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This post is brought to you by Cargill FreshLast Pack.
We do love food in our house. I enjoy cooking and coming up with different dishes. I make a decent amount of dishes using ground beef because everyone enjoys the beef, because ground beef can be used in all sorts of ways, and because it’s affordable. But, let’s talk about ground beef.
First of all, what is up with the actual packaging? When referring to ground beef bought in a retail store (not a butcher), I have seen three common types. The first type is where the ground beef comes in a tube, and you can’t see what’s inside. I don’t know about you but when it comes to meat if I cannot see it I will not buy it. The second type of packaging is where the beef comes on a styofoam tray wrapped in plastic. Inevitably, the tray gets a small crack and blood from the meat leaks out all over the place. The third type of packaging is where the ground beef comes in a giant plastic tray wrapped in plastic. The tray is like ten times the size of the ground beef, and I bet if I washed it out it would be almost large enough to be considered a piece of carry-on luggage.
And the amount of meat that’s in a package. I don’t know about you but I think that weights on ground beef are just weird. I don’t have any recipes that call for 1.37 pounds of meat. Do you? So, then you either have too little or too much meat for the dish you’re going to make. If you buy a large package (something I do often), you have to get it separated into smaller packages right away. Or you’ll have grayish brown nasty-looking meat sitting in your fridge after two days. Can you tell that’s happened to me more than a few times? I hate to toss food out but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do to save the lives of her family. I personally would like it if I could have some ground beef in the fridge without having the accompanying pressure to decide what I’m cooking and when right away. The FreshLast Pack from Cargill makes my wish a reality.
Cargill is one of North America’s largest beef processors. Cargill has come up with an innovative form of vacuum-sealed packaging for ground beef. This new packaging allows ground beef to last up to two weeks longer in the refrigerator, without any additives. Besides keeping the beef fresh, the vacuum seal also removes the opportunity for accidental leaks and mess. Unlike the traditional forms of packaging that I’ve already mentioned, the FreshLast Pack is very freezer friendly, with the vacuum seal helping to resist freezer burn from occurring. Yay! I hate freezer burn! When you’re ready to use the meat you simply pull back the easy-open tab and remove the pound of beef. Yes, I did say a pound. FreshLast Packs are all pre-portioned into convenient one-pound packages.
I found FreshLast Packs at my nearby Target. I found several different grinds with different levels of fat. I was astounded at the difference in size between a FreshLast Pack and a one-pound package of beef from someone else. You could almost fit two FreshLast Packs into one of the other guy’s packages. This is a good thing, but how did it taste?
To find out how the ground beef in a FreshLast Pack tastes I had to make a dish using the ground beef. I wanted to make something that would highlight the fresh taste of the beef while still keeping the recipe relatively quick and easy to make. So, I found inspiration from one of my favorite comfort foods – Shepherd’s Pie. Shepherd’s Pie is a fall and winter staple in our house. I know everyone makes Shepherd’s Pie a bit differently. When I make it I use mashed potatoes, ground beef, corn and cheese. I decided to stick with ingredients I know and instead of recreating the dish, decided to turn it into a soup. Here’s how I made it.
Gluten-free Shepherd’s Pie Soup
- 1 pound ground beef
- 4 cups water & 4 beef boullion cubes
- 32 oz bag frozen diced potatoes
- 12 oz frozen peas and carrots
- 2 cans creamed corn
- 4 oz shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
In large pot brown the ground beef. Do not drain when finished.
Place the frozen diced potatoes over the cooked beef.
Place the frozen peas and carrots over the potatoes.
Pour the beef broth into the pot.
Add the seasonings and stir well.
Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the shredded cheddar and creamed corn and simmer for 5 minutes.
Serve with salt and pepper to taste.
I really liked how simple the FreshLast packaging is. Even with damp hands I was easily able to pull back the seal and open the meat. The meat felt and looked fresh. It’s almost hard to believe that a meat with such a small amount of packaging can keep the ground beef fresh for twice the length of time of traditional tray ground beef packaging! And, it didn’t cost any more than the other packages of ground beef in the store!
The FreshLast Pack is currently available on a limited distribution in Target stores in the northeastern part of the U.S. You know chances are good that if you live in the Northeast like me you’ll find yourself in Target at some point in the next few days. This type of vacuum-sealed ground beef package can also be purchased at various Wegmans and BJ’s stores as well as through FreshDirect.com, with more locations in the future. So, grab yourself some ground beef in this new vacuum-sealed package and check it out for yourself!
You can learn more about the FreshLast Pack at www.cargillgroundbeef.com/products-freshlast.aspx.