When it comes to meal prepping, my best advice is this: get a list of things that you and your family like that can also be stored in the freezer. Make them in double batches. Freeze half. Accept the praise.
The “what’s for dinner” question is such an endless part of life, whether we live alone or in larger groups. The evening meal rolls around once per day and feeding ourselves is part of life.
There are certain types of meals that absolutely do better than others when made in advance: soups, slow-cooker meals, pasta bakes and casseroles are all wonderful options to have in the fridge or freezer after a long day.
I find that nostalgic, “regular” recipes tend to play well with kids and crowds and having a few basic recipes that everyone likes is a great way to Get Food In People without a lot of fuss. This ground beef works well with literally any kind of Mexican meal, stores beautifully in the fridge, and freezes like a dream for nights when we “Just. Can’t. Even.”
Having nothing left to give, but realizing you have some homemade taco meat in the freezer is really a gift to Future You. Promise.
Any kind of ground meat recipe usually works well as a make-ahead meal, and this one is delicious, without using a packet of taco seasoning – it’s gluten-free and allows you to control the level of sodium in the dish.
As for what to do with this yummy taco meat?
- Build tacos: I’m a huge fan of classic hard shell, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese. The combo is beloved for a reason!
- Make burritos: Roll some of the beef into tortillas with a smear of refried beans and a handful of grated cheese. Tuck them into a baking dish and bake at 350F for 20 minutes, or make burrito-enchilada hybrids by pouring a can of enchilada sauce over top before baking.
- Salad: serve the beef over greens and chopped veggies with shredded cheese and salsa for dressing with some lime wedges. This is a great lunch or dinner option.
- Nachos: chips for dinner is still dinner. You did it!
- Dip: On the weekend, mix a cup of the beef mixture with one can of Rotel (tomatoes with green chilis), a block of cream cheese, and 2 cups of shredded cheese. Chips, football, TOUCHDOWN (I honestly couldn’t stop myself from saying that cheesy beefy dip is a touchdown but we all know it’s true).
Here’s to another month of wonderful food. Happy prepping!
All Purpose Ground Beef
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon if using table salt)
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ cup water
Preheat a skillet to medium heat with the olive oil or butter. When the skillet is hot, add the beef and cook for about 5 minutes, breaking it up with a spoon as you go.
Add all of the spices to the skillet and stir to combine. Press the beef mixture into one even layer and let it sit for about 2 minutes to brown the beef, then stir again.
Add the water to the skillet and let simmer for about 5 minutes to reduce all but a little of the water from the skillet – the beef should be slightly saucy but not watery.
Taste the ground beef and add more salt or chili powder if you’d like. Serve in tacos, burritos, or over greens for a quick taco salad. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes + Tips and Tricks:
I love beef cooked in butter for extra flavor, but any small amount of fat to start the meat while the skillet is heating up works well.
This spice blend works well with all types of ground meat – try it with turkey, chicken, pork, or a blend of your favorites!
This is a perfect make-ahead dish and keeps well in the fridge for up to five days. I often make double or triple batches and store half in the freezer for a double dose of meal prep!