Beef 101, Plus Recipes with Easy-to-Find Ingredients!

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Hi HG,

I love beef, and I don't like soy substitutes. How can I enjoy my beloved meat minus the high calorie and fat counts?

Meat Me in the Middle

Hi Meat Me,

Faux meat isn't fo' everyone. Sometimes you just want a hunk of steak on your plate! So here's a primer on beef (plus some great recipes and tips!) to help you enjoy REAL beef, whether you're at a steakhouse or at home...

A Cut Above the Rest: Much like the search for a great pair of jeans, it's all about finding the right cut. According to the USDA, there are twenty-nine cuts of beef that qualify as extra lean (less than 5g fat per serving) or lean (less than 10g fat per serving). Stick to extra-lean cuts like top round and top sirloin, and go for lean cuts like strip, tenderloin, T-bone, and shoulder. My favorites are tenderloin (especially filet mignon) and top sirloin. Stay away from ribeye and skirt steak, which typically contain marbling (read: FAT throughout the meat) and higher levels of cholesterol. If you're out at a restaurant, smaller and leaner is definitely the way to go. Check out Chili's Lighter Choice 6 Oz. Classic Sirloin and Applebee's Roasted Garlic Sirloin.

Making the Grade: Here's your official "Meat Cheat Sheet"... When you're picking out a cut of beef, the grade can be a good indicator of the fat content. Avoid prime, the highest grade, which tends to have the most fat. Choice generally has less marbling, and select is usually the leanest grade. And as an extra-credit bonus, choice and select are common supermarket cuts, which makes them SUPER easy to find. Use 'em to make Sweet-Hot Steak Bites, Steak 'n Eggs Stir-Fry, and Chop-Chop Beef Stir-Fry!

Staying Grounded: Wanna make some patties? (Queen-of-the-Castle Sliders, anyone?) Look for extra-lean ground beef like Laura's 96% Lean Ground Sirloin and 96% Lean Ground Round. You can also use it to whip up some Cheese-Filled Mini Meatloaves or a Big Beef 'n Bacon Meatloaf. Burger fanatics will love our Juicy Lucy swap and these mouthwatering burger recipes! Click here for OODLES more recipes made with extra-lean ground beef.

Supermarket Find: Check out the Fully Cooked Seasoned Steak Strips in Tyson's Grilled & Ready line. Super convenient, VERY tasty, and just 140 calories and 6g fat per 3-oz. serving (PointsPlus® value 3*). Find these strips in the fridge section of the grocery store, and look for the freezer-aisle version too. LOVE this stuff!

And if you just want beef on the go, grab a bag of Tillamook Country Smoker Old Fashioned Beef Steak Nuggets. Hope all of this info helps to keep your taste buds happy!

Hello HG,

Where I live, there aren't a lot of stores selling almond milk and tofu shirataki noodles. Can you give me some recipes that don't call for very specific ingredients that can be hard to find?

Keeping-it-Simple Stacie

Hi Stacie,

Great question! Not every supermarket carries the specific products I love and use in HG recipes. But there are often super-simple swaps available. For example, if you can't find fat-free egg substitute, like Egg Beaters Original, use egg whites. If you can’t find La Tortilla Factory's 80-calorie tortillas, go for the lowest-calorie high-fiber tortillas you see. Besides that, there are PLENTY of Hungry Girl recipes that call for easy-to-find ingredients. You'll have breakfast, lunch, and dinner covered!

Breakfast: What's easier -- or more nostalgia-inducing -- than s'mores? Or waffles? Combine the two, and you've got a delightfully simple breakfast: S'mores Waffles! Or toss together oats, Fuji apples, and a few other ingredients for a big warm bowl of Slow-Cooker Cinna-Apples 'n Oats. Want something meaty (and just as easy)? Go for our Slammin' Smoked Salmon 'n Bacon B-fast Sandwich -- it's delicious, easy to make, and portable! And this Double-0-Cinnamon Apple Breakfast Bowl is a favorite of mine.

Lunch & Dinner: I love scoopy salads! Mix up egg whites, veggies, lemon and lime juices, plus some mustard and mayo, and you've got an awesome Citrus-licious Egg White Salad. The Veggie-Loaded Tangy Tuna Salad is another great one, and has a whopping 18g protein per serving! If fresh produce isn't available, pick up some freezer-aisle stuff instead. Grab some frozen veggies, and make an Easy Shredders Pie. Even better than cooking with easy-to-find ingredients? Cooking easy-to-find ingredients in an easy-to-clean-up foil pack! Try the Sesame Salmon & Snap Peas en Foil (only six ingredients!) and the Herbed-Up Spring Chicken Packet. Turn breakfast into lunch with the lox-and-cream-cheese Smokey Salmon Lettuce Wraps, and turn hot dogs into fancy appetizers with our three-ingredient recipe for Fresh & Fruity Hot Dog Skewers. Yum!

Dessert: And because no meal is complete without (guilt-free) dessert, dig into our four-ingredient Caramel Apple Parfait. Yum Yum Brownie Muffins are classically easy, with just TWO simple ingredients. And this Red Hot Apple Pie in a Mug is THE BEST!

So there you have it -- simple recipes with easy-to-find ingredients that are simply delicious! For TONS more, check out these chapters of three-ingredient recipes in Hungry Girl 300 Under 300: "Chicken Trios," "Tuna Trios," and "Ground Meat Trios"!

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