This recipe for Hearty Beef Chowder is proof of something that all frugal cooks know: one of the easiest ways to cut down on the family budget is to use ground beef often.
The best way to save on ground beef is to buy in bulk when it goes on sale. But do you buy the family packs of ground meat and then wonder what to do with it all when you get it home? If you just pop it in the freezer, it means you have to thaw out the whole 5 or 10 Pound pack at once in order to use any of it. So what to do?
The best way is to preplan how you will use the meat before you get it home. Here are some handy family – and freezer–friendly recipes to keep in mind for just such an occasion.
Notice both recipes use cream-style corn which thickens it a bit – and that’s what makes the soup into chowder.
For the Slow Cooker Recipe I've included 3 options: Dutch Oven method (in case you don't have a slow cooker), the Slow Cooker method and the Speedy Option.
1 ½ pounds lean ground beef or pork
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped green pepper
1 - 28 ounce can tomatoes, cut up
2 - 10 ¾ ounce can cream of celery soup
1 - 17 ounce or 2 - 10 ¾ ounce cans of cream-style corn
½ teaspoon ground thyme
Dutch Oven Method:
1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, cook ground meat with the celery, onion, and green pepper till meat is browned.
2. Drain off fat.
3. Stir in undrained tomatoes.
4. Add soup, cream-style corn and thyme.
5. Bring to boiling.
6. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.
Slow Cooker Method:
1. Brown the ground beef or pork in a frying pan. Drain.
2. Add all ingredients, except the green pepper, to the Slow Cooker.
3. Bring to full heat, turn down. Cook on low.
4. Add the chopped green pepper to Slow Cooker Beef Chowder not too long before serving depending on how cooked you prefer it.
Serve with fresh or warmed whole grain hot rolls or baking powder biscuits. Just before serving add a spoonful of sour cream or plain yoghurt to the chowder or sprinkle with grated cheddar or parmesan cheese.
Speedy Option: If you're going to be around when the soup reaches boiling, here's another option. Add all ingredients, except the ground meat, to the Dutch Oven or Slow Cooker, then, if using lean or extra lean ground meat, once the soup has reached boiling, add the uncooked meat in small chunks slowly as the soup boils. This may take a few minutes but the hot soup will cook the meat quickly.
Got more space in your Slow Cooker or Dutch Oven – add extra vegetables or double the whole recipe and freeze the left-overs.
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