A Brilliant Idea Involving Meat


I've been really into freezing things lately. First, for the purposes of preserving food before it goes bad. Onions, green pepper, celery, bananas, strawberries, etc. That's kind of obvious, and I feel like an idiot for not realizing this sooner. 

What's that now? You can cut up a banana and freeze it before it goes bad to use in smoothies? AMAZING. Or not. 

But I did come up with the second reason to freeze things that is brilliant. BRILLIANT, I tell you. I'm sure no one has thought of this idea yet. Okay, they probably have. I still like to think I came up with it. This will save you both time and money. You're welcome. (And if you're like, "Um, I've been doing this for years," then I say shame on you for not telling me about this sooner.)

Picture this: 
You're in a hurry to cook something for dinner. You find a fairly easy recipe, and you have all the ingredients. Excellent. You start to make dinner and realize the first step is to cook and drain a pound of ground beef

So now, instead of jumping right to the actual making of the tacos or the casserole or whatever it is you're cooking, you have to get a skillet out and stand by the stove browning ground beef. And then you have to drain the grease off, and before you know it, it's been 20 minutes and you haven't even started anything yet!

Are you annoyed yet? Can anyone else relate to this?
Enter: my brilliant idea.

[ Pause for effect ]

Individual 1 lb. bags of cooked ground beef in the freezer!


Instead of buying the 1-lb blocks of meat, save $ by buying the huge 5- or 6-lb block of meat (see the first picture above). THEN, cook it all at once. This part takes a bit of time, but it saves time when you need it. 

Cook and drain all the meat and divide it into individual freezer bags. Sometimes I even make a bag with 2 pounds of meat in it for the Crock-Pot casserole stuff.

Then, when you're wanting to cook tacos or whathaveyou, just pull your bag of cooked ground beef out of the freezer, run it under hot water for 1-2 minutes, and that's it! It's not like chicken that has to thaw for a day. It seriously thaws out in a few minutes!

I started doing this a few months ago and will never go back. Maybe I'm just slow when it comes to cooking ground beef, but this little trick seriously saves me loads of time during the weekday. PLUS, it's cheaper to buy meat in large amounts like this. 

I get so happy seeing all my bags of meat in the freezer.
It's not weird.
I might be a little too proud of myself for this one.

But seriously. If you aren't doing this, you are missing out on the finer things in life. 
Like more time and less cooking stress.
Check out recipes I've blogged here.
Katie said...

I need to do this!!! what a great way to save time! and money!

henning love said...

yes brilliant brilliant brilliant!! it is such a bummer when i have to brown the meat when all i was thinking is i get to start cooking right away nope brown the meat!

Sarah said...

Love this! I always forget to defrost the big hunk of meat ahead of time and then I'm really behind! Or eating cereal!

Breenah said...

When we still bought ground beef I'd buy the HUGE 10 lb roll and separate it and freeze it, but I never cooked it first. Now we just buy ground turkey at Aldi because it's cheaper per pound than even the huge things of ground beef. And I like it better.

Kerry @ Till Then Smile Often said...

I portion out my packaged meats but never cooked them first before freezing. Brilliant!

Anonymous said...

So this post makes me feel dumb... why didn't I think of this?! I HATE having to cook ground beef/turkey just as much as you! It takes forever and then I still have other things to prepare to go with the meat! Thanks for sharing this (for the dumb people like me who never thought of this ha).

Aleshea said...

I'm always complaining how groud beef is the most worthless things to cook. Your just watchin' it to make sure it doesn't burn.

I love this idea and now must try it

Anonymous said...

I read a tip on Iowa Girl Eats that you can use 8oz of chopped mushrooms for 8 oz of ground beef if you mix them together - it'll take the beef even farther and it doesn't taste any differently and you're getting more nutrients!

Heather Nelsen said...

Brilliant! I had no idea it would thaw that fast!! Oh the little things that make life easier. ;) Thanks for sharing this, Amanda!


From Foothills to Fog said...

You're such a genius! Love this idea and will have to try it...why didn't I think of that!?

shelleystirs said...

This thing is my FAVORITE kitchen tool:


I use it when I brown ground beef, ground venison, and Italian sausage.

Awesome Amy said...

I do this with for our venison/pork mixtures, the ground beef - but also I will cook up a bag of chicken breasts in the crockpot and shred it in my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer (I know, super fancy over here..) and then divy it up into freezer bags..

During the week - what you wanna eat? Sloppy Joes, Hamburger Helper (don't judge), Tacos (chicken or beef?), Goulash, Enchiladas, BBQ Chicken Sandwiches? What? We need to bring a dip to a football party? Let me grab some chicken and make some Buffalo Chicken Dip!

So easy - even if I do decide 10 minutes before we normally eat, just take a ziploc from the freezer and thaw under/in hot water.


I also use the pampered chef tool that ShellyStursma *previous comment* uses - LOVE IT!

Also - Freeze the stuff flat. I asked my husband to bag and tag and throw in the freezer once.. we had frozen cooked shredded chicken balls that took up way too much random space, and that took longer than necessary to unthaw.. what a rookie - but he's easy on the eyes, so I will keep him!

Julie @ Just the Joy's said...

I've always wondered if the meat tastes the same?! Does it taste like it's dried out at all? I might have to do this because I definitely dread the meals where you have to brown the meat before even starting the rest of the recipe. #lazy