Thursday, October 30, 2008

Brown the Beef

If you want to make life simpler in your kitchen, do some of your work ahead of time. I went grocery shopping this morning and bought 4 lbs. of organic ground beef. That's about what I buy for two weeks worth...two ground beef dishes a week. When I walked in the door, I immediately got out my big ol' family skillet and browned all four pounds of beef with about 1/2 of a large sweet onion. I drained it and now it is cooling.

I have labeled 4 freezer Ziploc bags for the meat once it has cooled. One will be for Crockpot Chili. The others are for spaghetti sauce, lasagna, and Cincinnati Chili. I will freeze the Crockpot Chili with all of the ingredients in with the beef...beans, tomatoes, spices. For the spaghetti sauce and lasagna, I just will split up the beef into their quart size bags to be ready for when I need it for sauce. For the Cincinnati Chili, I will just add the spices for that recipe, and freeze (in my cabinet I already have the tomato sauce and tomato paste for that recipe...and I took a Sharpie and put a big "X" on those cans so that I know they are to be used for freezer food).

Browning the beef ahead of time will save you time in the future because you only had to do it once instead of four times (which also decreases your dishwashing time!) and it also makes you know that you have meals planned and ready to go.

photos by dronir


julia said...

Aimee, this is such a GREAT tip! I almost always buy ground beef in large quantities when it is on sale, and then divide it up and freeze it uncooked. I never thought about cooking it all ahead of time. What a time saver! I will definitely start doing this. Thanks for sharing this idea! (Oh, and adding some of the ingredients for certain recipes is a great idea too!)

Grace said...

This is one of those ideas that makes me wonder why I've wasted so much time NOT doing it this way!

Katrina said...

I do this, too! And yes it saves a bunch of time and is so much easier. : )

Have you ever heard of "the big cook"? I like doing up those recipes for the freezer when chicken is on sale.