Ground beef is one of my favorite proteins to use for meal prep as it is convenient and flavorful. For some, beef may stand out as a high-fat protein, but it does not have to be.
If you look closely at the packaging, you will find some beef is ground to a 90/10 lean to fat ratio, and some even get as lean as 93/7. You can also tell by the color, as ground beef with a higher fat content will typically be lighter. This is valuable information when it comes to controlling the amount of fat in your diet.
Lean beef is also a great source of zinc, iron and vitamin B12. Personally, I like to go for the 90% lean beef as I usually have trouble hitting my daily intake target for fat.
Beef also has a lot more flavor than chicken breast and because it has a little more fat, it readily takes on any spices you choose to cook it with.
I would still recommend rotating your proteins throughout the day and week. For example, if you have ground beef tacos for lunch, you may want to eat chicken breast or tuna for dinner. Maintaining a bit of variety will help with adherence to your diet. It will also help to keep saturated fat intake low.
One of my favorite preparations for ground beef is with a chorizo spice blend. This is a smokey, savory and slightly spicy flavor profile inspired by Spanish and Mexican cuisines. You will also find it is very versatile, lending itself to simple preparations with rice or as the base for tacos.
Tacos, like beef, also get a bad rap. As with most dishes, if you prepare them at home you get to control how they are made. While restaurant tacos may be laden with fattier cuts of meat and mayonnaise-based sauces, utilizing fresh ingredients at home will yield an even healthier and better-tasting result. You can even opt for corn tortillas if you are avoiding gluten! I personally like the flavor of corn tortillas better.
While recipes may vary with long lists of ingredients, it is easy enough for the home cook to achieve this flavor with just five or six simple ingredients. A little garlic, onion, paprika, cumin
Start by sauteing some minced garlic in fat-free oil. When the garlic begins to brown add diced onion and
At this stage, I would add a little red wine to deglaze the pan so all the flavor from the cooked garlic and onions is ready to be absorbed by the beef. The calories added by the wine are negligible as most of the alcohol will be cooked off almost immediately.
Now you can add the beef to the pot straight from the package, stirring to break it up and mixing all of the ingredients together. I will give rough estimates on how much of each spice to add in the recipe, but I would encourage you to use these only as guidelines, tasting as you go and adding more or less based on your preferences.
With time, these simple recipes will give you the confidence to season your own dishes. The more you practice, the better you will be at knowing just what is missing and exactly how much of it to add.
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