This no mess method is a great time saver, and you’ll always have browned ground beef in the freezer for tacos, spaghetti, soup, etc.
Directions for browning ground beef in the oven:
When cooking soup, stews, and chili, excess fat will rise to the surface. The following methods for removing fat from soup, stew, and chili work with just a little effort on your part.
The first method is the most obvious. Just skim the fat off with a ladle. Don’t worry, you’ll pick up some of the broth as well, but losing a little of the good broth is well worth removing the fat and calories. If you’re like me and determined not to lose a bit of the good stuff, the bowl of hot skimmings can be cooled and chilled. When chilled, remove and discard the congealed fat on the top. Then, return the good broth underneath back to the pot.
Another method is to use a fat skimmer. This great gadget can be purchased from kitchen supply stores or Amazon. Directions come with the skimmer.
The third method might surprise you. White bread may be bad for us to eat, but its great for absorbing the last bit of fat from the top of the soup–and the staler the better. After skimming as much fat as possible, the bread will get the rest. Just place slices on top of your soup, flip, and remove quickly. You can even tear off some pieces to get that illusive fat around the edges. Then you’ll have virtually fat free soup, stew, chili, or even spaghetti.
See the images above. The left image was spaghetti before the fat was removed. The second image is the congealed fat that was removed after the skimming was chilled in the freezer, and the third image is a virtually fat free spaghetti.
I just hate browning ground beef. The splatter, the greasy skillet, dealing with the fat! But, there are some soups, stews, and chilis that don’t require browning like the ground beef in my Mama’s Beef and Vegetable Soup. Here’s the method I use that my Mama taught me.
Try this method in your soup recipes. You’ll learn which ones are just as good without browning the meat. You will find that some require browning and some do not. For instance, I just have to grit my teeth and brown when I’m making my mama’s spaghetti sauce while her Beef and Vegetable Soup, I prefer with unbrowned beef.
Learning how to prepare 1-2 servings of a No Time 2 Cook entree can be very beneficial for family’s of fewer than 3-4 people. This method allows individuals and couples to enjoy our delicious entrees with just a little effort and a few on hand kitchen items.
Remove a No Time 2 Cook casserole from the freezer and allow to sit out until the product has thawed enough to cut into the preferred serving sizes. Do not allow to completely thaw. The product should still be well frozen but in a softer frozen state. Remove and save the top label. Cut into desired serving sizes (Remember when served with several sides, one of our casseroles should yield 3-4 servings. I feed my family of 4 with one casserole when served with 2 steamed veggies and a salad.) Wrap each serving in plastic wrap and place all servings back into the No Time 2 Cook black tray. Wipe away any residue from the label and place over the servings for identification. Slip the entire tray with the label and individual servings into a gallon Ziploc bag and return to the freezer.
To cook a serving that needs to bake such as Chicken Pie, mini loaf pans work well. I suggest lining the loaf pan with foil for easy clean up. Remove serving(s) from plastic wrap and place in lined mini loaf pan. Return unused servings back to freezer. Bake at recommended oven temp and to internal temperature indicated by the instructions on the bottom of the No Time 2 Cook black tray. The baking time will be shorter than the time indicated since the product is now smaller than the full size casserole. Keep a close watch as it bakes and temp with an internal probe thermometer. These are available in the kitchen supply section at most medium to large grocery stores or kitchen supply stores.
To prepare a microwaveable/skillet product such as Chicken and Dumplings, just pop the serving into a microwave safe dish or non-stick skillet. Cook until hot and bubbly. Stir often and heat to the internal temperature indicated on the bottom of the No Time 2 Cook black tray using a probe thermometer.
This time of year, I am often asked for larger casseroles that will feed a crowd. Now, “You have a larger size and can eat it too!” Here’s how.
Just yesterday, Jeff and I had a spur of the moment invitation to a dinner party where I needed to take a dish. It was late afternoon and no time to go to the grocery. Never fear cause lucky for me, I always have a back up of No Time 2 Cook in my home freezer. When something comes up like this, I usually take Crab and Mushroom Penne or Chicken and Dumplings because they are microwaveable or heated on a stove top. I can heat these from frozen, transfer to a casserole and I’m ready to go out the door. Not so yesterday, as I had only 1 Dumpling and 1 Penne. I did, however, have 2 Chicken Pies. Time to restock the freezer!
I wanted to take a large dish in one of my pretty casseroles for the table and two Chicken Pies side by side in a casserole that need to be baked from frozen presented a problem.
So, I had an idea. I placed the above casserole in a warm oven (170 degrees). In an hour, the pies were slightly thawed but still icy. I could then break them apart with a spoon to fill up the empty cavities of the casserole dish. Then, I took a knife and spread the thawed topping across the entire casserole. Wa lah!! You’d never know I started with 2 pies.
All I had to do then was bake and garnish with a little parsley.
Beautiful, delicious, and tastes just like homemade! That’s because the ingredients are the same as the recipe that came out of my little recipe box when I made my first Chicken Pies for The Belhaven Farmer’s Market in Jackson, MS. Wow! I wonder how many Chicken Pies I have made since that market 10 years ago.
So here’s my No Time 2 Cook tip of the day– Always! Always! Always! Keep several No Time 2 Cook entrees in your freezer for emergencies. Preferably, at least 2 of one kind when you need a large casserole to take to church, a party, a sick friend, a new mama, or as a bereavement dish. Your friends will think you spent half a day in the kitchen. You can keep the secret, but I would love for you to tell them it’s from No Time 2 Cook.
Of course, our regular size casseroles are perfect to share and to have for supper when you have no time to cook. They’ll give you easy, quick, wholesome meals and feed a family of 4 when served with several side dishes.
Enjoy and let me know how your’s turn out!!
Send me a picture of one of your large No Time 2 Cook casseroles at karen@notime2cook and I’ll post on our Facebook page.