This week there were a lot of good meat sales. Our freezer stash was getting low, so it was perfect timing. My husband and I went to a few different grocery stores to get all the specials. Most of the meat came in the big bulk packs. We spent about 2 1/2 hours preparing all the meat for the freezer.
Some of the meat required only dividing into smaller meal-size portions (stewing beef, chicken thighs and pork tenderloin). I cut up a roast beef into strips and make packages of stir-fry meat. Some of the hamburger was frozen raw, in small packages, but most of it I precooked. I do not care for traditional OAMC recipes because I do not like the texture changes of some of the ingredients. I do like to make some meal "starters" to freeze that make it easier and quicker to get supper on the table when I am busy.
For spaghetti starter, I brown ground beef, onions, celery and peppers together. Then I divide the cooked ingredients into in freezer bags. It's quick to make a meal on days that I work . I just add the contents of one freezer bag (frozen or thawed doesn't matter) to jarred spaghetti sauce . While it heats, I cook the noodles. Dinner can be on the table within 30 minutes.
I cook a more generic hamburger mix, with just celery and onions for recipes like shepherd's pie, hamburger helper, sloppy joes etc. Again I just add different ingredients to make different meals.
When we got home from the grocery store we set up and assembly line to get everything done. We clean and chop all the vegetables we will be using. I use my large, rectangular electric frying pan to cook the ground beef. An entire large family pack of hamburger will fit in it. While it is cooking, we work on re-packaging all the other meat. We removed the skins from some of the chicken thighs (we save the skins for making stock). We bag all the meat, using kitchen scale to make packages all close to the same size. Everything is labelled with a sharpie. We pack the bags as flat as possible to save room in the freezer. Last of all we make a list so we can keep track of what we have in the freezer.
In less than 3 hours we froze 6 spaghetti starters, 2 shepherd pie starters, 9 packages of stew meat, 2 packs of beef stir fry meat, 3 packs of chicken thighs (one skinless), 4 packs of plain raw ground beef, 3 pork tenderloins and 3 roasts. I love to look in the freezer and see my "stash".