What exactly makes ground beef ground beef?
Good question, my fellow Beefitarian.
Ground beef is kind of a catchall phrase for any beef that’s been finely chopped with a knife or fed through a grinder. It’s also sometimes known as minced beef, especially to the British who apparently mince their beef through a “mincer” rather than grinding it through a “grinder” like most Americans.
Ground beef isn’t only the GOAT ingredient of all dinners, it’s also a super popular protein that anyone can cook with. Seriously, who doesn’t have a go-to ground beef recipe?
But obviously, eating the same meals over and over again can quickly become painfully boring. (And yes, we’re talking about your ketchup-based lasagna, Diane.)
Though many Beefitarians already have a deep well of go-to recipes for ground beef, its versatility also gives us the freedom to experiment and discover something new.
And so this month we’re challenging you — and Diane — to break out of your comfort zones and instead think outside of your ground-beef box. To help along the way, we’ve compiled the ultimate list of creative ways to use ground beef on the daily.
But wait! Before we get to the list, Diane asked if she could share a few fun ground beef facts, and she’s willing to do it for free. Take it away, Diane!
Diane’s Fun Ground Beef Facts:
- Ground beef can be made from any cut of meat, but the three most common cuts are, in order of least popular to most popular: sirloin, round, and chuck.
- Though ground beef is most typically found in burgers, tacos, and pasta dishes across America, some version of it is also found in nearly every international cuisine around the world. In China, minchee is a stir-fried ground beef dish served over rice and topped with a fried egg. And people in Sweden regularly eat wallenbergare, a ground beef patty made with egg yolks and cream, then rolled in breadcrumbs. I’ve never been to Sweden, but I do regularly enjoy their meatballs.
- Though lean ground beef can be eaten raw, like the popular French dish steak tartare, it is recommended that it be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Uniquely Ground Beef:
1. Stuffed & Chuffed – Ground Beef Peppers
There are a zillion ways to make stuffed peppers, but ground beef should be the one constant ingredient. (And, I guess, also peppers. Duh.) Start with chopped onions and ground beef as your base, then toss in anything else you find delicious. Wanna veggie it up with mushrooms, celery, and corn? Go for it! What if you made it more dairy intense with cheese, eggs, and a creamy sauce? Get on it!
Don’t forget to throw in some starches for good measure, like rice and/or pasta. And yes, Diane, that means you can even toss in a few chunks of those Olive Garden breadsticks you brought home in a doggy bag.
2. They May Take Our Lives, But They’ll Never Take Our… Ground Beef Scotch Eggs!
I know what you’re thinking: Scotch eggs are typically made with sausage, not ground beef. And to that I say, sure, sometimes. But if Scotland was okay with Australian actor Mel Gibson playing Scottish patriot William Wallace, something tells me swapping out sausage for ground beef isn’t going to be that big of a deal.
Ground beef Scotch eggs are deliciously addictive and incredibly easy. Make a batch of hard-boiled eggs, then mix lean ground beef with the usual spice suspects: salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic or onion powder. Add in a smidge of cayenne if you want some bite. Wrap the hard-boiled eggs with the beef, toss them in the oven at 400° F for 20 to 30 minutes, then enjoy them with a creamy mustard sauce.
And if you’re looking for a meal and an activity, swap out your dyed eggs with Scotch eggs next Easter. Just make sure you remember where you’ve hidden them.
3. Sashay, Ground Beef Satay
Something tells me you’ve eaten your fair share of satay in your life, but that you’ve also probably never made it for yourself at home. If that’s accurate, I have one question: Why?!?
Not only is this Southeast Asian dish super delicious, it’s also incredibly easy to make because, like stuffed peppers, it comes with a lot of freedom to make it all yourself. If you’re unfamiliar with satay, all you need to know is that it’s a seasoned and skewered grilled protein typically served with a sauce. That’s it!
You can make a spicy ground beef satay by adding red pepper flakes and cayenne, or you can sweeten your satay up with orange zest and marmalade. Keep it simple with just ground beef, onion, and pepper, or you can add coriander, cinnamon, and cumin for a more traditional flavor.
It’s entirely up to you. And if you want to get really adventurous, try using sugarcane, celery, or rosemary stalks instead of wooden or metal skewers.
4. The Ground Beef Crust Is The Best Part
Ready to have your frickin’ mind blown? You can use ground beef as a pizza crust. Or—wait for it, I’m not done—as an edible bowl for a pasta bake. (You could also use the bowl for cereal, I guess, if that sounds good to you, but if you’re talking about anything other than the most delicious cereal ever, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, I’m out.)
To make the crust, mix your ground beef in a bowl with the usual spices, then add Italian seasoning, breadcrumbs, and a little bit of evaporated milk. Pat the beef down into a pizza or pie tin (just the way you would a regular crust), and bake it for around half an hour on low heat (around 160° F).
Once the timer goes off, that ground beef crust is now your blank canvas. Turn it into a deep-dish pizza or an upside-down spaghetti bake. No matter what you concoct, we all know the crust is going to be the best part, so maybe just cut out the rest and get to it. We don’t crust-shame here.
5. It’s Mini-Meatloaf Monday
Admittedly, meatloaf isn’t the shining star of ground beef. Meatloaves are often big and dense and… loafy. But this ain’t your mom’s meatloaf we’re talking about here.
It’s about damn time for us to start thinking about meatloaf in a different way. So rather than cooking one meatloaf for that dinner party of eight you’re hosting, break up that ground beef into eight mini loaves that can then be customized to each person’s individual tastes.
Some people like their meatloaf more peppery, others oozing with melted cheese. By breaking up one big loaf into numerous smaller loaves not only does everyone get what they want, but it also cuts down on your baking time. And it cuts down on your work in the kitchen. Think of it like a taco or hot dog bar: you provide the base of ground beef, then offer everyone a bunch of ingredients they can add on their own before tossing them into the oven.
Everyone likes options, even when it comes to meatloaf. Let your friends and family do it their way while you concentrate on those super buttery garlic mashed potatoes everyone raves about.
You Get Ground Beef! You Get Ground Beef! You Get Ground Beef!
If you have been feeling burnt out by your ground beef recipes, we hope these five unique ideas spark your creativity. Go forth, fellow Beefitarians, and enjoy all the tasty ways ground beef can make your dinner time slap. For more ground beef meals, check out our recipe page.