Are you looking for easy weeknight meals with ground beef? These 3 ingredient ground beef recipes will save you time, make meal planning easy and stretch your food budget too. Cooking ground beef ahead is one of the smartest things you can do. You can even make these meals into freezer meals with ground beef so they are always ready for a quick weeknight meal.
Using this method to cook is called “Power Cooking”, and it’s a time-saving method for busy moms, new moms, expecting moms, grand-moms, and basically everyone who wants to save time in the kitchen yet have a healthy meal on the table in minutes.
What is power cooking?
Power cooking is simply cooking one protein in bulk so you can use it in several meals. First, I’m sharing how to make your ground meat ahead in one batch. Then you will use it to make 3 ingredient ground beef recipes for three weeknight meals.
You can use any ground meat you like for these recipes, ground beef, ground chicken and ground turkey all work well.
What will you need to make these 3 ingredient ground beef recipes?
For the Make-Ahead Ground Meat (enough for three recipes), you will need:
3 pounds lean ground beef (85% lean or higher), lean ground turkey, or ground chicken.
2 small onions or one medium onion
2-3 garlic cloves (not bulbs)
For the Saucy Chili:
1 can (16 oz) chili beans in sauce
1 can (14.5 oz) petite diced tomatoes
1 packet (Pampered Chef) Chili Mix
Optional: Grated cheddar cheese, sliced green onions, sour cream or plain greek yogurt and baked potatoes
For Italian Beef Hoagies:
2 bell peppers, one green, one red
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning mix
2 tablespoons onion soup mix or Pampered Chef Three Onion Rub
During cooking: 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese, 6 hoagie rolls
For Zesty Tacos:
1 cup chunky salsa
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 tablespoon taco seasoning or Pampered Chef Everything Taco Seasoning
Optional: Taco shells, grated cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, lime
For Easy Stroganoff:
8 ounces fresh mushrooms
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 tablespoon Pampered Chef Three Onion Rub
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
During cooking: 1 cup plain greek yogurt or sour cream, 1 pound egg noodles, ¼ cup fresh parsley and 2 tablespoons butter
For Barbecue Sloppy Joes:
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Pampered Chef Smoky Barbecue Rub
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
For serving: 6 hamburger buns, coleslaw, grated cheese, shredded lettuce or sliced green onions
Want this as an easy printable? You can download that here.
Video: How to Cook Once and Eat All Week – 3 Ingredient Ground Beef Recipes
I’m going to teach you exactly how to make three recipes in 15 minutes – including make-ahead ground beef, and three easy dinners. Click the “Play” button to watch and learn.
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Kitchen tools to make 3 ingredient recipes with ground beef easy:
The tools you saw me use in the video are right here, they make cooking easy and the process of power cooking a lot faster. In fact, I can make the batch of ground meat, plus the three recipes all in less than 15 minutes. Using this method truly is a time-saver!
If you don’t have these products, don’t worry. You can use another similar product. However, I will add links to the recommendations below if you want to take a look.
5 quart Nonstick Saute Pan (#100732)
12 inch Nonstick Skillet (#2737)
12 inch Stainless Steel Nonstick Skillet (#2088)
I particularly love the 5 Quart Nonstick Sauté Pan as it can fit a lot of volume inside the pan, it can go from stove to oven, it cleans up easily due to it’s safe, non-stick nature and it’s even dishwasher safe. Plus it’s nonstick on the outside too. If you are looking for a pan that would last you for years to come, take a look at this one. I love the color too – it goes with everything! (Side note – don’t use metal utensils in it).
Manual Food Processor (#2593)
Garlic Press (#2576)
Mix ‘N Chop (#2583)
Mix ‘N Chop Spatula (#100676)
Pampered Chef Pantry Items:
Three Onion Rub (#9659)
Everything Taco Seasoning (#100778)
Italian Seasoning Mix (#9219)
Chili Mix (#100524)
Smoky Barbecue Rub (#9722)
Recipe Variations and Tips:
To maximize the browning of your ground meats, here are some tips:
Using a small amount (tablespoon) of olive or canola oil will help with the browning.
To know if the pan is hot, oil will run like water (gets really thin).
Pat your meat dry before putting it in the pan to maximize caramelization and browning.
Take your meat out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before starting the process for maximum browning.
Flatten the meat first before chopping it up in the pan to get the most exposure to caramelization.
And don’t overfill the pan, you want the pan to have enough room to move the meat around so it gets browned, rather than steamed for the most flavor.
You can also make these recipes with other ground meats with the same result. You can try:
Plant-based crumbles or tofu.
As a registered dietitian, I also recommend adding a vegetable or grain filler to the meat to stretch the meat even further, and add a boost of fiber and other nutrients:
To 2-pounds of ground meat, add 2 cups chopped mushrooms, or black beans, or add oats, rice or other vegetables you like (like carrots or sweet potatoes). This filler takes the place of the additional pound of ground meat. So you would just use 2 pounds, rather than 3 pounds, plus the filler.
Also, drain the grease from the pan to reduce the saturated fat and calories, leaving only 2 tablespoons in the pan. You can do this with a paper towel and tongs so you don’t burn your hands.
Season your meat after you drain it for maximum flavor absorption.
What can be made from ground beef?
You can make lots of dishes from ground beef. You can make soups and chilis, meatballs, sandwiches, casseroles and more.
What are five sandwiches that can be made from ground beef?
You can make Italian Hoagie Sandwiches as I have shared here, along with Philly Cheesesteaks, Barbecues (or Sloppy Joes), Maid-Rites, and meatball sandwiches.
Do you need butter or oil for ground beef?
No, because of the fat content already in the beef, you do not need to add butter or oil when cooking.
What is the healthiest way to cook ground beef?
The best way to cook ground beef for a make ahead meal, is to saute in a skillet and then drain any fat/grease that may form in the pan. For the healthiest ground beef, choose 85% lean, or 90 or 93% lean.
What can I make and freeze with ground beef?
You can make any of the dishes I am sharing here, along with many other ideas like soups, stews and casseroles, meatballs, sandwich filling and more.
What casseroles don’t freeze well?
Casseroles with dairy in them do not freeze well. It’s best to add the dairy before cooking them.
What foods can I batch cook and freeze?
Proteins make a great food to batch cook and freeze. You can do this with any ground meats, as well as chicken breasts and turkey.
Is ground beef still good after three months in the freezer?
Yes, according to the USDA, you can freeze ground beef indefinitely. What will suffer is the flavor after time passes. I would recommend eating these meals within three months of preparing/freezing them.
Make ahead/storage and reheating tips:
Each make-ahead recipe will keep for up to three months in the freezer if you store in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. When ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator for 1-2 days ahead. Eat leftovers within 3 days.
Servings suggestions (what to serve with these meals):
A simple salad works great as a side dish to any of these meals.
I also recommend a smoothie to help you achieve boosting your fruit consumption.
Other blogs you will love:
Make-Ahead Ground Meat
2 small onions diced
3 pounds lean ground beef, lean ground turkey, or ground chicken
3 garlic cloves pressed
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