These are the USDA recommendations for raw ground beef - it says that after buying it from a store (assuming the store follows the sanitary norms), you can leave it non-refrigerated for up to 2 hours. My guess is that this is where your worry is coming from: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/fact_sheets/Ground_Beef_and_Food_Safety/index.asp#25
On the other hand, cooked food is different from raw food - most of the bacteria that causes spoilage has already been killed. The bacteria that causes diseases (botulin, etc) have also been reduced to practically zero. It should be safe to leave cooked meat dish for at least 6-8 hrs (otherwise, how can we have these 2-3 hrs diners in fine restaurants?)
Keep in mind that the official recommendations are what will definitely keep you safe, given the worst outside conditions. If you have central heating and you are able to post in this forum, in all likeliness, you leave in cleaner environment than 95% of the world, so you may as well take advantage of the safety margin and not let a good meal go to waste.
PS. I regularly have this kind of conversations with my wife, so I know where are you coming from. I would recommend reading more about food safety and general biochemistry of cooking - in particular "On food and cooking" is a great book (some day I am really going to finish it :-)
PPS. As much as we would like, food-safety (and any kind of safety for that matter) is not exact science - there is always some risk, even if it is very low. See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-risk_bias