04/26/2012 12:34 EDT | Updated 06/26/2012 05:12 EDT

Freeze large batches of ground beef for quick entrees on busy weeknights

For quick make-ahead dishes, take some time on the weekend to whip up a batch of seasoned ground beef for the freezer. Then you have enough to make dishes for weeknight meals such as this tantalizing pie.

Tortilla Beef Pie

1 can (540 ml/19 oz) red kidney beans

500 ml (2 cups) Big Batch Cooked Ground Beef (recipe follows)

125 ml (1/2 cup) chili sauce, plus more for serving

4 large flour tortillas

500 ml (2 cups) low-fat shredded cheddar cheese

2 green onions, chopped

Drain, rinse and mash kidney beans. Combine with thawed ground beef and chili sauce.

Place 1 tortilla on a baking sheet. Spread right to the edge with one-quarter of the beef mixture. Sprinkle with one-quarter each of the cheddar and green onions. Repeat with remaining tortillas and ingredients.

Bake in a 200 C (400 F) oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Slice into wedges and serve with more chili sauce, if desired.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional information per serving: 412 calories; 29 g protein; 12 g fat; 45 g carbohydrate.

Big Batch Ground Beef

2 kg (4 lb) ground beef

4 onions, minced

4 garlic cloves, minced

In a stockpot or Dutch oven, cook beef over medium-high heat for 9 to 10 minutes, breaking it into small chunks with the back of a spoon until browned and completely cooked. Drain in colander. Return to pot and add onions and garlic; simmer, uncovered, for 12 to 15 minutes or until vegetables soften.

Spread mixture in a single layer on several 500 ml (2 cup) foil-lined baking trays; cover loosely with plastic wrap and freeze just until meat is firm, about 1 hour. Loosen frozen beef into chunks and scoop meal-sized portions into freezer bags or sealable containers. Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, microwave at 50 per cent power for 3 to 4 minutes.

Source: Canadian Beef.