Beef It Up! 50 Mouthwatering Recipes for Ground Beef, Steaks, Stews, Roasts, Ribs, and More

Beef It Up (Storey Publishing) is a focused collection of recipes by popular food blogger Jessica Formicola offers 50 tasty ways to serve up protein-rich beef meals without a lot of fuss. Flavorful beef suppers (Cheeseburger Soup, Shepard’s Pie Mac & Cheese) are featured along with new classics (Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas, 20-Minute Mongolian-style Beef ), salads (Southwest Steak Salad w/ Chipotle Ranch and Steakhouse Salad w/ Blue Cheese), quick hits (Empanada Hand Pies and Beef Satay with Peanut Sauce), and the tried-and-true burgers, steaks, and chili. Juicy photos provide the inspiration and confidence cooks of all levels need to deliver on the promise of a great meal every time.

Jessica Formicola

The creator of Savory Experiments, Formicola is a trusted food and lifestyle blog. She appears regularly on national networks providing cooking demonstrations and entertaining ideas. She has contributed to Parade, The Daily Meal, Mashed, and Better Homes & Gardens, and has partnered with over 100 national food brands on product releases and cooking tutorials. Formicola lives near Baltimore, Maryland with her husband and children.

Chapters Include

Crockpot, freezer and make-ahead friendly mealsShredded Beef 5 Ways, Tips on cooking ground beef, Uses top sirloin, one of our less expensive cuts, How to Properly Brown Beef, 4 Inexpensive Cuts of Beef & How to Make Them Taste Fantastic! Myths About Cooking Beef, What to Look For When Buying Beef.

Red Wine Beef Stew

There’s nothing quite like a steaming bowl of beef stew on a chilly winter night. It’s like your food is giving you a giant hug.

What makes this recipe extra special is that instead of requiring a long simmering time to tenderize the meat, it calls for a New York strip steak, because that’s what I had on hand when I first created this stew. That was years ago, but I still prefer the same cut because it results in the tastiest, melt-in-your mouth beef stew you’ve ever eaten while also reducing the cook time to under an hour. Red wine and hearty root vegetables add sophistication to the cooked-all-day flavor. What’s not to warm your heart?

PREP TIME | 25 minutes COOK TIME | 50 minutes SERVES | 6

  • 3tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2  pounds New York strip 1/2 (2 large steaks), trimmed, 6 cut into 1-inch pieces, and
    patted dry
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups dry red wine
  • 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • ½ teaspoon ground thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ cup chopped white onion
  • 6 ounces rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes, about 3/4 cup
  • ¾ cup julienned carrots
  • 3/4 cup julienned parsnips
  • 1/2 pound small red potatoes, quartered
  • 1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
  • Fresh oregano leaves and grated Parmesan cheese, for topping
  • Loaf of crusty bread, for serving
  • Combine the flour, 1 teaspoon of the salt, the paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside
    2 tablespoons of the mixture to thicken the stew at the end. Toss the beef with the remaining flour mix- ture, shaking off the excess flour.
  • Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium- high heat. Working in batches, sear the beef, turning the cubes every so often to brown the outside. The meat does not have to be fully cooked. Cook each batch for 4 to 5 minutes, then transfer to a paper towel–lined plate.
  • Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping the bottom to incorporate all those little brown bits that will dissolve and add flavor. Stir in the broth, thyme, and bay leaves. Reduce heat to medium and bring the liquid to a low simmer before returning the cooked beef to the pan.
  • Add the onion, rutabaga, carrots, parsnips, and potatoes, and bring back to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft when pierced with a fork.
  • Ladle 1/4 cup of the broth into a small bowl and whisk in the reserved 2 tablespoons flour mixture until smooth. Add this paste to the stew. Cook for 5 minutes longer. The cooking liquid should coat the back of a spoon, but not be thick like gravy. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and season to taste with additional pepper.
  • Ladle into bowls, top with fresh oregano and Parmesan, and serve with slices of a crusty bread to soak up every drop.

Freezer Friendly: Freeze an extra batch or single servings in air- tight containers for up to 3 months. Thin with water or beef broth if it’s too thick when thawed. 

Easier Beef Burgundy

Beef Burgundy, or Boeuf Bourguignon, the rich French dish made famous by Julia Child, is not an everyday meal, but it is well worth the time and effort to make it. The first time I tried it, I had to read the confusing directions several times and the dish still didn’t turn out as planned. Eventually I figured out ways to cut corners without losing any flavor.

The main cooking techniques are (1) browning the meat to add to the richness of the sauce and (2) braising it for hours over low heat to achieve a meltingly tender texture. The lengthy cooking time allows layers of flavor to develop and mellow, so that each bite has dimension.

PREP TIME | 45 minutes

COOK TIME | 4 hours


  • 1 1/2 pounds tender chuck roast, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive
  • 7 strips thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup fresh pearl onions, peeled
  • 3/4 cup diced carrots
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups low-sodium beef broth, plus more as needed
  • 10-12 sprigs fresh herbs, tied into a bouquet garni
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups halved or quartered white mushrooms
  • Pasta, mashed potatoes, or rice, for serving
  1. Arrange an oven rack in the lower-third position and preheat the oven to 275°F (135°C).
  2. In a large bowl, toss the beef with the cornstarch to coat. Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the bacon, cooking until browned and crispy, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel–lined plate. Set aside.
  4.  In the same pot, add the beef, working in two batches. Brown on all sides, 7 to 8 minutes total, then transfer to a clean bowl. Repeat with the next batch, ands et aside.
  5. In the same pot, without wiping it out, add the onions, carrots, and garlic, tossing to coat in the rendered bacon grease and browned bits. Cook until lightly browned and starting to soften, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside.
  1. Reduce the heat to low. At this point there should be little to no oil or grease pooling if you tip the pot to one side, but if there is, spoon it out. Pour the wine into the pot and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom. Keeping the pot on low heat, whisk in the tomato paste, then the broth.
  2. Return the beef, bacon, and cooked vegetables to the pot and add the bouquet garni and bay leaves. There should be enough liquid to fully cover the meat and vegetables. If not, add just enough additional broth to do so.
  3. Cover the pot and bake for3to4hours, or until the beef falls apart when spilt with a fork. If there is any fat on top, skim it off with a spoon before stirring. Remove and discard the bouquet garni and bay leaves. Cover the pot.
  4. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until they reduce in size by a third. Stir the mushrooms into the beef mixture.
  5. Serve over pasta, mashed potatoes, or rice.

Chopped Beef Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce

This salad came about when I was wondering what to do with leftover beef skewers and satay sauce. Tender meat perfectly seasoned along with a slightly spicy peanut sauce sounded delightful in a salad.

Satay refers to the peanut sauce, not the skewers themselves. Most satay sauces are blended with dry roasted peanuts, but to save time and not require a heavy-duty blender, I used creamy peanut butter. I like the added crunch of more peanuts, while my husband opts for fried Chinese noodles. Pick your favorite or use both, but don’t skip the crunchies!

PREP TIME | 20 minutes active; 3–4 hours to marinate

COOK TIME | 10 minutes SERVES | 4 as entree


  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 1/3 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh lemongrass
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 pound Milanese-style beef, cut lengthwise into 1-inchwide strips (see Cook’s Notes)

Make the beef: Whisk together the onion, soy sauce, lemongrass, sugar, garlic, oil, fish sauce, ginger, coriander, turmeric, cumin, and cayenne in a large bowl until a paste forms. Slather this marinade on the beef and place it in either an airtight plastic bag or a shallow dish. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 3 to 24 hours.

To cook, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the beef from marinade, gently shaking off the excess. Working in batches, add the beef to the hot skillet. Cook for only 1 to 2 minutes, or until lightly browned, then flip the meat and cook on the other side. Transfer to a cutting board and chop into bite-size pieces.

Assemble the salad: Equally divide the red and green cabbages, bell pepper, carrots, and scallions among four large salad bowls or plates. Top each serving with some chopped beef, cilantro, peanuts, and a liberal amount of sauce.


  • 4 cups thinly sliced or chopped red cabbage
  • 4 cups thinly sliced or chopped green cabbage
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts or fried Chinese noodles
  • Spicy Peanut Sauce (recipe follows)

Cook’s Notes | Adjust the spiciness of the sauce by adding 1 to 2 more teaspoons of Thai chile garlic sauce, red pepper flakes, Sriracha, or even chopped fresh jalapeno.

If you can find thinly sliced Milanese-style beef at the grocery store, save yourself time and trouble and buy it! If not, partially freeze a top round roast. Beef is easier to thinly slice when a little hard. Using a very sharp knife, cut it into

1/8-inch-thick slices. You might need to cut them in half again vertically to get them 2 inches wide.

Fresh ginger is also easier to grate when slightly froze

Spicy Peanut Sauce

Makes 11/2 cups

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1–3 teaspoons Thai chile garlic sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
  • Juice from 1 lime (1–2 tablespoons)
  • 1 garlic clove, grated

Whisk the peanut butter, coconut milk, soy sauce, sugar, fish sauce, water, chile garlic sauce, lime zest, and lime juice in a small bowl or blend in a small food processor until well combined.

Serve at room temperature or chill until ready to serve. If the sauce thickens, add additional coconut milk or water to thin. The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Recipes are excerpted from Beef It Up! © by Jessica Formicola. Used with permission from Storey Publishing.

 Photography © Dominic Perri.

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