Undoubtedly, one of the most difficult tasks for getting meals made with only ten minutes of preparation time is for those of us who must have a power packed protein in the form of chicken, beef, pork etc.
If I try to serve more than two vegetarian meals a week, my family revolts, so I must have other Go To proteins on the line up. Since we love ground beef in our family, I’ve discovered the key to our 10 minute dinners is to make sure that all my ground beef is cooked ahead of time. Marketers have already grabbed onto this time saving technique, so why not take a few minutes and duplicate what they do well, therefore saving a lot of money.
Regularly, I cook up ground beef in bulk. Since frying up one pound of meat takes nearly the same amount of time as ten pounds, I’ve realized that cooking ten pounds is my sanity saver. I first wrote about cooking ground beef in the crock pot over at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam. You can go there for additional tips.
Right now, many of you are thinking that you do not possibly have the room to cook up ten pounds. That’s ok, but I have a solution for those with smaller frying pans, start with six pounds. Fry three pounds on your stove top, and then cook up the other have in your crock pot for this incredibly easy Crock Pot Taco Meat recipe, which will give you quick burritos, nachos, Taco Salad, Taco Casserole,and so many more options. The consistency is different than ground beef made in the frying pan. I would compare it to Taco Bell textured meat.
This is what I prepared from the Ground Beef I cooked in bulk just yesterday. We already ate one meal using it within minutes of its completion. 😉
Since all my meals need enough servings for seven large eaters, I typically separate my quantities into two pound freezer servings, and attempt other ways of making the beef stretch.
You can use lock type of re-useable containers, but since I have a side by side fridge/freezer, it takes up less room when I use ziplock bags. By having this variety of ground beef cooked up ahead of time, it will give me so many 10 Minute Dinner options.
Enjoy this time saving meal saver as much as I have over the years. Honestly, it’s a tip that helps eliminate many of those “What’s for dinner” questions.
Recipe: Crock Pot Taco Meat
Summary: Save time and money in the kitchen by making taco meat (in bulk) right in your Crock Pot.
- 2-3 pounds ground beef, raw
- 2 packages of taco seasoning (or 1/2 cup homemade seasoning, or taco seasoning from a bulk serving.)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- chopped onion (optional)
- garlic cloves (optional)
- Put thawed or frozen ground beef into crock pot.
- Add water, seasoning and onions/garlic.
- If thawed, use fork and break up meat, thereby mixing in seasoning.
- If home when making, cook on high for 2-3 hours, then turn to low until ready to eat. Open crock pot after the first hour, and break up any larger chunks.
- Otherwise, cook on low 4-6 hours, and break up larger pieces before serving. (Cooking time varies based on crock pot)
- This will look soupy due to water and fat content, so drain liquid before serving. See time saving tip for Draining Ground Beef.
- *Slow cooker temperatures vary greatly, so please note this is an estimate.
Preparation time: 2 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 12
Do you make your ground beef in bulk?
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