Episode 179 Best Ways to Cook Ground Beef (Replay)

Ground beef is a basic in many homes. It is easy and fast to cook and relatively inexpensive. But, many of us are not making the most of this simple meat.

How To Thaw Ground Beef

There are three ways to thaw ground beef.

  • The best way to thaw ground beef is in the refrigerator. I have found it takes more than 24 hours to completely thaw one pound of ground beef in my packed refrigerator so I like to give at least two days to thaw in the refrigerator.
  • If you have half a day, you can thaw the ground beef in a bowl of cool water. It is important to change the water every 30 minutes.
  • It’s time to cook dinner and you forgot to thaw the meat. Use the microwave. My microwave has a 1 pond defrost button which works well. Otherwise, just use 50% power for 3-5 minutes to thaw the ground beef.

How to Brown Ground Beef

There are two ways to brown ground beef. The first way yields larger chunks with deeper flavor the second yields a soft texture and smaller pieces of beef.

  • Method 1 is to spread the meat into an even disk in a skillet. Turn the heat to medium-high and do not stir for at least 5-7 minutes. You want to get a deep brown crust on the bottom. Once the crust is formed you can flip the meat and break it up with a spatula or chop and stir tool. It is important to salt the meat using ¾-1 teaspoon of salt per pound
  • Method 2 is to cook the meat in water. Place the meat in a pot and add water just to cover it. Salt the meat and water (3/4-1 teaspoon of salt per pound) and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and gently simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes. You will get a very soft and fine texture of meat.

Hamburgers

How to Form Hamburgers

There are 3 main ways to form hamburgers.

  • Simply shape ground beef into patties.
  • Use the Cook’s Illustrated method and make a panade with milk and bread or bread crumbs and season it, form into patties and cook
  • Use the Feed Your Family Tonight Make Ahead Hamburger Patty This recipe uses egg, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. They can be made ahead and frozen for quick grilling all summer long.

How to Avoid “Golf Ball” Hamburgers

There are two ways to avoid hamburgers that puff up in the middle as they cook.

  • Make the hamburger patties oversized, but flat and thin. This is my preferred method. They will shrink up a little as the cook and get a little thicker, but not puffy in the middle.
  • Put a small indentation in the middle of the patty with your thumb before cooking. The indentation will fill in as the burger cooks, but provides a place for the meat to expand so you don’t get a puffy middle.

 

How to Cook Hamburgers

There are three main ways to cook hamburgers. You can grill, broil, or panfry burgers.

  • To grill the burgers on a gas grill you want to preheat the grill for 10-15 minutes on high. Using a safe continuous wire grill brush, scrub the hot grill, and then add the burgers. Cook on one side and then flip and cook on the other side. Do not push down on the burgers with a spatula as it will release all the fat and moisture from the burger and you will get a very dry burger.
  • I do not prefer to broil burgers.
  • Panfrying burgers can be a messy endeavor, but you can get a super juice burger with a deep crust that is delicious. Use a splatter guard and turn on the exhaust fan. Get a heavy-duty skillet (I like to use cast iron) screaming hot and add the burger. Cover with a splatter guard and leave it alone and do not touch it until a deep brown crust has formed on the bottom. Flip the burger and cook on the other side. Do not press down on the burger as it will release all the fat and moisture and leave you with a dry burger.

 

How to Make Meatloaf or Meatballs with Ground Beef

Meatloaf and meatballs are basically the same mixture shaped differently. They both use a panade of bread or oats with a liquid. You add seasonings and shape the meat mixture.

  • Meatloaf has a better crust if you shape it free-form and put it on a rimmed baking sheet to cook rather than cooking in a loaf pan.
  • Meatballs can be shaped by hand or use a #40 scoop. You can cook them two ways.
    • Pan fry them in small batches. This yields a rich brown crust but is messy and time-consuming.
    • Bake them in the oven. This is my preferred way to make dairy-free Italian Meatballs. If your oven has convection, use it to get better browning on the meatballs.

 

Did you learn anything from this episode? Tell us in the Feed Your Family Tonight Facebook Group

 

Links and products from this episode:

Free Weekly Meal Planning Sheet

Feed Your Family Tonight Meal Planning Notebook

 

Chop and Stir

 

Safe Grill Brush

 

Splatter guard

 

#40 scoop

 

Rimmed Sheet Pan

 

Recipes mentioned in this episode:

Cheeseburger Baked Potatoes

Tater Tot Casserole

Classic Chili

Make Ahead Hamburger Patties

Diary-Free Italian Meatballs

This post contains affiliate links.

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active teens. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. Check out her YouTube Channel or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

For a transcript click here.

Episode 162 Freezing Cooked Proteins for Easy Meals

When life gets busy having a freezer stocked with cooked proteins can make cooking dinner much faster and easier.

It is nice to stock your freezer with a few basic proteins that you can use in lots of different recipes.

How to freeze proteins.

  • Cool meats to room temperature before freezing.
  • Freeze in meal-size portions for your family.
  • Think about the shape of frozen zip bags. Freeze flat on a cookie sheet or inside a container like an instant pot liner so it is easier to thaw.
  • Leave extra space at the top of the container if you are using glass.

Air is the enemy of frozen food.

  • Try to get as much air out of zip bags as possible.
  • Air causes ice crystals to form which degrades the food faster.

My favorite meats to freeze.

Taco Meat

Cheeseburger Baked Potato (Cooked hamburger and onions)

Roast Chicken

Instant Pot Lemony Chicken

Chicken Tacos

Looking for full freezer meals not just meats?

This post contains affiliate links.

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active teens. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. Check out her YouTube Channel or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

For a transcript click here.

Cheeseburger Baked Potatoes (Throwback Recipe)

This is one of my favorite recipes of all time! It is great for stretching a pound of beef to feed more people. It makes a great meal to take to a friend because it is naturally gluten free and is super easy to make dairy free (just leave off the cheese.)

Cheeseburger Baked Potatoes

Cheeseburger Baked Potatoes

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Cheeseburger Baked Potatoes are super simple to make and require very few ingredients. It can even be an excuse to get a little more room in your refrigerator by using up the few remaining pickles at the bottom of the jar, or that last little bit of leftover cheese.

Ingredients

  • 6 Potatoes (Russet, Sweet, or both)
  • 2 Tbl Olive oil (optional)
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 Medium onion
  • 2 tsp Coarse Sea Salt (divided use) *
  • ¼ tsp Pepper
  • 8 oz Shredded Cheddar Cheese (omit for dairy free)
  • ½ C Chopped dill pickles
  • Mustard
  • Scallions

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450.

Scrub potatoes and poke the skin of each potato 5-6 times with a fork or the tip of a knife. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place pricked potatoes on foil and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt over potatoes and cover with another sheet of foil. Seal the foil around the edges and place pan in oven. (Alternately- You can skip the pan, oil and salt and place the potatoes directly on the oven racks) Bake potatoes for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile- Chop or puree the onion (I usually puree the onion because my kids revolt if they find a piece of onion). Brown the ground beef and onion in a skillet over high heat with 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon ground pepper until cooked through. Sometimes brown bits start to accumulate in the pan. To keep it from burning you can add a couple of Tablespoons of water and scrape up the browned bits. I have very lean beef and often have to do this two or three times as the meat cooks.

Slice the cooked potatoes lengthwise and top with the meat mixture, diced pickles, cheese and onions. Drizzle with mustard if desired.

Notes

I usually make some russet and some sweet potatoes. To give the sweet potatoes a little head start, I sometimes microwave them on high for five minutes before putting them in the oven.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 569Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 105mgSodium: 1219mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 34g

Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and may not be completely accurate.

This post contains affiliate links.

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active teens. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. Check out her YouTube Channel or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

Episode 149 How to Cook Ground Beef (Replay)

Ground beef is a basic in many homes. It is easy and fast to cook and relatively inexpensive. But, many of us are not making the most of this simple meat.

How To Thaw Ground Beef

There are three ways to thaw ground beef.

  • The best way to thaw ground beef is in the refrigerator. I have found it takes more than 24 hours to completely thaw one pound of ground beef in my packed refrigerator so I like to give at least two days to thaw in the refrigerator.
  • If you have half a day, you can thaw the ground beef in a bowl of cool water. It is important to change the water every 30 minutes.
  • It’s time to cook dinner and you forgot to thaw the meat. Use the microwave. My microwave has a 1 pond defrost button which works well. Otherwise, just use 50% power for 3-5 minutes to thaw the ground beef.

How to Brown Ground Beef

There are two ways to brown ground beef. The first way yields larger chunks with deeper flavor the second yields a soft texture and smaller pieces of beef.

  • Method 1 is to spread the meat into an even disk in a skillet. Turn the heat to medium-high and do not stir for at least 5-7 minutes. You want to get a deep brown crust on the bottom. Once the crust is formed you can flip the meat and break it up with a spatula or chop and stir tool. It is important to salt the meat using ¾-1 teaspoon of salt per pound
  • Method 2 is to cook the meat in water. Place the meat in a pot and add water just to cover it. Salt the meat and water (3/4-1 teaspoon of salt per pound) and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and gently simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes. You will get a very soft and fine texture of meat.

Hamburgers

How to Form Hamburgers

There are 3 main ways to form hamburgers.

  • Simply shape ground beef into patties.
  • Use the Cook’s Illustrated method and make a panade with milk and bread or bread crumbs and season it, form into patties and cook
  • Use the Feed Your Family Tonight Make Ahead Hamburger Patty This recipe uses egg, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. They can be made ahead and frozen for quick grilling all summer long.

How to Avoid “Golf Ball” Hamburgers

There are two ways to avoid hamburgers that puff up in the middle as they cook.

  • Make the hamburger patties oversized, but flat and thin. This is my preferred method. They will shrink up a little as the cook and get a little thicker, but not puffy in the middle.
  • Put a small indentation in the middle of the patty with your thumb before cooking. The indentation will fill in as the burger cooks, but provides a place for the meat to expand so you don’t get a puffy middle.

 

How to Cook Hamburgers

There are three main ways to cook hamburgers. You can grill, broil, or panfry burgers.

  • To grill the burgers on a gas grill you want to preheat the grill for 10-15 minutes on high. Using a safe continuous wire grill brush, scrub the hot grill, and then add the burgers. Cook on one side and then flip and cook on the other side. Do not push down on the burgers with a spatula as it will release all the fat and moisture from the burger and you will get a very dry burger.
  • I do not prefer to broil burgers.
  • Panfrying burgers can be a messy endeavor, but you can get a super juice burger with a deep crust that is delicious. Use a splatter guard and turn on the exhaust fan. Get a heavy-duty skillet (I like to use cast iron) screaming hot and add the burger. Cover with a splatter guard and leave it alone and do not touch it until a deep brown crust has formed on the bottom. Flip the burger and cook on the other side. Do not press down on the burger as it will release all the fat and moisture and leave you with a dry burger.

 

How to Make Meatloaf or Meatballs with Ground Beef

Meatloaf and meatballs are basically the same mixture shaped differently. They both use a panade of bread or oats with a liquid. You add seasonings and shape the meat mixture.

  • Meatloaf has a better crust if you shape it free-form and put it on a rimmed baking sheet to cook rather than cooking in a loaf pan.
  • Meatballs can be shaped by hand or use a #40 scoop. You can cook them two ways.
    • Pan fry them in small batches. This yields a rich brown crust but is messy and time-consuming.
    • Bake them in the oven. This is my preferred way to make dairy-free Italian Meatballs. If your oven has convection, use it to get better browning on the meatballs.

 

Did you learn anything from this episode? Tell us in the Feed Your Family Tonight Facebook Group

 

Links and products from this episode:

Free Weekly Meal Planning Sheet

Feed Your Family Tonight Meal Planning Notebook

 

Chop and Stir

 

Safe Grill Brush

 

Splatter guard

 

#40 scoop

 

Rimmed Sheet Pan

 

Recipes mentioned in this episode:

Cheeseburger Baked Potatoes

Tater Tot Casserole

Classic Chili

Make Ahead Hamburger Patties

Diary-Free Italian Meatballs

This post contains affiliate links.

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

For a transcript click here

Beef Tacos

Three years ago in August I did my first segment on KAKE TV. I made Taco Mix and demonstrated how to make beef tacos.  This week I am doing a throwback recipe for beef tacos using the Taco Mix I made years ago.

This recipe is really easy to make in large amounts it is all about the amount of mix, salt, and water per pound of meat. In my house I make this 12 pounds at a time and freeze it in meal-size portions for my family.

Beef Tacos

Beef Tacos

Yield: 1 Pound
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes

This recipe uses my taco mix to make beef tacos. You can easily scale this recipe to make a large batch of taco meat and freeze it in meal-size portions for easy meals later.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Brown the ground beef in a skillet. (See note for how I like to brown ground beef.)
  2. Drain off any excess fat.
  3. Add Taco Mix, salt, and water to the ground beef.
  4. Stir well and reduce heat to low.
  5. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. (If the meat gets too dry, you can add a little more water.)
  6. Serve.

Notes

How to brown ground beef:

  • I like to spread the meat into a flat disc in a cold skillet.
  • Turn on the heat and leave it alone (you can add the salt now, but for tacos I like to wait.)
  • Let it cook without stirring until the bottom is dark brown.
  • Flip the disc over and break up the meat into the size pieces you prefer.
  • Continue cooking until no longer pink.

How to make big batch taco meat:

  • This recipe scales by the pound. For every pound you use 2 Tablespoons of taco mix, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup water.
  • 4 Pounds of meat uses 1/2 cup taco mix, 4 teaspoons salt, and 2 Cups of water.

How to freeze taco meat:

  • Let the meat cool to room temperature.
  • Write "beef taco meat" and the date on the outside of a zip top bag.
  • Add the cooled taco meat to the bag, and freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 414Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 114mgSodium: 919mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 35g

Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and may not be completely accurate.

This post contains affiliate links.

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

 

Episode 125 How to Cook Ground Beef

Episode 125 is about How to cook ground beef

Ground beef is a basic in many homes. It is easy and fast to cook and relatively inexpensive. But, many of us are not making the most of this simple meat.

How To Thaw Ground Beef

There are three ways to thaw ground beef.

  • The best way to thaw ground beef is in the refrigerator. I have found it takes more than 24 hours to completely thaw one pound of ground beef in my packed refrigerator so I like to give at least two days to thaw in the refrigerator.
  • If you have half a day, you can thaw the ground beef in a bowl of cool water. It is important to change the water every 30 minutes.
  • It’s time to cook dinner and you forgot to thaw the meat. Use the microwave. My microwave has a 1 pond defrost button which works well. Otherwise, just use 50% power for 3-5 minutes to thaw the ground beef.

How to Brown Ground Beef

There are two ways to brown ground beef. The first way yields larger chunks with deeper flavor the second yields a soft texture and smaller pieces of beef.

  • Method 1 is to spread the meat into an even disk in a skillet. Turn the heat to medium-high and do not stir for at least 5-7 minutes. You want to get a deep brown crust on the bottom. Once the crust is formed you can flip the meat and break it up with a spatula or chop and stir tool. It is important to salt the meat using ¾-1 teaspoon of salt per pound
  • Method 2 is to cook the meat in water. Place the meat in a pot and add water just to cover it. Salt the meat and water (3/4-1 teaspoon of salt per pound) and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and gently simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes. You will get a very soft and fine texture of meat.

Hamburgers

How to Form Hamburgers

There are 3 main ways to form hamburgers.

  • Simply shape ground beef into patties.
  • Use the Cook’s Illustrated method and make a panade with milk and bread or bread crumbs and season it, form into patties and cook
  • Use the Feed Your Family Tonight Make Ahead Hamburger Patty This recipe uses egg, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. They can be made ahead and frozen for quick grilling all summer long.

How to Avoid “Golf Ball” Hamburgers

There are two ways to avoid hamburgers that puff up in the middle as they cook.

  • Make the hamburger patties oversized, but flat and thin. This is my preferred method. They will shrink up a little as the cook and get a little thicker, but not puffy in the middle.
  • Put a small indentation in the middle of the patty with your thumb before cooking. The indentation will fill in as the burger cooks, but provides a place for the meat to expand so you don’t get a puffy middle.

 

How to Cook Hamburgers

There are three main ways to cook hamburgers. You can grill, broil, or panfry burgers.

  • To grill the burgers on a gas grill you want to preheat the grill for 10-15 minutes on high. Using a safe continuous wire grill brush, scrub the hot grill, and then add the burgers. Cook on one side and then flip and cook on the other side. Do not push down on the burgers with a spatula as it will release all the fat and moisture from the burger and you will get a very dry burger.
  • I do not prefer to broil burgers.
  • Panfrying burgers can be a messy endeavor, but you can get a super juice burger with a deep crust that is delicious. Use a splatter guard and turn on the exhaust fan. Get a heavy-duty skillet (I like to use cast iron) screaming hot and add the burger. Cover with a splatter guard and leave it alone and do not touch it until a deep brown crust has formed on the bottom. Flip the burger and cook on the other side. Do not press down on the burger as it will release all the fat and moisture and leave you with a dry burger.

 

How to Make Meatloaf or Meatballs with Ground Beef

Meatloaf and meatballs are basically the same mixture shaped differently. They both use a panade of bread or oats with a liquid. You add seasonings and shape the meat mixture.

  • Meatloaf has a better crust if you shape it free-form and put it on a rimmed baking sheet to cook rather than cooking in a loaf pan.
  • Meatballs can be shaped by hand or use a #40 scoop. You can cook them two ways.
    • Pan fry them in small batches. This yields a rich brown crust but is messy and time-consuming.
    • Bake them in the oven. This is my preferred way to make dairy-free Italian Meatballs. If your oven has convection, use it to get better browning on the meatballs.

 

Did you learn anything from this episode? Tell us in the Feed Your Family Tonight Facebook Group

 

Links and products from this episode:

Free Weekly Meal Planning Sheet

Feed Your Family Tonight Meal Planning Notebook

 

Chop and Stir

 

Safe Grill Brush

 

Splatter guard

 

#40 scoop

 

Rimmed Sheet Pan

 

Recipes mentioned in this episode:

Cheeseburger Baked Potatoes

Tater Tot Casserole

Classic Chili

Make Ahead Hamburger Patties

Diary-Free Italian Meatballs

This post contains affiliate links.

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

For a transcript click here

Episode 121 Tips for Freezing Meat

Podcast about Freezing Meat

Why would you want to freeze meat?

There are two main reasons to freeze meat, price and convenience.

 

In Episode 120 I talked about shopping grocery sales. One of the biggest ways to make an impact on your grocery budget is to buy meat that is on sale. When you can buy meat on sale and freeze it you will get the best price but will still have a variety of types of meat to use in your meals

 

Convenience is another big reason to freeze meat. It is nice to make fewer trips to the grocery store. (Episode 119 dives deep into helping you make fewer grocery trips.) Having meat in the freezer is much easier than making several trips to the grocery store.

 

The best way to store frozen meat is in a deep freeze that is not frost-free. I have an Instagram highlight all about the different kinds of freezers and why you want one that gets frost.

 

Freezer Rule #1:

Air is the enemy of frozen food! Everything you do to prepare meat for the freezer needs to honor this rule. You should try to keep air away from the food as much as possible. You can do this by using a vacuum sealer. (I have not invested in a vacuum sealer, but if you have one, use it.)

 

Tips for freezing meat:

Remove the meat from the original packaging before freezing.

  • You want to take it out of the packaging for several reasons.
  • It is easier to thaw. (Large packages are difficult to put in a container to catch drips and take a long time to thaw.
  • It takes up less space in your freezer. The packaging can take up lots of unnecessary freezer space.
  • You can freeze the meat in portions that make sense for your family. You may want to make individual servings or pack it in a meal-size for your family.

Tips for Freezing Chicken

I personally treat chicken breasts and chicken thighs differently when I freeze them.

Chicken Breasts

I like to freeze them uncooked and wrapped individually. There are two ways to freeze them individually. You can put them on a parchment-lined baking sheet spaced out and freeze until solid or you can wrap each chicken breast in plastic wrap and freeze on a baking sheet until solid.

Once the chicken breasts are frozen solid, remove them from the baking sheet and place in a zip bag.

You can pull out the number of breasts you need for each meal.

In the summer, I like to butterfly the chicken breasts before freezing because I prefer to grill thinner pieces of meat. They cook more evenly on the grill. (You can see a video of how I butterfly and prepare chicken breasts for grilling here.)

Chicken Thighs

I like to cook chicken thighs before I freeze them.

I have two main recipes I use to cook chicken thighs for freezing, Instant Pot Chicken Tacos and Lemony Chicken. I use the lemony chicken in other recipes like chicken soup, chicken fried rice, and quesadillas.

 

Tips for Freezing Ground Meat (Like Hamburger or Ground Turkey)

I do three things with ground meat.

 

Tips for Thawing Frozen Meat

There are three safe ways to thaw frozen meat.

  • The best way is to thaw it in the refrigerator. Most frozen meat will thaw in 24-48 hours. If you have a large roast or whole chickens or turkeys you want to allow 1 day plus 24 hours for every 5 pounds of meat. (A 15-pound turkey would take 4 days.)
  • You can thaw meat in cold water. This takes several hours, but is faster than the refrigerator method. Place wrapped frozen meat in a bowl or sink of cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes. Depending on the amount of meat, it may take 2-5 hours to thaw in the cool water.
  • The final safe way to thaw meat is in the microwave. This is the fastest method, but you often get uneven thawing. It is important to cook microwave-thawed meat immediately after it is thawed. It is not safe to use the microwave to thaw meat and then wait several hours to cook it.

You can also cook meat from frozen in the Instant Pot. I have a recipe for Chicken and Brown Rice that actually does better with frozen chicken breasts because they cook at roughly the same rate as the rice. Fresh chicken cooks too quickly and can end up overcooked.

 

A few more notes about frozen meat.

Use it. Make sure you are using your freezer stash. You don’t want to have meat sitting in your freezer for years.

You can thaw and re-freeze meat. You may lose a little of the original texture, but as long as it hasn’t been thawed for more than a day or two, you can safely re-freeze it and thaw to cook another time.

This post contains affiliate links.

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

You can find a full transcript here

Tater Tot Casserole

This is total comfort food! Ground beef and tater tots make the base of this casserole. If you like veggies and cheese you can add those too, but they are optional. Most of my family prefers this without veggies and cheese. I have made it both ways.

Tater Tot Casserole

Tater Tot Casserole

Yield: 10
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 27 minutes
Total Time: 47 minutes

Ground beef is browned with onions and mixed with beef broth and optional veggies. It his topped with tater tots and cheese (if using) and baked until bubbly and crispy on top. It is total comfort food.

Ingredients

  • 2 Pounds Ground Beef
  • 1 Medium Onion (diced or pureed)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Coarse Sea Salt
  • 3 Cups Reduced Sodium Beef Broth
  • 2 Tablespoons Corn Starch
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 12 Ounce Bag Frozen Mixed Vegetables (Optional)
  • 8 Ounces (2 Cups) Shredded Cheddar Cheese (optional)
  • 32 Ounce Bag of Frozen Tater Tots

Instructions

    Preheat Oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
    In a large skillet, brown the ground beef. Drain any excess fat. (See Notes)
    Add the onion and cook until slightly browned.
    Deglaze the pan with beef broth and bring back to a gentle boil. Be sure to scrape up the browned bits on the pan when you add the broth.
    Mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl to make a slurry. Add the slurry to the ground beef and broth and stir well. The mixture will gently thicken as it cooks.
    Add the bag of mixed veggies (if using) and stir well. Transfer mixture to a 9 x 13 baking dish.
    Top the beef mixture with the bag of frozen tater tots. (You do not need to thaw them first.)
    Place casserole in 400 degree oven and bake for 20 minutes until the tater tots are browned on top.
    If you are using cheese, top the cooked casserole with 8 ounces of shredded cheddar and return to the oven. Bake for 5-7 minutes until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown.
    Serve.

Notes

This recipe relies on the browned hamburger for lots of flavor. I like to press the raw ground beef into the cold skillet and cook on high until the bottom is well browned and crispy. I flip the beef and cook on the other side, then break into bite size pieces with a spatula. If you have excess fat, drain it before adding the onion.

My family does not prefer the texture of onions so I puree the onions before cooking. You could use puree the onions, or dice them before adding to the ground beef.

I have made this casserole with or without the veggies and cheese. It works well both ways.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 549Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 103mgSodium: 1128mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 33g

Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and may not be completely accurate.

Classic Chili

Chili is one of those controversial dishes. Everyone has a recipe, and they are all a little different. Some are really meaty; some are really saucy; and some are really sweet. I would describe mine ans not sweet and a little bit tangy. Beans are part of the chili controversy; there are strong preference son both sides. I have learned to serve kidney beans as a topping so that people can choose to put on if they wish. What is non-negotiable in my house is that chili must always be served with Fritos.

**Pro Mom Tip** If your kids revolt when they see a little piece of onion, puree them in a blender or food processor before you add them to the pot.

Chili

1 1/2 Pounds Ground Beef

1 Large Onion, chopped or pureed

2 Tablespoons Chili Powder

1 teaspoon Cumin

1 teaspoon Garlic Powder

2 teaspoons coarse sea salt (1 1/2 teaspoons if you are using table salt)

2 (28-ounce) Cans Crushed Tomatoes

1 (16-ounce) Can Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained (optional for serving)

Shredded Cheddar Cheese (optional for serving; omit for dairy free)

Green Onions, sliced (optional for serving)

Directions

Add ground beef and onion to a large soup pot. Brown over medium-high heat until cooked through. Drain fat if necessary. Add chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and salt. Stir and then add tomatoes.

Reduce heat to low and cook for at least 5 minutes but up to 30 minutes.

Serve with optional beans, cheese, and/or green onions.