Far too often I defrost or pick up a pack of ground beef with the intentions of making a more elaborate meal, then dinner time rolls around and for whatever reason, I'm left staring at this pack of beef with no clue what to do with it. Of course I could whip up some meatballs, or burgers... stuff some jalapeños, make Armadillo Eggs, taco salad, eggs... Okay, so maybe it's not lack of ideas that get in my way, more like time and motivation.
So, what to do? Here's one of my fall back on meals. It's super simple, takes only minutes, and uses what you probably already have on hand. While this isn't a real "recipe" with like measurements and stuff, it's more of a jumping off point to help you, when you find yourself like me staring blankly at a pan and some beef.
Usually, I start with a 1 pound pack of 80/20 ground chuck. I prefer the texture and flavor of chuck versus sirloin or ground round, and I avoid anything labeled just "beef" without referencing a particular cut of meat. Sticking to 80/20 allows you to get a good sear on the meat without it drying out. Yes, you'll wind up draining off some fat, and probably spatter a bit on your stove top, but it's really worth it when it comes to taste. Of course, you can go with what you're used to or have on hand. This is meant to inspire, not frustrate! Make the whole pack if that's what you have, and either share a salad or two with someone else, or pack up the leftovers for another meal tomorrow.
Season the meat liberally with some Himalayan pink salt and ground black pepper, and work it through the meat, squishing it a bit so it doesn't look like strings, but not forming it either. I keep it simple so the beef flavor really shines through. Next, add it to a fairly hot pan, preferably stainless steel, with a bit of oil. Cooking tip alert!!! Don't add oil to a cold pan when searing meat at a high temperature. The oil will smoke and oxidize, giving everything a burned oil taste, and turn a healthy oil, into an unhealthy oil. So, hot pan, a touch of oil swirled around, in goes the meat. Don't move it around!! Let it sit for a bit, browning and developing a nice sear. Using a metal spatula, when the meat is ready, it should release on it's own! When it does that, stir it around well, and let it finish cooking through.
This particular salad I felt like having some bacon with it. I chopped up bacon and cooked it with the beef, but you can handle this however you want. A lot of times, I just microwave a couple of slices on paper towels until crisp and crumble them on top of the salad.
To put it all together, drain your cooked beef, taste it, and add more salt and pepper if you prefer. Sometimes I stir in a bit of sugar free BBQ sauce to give it a little kick. Assemble a salad in a nice bowl using your favorite burger toppings. This particular salad, a classic burger is what I had in mind, so I used some chopped romaine lettuce (especially the crisp hearts and the bottoms of the leaves), sliced fresh tomatoes, a few raw onion slices, Vlasic dill pickle relish (as seen HERE), and a dollop of mayo. Place the meat in the center, and drizzle some Heinz Reduced Sugar Ketchup over the top.
Some other toppings I sometimes use are roasted red peppers, banana pepper rings, shredded cheese, sauteed mushrooms, salsa, blue cheese dressing, onions browned in butter, sugar free bread and butter pickles, fresh mozzarella and basil, or whatever else I happen to have on hand!
Labels: bacon, beef, condiments, induction friendly, low carb products, main dish, salad