Beef for breakfast

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As a former Tri-County Beef Queen, it is my duty to continue to promote my favorite source of protein and iron: beef. As dairy farmers, we are fortunate to support two commodity check-offs with one single animal (milk and beef). I recently went on the Minnesota Beef Council website to find new recipes for Beef Month. I was surprised with their recipe collections and ideas. I grabbed a few that I will be serving for Mother’s Day brunch with our family.

May is also the month of asparagus and rhubarb. I’ve included recipes using these fresh ingredients to add to our brunch. The rhubarb lemonade is going to be my new summer drink.

Beef breakfast sausage, cheese egg bake

1 recipe basic country beef breakfast sausage

1 pound frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed

8 eggs

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided

1 1/2 cups sour cream

1/2 cup milk

4 ounces crumbled cheese of choice

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Squeeze excess moisture from potatoes. Combine potatoes, one egg, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in medium bowl, tossing gently to coat. Press potato mixture onto bottom and up side of prepared pan. Do not place springform pan on baking sheet. Bake in a 425-degree oven 20-30 minutes until potatoes are crispy and brown. Remove pan from oven. Reduce oven temp to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, prepare sausage. Set aside.

Basic country beef breakfast sausage: Combine 1 pound ground beef, 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage (or 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage), 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper in large bowl, mixing lightly and thoroughly. Heat large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add beef mixture; cook 8-12 minutes breaking into crumbles and stirring occasionally.

Whisk together remaining seven eggs, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, sour cream and milk in a large bowl. Stir in cheese, green onions and sausage; pour mixture into hash-brown crust. Bake in a 375-degree oven 40-50 minutes or until eggs are set. Cool 10-15 minutes. Remove from pan; cut into wedges.

Spicy beef chorizo breakfast strata

1 recipe Mexican style beef sausage
12 cups chopped red bell pepper
2 cups packed fresh baby spinach
6 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 cups day-old French bread, cubed
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Toppings: Salsa, chopped green onions, chopped tomatoes and sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare Mexican style beef sausage: Combine 1 pound ground beef, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves, 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder in large mixing bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Heat large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add sausage mixture; cook 8-10 minutes, breaking into one-half inch crumbles, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, beat eggs, milk, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl until blended. Stir in bread, spinach and 1 cup cheese. Stir in sausage mixture.

Spray 3-quart shallow baking dish with cooking spray. Pour sausage mixture into dish. Top evenly with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Cover with aluminum foil; bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Remove foil; continue baking 10-15 minutes or until puffed and lightly browned. Let stand five minutes before serving. Garnish with toppings if desired.

Rhubarb lemonade

4 cups chopped rhubarb
4 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 cup fresh lemon juice and pulp
4-6 cups ice cubes

Put rhubarb, water and sugar in a heavy bottom pan. Cook on medium heat until boiling. Boil for 15-20 minutes or until rhubarb is shapeless. Strain juice from pulp into big bowl. Let cool. Squeeze 4-6 lemons to equal a cup of juice. Add to cooled rhubarb syrup. Add ice cubes.

Beef, asparagus pasta toss

1 pound ground beef
3 cups uncooked bow tie pasta
1 pound fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup minced shallots (about two large)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, garnish

Cook pasta in salted boiling water 10 minutes or until almost tender. Add asparagus; continue cooking three to four minutes or until pasta and asparagus are tender. Drain well. Meanwhile, heat large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add ground beef; cook 8-10 minutes, breaking into three-fourth inch crumbles and stirring occasionally. Remove from skillet with slotted spoon; pour off drippings. Heat oil in same skillet over medium heat until hot. Add shallots; cook three minutes, add garlic and cook an additional minute until tender and fragrant. Remove from heat. Add beef; toss to mix. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Combine beef mixture with pasta and asparagus in large bowl; toss well. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve.

As their four children pursue dairy careers off the family farm, Natalie and Mark Schmitt started an adventure of milking registered Holsteins just because they like good cows on their farm north of Rice, Minnesota.

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