Quick tip: Ground beef

I’m still recovering from tax season but I wanted to post a quick tip that saves me tons of time and money. I buy large packages of ground beef, either from my local warehouse club or when the grocery store has a great sale. When I freeze it raw, I’m less likely to use it because I have to defrost it (I’m terrible at remembering to take things out of the freezer) and when defrosting it in the microwave, it always seems to cook the edges and they taste funny.

Instead, I cook it when I bring it home. I use a huge dutch oven, which can safely hold six or seven pounds of ground beef. I add salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion poweder or dried minced onion (whichever I have on hand). Use a potato masher to break it up into smaller pieces. I cook mine on medium heat and cover it, returning every few minutes with the masher to mix it all up again. I like to cook it slow so nothing burns. After it’s cooked, let it cool for a bit. Then portion out into freezer bags, using a slotted spoon. I generally make 2/3 to 3/4 pound bags, plus a few 1/3 pound bags for meat sauce. I label them with the weight and put them in the freezer.

Whenever I need hamburger for tacos, sloppy joes, meat sauce, shepard’s pie or any other dish, I just put the ground beef in a bowl and pop it into the microwave, on high, for 2 to 3 minutes. It saves me a ton of time on those quick weeknight dinners because it’s faster than cooking even raw hamburger that has not been frozen. It also cuts down on the meat in each serving. Do you really need a pound of hamburger when making hamburger helper?

This is one of my best go to tips. On those nights when you are really tired, pull precooked ground beef out of the freezer and have a ton of dinner options that can be ready in less than 30 minutes. It has stopped me from ordering take out on many occasions.