Pear Walnut Muffins

Enjoy as part of breakfast or alone as a snack. These Pear Walnut Muffins are simple to make with big flavor.

Pear walnut muffins stacked on top of each other
pear walnut muffins stacked on top of each other on a cooling rack

How to know if a pear is ripe

Remember to “check the neck”. Pears are one of the few fruits that don’t ripen on the tree. Pears are harvested when they reach maturity, and when left at room temperature pears slowly ripen from the inside out.

Apply gentle pressure to the neck of the pear with your thumb. If it yields to pressure, it’s ripe.

What’s different about green anjou pears?

Anjou pears have a more egg shape appearance. Their dense flesh holds up well in heated applications like baking, poaching, roasting, or grilling and they are delicious when sliced fresh in salads or eaten as an out-of-hand snack.

pear walnut muffin cut in half on a white plate

How to make Pear Walnut Muffins

The recipe for these pear walnut muffins is pretty much a straight forward muffin recipe.

  1. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients.
  2. Fold in mix-ins.
  3. Bake!

Recipe Notes:

Why sift flour?

Sifted flour is much lighter than unsifted flour and easier to mix into other ingredients when forming a cake or muffin batter. When flour is sifted with other dry ingredients, it helps combine them evenly before they are mixed with other ingredients.

Be mindful of the size.

When chopping ingredients to mix into the batter, be mindful of the size. Chop ingredients in an even size. For the pears in this recipe, think about each bite of the muffin – big enough to note the taste and texture but not too big that it takes over.

Pear walnut muffins stacked on top of each other

Pear Walnut Muffins

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 10
  • Category: muffin
  • Method: baking


These pear walnut muffins are the perfect addition to a breakfast or enjoy alone as a snack. Learn baking tips to create perfect muffins every time!


1 large ripe pear peeled, cored and diced (preferably d’Anjou)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup chopped walnuts

Optional topping:
coconut sugar or coarse sugar
chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease a muffin tin with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together diced pears, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and granulated sugar. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. 
  4. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the egg, Greek yogurt, apple cider, butter, and vanilla, until smooth. 
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Gently fold together until the dry ingredients are just moistened.
  6. Add the walnuts and pear mixture and any accumulated juice to the batter. Gently fold with a spatula until the pecans and pears are incorporated.
  7. Divide the batter between the muffin wells. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins generously with coconut sugar and chopped walnuts. Allow the muffins to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before baking.
  8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with no wet batter.
  9. Cool the muffins in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.


Why sift flour? Sifted flour is much lighter than unsifted flour and easier to mix into other ingredients when forming a cake or muffin batter. When flour is sifted with other dry ingredients, it helps combine them evenly before they are mixed with other ingredients.

Keywords: pear, walnut, muffins, baked goods, baking

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How to freeze muffins and prevent freezer burn

Cool muffins completely before wrapping and freezing. To freeze, wrap securely in foil or freezer wrap, or place in freezer bags. Be sure to remove as much excess air within the bag as possible. Muffins can be stored frozen for up to 3 months.

Spring Farmer’s Market Cooking Class

Spring Farmer’s Market Cooking Class

6:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Join Chef Julie Harrington, RD for a hands-on cooking class at King’s Culinary Studio. Think outside of the box with spring produce with new recipes.

Enjoy this hands-on culinary experience followed by a meal enjoyed in a small group setting.

Menu includes:

  • Asparagus Goat Cheese Galette
  • Flank Steak with Creamy Chimichurri
  • Crispy Smashed Potatoes
  • Spring Wheat Berry Salad
  • Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler with Granola Streusel

Questions? Call 973-258-4009.

Click here for more classes and events.

Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef Tacos

Revamp taco night with a kick of spice with these Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef Tacos. This flavorful meat is deliciously seasoned and cooked until perfectly tender. Layer it in tortillas with all your favorite toppings your next taco night!

open-faced tacos with beef barbacoa

This post is sponsored by the Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative a subcontractor to the Beef Checkoff. Thank you for supporting brands that make this blog possible!

Did you get gifted an Instant Pot this holiday season? The Instant Pot is a single appliance that does the job of seven (yes, seven!) different kitchen appliances. It can handle the tasks of a slow cooker, electric pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, sauté/browning pan, and a warming pot. Think of all those appliances taking up space in your kitchen that can be replaced by one.

Don’t be intimidated by this new appliance. Read up on these 7 Things You Need to Know About Your Instant Pot before you get started.

Beef barbacoa in the Instant Pot

What is barbacoa?

Barbacoa refers to the method of cooking meat. Barbacoa is an authentic Mexican dish typically made with a cut of beef head meat, like beef cheek. When cooked long and slow it becomes extra tender. It is traditionally seasoned with dried chilies and spices and slowly cooked.

Barbacoa is now used to refer to a seasoned beef, that has been slow-cooked. 

open-faced beef barbacoa taco on a flour tortilla

Choosing lean beef

Forget about sacrificing taste for nutrition. These lean beef cuts are chock-full of flavor and 10 essential nutrients. Beef can only be claimed as “lean” if the cut of beef is less than 10g total fat, 4.5g or less saturated fat and less than 95 mg of cholesterol per 100-gram serving.

Beef chuck

Beef chuck is a primal cut that comes from the shoulder area and yields cuts known for their rich, beefy flavor. Beef chuck is ideal for slow cooking to yield tender beef.

beef barbacoa tacos with toppings
open-faced taco with Barbacoa Beef

Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef Tacos

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Yield: 6
  • Category: meat
  • Method: instant pot
  • Cuisine: mexican


Revamp taco night with these Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef Tacos! This flavorful meat is deliciously seasoned and cooked until perfectly tender. Layer it in tortillas with all your favorite toppings your next taco night!


For the beef barbacoa:
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 chipotle peppers (from a can in adobo sauce – reserve sauce), chopped
2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from the chipotle peppers)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 pounds beef chuck, fat trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 bay leaves

For the tacos:
Tortillas, soft or hard shells
Sliced avocado
Pickled onions
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped cilantro
Lime wedges


  1. Press the “saute” setting on the Instant Pot. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil until heated and shimmering. Add the onion and garlic, saute for 1-2 minutes until the onion begins to turn translucent. Add the chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper, and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Press “cancel” to turn off the heat.
  2. Remove contents from the Instant Pot into a food processor and add beef broth, apple cider vinegar, and lime juice. Pulse until smooth and set aside.
  3. Press the “saute” setting on the Instant Pot. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until heated and shimmering. In batches, add beef and brown all sides. Be mindful not to overcrowd the pan. Repeat until all beef is browned. Press “cancel” and turn off the heat.
  4. Add all the beef, bay leaves, and reserved sauce in the Instant Pot. Stir well to combine. Close lid securely and set vent to “sealing”. Press “manual”, then press “Pressure” until the light on “High Pressure” lights up, then add 60 minutes of cook time.
  5. When cook time is complete, very carefully, turn the vent to “venting” for quick release, and wait until all of the steam has released.
  6. Remove the lid and discard the bay leaves. Using two forks, shred the beef into bite-sized pieces. Stir shredded beef with the juices so it can soak up all the flavor.
  7. Assemble tacos by layering beef barbacoa on a tortilla and top with avocado, onions, tomatoes, and cilantro. Serve with a lime wedge on the side.

Keywords: beef, tacos, barbacoa, instant pot

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Other ways to use beef barbacoa

This Instant Pot barbacoa beef is so flavorful and tender, and it’s so versatile!

  • Tacos
  • Burritos (wraps or bowls)
  • Salads
  • Nachos
  • Quesadillas
  • Enchiladas
  • Or just about any other use, you can think of for spicy shredded beef

Edamame Avocado Hummus

Move over chickpea hummus. There’s a new hummus in town – Edamame Avocado Hummus. 

Edamame Avocado Hummus ingredients in a food processor

I recently did a presentation about smart snacking. One thing I like to mention about smart snacking is to opt for real food first. Snacking is an opportunity for nourishment. 

Yes, grabbing a bar is quick (some bars do pack in great nutritional value), but really think about your snacks throughout the day. How many of them are real food vs. processed foods?

Edamame Avocado Hummus in a small white bowl

I’ve been challenging myself to include more veggies into my snacks. I go through snacking phases, and raw veggies have fallen out of my routine a little bit.

Snacking is more fun when you are dunking. I love dunking my veggies into hummus, but I decided to switch it up a bit and use edamame as the base instead of chickpeas. Edamame, a plant-based protein is a young soybean that has been harvested before the beans have had a chance to harden.

Edamame Avocado Hummus in a white bowl with carrots and crackers

Adding avocado to the edamame helps make this dip creamy. Avocados can act as a booster to help your body absorb fat-soluble nutrients from the foods eaten with them, like vitamin A. Vitamin A foods, like carrots, contain carotenoids, which not only promote healthy skin but benefit the heart and immune system as well. This vitamin is a potent antioxidant that protects the skin from free radicals. So, pair carrot sticks with this delicious dip!

carrot being dunked into green dip
Edamame Avocado Hummus in a white bowl

Edamame Avocado Hummus

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: dip
  • Method: no-cook



  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
  • 1/2 large avocado
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon tahini
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil (can sub olive oil)


  1. Add edamame, avocado, lemon juice, garlic, tahini, onion powder, pepper and salt in a food processor. Pulse for 30 seconds and scrape down sides.
  2. Slowly drizzle in oil while motor is running and pulse until reach desired consistency.

Keywords: hummus, avocado, edamame, dip

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Grocery Store Finds: October 2019

Take a look in this dietitian’s grocery cart and see what grocery store finds I found this month!

Grocery Store Finds with Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD #dietitian #personalshopper #healthy #rdapproved

At the end of October, every year more than 10,000 nutrition professionals and food industry executives gathered in Philadelphia for the annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE®) hosted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It’s like the super bowl for dietitians. I spent most of my time at the expo hall, networking, and presenting for the first time.

As I wandered around the expo hall, there were a few trends that kept on popping up. Here are a few items that I was introduced to that I saw at the grocery store the next time I went grocery shopping.

hand holding gouda moon cheese at the grocery store

Moon Cheese

Hello cheese lovers! Moon Cheese is for you. Moon Cheese is 100% natural cheese containing all the goodness of cheese and is a perfect on-the-go healthy snack with no refrigeration required! Enjoy Moon Cheese as is or add it on top of a salad for a savory crunch. My personal flavor is gouda!

This grocery store find found at Whole Foods

hand holding simple mills soft baked dark chocolate almond almond flour bars at the grocery store

Simple Mills Soft Baked Almond Flour Bars

Are there any brands that keep coming out with new product lines that just never disappoint you? Simple Mills is one of those brands for me. Now they have soft-baked almond flour bars.  These bars are made with whole food ingredients that make up the satisfying blend of textures. The pieces of nuts, seeds, and fruit blend with the soft-baked bar create a satisfying texture. All four bars varieties are naturally sweetened with honey & molasses.

This grocery store find found at Whole Foods

hand holding biena vegan ranch baked chickpea puff at the grocery store

Biena Chickpea Puffs

Biena, known for their crunchy chickpea snacks, now have a new product line, baked chickpea puffs. Plant-based protein snacks were a big buzz through the expo hall. While this is still a snack, it adds 7 grams of plant protein and 30% fewer carbs per serving than traditional chip-type snacks.

This grocery store find found at Whole Foods

Seggiano rose balsamic vinegar on the shelf at the grocery store

Rose Balsamic Vinegar

This rose balsamic vinegar was not a find from FNCE, but I couldn’t help myself when I saw it on the shelves at Whole Foods. This will take vinaigrettes up to the next level.

This grocery store find found at Whole Foods

hand holding chickpea flour siete tortillas at the grocery store

Siete Chickpea Flour Wraps

More plant-based proteins made an appearance but in the form of a wrap this time. Siete created a tortilla with chickpeas and olive oil, but don’t worry, it doesn’t taste like a pita! Their chickpea tortilla is ultra pliable and behaves and tastes suspiciously like a flour tortilla.

This grocery store find found at Whole Foods

What grocery store finds have you been enjoying lately?

Best Type of Apples To Use in Recipes

Do you know the best type of apples to use in recipes?

While I know many will be apple picking this season, a variety of apples are better for various culinary uses. Learn about the best type of apples to use in recipes.

Stumped on what apple to use for your recipes? It’s not just apples to apples. Different apples contain different tastes, culinary uses, and may even ripen at different times during the season. Here are some apple varieties that are commonly found while apple picking:

hand holding apple


Taste: rich, tart, spicy, crisp
Best for: baking, hand-eating
Ripens: late October


Taste: crisp, juicy, sweetly tart
Best for: baking, hand-eating, salads
Ripens: mid-September


Taste: crisp, juicy, sweet, spicy
Best for: fruit cups, hand-eating, salads
Ripens: September


Taste: super sweet, crisp
Best for: cooking, hand-eating, sauce, pie
Ripens: late October


Taste: firm, sweet, snappy
Best for: sauce, hand-eating, salads
Ripens: late August

Golden Delicious

Taste: mildly sweet, juicy, crisp
Best for: sauce, pie, cooking, hand-eating
Ripens: mid-September

Granny Smith

Taste: tart, crisp, juicy
Best for: cooking, hand-eating, juice
Ripens: late October


Taste: sweet, slightly tart
Best for: salads, baking, juice, hand-eating
Ripens: September

Ida Red

Taste: sweetly tart, firm, juicy
Best for: baking, hand-eating
Ripens: mid-October


Taste: sweetly tart, juicy, spicy
Best for: baking, hand-eating, sauce
Ripens: mid-September


Taste: crisp, juicy, sweetly tart
Best for: cooking, hand-eating, salads
Ripens: September

Red Delicious

Taste: juicy, sweet
Best for: hand-eating, sauce
Ripens: late September

Best Type of Apples To Use in Recipes

A few apple recipes to inspire you!

A Taste of the Mediterranean Cooking Class

A Taste of the Mediterranean Cooking Class

6:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Join Chef Julie Harrington, RD for a hands-on cooking class at King’s Culinary Studio. Travel through Mediterraneasn with recipes within the region.

Enjoy this hands-on culinary experience followed by a meal enjoyed in a small group setting.

Menu includes:

  • Red Italian Wedding Soup
  • Baba Ghanoush
  • Cod en Papillote
  • Greek-Style Lamb Pita with Tzatziki Sauce
  • Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
  • Cannoli Dip

Questions? Call 973-258-4009.

Click here for more classes and events.

Pistachio Crusted Baked Cod

It is recommended to enjoy seafood two to three times per week. The keyword enjoy – don’t keep making the same recipe over and over again. Try this Pistachio Crusted Baked Cod.

Pistachio Crusted Baked Cod on a baking sheet

Too many times I hear consumers they only eat fish when they are out to eat because they don’t know how to cook it at home. Fish and seafood are some of the simplest proteins to cook. It’s quick, quite forgiving, and there are so many different flavor combinations to pair with.

Why you should make this Pistachio Crusted Baked Cod recipe

I may be biased, but this Pistachio Crusted Baked Cod is delicious! Plus, the simplicity of it is great for getting dinner on the table during busy nights. The added bonus – eating more fish includes a lot of health benefits.

Why dietitians want you to eat more seafood

Fish literally saves lives. Eating seafood two to three times per week reduced the risk of death from any health-related cause by 17 percent.

Seafood sits among the highest- quality proteins (like eggs, meats, poultry, and dairy) and offers additional health benefits. It can reduce the risk of heart disease, can help during pregnancy to help the child develop a healthy brain, and improve memory and sharpness.

Health benefits of cod

Cod is the leanest protein available, meaning the protein to calorie ratio beats out any other food.

Cod is a low fat flaky white meat fish that is a good source of protein, phosphorus, niacin, and Vitamin B-12. An individual 100 g (raw) portion of cod has less than 90 calories, less than one gram of fat, and 17 grams of protein.

pistachio crusted cod with spinach and orzo on a white plate

Tips for baking fish

Medium-to-fatty fish with a firmer texture and richer flavor (like cod, salmon, or swordfish) are perfect grilling, baking or broiling because they can withstand the heat.⁠

Lean, mild-flavored fish with tender, white or pale flesh, such as sea bass, flounder or grouper are usually delicate, so this cooking method works well.⁠

When do you know when fish is done?

Many types of fish are delicate and tender, so you want to avoid overcooking them. The best way to tell if a fish is done is by testing it with a fork. Insert the fork at an angle, at the thickest point, and twist gently. The fish will flake easily when it’s done, and it will lose its translucent or raw appearance.⁠

Pistachio Crusted Baked Cod on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper

Using pistachios as the crust

Poor pistachios. I feel like they are a totally underrated nut. Pistachios are versatile in the kitchen and just as many nuts can be used with both sweet and savory applications. The caution for using nuts as a crust is they have a tendency to burn. Since the cooking process for fish is usually shorter and this Pistachio Crusted Baked Cod recipe is baked vs. seared, it will not burn.

Health benefits of pistachios

The green and red-purple hues in pistachios come from antioxidants. Pistachios are known for their fiber and protein content. Nearly 90% of the fat in pistachios are from heart-healthy (good-for-you) fats.

piece of pistachio crusted baked cod with orzo and spinach

Pistachio Crusted Baked Cod

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 14
  • Total Time: 24 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: seafood
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: american



4 cod fillets (about 6 ounces each), or other firm white fish
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup shelled unsalted pistachios
1/2 cup whole-grain Panko breadcrumb
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon olive oil


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place cod on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the cod fillets with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.

In a food processor, pulse pistachios, panko, garlic, and remaining salt, for about 10-15 seconds until a crumbly texture is reached.

In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, mustard, and lemon zest. Using a pastry brush or mini spatula, evenly spread the yogurt mixture in top of each fillet. Evenly, gently press the pistachio mixture on top. Drizzle olive oil over the fillets. (Alternatively use and olive oil cooking spray.

Bake until fish is opaque throughout, approximately 12 to 14 minutes.

Keywords: cod, pistachio, fish, dinner

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Grocery Store Finds: September 2019

Grocery Store Finds via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD #dietitian #personalshopper #healthy #rdapproved

September, you are confusing. In the mornings I bundle up to take out Wally, but then in the afternoon, we are back to what feels like summer weather. If you’ve been following along on Instagram, I’ve been traveling a lot this month, so I didn’t do as much grocery shopping as I normally do, but I did find some new items this month to share!

Ronzoni Turmeric Pasta

hand holding ronzoni turmeric pasta at the grocery store

This is the first turmeric pasta I’ve seen on the grocery store shelves. Made with simply durum wheat semolina and turmeric this pasta has a bright and vibrant orange hue. While turmeric is known for its potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant health benefits, I am not sure how much is in one serving of pasta, and most likely does not reach the medicinal benefits. The pasta had a slight turmeric taste when tasted by itself. It tasted just like regular pasta.

(New Flavor Alert) Mush Overnight Oats

hand holding MUSH coffee + coconut cream overnight oats

New flavor alert! Mush Overnight Oats now has a coffee + coconut cream flavor and it is delicious! Yes, overnight oats are simple to make at home, but when you are in a pinch these are perfect. They even come with a little spoon secured under the lid. There is no sugar added and the ingredients are simple: Oats, Coconut, H2O, Cold-Brewed Coffee, Dates, Sea Salt.

Clio Greek Yogurt Bar

hand holding Clio hazelnut greek yogurt bar in the grocery store

This is what happens when you shop hungry. Just casually selecting my yogurt in the dairy section and then these caught my eye and they landed in my cart. I’m not going to complain because they are delicious! The Greek yogurt in the center of the chocolate coating has a texture like cheesecake. These are the perfect little sweet treat!

Simple Mills Cracker Snack Packs

hand holding simple mills cracker snack packs in the grocery store

These almond flour crackers have been around, but now they come in a little snack pack pouch. These come in handy for packing lunches, on the go, or if you are looking for pre-portioned snacks. I am a fan of all Simple Mills products. They are all made with simple ingredients, hence the name.

What grocery store finds have you been enjoying lately?

Grocery Store Finds via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulie_RD #dietitian #personalshopper #healthy #rdapproved

Check out other Grocery Store Finds!

This dietitian strolls the aisle to find the latest and greatest #RDapproved items found in the grocery store.

Balsamic Marinated Skirt Steak

This post is sponsored by The Beef Checkoff. Thanks for supporting brands that make this blog possible!

For the novice chef, cooking beef can sometimes be intimidating. What cut to choose? What cooking technique would work best? Is beef healthy to serve my family?

I’m here to help answer many of these questions for you, but you can also utilize the resource Chuck Knows Beef. Powered by Google Artificial Intelligence, Chuck is the new virtual go-to expert on all things beef. Chuck can be easily accessed at or by simply enabling Chuck Knows Beef with Amazon Alexa or Google Home Assistant devices. You will have a beef expert on hand whenever you need it!

For busy families everywhere, there is nothing more challenging than getting a balanced meal on the table each night. A simple marinated skirt steak is a flavorful and quick dish that can be whipped up any night. Pair with a side of your favorite veggie and grain for a complete meal.

The purpose of a marinade

First, what is your marinade for? There are two purposes for a marinade – to infuse flavor and/or to tenderize the cut of meat which all comes down to the time the cut of meat is being marinated.

Just looking to add flavor? Marinate for 15 minutes to 2 hours. Looking to tenderize cuts? Marinate for 6 to 24 hours.

ingredients for Balsamic Marinated Strip Steak recipe on a marble slab

What is the most affordable cut of beef? How do I cook it?

Aside from ground beef, the cuts that are typically most affordable come from the end meats – chuck and round. These are also typically less tender cuts and benefit from slow cooking with moist heat. Roasting, stewing, braising, etc.

Head over to Beef It’s What’s For Dinner for more information.

computer graphic with information about affordable beef cuts for families

Besides ground beef, which cut of beef is the easiest to work with that is “forgiving” for a novice chef?

Slow roasting end cuts from the chuck or round can be a simple starting point for those just starting to cook beef. If grilling a steak, be sure to choose a cut at least ½ inch thick to avoid overcooking with high heat. Sirloin steak and strip steaks are both forgiving and economical cuts, to begin with.

What are the temperatures for rare, medium-rare, and medium for my steak? Should I pull it from the grill before that since it still cooks after it is removed?

The USDA cooking guidelines are as follows: For medium rare the temperature should read 145°F, the temperature for medium steaks should read 160°F, and well done is 170°F. Ground beef should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F. Steaks and roasts will continue to cook and rise 5ºF to 15ºF after removing from the cooking source.

Here is more information about cooking temperatures

Balsamic Marinated Strip Steak with green beans on a white plate

Why does my beef always come out dry?

Usually, the reason for dry beef is overcooking. Thinner cuts of beef tend to cook more quickly so consider reducing the heat and the time over the heat for thinner cuts. Overcooking roasts in a crockpot or oven, even when adding liquid, can also cause the meat to be dry. Another good tip is to match the cut of beef with the appropriate cooking method. End cuts from the chuck and round will usually benefit from moist cooking methods while well-marbled middle meat cuts from the rib and loin can be cooked with dry heat.

Not sure what cooking method is best? Ask Chuck or see more information here.

What’s the difference between grass-fed and organic beef?

Organic beef means the cattle meet the strict guidelines set forth by the USDA for the type of feed they consume and the supplements/medications they are given (or not given). The feed must be certified organic but that could include both grasses and grains. Organic beef is never given antibiotics or administered hormone implants.

Grass-fed beef is harder to define as the USDA no longer recognizes an official certification for grass-fed/finished cattle. Therefore, the definition can vary depending on the adopted standards of the beef producer. In general, grass-fed (technically grass-finished) beef is raised solely on grass feed stuffs without the addition of grain. Grass-fed is not necessarily organic but often is.

Learn more about beef labeling here and utilize this infographic for more details.

How do I reheat leftovers without causing the beef to become tough and chewy?

Reheating beef can be challenging – especially if it was prepared to medium-well or well done, to begin with. Microwaving beef is typically not recommended. Steaks and roasts can be reheated in the oven at a lower temperature of 200 – 250 degrees. An alternative to reheating a roast or steak is to consider slicing it thin and enjoying over a salad or as a sandwich.

Balsamic Marinated Strip Steak with green beans and almonds on a white plate

I have high cholesterol. Is it still okay to eat beef?

Research shows that a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle that includes lean beef, even daily, improved cholesterol levels. About half the fatty acids found in beef are called monounsaturated fatty acids, the same kind found in olive oil, and, as part of a heart-healthy diet, can reduce cholesterol levels.

I’m unsure to feed my family beef because of the hormones. What is the truth?

All hormones used in beef production must be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  It starts with a comprehensive, multi-step scientific review process. If a product fails even one test or step in the process, it will not be approved.

The FDA and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversee the safety of food products. The FDA sets a tolerance on hormone residue levels that can be found in food. The USDA conducts random sampling of beef to check for residues.

Extensive research shows that supplemental hormones are metabolized quickly and clear an animal’s system before entering the food supply.  Furthermore, decades of research have looked at the effect of using hormones in livestock production, but none have found any human health impact.

Learn more about hormone usage in cattle ranching.

piece of skirt steak on a white plate with green beans

Balsamic Marinated Skirt Steak

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: beef
  • Method: grilling
  • Cuisine: American



1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
1 teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon ground pepper, divided
1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, cut crosswise into 24 equal pieces
1 tablespoon avocado oil


  1. In a resealable plastic bag, combine vinegar, sugar, garlic, rosemary, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add meat to marinade, and turn to coat. Let marinate at room temperature at least 15 minutes, or cover and refrigerate up to 1 day.
  2. In a grill pan over medium-high heat, add oil. Remove steaks from marinade, allowing excess to drip off. Grill steaks 2 to 3 minutes then flip and cook another 2-4 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer to a plate; cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest 5 minutes.

Keywords: beef, steak, skirt steak, dinner, beef checkoff, heart-healthy

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