Monday, August 18, 2008

Meal Week at Mountain Mama!

This week is going to be all about food! One of my favorite topics! ~yum!~ The husband and I like to say "if you're going to eat, eat good!" In other words, don't just eat to eat, enjoy the food you are going to eat. Make it taste good and it'll be far more satisfying than something that has no flavor.

Being a mountain mama, that means every thing is farther away. I have to drive nearly 30 minutes to get to the closest food store, and it's not much. Surprisingly, though, they have a decent section of "international foods" and I am able to get what I need when I have a craving for chinese or mexican foods. If I want more selection, I have to drive almost an hour to the big town. Because I have to drive farther to get places, we buy in bulk when we can. That includes meat.

We eat a lot of ground beef around here. We like chicken and pork products, but the majority of our meals are beef-- cubed steaks, beef strips, rump roasts, and ground beef. Buying bulk ground beef means I have to either sort it and freeze it or cook it all. I choose to cook it all, then sort it. I'll show you..

This is about 5 pounds of lean ground beef with chopped green peppers and onions and other spices added to it. I like to add basic spices such as garlic, pepper, and parsley because it saves me time when I make meals, and depending on the meal, I'll add other spices for mexican meals or italian meals.

After cooking, I'll sort the beef into small freezer containers. See...

Five pounds of cooked ground beef will give me 8 meals. Lots of recipes call for a pound of ground beef, but since it's 2 adults and 3 little ones, less than a pound of meat works well for us.

Having cooked meat in the freezer really saves me a lot of time and makes for many quick meals, especially when I don't feel like cooking and I can just throw something together real fast.

  • Want tacos? Add cumin, chili powder, cilantro, paprika, and garlic salt and you've got taco meat!

  • Lasagna or spaghetti? Add it to the sauce!

  • Add a can of cream of mushroom soup, beef broth or bouillon, and sour cream and you've got the makings of poor man's beef stroganoff. Just add cooked pasta or potatoes.

  • Got leftover mashed potatoes? Layer ground beef on the bottom of a dish, tomato soup, corn, mashed potatoes, and cheese-- mm! Shepard's pie!
  • Make sloppy joes by adding tomato sauce and spices. I usually use ketchup, V-8 juice, Worcestershire sauce and other spices in mine. Sounds weird, but the result is a delicious sandwich!

  • Here's a yummy kid-pleaser: Tator Tot Surprise-- your kids can help with this one!

In a square baking dish, add cooked ground beef.

Spread one can of cream of celery soup on top of beef.

Get your kids to layer tator tots on top.

Bake at 450* for 20 minutes or until tator tots are nicely browned. Serve with a salad and vegetable if you like. So tasty! If you make a larger pan then double the meat and use 2 cans of soup.

Come back tomorrow for more good eats!


Patty Keen said...

Wow, I just love the Tater Tot casserole idea and will be making that! Hubby loves the picture and said it looks so good!

jenny said...

Patty-- You'll like it! We always eat it with corn and sometimes a salad. Let me know if you liked it! :o) Tator tots are the only frozen potatoes we buy, I can't make a tator tot! Then if I am feeling lazy and they're on sale, I might buy some frozen fries, too, but only once in awhile! :o)