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Old 09-19-2009, 09:45 PM
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Default Batch cooking to save time and money

One thing I've mastered is filling my freezer with low cost, nutritious meals so I can save time in the evenings and money at the grocery store. I work until 5 every evening, and some nights my son's Tae Kwon Do class isn't over until 6:30 pm.

Today, Superfresh had 80/20 ground beef on sale for $1.59 / lb, plus I had a $2 off beef coupon - so I bought over 8 lbs of ground beef for a little over $10.

Out of this, I'll get at least 8 meals with little effort. I thought I'd share my technique.

1. Using about 2+ lbs of the meat, I made 2 small meatloafs ( I only have 3 people in my family ) and then using the same meatloaf mix, made several dozen small meatballs with the remaining mixture. I put all of these in the oven to bake together. Once everything was cooked and cooled completely, I wrapped them up for the freezer. I now have 2 meatloaf dinners, and meatballs ready for a spaghetti dinner, or meatballs ready for a marinara sauce for meatball subs. ( As this was 80/20 meat, I made sure to cook everything in dishes that would hold the grease. I made sure to spoon it all out before it cooled. )

2. I cooked 4 lbs of the ground beef just browned. No spices, no seasoning - nothing. This I placed in a large roasting pan next to the meatloafs and let the oven do the work. Again, I spooned out the grease and let it cool completely. I placed it all in a large gallon freezer bag. This will become taco meat, sloppy joe meat, pizza topping, impossible cheeseburger pie filling...you name it.

3. The balance of the ground beef I seasoned as for the grill, and was able to make 9 or 10 decent sized hamburgers out of it ( 3 meals for me; one for each person ) -

I could have also just as easily taken 2 lbs and made a pot of chili for the freezer - something I save for winter make ahead meals.

Chicken was also on sale this week, so I bought a large tray of chicken breasts and had Mr Mav grill them tonight. We had grilled chicken this evening, but I chopped up the remaining cooled cooked chicken and placed it in another large bag. Part of this will be the basis for a chicken tortilla soup later this week. I could also make chicken Caesar salads, etc with the leftovers.

He was irritated, but I also had him grill a small steak from the freezer. I had him cook this slightly underdone, so the final cooking finishes it. After this cooled, I sliced it into thin strips and bagged it for the freezer for a stirfry later this week.
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Old 04-09-2012, 08:13 AM
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I know this is an old post, but this is great info, Mav. Thanks!
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Old 04-09-2012, 08:47 AM
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I love the examples gave me great ideas!

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Old 04-09-2012, 09:13 AM
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Thanks for this!
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:38 AM
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Thank you for posting this. I need to start doing some batch cooking and now I have some ideas of where to start!

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Old 04-09-2012, 09:53 AM
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I love doing this with ground beef. A great time saver. I also freeze biscuits (unbaked). It is great to just get out the exact number I need for a meal...no extras which I find I eat. I'm not a great casserole eater but would love to hear other ideas for the freezer.
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:27 AM
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Thanks for bumping this post up. I didn't see it the last time around. I would like to get some ideas also. Summer is coming and it is going to be hectic. Not only do I have 2 horses to finish for show season, I also have a couple horses to train and my SO's 10 yr old DD wants to show so I am getting her going to maybe do a leadline class or (crossing fingers) the walk/trot class!

What this all means is I work until 4pm then get Lexi (the SO's DD) to head to the barn, we clean & brush the horses, then she rides with me giving her instructions. Once she is done, it is my turn to ride my horses. But in the meantime, we have my SO and his DS starving. lol. If I could get stuff prepared a head of time, they can make dinner and have it waiting for us girls!!!! Keep the ideas coming!

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Old 04-09-2012, 10:44 AM
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I do a little bit of OAMC.

When I make meat loaf-I make the minis-my husband is the only one that eats meat loaf and a mini is just the right size. So I make them 10 at a time then all I have to do is add vegetables to them. At the same time I also brown hamburger meat for spaghetti, tacos and Hamburger Helper for quick meals. So that gives me about 15 meals for the month. Also yesterday I sliced my green and red bell peppers for stir fry and then packaged them with the broccoli and carrots, then I just need to cook and add the beef or chicken to have stir fry and another couple of quick meals.

I am glad this came back to the top-love seeing every ones ideas.
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