When it comes to making easy family meals – ground beef is one ingredient that pops up pretty often. Since it doesn’t go on sale every week – it’s better to buy it in bulk when you find it at your stock-up price (Mine is about $1.99/lb). But what do you do with all that meat when you get it home? If you stick it all straight in the freezer, it’s a bear to thaw out each night. If you leave it in the fridge, you’ll have some of it going bad before you use it up.
Here’s my tip for buying, cooking and freezing ground beef:
- Buy in bulk. I like to buy a good 10 lbs at a time for my family of 6. That way – all the cooking and cleaning I’ll be doing will last me more meals.
- I divide the meat in half – one half will get Italian-seasoning, and one half will get Mexican-seasoning. Get out two large pots to cook your meat in.
- In the first pot, cook ground beef with diced onions, minced garlic, & Italian Seasoning
- In the second pot, cook ground beef with diced onions, Ro-tel, & Taco Seasoning (or cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt)
- Drain the meat and let cool.
- Portion it into freezer bags at about 1 lb each. Lie the bag down and flatten the meat into a thin layer inside the bag. Label it as Italian or Taco and stack the flat bags on top of one another in the freezer. You now have 10 easy meals that just got much easier to prepare!
- When I’m ready to make Pasta, I take it out of the freezer, put it in a skillet with my pasta sauce, and simmer while I cook the noodles. I usually make baked pasta, so I would then throw all this in a pyrex dish, stir in some ricotta and parmesan, dump a layer of mozzarella on top, and bake on 350 for about 15 minutes.
- When I’m ready to make Tacos/Burritos, I take out the taco meat and heat it in a skillet with black beans/refried beans/green chiles/salsa/what-have-you. All I have to do meanwhile is heat up tortillas and put all the topppings on the table!
With winter coming up, this is also a great timesaver for chili and various casseroles. It’s not rocketscience, but if you simply cook it all up at the same time, bag and label it, and tuck it in the freezer- you will have a little extra peace of mind when the dinnertime hour rolls around!
Taco Tip: I stretch my taco meat even further by stirring in a can of refried beans while thawing out the beef in the microwave or skillet. This way it’s less greasy and sticks to the kids tortilla shells a little better