This is one of my favorite shortcuts for easy cooking. I used to get so annoyed by slow cooker recipes that called for cooking ground meat in the first step. I like slow cooking because it is easy. If I have to brown ground meat (my fave is ground turkey) before slow cooking, then I might as well cook the whole thing on the stove top. Now, I freeze ground meat.
My Ninja cooking system does have a stove top function that I could use for browning my ground turkey, but I would probably just cook the meal on the stove rather than bother with it, to be honest.
Making week day slow cooking a breeze! Freeze ground meat!
I buy my ground turkey (again, my fave, but ground beef or chicken would work the same) in bulk. I cook the entire thing at one time. This time, I bought 6.8 lbs of ground turkey. I cook it with onions, bell peppers, and my favorite seasoning blend. I always season every step so the seasoning is cooked into the meat, but I under season since I’ll add seasoning to which ever recipe I make with it later.
I under season the ground turkey so I can add seasoning later when I slow cook it.
I start by adding cooking oil to a large pot or two. Sometimes I find it easier to split it, like today. I heat the oil until it is hot. I carefully add onions and bell peppers to the hot oil. I use frozen onions and bell peppers already chopped and ready to go. Because they are frozen, there can be more popping of the oil so be careful if you choose the frozen variety.
Don’t be afraid to make it your own. Add more veggies if you like more. Add less if you like less. My mom would have had a good 5 times this amount. Season the veggies with your favorite every day seasoning (or salt and pepper). My favorite every day seasoning is Tony Chachere’s Cajun Creole seasoning. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before. Do this because onions and bell peppers are not pre-seasoned. You want that cooked-in flavor.
Once the veggies get a little tender, I add the ground turkey and some more seasoning. Stir until the meat is thoroughly cooked and browned. Can’t you just hear your future self saying, “Thank you!”?
Use a permanent marker to write the name of the contents and the date on your freezer bags before filling. Trust me. It is much easier to write on these bags before they are filled. The date will make it easier to use the oldest ones first if you have more than one batch in the freezer.
Next time you run across a recipe that starts with browning ground meat, you can just grab a bag out of your freezer.
Here are some slow cooker recipes that call for cooked ground meat.
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