Freezing Meats/Ground meat Recipes

As promised, I will continue to give you the benefit of my “expertise” in freezing foods…that is to say, I will try to save you some heartache by keeping you from making the same mistakes that I have made.

 

First and foremost, if you buy anything in bulk, break it down. My husband and I spent most of our engagement in separate states. When I got to his apartment a week before the wedding, I found a seven-pound  lump in the freezer; it had once been a ‘family-sized’ package of ground beef. I had to thaw the entire thing and cook, cook, cook, making several types of dishes for just the two of us. We have always eaten well, despite our rather tight budget. Buying in bulk, stocking-up during sales or grabbing fresh but marked-down foods have kept my family and friends eating well, and I can afford to indulge in spices and other accompaniments.

When freezing ground beef, try to divide it into as close to one-pound sections as possible. Have a package that is just over 2 and a half pounds? Split it in half. Three and three-quarter pounds? Eyeball it; divide it into four parts about the same size…it’s cooking, not rocket science. It doesn’t matter if you are a little off; your kitchen will not blow up. Shape into flattened rolls or disks and wrap them in plastic. Place these in zipper-lock bags with as much air as possible removed.

Never freeze meats in store-wrap alone; place them in zip-closure bags. I prefer to take them out of their store wrappings, then place steaks, chops, ribs, chicken breasts, etc. with freezer paper or plastic between them and freeze in zip-bags, in portions that I am likely to use at one time. (Before I was married, I lived at home and never cooked for less than six people; we usually had a lot of left-overs until I learned to adjust…except when I’d cook a steak or large chicken breast  each for the two of us. Those would usually be the nights that my husband would make an impromptu invitation to someone for dinner….wouldn’t you know.)

The only time I advise freezing meats in their packaging is when they are already  in thick plastic, (often poultry and poultry pieces, corned beef, pork loins and others), that are factory processed and shipped to stores. Even then, if the packages are bigger than you would want to cook at one time, cut them down to size. You save nothing by buying in bulk if you don’t use all of what you have purchased…and it is just wrong to waste food.

With that thought in mind, I will add that I generally trim fatty areas and bones before freezing meats, and I toss those into freezer bags to save to make soups. When chilled, the fats rise to the top and can be skimmed. There is nothing like homemade soup or to have broths for soup bases and gravies…and it’s simpler to do than you know. A blog on soup will be up in the near future.

 

While you are dividing meat before you freeze it, you might consider taking a little time and pre-cooking some of the meat, especially ground meat. It helps you make meals very quickly. One pound of ground meat is enough for one small batch of chili, one batch of tacos, one meal of Hamburger Helper, [God help you].  I usually brown ground beef, drain it of melted fat. I cool it and   place it in a freezer bag, pressing as much air out as possible. While I’m at it, I often use a good packet of taco mix and freeze ready-made taco meat. It makes a quick meal or snack easy. The next posting will be on mini-meatballs…how to make and recipes for quick, homemade comfort dishes fit for company and family.

Below will be recipes I made for ground turkey and pork. I know some people like to use turkey for chili but as far as I am concerned, there is not enough chili powder in the world to disguise the taste of the turkey.

 Of course, if you have a vacuum sealer, use it if you intend to keep the meats frozen for more than a couple of months. If you intend to use them sooner, don’t waste the money on the bags.

 

Taco Salad

 

One pound of ground meat prepared with your favorite taco seasoning; heated thoroughly

One half pound of shredded mild-to-sharp cheddar or shredded ‘Mexican-style’ cheeses

2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce

One half-pound large, restaurant-style tortilla chips

 

Options :{ taco sauce or salsa

                Sour cream

                Diced black olives

 

 

 

Place a layer of tortilla chips on each person’s plate; add a layer of cheese, then the meat, (to semi-melt the cheese), add lettuce and whatever options to suit each person’s taste.

 

 

Turkey burgers and pork patties are grand if you aren’t expecting them to taste like a hamburger. I developed the following recipes with that idea in mind:

 

Turkey Burgers

 

One pound of ground turkey made into burger shapes.

2 Tbs. butter, margarine

One-half to three-quarter cup sliced onion

White pepper

Salt

Mayonnaise

Onion buns, Kaiser buns or Italian bread

 

Sprinkle turkey burgers with pepper and salt; pan-fry in butter with onions over medium-high heat until browned; lower heat and add 1/8th cup water. Cover and cook thoroughly. Serve with mayonnaise on buns or Italian bread with the caramelized onions.

 

Pork Patties

 

One lb. ground pork

Salt

White pepper

1 Tbsp. butter or margarine

Pan-fry pork patties until just done, (do not over-dry). Make white sauce:

 

 

White sauce:

 

2 Tbsp. butter or margarine

One-quarter cup diced onion

White pepper

Salt

Dash of  Nutmeg, (optional)

1 ½ -2 Tbsp. flour

 

Melt butter. Add onions and sauté until tender, but not browned. Remove from heat and add flour to make a basic roux, (smooth paste). Slowly add milk to keep from lumping then add salt, pepper and nutmeg. Return to heat and stir constantly until thickened. Adjust seasoning and pour over pork patties.

Serve with rice, mashed or baked potatoes, small pasta or noodles.

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2 thoughts on “Freezing Meats/Ground meat Recipes

  1. thisismeandfood

    I never thought of pre-cooking ground beef or trimming steaks before freezing! Great tip thanks! My husband laughs at me I sit down after a butcher visit with the ziplock bags, surgical gloves, scales and a permanent marker and portion everything off for the freezer!

    Reply
  2. tonettejoyce Post author

    Oh, Good for you! Your husband has no idea how much aggravation you are saving yourself later on! Many years and many miles ago our local supermarket used to have ‘Come-On’ prices on whole chickens and large, bone-in round steaks to get people in the door.I would stock up and start chopping, wrapping and freezing! I had almost an assembly line going.
    Glad to see you stop in today;I enjoyed your scone recipe in your new post.

    Reply

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