Convenience Food: More on Ground Beef

My middle daughter said she has a new "dinner plan": she hopes to have dinner cooking in the crockpot every other day, and on the in-between days she wants to have a casserole assembled and in the refrigerator when she gets home from work, ready to go in the oven. She's hoping this will help deter them from stopping for fast food on the way home from work, an all-too-easy trap to fall into.

That reminded me about putting cooked ground beef in the freezer ready to toss into the crockpot.

When you find large packages of ground beef on sale (or you have a freezer full of beef), cook it in quantity, divide into 1-lb portions and freeze. It really isn't any more work to brown 1 pound than 5 pounds, other than needing a larger pan.

OR you can boil it instead of frying. I like this method better. Just break up the raw beef into a pot of boiling water and stir until it's done. Drain, package and freeze. It makes smaller, finer "pebbles" and the meat is less fatty because you boil the fat away, and the fat stays in the water when you drain the beef.

(At my house, the water and fat would go into the refrigerator, where the fat would harden on top of the water. I'd then remove the pancake of fat and process the tallow to use in soapmaking.)

To use the frozen ground beef, take it out of the bag, put in a strainer and run hot tap water over it to thaw. This has the additional benefit of washing off any remaining fat. Manufacturers recommend against putting frozen foods directly in the crockpot, but cooked ground beef thaws so quickly this way and it is perfectly fine to use.

I hope her new "dinner plan" works for them.

The index of this series (Homemade Convenience Food) is here.

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