I absolutely love to spend time in the kitchen. I truly believe that the kitchen is the heart of the home. That being said, I don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen on a busy work or school night when there is laundry to be done, dishes are mounting up, and most importantly, story time to be had! The last thing I want to do after a long day at work is spend an hour or more prepping dinner and cleaning the kitchen in addition to the time it will take to eat dinner.
To solve the problem of making sure we are eating in, not wasting money and calories eating junk, and keeping the family well fed, I bulk cook. There are a few times a month that specific items go on sale in my area. This past week was a ground beef week, so I stocked up. I still had three bags left from the last time I bulk cooked, so we can add five more to that for a total of eight! When I buy ground beef in bulk, I go ahead and prep it for recipes that I know we will cook frequently. I usually buy about 10 pounds at a time from my local warehouse club when they have a sale. That 10 pounds was converted into 8 seasoned but uncooked hamburger patties, 5 1 pound bags of seasoned ground beef, one spaghetti dinner, and one spaghetti bake for another day, and just enough left from dinner for my lunch at work tomorrow!
Phew! I’m tired!
I spend an hour and a half in the kitchen once a week and we have prepped meals for weeks to come. Don’t get me wrong, we do enjoy fish, chicken and other dishes, this just happened to be ground beef day.
My recipes are as follows:
I roll 1/3 lb balls of meet firmly, then pat them out into patties. I add garlic salt, pepper and a bit of Worcestershire sauce as seasoning and freeze in layers of 2 in a gallon zip lock bag until I need them. The spices and sauce give them a little kick and marinade the beef as it thaws. These are great on the grill or on the electric skillet inside.
Seasoned Ground Beef
I simply sweat ½ medium onion per pound of beef that I am cooking. For this recipe, I used approximately 3 medium onions. I browned about 7 pounds of ground beef with salt, pepper, and garlic. Easy breezy. You can undercook the meat just a bit so it finishes in your dish when you thaw it – just remember that you have slightly undercooked it so you don’t take a nibble later! Place 1 lb in zip lock bags labled with “seasoned beef” so that you will know what the bag contains a month from now when you are searching for that left over pulled pork from Sunday dinner.
This is one of the easiest bulk dishes for me to make and know that we will never waste it. Boil enough spaghetti for two meals. Reserve half for your dinner and put the other half in a freezer safe baking dish. I used a disposable foil pan. Add two pounds of ground beef to one large jar of pasta sauce (again, I get these from the warehouse club) if you purchase them from the regular grocery store, use two jars. Throw in any additional ingredients like fresh basil, garlic, crushed tomatoes or mushrooms to fill out the sauce. Dinner is ready! Serve with a salad and garlic bread and you are all set.
Using the second meal of pasta you reserved and placed in your freezer safe pan, cover in remaining pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese. Cover in Foil and label. Be sure to write the cooking directions on the foil so that if hubby or grand ma’ ma’ comes to play, they know the rules.
These are some of the easiest freezer cooking recipes to start with. Now that I have pre cooked ground beef, they will turn into chili, hamburger soup, tacos, Italian of many sorts, and shepherds pie – all in the snap of a finger. I have a ton that I will be rolling out over the next few weeks to share with you. What are your go to freezer meals?
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I need to really start doing this! Extra effort upfront but so worth it, money-wise and time-wise!
It has been great for me. I find myself cooking better quality, healthier meals during the week this way. If I had to do it all from scratch each night I would not be able to do it!
This is so smart! I need to do this more! Thank you for sharing!
No problem. We eat so much cleaner when I take the time to meal prep!
I love doing freezer cooking. We do it when produce is cheap so that we have lots of quick, easy and delicious meals during the winter. I might start doing it on a more regular basis to cut down on the amount of daily cooking that we need to do in a week. Our three main freezer meals are Sheppard’s pie, veggie lasagna, and unstuffed cabbage roll casserole. Homemade hamburgers are something I want to do in the future, but the price of ground beef is crazy high, so not worth it right now.
I love shepherd’s pie. I do a lot of spaghetti bakes and unstuffed bell pepper casseroles as well. They make life so much easier! I have been known to do hamburgers with a beef, turkey and ground pork blend as well. When beef is super high, I default to the same recipes with ground turkey. It is high here right now too, so when I find it on sale for under $3.00 per pound, I go a little crazy and stock up!
[…] one weekend in prep, and benefit from that couple of hours in the kitchen ALL month! Check out my beef freezer cooking post and my chicken freezer cooking posts by following the links. The burgers were the same ones […]