Ground beef – an economical and versatile choice

Ground beef (or minced beef) often brings up visions of hamburgers on the grill, but there are actually many ways ground beef can be used in easy, appetizing dishes. The meat in ground beef typically comes from the primal chuck or primal round cuts, although sometimes sirloin is also used. The great thing about ground beef – besides being a flavourful meal option – is that it can be frozen either before or after cooking.

Here are some of the dishes that use ground beef:

  • Hamburgers
  • Pasta sauces and meatballs
  • Casseroles
  • Meat lasagna
  • Tacos, burritos and enchiladas
  • Chili
  • Meatloaf

Flavour Profile of Ground Beef

The cuts used in ground beef (typically chuck or round) are muscular cuts, but when minced the beef offers a richness of flavour and a desirable balance of meat and fat. Of course, depending on how you are cooking the ground beef, you have lots of freedom to infuse some of your favourite flavours and seasoning.

Cooking Ground Beef

Try making juicy hamburger patties from scratch with an intoxicating twist – try an array of ingredients like sautéed onions, pressed garlic, diced pineapple, crisp bacon bits and a spicy BBQ sauce. Grill them over high heat on the barbecue and then serve with avocado slices and tomatoes.

Appeal to the most discerning of taste buds by serving a delectable spaghetti and meatball dish. The trick here is to make and bake the meatballs (450° F for 25 minutes) but save some of the mix to also use in the sauce. When making the sauce, sufficiently brown the meat using a cast iron frying pan on high heat and let the meat cook without stirring. After about five or seven minutes (meat should be almost 160°F), add in some tasty complements to bring out the natural flavours as you continue cooking for a few minutes more: minced tomatoes, chopped and sautéed onions, parsley, a smashed clove of garlic, oregano and basil.

Lasagna is the perfect meal on a cold day. Be sure to sauté your vegetables like minced garlic and chopped onion before adding the meat – this will help draw out the delicious flavours of the beef and create a medley of taste even before tomatoes or sauces are added. Try using unique ingredients for your layers such as asparagus and nutmeg, along with a blend of rich cheeses like ricotta, mozzarella and fontinella. Soaking no-bake noodles in salted water can help eliminate the need to boil traditional noodles in you’re in a time crunch.

Chili is a crowd pleaser and doesn’t take much time to cook. Spice up your ground beef with surprise ingredients like beer or unsweetened cocoa and add in a blend of seasonings like cayenne pepper, white pepper and cumin for some heat. Use your favourite recipe or try a new one – and definitely give some hot sauce a try.

For more cooking ideas, check out our Recipes page.

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