Here are some great ideas for preparing ground beef for dishes like soup, tacos, casseroles and spaghetti sauce.
Good cooks know that draining and blotting pan-fried ground beef crumbles will eliminate some of the fat. But researchers at Iowa State University have found that rinsing the cooked beef can reduce the fat content 50% more than draining and blotting alone—with minimal flavor loss. The technique is outlined in the recipes on this page.
When drained and blotted, a 3-ounce portion of ground beef crumbles from standard (27% fat) ground beef contains 195 calories and 12 grams of fat. That same beef drained, blotted and rinsed with hot water weighs in at 135 calories and 6 grams of fat.
In recipes where blotting and rinsing are not practical, such as meat loaf or stuffed peppers, our Test Kitchen recommends using extra lean (10% fat) ground beef.
Need to feed a group? Hearty Spaghetti Sauce (shown above) requires just minutes of preparation and simmers 'til supper time. It's shared by Kimberly Rockwell of Charlotte, North Carolina. For a zestier sauce, try the thick, chili-like Mexican Spaghetti Sauce from Sandi Leonard of Peculiar, Missouri. She gives spaghetti a southwestern zip.
When her family craves an Oriental-style meal, LaVonne Hegland of St. Michael, Minnesota pulls out this easy one-dish Beef Chow Mein Skillet.