Cook Smart Strategy 1: Frozen Assets

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Stocking your freezer helps make home cooking more convenient. When you buy bulk packs of ground beef, add minced onions and seasonings, and cook it all at once. Divide the big batch into portion sizes and stash in the freezer to have cooked ground beef at-the-ready to add to your favourite soup, pasta sauce, chili or casserole. It’s a super speedy way to enrich your meals with protein, iron, B vitamins and zinc. Dinner just got better, faster and easier!

Big Batch Mexicali Beef

If you don’t want to have Mexican seasonings, just skip the chili powder, cumin, paprika, coriander and cayenne pepper and use Italian or Asian seasonings instead, or leave out the seasonings completely for a version that’s more versatile.

Big Batch Mexicali Beef
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 4 lb (2 kg) Lean Ground Beef
  • 4 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp EACH ground cumin, salt, paprika and ground coriander
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 red bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cups corn, frozen or canned
Instructions
  1. Cook ground beef and spices in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat for 9 to 10 minutes, breaking into small chunks with the back of a wooden spoon, until browned and completely cooked. Drain well, and return to pot. Add bell peppers and onions; simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until vegetables are softened. Add corn and heat through for 1 to 2 minutes. Drain. Spread mixture in a single layer on several foil or parchment paper-lined baking trays; freeze just until meat is firm, about 1 hour.
  2. Loosen beef mixture into chunks; scoop meal-sized portions into freezer bags or sealable containers. Freeze up to 3 months.
Notes
Smart Cook Tip: mince onion and garlic in the food processor OR buy frozen diced onion and minced garlic from a jar.

 

Once you have your Big Batch Mexicali Beef in the freezer, here are just a couple of the great meals that will come together in minutes!

Mexicali Soup: In a large Dutch oven, combine 2 cups frozen Big Batch Mexicali Beef, 3 cups frozen mixed vegetables, 1 can (28 oz/796 mL) diced tomatoes, 1 container (900 mL) chicken broth and 1 can (213 mL) tomato sauce; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add ½ cup EACH broken whole wheat spaghetti and canned kidney beans (drained and rinsed); simmer for 10 minutes or until pasta is tender. Makes 8 cups.

Mexicali Taco Lunch: Pack ½ cup Big Batch Mexicali Beef with a couple of spoonfuls of salsa in microwave safe lunch container. Pack taco fixings such as tomato, shredded lettuce, avocado and flour tortilla in containers too. At lunchtime, heat the beef and salsa mixture and assemble with taco fixings. Don’t forget the wedge of lime to squeeze overtop.

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