Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hamburger Meat Tips

1. Always look for sales on Hamburger Meat so that you can stock up and freeze these items. I usually buy items in 5 lb packs for our family of 3. If I get a really good deal I try to buy more depending on what my budget allows for.

2. When you get home with your purchases PLEASE fight the temptation to put them in the freezer. This will only cause you frustration later. Either place the items in the refrigerator for a day or two or continue to #3.

3. Grab that huge pot you only use a couple of times a year for large family gatherings. Place all the meat you purchased (okay, be realistic and don't overflow your pot) into the pot. Begin to cook. I like medium heat for this but use your own judgment. Why do this? It is much easier and a better use of your time to cook all the meat rather than freeze, thaw, and then cook later on. Keep reading you will enjoy.

4. Watch this so you don't burn the bottom and keep stirring. Once cooked I use a colander and pour my meat in there to drain off all of the fat. Then, if I feel like it, I actually rinse my meat. Some people don't prefer to do this and that is okay. It is your personal preference.

5. Next I wait until the meat is cool enough to handle and get my regular sandwich size ziploc (or Walmart brand) bags out. I date the outside of the bag with a permanent marker just so I will know. I measure 2 cups (not an exact science so a bit heaping is okay) and place this into the bag.

Note: If you use a higher fat content than 80/20 you may need a bit more than 2 cups but this measurement works fine in our household.

6. I then place as many bags as I can into a Gallon Size Ziploc or Hefty Freezer Bag (a good brand is needed on this to keep it from freezer burning). By doing many smaller bags into one large freezer bag I am saving cost because lets face it those freezer bags aren't cheap. I then place these bags into my freezer for future use. You can usually keep these in your freezer for up to 3 months. I try to use mine in 2 but I usually don't have a problem using it in 1.

The Day I need it:

Rather than thinking about that frozen solid mass of hamburger meat you normally have in the freezer try coming home happy because you can just pull out one of those bags and cut it open, place it in either the microwave or on the stove, and warm it up. It will be as if you had just cooked it. You can go ahead and add in the rest of your ingredients, add it to a soup (you can actually do this without even thawing if you let it sit in an already hot soup), or add it to spaghetti sauce (same, no need to thaw). It will break apart just as it was when you first cooked it.

Trust me, I can come home and have a nice pot of Taco Soup on and done in 20 minutes including simmering. I will NEVER freeze raw hamburger meat again...EVER! Spaghetti??? Piece of cake...although I usually use my frozen homemade meatballs for this one.

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