Friday, January 15, 2010

Big Batch cooking 101

Today I'm going to discuss cooking large amounts of meat to store in the freezer for later. I am blessed to have a large freezer but if you don't have one, you can still big batch cook. You'll just have to do it more often, it will still save you a lot of time and you will eat at home more often!

I have found that cooking a months worth of seasoned ground meat at one time literally saves me hours over a month. How many of your recipes is a ground meat recipe? For our family, it ends up being at least once a week. Tacos, spaghetti, sloppy joes even the dreaded hamburger helper begins with a pound of ground beef.

I will cook 5 pounds with one chopped onion and 1/4 cup chopped garlic. I season it about half way through cooking time. For 5 pounds in the slow cooker, it's about 30-45 minutes. Just stir to break it up every 15-20 minutes. Because I have a freezer, I can shop and catch 90% lean meat on sale and stock up. Ground meat will store in the freezer for around a year. I don't keep it around that long though, we use it up!

After you cook the ground meat, drain it in a colander over a big bowl. Don't put this down the sink! It will be the fat and water that was in the meat. I give mine to the dog but if you need to, put it in a can and through it away. This step will save you a lot of fat grams in your diet. It doesn't take that long and it will really make your food taste better. Who wants any meal dripping with meat fat?

Once it has drained and cooled, split the meat into 5 containers. I use ziploc freezer bags so I can squeeze all the air out of them and they will lay flat in the freezer. Now you have a 15-20 minute head start on 5 of your meals for this month! I look every night to see what's on the menu for the next night. If it calls for something in the freezer, I go get it and place it in the fridge. The meat will thaw overnight and be ready the next day to cook with.

Here's a super easy hamburger macaroni meal that feeds a lot, is better tasting than hamburger helper and more nutritous too!

Hamburger macaroni
1 lb hamburger, seasoned - you've already got this!
1 can diced tomatoes - I usually use my homecanned or frozen but any will do
Fill the empty can of tomatoes with water (about 10 oz)
2 cups macaroni - can be any kind you like or have
1 cup frozen corn or peas - or one can drained - I like corn
1 cup diced velveeta or 6 slices deluxe american cheese

Heat the hamburger in a large skillet. Pour the diced tomatoes, water and corn over the meat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the macaroni. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 8 minutes. Stirring often. Then add the cheese and continue to cook until the pasta is done and the mixture is thick.

Have a blessed day!
This is even better the next day as a leftover lunch!

No comments:

Post a Comment