Eight Kansas chefs competed in the Kansas Beef Council’s What’s For Dinner Beef Cookoff held Saturday, September 19, 2009, at the Kansas State Fair. Salina resident Miki Orr-Muths was chosen the winner for her recipe, Top Round Steak with Zucchini Marinara over Whole Wheat Pasta. The finalists were scored on taste, ease of preparation, overall appeal and presentation. Ms. Orr-Muths received a check for $300 and a gift bag with Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner materials and recipes. Prizes for second, third and fourth also were awarded and are as follows:

2nd Place: Denise Pounds, Hutchinson – Mediterranean Garden Dinner with Beef Strips and Penne Pasta - $200
3rd Place: Laura McReynolds, Hutchinson – Cowboy Sirloin & Veggie Soup - $150
4th Place: Beth Riffel, Tampa – Taste of Summer Beef Orzo Salad - $100

Recipes from the eight finalists are available at www.kansasbeef.org.

Miki Orr-Muths’ Top Round Steak with Zucchini Marinara over Whole Wheat Pasta

1 ½ pounds top round steak
4 cups chopped zucchini
1 package 3-pepper and onion frozen vegetable blend
2 cans Italian-style stewed tomatoes
2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 ½ teaspoons celery salt
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 square 70% dark chocolate
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 box whole wheat penne pasta

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

Trim off any excess fat from top round steak and slice into thin strips, cutting diagonally across the grain of the meat. In a Ziploc bag, add meat strips, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Remove air from bag and seal. Let meat mixture sit for a minimum of 2 hours.

To begin, start heating the water in pot for pasta. Cook according to package directions, and drain.

While water is heating, preheat skillet with 1 T olive oil, then pour the meat marinade mixture into pan, stir and cook until meat is no longer pink. Add 3-pepper and onion frozen blend and zucchini; stir and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add Italian-style stewed tomatoes, red pepper flakes and celery salt. Cook until zucchini is just under fork-tender. Add 70% dark chocolate square and tomato paste. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Plate the dish with the Top Round Steak with Zucchini Marinara over top of pasta. Garnish with Parmesan cheese if desired.