Friday, February 15, 2013

a week's worth of ground beef...

Recently, Canada Beef asked the Canadian Beef Ambassadors to share tips on saving money and/or time in the kitchen. On the same day that I got that email, Paul announced that it was "meat week" at our house, so the two just seemed to meld together into one perfectly-timed blog post.

"Meat Week", as Paul coined it, would more appropriately be called "Ground Beef Week" - it's not only a budget-friendly week of dinners (well, five days but you can stretch it to a week if you really wanted to), but really time-saving too, which makes life easier on us.

One of the main problems for us is grocery shopping. Since there's only two of us, a lot of the things that we want to buy in bulk (to save money) go to waste when we can't finish it before it goes bad (not everything can be tossed in the freezer, as we have learned the hard way!) So one of the things that we do love to buy in large quantities is ground beef.

Basically, Meat Week starts off on with a huge package of ground Canadian beef that becomes 5 days' worth of main dishes for our dinner. The day that we buy the beef, we cook it and then we use part of it right away and freeze the rest for later use. It makes things super quick and easy on other nights, plus lets us take advantage of the bulk price.

So, our favourite way to have ground beef in 5 days week?

Day 1: Chili
- a portion of the the ground beef is cooked and then put into a slow cooker, along with kidney beans, chili powder and tomatoes to become some really awesome chili
- another portion of the ground beef is shaped into hamburger patties, which goes into the fridge as we usually have those the next day
- the rest of the ground beef is cooked in taco seasoning, put into tupperware and then into the freezer for later in the week

Day 2: Chili
- The chili is even better today after more cooking in the slow cooker!

Day 3: Hamburgers
- The hamburgers come out of the fridge and are grilled to perfection.

Day 5: Tacos
- Half of the taco-seasoned ground beef is re-heated to become tacos! We have a fun night of it, with soft taco shells (for me) and hard taco shells (for Paul), fresh lettuce, tomatoes, hand-grated cheese and sour cream.

Day 5: Nachos
- Meat week ends with NACHOS! A huge platter of nacho chips, smothered in taco-seasoned ground beef, cheese, black olives and jalapeno peppers goes into the oven for a few minutes (just long enough to melt the cheese) and then topped with sour cream and salsa.

Of course, you don't have to have beef for dinner every day of the week, but the main idea here is to save money (and time!) by buying and cooking up a big batch of ground beef and then freezing it for later use. Plus, there are tons of other uses for ground beef besides chili, hamburgers, tacos and nachos (but come on, who doesn't love chili, hamburgers, tacos and nachos??)

Want to learn more? The Canadian Beef site has lots of great tips on cooking and using big batch ground beef, as well as other beef tips to help you save time and money.

Disclosure: I am a Canadian Beef Ambassador and have been compensated for this post. However, all opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way by my association with the program.

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