Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ground Beef Mini-session

I'm still on holidays and I want to restock my freezer before I head back to work. Unfortunately, my lower back has been bugging me and standing for long periods really aggravates it. I decided to break my plan into a beef day and a chicken/eggs day.

So today in 2 hours, I made myself:
Chili (see below)
Simple Lasagna (split into 2 8"x8" pans)
Sloppy Joes

Chili sauce is weirdly expensive here, so I sub salsa for the sloppy joes. I also sub cottage cheese for ricotta in the lasagnas because of cost, and to reduce fat. I improvise my chili as I go, and it generally turns out fine. All in all, there was 3 lb of ground beef in those recipes, and there was 6 or 8 servings of chili, 8 of lasagna, and 4 of sloppy joes.

Overall, if you're kind of intrigued by the idea of having a few meals in the freezer but don't want to spend a lot of time or money on something you feel may not work out, this is a great way to start. If you like ground beef, you will like these recipes. It only takes a couple hours, it doesn't take any expensive or extraordinary ingredients, and it doesn't take a lot of freezer space. Nothing is nicer than a warm bowl of chili on a cold evening... unless it's eating it after deciding it's a lazy, non-cooking day.

OAMC Steps:
1. Get out recipes, canned goods, spices, and fresh ingredients. Have everything out before you start.
2. Brown all beef in your largest frying pan. I did mine in two batches. Drain beef well (rinse with hot water if desired. It really does take all the fat out.)
3. Divide meat into 3 parts: one into chili pot, one into a dish to mix with sauce for lasagna (doesn't need to be heated again), one back into frying pan for sloppy joes.
3. Assemble chili so it can simmer.
4. Make sloppy joes so they can simmer 10 min.
5. Assemble lasagna(s) and bake as directed, 60 min.
6. As things finish, label freezer bags or containers. Package, allow to cool about 30 min on counter, then move to fridge or freezer.

Simple Chili
1 lb ground beef
1 large can crushed tomatos (28 oz)
1 can tomato paste
1 can kidney beans or mixed beans or black beans
1 cup frozen corn (or 1 can corn)
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder

Brown beef and drain. Put into large pot (chili always takes more room than I think) or slow cooker. Add everything and simmer at least 1 hour or until you want to eat it. Add chipotle powder or cayenne pepper to taste if you like it more spicy. This is just a base recipe; other veggies or additional beans could easily be added.


  1. Ground beef is an OAMCers greatest things to work with! Great job using it in a variety of dishes!

  2. Smart idea to do beef one day and chicken the next!

  3. I like the idea of breaking things up. With limited prep space, I just don't have the space for several main meats.