Category Archives: Beef

How I Render Beef Tallow

I know that we have all been taught that animal fat (saturated fat) is BAD for us, but guess what it is REAL FOOD.  It has not been engineered by food scientists or made in a factory somewhere.  You can render tallow (beef or sheep fat) or lard (pig fat) in your own kitchen.  I’ve seen several different methods for rendering lard or tallow, but this is the one that I use.  I have the butcher package up all of the fat for me when we have our steer butchered and keep it in the freezer till I get tired of it taking up space.  I have never rendered lard before, because we don’t raise pigs, but I understand the method is the same.  Most butchers will give you fat for free if you request it, but I prefer to know what the animal it came from has been fed.  At some point I intend to get pig fat when a friend is having a pig butchered.  Lard is ideal for baking, especially pie crusts!  Never use the shelf stable lard from the grocery store, it has been hydrogenated – eek!  I will use this tallow for making soap (when I get around to it).  Tallow is also excellent for frying (because it has a high smoke point).  I’m not advocating eating fried food every night, but for an occasional treat french fries fried in beef tallow can’t be beat.


I used about five pounds of fat this time.  I try to do this on a day when I can open all the windows because boiling a pot of fat on the stove for several hours doesn’t give the house the greatest odor.

Cut beef fat into small chunks (smaller chunks will cook faster).

Place in a pot on the stove and heat over medium low heat for 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

Drain the fat (I use a metal strainer).  Save the solids for the dog.

Add twice as much water to the pot, as the amount of liquid fat that you have rendered (I ended up with 4 cups of fat and added 8 cups of water).

Bring fat to a boil and boil for 2 hours.

Strain the fat again to remove any remaining chunks.

Pour fat  into a 9 x 13 pan.

Refrigerate overnight.

Invert the fat onto a plate over the sink.  The tallow will have risen to the top of the pan and the water underneath will pour off into the sink.  On the underside of the tallow there will be a layer of scum.  Using a butter knife scrape the scum off, until all that you can see is pure white tallow.

Cut the tallow into chunks and refrigerate for up to 4 weeks, or wrap in plastic and freeze.

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Double Up Dinner – Beef Stroganoff

Several times recently I have been asked how I find the energy to do everything I do.  These days I do feel like I have been working harder than I ever have before.  In addition to my own two children I also babysit a two year old little girl.  It seems like every day we are adding something to our little “farm”, which means more chores every morning and evening.  As I am eliminating processed foods from my family’s diet I am doing more and more cooking and baking from scratch.  At the end of the day I am truly exhausted.  Don’t even think of mentioning that I don’t have a job, I just might start throwing things.  With all of this on my plate I’ve had to work on becoming better organized.  The frozen dinners that had been a lifesaver on nights when I didn’t feel like cooking, are no longer an option now that I have read the list of ingredients in most of them.  So after nearly five years of marriage I have finally begun meal planning.

My basic outline for planning dinners looks something like this:

Monday-Double up from last week (beef)

Tuesday– chicken (double up for next week)

Wednesday-vegetarian

Thursday-beef (double up for next week)

Friday-double up from last week (chicken)

Saturday – other (pork, lamb,vegetarian, dinner out)

Sunday – fish

If I stick to the plan I have two nights that I don’t have to cook.  I do have two nights that I have to put a little work into making a double dinner, but really it doesn’t take much extra effort.  I switch the plan around from week to week and try to make enough so that I can eat leftovers for lunch.  Once a week I try to use the crock-pot.  Serving a double up dinner from the freezer on Monday allows me to get organized so that I can stay on track for the rest of the week.

* Beef Stroganoff *

Ingredients

2 pounds ground beef

1 large onion, diced

1 pound mushrooms, diced

4-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tsp pepper

2 tsp paprika (opt.)

1 Tbls parsley(opt.)

1 cup water(or beef stock)

2 Tbls flour

8 0z sour cream (I’ve substituted yogurt with good results)

*2 cups brown rice cooked in 4 cups chicken broth

Directions

Cook rice (or if you prefer, noodles)

Brown ground beef in a large skillet, drain fat and set beef aside.

In the same skillet saute onions in some of the reserved fat (our homegrown beef is so lean I often need to use a small amount of butter) , add mushrooms and garlic, and seasonings.  Cook till mushrooms are soft.  Add cooked ground beef.

Stir flour into the water to dissolve and pour into skillet.  Simmer, stirring occasionally,  till mixture begins to bubble.  Add sour cream and salt to taste.  Simmer for several more minutes.

I place half the rice in a glass casserole dish and cover with half of the stroganoff.   My casserole dishes have plastic lids, but you can cover with aluminum foil if yours do not.  I place the dish in the refrigerator for 1 hour, then place in the freezer.  This meal can be reheated in the microwave or the oven.

This isn't the prettiest dinner, but it is nourishing and easy! A favorite with my family.

I serve my stroganoff with a fresh salad, or home canned green beans.  All of my double up dinners make 2 – four serving meals.

This post is a part of Pennywise Platter Thursdays

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Italian Beef Roll

I love this recipe because it looks much harder than it actually is, plus my husband who is kind of stingy with the dinner compliments gave this one raving reviews.

Inspired by Kate’s Ground Beef Wellington

1/2 batch crescent roll dough or store bought crescent roll dough

1 1/2 lb ground beef (I used 1 lb, but will use more next time)

1 Tbls Italian seasoning

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 Tbls olive oil

1 lb sliced mushrooms

1 diced onion

1 diced red pepper

3 cloves diced garlic

1 cup mozzarella cheese (I used pizza blend)

Prepare crescent roll dough.  Twenty minutes before beginning I placed all of the ingredients for a 1/2 batch of crescent roll dough in the bread machine (wet ingredients first) and started the machine.  When I was ready to use the dough I turned the machine off  and pulled the dough out.  If you don’t want to bother with this you can buy the store bought kind, but the homemade version really isn’t that much work and tastes much better.  (I also substituted 1 cup whole wheat flour in the recipe).

Place ground beef in a bowl and add salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.  Shape meat into a log, about 10 inches long.

Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add mushrooms, onions, bell pepper, and garlic and saute till onions begin to caramelize.

Roll out crescent roll dough about 12 inches square.

Spread veggie mixture over the crescent roll dough.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Place meat in the center and roll up tightly

Place on a cookie sheet, cover with aluminum foil, and bake at 350 degrees, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove aluminum foil 30 minutes before finished to allow roll to brown.  Remove from oven and let sit at least 20 minutes before cutting.

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