With so many protein choices now in stores, it's easy to think of ground beef as only reserved for hamburgers. Today we're kicking it old school and reminding you of old family favorites that utilize an ingredient which freezes well, is inexpensive and requires little fuss to incorporate. Click through for 12 of our favorite ways to use a sometimes underrated food!
Sometimes the comfort foods we grew up on can not only save us money at the grocery store, but can be good fall back ideas for those nights where you don't want your food to be fussy. Because ground beef rarely requires a marinating process and the meals that utilize it are typically quick and easy (plus most of the recipes below freeze quite well for later) it's a great thing to have a little on hand. Here's our favorite 12 ways to put it to good use:
- Hamburgers - It just seems natural that this is the first thing on the list. They can also be a great way to use up bits of left over cheeses and veggies you might have on hand. You are only limited by your imagination on what you pair with your beef!
- Bolognese - This sauce utilizes the meat to bring delicious flavor to your dinner table. Take the time to make extra for the freezer and you'll be rewarded next time you think there's no time for a home cooked meal.
- Sloppy Joes - Sloppy Joes aren't just for kids, although they yield the same results for adults. Full tummies and happy smiles.
- Southwest Skillet Ragu - What is easily identified as a DIY-Hamburger Helper, this meal takes no time at all and is a great one to have in your arsenal. It's perfect for a busy weeknight at home!
- Chili - From coast to coast, chili is a staple that many of us fall back to for slow cookers and stove tops alike. It freezes and reheats like a champ and is dying to be used as a meal on it's own or poured over tasty snacks like fries, hotdogs or even hamburgers themselves (ps, don't forget an egg to go with it!)
- Meatballs - Meatballs can be had as a meal on their own, in soups, sandwiches, and atop your favorite pasta. Make them ahead on a rainy weekend and they are easily reheated in sauces or the microwave if you're in a hurry!
- Cabbage Rolls - Cabbage Rolls aren't something that's on everyone's weekly meal plan, but they can be a fun (and inexpensive) change of pace. We've used this recipe from Tyler Florence several times with great success!
- Beef Stroganoff - Nothing takes us back to our childhood dinner table quicker than a tasty stroganoff. It's not only easy on the pocketbook, but can be made in the blink of an eye (ok, probably a few blinks).
- Pizza - Ground beef on pizza isn't usually our first choice for a topping, although it can take center stage if used correctly. Try making your own taco pizza or even a simple grape tomato and hamburger pie. If you aren't into making your own dough, pick some up from your local grocer or pizza parlor!
- Tacos - Although we have a great passion for the fish taco around here, we still have a soft spot for ones that use meat that once walked on land. Don't be afraid to clean out the fridge with extra fruits, veggies and even starches like sweet potato thrown into the mix!
- Meat Loaf - The best foods are one's that can be made in advance for dinner, eaten the next day for lunch and still have the ability to freeze any left overs for later. We love to make mini versions (think muffin tins) that can be frozen for individual sized lunches later on.
- Shepherd's Pie - A meal that can be prepared ahead and popped in the oven when you return home is a beautiful thing. This dish is great the day you make it and through the next week (but we bet it won't last that long). It's also known by Cottage Pie or, just plain old delicious.
Related: Good Beef: How to Find Local Meat
(Image: Cybercucina Beef)