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Healthy How-To: Homemade Roast Beef

Protein foods like beef, poultry, pork, and seafood take up the largest proportion of our food budgets. You can find deals at the market, but there are things we can do to save money even when meat isn't on sale.

At the deli counter, specifically, lunch meats can be somewhat expensive because it's a convenience food. Deli meats can also be very high in sodium (even the lower-sodium versions). By making your own meat for sandwiches, you can control the nutrition... what goes in it, and what doesn't.

So roast some up at home to save cash and get a delicious result hat blows deli roast beef out of the water!

Let me take you through the process step by step, for tasty roast beef like this:

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I started with an eye of round roast of 2.2 lbs and paid $9.38 ($4.49/lb). Ultimately, this yielded 1.75 lbs of roast beef, so I really paid $5.36/lb. The going price for roast beef at the deli counter was $8.99/lb, so I saved over $3.50 per pound!

Step 1:

Start with an eye of round beef roast (2-3 pounds). You can also do bottom round or top round, you just might have to adjust the cooking time a bit. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

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Step 2:

Pat the roast dry with a paper towel.

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Step 3:
Rub olive oil onto all sides of the roast. This will help spices to adhere and a crust to form.

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Step 4:
Line a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and set a roasting rack in the pan.

Step 5:
Season the roast with dried herbs and/or spices of your choice. Sprinkle the herbs and spices on all sides of the roast and press into the meat using your fingers so they stick to it.

Onion or garlic powder, rosemary, oregano, and cumin all work well. I used a combination of dried minced onion, lots of freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder, and a bit of brown sugar.

Place the roast on top of the prepared roasting rack.

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Step 6:

Place roast in oven and cook at 500 degree F for 20 minutes. Lower the heat to 300 degrees F and roast for additional 30 minutes.

Meat is done when a food thermometer inserted at the thickest part of the roast has reached 145 degrees F.

Note: To prevent foodborne illness, meat should be cooked to at least 145 degrees F. This will give you a roast that is medium-rare or medium. Be aware that beef cooked to very rare or rare doneness puts you at risk for food poisoning. Use a food thermometer to confirm doneness rather than appearance. If meat has not reached proper temperature, continue roasting and testing at 5 minute intervals.

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Step 7:

Place a piece of aluminum foil over roast to create a tent and let rest for 20 minutes so meat can set and cool before slicing.

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Step 8:
Slice meat against the grain and as thinly as possible to improve tenderness.

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You can wrap the whole roast in plastic wrap and slice as needed if you prefer, as long as you use within 4 days. I divided up the beef into 3 plastic zip-top bags (1/2 lb each) and put in the freezer to use over the next few weeks. That other quarter pound didn't quite make it to the freezer - it went on a sandwich right away!

Today's post was written by Leia Kedem. Leia Kedem, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian and Nutrition & Wellness Educator covering Champaign, Ford, Iroquois, and Vermilion Counties. She appears weekly on WCIA-3/WCIX-49 and is a biweekly contributor to the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette. She also maintains Facebook and Twitter accounts where she regularly posts health tips and answers nutrition questions for free.