Ground beef can be a cook's best friend if you put it to work beyond burgers.
Enough dishes begin with browned ground beef (Bolognese sauce, shepherd's pie, sloppy Joes, etc.) that when you find a good price on ground beef at the market, buy several pounds. Then cook it all at once, using a portion for a meal right away and freezing the remainder in meal-size portions.
That's what we did: After browning 2 pounds of ground beef with yellow onions and garlic, we used 1 pound for crunchy Thai beef lettuce wraps. Then we mixed 1 cup catsup and 1/4 cup yellow mustard into the remainder, packed it in a storage container and froze for a future meal of sloppy Joes.
Serve with white rice sprinkled with black or toasted white sesame seeds.
For dessert, put fresh pineapple slices on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Broil just until sugar begins to bubble.
Either a sauvignon blanc or a pilsner would play off the complex flavors here.
THAI BEEF LETTUCE WRAPS
Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 10 minutes Makes: 6 servings
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 6 green onions, trimmed, sliced on a diagonal
- 1/2 cup each, chopped: basil, mint
- 1 can (8 ounces) drained water chestnuts, chopped, optional
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, crushed, or to taste
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1/4 cup each, chopped: cilantro and peanuts
- 18 large iceberg or Boston lettuce leaves, washed, patted dry
1. Brown ground beef in a large skillet, breaking up meat as it cooks, about 2 minutes. Toward end of browning, add yellow onion; cook, 5 minutes. Add the garlic; cook, 2 minutes.
2. Remove meat mixture from skillet; drain off fat. Put cooked meat in a serving bowl. Add green onions, basil, mint, water chestnuts, fish sauce, red pepper flakes and lime juice. Stir to blend. Garnish with cilantro and peanuts. Serve with lettuce leaves. To eat, spoon meat onto leaves, wrapping burrito-style.
Nutrition information: Per serving: 176 calories, 47 percent of calories from fat, 9 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 46 mg cholesterol, 6 g carbohydrates, 17 g protein, 755 mg sodium, 2 g fiber