Monday, December 20, 2010

Skillet Meat Loaf

Remember eating your mother's meatloaf? Meatloaf became a staple in the American diet sometime in the early 1900's.  Before butchers were common-place, the hand cranked meat grinder was used by our grandparents to prepare meatloaves. Thank you to Julie I. for sending me this recipe. Her family enjoys this Skillet Meat Loaf dish. Add shredded carrots and chopped fresh spinach to make this staple more nutritious. Using a cast iron skillet on the stove top may even bring back some childhood memories.  If using the stove top is not appealing, try using a loaf pan and place it in the oven at 350 degrees for one hour. Here follows the skillet recipe:
2 lbs ground beef*
1/2 cups bread crumbs 
6 Tbsp onions, chopped
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon peppper
1 cup tomato sauce
1 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup water
2 teaspoons mustard 
2 Tbsp Annie's Worcestershire sauce

Combine first 6 ingredients plus 1/2 cup tomato sauce-mix well. Shape into two meat loaves. Melt butter in a skillet and brown meat loaves on both sides. Cover and cook for 25-30 minutes over low heat. Mix mustard, 1/2 cup tomato sauce, water, & Worcestershire together to make the sauce. Pour sauce over meat loaf. Simmer uncovered 10-15 minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes and oven roasted broccoli & cauliflower. 
*Substitute 1lb of pork for 1lb ground beef if desired.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Weeknight Chili Dinner

My son asked for one of his favorite dinners-chili & cornbread. I have found this to be a very easy weeknight dinner. We usually have leftovers, so I pack it in his school lunch the next day. I hope some of you get a chance to try it and let me know how your family enjoys it. Here follows the recipe:

  • 2 lbs Lasater ground beef 
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 2-3 tablespoons SAVORY SPICE SHOP mild chili seasoning
  • 4 cans of beans (any of your favorite type-Black, Pinto, Kidney, Garbanzo, etc) ----Canned beans work just as well as dry beans
  • 3 carrots, sliced diagnolly
  • 1 yam, peeled and chopped
  • 4 medium tomatoes or 7 small tomatoes, chopped (use 1 16oz can chopped tomatoes)
  • 4 cups beef broth or water if broth is not availabe
  • 2 cups corn (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 cup green beans (frozen or fresh)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

In large soup pot on medium-high brown ground beef & onions in olive oil.
Once beef & onions are browned, add garlic and chili seasoning. Mix together well for 2-3 additional minutes.
Add all the other ingredients and stir.

Bring to a simmer, then lower heat and simmer until the yam and carrots are tender (approx. 30-40 minutes).
While your chili is simmering, make some cornbread muffins and honey butter. Serve chili & cornbread with braised winter greens or a garden salad. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Grassfed Cattle Restore the Prairie

Recently, I have been talking with folks who are interested in understanding what makes their Lasater Grasslands Beef so unique. In June 2011, I will take a group out to the ranch for a first hand visit. If any of you visiting this blog are interested in joining us, please let me know by leaving a comment on this site.
In the meantime, read this article published by PERC, Property & Environmental Research Center to learn more about what makes Lasater ranch so distinct.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Beef Braised in Tomatillo sauce

This is a 40 minute meal. While your brown rice is steaming, you can prepare a hearty and satisfying dish.  Any of you who have eaten at my house know I make this dish often. It can be prepared with many different cuts of beef, pork, chicken or fish. This dish, braised ground beef in tomatillo sauce is tangy and flavorful. The tomatillo, Physalis philadelphica, is a member of the tomato family and also referred to as the 'green tomato'.  It is a staple in Mexican dishes. Here is the recipe:   

Tomatillos with husks

Ingredients for tomatillo sauce
  • 1 lb Lasater ground beef
  • 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 6 Medium tomatillos, fresh & quartered (be sure to remove outer paper husk)
  • 1 small onion or ¼ of large onion, peeled and cut into two pieces
  • 1 Clove garlic, peeled and cut into two pieces
  • ¼ Jalapeno, use tip exclude seeds 
  • 1 Cup fresh cilantro
  • 2-3 Cups stock or water
  • ½ Winter squash, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 Cup peas or green beans
  • 1 Cup carrots, thickly sliced
  • Salt & Pepper

Handled Strainer
In blender place broth, tomatillos, onion, garlic, cilantro, & jalapeno. Blend thoroughly.
Set aside, have handled strainer (colander) on hand ready to use.
Heat deep saute pan with lid, then add olive oil.

Place ground beef in pan and brown. Be sure to break it up small pieces.
Using handled strainer, pour blended tomatillo mixture through strainer over ground beef.
Using spatula press mixture through handled strainer.
Add chopped vegetables, salt & pepper.
Place lid on pan and bring to a simmer.
Maintain simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until root vegetables are tender. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Traditional Pot Roast

Pot roast is one of those dishes that you can cook while you take care of other things.  The heat, time, & moisture break down the connective tissue in tougher beef cuts. This method of cooking is also referred to as braising. Any one of the roasts included in a Lasater family sampler pack can be used to prepare this dish. Here is a recipe for traditional pot roast: 

Seared pot roast
  • 1 roast 3-5lbs (English, Chuck, Pikes Peak, Rump, etc)
  • ½ - 1 Cup red wine (if you do not have wine, use a beer)
  • 3 Carrots or large hand full of small, cut into bize size pieces
  • 3 Potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 Medium-large onion
  • 3-5 Garlic cloves
  • 4 Cups broth or more if needed (See Lasater blogspot for homemade broth)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil 
  • ½-1 Teaspoon thyme

Seared roast w/onions, garlic & wine
Bring roast to room temperature.
In dutch oven or stock pot sear roast on medium-high heat using olive oil or lard.
Sear roast on all sides.
Deglaze pan with red wine.
Place sliced or quartered onions & garlic below the roast in dutch oven/stock pot.
Add herbs such as thyme.
Stove top: Add broth, cover, bring to a 
simmer then lower heat to maintain simmer if using a stock pot, simmer for 2-3 hours.
Dutch oven: Add broth, cover, and place in over on 350 degrees for 2-3 hours or until meat is tender.

Pot Roast will be done when the meat is so tender it can be pulled apart with little effort.
Season to taste with salt & pepper.
Add potatoes & carrots about 30 minutes before serving or until vegetables are tender
Add more salt & pepper if needed.
Thicken with cornstarch, arrowroot, or kudzu. In a Pyrex measuring cup or mug, dissolve approx. 1Tbsp of cornstarch in 1 cup of broth. Then add the cornstarch mixture back into pot roast dish and stir.  
(Kudzu or Pueraria lobata is a tuberous starchy root used to thicken dishes)

You should get a rich, succulent dish that will satisfy even the most discerning palette. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Vegetable Soup with Liver

I was out at Cure Organic Farm the other night and prepared a few dishes for folks to sample. I made a traditional pot roast, ground beef braised in a tomatillo sauce, and vegetable soup with liver. Liver from pasture raised cattle is so nutritious. In addition to being an excellent source of protein, it contains the B complex vitamins, is a good source of folic acid, is a very accessible form of iron, and contains trace elements such as copper.  Copper, along with iron, helps in the formation of red blood cells. It also helps in keeping the blood vessels, nerves, immune system, and bones healthy. Copper is essential for maintaining the health of your bones and connective tissues.  Here is the recipe for Vegetable soup with liver:
  • 1 lb Liver, sliced ½” thick
  • 3 Carrots or hand full of small
  • 2 Celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 Medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 Yam
  • 2 Cups winter squash
  • 6 Cups broth or more (See Lasater blogspot for homemade stock)
  • 1 Cup chopped tomatoes (frozen from summer)1 Cup mixed peppers (frozen from fall)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil 
  • Thyme
  • Swiss chard or spinach (garnish & added nutrients)

Saute onions, carrots, celery, winter squash, yam & potatoes in olive oil for 5-8 mintues on med-high, add garlic saute for additional 1-2 minutes.
Add tomatoes, peppers & stock.
Add salt, pepper & thyme or other herbs (tarragon, parsely).
Bring to boil then reduce to a simmer for 30-40 minutes or until root vegetables are tender.
Slice liver into ½” thick pieces.
Season liver with generous amounts of salt & pepper.
Heat skillet on med-high.
Add olive oil to pan, let heat for 30-60 seconds.
Place liver in pan and sear on both sides approximately 2 minutes each side or less. Chop into to small pieces and add to soup.
Serve soup with liver immediately.
Liver is best when cooked quickly and left a bit pink inside.

Fresh fall & summer frozen vegetables
Vegetable soup with liver
Cure Organic Farm has a market that is open on Wednesday evenings from 3-6pm till mid December. All sorts of good food is available. In addition to gorgeous produce there is Cure honey, Lasater Grasslands briskets, meaty shanks (for stew & broth), filet Mignon, and western slope fresh fruit available. You don't have to be a CSA member to shop - all are welcome. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What are the best cuts for stir fry or fajitas?

My friend Jen asked this question recently. So I did a little searching and found that any tender beef cut, such as sirloin, top sirloin, tri-tip, ribeye, top loin or tenderloin may be trimmed and cut into the appropriate size strips for use in beef stir-fry or fajita recipes. I did find a reference that said you may use some less tender cuts, such as flank or top round for these types of dishes as well. One source suggested freezing the beef piece for approximately 30 minutes then slice it into thin strips. 
If any of you make stir fry or fajitas, please get back to me about your success or failure. And please send me any additional cooking tips for these dishes. I will try it soon, and let you know how it goes. 
Rib-eye Steaks
Some tips for making a great stir fry are:
  • Cut ingredients roughly the same size
  • Make sure all ingredients are chopped before you begin
  • Use medium-high temperature
  • Let the pan heat up before adding oil or fat
  • Give the oil at least a minute to heat up too
  • Cook thicker and harder vegetables first
  • Keep stirring, vegetables need to be moved
  • Stir fry meat first, then remove from pan when it is about 80% finished
  • When your vegetables are done, add meat back into pan for final heating/cooking
  • Serve immediately

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Winter's Meal - Beef Stew

Beef stew is the ultimate comfort food. Well, at least one of them. It is also a dish that can feed many for few dollars. You can use the cheapest cuts of beef to prepare a delicious stew. In some of the Lasater family samplers stew meat is included. If your sampler does not include stew meat you can use any of the following cuts of beef by cutting them into bite size pieces:
chuck roast
pot roast
rump roast

Moist-heat cooking, like that in stew, takes more time, but the results are excellent. The beef becomes tender and the broth develops a rich flavor. 

  • 1lb Lasater stew meat (if you have more meat then your stew will be meatier)
  • Olive oil, lard, bacon fat
  • 1 Medium onion, chopped large
  • 2-3 Carrots, sliced thick 
  • 1-2 Ribs celery, sliced thick
  • 1-2 Yams/potatoes (depending on size), bit size pieces
  • 2-3 C of Lasater beef broth  
  • ½ - ¾ C white or red wine or beer
  • 2-3 Medium tomatoes, chopped large  
  • 1 T fresh sage finely chopped 
  • ½ Bunch parsley (flat leaf preferred) 
  • 2 Bay leaves
browned stew meat
deglaze pan

Season beef generously
Heat the oil, lard or bacon fat in pot
Brown beef on both sides in pot
Add wine or beer to deglaze pot
Add onions, carrots, & celery saute for approximately 6-8 minutes
Add wine or beer to deglaze pot
Add broth, tomatoes, salt, pepper, bay leaves, and sage
Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to low and cook for 2-3 hours to braise the meat (you can also braise the meat in a 350 degree oven if you prefer that to the stovetop.)
Add yams, potatoes, carrots 1 hour into braising, cook until tender.
Add arrowroot, cornstarch, flour or other thickening agent about 20-30 minutes before braising is complete.

5280 Magazine visits with Dale Lasater

If you would like to read a little more about the philosophy at Lasater Ranch, click the link below and read what Patrick Doyle, author of 'Home on the Range' has to say about the Lasater way of ranching.

"Dale Lasater takes the old-school approach to ranching: He places good cattle on the Colorado prairie—and then leaves the rest to nature."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Beef Stock at Home

Yesterday a group of folks showed up at my home and we prepared a few different dishes. Lots of cooking tips were shared by all. It was a group effort for the cooking, cleaning, and sharing that culminated with lots of eating. We started with beef stock; the basis of great soups, sauces and gravies.
  • 1 package Lasater meaty shanks
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • ½ bunch fresh parsley (flat leaf preferred)
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1-2 carrots
  • 1-2 celery sticks (with leaves if possible)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 head garlic
  • ½ tbsp. Peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 T raw apple cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cover beef soup bones or marrow bones with thin layer of tomato sauce. Marrow bones are from the straight portion of the leg bone containing the delicate fatty marrow tissue. Lasater soup bones are currently available as cross-section of marrow bones with meat. The tomato paste is used to enhance broth flavor. Besides being mother nature's natural MSG, during the roasting process, the tomato paste is caramelized which further adds to broth richness. Roasting also renders some of the fat that I like to include in the stock. Roast at 450 degrees for 30-45 minutes.
Lasater meaty shanks (soup bones)

Once the beef bones are roasted, add all ingredients to stock pot. Then fill pot with cold water. Cut garlic across the center of entire head, and quarter onion leaving peel intact. Place both in stock pot as is. 

Be sure to leave room for boiling and simmering approximately 2" below the top of pot. Bring ingredients to a boil, then lower and simmer for at least 12 - 24 hours.
Once your stock is ready, cool then strain using a 'strainer colander'. Store in quart size containers for use later.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Grassfed vs Organic, What Does it Mean?

My friend Rea recently asked if I would address the difference between organic beef and grassfed beef. These buzz words are everywhere we look, but what do these terms actually mean?

100% Grassfed Beef:
The term grassfed is used to explain how the cow was raised and fed. A grassfed animal was raised on pasture. At Lasater ranch the the cattle graze on a shortgrass prairie system their entire life.  Blue grama and buffalo grass are the dominant grass species present. Pronghorn, white tail deer, several species of small mammals and bison historically grazed in this ecosystem.
Lasater cattle are eating what they are designed to consume--grass and some forbs. A cow takes the cellulose in grass and turns it into protein. Jo Robinson writes about the benefits of eating pastured beef here:

Grassfed beef is rich in the following: 
Vitamin E 
Beta carotene 
Good source for Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) 
Healthy ratio of Omega 3 to 6 Fatty Acid 
High quality protein 
Iron, zinc, selenium, and B-complex vitamins

Lasater ranch is organic and the cattle are grazing on grass and other short grass prairie species. 
Organic Beef: 
Certified organic beef is born and raised without antibiotics or growth hormones. Unless organic beef is labeled grassfed it is fed grain. This is where quality and health become a concern. Cattle raised on grain, even organic, are not healthy. Cattle are herbivorous ruminants (plant eaters that chew their cud). Cows are not accustomed to consuming grains. Why are they eating such an unnatural diet? It's economically profitable to feed cows subsidized grains that serve to rapidly pack on the pounds. Grains are high in energy and can fatten up the cow a lot faster than the natural way of letting the steer roam on a pasture and eat grass. Because the corn or grain disturbs their digestion, they are more apt to get sick. The grain prevents the rumen (first division of the cow stomach) from functioning as it should, and the cow becomes more susceptible to bloating which can lead to suffocation. Grain fed cattle may also get acidosis, which is the acidifying of the rumen. Eventually the rumen is ulcerated and this can and often does lead to liver disease. Organs failing are symtoms of sick animals which translates to less healthy beef. Cattle raised on grain, even organic, are not as healthy as cattle raised on grass.  There is a very lengthy interview with Michael Pollen addressing the issue of feeding grain to cattle and health concerns here:

Practice discretion when buying organic beef. 100% grassfed beef is best! I hope this helps answer some questions you may have regarding these two terms.

Green Meatballs?

Yes! Yummy green meatballs with kale, Swiss chard or collard greens. My friend Kirsten Boyer. originally introduced me to this scrumptious dish. We eat these for breakfast too! There are many different renditions, but this is the recipe I found to be the simplest.
ingredients mixed
shaped meatball

Melanie Vrencur and I have made these meatballs together, and learned that if you don't shape your meatball well it will fall apart during cooking. Included are photos of well formed meatballs and also the tragic one that fell apart during cooking--don't let it happen to you.  Serve with rice, sourdough bread, or pasta.  
searing meatballs
meatball falling apart

  • lb Lasater ground beef 
  • 1lb ground pork (if you only have beef use 2lbs beef) 
  • 2 carrots shredded  
  • 1 medium bunch parsley 
  • 1 onion finely chopped 
  • 4 garlic cloves finely chopped 
  • 1 head kale or Swiss chard or collard greens 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1/2 Cup WF classic breadcrumbs (or more if needed)
  • olive oil for searing 
  • salt & pepper to taste 
  • 26oz stained tomatoes 
  • thyme/tarragon/oregano
  • 1 Cup red wine 
  • 1/4 to 1/2 Cup water if necessary
Before Baking
After Baking
Using a food processor, chop finely together kale, onions, garlic, and parsley. Using food processor grating tool-grate carrots, then use chopping tool to finely chop those grated carrots. Mix all ingredients except last 5 in bowl. Be sure mixture is not too dry or too wet. If too dry add another egg. If too wet add more breadcrumbs. Form meatballs. Sear meatballs in olive oil. Deglaze the pan with red wine while meatballs are in the pan. Baked meatballs: Place meatballs on sheet pan and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until browned. Place in stock pot.
Add last 5 ingredients and simmer for 45 min - 1 hour. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Easiest Pot Roast Ever!

Michelle Sanders sent over this delicious English pot roast recipe. The original source is a blog called Fran's Kitchen. This is a sure thing with little to no prep time involved. D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S! Serve with a nice crusty bread, fall greens, & a big glass of wine.

  • 3-5 pound roast cut into a few large pieces
  • 1 Large onion
  • 1 Cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup olive oil
  • 1 Cup red wine 
  • 3-4 Cloves garlic
  • Salt & pepper
*Special Note: My friend Melanie added vegetables to this recipe, and they were too acidic. I recommend following the recipe.
Meat tends to cook down, so it's important to cook it in liquids that are full of flavor.
Peel onion and slice in 1 inch thickness. Line bottom of crock pot with onion.
Salt and pepper the meat and place on top of the onion.
Combine (No need to combine if you are in a rush) vinegar, oil, wine, and garlic and pour on top of meat. The liquid should come up to the bottom of the meat. You can add more liquid or water.
Set for 8 hours on low (most tender meat) or 6 hours on high and try not to dig in too early!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Edible Front Range-The Cow Whisperer

Edible Front Range featured Dale Lasater and Lasater Grassland Beef in their Winter 2010 issue. For any of you that are fortunate to take a day next spring and visit the ranch with me, we will ride in the old Suburban and try whispering too.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Visit to the Ranch

Early Summer 2010 we ventured to the Ranch with some friends from Abbondanza Organic Farm in Boulder, Co. Dale Lasater took us for a ride where we met up with the cattle. This shortgrass prairie ecosystem is so beautiful. It once covered most of eastern Colorado. Today, nearly 50% of our native shortgrass prairie has been converted for other uses such as agriculture.  The pronghorn graze alongside the cattle while songbirds are extremely abundant. 

The kids were with us and had a blast visiting with the cattle. At the end of this gorgeous day we ate a delicious meal of Lasater brisket, boiled potatoes, and a scrumptious salad courtesy of our dear friend Michelle Sanders.

Beef Brisket Recipe 


  • 1 (5 pound) beef brisket
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup Merlot wine
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 3 carrots sliced
  1. Season the beef brisket with salt, pepper and a generous amount of olive oil then place into a roasting pan. Combine the Merlot and balsamic vinegar; pour in with the steak.
  2. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
  3. Cover tightly with a lid or aluminum foil.
  4. Bake for 3 hours in the preheated oven, then peel back the aluminum foil and add carrots to the pan. Cover again and continue roasting for an addition 1 to 2 hours, or until the brisket can be pulled apart with a fork.