For 15-20lbs of ground beef I take and make burgers and meatloaf with the raw meat and freeze them. The burgers get stacked with wax paper between them in a freezer bag. Each freezer bag has the number I need for one meal. I also make meatballs but I cook them and then flash freeze on a cookie sheet and then transfer to a freezer bag. I also brown some of the ground beef and put in plastic containers/freezer bags the amount that I need for a meal of spaghetti, chili, goulash, and sloppy joes.
For chicken meals, I normally just get the Quick frozen boneless chicken breasts/tenders because they are usually on sale more than fresh chicken. So I just take a bag out the night before for the dinner meal the next day. This week however, it was fresh chicken that I had gotten at Sam's in 6lb packages. When I get home I clean and de-fat them and put them in a freezer bag in the number I need for a meal(usually 5-6 breasts do it for my family of 7). Lately, the fresh chicken breasts from Sams have been averaging a pound each and have been thick! So I have only needed to use 3-4 breasts for each of our meals. With the breasts being thick I butterfly them to make the meat stretch a little more. It also helps to butterfly them when you know that you are grilling them because they will cook a little more evenly! I also will cut up the raw chicken to pull out for using in soups and such. I didn't get any whole chickens this week, however, when I get a couple of whole chickens on sale, I like to have them to pull out of the freezer for the next day for a drop in the crock pot and forget type meal! LOL
For pork chops...I get one of those half boneless pork loins and bring it home and slice it into pork chops(or you can have the butcher at the grocery store do it too!) and once again make sure that I put wax paper between the chops and divide it into the meals in freezer bags. OR I get the really thick already cut chops at Sam's and bring them home and butterfly them into thinner chops to get more meals out of them.
The other thing I do is have a baking day where I get a bunch of quick breads/muffins, cookies, and other snacks in the freezer.(This I did a couple of weeks ago before I went shopping) The quick breads/muffins can be used for breakfast along with some scrambled eggs. The cookies are just nice to have for that sweet tooth! LOL
Another thing for breakfast that I have made ahead for my boys is "Mom's Egg McMuffins" toasted english muffin with scrambled egg patty, sliced american cheese, and bacon or ham or sausage patty. Wrap the individually with plastic wrap and then put in a bread bag. When you want one take it out microwave for 20 seconds and then turn it over and microwave for another 20 seconds, if still cold in the middle microwave for 10 more seconds. Let set for 2 minutes and eat! You can use croissants or biscuits for the same type of sandwiches. These can be frozen too!! After making them, just let them cool and double wrap! You can put a frozen sandwich in the microwave and heat for 30-40 seconds! or you can let it thaw in the fridge and then heat up.
I found doing things this way I am not tied down with the precooked meals in the freezer. If I want to try something different/new for a meal I can without having to go to the store to get other meat to use. I also found that doing my meats ahead and putting them in freezer, I have been able to cut the time in the kitchen preparing the meal in half! Most of meals I can get done in an hour or less, unless of course I am using my crock pot! LOL I have found too that it makes planning out my meals for the week a lot easier. After writing down menus, I post them where my dh or dc can see what is going to be for dinner and they can help me make sure that the next day's meat is out thawing the night before we needed it! I also found that when I had a new baby I was able to nurse baby and put down for a nap and then prepare and eat dinner before baby would need my attention again. If I am using my crock pot I would just put the items in the crock pot when I had about 5 minutes in the morning before lunch.
The results of this week:
- 27 burgers made for 3 meals
- 18 pork chops made for 2 meals
- 4 bags browned ground beef for 4 meals
- 6 bags chicken for 6 meals
It has been too hot to bake this week, so I premeasured some fruits and zucchini to freeze for breads or muffins for when the weather is cooler. I have:
- 4-2 cup bags of shredded zucchini
- 2 bags mashed bananas
- 6 containers of blueberries
This post is linked at:
- Frugal Friday at Life as Mom!