A TIP: Bulk Cooking Ground Beef or Turkey

One of the best tips I feel I can pass on to help streamline meal time preparation is to keep a supply of precooked, 1 pound portions of ground beef or ground turkey in the freezer.

How many times do we begin to prepare dinner and get to that frozen rock of raw ground beef and think to ourselves "ugh...that is going to take time and effort to thaw and cook before I even get to the recipe I planned for tonight." 

On the other hand....if I open the freezer to a quart sized storage bag of precooked ground beef  my thoughts sound more like this: 'yes...a quick defrost in the microwave and I can toss this into the _______ (insert a variety of options here, like soup, casserole, tacos, sauce, etc...) and have dinner ready in no time!"

While the standard way to prepare ground beef is in a large skillet, I prefer steaming ground beef when bulk cooking.  It's easy, efficient and drains the fat away from the meat.

Start with a large spaghetti pot,

Put about an inch of water in the base and place the pasta basket into the base. Fill the basket with 5 pounds of ground beef or ground turkey. Cover and bring the water to a boil.

Reduce heat to a simmer. This will create steam that will cook the meat in the basket. 
Stir the meat occasionally until it is no longer pink in the middle. 
The more you stir it, the more fine the ground beef will break up. 
When the meat is no longer pink, it is done. 
The fat will have dripped down into the boiling water so the meat will not need to be drained.

Some spaghetti pots can hold as much as 10 pounds of ground beef. 
If yours will hold it, go ahead and cook 10 pounds instead of 5!
If not, just do this 2 times and stock up for the month.  

Let the meat cool and then scoop it into freezer bags. 
Divide it into 1 pound portions and place in quart sized freezer bags. 
Two heaping measuring cups equals about 1 pound cooked ground meat.

Label and freeze for easy additions to soups, sauces, stews and casseroles.

I typically schedule a freezer refill on a day when I have an easy meal planned for dinner that requires ground beef.  An example would a chili or soup dinner.  While the ground beef is steaming, I'm preparing the chili or soup at the same time.  This way I can add the ground beef when it is finished steaming.  Then, while we eat dinner, the rest of the ground beef is cooling.

To make it a fast and easy process after dinner, I enlist the hands that sat at the meal with me to help scoop, seal and freeze.  Usually we are done in 10 minutes or less and I'm set for another month of easy family dinners!

I find myself turning to my precooked ground beef or turkey for all kinds of dishes:
  • soups and stews
  • spaghetti sauce / lasgana
  • green salads with cooked ground beef (i.e. Taco Salad)
  • casseroles
  • etc... 

For a list of recipes on this blog that use precooked ground beef or turkey, click here!

How do you use precooked ground beef in your meal planning?  Do you have a tip to share for easy bulk cooking ground beef or turkey for your freezer?  We'd love to hear, so don't forget to leave a comment below!

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