This month promises to be a busy month in the garden (if the weather cooperates). So once again I am getting food into the freezer to make busy days flow better. The first thing I started with today was my hamburger plan. I started with 6 pounds of hamburger. Here are the meals I made:
Crockpot chili x2
Sloppy joes x1
Beef & bean burrito filling x1
Pizza casserole x2
First thing I did this morning (after making coffee of course ;) .. was to start cooking 8 cups of dried beans. The beans are needed for all the meals except the pizza casserole. You can use any type of beans you would like. I used a mixture of red & black beans…
I combined 8 cups of dried beans, 2 gallons of water and 8t salt. I brought it to a boil, covered and reduced the heat and let it simmer for 2 ½ hours.
After the beans were cooking and the kitchen cleaned up from breakfast I did a few other household chores and when the beans were almost done cooking I began the next step. Since most of the recipes I was making called for onions, peppers, and celery I decided to cut them all up and cook them with my 6 pounds of hamburger at one time. Using my food processor to speed things up I chopped up:
3 large onions
3 large red peppers (green ones would work too)
2 cups sliced celery
I heated up a large (8 quart) stock pot and put a coating of olive oil in it and heated to medium high. I then added the veggies and cooked them part way. I then added the hamburger and began stirring it up. It is a LOT of stuff in the pot.. but it does work! I cooked and stirred the hamburger and veggies until the meat was completely cooked…
When the beans were done cooking I drained off quite a bit of the bean broth. But I wanted to keep some of it.
Now I was ready to assemble my meals. I started with chili. You can find my recipe here: http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/crockpotchili.htm
I put 5 cups of beans (each cup had some bean broth with it) and 3 ½ cups of the cooked hamburger veggie mixture into each of 2 gallon size zip type bags (I made 2 meals of this). Then I added the diced tomatoes and spices according to the recipe.
On cooking day I will put it all in the crockpot and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours.
The next meal I assembled was the sloppy joes. I made one batch of this. I put 5 cups of cooked beans (with a bit of broth) and 3 ½ cups of the hamburger veggie mixture into a gallon size zip type bag. I then added spices according to my recipe found here: http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/blackbeansloppyjoes.htm On cooking day you heat it up on the stove top until hot and bubbly and serve over French bread or rolls.
At this point I needed to do a little kitchen clean up. Before I started that I got my noodles cooking for my Pizza Casserole recipe….
By the time I had my kitchen back in order my pasta had finished cooking and I assembled the Pizza Casserole recipe. I mixed the recipe up in a large bowl to make it a bit easier. I used about 6 ½ cups of the meat mixture in place of the hamburger and onion in the following recipe…
I divided this recipe between 2 zip type gallon size bags...
Here is the recipe…
Pizza Casserole ( for the freezer)
2 lbs ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 jars spaghetti sauce
16 oz pasta (any type, I used whole wheat rotini), cooked and drained
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
4 to 6 oz sliced pepperoni
Heat a large frying pan on medium high heat. Cook hamburger and onion until meat is no longer pink and onion is soft. In a large bowl combine cooked meat/onion mixture, spaghetti sauce, cooked pasta, cheese and pepperoni. Divide mixture between 2 gallon size zip type bags. Label & freeze.
On cooking day: defrost casserole (you can do this the best by pulling it out the night before and defrosting in the fridge) and put in 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes or until it is hot and bubbly. Serve with a salad and French bread.
I then moved onto chicken, which I will post about next time… :)