Time-Saving Strategy: Precook Your Ground Beef

I get home from work and start doing little insignificant things….and then, OH NO! It’s 6:30 and I haven’t started supper! And my sister is calling to see if she can escape from the college cafeteria and eat dinner with us!

I’m sure that you, dear reader, have no such emergencies around your house. But just in case circumstances ever spiral out of your control and you’re caught with nothing prepared, there is one item that you should always have in your freezer: One-pound bags of cooked hamburger.

Anytime hamburger is on sale, I grab a couple pounds. I don’t even put it in the fridge sometimes — I just walk in the door, drop my other groceries on the floor, and pop that hamburger into my skillet to start cooking.  If you’re extra-industrious, like my friend Alyse, you can add some chopped onion (frozen chopped onion, if you know what’s good for you).

Once it’s cooked and drained, each pound of hamburger fits perfectly in a sandwich-sized Ziploc. It fits right into the door of the freezer. And voila! You have now finished the most time-consuming part of the following recipes:

  • Beef Stew
  • Spaghetti
  • Burritos/Tacos
  • Chili
  • Lasagna
  • Taco Soup
  • Sloppy Joes

When you’re ready to use your hamburger, just pop it in the microwave for about a minute to thaw, and then add it to whatever you’re cooking!

Now I want to know — what’s your favorite time-saving trick (in or out of the kitchen)?

About Charity

I have an inexcusable number of cookbooks (and like to experiment with them), have worked in architectural antiques, and have been sewing most of my life. I recently graduated with a Ph.D. in Apparel, Merchandising, & Design from Iowa State University. Doing household things (except for cleaning!) and hunting for antiques are my favorite pastimes.
This entry was posted in In the Kitchen, Kitchen Tips & Gadgets, Mrs. Armstead's Household Guide. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Time-Saving Strategy: Precook Your Ground Beef

  1. Jenny Calvin says:

    My emergencies consisted more of things like, “Oh, by-the-way, So-and-So is coming for supper, too. Is that okay?” No problem — just grab an extra bag of hamburger and double the recipe. 🙂

  2. Jade says:

    Our favorite time-saver is just leaving our cast-iron skillet on the stove. Cleaning it is a breeze (we literally just scrape all the crud out, rinse, dry, and oil the sucker; we heat it enough to prep it for use that it’ll kill anything that gets on it), and having it prepared on the stove just makes it our assumed King of Cookware (though we usually just call him “Sam”).

    Another time saver is pre-planning meals. If we know what we’re cooking by Sunday, we can get all our groceries in one go, we don’t have to spend twenty minutes every night going, “So… what do you want to eat?,” and we already have everything on hand and fresh when the time comes to do the actual cooking.

  3. laurengracie says:

    My favorite time-saving strategy is to be the little sister who comes over and benefits from others’ hard work.

  4. Melissa says:

    One thing I always use when I cook is green peppers…so, I cut up a a gallon freezer bag worth of peppers and freeze then until its time to use them. This cuts down on the prep time and it’s nice at the end of summer when our garden is ravaged with peppers.

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