Ground beef dishes - whether cooked up in a casserole, tacos, chili or spaghetti - are favorites around my house. However, I’ve always found having to deal with browning and draining the meat itself to be time consuming and something of a hassle, especially when I’m on deadline or during the weekdays when coming in from a taxing day at work. So a long time ago I got in the habit of getting that prep work out of the way ahead of time, during one of my not-too-frequent down times.
This is what I do.
· Place 5 lbs of lean ground beef and 1 lb of ground pork in a large pot and brown until done
· Drain and rinse to remove fat, then return to pot with a little water or stock
· Add seasonings such as chopped onions, green onions, peppers and celery - this varies based on what I have on hand and what mood I’m in.
· Continue cooking, adding liquid as needed, until seasonings are tender and flavors are well blended.
· Remove from heat and allow to cool
· Separate into six 1 lb portions, place in freezer bags or containers and freeze until ready to use in your favorite recipe
Now, here’s one of my own favorite quick and easy recipe using the above prepared meat mix
· 1 unsliced French or Italian bread loaf
· 1 lb meat mixture, thawed
· 1 can condensed tomato soup, undiluted
· 1/2 cup grated cheddar or pepper jack cheese
· Heat meat and soup together in a saucepan
· Slice bread lengthwise, leaving a slightly larger portion on bottom than on top
· Scoop out both halves of loaf, leaving about a 3/4 inch shell
· Break 1/2 of scooped-out bread into bite-sized portions and stir into meat mixture.
· Spoon meat mixture into bread bowl, allowing to ‘mound’ above top of bowl
· Sprinkle with shredded cheese
· Cover with top portion of bread shell
· Wrap loosely in foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes
To serve, unwrap and cut in slices. Makes 8-10 servings, depending on size of loaf and thickness of slices.
That’s it - Enjoy!
And if you have any other quick and easy recipes that would utilize this pre-cooked meat mix, share!
Winnie’s latest release is Second Chance Family, the third book in her Knotty Pine, Texas series. Learn more about these and others of her books at her website www.winniegriggs.com.
Take one sheriff who is convinced marriage is absolutely not for him and one widow who is all about the importance of family, then add two mistreated orphans desperate for a loving home and a busybody neighbor determined to send them packing, and you have all the makings of a head-butting confrontation set to rock the sleepy town of Knotty Pine, Texas.
Mitch Hammond is a man of his word. And for Cora Beth Collins that’s a problem. The honorable sheriff has vowed never to love again, for fear of wounding someone else. The most he can offer is marriage in name only, which is not at all to Cora Beth’s liking. But with no other way to adopt two runaway orphans, she accepts.
Despite his intentions, however, Mitch is starting to want more from Cora Beth...and from himself. For in her trusting eyes he sees everything he hopes to be - as a lawman, a father and a husband.