Freezer Cooking – Ground Beef
Last week, I started a short 4 week series on freezer cooking. I’m giving you recipes that require only a few simple staple ingredients to help you come up with your own family favorites that help make dinner prep faster! A little prep work ahead time makes quick and easy meals.
When you go to the store, do you typically buy a large quantity of ground beef? I actually have avoided buying ground beef because it is more cost effective to buy ground turkey or chicken but when its at a great price; I stock up on it. I may even start shopping for a grass-fed cow, but thats a whole other post/story! Anyways, my old way of packaging ground beef, was to divide uncooked portions and store in the freezer until I need it for a meal. Now, I plan out meals of what I want to make with it: meatballs, taco meat, hamburgers, and cooked seasoned ground beef.
What I love about having cooked ground beef readily available in my freezer is that I can use it for so many things in a snap. Just to name a few: casseroles, spaghetti sauce, toppings on pizza or stromboli!
Here is how I cook and freeze seasoned ground beef
First, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Depending on the size of your pan, you’ll be able to do roughly 3 pounds at at time.
To 3 pounds of meat add:
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp pepper
Mix meat together with seasonings.
Feel free to add your favorite spices or use what you have on hand. If you have Italian seasoning use that. You might need more or less of the other ingredients, but thats okay; make it your own.
Then place meat in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until cooked through. After cooked, remove from the oven. Using a spatula, break up the meat and then let it cool.
Packaging is the same as I shared with you all last week. Our family’s portion size is 2 cups in each freezer bag, but place the amount in each bag that accommodates your family. Date and write contents on the bag and place in the freezer. When you are ready to use it, get it out the night before and let it thaw in the refrigerator. For a quick defrost, place it in the microwave of defrost for a couple of minutes.
Now I know you are probably asking, “How do I incorporate this into my day. I have diapers to change, laundry to fold and those kitchen floors really need to be cleaned!” Well I have a solution for you to try. Do this when you are already making dinner. One night you are planning on making a casserole, make the meat for the casserole and the meat for the freezer! If that doesn’t work, try making it at lunch time (when the kitchen is already a mess) or on the weekend when you have a little more time. The take-home-message here is freezer cooking doesn’t have to an elaborate thought out process. It can be simple, try it some time, you might be surprised how easy it is!
How do you freeze ground beef? What seasonings are you using to make it “simply yours?”