Ground beef is extremely versatile. With some spices, herbs, and flavoring, ground beef can take center stage and provide a healthy amount of protein and fats. Yummly has many ground beef dinner recipes using ingredients that are likely to already be in your refrigerator and pantry. Get some dinner ideas by saving the best recipes in your Yummly account. From comfort food, such as skillet recipes, to Asian dishes to Italian cuisine, ground beef is versatile and easy to cook.
Ground beef is of…
en made from tough and lean cuts of meat from the cow. You'll often see it labeled as lean ground beef in the grocery store, however you can buy fattier cuts, too. The grinding process tenderizes the meat, making it easier to use in cooking. You’ll want to use a nonstick skillet for cooking your ground beef since the fat content is so low, it has a tendency to stick to the pan. You can also cook your meat in oil or animal fat to add more flavor and keep it from sticking to the pan. Break the ground beef into chunks as it cooks, the size of the ground beef pieces depends on your preference and what you’re making (bigger chunks might be preferable in chili, for example). Ground beef is cooked when the juices run clear, and the meat is brown, no longer pink.
You’ll likely need to drain the water from your meat before you add additional ingredients. You can hold the lid of a pot over the pan leaving just enough room for the liquid to drain when you tilt the pan without letting any ground beef fall out. You can also drain over a strainer and place the meat back into the pan.
Frozen ground beef will keep in your freezer for four months, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Fresh meat will be red or purple with a bit of grayish-brown in the middle caused by less oxygen getting to the meat, notes the USDA. However, if all the meat is gray, that could be a sign it is spoiled and should be thrown away. When cooking with ground beef, be sure to clean your hands and any utensils that touched the raw meat before handling other foods.
Thawing Ground Beef
Ideally, you should thaw meat in the refrigerator. You can do this by planning ahead and taking the meat from the freezer and putting it in the refrigerator about 24 hours before you plan to cook with it, and no longer than two days. Do not thaw meat on the counter for more than a couple of hours. Raw meat should always be kept chilled for food safety reasons. If you didn’t thaw the meat ahead of time, no problem. You can thaw frozen ground beef a couple of ways:
Put the meat in a plastic bag and place that bag in a bowl of cool water. Let sit for at least 30 minutes but no longer than 2 hours to prevent bacteria growth.
If method #1 takes too long, you can thaw meat in the microwave. It’s not the best way, but it’s quick. Use the defrost setting on your microwave, select the weight of the meat and flip halfway through defrosting. If the outer edges begin to cook, remove those from the microwave and place in a mixing bowl. Continue to defrost the frozen meat until it is ready to cook.
Cooking Ground Beef
Many recipes require cooking ground beef in a skillet pan-- Sloppy Joes, Korean ground beef, seasoned ground beef for tacos, etc. Start by putting a large skillet on medium-high heat. You'll want to add the meat to the skillet only once it is hot.
Believe it or not, you can also boil ground beef. This method is great for cooking ground beef for use in chili or casserole, or when you want to prep some cooked meat for freezing and use at a later date. Keep in mind boiling will cause the meat to be dry because it removes a lot of the fat content and since ground beef is usually lean there is not a lot of fat to begin with. However, this makes boiled ground beef a great meat to use for recipes that require a ground meat to absorb a lot of flavor and fat. Boiling is also a great way to cook a lot of ground beef at once. Similar to pasta, use a strainer or sieve if the ground is excellent, to remove the meat from the water.
You can, of course, use ground beef to make patties. Serve these on a classic bun for the always popular hamburger, or a large leaf of butter leaf lettuce or Swiss chard. You can make patties ahead of time and pop them in the freezer for use at a later date. Or, if you make too many patties to cook, feel free to freeze the remaining uncooked raw ones. Although raw ground beef can remain in the refrigerator for up to two days, once you make patties (or skewers, etc.), do not put the prepared raw meat back into the refrigerator to avoid foodborne illnesses.
Meatballs are always popular-- and easy to make, too. You can make larger meatballs for a main course, or small ones for an appetizer. There are a number of recipes for meatballs of all kinds, from the classic to cheese-stuffed to Swedish. The one thing they have in common is they’re all easy to make.
Ground beef skewers, often called kefta kebabs, are an easy to make ground beef dish that you can quickly whip up. Kebabs can be cooked in a skillet, on the grill or even in the oven. Fresh herbs such as finely chopped mint and parsley go well in these kebabs. Spices such as coriander, cinnamon, paprika and more liven-up the ground beef kebabs.
Ground beef is also popular for stew. There’s nothing quite like a hearty stew, especially on a cold day. You’ll want to cook your ground beef first before adding to the stew so you can drain the excess liquid. This is a meal you can make in the slow cooker and have it simmer all day. A ground beef stew with potatoes and carrots is often a hit with kids. There are hundreds of ground beef stew recipes to choose from.
If you’re looking for a substitute for ground beef, you can use ground turkey or ground chicken. However, many cuts of ground beef are lean and often will be labeled as such. Ground beef is great for a main dish and is often a family favorite. Whether you're cooking Mexican food, spaghetti sauce, stir fry, or American hamburgers, ground beef is great for a quick and delicious weeknight meal.