Making Magic Mixes: Meat Mixes (FN621, Reviewed Nov. 2017)

Homemade mixes can save time and money. You can make meat mixes ahead of time and freeze them for future use in spaghetti, casseroles and tacos. Adding ingredients such as onions and celery improves flavor and nutrition. To stretch your budget, shop for ingredients when they are on sale. Label with date of purchase.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., food and nutrition specialist

Bridget Curley, program assistant (former); Tera Sandvik, project coordinator (former)

Availability: Web only

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Follow these tips to keep food safe for you and your family:

· Always wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food.

· Don’t cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat, poultry, fish and their juices away from other food in your grocery cart and at home.

· Thaw meat safely. Be sure thawing meat juices do not drip on other food. Meat may be thawed in the microwave oven but it should be cooked immediately after being thawed.

· Cook to safe internal temperatures. Use a food thermometer to measure the temperature. Casseroles containing ground beef should reach an internal temperature of at least 165 F.

· Hold cooked food at 140 F or warmer.

· Do not leave perishable food out more than two hours at room temperature (one hour when the temperature is above 90 F).

· Discard any food left out at room temperature for more than two hours (one hour if the temperature was above 90 F).

· Place food into shallow containers and immediately put in the refrigerator or freezer for rapid cooling.

· Use cooked leftovers within four days.

Basic Meat Mix

(precooked meat)

Yield: Five packages

Serving: 2 cups in each package

5 lb. lean ground meat
2 medium onions, chopped
1 c. chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced, or 1 tsp. garlic powder
¾ tsp. pepper

Per 4-ounce serving: 117 calories, 1.3g carbohydrate, 3.9g fat, 0.3g fiber and 60mg sodium


1. Brown ground meat and onions in a large skillet or pot. Drain fat.

2. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes.


1. Combine onions and crumbled ground meat in a microwave-safe 5-quart casserole dish. Cover.

2. Microwave on HIGH 14 to 16 minutes, stirring two or three times.

3. Drain fat. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover.

4. Microwave on HIGH five to eight minutes.

To Freeze

1. Divide cooked mixture into five containers or freezer bags (approximately 2 cups each). Cover. Label with date and freeze. If using freezer bags, remove air from bags, seal, press flat and freeze. For best quality, use frozen ground beef within three to four months.

To Defrost

1. Place one package Basic Meat Mix in appropriate container or pan.

• Microwave until defrosted (stir frequently and break apart with a fork once or twice).

• On stovetop, heat on medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes before continuing with recipe.

• Defrost meat in refrigerator overnight.

 Tip: You can use this mix in any recipe calling for cooked hamburger.

Easy Stroganoff

1 pkg. Basic Meat Mix, defrosted
1 (4-oz.) can mushrooms
1 can cream of mushroom soup
½ c. reduced fat sour cream (optional)
4 c. cooked noodles


1. In a 1½-quart microwave-safe dish, combine Basic Meat Mix, mushrooms and can of mushroom soup.

2. Microwave on HIGH three to six minutes until mixture reaches a temperature of 165 F.

3. Stir in sour cream (if using). If necessary, microwave on HIGH ½ to 1½ minutes, or until thoroughly heated.

4. Serve over noodles.


1. Heat Basic Meat Mix, mushrooms and can of mushroom soup in a medium saucepan.

2. Heat and stir until sauce is thick and reaches a temperature of 165 F. Stir in sour cream (if using).

3. Serve over noodles.

Makes four servings.

Per serving: 450 calories, 53g carbohydrate, 12g fat, 3.4g fiber and 782mg sodium

Enchilada Casserole

1 pkg. Basic Meat Mix
¼ c. water
1½ tsp. chili powder
1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce or 1 (15-oz.) can chopped tomatoes
1 (15-oz.) can drained and rinsed pinto or black beans (optional)
1½ c. shredded cheese
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas

Mix Basic Meat Mix, water, chili powder, tomatoes and beans (if using) in medium pot. Heat to 165 F. Put four corn tortillas into 8-by-8-inch baking pan. Pour half of meat mixture and half of cheese on top of tortillas. Top with four more tortillas, remaining meat mixture and remaining cheese. Bake at 350 F for 30 to 40 minutes.

Makes four servings.

Per serving: 535 calories, 48g carbohydrate, 19g fat, 9g fiber and 994mg sodium


1 pkg. Basic Meat Mix
2 (15-oz.) can tomatoes
1 (15-oz.) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp. chili powder

Mix all ingredients. Microwave 10 minutes in a microwave-safe dish or cook on stovetop in large pot for 30 minutes or until it reaches 165 F.

Makes four servings.

Per serving: 294 calories, 31g carbohydrate, 4.8g fat, 8.3g fiber and 530mg sodium

Rice Casserole

1 pkg. Basic Meat Mix
2 c. cooked white or brown rice
1 can whole-kernel corn, drained

Mix all ingredients. Heat thoroughly on stovetop in a medium pan, in microwave in a microwave-safe dish, or in oven in an 8-by-8-inch pan until it reaches 165 F. Top with shredded cheese, if desired.

Makes four servings.

Per serving: 324 calories, 36g carbohydrate, 6.3g fat, 4g fiber and 361mg sodium

Sloppy Joes

1 pkg. Basic Meat Mix
1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce
4 hamburger buns

Mix Basic Meat Mix and tomato sauce in medium pan. Heat thoroughly to an internal temperature of at least 165 F. Serve on hamburger buns.

Makes four servings.

Per serving: 272 calories, 25.5g carbohydrate, 6.5g fat, 1.6g fiber and 537mg sodium

Spaghetti Sauce

1 pkg. Basic Meat Mix
2 (8-oz.) cans tomato sauce
2 tsp. Italian seasoning

Mix all ingredients in a medium pan. Heat thoroughly to an internal temperature of at least 165 F and serve with any type of pasta.

Makes four servings.

Per serving: 170 calories, 7.4g carbohydrate, 4.9g fat, 1.2g fiber and 623mg sodium

Tip: You also may add the Basic Meat Mix to your favorite spaghetti sauce.


1 pkg. Basic Meat Mix
1 tsp. chili powder
¼ tsp. cumin
8 (5-inch) hard taco shells

Mix all ingredients. Heat thoroughly. Spread into a taco shell. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, olives, shredded cheese or other toppings.

Makes four servings.

Per serving: 205 calories, 11g carbohydrate, 8g fat, 1.5g fiber and 173mg sodium

Tip: You can use one package of taco seasoning in place of chili powder and cumin.

Basic Meat Mix II (Uncooked)

¾ c. nonfat dry milk
1 c. uncooked quick oats
1 c. tomato juice
½ c. chopped onion
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
2 lb. ground meat

1. In a large bowl, mix together dry milk powder and oatmeal. Add tomato juice; mix well.

2. Add onion, salt, pepper and ground meat.

3. Shape into hamburger patties (put wax paper between patties), meatballs or meatloaf before freezing.

Per 4-ounce serving: 131 calories, 8.4g carbohydrate, 3.5g fat, 0.8g fiber and 296mg sodium

To make a meatloaf

1. Defrost Basic Meat Mix II meatloaf in refrigerator overnight.

2. Top with tomato sauce or ketchup.

3. Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes to an internal temperature of at least 165 F.

To make meatballs

1. Defrost Basic Meat Mix II in refrigerator overnight.

2. Shape into balls if not already made.

3. Cook in medium skillet over medium heat for 10 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 165 F. You also can cook the recipe in an oven at 350 F for 30 minutes.

4. To save time, you can freeze leftovers in meal-size containers.

To make Salisbury steaks

1. Defrost Basic Meat Mix II patties in refrigerator overnight.

2. In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook to an internal temperature of 165 F.

3. Top with cream soup or gravy.

 For more information about nutrition and food safety.

Source: Some recipes were from Montana State University.

Reviewed November 2017



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