8 bacon strips, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 pounds lean ground beef (90% lean)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups shredded peeled butternut squash
2 medium parsnips, peeled and shredded
2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
1 can (12 ounces) cola
1 can (8 ounces) tomato paste
1 cup water
1/3 cup honey mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon pepper
18 hamburger buns, split
1. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Discard drippings. In the same skillet, cook beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until beef is no longer pink and onion is tender, 10-12 minutes, breaking up beef into crumbles; drain.
2. Transfer to a 5- or 6-qt. slow cooker. Stir in squash, parsnips, carrots, cola, tomato paste, water, mustard and seasonings. Cook, covered, on low until vegetables are tender, 4-5 hours. Stir in bacon. Serve on buns.
3. Freeze option: Freeze cooled meat mixture in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally and adding a little water if necessary.