I admire those ladies who are organized/disciplined enough to plan and complete a monthly freezer cooking day. I love the idea of having meals in the freezer but rarely make it happen.
And I wasn't planning to do any freezer cooking this month, but if you go to my basement (please don't, it's dangerous) you'll find a very happy freezer. Or, at least, I get happy when I look at the freezer.
With my sister's help last week, I'm well stocked in the baking/bread department.
My dad (a dairy farmer) had a heifer go down. Then men (my dad, brothers and husband) butcher pork every year and have been wanting to try butchering their own beef. Now seemed like a good time - though the hot weather wasn't ideal.
Thanks to some hard work, generosity, and a future sister-in-law who once worked for a butcher, I was given a huge amount of wonderful beef on Saturday.
In the past, when we have gotten a quarter of beef from the butcher, the ground beef is already packed and frozen. Since this ground beef was just heaped in dish pans, I thought it was perfect opportunity to make some freezer meals. I should have called a friend and made a fun day of it but since it was a last minute idea, I just muddled through with next to no planning. It took me parts of two days. But look at the results!
4 lb made into meatloaves
6 lb made into hamburger patties
2 lb of taco meat
4 lb of sloppy joe/barbque
4 lb meat browned with peppers and onions to be added to lasagna, pizza, chili, etc
Besides the burgers we ate Sunday night with guests, the sloppy joe we consumed at lunch and the meat balls that are in the fridge for tonight, everything went into the freezer.
The remainder of the ground beef, I just put into freezer bags and froze raw.
I have no idea how many meals this will make for us. Our family is consuming much more food this past year and a 1 lb meatloaf, that at one time would give us a meal and enough for leftovers, is now scarfed down in minutes. But I'm sure looking forward to lots of quick meals and impromptu cookouts this summer. I don't really enjoy getting my hands into raw meat and sure liked getting it all done (plus the dishes) at one time.
I didn't take the time to take many photos, but here is a few.
I placed the meat balls on the broiler tray and baked them for about 25 minutes until they were just browned.
Now they are ready for meatball subs or spaghetti.
I lined the meatloaf pans with plastic wrap. Once they are frozen, I'll pop the loaves out of the pan and place in ziploc bags.
I also tried my mom's method of making broth from the bones. The result was 2 gallon of the richest beef broth I've ever seen! I would have liked to can the broth but it was already late Saturday night when I drained the broth and it seemed easier just to freeze. Some of the broth will be added to canned vegetable soup later this summer.