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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Frugal Foods: Ground Beef

Jenn at Frugal Upstate is continuing her series on frugal foods.... I've already participated in the egg and tuna segments. The ingredient for part four was ground beef... I'm a little late on this one! :) The next ingredient will be chicken.

Here's what works for me: I buy large packages of ground beef at Sam's, or, wherever else I find them on sale. I unwrap all of the beef and place it into my largest stock pot, then fill it with enough water to cover. I usually add some salt and pepper at this point. I put it on high heat, and while it's heating up, I chop up a few onions and toss them in with the beef. I let the beef and onions come to a boil, then turn it down and simmer it for a while (half an hour or so) until the beef is cooked through and the onions are tender. Next, I let the pot cool a bit, then place the pot in the fridge for a while to chill. When chilled, I drain the liquid and skim off the fat that accumulates at the top. Then I just divide the beef and onions into two-cup portions (approximately a pound, which is what most recipes call for) and put them into labeled ziplock freezer bags. Into the freezer they go, and then I'm all set for quick meals.

What do I do with the bags of precooked beef?
  • use it in any casseroles that call for cooked ground beef
  • warm it in a saucepan before stirring in spaghetti sauce for use on pasta (For a really fast meal, a store-bought jarred sauce is great. If I have a little more time, I like this stovetop recipe.)
  • warm it in a skillet with brown gravy to serve over mashed potatoes
  • layer it in a crockpot for Crockpot Pizza
The other variation I make regularly is to use taco seasoning instead of salt & pepper. The ready-to-go taco meat works great for tacos, enchiladas, or Copycat Beef Meximelts in a hurry. We eat a lot of Mexican food at my house, so I regularly do a batch this way.

My other frugal tip for ground beef: stretch it! I regularly add a handful or more of oatmeal to anything that calls for ground beef. This has two benefits: the cholesterol-lowering oatmeal is disguised from the family member who needs that, and, the ground beef is bulked up. You'll never know it's in there, and, your family will get a little added nutrition.


1 comment:

Traci said...

Woohoo...I'm going to be checking your blog regularly....I hate getting into a cooking rut. Have a great day!!!