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Brown your ground beef in the crock pot-yes, really!

This is one of those things that I wish I would have figured out years ago! For some reason I don’t like browning ground beef.  I know it’s not that hard or time-consuming but when it’s 5 pm (often referred to as “the witching hour” at my house) and everyone is hungry, tired and grumpy and your staring at a chunk of frozen, raw ground beef that you have to thaw in the microwave, then brown to even start your dinner…well, let’s just say the temptation to order pizza goes way up!  After I figured out that this road block for me I started browning ground beef in large quantities in an electric skillet as soon as I came home from grocery shopping and freezing the beef but as of the past year or so I moved that up a notch on the simple-ness ladder (Oh, there IS such a ladder in my house!) and have loved it!  I can tell from the collective sighs and “oohs” and “ahh”s in my meal planning classes that I’m not the only one!

Browning your Ground Beef in the Crock Pot

1-Put all or a majority of your ground beef in the crock pot on low with garlic and onions (fresh or dried) and leave it on low for 8 hours or so, stirring and breaking up the meat occasionally.

Put your ground beef in the crock pot when you get home from the store and brown it! That way you can bag it and freeze it and it's ready to go for spaghetti, taco salad, etc. plantomakeitsimple.com
You can put a small amount or much larger amount of fresh or frozen ground beef in the crock pot, like this.

2-You can let the meat cool down a bit and then use a slotted spoon to put the meat in freezer bags and lay them flat in your freezer.  That way when you’re making spaghetti, or my Three Cheese Pasta Bake or taco salad or whatever you can just grab a bag of already browned ground beef and toss it in!

Put your ground beef in the crock pot when you get home from the store and brown it! plantomakeitsimple.com
Break it up a little and stir while it’s browning in the crock pot.
Browned meat, bagged up and ready to freeze for spaghetti, taco salad, etc. plantomakeitsimple.com
Browned, cooled, bagged, labeled and ready to freeze

Note: If you plan to make hamburgers or meatloaf with your ground beef you’ll want to leave enough of the ground beef not cooked and just freeze the portion you need raw in a Ziploc freezer bag.  I like to form the hamburger patties using a measuring cup and freeze them like that so they’re ready to go. Give this a try and let me know how it changes your life for the better!

I have this crock pot and I love it!

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Butter Milk Syrup AKA “I’d eat cardboard if this was on it-syrup” (Yes, it’s THAT good!)

I know the name “Butter Milk Syrup” sounds a little strange, at least I thought so when I first heard it, but then I tasted it and was sold!  If you haven’t tried it yet, you must.  It’s the perfect thing to have for a special breakfast, over pancakes, waffles, french toast…anything.  
 
Ingredients:
3/4 c. buttermilk (or 3/4 c milk with 1 Tbs lemon juice or vinegar added in and set aside for 5 min.)
1 1/2 c. sugar (I’ve tried it with honey too and it was delicious, a little different flavor but delicious)
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg (optional, but I highly recommend it!)
Instructions:
1-If you’re making your butter milk pour the milk and lemon juice of vinegar in a bowl and set aside.  If you already have butter milk, skip to step 2.
2-Put the butter milk,sugar, butter and baking soda in a BIG pot.  This recipe will foam up really big and overflow if your pot isn’t big enough! 
3-Bring ingredients to a boil and reduce heat to low (still bubbling) stirring constantly.  You can stir this on low for 5 to 8 minutes depending on how you like your syrup.  The longer you cook it that more caramelized it becomes.  It will slowly get darker and richer in taste.  
After about 5 minutes of cooking.
 
We usually like it around 5 minutes but sometimes I keep on boiling it until it’s a nice caramel that I can then use on popcorn or ice cream or whatever.
After about 7 minutes of cooking.
4-Remove from heat and add vanilla.  There will be foam on top so give it a good stir.