Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Beef, it's what's for dinner!

With all of the bad press about red meat lately, why should we still eat it? Doesn't it increase your risk of heart disease? Doesn't it clog your arteries? The truth is, that in the correct amounts, beef can be beneficial! Just like potatoes, it's not the beef itself that is harmful, but how we cook it.

The key with beef is not only the serving size - which should be four ounces -but the percentage of fat. The best way to go is 90% or higher, but I try to stick with 93%. Flavor can be added in the dish, so don't worry about that sacrifice!

Beef is 'B'eneficial! It is loaded with multiple B Vitamins - B12, B6, B3 and B2. B12 and B6 work together to turn a dangerous chemical in your body, homocysteine, into benign molecules. Recent studies have shown that high levels of homocysteine in the blood increases one's risk of heart attack and osteoporosis. These B Vitamins can only be found in beef, as well. Vegetarians are not able to get these vitamins in their diets without a supplement, due to the lack of them in non-animal sources. Red meat is also an excellent source of tryptophan (something I will go over as we get closer to Thanksgiving!) and protein; and a good source of zinc, selenium, phosphorus, and iron.

I loved this recipe. I enjoy getting lettuce cups in restaurants, but had yet to try to make them myself. The spice and flavor of all of the ingredients was wonderful! And the beautiful thing about the tofu - it takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it with!

Lettuce Cups with Tofu and Beef

(by Ellie Krieger on Healthy Appetite)

1 tablespoons bottled chili-garlic sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sherry or Chinese cooking wine
8 ounces extra-firm tofu
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 tablespoons fresh minced ginger
4 scallions, greens trimmed and reserved, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup each greens and whites - 3/4-ounce each)
1/2 pound lean ground beef (90 percent or leaner)
1/2 cup finely diced water chestnuts
1 large head Bibb lettuce, outer leaves discarded, leaves separated
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup chopped peanuts

In a bowl, whisk together chili-garlic sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, vinegar and sherry.

Slice the tofu into 1/2-inch thick slabs and lay the slices on top of paper towels. Use more paper towels to firmly pat the tofu in order to remove as much water as possible. This should take about 2 minutes and use about 3 paper towels. Finely mince dried tofu and set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok or extra-large skillet over medium heat. Add the ginger and scallion whites and cook until scallion whites are translucent and ginger is fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add ground beef and tofu and cook, stirring, until beef is opaque and just cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add reserved sauce. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring, an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Add water chestnuts and stir to incorporate.

Fill each lettuce leaf with the filling. Serve garnished with scallion greens, red peppers and peanuts.

Per Serving:
(serving size: 2/3 cup filling and 2 large or 4 small lettuce leaves)
Calories 260
Total Fat 13 g( Sat Fat 1.5 g, Mono Fat 5 g, Poly Fat 3.5 g)
Protein 16 g
Carb 19 g
Fiber 5 g
Cholesterol 15 mg
Sodium 630 mg


Zarebski said...

Yummy…. love the food shown in the pictures.

Megan said...

Thanks! And thanks for visiting!