Take a look in your freezer. You probably see something like a half-gallon or two of ice cream, a bag of frozen peas, and a pound of ground beef. All excellent options, but ice cream and peas aren’t the makings of a great dinner. That’s where ground beef comes in. It cooks up quickly, adds tons of flavor, and is one of the most versatile ingredients you can keep on hand. It’s saved the day (and the dinner) for us more times than we can count.
Transfer the meat to the refrigerator the night before you plan on cooking it, and it’ll be perfectly thawed by the time you get home from work. Then, let your creativity—and these seven ideas—inspire a dinner that will please the whole family.
Master the Meatloaf
Meatloaf is a dinner classic for a reason: It’s easy to make, hearty and filling, and results in some mighty fine leftovers. A few tips on making a meatloaf that satisfies (i.e. isn’t dry): Use stock to flavor and moisten the mixture; drape it with bacon because, well, duh; and glaze it with a doctored-up ketchup sauce. Trust us: Your family will be begging for another helping.
Put It In a Sauce
Okay, so maybe a slowly simmered classic bolognese sauce isn’t the most efficient weeknight dinner you can make. (Although we’re big fans of it for Sunday supper). Still, you can take a few tips from the master recipe for a Tuesday night masterpiece. Toast your spices and seasoning in a dry pan before adding them to the meat and aromatics. Use ground beef with 20% fat for a better flavor and texture. Use red wine to deglaze the pan and scrape up any browned bits into the mix, and, finally, don’t be shy with the garlic. Spoon the finished sauce over cooked rice, mop it up with bread, toss it with pasta, or, if you’re feeling very ambitious, layer it with lasagna.
Make a Kick-Ass Burger
It doesn’t have to be grilling season to make burgers—although that sure does provide a convenient excuse. With a cast-iron pan and a good ventilation system, you can get your burger on any day of the year. But whether you’re grilling or pan-frying, a few rules hold firm. First, don’t pack the patties too tightly. A great burger should never be dense and mealy in texture. Second, make sure to use ground beef with a high fat content. If you can work with a butcher to find a custom-blended burger mix, all the better. If not, buy ground chuck with 20% fat. When grilling, be sure not to press down on the patties with a spatula—that will release the juices onto the coals. If pan-frying, it’s okay; the fat will pool around the burgers, basting them as they cook.
Go For the Stir-Fry
A smokin’ hot pan + ground beef + fiery chiles + chopped veggies + cooked rice = a flavorful dinner that’s ready in minutes. Plus, DIY stir-fry will beat the pants off any takeout order. Start by sautéing garlic and chiles over high heat with a neutral, high smoke-point oil (like vegetable or canola). Add the beef and press down on it with a spoon as it cooks to encourage crisping and browning. Chopping your vegetables in thin pieces will help them cook up in a flash. Finish with soy sauce, fish sauce, hot sauce…any kind of sauce your heart desires.
Make Some Meatballs
There are just about as many ways to cook meatballs are there are cooks. Here are some idea to get your creativity flowing: Mexican-style albóndigas simmered in an ancho chile-sauce; classic Italian meatballs in marinara; Parm-drenched sliders in hoagie rolls; ricotta-stuffed fried meatballs (whoa). Don’t overmix the meat to avoid tough balls, and be generous with the S&P.
Continue reading here, http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/article/what-to-cook-ground-beef