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Kitchen Hack (noun):  Refers to a shortcut found in the kitchen.  A tip or a technique that makes one’s life easier, specifically when it comes to organizing or preparing a meal.

BulkCookingGroundBeef

 

I serve a fair amount of ground beef.  Not nearly as much as chicken, but still a good percentage of my recipes use ground beef.  But I don’t like to ground my beef each time I want to make something calling for it.  I’m not sure why, but it seems like a hassle.  Why cook just 1 pound of ground beef when I can do 5 or 10 pounds of ground beef and be set for quite a while?

bulkgroundbeef

So that’s what I do.  Instead of browning just 1 pound, I do 5 or 10 pounds at a time.  But lately, I’ve been doing that in a slow cooker instead of on the stove.  Does it take longer?  Yes, most definitely.  But most of it is passive time.  I just get my food set up in the slow cooker, let it cook, and check on it later.  It’s fabulous!  Several hours later, I have plenty of ground beef ready to freeze in smaller portions, just waiting to be put to good use.  In fact, on a recent weekend, I dedicated my Saturday to doing this for both chicken and beef.  Since I have 2 slow cookers, I ended up with about 12 pounds of ground beef and 16 pounds of chicken, frozen and ready for cooking!

bulkgroundbeef2

Some of my favorite ground beef recipes:

Spaghetti sauce
Freezer friendly baked spaghetti
Cheesy ground beef casserole
Tacos & Taco Salad (just add taco seasoning if you want)
Taco Soup
French Bread Pizza
Hamburger Vegetable Beef Soup

bulkgroundbeef3

Bulk Cooking Ground Beef in a Slow Cooker

Ingredients

  • Beef (I usually do 5 pounds at a time, but my 6-quart slow cooker can handle up to 7-8 pounds)
  • Salt, pepper, and garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Break ground beef up into smaller pieces in the slow cooker.
  2. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. It can be tricky to know how much, especially if you’re doing 5-8 pounds of meat at a time. Just guess. You can always add seasoning after it cooks.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. I found it took the full 8 hours for me.
  4. Drain. Use the biggest strainer that you have - or maybe do half at a time.
  5. Let cool and package into smaller portions into freezer bags (don't forget to label the bags).
  6. To freeze, I lay the packages onto a cookie sheet (so that they lay flat), freeze them overnight, then I can stack them in the freezer any way that I want.

Jayme is a wife to 1 and a mother to three little boys (soon to be 4 this summer!). She coupons, but isn’t super extreme about it. She price matches and loves it! While she likes to cook, she’s in the stage of life where simple is usually better! She never knows how many hands she’ll have free at dinner time! You can find her at No Regrets Living.

{ 43 comments… add one }
  • Beth February 19, 2016, 5:29 am

    How do you do the chicken?

    Reply
  • Christina Ford January 17, 2017, 11:38 am

    I tend to notice when I use left over hamburger meet it has a different taste. Have you noticed this with freezing your cooked ground beef and then thawing it and preparing?

    Reply
    • Jayme January 17, 2017, 3:06 pm

      I haven’t noticed, but maybe I’ve gotten used to it? This is pretty much the only way that I do it now. Well, I often will do smaller batches (like 4-5 pounds) just in my big skillet on the stove, but 95% of the time, I’m always using ground beef that I’ve cooked, then frozen!

      Reply
      • Lori August 2, 2017, 6:58 pm

        Add spices like onion flakes to the meat. It’ll help. 🙂

        Reply
  • jen February 7, 2017, 4:07 pm

    do you need to stir periodically? If you don’t does it cook into one huge patty?

    Reply
    • Jayme February 7, 2017, 10:24 pm

      I do break it up periodically, but I think it’d be fine if you didn’t. Each time I open it, I think “man, that’s one big beef patty!”. But it isn’t really like that — it isn’t like you grilled it. It mostly “boils” in it’s own grease/liquid (sounds gross, eh? but the same thing happens on the stovetop). I just put my fork in and boom, it breaks apart very easily.

      Reply
  • techlazy.com April 9, 2017, 1:05 pm

    This was delicious! I was afraid of the fennel…but it gave the sauce the best flavor! I didn’t have fresh oregano…I’m sure it would have been even better! Thanks so much..it’s a keeper!

    Reply
  • Sonia Chauhan April 23, 2017, 1:07 pm

    I so enjoy your site and your recipes. Would you please consider adding a print option so we can enjoy your recipes a little more easily. Thank you.

    Reply
  • Michaela January 5, 2018, 8:41 pm

    How do you usually go about thawing it?

    Reply
    • Jayme January 5, 2018, 8:44 pm

      A lot of ways! If I’m making spaghetti sauce, I’ll just dump it in the slow cooker with the sauce and it gradually heats back up. That’s when I’m making the sauce for a few hours in the slow cooker.

      If I think ahead, I just place the bag in the fridge in the morning or the night before and it’s thawed by dinner time.

      Or I just microwave it if I’m using it for tacos or taco salad or something where I need it.

      I’ll even stick it in the skillet if I’m about to add other stuff to it if I’m making a casserole or something. It thaws pretty quickly!

      Reply
  • Samantha Tyler February 17, 2019, 12:26 pm

    How long does the cooked hamburger last in the freezer?

    Reply
    • Jayme February 17, 2019, 3:18 pm

      A few months at least – I’ve never had a problem using it in time.

      Reply
  • Kitty March 19, 2019, 8:20 pm

    Just did this tonight and am LOVING it. Where has this been all my life?

    Reply
  • Moses Brodin March 22, 2019, 10:46 pm

    “I too have been on a fall organizing binge, though the birth of neither a baby or a cookbook is looming for me this month. I suddenly decided that all our storage containers should match, reorganized several kitchen drawers and cabinets, and am super jealous of your label maker!

    Thanks for a super idea for pumpkin this weekend-it just got fall like here, so this is timely, as usual!

    Reply
  • Ranjeet Sharma April 4, 2019, 12:26 pm

    Hi,
    Great stuff buddy.
    Great post, I have read this post here I got very useful information.I’m always looking for new recipes that help us cut back on the processed alternatives. Thanks for sharing this recipe with all Ingredients and instructions. This is a very useful article for online review readers. Keep it up such a nice posting like this. I started a Blog and Hopefully, it will be successful like you.

    Thanks for the share.

    Reply
  • Victoria Tegg June 1, 2019, 4:37 am

    I cooked your pancakes with my son just this morning! He spilled the almond milk all over the counter and dropped about 4 eggs, but it still worked and he was having fun with me rather than just plopped in front of the tv while I was alone in the kitchen!

    Reply
  • Moses Brodin June 4, 2019, 5:39 am

    I love the flavour of caprese so this stuffed chicken recipe is just perfect for me. Definitely perfect for a delicious weeknight dinner.. thanks for sharing the great recipe!

    Reply
  • Alisha Ross June 6, 2019, 5:32 am

    This looks like the perfect dinner meal! It’ll be on the table tonight and I bet the kids will love it too. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
  • Mukesh Sharma June 12, 2019, 6:22 am

    i must say kitchen hack are always interesting thing.

    Reply
  • Bridget KEMLING July 5, 2019, 12:29 pm

    I made my hamburger in the slow cooker. I was wondering if yours came out lightly brown ? Like it does when you mirocwave ?

    Reply
    • Jayme July 5, 2019, 2:35 pm

      I haven’t microwaved raw beef in a really, really, really long time, so my memory is fuzzy on that one. But it comes out of the slow cooker looking the same as when I do it on the stove.

      Reply
  • Eve Hunt July 9, 2019, 10:57 pm

    This is one of the best chicken recipes ever. It’s very tasteful and beautiful to play. Thanks for the recipe.

    Reply
  • Deep Web August 8, 2019, 4:38 am

    Great recipe, very yummy! Any suggestions for other ways to use the left over Miso paste? Marinade? Make into another type of sauce? Ideas??? It’s too good to not use up!

    Reply
  • Ankita August 25, 2019, 6:38 am

    Hi!!
    Love your post. It’s really amazing & helpful too. Being foodie i keep trying new dishes i tried this recipe & it turned out to be really tasty . Keep sharing 🙂
    Thank You & Regards
    Ankita

    Reply
  • Rose Martine October 18, 2019, 3:36 am

    Thank you so much for wonderful recipes! What I love about your website most of all is that you post not only great recipes and descriptions but also stunning photos of food! Have a nice day!

    Reply

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