These easy ground beef recipes make a great introduction to meat cookery.
Ground beef, or mince, is quick to cook so you won't end up spending all day in the kitchen in order to serve up a hot meal.
Ground beef is a popular ingredient in many cultures. In the UK we have cottage pie, the Italians have spaghetti sauce and meatballs, then there is chill con carne from Mexico. There are also many traditional American recipes that use ground beef, of course.
So let's jump in with the first of our easy ground beef recipes, a delicious meatloaf.
Basic meatloaf recipe
You can't get a much quicker recipe for a main meal than this! It is easy to prepare and then it just gets popped in the oven to bake. You can ring the changes by adding a variety of toppings.
Ingredients for two servings
250g (1/2 pound) ground beef (mince)
30g (1oz) fresh breadcrumbs
1 tbsp beef stock
1 small onion
1 small carrot
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp tomato puree
freshly ground black pepper
If you have a blender or food processor it will speed up the chopping process
Medium to large bowl
Fork for mixing
Ovenproof serving plate
Preheat the oven to 180oC, 350oF or Gas mark 4.
Finely dice or grate the onion and carrot and place in the bowl with the ground beef and breadcrumbs. Mix together with a fork.
Season with the stock, sauce, herbs, salt and pepper.
Break the egg into a cup and mix gently with a fork. Then tip into the bowl and mix into the other ingredients.
Grease the loaf tin and then press in the mixture. Level out the top and place into the hot oven. Bake for 40-45 minutes.
You may find some liquid in the tin after the meatloaf is cooked. Gently drain this off, then cover the pan with a cloth and leave it to stand and firm up for about 10 minutes, before turning it out onto your serving plate.
If you are going to add a topping, turn up the oven to 200oC (400oF or Gas Mark 6) while the meatloaf is sitting and you are preparing the topping.
Basic Meatloaf recipe with seeded topping
Toppings for your basic meatloaf
75ml (2 fl oz) tomato ketchup
1/2 tbsp barbecue sauce
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp chilli sauce
1 tbsp finely chopped green pepper
30g (1oz) crushed corn chips
30g (1oz) grated cheddar cheese
Mix the first 5 ingredients in a bowl, then spread onto the turned out meatloaf.
Place the corn chips and grated cheese on top and pop it back in the hotter oven for a further 10 mins or until the cheese has melted.
30g (1oz) mixed pumpkin & sunflower seeds
1 tbsp pine nuts
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp dry mustard powder
Mix the seeds and nuts together, in a bowl. If you wish you can whizz them in a food processor. Then place them on top of your turned out meatloaf.
Melt the honey, brown sugar, juice and mustard in a pan.
Pour over the meatloaf and bake for a further 10 minutes.
Meatballs are another favourite when it comes to easy ground beef recipes.
I like to use the same ingredients as above for my meatball mixture. However, as they need to be shaped, I do add a little flour to the mixture so it isn't quite so sticky to handle.
Mix well with a fork to "mash up" the ground beef, which will help the mixture hold together. Also ensure you have FINELY chopped the onion and carrot so that you don't find big chunks when eating your meal.
The quantities given in the basic meatloaf recipe will make about 16 small meatballs.
Each homemade meatball is shaped and then rolled in a packaged stuffing mix for a crispy coating.
Frying your meatballs
Heat a little oil in a deep sided pan, then gently lower in your meatballs. Leave them alone for 2-3 minutes so they can start to crisp and firm up, making them less likely to break when you then turn them over.
Continue to cook, turning as necessary, for a further 8 minutes, or until cooked through. I stick to a medium heat so they don't burn on the outside but the ground beef is thoroughly cooked.
Drain on kitchen paper, then serve hot.
For children you could offer baked beans as an accompaniment, along with homemade french fries or mashed potatoes. Adults may prefer a crisp salad or perhaps pasta.
Variation on the basic meatballs
Another way to serve your meatballs would be to eliminate the coating, and hide a small piece of soft cheese inside each one. You could simmer them gently in the basic tomato sauce recipe given for the base of my cream of tomato soup.
I will be adding further easy ground beef recipes to this page over the coming weeks. You may wish to bookmark this page so you can visit again.