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30 recipes to make when you have ground beef in the freezer

Go beyond the burger with these hearty ground beef recipes.
/ Source: TODAY

Ground beef is one of those ingredients that, for those who eat meat, is a super easy start to a wonderful weeknight meal. When shopping at the grocery store, it’s ideal to buy ground beef in bulk when it’s on sale, freeze it and properly defrost it when the craving strikes. Especially with price inflation for items like beef and pork, many experts advise keeping tabs on stores' sales to help with cost-cutting. That way, you don’t have to omit meat completely on those chilly nights when something rich and hearty sounds like the perfect meal.

Whether you're someone who consumes red meat as a once-in-while-treat or it's a family-favorite protein you enjoy weekly, beef is a versatile ingredient used in countless cuisines around the globe. When you want to make Middle Eastern kofta, Asian-inspired lettuce wraps or a luscious Italian Bolognese, ground beef will be the first thing to check off the ingredients list.

To help supply beef lovers with some direction among the endless dishes out there, we rounded up some of our favorite, easiest and most satisfying ground beef recipes to add to your meal plan. Once you’ve feasted on a successful Meatless Monday, dig into Taco Tuesday, One-Pot Wednesday and … well, you get the picture.

Luckily, the options are endless. To satiate the craving for something savory any day of the week, here are some unique spins on traditional dishes, quick casseroles, simple pastas and irresistible sandwiches to make tonight or any night. Enjoy!

Cheeseburger Pasta

This recipe, which Kia Damon describes as a "love letter to Hamburger Helper," can be pulled together with ingredients that are usually already on hand. The result is a cheesy, hearty dish that's as comforting as it is nostalgic.

Tex-Mex Hotdish

This recipe is a combination of Texas and Minnesota flavors in one delicious pan! The creamy Tater Tot-topped casserole is filled with zesty, exciting flavors but it so warming and comforting at the same time.

Beef-Stuffed Eggplant

Tender baked eggplants are filled with a savory picadillo-style beef filling seasoned with Latin American flavors. Serve this topped with crumbled queso fresco and fresh cilantro, alongside sweet coconut rice.

Easiest-Ever Beef Enchiladas

You can really stretch how many people you can feed with these beef-filled enchiladas by serving this dish with lots of toppings. It's kind of like a taco bar … but for enchiladas. Everyone will love it! Don't forget to make the seasoned ground beef ahead of time for an even faster weeknight meal.

Beef Sloppy Joes

These classic, fuss-free sloppy Joes from Katie Lee really hit the mark when you're craving something juicy to sink your teeth into but aren't quite up for grilling burgers. She also offers easy additions, like adding lentils for a unique texture and additional fiber.

Spicy Mega Football Calzone

Donatella Arpaia melds her Italian heritage with an all-American sporting tradition. You can prep a lot of it ahead and pop it in the oven right when guests start to come in. It's a huge crowd-pleaser — people go crazy for it. There are never any leftovers.

Cincinnati Chili 4 Ways

This chili is simple, filling and the perfect meal before playing — or while watching — a football game. It's great to serve on its own, over a plate of spaghetti, rolled up in cheesy enchiladas or on top of a hot dog.

"Carson tries not to eat very many carbs at dinnertime, so this is a great meal for that," Siri Daly says about this dish. "It's packed with a ton of flavor and fun to eat — if you're not afraid of picking up your food!"

These sliders are a hearty twist on a hot crock of French onion soup. They're perfect for filling up hungry party guests or for a fun weeknight dinner served with salad or chips.

Cheeseburger Tots

This is a new take on the cheeseburger. Tater-Tot cups get filled with flavorful ground beef and topped with cheese, special sauce and mini pickles. They're like bite-sized Big Macs (Lil' Macs?).

Make-Ahead Seasoned Ground Beef

This is a great basic recipe that can be transformed in any way you like and requires only a few simple ingredients, many of which you might already have on hand. It also works with ground chicken or turkey and is a great base for tacos, Hamburger Helper, cottage pie or on its own.

"Every Italian-American thinks his or her grandma makes the best meatballs, and I’m no exception! My gram made the best meatballs," says Anthony Contrino. "As a young boy, I would make them with her, but no matter how hard I tried, I could never replicate them exactly … and I still can’t. But this recipe comes pretty darn close."

Classic Beef Chili with Beans

Green lifestyle guru Danny Seo uses grass-fed beef in his delicious classic chili and advises how to shop for it at the store. The result is a top-notch chili recipe that boasts nuances of earthy, tender meat cooked into a spicy, bean-filled sauce.

Bolognese Sauce

Making a great Bolognese is actually pretty easy since everything is done in one pot. The only time-consuming part is chopping up the vegetables at the beginning. But it's worth the effort because this sauce will keep for up to four days in the refrigerator, or three months in the freezer.

Padma Lakshmi's Shepherd's Pie

This is comfort food at its finest. It's the perfect dish for this time of year when it's cold outside and you're craving something supremely satisfying.

Meatloaf lovers, prepare to be impressed. This straightforward ground beef recipe gives this classic dish a sweet and smoky barbecue twist.

If you want a flavorful, easy-to-prepare meal that will please palates of all ages, you've found it. Even better, you can freeze the meatballs after they're cooked and save them for dinner another night.

This recipe takes a fresh pasta dinner with traditional Italian ingredients and turns it into a completely different dish. With tender eggplant, sharp Parmesan cheese and protein-packed ground beef, oven-baked dinner gets sliced up like a savory pie.

Celebrate Taco Tuesday, Wednesday or any day with this versatile recipe. The only necessities are the ground beef and tortillas, but the other toppings can really be a combo of whatever fresh, crunchy vegetables you have on hand.

This one's a time warp back to childhood. Almost everyone remembers enjoying sloppy Joes, and if they don't, this will create new happy memories! This dish is ideal for those craving something comforting, as they're topped with crunchy corn chips and get so messy, they require a fork and knife to eat.

Casseroles are a great way of using leftovers to stretch into another meal. Add in extra veggies to up the nutritional value and make it a complete, super-simple one-pot meal.

Taco Hamburger Skillet

Forget the boxed version! This homemade meal is equally as tasty and ready in 30 minutes or less. It's a delicious mashup of creamy mac and cheese, spicy tacos and meaty hamburgers. Plus, you can make it with ingredients you more than likely already have in your fridge and pantry.

Speedy Scrumptious Burgers

Many people think burgers when they see ground beef. This less-than-30-minute dinner delivers all the flavor with no filler. Ditch the breadcrumbs and use well-seasoned beef, seared to perfection. It's beyond good!

One-Pot Beef Stroganoff

What makes this easy dish a standout is simple ingredients cooked really well. Caramelizing the onions adds sweetness while the sour cream brings its signature tang to this quick and flavorful dinner.

Valerie Bertinelli's 'Hamburger Helpa'

Valerie Bertinelli swears this dish speaks directly to her "more-than-occasional desire for quickness and efficiency." It's a no-fuss, no-muss, hardly-any-cleanup and get-right-to-it dinner.

Here's another casserole with a fun, regional spin. This heavenly concoction from Molly Yeh is quintessentially Minnesotan and so cozy. It's perfect for a winter or rainy spring day and the 'taters look so put together and inviting on top!

Kofta Kebabs

A kebab is simply any meat or seafood cooked on a skewer or spit, a technique you should know because of its limitless applications using a wide range of proteins.

"This is a Tila house favorite and one of the dishes Ali and I had on our first date," says Jet Tila. "We also competed on Guy's Grocery Games making this dish and won best dish of that round, so don't pass this one by!"

Chili on the Grill

There is chili, and then there is chili from the grill. Cooking the ingredients in an open searing hot Dutch oven in a covered grill allows the ingredients to get both a flavorful browning without losing any natural juices to the flames and plenty of smoky flavor. The result is a complex, delicious chili. It is formidable on its own in a bowl with your preferred garnishes, or as the key component on a hot dog or brat.

Orecchiette Bolognese

Every home cook should know how to make a simple, meaty ragù. It's universally beloved by most who eat meat and although it requires some effort and a decent investment of time, it can be made well in advance then frozen. And then it easily defrosts for a wonderful weeknight dinner.

This is a wonderfully easy chili that's perfect on its own or as part of other recipes. It's great served on burgers, over cheesy nachos, with freshly baked cornbread and so on.