Make Ahead Freezer Meal: Master Hamburger Mix

If you are anything like me, you find yourself on a regular basis, past the time to start cooking dinner, and inevitably you forgot to pull out some ground hamburger or ground turkey to cook up for tacos, spaghetti, sloppy joes, etc.

Your freezer looks like this:

I have found that if once every other month or so, I spend a Saturday  precooking my Hamburger Master mix and putting it in freezer bags in the freezer, then in the time it takes me to pull a frozen brick of raw hamburger out to thaw in the microwave, I can pull out a bag of my already cooked Hamburger mix, thaw it and I'm ready to throw the rest of the dinner together.

There are TONS of recipes for a Master Hamburger mix, but you should do one that suits the taste of your family.  I have found several ways of cooking my multiple pounds of hamburger without standing over a stove all weekend long.
1) Crock pot.  You can crumble into a crock-pot and cook it. You will need to give it a stir once in a while, and at the end, re-crumble it.
2) I use the Oven method the most. Crumble your hamburger mix  into multiple cake pans (I like disposable pans for easy clean up).  Bake them in the oven till done, and re-crumble it with a spoon to desired texture.
3 lb's of hamburger with chopped onions and peppers ready to bake in the oven.

These methods allow you the flexibility of doing some other chores while doing your freezer cooking session.
One of my favorite links for you to check out is found at the North Dakota State University Extension Service: NDSU: Master Meat Mix recipes and tips  along with the master recipe found below, they have 7 recipes for dinners using the mix. Worth printing off!

Jan's tip: Always freeze your  bags flat, so they stack well in your freezer

Here is the NDSU  Recipe for a versatile Master Hamburger Mix:

Basic Meat Mix
(precooked meat)
Yield: Five packages
Serving: 2 cups in each package
5 lb. lean ground meat
2 medium onions, chopped
1 c. chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced, or 1 tsp. garlic powder
¾ tsp. pepper
Per 4-ounce serving: 117 calories, 1.3g carbohydrate,
3.9g fat, 0.3g fiber and 60mg sodium
1. Brown ground meat and onions in a large skillet or pot.
Drain fat.
2. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cook over medium heat for
15 minutes.
1. Combine onions and crumbled ground meat in a
microwave-safe 5-quart casserole dish. Cover.
2. Microwave on HIGH 14 to 16 minutes, stirring two or
three times.
3. Drain fat. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover.
4. Microwave on HIGH five to eight minutes.
To Freeze
1. Divide cooked mixture into five containers or freezer bags
(approximately 2 cups each). Cover. Label with date and
freeze. If using freezer bags, remove air from bags, seal,
press flat and freeze. For best quality, use frozen ground
beef within three to four months.
To Defrost
1. Place one package Basic Meat Mix in appropriate
container or pan.
• Microwave until defrosted (stir frequently and break apart
with a fork once or twice).
• On stovetop, heat on medium heat for 10 to
15 minutes before continuing with recipe.
• Defrost meat in refrigerator overnight.
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