Time Saving Cooking Tip For Teachers
If you can complete just one step over the weekend, you’ll love my favorite time-saving cooking tip!
My Favorite Time Saving Cooking Tip!
I keep pre-cooked and browned hamburger stored in 1 1/2 pound portions in my freezer ready to use in recipes whenever I need it.
I typically brown 5 – 7 pounds of hamburger over a weekend to use on a weeknight when I’m waaay too tired to deal with the extra 20 minutes of browning hamburger. That’s doesn’t mean that I’ll use all portions of the meat during that particular week. Don’t worry – the meat can be safely stored in the freezer for 3 – 4 months, although mine never lasts that long!
After teaching all day, the LAST thing I feel like doing is preparing a meal from scratch. I try to be very health conscious – and I’m sure you want only the healthiest of meals for your family as well – so fast food isn’t really an option (not on a regular basis anyway!)
Plus, I don’t really like cooking, so I need a way to get a healthy meal on the table and escape the kitchen a.s.a.p.!
Defrosting frozen uncooked ground beef is never fun, and neither is stopping at the food store every other day after school. This time-saving cooking tip is such a help to me and I hope to you, too!
It only takes a bit longer to brown all 6 pounds than it does to brown only a pound or two! And a bit of time spent on the weekend is well worth the time saved during the week.
How Do I Use The Meat?
You can add any type of seasoning to the meat that you want. I usually add just some salt and pepper, but I’ve also added onion and green peppers or Italian seasoning. Sometimes I actually plan ahead and know what I want to use the meat for. When I add special seasoning or other ingredients, I use a Sharpie to write on the bag what seasonings have been added.
While the meat is browning, get out gallon-sized food storage bags and a scoop. I use the bags that zip closed to avoid messes, and the gallon size is plenty big.
Decide how much meat you want in each bag. The storage size of meat will probably depend on the size of your family and what you plan to use the meat for. Planning tacos or sloppy joes? Just add more meat in each bag. Want to add it to spaghetti sauce? You might not need as much, so a smaller bag will do.
If your family is small or your children are young, you won’t need as much. When my 3 kids were in high school – holy wowza! I couldn’t keep enough food in the house!
The above photo shows a bag with about 1 1/2 pounds of meat. I push the meat to the bottom of the bag making a “brick” shape, then fold down the bag while squeezing out the air. After you fold the bag, tightly zip lock the bag.
These are the five bags that I made out of 6-7 pounds of ground beef.
The final step is to freeze the bags of meat. I try to keep them in the brick shape so they stack easily.
I consider this an added bonus – when the meat is frozen, some of the fat sticks to the plastic in the bags, so the meat that comes out is healthier and less fatty. But remember that fat offers a bit of added flavor, so if that bothers you, you might want to plan additional seasoning or cheese. For me, it’s a health benefit!
Using the Frozen Meat
When you’re ready to use the meat, take it out of the freezer about 15 minutes beforehand, and break up the chunks with your hand. BAM! It’s ready to go right into a skillet! You can also put it into a bowl and warm it up – I do that and add cheese and salsa for some quick nachos or tacos.
If the meat will be used for chili, I warm the meat in the microwave for about one minute, then simply add the meat to the crockpot.
I’ve added the meat to spaghetti and other pasta, used it with Hamburger Helper, made soups and chili, tacos, nachos, etc. There really hasn’t been a time that the frozen meat hasn’t worked out well for me.
You could probably roll the raw meat into meatballs prior to freezing them, but I haven’t tried it. I’ll let YOU try it and you can let me know how it works!
What a relief to have supper half-prepared before I even get home from school!
I’d love to hear about your favorite time saving cooking tip! Always feel free to email me at Caffeinequeenteacher@gmail.com and I’ll add them into this blog post – giving you credit for your wonderfulness!