I love to cook. From meatloaf to pretty pastries and everything in between, creating in the kitchen is one of my great passions. At this point in my life I have so many irons in the fire that time is a very precious commodity. When it comes family meals I try to think ahead but that doesn’t always work out. Many evenings I come home from a busy day and have no idea what I’m going to make for dinner. Luckily I almost always have pre-portioned packages of ground beef in the freezer to get creative with.
Ground beef is always on my shopping list. It is just so convenient, versatile and affordable. I almost always buy it in bulk and then divide it into meal size freezer ready packages at home. It’s really handy – I just pull it out the night before and put it in the fridge to thaw or, if I didn’t think that far ahead I just thaw it in the microwave and I’m good to go. I know a lot of people do this. But do you know there is even a more convenient way to freeze ground beef? Cooking the ground beef before you freeze it saves you time down the road and gives you even more options for using that big batch ground beef.
So how do you do it? Well it’s pretty simple:
Cook 4 lb (2 kg) of ground beef (I normally buy lean) in a dutch oven or large skillet over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, breaking into small chunks with back of spoon, until browned.
Drain and return the ground beef to the pot. Add 4 each of onion and cloves of garlic, minced and simmer for 15 minutes until vegetables are softened.
Spread in a single layer on several foil or parchment paper-lined baking trays and freeze until the meat is firm, about 1 hour. Loosen into chunks, scoop meal-sized portions into freezer bags or containers. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Of course you can always adjust the amount of onion and garlic you add if you are using a smaller package.
Now you are prepared to make delicious, healthy meals like Ground Beef Stroganoff or Beef Provolone Pizza on the fly! You can find tons of yummy Big Batch Beef recipes here.
There are lots of products out there that help you save time and add some variety when it comes to cooking with ground beef. When a box filled with a variety of Hamburger Helper products (along with an awesome T-Fal frying pan) arrived on our door step my husband and daughter were both pretty excited. I’ll admit I don’t buy Hamburger Helper often. It’s certainly not because we don’t enjoy it, but because I always have great intentions to cook everything from scratch. I do my best but it just isn’t always possible. Am I going to cook up a batch of Beef Romanoff in the middle of the week after a long day? Probably not. But with a box of Hamburger Helper I actually can.
This meal was so quick and easy to prepare and even my often picky 2 1/2 year old approved. I served it along with a couple of her favorites – steamed broccoli and fresh fruit – and she gobbled it up. Making meals that my little one won’t turn her nose up at is constantly a challenge. I actually don’t think she’s a terribly picky eater for her age but she changes her mind like the wind. Something she loved last week she won’t touch this week. But if I make a meal that includes ground beef I can be pretty confident that she will eat it. Add in Hamburger Helper and my macaroni and noodle crazy kid is pretty happy!
Another benefit to using a product like Hamburger Helper is that you are not limited to what’s in the package. You can always think outside the box and get creative. For some great Hamburger Helper recipe inspiration visit lifemadedelicious.ca.
If you need any more information or ideas be sure to stop by the Canadian Beef website. It has the answers to all your questions!
Oh and be sure to stop by the Eat In Eat Out website to win 1 of 5 Canadian Beef iPad prize packs valued at $770 each!!
Do you keep your freezer stocked with ground beef? What are some of your favorite ground beef recipes? I’d love to find out!