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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Love/Hate Relationship with Ground Meat

I love the convenience and versatility of ground meat.  I typically use whatever is on sale: turkey, chicken or beef...I'm really not picky. 

I hate actually browning the meat.  I dislike the smell of raw meat as it goes into the frying pan.  I despise the spattering mess it leaves on the stove.  I could live without all the wasted time standing in front of a hot pan chopping the meat so it doesn't accidentally turn into a meatball-like substance.

What's a mom of many to do?  There are so many recipes that call for some form of ground meat that it really is a necessity (unless you are a vegetarian, which no one in our family is).  Here's my solution....buy, brown, rinse, bag, freeze.

Let me explain.  Keep an eye on your grocery ads and buy ground whatever when it is cheap.  Next, enlist your loving husband to brown the meat for you as shown here.

Do this in small batches. Don't be tempted to just throw it all in the frying pan.  Believe me, we've tried it and it doesn't save any time.  It takes much longer to cook up a large batch than two smaller ones.

Rinse it well with warm water to remove as much of the grease as possible.  I run the garbage disposal at this stage and have never had a problem with it messing up our pipes.  However, if you're worried about that you could collect the grease into a glass jar and throw it out which is what some of our friends do.

I portion it out into Ziploc (I've found store brand baggies just don't cut the mustard in the freezer!) baggies with the date written on the outside so that I know how long it's been in the freezer.  This is what 12 pounds of ground beef looks like all browned, bagged and ready for the freezer.

I now have a freezer filled with browned ground meat all ready to go into a recipe.  This is enough to last us for a couple months.  It makes me sooooo happy to know that all I have to do is grab a bag, thaw it, and toss it into a recipe without having to mess with browning it! :-)

I apply a similar method for cooking chicken breast and chopping them up to be used in recipes. Or you can shred rotisserie chickens in a like manner. Since I have confidence that my readers are all highly intelligent (grin) I won't bore you with the details...you can figure it out!

God Bless!

Heather :-)