Cooking Ten Pounds of Hamburger Instead of Just One

I was a part of an interesting conversation with friends recently in which some of us (including me) were saying, “If you’re going to cook one pound of ground beef, it doesn’t take any additional effort to cook ten pounds.”  You know me – I’m always trying to convince people that cooking healthy food doesn’t have to be crazy time consuming. Especially when you practice the Cook Once, Eat Twice or More method.

But one of our friends, who knows a lot about cooking for large groups, said, “Actually – yes it does. It takes very little effort to cook one pound of hamburger. But you get ten pounds or more in a pot, and that’s a lot more muscle power and effort!”

Ha! She makes a great point. 

So what do you think I went home and did? Well, I went to bed, because it was late. But then what do you think I did the next day? No doubt, I got eleven pounds of hamburger out to thaw. I had an experiment to do!

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Yes. I know. I’m a geek. Hey, at least I got 11 pounds of cooked meat out of the deal.

I put ten pounds of meat into two separate pots because I wanted some with onions and some without. I began cooking the meat at 9:52.

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I find that cooking hamburger meat is quite easy. Every once in a while, I’d go stir it and break up the larger chunks. Otherwise, the meat is smart enough to cook all by itself. Therefore, while the meat was cooking, I mixed up Whole Wheat Tortillas and grated some cheese. If I was going to have eleven pounds of meat, well then, I was going to make some Meat and Cheese Burritos for the freezer.

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This was a quadruple batch of tortillas.
No, I didn’t make them all while the meat was cooking, but I did get a good start.

How long did it take for these ten pounds of meat to cook from start to finish? Drum roll please…23 minutes. I even surprised myself with that one. I thought it would take a little longer than that. By the way, I always took the lids off for the pictures, but I did cook the meat with the lids on. That always helps meat to cook more quickly, and keeps the flavorful juices from evaporating away!

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Next, I put one pound of meat into a pan and began to cook it. Again, in the meantime, I continued to work on that quadruple batch of tortillas I was making.

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From start to finish, it took 14 minutes to cook one pound of hamburger meat.

What did I learn during this experiment? 

  • It takes 14 minutes to cook one pound of hamburger; 23 minutes to cook ten pounds. (Although technically, I suppose I only had five pounds in each pot. But still. Much time saved.)
  • It does take slightly more effort to mush up the meat when cooking a larger amount, but barely.
  • It feels so productive to get so many pounds of meat cooked at one time.
  • I can get all kinds of other work done while the meat is cooking. (I already knew that, but it was worth saying anyway.)
  • All of my friends are smart. (I already knew that too, but it was worth saying anyway.)

What did I do with all of that cooked, ground meat? I made three meals worth of Burritos, two meals worth of Sloppy Joes, and three meals worth of “grab the cooked meat out of the freezer whenever you need it” meat. 

How do you usually cook your hamburger meat? In larger batches or just as needed?

Sloppy Cornbread Muffins

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I’ve decided that I love sloppy joes more than any 36 year old mama ought to love sloppy joes. (Sloppy joes aren’t just kid food, right?)  I’m a little crazy when it comes to my hamburger meat. I like it a lot. Bring on the beef.

As you may recall, this Sloppy Cornbread is a very fun way to eat Sloppy Joes without buns. Over the weekend I experimented making the Sloppy Cornbread into muffins….and YUM!

To make Sloppy Cornbread Muffins you will need:

1 recipe of Cornbread
1/4 recipe of Sloppy Joes (which is 1/2 pound of meat)

which will make 12 Sloppy Cornbread Muffins 

These freeze and reheat very well…which means you may want to use:

a double batch of Cornbread
1/2 recipe of Sloppy Joes (which is one pound of meat)

which will make 24 Sloppy Cornbread Muffins

Is this getting confusing? If you make up the full Sloppy Joe recipe, you could just make some of it into Sloppy Cornbread Muffins, then freeze the remaining Sloppy Joes mixure. Or, you could just bring it over to me and I’ll get a fork and eat it right out of the pan.

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First fill your muffin cups half full (or half empty depending on the kind of day you’re having) with cornbread batter.

The muffins do tend to stick a little to paper muffin liners…so you may have better success just buttering each muffin cup very well.

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 Spoon about a Tablespoon or two of Sloppy Joe meat into each muffin cup.

Bake in a 400° oven for 20 minutes.

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So, what kind of day are you having? Would your muffin cups be half empty…or half full?