Friday, May 29, 2009

Ground Beef batch cooking- large family style!

Next to planning for and teaching school to the children, menu planning and cooking is most definitely one of my most time consuming activities in our large family. Add to that several children who are Celiac and you can see why I love batch cooking!

When I had fewer children I would cook 2-3 months worth of main dishes over a two day period~ whew! That was tiring, but super-rewarding for me. As my family size grew, I found that it worked better to cook large quantities of one meal/day rather than to spend two whole days in the kitchen.

I like to choose the meat that I am going to use, for instance chicken main dishes or, in this instance, ground beef dishes, and then plan my cooking around the chosen meat.

Last fall I discovered that I could get good quality Black Angus ground beef at our local Sams Club for $1.66/lb. The catch? It needs to be purchased in an 80lb box. This meat is significantly better tasting than the ground beef that I used to purchase using loss leader ads at WalMart, so that has been my plan of late.

"What do you do with
80lb of ground beef," you ask? I had a feeling you'd ask that! Here's what we're making this time~ with recipes too!

Ground Beef Batch Cooking Plan- gluten free
  • 20 lb hamburger- used for gluten free meatballs
  • 20 lb hamburger ~used for taco meat (super yummy with taco salad!)
  • 20 lb hamburger~ used for sloppy joes
  • 10 lb hamburger~ used for spaghetti pies
  • 10 lb hamburger~ used for hamburgers (we don't usually make hamburgers, but this time we did for Memorial Day, etc.)

Meatballs~ gluten free!

*yield: 392 meatballs~ or so, but who's counting!
40 eggs, beaten
1 c. tomato paste
5 c. minced onion (or 1 1/2 c. dried minced)
5 c. grated parmesan cheese
2 1/2 c. parsley, dried
1/3 c. garlic powder
1/2 c. salt
15 c. dried gluten-free bread crumbs
20 lb. ground beef or turkey or a combo of both

Combine. Shape into meatballs. Bake on foil-covered cookie sheets at 350 degrees until done~ about 20 min. Cool then freeze in meal-sized portions in gallon freezer zipper bags.

Here are some pics for our recent meatball-making endeavor.... just 'cause. Photos are such fun!

First, a picture of the ingredients. I didn't like how moist the gluten free bread crumbs were, so I toasted them for a few minutes in a warm oven.
Here are my beautiful "assistants" (aka daughters) helping me and humoring me as I played with my camera. Abbie is the offical "goosher" (we like to use clean plastic kitchen gloves to "goosh.") Hannah is the parmesan cheese "pourer." Both very important jobs, don't you think?

And here is Miss Abbie~ "gooshing away!" The gloves really do help~ that meat is cold!

As usual, I got busy in the process and forgot to take any "after" pictures of the finished meatballs. Trust me... they are good!

Meatball Recipes

Spaghetti and meatballs (using gf spaghetti noodles, of course!)
Sweet and Sour Meatballs and rice
Meatball Sandwiches

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

1 14 oz pineapple tidbits or chunks, undrained
1/4 c. sucanat (or brown sugar, if you must!)
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. Bragg's Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
1 family sized portion meatballs
1 5 oz. water chestnuts
1 green pepper, cut into strips

Drain pineapple, save juice. In saucepan, combine sucanat and cornstarch. Blend in pineapple juice, water, cider, vinegar and Bragg's. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly.

Stir in meatballs, water chestnuts, green pepper strips and pineapple. Heat to boiling. Serve over hot cooked rice (we prefer long grain brown rice~ it's so yummy and good for you too!)

For our family, I would double this recipe. You can make even larger quantities and freeze it, without the meatballs, water chestnuts and green pepper strips.

Meatball Sandwiches

1 c. catsup
3/4 c. sucanat (or brown sugar)
1/2 c. onion, chopped
1/4 tsp. garlic power
1/8 tsp. liquid smoke
1 family-sized portion meatballs
Sandwich rolls or hoagie buns (gluten free, if you have Celiacs!)

Combine all of the ingredients and add meatballs. Heat in Crock-pot for 2 hours on high. Serve on (gluten free) sandwich rolls or hoagie buns, split.

Taco Meat

3/4 c. dried minced onion
6 Tbsp. sea salt
6 Tbsp. chili powder
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
3 Tbsp. crushed dried red pepper
3 Tbsp. minced garlic
4 tsp. dried oregano
4 tsp. cumin, dried
2o lb. ground beef or turkey (or a combination), cooked and drained
5 c. water

First, cook and drain ground beef. Then place cooked ground beef in large dutch oven, add spiced and water and cook until water boils. Simmer for a until most of the water is absorbed, then cool and freeze in quart sized freezer bags.

We use this with taco salad.

Taco Salad

Here's what we generally use for taco salad
cooked long grain brown rice
cooked pinto beans
taco meat
diced garden-fresh tomatoes (I can hardly wait!)
shredded jack cheese
yogurt or sour cream
Gluten free taco chips

There are, of course, many other things that you could use (homemade guacamole comes to mind~ yum!), but those are the easiest and cheapest.

Sloppy Joes

20 lb. ground beef or turkey
5 onions, chopped
1/2 c. mustard
1 1/4 c. Worchestershire sauce
1 1/4 c. honey
1/2 c. paprika
5 c. catsup
2 1/2c. apple cider vinegar
1/8 c. liquid smoke

Brown and drain ground beef and chopped onions. Add remaining ingredients and either simmer in large dutch oven or in crock pot on high.

Cool and freeze in quart zipper freezer bags.

Serve on gluten free hamburger buns with your favorite condiments~ dill pickles are my fav, but dh Tom just likes additional mustard.

I like to serve these with oven fries and baby carrots. Simple and good.

Spaghetti Pie

*please note: the following recipe yields 6 9x13 pans of spaghetti pie!

54 oz. spaghetti (gluten free for celiacs)
1 c. butter
3 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
18 eggs, well beaten
9 c. cottage cheese (or ricotta)
10 lb. ground beef or ground turkey
4 1/2 c. onion, chopped
2 c. green pepper, chopped
72 oz. diced tomatoes
54 oz. tomato paste
1/2 c. honey
3 Tbsp. oregano
1 1/2 Tbsp garlic salt
4 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook and drain spaghetti. Add butter, parmesan cheese and beaten eggs to spaghetti. Form into crusts in oiled 9x13" pans.

Spread cottage cheese on top of crust.

Brown ground beef, onion and peppers. Drain well.

Stir tomatoes, tomato paste, honey, oregano and garlic salt into cooked ground beef. Pour over cottage cheese. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese.


To cook: Bake defrosted spaghetti pie in 350 oven for 30 min. If frozen (cause you didn't plan ahead enough to defrost it~ this is usually how I cook it~ honestly!) Bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hour. Still tastes great!

There you have it! There are quite possibly typos in the recipes~ I keep starting and stopping on this post to, well, live here! So let me know if you find any errors. I promise I won't be offended! ; )

Hope this is helpful for someone~ let me know, k?



  1. Oh thank you for posting this! It is late and I just got a moment to glance at your blog just now, but I am going to come back tomorrow and print out your recipes--how fun! And NEEDFUL for me-- :)

  2. Thank you! I'm saving this and going to ask around for bulk savings! Never thought of asking for that before. Your recipes look yummy, too!!

  3. Thanks for sharing all these recipes!

  4. Going back on some of your older blogs. This is a great one! We just had GF meatballs and spaghetti tonight, but I didn't have your recipe. I will try it next time! I really haven't tried batch cooking, although it sounds like a big time saver! I'm inspired!

  5. Hi Susan~ I was wondering if you might put up (or maybe you have before) a menu of what you eat gluten free for a week? What about snacks? Your desserts look wonderfully yummy~

    Thanks~ Cinnamon

  6. ~Cinnamon, I'll try to put together a post like that soon... you are not the first person to ask. I think you'll be amused by our menu though!


  7. This was fun, Susan! I have a minute to go back into your archives, and you can believe I'm going to print these out. Menus are one area I want to tackle and overcome this summer. Thanks!


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