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Versatile dishes use turkey, chicken or beef.

Byline: WHAT'S FOR DINNER? By Maryana Vollstedt for The Register-Guard

Has the discovery of mad cow disease in this country changed your beef eating habits?

Some concerned consumers are abstaining from beef, others are taking a "wait and see" attitude, while some are ignoring it altogether.

If you are relying on the news reports, ground beef or hamburger is the most at risk in carrying the disease because it may contain parts of a cow's nervous system, which harbors the disease.

So what do you do if your favorite recipe calls for hamburger?

Buy all-natural beef with no animal by-products, hormones or antibiotics sold at several Eugene markets; or grind your own with an old-fashioned, hand-cranked meat grinder or using a food processor.

To grind meat in a food processor, use the steel blade. Choose a boneless cut of beef, such as chuck steak. Cut the meat into small chunks or strips and freeze briefly (20 minutes) to prevent the meat from becoming mushy. Process with 1-to-2-second on/off pulses until it reaches the desired consistency.

If you're avoiding beef altogether, you can substitute ground turkey, chicken or lamb for the beef. These meats are milder in flavor and may need more seasoning. Also, use vegetable oil for frying, if necessary.

Here are some recipe options for you to try.

Turkey and Lamb Loaf

This lean and healthful loaf was developed by my son, Scott, who loves meatloaf but never eats beef. It makes a large loaf to serve hot as the main entree and cold in delicious sandwiches the next day.

1 cup quick oats

1 pound ground turkey or chicken

1 Roma tomato, cut up

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 large egg

2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 pound ground lamb

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, chop oats until fine. Add turkey, tomato, celery, egg, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce and process until blended. Transfer to a medium bowl.

Place lamb in the food processor and process briefly. Add to the bowl holding the other ingredients and mix well (use clean hands).

Place in a lightly sprayed or oiled 8-by-8-inch glass baking dish. Bake until firm, about 1 hour. Let stand for 5 minutes. Pour off any excess grease, if necessary.

Serves 6 to 8.

Tortilla Pie

This thrifty and nutritious, lively supper dish will be a hit with the family. It is so easy, even the kids can make it.

1 pound ground turkey or chicken

1 cup chopped yellow onion

1 garlic clove, minced

Vegetable oil, if needed

1 can (4 ounces) diced green chilies, drained

1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

4 corn tortillas, halved

2 cups grated pepper-jack cheese

1 cup pitted black olives

Sour cream for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute meat with onions and garlic, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until meat is browned and vegetables are tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Add oil, if needed. Add chilies and tomato sauce, salt and pepper and mix well.

In a lightly sprayed or oiled deep dish pie plate, add 4 tortilla halves, half of the meat-tomato sauce and half of the cheese. Repeat the layers. Cover and bake, until bubbly, about 25 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Cut into 6 wedges and garnish with olives. Pass the sour cream in a bowl.

Serves 4 to 6.

Hamburger-Macaroni-Tomato Casserole

This family supper dish can be made in the morning and baked later for supper.

6 ounces (2 cups) large elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions, drained

1 pound ground beef, turkey or chicken

1/2 cup chopped yellow onion

1/2 cup chopped green or red bell pepper

Vegetable oil, if needed

1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1 cup grated Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a lightly sprayed or oiled 2-quart casserole, place macaroni. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute meat, onions and bell pepper, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until meat is browned and vegetables are tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Add oil, if needed.

Stir in tomato sauce, basil, thyme, salt and pepper. Add to the casserole and mix well.

Bake, covered, 35 minutes. Remove lid and stir. Sprinkle with cheese and bake, uncovered, until bubbly and cheese melts, about 10 minutes longer.

Serves 6.

Ready Spaghetti

This sauce can be served almost immediately, but the longer it simmers, the better it gets. Serve with garlic bread and a tossed green salad.

1 pound ground beef, turkey or chicken

1/2 cup chopped yellow onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

Vegetable oil, if needed

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) crushed tomatoes in thick puree

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) ready-cut Italian recipe peeled tomatoes

1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce

1/2 cup dry red wine

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

12 ounces spaghetti, cooked according to package directions, drained

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for topping

In a large skillet over medium heat, saute meat, onions and garlic, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until meat is browned and vegetables are tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Add oil, if needed.

Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, wine and seasonings. Simmer, uncovered, until flavors are blended, 10 to 20 minutes. Serve over cooked spaghetti with Parmesan cheese on top.

Serves 6 to 8.

Hamburger Noodle Soup

A new version of an old family favorite and a great warm-up on chilly days. Open-faced cheese sandwiches are a good accompaniment with this soup.

1 pound ground beef, turkey or chicken

Vegetable oil, if needed

1 cup chopped yellow onion

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

1 garlic clove, minced

Vegetable oil, if needed

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) tomatoes, with juices, cut up

2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) beef broth

1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce

2 cups tomato juice

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1 bay leaf

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1 1/2 cups egg noodles, slightly broken

In a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, saute meat, onions, bell pepper and garlic, breaking up meat with a spoon, until meat is browned and vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add oil, if needed.

Add remaining ingredients except noodles and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf and discard.

Increase heat to medium-high and add noodles and cook until noodles are tender and flavors are blended, about 10 minutes longer. Serves 4.

Eugene cookbook author Maryana Vollstedt can be reached by e-mail at ovollstedt@aol.com
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Title Annotation:Columns
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Column
Date:Jan 21, 2004
Words:1168
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