Magazine article Sunset

The Quick Cook

Magazine article Sunset

The Quick Cook

Article excerpt


Get ahead with ground beef

Ground beef may keep humble company, but it's the kind of company that generations have invited home regularly for weeknight dinner-sloppy Joes, spaghetti Bolognese. Trouble is, you almost always have to brown the meat before adding the other components of these satisfying dishes. If your midweek minutes are more precious than ever, here's a solution: Make a big batch of browned beef with onions and store it in the refrigerator or freezer. The mixture is ready at a moment's notice to pour into sauces, soups, and pilafs.

Make-Ahead Ground Beef

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 30 minutes

NOTES: Use meat hot, at room temperature, chilled, or frozen. Chill airtight up to 3 days; freeze up to 3 months.

MAKES: About 8 cups

3 pounds ground lean beef

1 1/2 pounds onions, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1. In a 6- to 8-quart pan over high heat, frequently stir beef, onions, and garlic until onions are limp, juices have evaporated, and meat is browned, about 20 minutes.

2. Use meat, or cool and store (see notes). To freeze, line 2 pans, each 10 by 15 inches, with plastic wrap. Spread cooled beef mixture evenly in pans; cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 2 1/2 hours. Uncover, invert meat mixture out of pans, break into small chunks, and quickly seal in a gallon-size heavy plastic food bag. As desired, pour out amount needed, reseal bag, and return to freezer.

Per 1/2 cup: 200 cal., 59% (117 cal.) from fat; 17 g protein; 13 g fat (5.1 g sat.); 3.5 g carbo (0.6 g fiber); 63 mg sodium; 56 mg chol.

Sloppy Joes Ole

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 15 minutes

MAKES: 4 servings

1. Cut 4 sandwich rolls (about 3 oz. each) or hamburger buns (about 1 1/2 oz. each) in half horizontally Brush cut sides lightly with olive oil (about 2 tablespoons total). Arrange rolls, cut sides up, in a 10- by 15-inch pan.

2. Bake in a 450 deg oven until rolls are lightly toasted, 5 to 6 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a 3- to 4-quart pan, combine 1 jar (26 oz.) marinara sauce, 2 cups make-ahead ground beef (recipe precedes), 1 can (4 1/2 oz.) drained sliced black ripe olives, 1/4 cup sliced green onions (including tops), 1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin. Stir often over medium-high heat until bubbling, about 6 minutes. Add salt to taste.

4. Place bottom half of 1 roll on each plate. Ladle sauce equally onto rolls. Sprinkle with additional sliced green onions (about 2 tablespoons total). …

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