I love pre-cooking ground beef. Many of my survival meals depend on it. Maybe I’m the only one who, even when she has a menu plan, finds herself with only 15 minutes to get a meal ready.
But sometimes, I need my ground beef to not be pre-cooked. Freshly grilled-by-hubby burgers are much tastier than defrosted-by-mommy ones. And for cooking with my kids, I want them to know how to cook the beef, not just assemble a recipe using what I already cooked.
Here’s my method for freezing raw ground beef. It’s nothing earth-shattering, and is pretty much the way my mother always did it. But I have come up with a few tricks that make it work well for us.
I cover a cookie sheet in wax paper. Then I form the raw hamburger meat into patties, and place them about an inch apart on the paper. Once the cookie sheet is filled, I put another layer of wax paper (or parchment paper) on top of the formed patties, and make another layer. I keep stacking it up until I’ve used all the meat. (Or until I’m afraid it will topple over.)
I then cover the entire thing tightly with aluminum foil and place it on a flat surface in the freezer until the first time I need it.
At that point, I put the extra frozen patties in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag.
I consider each patty to be ¼ pound, but I don’t actually measure them. I just grab whatever seems like the amount for a recipe. Since most of the ingredient amounts in my recipes end in “ish” . . . it works fine for me. My mother always used a patty mold to get exact amounts.
Our menu plan this week:
Tuesday: Leftover chicken fried rice brought home from the lake (I pre-cooked all of the ingredients and made this as our meal for the extended family).
Wednesday: Leftover hot dogs from the lake (We don’t turn down free food ’round here).
Thursday: Tacos (my 7yo’s meal for the summer)
Friday: Out to Eat
Saturday: Grilled burgers
I’m linking this up to Menu Plan Monday over at Orgjunkie.com and the Homemaking Link-Up at Raising Homemakers.
The Amazon link to hamburger patty molds is an affiliate link.
Kara Nutt says
Most of my recipes in in “ish” too.
It may not be earth shattering, but it hadn’t occured to me! haha! It’s so much easier and cheaper to buy ground beef in bulk, but freezing it in that huge chunk is just not convenient at all! Thanks for the tip!
One Busy Chick says
Love it! It never occurred to me to freeze in patties before. Any nifty freezer ideas for other items, I’m all for hearing it 🙂 This momma is a busy one and can use all the help she can get 😉
Thanks for sharing!
Here are some other sites with freezer tips (that I have meant to try but haven’t gotten around to yet. . . .):
Hope you can find some helpful tips in these!
Whenever I have to cut up onion for a recipe, I cut up extra and freeze it. I try to always have a bag of chopped onion in my freezer. I’ve seen that you can buy frozen bags of chopped onion and chopped green pepper in the frozen vegetable section of the grocery store, so I do this with peppers (that will be cooked) as well, especially when I can buy them on sale. Frozen celery discolors a bit, but is still good for dumping into a soup. I’ve also frozen extra sautéed mushrooms to be used in later recipes.
Good point about sometimes wanting the meat cooked, and sometimes not. Meal sized portions would thaw easier as well. 🙂
That’s a great idea! I never seem to have a big enough empty space in my freezer for cookie sheets.
What a good idea! I freeze my ground beef in one pound chunks which works for most recipes but if its just one or two people eating the meal I don’t need that much meat. Thanks for sharing!
When hamburger is on sale, I buy a couple of large packages. Then I brown ALL of at least 1 package with some minced onion & garlic, let it drain and cool and then divide it into freezer bags…if it was a 5 lb package, I use 5 bags. The other pack I make into several meatloafs, bake them, cool and wrap with plastic wrap and then freezer paper. Makes it much easier to throw together a quick meal. If you forget to take the meatloaf out of the freezer in the morning, you can always defrost it in the microwave. I do the same when chicken leg quarters are on sale. Cut them apart, freeze the legs (separately on a cookie sheet, then transfer to a freezer bag) for frying which is my son’s favorite. I boil all the thighs with seasonings, debone and shred the meat, then put in 2 cup portions in freezer bags. I HATE deboning & shredding chicken, but we love chicken & rice, or noodles or dumplings. This way I only have to do it one time and we have enough for several meals.
Oops! Forgot about the broth…I also put it in 2 cup portions and freeze it, sometimes in plastic containers and sometimes in freezer bags so it’s also ready for chicken recipes.