Short Cuts with Beef

Recipes: Southwestern Beef Soup and Mexican Beef Salad


Trim beef prices and preparation time by being your won butcher and by planning meals ahead. By carving a larger cut yourself, you trim beef prices. You can also save time and money by doing the same with beef top sirloin or round tip roast. Compare the cost of full cut versus smaller portions of the same cuts packaged separately. You'll calculate quite a savings.

Beef Round Steak

Choose a round steak that has a solid or single muscle top round portion. If the steak is especially thick, use the top round for barbecued or broiled London broil.

Separate the top round, bottom and eyes. Use the top round, the most tender portion as is for broiling or pan frying. Or slice the beef into thin slices for stir-frying. The bottom round, a less tender cut, is great when cut into one-inch cubes for slow-cooking soup or stews, or sliced into strips and marinated for stir-frys or salads. The eye of round, also less tender, is tasty when sliced in strips and marinated, then quickly stir-fried. (Do not overcook!) If the top round has two muscles, save the outside muscle along with the bottom round to slice into the recipe.

Cut the full round all at once. Save enough for dinner that night and slice the rest into portions to prepare recipes the next day, or freeze portions for later. Two people can enjoy four different meals out of a 2-pound round steak.

Trim Calories—Choose Beef's Lean Cuts

The beef cuts (round tip and sirloin) are some of the beef's leanest cuts. Each cut is under 200 calories and contains about 8 grams of fat or less per 3-ounce cooked, trimmed portion. Choose any cut from the round or loin. All are under 200 calories per 3-ounce trimmed serving. Always trim all fat before and after cooking. Broil or fry in a non-stick pan to avoid the need for fats or cooking oil—extra calories.

Store and Save

Beef, like all fresh meat, is perishable. Purchase beef last and prepare it for storage as soon as you get home. If cutting beef for freezing, choose heavy-duty pliable wraps as such as aluminum foil, freezer paper or plastic freezer bags. If cutting strips or small steaks, wrap separately in plastic for portion-controlled servings. Once cut, freeze beef properly at 0 degrees F. or lower. Allow space around each package for good air circulation. If you plan to use the beef within a few days, wrap and refrigerate at under 40 degrees F.

How Long Can Beef Be Stored?

  • For refrigerator storage, remember the "1-2-3" rule"
  • Ground beef—1 to 2 days
  • Steaks—3 days
  • Roasts—3 to 5 days

Beef can be stored frozen for one year, if wrapped properly and stored at under 0 degrees F. Frozen ground beef should be used within 3 months.

When cutting or preparing beef, follow these handling tips: Wash hands, worked surfaces and utensils with hot, soapy water before and after handling raw meat (poultry, seafood and vegetables, too) and before handling cooked foods or foods that will be eaten without cooking. Cook all meats to at least 140 degrees F. (rare).

Serve hot beef at 140 degrees F. or higher, keep cold beef at 40 degrees F. Never allow meat dishes, hot or cold, to sit at room temperature. Place back in the oven to maintain 140 degrees F. until the meal is finished, or put cold dishes in the refrigerator immediately after serving.

Short Cuts In The Kitchen

Each beef recipe that follows can be prepared in under 30 minutes and provides 300-400 calories per serving. The recipes use ingredients that you're likely to keep stocked in your kitchen, and they use beef strips or cubes that you've cut yourself and stored—great for impromptu meals. Each recipe yields 2 servings, but can easily be doubled to serve 4.


Southwestern Beef Soup

Beef Soup

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

  • 1/2 lb. boneless beef round or sirloin steak
  • 1 Tbls. vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 can (14-1/2 oz.) peeled tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 c. whole kernel corn, frozen
  • 1 can (4 oz.) diced green chiles
  • 2 Tbls. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3/4 c. beef broth
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 corn tortilla, in strips
  • 2 Tbls. chopped green onion (optional)

Cut beef across grain into thin strips. Heat 1/2 Tbls. oil in large skillet. Stir-fry beef in hot oil 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and reserve. Add remaining oil to skillet. Stir-fry onion and garlic until onion is limp. Stir in remaining ingredients except beef, tortilla strips and green onion. Heat to boiling; reduce heat and cover. Simmer 5 minutes. Add beef. Simmer 3 minutes. Arrange tortilla strips in soup bowls; spoon in soup. Sprinkle with green onion.

Serves 2.

Nutrition Information per Serving:

  • Calories: 371
  • Protein: 33 gm
  • Iron: 6 mg
  • Sodium: 852 mg
  • Cholesterol: 72 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 31 gm
  • Total Fat: 14 gm
  • Saturated Fat: 3 gm

Mexican Beef Salad

Beef Salad

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

  • 1/2 lb. boneless beef round or sirloin steak
  • 1 Tbls. vegetable oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, in thin strips
  • 1 small onion, in thin wedges
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 2 c. shredded romaine lettuce, cut 1/4-inch
  • 1 jalapeño pepper (optional)

Cut beef across grain into thin strips. Heat 1/2 Tbls. oil in non-stick skillet. Stir-fry red pepper, onion and garlic 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and reserve. Add remaining oil to skillet. Stir-fry beef 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in spices and vegetables. Cook until heated through. Serve mixture over lettuce, garnish with jalapeño pepper.

Serves 2.

Nutrition Information per Serving:

  • Calories: 276
  • Protein: 29 gm
  • Iron: 5 mg
  • Sodium: 564 mg
  • Cholesterol: 71 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 11 gm
  • Total Fat: 13 gm
  • Saturated Fat: 3 gm

Provided by California Beef Council


This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.

Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.

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This page modified February 2007

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