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Freezer Cooking with Meat and Marinades

The other day I made my huge Costco run, and I mean huge! It’s a big process, a bunch of money up front, and the work doesn’t even really start until I bring the groceries home, BUT I save a ton of money and can relatively quickly stock my freezer with a month’s worth of meals.

Some of you may have heard of freezer cooking, or you have joined a friend and spent an entire day cooking. Well, that’s too time-consuming for me, so I do the Costco version. And it makes my month of cooking so much easier!

The majority of what I bring home from Costco is bulk meat. I get about 12 lbs. of hamburger, 15 pork chops, and loads of steak. This trip we also bought our usual stash of bagels, plus a little treat to have in the house: those gigantic Costco muffins!

Once home, I start the process with the muffins and bagels. With both, I cut each one in half and place it in its own small sandwich bag. So every bagel is sliced in half and ready to go, and each humongous muffin is cut in half because that alone is a big indulgence for my family. Once every pastry is in its own bag, I place the lot of them in a huge Ziploc freezer bag, seal it up, and place it in the freezer. Then they are totally ready for lunchboxes, breakfast, or a snack. Just pull a bagel out of the freezer before school, place it in the lunch bag and it’s thawed when it’s time to eat. Bagels are a staple around here, with cream cheese, toasted with butter, any time of day.

Next, I move on to the various meats. So remember that whopping 12 lbs. of hamburger? I cook it ALL in one day. This is the only cooking that needs to take place on prep day, by the way. So I cook up the ground beef, and make three batches of 3 lbs. each for a family favorite, Beef Stroganoff. Each of these three batches, go into a large freezer Ziploc. Then taco meat, 3 lbs. of it, gets placed by the pound into the Ziploc.

Once these are in the freezer, it’s time for the pork chops. I probably spent about $16.00 on a 15-pack of pork chops. But it makes two or three family meals, which at most costs us about $8.oo per meal for our family of 6. We eat 5 pork chops in one family meal, so I split the package of them into thirds. The first batch, I place raw in a freezer Ziploc, and add my marinade for slow-cooker pork chops. The marinated bags go to the freezer, and on the night before serving them, I pull them out, ready for the Crockpot by morning.

The next 5 pork chops are placed in a brown sugar marinade, and the last is a sour cream marinade. They’re all placed in the freezer once the marinade has been poured into the bag with the raw meat.

I do the same thing with the steaks; I place them in their marinade and freeze them for yet another pre-planned meal.

Hurrah! Another month of easy cooking! And it looks like we’ll all be saving time & money this month because our family recipes are below. But I’ll be honest, these recipes are fairly general and you can easily hit up Google for more options. Bon appétit!

Cranberry Chicken

4-6 chicken breasts

1 can whole-berry cranberry sauce

1 pkg Lipton Onion soup mix

1/2 cup French dressing

Bring to a boil, then cool

Pour over raw chicken and freeze in a Ziploc bag. (I double my Ziploc bags)

Cooking day: Thaw and bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours

Beef Tenderloin Marinade

4 lbs beef tenderloin

1 TBS minced garlic

1 TBS salt

1 Tsp pepper

Rub the seasonings on the beef and freeze.

Cooking day: Thaw and bake at 375 for 1 hr uncovered. Let stand for 15 min before carving

Slow Cooker Pork Chop Marinade

1 pkg dry onion soup 

1 cup water

3/4 cup wine

3 TBS minced garlic

3 TBS soy sauce

Pour over meet and freeze.

 Cooking day: thaw and cook for 4-6 hrs on low in Crockpot.

Crock Pot Brown Sugar Pork Loin

4-6 lbs of pork loin

1 tsp garlic

s & p to taste

1 1/2 cups brown sugar (you will divide this)

1 TBS Dijon mustard

1 TBS Balsamic Vinegar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Tub garlic, salt and pepper all over the pork loin that has been pricked multiple times with a fork to allow the seasoning and juices to mix. Pour Balsamic, Dijon and 1/2 the brown sugar over the Pork and freeze in a Ziploc. (Double bag this.) Put the rest of the brown sugar and the cinnamon in a small sandwich Ziploc and put in the outer big Ziploc bag so you have it for serving day. :)

 Cooking day: Thaw. Cook in Crockpot for 7 hours on low. At 7 hours, sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon over the pork and cook for 1 more hour.

Crockpot Taco Chicken

1 lb chicken breast

1 cup chicken broth

1 taco seasoning packet

Mix taco packet with broth and pour over raw chicken...freeze.

Cooking Day: Cook on low 4-6 hours. Shred chicken for tacos or nachos.
Hamburger Stroganoff

(THE BEST!!!!) Recipe from "Don't Panic Dinner's" Kid's LOVE this! (Serves 6-8)

2 lb hamburger

1lb fresh diced mushrooms

1 cup minced onions

1/4 cup butter

2 cans (10 oz) beef bouillon

1/4 cup catsup

2 small garlic cloves crushes or minced instead

2 tsp salt

1/3 cup flour

2 cups sour cream

In a skillet cook and stir mushrooms, onions, and butter until onions are tender. Remove mushrooms and onions. In same skillet, brown the meat. (Set aside 3/4 cup of bouillon; then add remaining bouillon, catsup, garlic, and salt to skillet.  Stir. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Blend reserved bouillon and flour; stir into the meat. Add mushrooms and onion. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute. Stir in sour cream and heat, but do not boil. Freeze in Ziploc.

 Cooking Day: Thaw and warm in a saucepan. Do not boil. Great over Rice or Egg Noodles!

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  1. 4 Comment(s)

  2. By Misty Smith on Jan 9, 2011 | Reply

    Nice Jen! Great practical steps in alleviating the time and organization of preparing the meals for the family.

  3. By Lindsey on Jan 11, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Jen!! This is BRILLIANT!! I so enjoyed meeting you today. Thank you so much for coming and inspiring our MOPS moms this morning! Be blessed!

  4. By Misty on Jan 12, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Jen! Loved this post. Super helpful and and took all your tips and went to work. I hate prep work for meals but this was organized and timely. Thanks!

  5. By Amy on Feb 22, 2011 | Reply

    I just made the cranberry chicken and my family loved it! I look forward to trying some of the other recipes and hopefully getting a few in the freezer too. Thanks for sharing!

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