31 Days of Progress Day 3 :: Bulk Cooking Ground Beef in the Crock Pot with Seasoning Recipe

Category: Cooking & Eating
Goal: Cook at home, even when I’m rushed or just pooped out!
Baby Step: Pre-cook, pre-prep for Quick Meals when Needed

This post was actually inspired by Jennifer at Balancing Beauty & Bedlam, who is also one of the original 8 31 Day Bloggers! When one has a difficult food allergy {which I am going to blog about some day soon} the only real way to eat safely is at home.  Mine is a doozey – allium {onions, garlic, chives, leeks, shallots, etc.}.  It basically means most convenience food items are OUT for me, including all soups & broths and most condiments, dressings, sauces, seasoning blends.  If you’re curious, take a look in your pantry some time and see how many foods contain onion {or onion powder}, garlic {or garlic powder}, spices, or natural flavors.  The good news is it should mean that we eat HEALTHIER…but it does take time and discipline!

I have pre-cooked ground beef before, but usually only an extra pound or two at a time because I didn’t want to be a slave to the stove top with multiple pans going and needing attention. So, when I saw Jennifer post about cooking ground beef in the crock pot – the bells and whistles went off like crazy!  Here’s how I adapted it for me…and my new Ground Beef Seasoning blend worked out so well, I’m gonna share that, too.

[1] Turn your crock pot on High and pour in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water. {Regular ground beef was the only thing available in bulk in our store at the time and 1/2 c. was more than I needed for the fat content.  I usually use leaner ground meats – buy when they are on sale!}

[2] Start crumbling your beef into the crock pot. I have a 4qt.? oval pot and used 5 lbs.  I could have fit 6 lbs. Season layers of the beef with your desired seasoning.  I wanted “general” ground beef this time, so I used the seasoning blend below.

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[3] Set your timer for 2 hours and walk away {option: if you are available to do so you can stir intermittently}

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[4] When I checked mine after 2 hours it had sort of become what looked like a big wet meatloaf :).  I started chopping at it with a plastic spoon, then switched to my potato masher to get a finer “crumble”.Oct_3_2011 078

[5] Then I let it go for another 30 minutes {for a total of 2 1/2 hours, I prefer not to take chances with ground meat}. Taste a sample {and discover you love the seasonings you chose}, drain, cool and package for the freezer in whatever increments work for you – I did 5 equal-ish 1-lb-ish portions in plastic freezer bags. In the future I will also prepare batches with Italian Seasoning and my Homemade Chili/Taco Seasoning.

UPDATE 11/04/11: I recently cooked another batch.  This time I did 6 pounds of ground round {with chili powder} and cooked it for 3 hours on high.  I filled 4 quart-sized mason jars for the freezer {after it had cooled to room temperature, 1 1/2 lb. portions}.  Love it!!

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Here’s my new recipe for Ground Beef Seasoning Blend:

2 tsp. Sea Salt

1 tsp. ground black pepper

2 tsp. dried thyme

2 tsp. dried marjoram

1/2 tsp. rubbed sage

1/8 tsp. ground allspice

I rubbed it all together with my fingers to combine and crush the dried leaves to “bloom” the herbs a bit.

Try it and Enjoy! {Don’t forget about my GIVEAWAY in yesterday’s post}

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Comments

  1. says

    So then you put the portioned meat in the freezer right? And so you would just have to heat it up in a pan frozen before you added it to another recipe? Or would you defrost it in the microwave? (My microwave broke this morning! Can you believe it? It isn’t even 5 years old)

    I think it is neat that you can cook several pounds of meat in the crock pot and have it ready for a quick meal!
    I just never have thought of that before.

    Thanks!

    • says

      Yep, I froze’em! Depends on what you are adding the beef to. If it’s a sauce being made on the stove top I would maybe even just add it frozen and then let it thaw and heat through. If it’s something going in the oven I might thaw because you don’t want to bite into cold hamburger in the middle of your casserole, etc.

      Sorry about your microwave. Appliances just don’t last any more. Our last microwave lasted 13 years. I recently realized that all of our major appliances are now between 14 and 19 years old…do you hear the ticking time bomb in the background? Ha ha.

      I had never even dreamed of this crock pot thing for ground beef either…total V8-style facepalm :)

  2. says

    It would definitely be helpful to get better at pre-cooking meat. There are plenty of days when both Hubby and I work later than usual and the effort of fixing something good seems to outweigh our hunger! Might have to try this soon.

  3. says

    Excellent tip I’ve learned from watching cooking shows! Always make sure your meat is to room temperature before freezing or the meat will continue to cook in the freezer which allows bacteria to breed.

    I’ll definitely be doing this tip for my house, especially on Wednesday nights when we have church:)

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