Back to School

Family vacation season is winding down and it is now back-to-school time for many students across the United States. Class schedules have been planned and school supplies purchased – but have you given any thought to what your children will be eating for lunch?

We have compiled a variety of tips and resources to help make lunchtime planning easier and lunches more nutritious and delicious:

Improving School Lunch Programs

Better School Food
- A wealth of links and resources to help start a revolution to improve school food

The Edible Schoolyard
- An inspiring and informative website chronicling a school garden and lunch program

Rethinking School Lunch
- A comprehensive guide to Rethinking School Lunch, essays, a wellness guide, and more - from the Center for Ecoliteracy

Tips for Talking to Your School Foodservice Director
- From the School Nutrition Association

Lunch Box Menu Planning, Recipes and Tips

Epicurious Back-to-School Guide

Meals Matter - Back-to-School Feature

US Wellness Meats Staff Suggestions
In the past couple of weeks, several US Wellness Meats customers have called for suggestions on snacks and meats to send in lunch boxes. Our suggestions include:

Beef Snack Sticks - free from preservatives, gluten, and MSG - but rich in flavor - snack sticks have a "lunch box life" of 3-4 hours at room temperature (longer if packed with an ice pack, frozen juice box, etc.)
Beef Jerky - a great snack with no additives, only pure protein and a clean beef taste
Beef Franks - child-approved for their great taste and parent-approved for their great nutritional qualities - and of course, no fillers or preservatives
Beef Bologna - like the franks, our bologna has a great flavor but lacks all the preservatives and fillers
Shredded Beef - Makes a great main ingredient in a taco, wrap, or sandwich

In addition, our sandwich steak, minute steak, flat iron steak, and precooked brisket and roast would also make great lunch box additions. Don't forget to add some organic nuts and berries for a healthy burst of energy!

We hope you have a wonderful school year!


Doing What’s Best For Baby

When it comes to your health, there are so many things to consider, especially when you’re pregnant or planning to conceive. Here are a just a few of the many important factors to keep in mind.

Folic acid:
Folic acid works, but it only works if taken before and during the first few weeks of pregnancy, when the neural tube is developing into the brain and spinal cord. When the neural tube does not close properly, a baby is born with a very serious birth defect called a neural tube defect (NTD). About 3,000 pregnancies are affected by NTDs each year in the United States. If all women took adequate folic acid (400 micrograms per day) before conception and during pregnancy, about 70 percent of NTDs could be prevented.

Essential fats:
EPA and DHA are omega-3 oils found primarily in fish, but also in grass-fed meat. These oils are important for the development of fetal brain and eye tissue. Omega-6 oils come from all vegetable oils. The majority of us consume too much omega-6 and too little omega-3. These oils affect body functions such as blood pressure, blood clotting, and immune response, so having the ideal omega 6:3 ratio, which is 2:1, is important. Grass-fed beef has the desired 2:1 ratio. If you’re not getting enough of these oils, consider taking a fish oil supplement. Not only is this beneficial to take during pregnancy, it’s also beneficial for breastfeeding since your baby’s brain and eyes are continuing to develop.

Pick Pure Products:
The purest, cleanest products are just that: pure and clean – nothing added! Meat without added hormones or antibiotics is ideal. It’s even better when the meat is grass-fed. Cattle are meant to eat grass; it’s the natural, healthy way for them to eat. Healthy animals produce healthy products, it’s that simple. Grass-fed beef is leaner and has 1/3 less calories than grain-fed beef. It’s also higher in CLA and Vitamins A and E. By eating the best products you ensure that you’re not passing along unwanted hormones and chemicals to your child.

Try this recipe to get a dose of the perfect omega 6:3 ratio while eating the tastiest, healthiest beef available.

Spanish Steak Roll with Sautéed Vegetables
Makes: 6 servings

1 ¾ pounds boneless beef top sirloin steak
1 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
3 teaspoons butter
¾ teaspoon salt
1 each: red and green bell pepper, cut lengthwise into strips
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
¼ teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon sour cream or low-fat yogurt
1 4-oz can green chilies, chopped (omit if you can’t tolerate any spicy food)
Lemon slices
Cilantro sprigs

1. Pound boneless beef top sirloin steak to about ¼ - inch thickness. Sprinkle with pepper and ½ teaspoon garlic powder.
2. Heat 2 teaspoons butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat until hot.
3. Pan-fry steak until medium-rare, turning once.
4. Remove steak to heated platter and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt. Keep warm.
5. Add remaining 1 teaspoon butter to frying pan. Add red and green peppers, onion, mushrooms, and walnuts. Cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
6. Add remaining ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon salt, and chili powder; continue cooking 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
7. Spread steak with sour cream and top with chilies.
8. Starting at the long side of the steak, roll up jelly–roll fashion; secure with 6 wooden picks. Slice steak between picks, place vegetables around steak roll. Remove and discard picks.

-Adapted from Eating Expectantly, A Practical and Tasty Guide to Prenatal Nutrition


New Offerings & Restocked Items

US Wellness Meats is pleased to introduce two new items to our inventory of premium pastured meat and poultry items. Both new items - Lamb Osso Buco and Peking Free-Range Duck - have very limited availability, so don't miss out!

In addition, the following items have been restocked:

Chicken Cutlets - 4 per 1.6 pound package
Delmonico Steak - 14 ounce
T-bone Steak - 16 ounce
New York Strip Steak - 14 ounce
New York Strip Steak - 8 ounce
New York Strip Steaks - 12 pack of 14 ounce steaks
Beef Heart - 1.5 lb. package
Sugar Free Franks - 6 per 1 lb. pkg
Sugar Free Garlic Franks - 6 per 1 lb. pkg
Leg of Lamb Steak - 11.5 ounce
Lamb Kabobs - one pound package (very limited supply)
Lamb Spare Ribs - 1.25 lb. package


Dog Days of Summer

According to folklore and farmer's almanacs, this time of year marks the end of the "Dog Days of Summer." Different sources give different date ranges for the "Dog Days of Summer," with an ending date between August 11 and September1.

Dog Days refer to summer's hottest (and in Missouri - most humid) days. The Greeks and Romans first referred to this period as Dog Days because it coincided with the time when Sirius (the dog star) rose at the same time as the sun. Although the rotation of Earth has changed and Sirius no longer rises before or with the sun, the term "Dog Days of Summer" remains.

In honor of the end of Dog Days, why not share a grass-fed treat with your canine companion? US Wellness Meats offers pet burger, organ meats, and a variety of bones to help satisfy the traditional nutritional needs of dogs.

We are confident your dog(s) will enjoy US Wellness Meats pet burger and bones as much as our canine contingency - Buck, Duchess, Copper, Moka, Shelby, Cinder, Chase, Piper, Payton, George, Jill, Jazz, Little Georgie, Four-Spot, and Amy!


Safety: Another Advantage of Grass-Fed Beef

When a beef recall makes the news, the US Wellness Meats staff fields numerous phone calls from our customers, looking for answers and reassurance.

In addition to the proven health benefits of grass-fed beef (thanks to increased Omega 3's and CLA), science has also proven grass-fed beef to have a lower risk of E.coli.

Grass-finished beef has a minimal risk compared to grain-fed beef due to the difference in gastric pH resulting from the two diets. Grain diets create a much higher level of acidity in the stomach, which the E.coli bacteria need to survive. Forage-based animals maintain a pH near 7 in the digestive system, which severely retards the environment for E.coli O157:H7, leading to less risk to the consumer. In addition, each batch of beef produced by US Wellness Meats is tested for E.coli two times before packaging.

Just another reason you can feel good about enjoying grass-fed beef from US Wellness Meats!

These Sale Items Are Tasty!

The US Wellness Meats sale items this week include:

Boneless Butterfly Pork Chops
Boneless butterfly chops are the most popular product from the Heritage Acres line of pork. Heritage Acres pork is humanely raised on sustainable family farms using traditional production methods. Try one of the boneless butterfly chops to find out just how wonderful pork tastes without the antibiotics, chemicals, and confinement.

If you've been looking for grass-fed, hormone and antibiotic free oxtail, look no further! Not familiar with oxtail? It is the culinary name of the meat from the tail of a beef animal. Oxtail is very delicious when slow-cooked (braised or stewed). Traditionally, it is associated with soul food of the American South, and is also popular in Jamaica, Korea, Ireland, and the United Kingdom (Heinz Soup offers an oxtail variety in the U.K.).
Stock up now, before fall, winter, and cold weather sneak up on you!

Beef Short Ribs - Family Pack (25 lbs.)
Planning to entertain over the Labor Day holiday weekend? If so, stock up on our popular short ribs while they're on sale. Short ribs are great on the grill and equally delicious cooked on low in a slow-cooker. Either way, short ribs will be a convenient and tasty addition to your Labor Day menu!

Sale expires at 12:00 midnight CST Saturday, August 16.


Happy Cows Come From . . . Missouri

You've probably seen the California dairy industry commercials with the catchy "Happy cows come from California" slogan . . .

Well, these aren't dairy cows and we're not in California . . . but our cattle (pictured on the farm of one of the US Wellness Meats families) seem quite content grazing the lush green pastures of Northeast Missouri.

The cattle on the family farms of US Wellness Meats are Angus, Hereford, Shorthorn, British White, and crosses of those four breeds. Considered "English" or "British" breeds, these animals are known for their superior carcass (meat) quality.

All US Wellness Meats cattle are 100% grass-fed and grass-finished. The cattle are moved to fresh pasture daily and are never treated with added hormones or antibiotics. They're raised just as cattle were intended to be raised - on grass, naturally. Could explain why they're so happy!


New York Strip Steaks

When we stumbled across this recipe, we knew we had to share it! New York Strip Steaks are perennial favorites at the US Wellness Meats office, we love avocado, and it's sweet corn season here in the Midwest. We hope you enjoy it as much as we will!

New York Strip Steak

with Avocado & Corn Salsa


2 ears sweet corn, shucked
extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic
1 ripe avocado, roughly chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
6 green onions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 New York Strip Steaks, 8 oz. each

1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


For salsa: Lightly brush corn with olive oil. Grill over direct medium heat until corn is browned in spots and tender, 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally. Allow corn to cool; cut kernels off the cob and transfer to a medium bowl. In a food processor, puree half the kernels and the garlic; transfer mixture back to the bowl with the remaining kernels. Add remaining salsa ingredients; stir gently to combine.

For steaks: Allow steaks to stand at room temperature 20-30 minutes before grilling. Lightly brush both sides of steaks with oil. In a small bowl, combine ingredients for the rub. Season steaks on both sides with the rub. Grill over direct medium-high heat, cooking to desired doneness (5-6 minutes for medium rare), turning once. Remove from the grill and allow to rest 5-10 minutes before serving with the salsa on top. 4 servings.
- Adapted from Weber's Real Grilling


Sizzling Sales & A Great Summer Recipe

This week's US Wellness Meats sale items include:

Burger Pattie Family Box
32 packages of two 6-ounce patties (64 patties total), 75% lean and 100% grass-fed

Free Range Whole Chickens: six chickens averaging 3 lb. each
Delicious free range chickens, individually packaged for convenience but sold in bulk for value

NY Kabobs

Premium kabob meat, cut from the same muscle as the New York Strip Steak

While we're on the subject of kabobs, we found a great recipe at Epicurious for steak, tomato, and okra kabobs. Use grass-fed NY kabobs from US Wellness Meats and fresh tomatoes and okra from the garden or farmer's market, and you'll have a perfect summer meal!


Grass-Fed Cooking Tips

You've selected a great piece of grass-fed beef, have the grill (or slow cooker, oven or skillet) heating, and have your favorite beef recipe at hand. But wait - there's one more thing: grass-fed cooking tips!

Because the lipid chemistry of grass-fed beef is different from grain-fed beef, slightly different cooking methods should be used to ensure success. Here are a few of our favorite pointers:

  • Don’t overcook! Grass-fed meat is leaner than grain-fed and will cook about 30% quicker. Overcooking will result in dry, tough meat.
  • It’s best to bring your grass-fed meat to room temperature before cooking.
  • Use a thermometer to test for doneness. Watch the thermometer carefully, as grass-fed meat cooks so quickly it can go from perfectly cooked to overcooked in less than a minute.
  • Use tongs to turn your beef as precious juices will be lost if punctured with a fork.
  • Reduce the temperature of your grain-fed beef recipe by 50 degrees. The cooking time will be the same or slightly shorter.
  • Never use a microwave to thaw meat. Either thaw the meat on a plate in the refrigerator or submerge the vacuum sealed package in water for a few minutes.

Cooking Methods:

Dry Heat: (sautéing, grilling, and roasting)
  • Sear the beef over a high heat, then continue cooking at a lower temperature.
  • Grass-fed beef can be prepared using any type of dry heat method as long as it’s not overcooked.
  • Dry heat is a good method for cooking ground beef and most steaks.

Moist Heat: (braising and stewing)
  • Braising and stewing are wonderful ways of slow-cooking meat in liquid, including stocks and wine, making it tender and full of flavor.
  • The traditional method of braising begins with a quick, high-temperature searing (browning) of the meat, followed by low, moist heat for an extended period of time in a covered pot. Traditional braising is best accomplished in a heavy pot with a lid, such as a Dutch or French oven.
  • Slow cookers, such as Crock Pots, are also an excellent tool for cooking beef slowly with liquid.
  • Roasts, stew beef, and cheek meat are examples of cuts that do best with low, moist heat.


Aging is critical to ensure you receive a tender product. US Wellness Meats currently uses a process called wet aging. Wet aging is done in a vacuum package to improve meat safety and eliminate the product's exposure to additional pathogens that can occur during a dry aging process. The meat is cut into sub-primal cuts and aged for an average of 28 days before portion cutting. Wet aging also enables the meat to breakdown collagen in the aging process without losing valuable moisture incurred during the dry aging process.

Finally, enjoy your grass-fed beef!