The most time-consuming part of cooking with frozen beef is thawing the beef itself. Microwaving solves the problem of time needed for defrosting, and sandwiches or stir-fries solve the problem of quick cooking methods. With those two solutions and prepared salad, sauce, and vegetable mixes in your refrigerator, you can put together a meal with frozen beef in as little as 30 minutes. Add a quick dessert of cut fruit with a dollop of yogurt and a drizzle of honey to round out the meal.
Things You'll Need
- Chopped vegetables or beans, optional
- Hamburger buns
- Broccoli and sweet red peppers
- Packaged spinach
- Stir-fry sauce
Sloppy But Simple
Microwave ground beef on the defrost or medium-low setting of your microwave oven in 3-minute intervals, turning the meat or breaking it apart halfway through each interval. You don't need to thaw it completely -- defrost it until you are able to break it apart with a spatula.
Move the meat to a skillet and begin to cook it over medium-low heat as you continue to break it apart. When the meat is thoroughly cooked, drain it and leave it in the pan.
Add enough ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and water to thoroughly moisten the meat and provide a loose, but not runny, texture. Use about 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire and water to each 1/2 cup of ketchup.
Add additional ingredients if you like, such as a can of corn or pinto beans, rinsed and drained; or finely chopped green or red sweet peppers. Heat the mixture until it is thoroughly hot.
Serve the sloppy Joe mixture over hamburger buns, either toasted or not depending on your preference. While sloppy Joes are meant to be eaten by hand, you'll also want forks to pick up the meat that will inevitably drop out of the bun.
Set a large pot of hot water on the stove, cover it and bring it to a full, rolling boil. Add a tablespoon of salt to the water and add stir-fry noodles once the water returns to a boil. Cook the noodles for 7 to 10 minutes until they are al dente, tender but slightly chewy. Drain the noodles and set them aside.
Wash a few broccoli florets and a sweet red pepper under running water, pat dry and chop into bite-sized pieces. Roughly cut up a few handfuls of packaged, prewashed spinach at the same time. To save more time, buy precut vegetables to have on hand.
Microwave a beef steak at the defrost or medium-low setting of your microwave in 2-minute intervals until if is partially thawed. Turn the steak over halfway through each interval.
Cut the partially thawed steak into thin slices and cook it with a tablespoon of oil in a preheated skillet on high heat until it is no longer pink. When it's done, remove it and set it aside in a bowl.
Add another tablespoon or so of oil to the skillet and cook the chopped vegetables, stirring constantly with a spatula. Add the beef back into the pan along with prepared stir-fry sauce in whatever flavor you like. Heat the mix until it is hot and bubbling.
Add the noodles to the pan to rewarm if they have gotten cold. If the noodles finish cooking at the same time as the stir-fry you don't need to reheat them. Place the noodles in a large bowl and pour the meat and vegetables on top.
Tips & Warnings
- Use a partially thawed steak for a Philly cheesesteak sandwich by slicing it thinly, cooking the meat with sweet green pepper slices, placing it on a sub roll and topping it with a slice of provolone cheese.
- Use any shape or type of noodles that you like for a stir-fry, either spaghetti or macaroni and either white or whole-grain.
- Since microwave ovens vary in their wattage, they defrost at different speeds. Keep a close eye on the beef as it defrosts so you don't begin to cook it instead of defrosting it.
- Clemson Cooperative Extension: Safe Handling of Beef
- Cook's Illustrated: Philly Cheesesteaks
- The Best of America's Test Kitchen; Editors at America's Test Kitchen
- The Deluxe Food Lover's Companion; Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst
- Photo Credit Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images