I never know when I’ll be called on to help pull a calf or am needed to help get the truck out of snowbank. It’s a great idea to have some hearty meals put away in the freezer for one of those hectic days. Power cooking will help you to be more efficient in the kitchen and save you time, money and the mess!
I try to fry up several packages of ground beef at once and then freeze the browned beef in zip-lock bags for future use. Sometimes I add in some taco seasoning to a pound or two and freeze for a quick, hearty, taco salad meal or a pizza topping.
I also make up some meatballs (adding an egg, a little steak spice, some dry bread or rolled oats or crushed soup crackers and chopped onion to the raw meat) and brown them to be frozen for a future sweet and sour slow cooker feast. Just thaw the meatballs and add sauce to simmer for the afternoon. Another slow cooker favourite I have developed with ready-made browned ground beef is called Carman’s Caper. This is a very easy all-in-one dish. There are only five ingredients so it is quick and easy.
1-1/2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 lb. spaghetti
19-oz. can tomatoes (plain OR with herbs and spices) 1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
Transfer thawed browned beef into the bottom of a slow cooker. Break up spaghetti into smaller sizes and cook according to package directions. Drain. Layer over beef. Pour can of tomatoes over top. Spoon soup over tomatoes. Cover with cheese. Turn slow cooker on to LOW setting and go enjoy your day!
RANCH HAND’S HAMBURGER STEW
During the first seven years of our marriage, my husband and I managed a ranch. When it came time to ship calves, our boss’s wife would send some great hamburger stew along with the working crew. It hit the spot and warmed up the cold workers! I had always thought stew was made with stew meat but here’s a tried-and-true recipe using ground beef. It also freezes well.
2 lbs. browned ground beef
5 c. water
2-1/2 c. chopped potatoes (2 to 3 potatoes)
1 c. chopped carrots
1 c. frozen peas (added near serving time)
2/3 c. BBQ sauce (I like to use Bull’s Eye) 2 bay leaves
3 beef boullion pkgs.
1 tsp. Montreal steak spice
1 tsp. liquid smoke
Brown beef and add rest of ingredients. Bring to a slow boil and add thickener (2 tbsp. cornstarch in 4 tbsp. water) when veggies are tender.
Wanda Smith writes from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan