beef
  • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon each: ginger, pepper, salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • SAUCE (combine the following in a small bowl):
  • ¼ teaspoon each: ginger, pepper, salt
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
  • ½ teaspoon olive oil
  • For SERVING:
  • 8 romaine lettuce leaves
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • ½ cup bean sprouts
  • handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup peanuts, finely chopped
  1. For the filling, brown the beef over medium-high heat until it is no longer pink. Drain.
  2. Add the mushrooms, garlic, green onions and water (enough water so the meat does not scorch, but not too much because the mushrooms will release liquid as they cook). Cook 2-3 minutes.
  3. Combine ginger, pepper, salt, allspice, 2 teaspoons olive oil and honey. Add to meat and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
  4. Wrap the meat in the lettuce with carrots, sprouts, cilantro and peanuts.



They Sure Are Sloppy, But Who’s Joe?


There are some meals that make you wonder how they got their name.  London Broil, for instance.  If you ordered it in London, you’d probably get a chuckle or a confused stare because no one in London actually eats London Broil.

But then there’s the sloppy Joe.  If ever a meal was aptly named, this one is.  The only question is, “Who is Joe?”  Theories differ, some claiming that the sandwich came from a restaurant in Havana, Cuba called Sloppy Joe’s, others saying it was actually a restaurant in Key West that gave it its name.  A third contingent argues that sloppy Joes earned their name because they were made by an Iowan chef named Joe.

Whatever the origins, the name couldn’t be more perfect.  Though eating them neatly is impossible–and grates against the spirit of the meal anyhow–sloppy Joes make great meals to feed a crowd.  Their sweet, salty flavor satisfies hungry guests.  Sloppy Joe recipes satisfy busy cooks, too, because the recipes come together easily and can be made ahead and warmed in a crock pot.

If you’re feeding a crowd, you can even buy Lone Star Farm’s heat & serve sloppy Joe mix, available by the quart.  It’s great on sandwiches, and the Beiler family loves it on top of fresh baked potatoes topped with sour cream and cheese.

If you’re planning to make sloppy Joes from scratch and want to add some “fancy” to the traditional sloppy Joe recipe, brighten the meal by adding some colorful bell peppers to the mix.  Then serve sloppy Joe meat on pretzel rolls (homemade, if you’d like!) and make a side of sweet potato fries or this healthy Garden Harvest Slaw (it’s the third recipe on the page).

Here is my favorite recipe for some fancy sloppy Joes.  I’ve played with it a bit, but it originally came from a friend who brought dinner to my husband and me several years ago when my husband was going through a long illness.  It was the perfect meal to fortify us, and I have always been thankful that she shared it with me and I’ve made it many times since, to feed guests or just to satisfy my own cravings for a delicious, hearty meal.

Sloppy Joes
Recipe type: Main Course
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 colorful bell pepper
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • water, if needed to achieve the right consistency
  1. Brown meat in a frying pan with onion, bell pepper and garlic. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes, covered. Serve on soft rolls.

* * *

Article written by Rebecca Talbot and coordinated by VanDuzer Design and Marketing for Lone Star Farm and may also be syndicated on Fig: West Chester and Rachel’s Farm Table.