This week I would like to share some of my favorite time-saving freezer kitchen tips with you. Today’s tip is how to freeze ground beef.
Even though I am a good cook, I don’t really like to cook, so I have found lots of little ways to make prep a little easier by doing the work ahead of time and then just pulling things right out of the freezer ready to go, like how to freeze ground beef so it’s ready for taco night. See how I freeze green peppers and bananas, too.
And because I have 3 teenagers who are always hungry, any way I can find to make cooking faster and save some money by buying meat and produce in bulk is a good thing in my book!
So, here is how I freeze ground beef for recipes:
I buy 80/20 lean ground beef in 5 pound packages at our wholesale store, Sam’s Club. I have found that the leaner the beef, the more expensive it is, but it is always cheaper per pound to buy in larger quantities, even though it is hard to use it all at once.
How to prepare the ground beef:
First, I pull out my big skillet and brown 2 1/2 pounds at a time. I don’t add any seasonings to the meat so it will be ready to add to any recipe. I place a colander in a large metal mixing bowl in the kitchen sink and drain the beef into the colander so that the grease drips into the bowl. (Yes, even though we usually buy 80/20 meat, there is still lots of grease, which is why I use this method).
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I spoon the beef into freezer-safe containers and let them sit on the counter for a bit while I finish cooking up all the meat. I have used the same storage containers for years. Here they are. They are sturdy and meant for the freezer, yet can also be washed in the dishwasher and popped into the microwave. Wonderful!
Once all the meat is cooked and put in the containers, and the containers are cool enough to handle, but still pretty hot, I transfer them into the fridge to cool down some more. I don’t want to put really hot food into the freezer. Once the meat is cooled down, I put on the lids and write the date on a piece of masking tape I stick on the top of the lid. The ground beef can be safely stored in the freezer for 3 to 4 months this way.
In the meantime, I pop the metal bowl of grease into the freezer as well. The grease will harden into a solid block. Once it is hard, I take the bowl out of the freezer, turn it upside down in the sink and run hot water over the bottom. The block of grease will pop right out. I put the block into several layers of plastic grocery bags and put it back in the freezer until garbage day, when it gets tossed with the rest of the garbage. Easy clean up, no smell of rancid grease and no clogging the kitchen drain. Yay! (*Make sure there are no holes in the bottom of the grocery bags! I found this one out the hard way…)
How to use:
When I need a pound of ground beef, I just grab one from the freezer, pop the lid up on one side to vent, and microwave for 3-4 minutes. The beef is hot throughout and ready to add to recipes. This method works fabulously for taco night or in boxed dinners like dirty rice.
But here are a couple of my family’s favorite recipes if you’d like to try them out.
An easy casserole to throw together on a hectic night that your whole family will love.
Spicy one-dish meal full of brown rice, zucchini, tomatoes, and ground beef – hearty and delicious.
So, I hope you find this ground beef freezer kitchen tip helpful. Stay tuned for some more tips later this week.
I know tips like these sure save me time when I am cooking, and money, too, since I can save a few cents per pound by buying meat and produce in bulk, and hey, when you’re feeding a family of five, every little bit helps!
Do you have any time-saving tricks of your own? I’d love to hear about them!
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