Ground beef is a beloved part of the meal, and for a good reason. A fixture on most grocery lists, it’s affordable, readily available (which is important these days), and is generally enjoyed by family members, young and old alike. It is predictable, adaptable, uniquely adaptable to internationally inspired dishes and can be prepared in the blink of an eye.

Once you have ground beef at home, you can easily make it into something for any occasion. A chameleon in the kitchen has an uncanny ability to present itself as a weeknight meal solution, a fancy party appetizer, or a star in a hearty game-day meal.

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So why do we often stare at that package of ground meat without inspiration? Or do we notice that we keep making the same dishes?

Meatballs, burgers, and meatloaf are fantastic, but even these beloved dishes can get tiresome after a while. It’s called a “rut,” and I’m here to catapult you out.

Inspiration for recipes with ground beef

Before we get into my current favorite ground beef recipe, let’s talk about some of the other quick, easy, crowd-pleasing meals you can make on a busy night with just a pound of meat and a handful of pantry ingredients.

Start thinking globally. Consider a Mexican-inspired dish such as beef chili, tacos, enchiladas, and burritos. Or Italian dishes such as classic Bolognese sauce, Italian bridal soup, baked ziti, lasagna, and stuffed shells. East Asian-inspired recipes may include Korean beef bowls, sweet and sour meatballs, or spicy ramen. Even South Asian flavors can be added to ground beef, such as a curried beef stew made with warming spices. Old-school Americana recipes that use ground beef are plentiful, from patties with caramelized onions to individual meatloaf baked in a muffin pan or meaty baked potatoes.

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Go crazy and create your combinations of the flavors and cuisines your family enjoys the most.

The recipe below is an excellent example of how a packet of ground beef can be transformed into something unique and simple. This casserole is a medley of nachos and lasagna made with seasoned ground beef layered with beans, salsa, and tortilla chips and topped with sharp cheese.

The family-friendly dish does double duty as both a quick weeknight dinner and a great option for weekend movie and game nights.

Nacho beef casserole recipe

This recipe calls for spiced black beans, which are canned beans in a savory sauce seasoned with garlic, onion, and herbs. You can use any of your favorite canned beans, including chili beans. If you choose to make this recipe with regular canned beans, such as pinto, red, white, navy, kidney, or black, be sure to rinse and drain them before using them to remove excess starch and salt. Seasoned beans in sauce add flavor, so you don’t need to drain them before using.

Servings: 4-6


Cooking spray 1 pound ground beef, any fat content one tablespoon chili powder one teaspoon ground cumin teaspoon garlic powder teaspoon onion powder Salt and freshly ground black pepper cup salsa of choice cup tomato sauce 15-ounce can season black beans, undrained (see the note above) 3 cups crushed tortilla chips, divided 3 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided Optional toppings: Sour creamAvocadoBlack olivesGreen onions fresh cilantro Fresh or pickled hot peppers, such as pepperoncini or jalapeño


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a 13×9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Brown the meat in a large skillet over medium heat, breaking it up as it cooks. Drain excess fat as needed. Add the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper to the meat in the pan and stir to coat. Cook for 1 minute, until spices are fragrant. Add salsa and tomato sauce. Fold in the black beans and bring to a boil. Cook for a few minutes, and then remove the pan from the heat. Spread 1 cup of the chips in the bottom of the prepared pan. Brush the fries with half of the beef mixture. Top the beef with another 1 cup of flakes and 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese. Repeat the layers, using the rest of the meat, chips, and cheese. Cover the pan with foil (to prevent sticking, spray the foil with cooking spray) and bake for 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven, remove foil, and return to oven to bake uncovered for 5 to 7 minutes or until cheese melts. Add or pour desired toppings such as sour cream, avocado, black olives, and fresh cilantro toppings.

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I have been blogging since August 2011. I have had over 10,000 visitors to my blog! My goal is to help people, and I have the knowledge and the passion to do this. I love to travel, dance, and play volleyball. I also enjoy hanging out with my friends and family. I started writing my blogs when I lived in California. I would wake up in the middle of the night and write something while listening to music and looking at the ocean. When I moved to Texas, I found a new place to write. I would sit in my backyard while everyone else was at work, and I could write all day.