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It’s Back to School around here and my kids had the BEST first week! I owe it mostly to their wonderful new teachers, but I also think they had a great first week because we ate out almost every night. Because wow – back to school is truly back to bananas. Things were just too wild to think about cooking, so we did the circle of fast food > Wendy’s, PDQ, Domino’s. Repeat.
Obviously that kind of diet is not sustainable if we want to have a semi-healthy and cost-effective year, so I have been gathering up all of my easy recipes for busy weeknights. For today’s post, I am including my top 10 hubby and kid-approved ground beef recipes so that maybe we can all avoid the drive-thru at least 1-2 times per week this school year. 🙂
Let me know which one your family likes best!
Cooking Tips >>
- Purchase frozen chopped onions and frozen chopped green peppers for recipes to save on time.
- Drain can of mushrooms, then use kitchen scissors to chop the mushrooms while they are still in the can. Saves so much time and mess!
- If you are gluten free, check out THESE AMAZING NOODLES that have only ONE ingredient and are completely gluten free! I love them so much!
- I like to buy organic ground beef in bulk at our local wholesale club. It comes in 1 lb packages which are perfect for these recipes.
Brown 1 lb ground beef with 1 onion, chopped (or grated) and 1 green pepper, chopped. Add 1 carrot, shredded, 1 zucchini, shredded, 1 can of mushrooms, chopped, and 1 jar of pasta sauce. Serve with cooked rotini noodles and rolls.
Ragu Chili Mac
Brown 1 lb ground beef with 1 green pepper, chopped. Add 1 jar of pasta sauce and 2 T chili powder. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add 8 oz of cooked elbow macaroni and heat through. Serve with a microwavable bag of broccoli.
Mix 2 lbs ground beef, 1 cup water, 1 package Stove Top Stuffing Mix, 2 beaten eggs, and 1/4 cup barbecue sauce. Shape into oval loaf and place in a 9×13″ dish. Top with 1/4 cup more BBQ sauce. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour, or until the center is no longer pink. Serve with baked frozen tater tots and microwavable bag of green beans. (See photos of this recipe HERE!)
Brown 1 lb ground beef. Stir in 1 cup pasta sauce. Separate 2 (8 oz) cans of crescent dinner rolls into 8 rectangles. Press perforations to seal. Spoon beef mixture down center of each rectangle. Top with mozzarella cheese. Make cuts with kitchen scissors on each side of the crescent rolls. Cross strips over filling. Bake 12-15 minutes at 375 degrees. Serve with apple slices.
Brown 2 lbs lean ground beef with 1 cup chopped onion; drain. Stir in 1/2 cup chopped green pepper, 2 jars (14 oz each) pizza sauce, 1 package (3 oz) sliced pepperoni (chopped), 1 tsp dried basil leaves, 1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Spoon onto buns and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Serve with baby carrots.
Brown 1 lb ground beef with 1 onion, finely chopped. Add 1/2 of each green, red, and yellow pepper, chopped, 1 (15 oz) can black beans (drained and rinsed), 1 (15 oz) can kidney beans (drained and rinsed), 1 (15 oz) can pinto beans (drained and rinsed), 1 (15 oz) can corn, 1 can Rotel tomatoes, 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes, 1/4 cup fresh salsa, 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce. Simmer for 25 minutes. Serve with sour cream and tortilla chips. (See photos of this recipe HERE!)
Brown 1 lb ground beef with 1 onion, chopped. Add 1 can mushrooms, chopped, 1 can of artichoke hearts, chopped, 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 T balsamic vinegar (I like to use Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinegar Salad Dressing), 1 T drained capers, 1 T minced garlic, 1 tsp Italian seasoning, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp sugar. Simmer for 25 minutes. Serve over cooked penne pasta. (See photos of this recipe HERE!)
Brown 1 lb ground beef with 1 chopped onion; drain. Stir in 1 cup ketchup, 2 T Worchestershire sauce, 1/4 cup water, and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Spoon onto buns. Serve with pickles and chips.
Cook 1 package taco seasoning mix, 2/3 cup water, 1/2 cup salsa, and 1 lb ground beef. Press 1 can of refrigerated biscuits (the GRANDS size) into a 6-inch round. Fill with shredded Mexican cheese and some of the beef mixture. Fold dough over mixture and press to seal. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 9-14 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with salsa, cheese, and sour cream. Fresh grapes on the side! (See photos of this recipe HERE!)
Combine 2 lbs ground beef, 1 1/2 cups corn flake cereal, crushed, 2 eggs, 1/2 tsp garlic salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/2 cup ketchup, and 1 onion, finely chopped. Shape into 18 balls and arrange in an ungreased 9×13″ baking pan. Mix 16 oz can jellied cranberry sauce, 12 oz bottle chili sauce, 2 T brown sugar, and 1 tsp lemon juice. Pour over meatballs. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve with pre-made mashed potatoes and a microwavable bag of green beans.
Thanks Julie!!! I am great at meal planning but have SO many chicken recipes! I needed some more ground beef ones and these were great! Going to try them out this month!
Thanks for the great recipes! Working moms need to help each other out with meal prep! Here are some ideas people told me.
When I was starting to work full time with kids at home, my sister-in-law suggested having the meat cooked ahead of time. I found that advice very helpful! I have a large frying pan that allows me to brown 3 pounds of meat at a time. I would brown 3 lbs of meat, use 1, and freeze the other 2 in 1 lb packages. I used a lot of ground turkey breast and found it very helpful! You can pull the meat out to thaw in the ref when you need it.
When my kids were in college and we had different eating schedules, I prepped meals (usually a casserole and something like sloppy joes (with Manwich sauce) and canned green beans on Sunday afternoons. A lot of times I made a homemade pizza with frozen whole wheat bread dough (thawed) to eat for Sunday’s dinner too. I always planned on leftovers (not the pizza) so each recipe was enough to feed my family of 4 for 2 meals. Then I knew healthy food was ready in the ref for my older children to just heat and eat as they needed it. Doing that provided meals up to and including Thursday. I am a teacher and have church services Sunday morning and evenings and at the time, it worked for us.
Another working mom told me she cooked to have enough leftovers on Sat and Sun to eat on Mon and Tues. Then she cooked on Wed night (something like tacos, I believe) for Wednesday and Thursday (leftover tacos) and ordered pizza on Friday, That way she said she only had to cook one week night.
Hopefully, these ideas can help you or another mom trying to figure out how to fit in meal prep.