Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Time Savers

Hi -

I have found, for myself, that if I spend one day a month, or the afternoon after a shopping trip to our Costco, or Sam's Club, that I can get lots of things pre-done, making cooking easier down the road.

For instance - I buy only blocks of cheese, no pre-shredded stuff, and the bags of boneless skinless thighs, and breasts, and then a bag of chicken legs. I also by the massive packages of ground beef/turkey.

Once I'm home, I shred the cheese in the food processor (I actually use my attachment for my Kitchen-Aid mixer), measure out 2 C portions, put it into zip-top freezer bags and date the outside. That way, I can freeze 10 pounds of cheese, but always have it ready to go for casseroles, tacos, or whatever I might need.

I separate the ground meat into 1 - 2 pound portions, and freeze that in bags also. It keeps longer in a freezer bag than in the thin plastic and foam from the grocery, and we can't get a side of beef, pre-wrapped real easily or cheap around here. I tend to brown about half of the meat, and leave the other half uncooked for meatloaf or meatballs.

The chicken (or turkey) parts, I throw into my largest stock pot with an entire onion cut into quarters, some salt, pepper, and enough water to cover the meat. I cook it on low for about 3 hours. Once it has cooled down, I skim anything off the top, shred the meat, and measure it into bags in 1 - 2 pound options (usually about 4 - 6 cups). This way I get a mix of light and dark meat, which makes for good flavor in soups and casseroles. I also save a ton of money not buying the canned stuff.

Each bag gets dated and used in the order that I bought it.

You can season any of the meat ahead of time as well, so if you know you like tacos, you can brown, season and freeze several pounds of meat, so when you want tacos, you just defrost the meat, and warm it through...great for those busy days, or days when things seem to go awry.


FarmWife said...

I love these ideas!! Now if only we could get a Sams/Cosco... ;)

Kork said...

OY! How horrible would it be to take a cooler to Evansville and shop at theirs?