Lean ground beef is an excellent source of meal-prep protein, packed with ZIP (zinc, iron and protein) and only about 150-ish calories for a cooked 3 ounces serving (4 ounce uncooked). My master recipe for Make Ahead Italian Ground Beef is easy to make, economical, ultra-versatile and freezes/defrosts beautifully rendering it ideal for freezer meals, meal prepping and make-ahead solutions.
Time and time again, I’ve used these deliciously seasoned beef crumbles in wholesome, hearty recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The recipe is basic, but the way it can be used in dishes is limited only to your imagination. Read on to get all the details and get a juicy, meaty jump start on your daily protein needs.
First, before I jump into this easy ground beef recipe, I must pry. Are you getting enough quality protein spaced throughout the day? Set a goal of getting 25 to 30 grams of protein at EACH and EVERY meal, starting with breakfast, and a 10 gram protein snack between meals and/or after workouts if you are extremely active or looking to build muscle.
As I mentioned, lean ground beef is an easy and economical way to treat your body to the protein it needs for muscle maintenance, workout recover, healthy aging, weight management and more. I typically selected the 93/7 grind (lean to fat), but you can also pick a less expensive grind (like 80/20) and rinse fat off beef crumbles in a colander.
All you need to get this skillet recipe done is some spices, a couple pounds of meat and about 10 to 15 minutes. It’s so easy and such a life-saver on busy nights with my teen boys. When I’m not home to feed their bottomless pits, they use this made-ahead beef in grilled cheese sandwiches, on potatoes, mixed into their mac and cheese, and in ramin soup. Those are the “recipes” they can handle right now. I get a little fancier with stuffed peppers and zucchini, soups and stews, salads and sammies and all sorts of lasagna, pasta or “zoodle” dishes.
I wasn’t a bit surprised when my boys put a mound of Italian Beef Crumbles on a hoagie — in the spirit of a meatball sub! And, I use it nearly every week in this super easy 2-egg & Beef Mug Omelet.
Before you start sizzling it up in the skillet, get my three ground beef pro tips:
- Do not overcrowd your skillet with beef, it will end up “steaming” in its own juices rather that browning and caramelizing.
- Use a spatula/pancake turner instead of a spoon to constantly break up meat chunks while cooking. You can try a fancy ground beef chopper for the ultimate in beef crumble making.
- Let beef cook completely and portion into 3-ounce servings in small zip-top bags. I date and label these, stick in a larger freezer-proof back and keep in my freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in microwave or defrost in microwave before use.
What are your go-to recipes for ground beef? Do you you prefer to meal-prep entire meals, or just the protein? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer