Meat is truly the star in entrées as it brings the most impact and flavor out of the many dishes in a full-course meal. Main course meals mostly use meat as the primary ingredient since it is versatile and can be paired with almost any ingredient. Meat is great on its own and served with a complementary sauce. It can also pair well with vegetables, rice, and pastry. It is truly filling and flavorful if cooked just right. In terms of meat, beef is one of the most popular choices in different cultures around the world since it is easy to raise and it can also be consumed by people with strict dietary restrictions due to their religion.
Beef also comes in different cuts and shapes. It can be cooked as steaks, chopped up for stew, or ground up for other types of dishes. Ground beef is by far the most versatile beef product since it can be cooked in many ways and different cultures around the world have their recipe for ground beef. Here, we will talk about the best ground beef dishes that even a beginner can make.
A beef burger, a staple in American cuisine, is usually served with fries. Source: Pixabay
A typical burger has four main ingredients: buns, patty, sauce, pickles, or vegetables. A beef burger is one of the most popular types of burger due to the richness of flavor and juiciness that beef brings, as well as its proteins.
When preparing the burger, the rest of the ingredients can be easily obtained and prepared but the burger patty needs the most care and preparation. The meat used for a beef burger patty is ground beef. Most people prefer to make their patties by buying ground beef from their local butchers but some prefer commercially available beef patties found in most supermarkets. But be wary of these ready-made patties because some products are not made with good quality ingredients. Other producers use leftover beef scraps to make beef patties and sell them at a low price. These instances have caused a beef patty recall on several products that have failed to pass the standards set by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). A case back in 2012 reported multiple findings of E.coli contamination on commercial beef patties which caused food poisoning, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. The products have been recalled ever since and the company ceased its production. For additional information about the biggest food recalls, learn more on this page.
To prepare a beef burger, you will need burger buns, ground beef, vegetables, and sauces. The common vegetables for a burger are tomatoes, onions, and lettuce, The onions can be seared or roasted on the grill while the tomatoes and lettuce can be eaten fresh. The buns are toasted on the grill for a few minutes to achieve crispiness and to avoid a soggy burger. The beef patty must be cooked for 3-5 minutes on each side on medium-high heat while occasionally brushing with oil to maintain the moisture. After everything is cooked, assemble the burger while adding condiments on top of the patties and the vegetables. Cheese and pickles are optional ingredients that can add more saltiness and sourness and this helps create a balance of flavors.
Spaghetti in Marinara Sauce with Ground Beef
Spaghetti in marinara sauce served with ground beef and topped with herbs. / Source: Pixabay
Italian dishes also use ground beef, which pairs greatly with pasta dishes. In this area, spaghetti in marinara sauce is one of the most common dishes paired with ground beef since it is easy to prepare.
To prepare this dish, you will need pasta (fresh or premade), marinara sauce, ground beef, and herbs. The marinara sauce is cooked first. There are pre-made sauces available in markets but they can also be made with freshly crushed tomatoes, garlic, onions, and basil. Mix all of these in a pot with a few cups of water, depending on the serving size, until it thickens and boils. While the sauce is boiling, add the ground beef that has been parboiled with salt and pepper. After finishing the sauce, prepare the pasta based on the cooking instructions on the packaging. For fresh pasta, boil it water mixed with a few tablespoons of oil, and let it cook in high heat for 2 minutes. Drain the pasta from water and plate it first, followed by the sauce, and finally, top it off with fresh basil and parsley.
Ground Beef Meatballs
Meatballs can be paired with pasta or served on their own / Source: Pexels
Meatballs are great on their own and served with a light sauce or paired with pasta dishes. Ground beef is also the top choice of meat when making meatballs. The beef is tender and moist when cooked this way, unlike other meat products which tend to dry out when grounded and minced.
To prepare meatballs, you will need ground beef, Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, onions. Seasoning, flour, and eggs. Mix the ground beef, shredded Parmesan cheese, finely diced onion, breadcrumbs, eggs, and your preferred seasoning in a bowl. After completely mixing the ingredients, make small balls at coat them lightly with flour. Place in a skillet on medium heat with cooking oil and cook for about 5 minutes while turning them over to cook all the sides. Serve with sauce or add in pasta dishes.
Meatloaf is served as thin slices and paired with vegetables or rice. /Source: Pixabay
Meatloaf is also a great way to use ground beef. This dish also has a longer shelf life and it can be stored away and reheated whenever you want. Meatloaf is a popular dish and was invented initially as food rations. Today, it has been a staple in many homes as a family meal.
Meatloaf is prepared the same way as meatballs but in larger quantities and with the addition of preservatives such as salt, sugar, and vinegar. The ingredients are ground beef, breadcrumbs, onions. Seasoning, preservatives, flour, and eggs. Some people also add a pinch of gelatin powder to add more elasticity to their meatloaf. Once all the ingredients are mixed, place them in a deep loaf pan and bake in an oven for 1 hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. After baking let it rest and cool down before cutting into thinner loaves for serving. The rest can be refrigerated and reheated for further consumption. Meatloaf is best served with vegetables or rice.
Meat pies are a good fit for people who love both meat and pastry. / Source : unsplash
Ground beef is one of the favorite choices for meat pie fillings. Meat pies are layers of pastry wrapped around a filling that is made with meat and vegetables. The strong flavor of the ground beef is best paired with the less flavorful pastry and this brings a great balance to the dish.
The filling of a beef meat pie consists of ground beef, mushrooms, carrots, peas. These are cooked in a pot and seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, soy sauce, sugar, bay leaves, thyme, and a reduced beef broth stock. Adding red wine and boiling off the alcohol adds more flavor to the filling. After boiling, remove the pot from the heat and let it cool down a bit while preparing the pastry for baking.
A circular pot or pan is used as a base and is lined with baking grease and pastry to form the bottom layer. The filling is then added until almost half of the pan. Then, the top is covered with a layer of pastry. The top pastry layer can also be dressed with sauces, cheese, and herbs. The pie is now ready for baking and it needs at least an hour in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. After baking, let it rest and cool down before slicing to avoid excessive gushing out of juices. Finally, serve the delicious dish while warm.