Monday, July 12, 2010

Freezer Cooking - Ground Beef

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 meatballs
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.

What is your favorite beef freezer recipe?


  1. I smiled at your remark about consuming more food than you used to. Guess what, it only increases! We use a lot of food for some reason, guess a good appetite is a sign of healthy workers.

  2. We also butcher our own beef as well as pigs (in the fall).

    We have kept (raw) hamburger for over a year without any freezer burn by packaging this way: first, make a ball of the meat, then wrap in saran wrap and finally wrap in butcher's (freezer) paper.

    My family has been doing it this way since before I was born and this seems to be the best way to do it! :)

  3. Good job! I know it's hard work. I pre-freeze 30 lbs of hamber and chicken every 3 months. It's nice to not have to cook the main dish for 3 months but does take some work. I was going to tell you about the book, "Fix, Freeze, and Feast." It is an awsome freezer main dish book. Their whole goal is to make marinades (Takes 10 minutes to throw together enough for 3 meals) and then you just slide the chicken, or steak into the bag and freeze. It is really fast, and I enjoy doing that because it frees me up to make side dishes. Any way, having done the processing of 30 lbs last week: GOOD JOB!

  4. Debbie in East TNJuly 12, 2010 at 6:29 PM

    No wonder your blog was silent this weekend. My Goodness, you did all this while taking care of the children and everything else you do.
    What an industrious young lady you are. I know your Mother must be terribly proud of you.

  5. I also like having my ground meat products ready. When my sister and I do freezer cooking its the meat products we prepare. Only we purchase the 5 lb. rolls of beef from the market. Its hard to get any part of a fresh cow here. We also like to pre-make our Hamburgers, Meatloaf, Meatballs, Salisbury Steaks and what I lovingly call Ground Beef Base. We will add in a few whole chickens to braise and get stock and cooked chopped meat as well. I like to stagger when they run out so I'm not doing so much crazy work all at once. I have no idea how those OAMC mom's keep up every month. LOL.

  6. Amazing Job!!

    I need to get back to stocking up my freezer!! Its just so easy and saves so much time to have things waiting on me in the freezer!!

    Thanks for the great posts!!!


  7. Great idea-- thanks for sharing! It's so nice to have a stocked freezer.

  8. just found your blog and am delighted!!!!!!!!! I'll be back to ead your archives...we have similar interests:) I sent you an invite to my blog!!


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