Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Freezer cooking with a bundled meat pack

One of the things that brings me great joy is having meals ready in the freezer to make my life easier.  Check out the category at the right for lots of other blogs on how to do this in general.  Today I'm focusing on something new I tried to bring a new twist to my freezer cooking.
"Grandpas" meat bundle from Sheltons

Locally we have a store called Sheltons.  They offer "meat bundles" which I thought I'd try with my next freezer cooking.  The prices come out pretty well and in this case I got a variety of meats instead of say buying 40lbs of boneless chicken breast at a time when it's on sale and stocking my freezer with all chicken dishes.

For those of you not living near Niles MI, I'm sure if you check many of your local stores with butchers probably offer similar bulk buying options.

The one I tried contained 3lbs of boneless skinless chicken breast, 3lbs of ground round, 3lbs of sliced bacon, 3lbs of pork cutlets, 3lbs of boneless pork chops, 3lbs of ground sausage and 3lbs of chicken drumsticks.  With this I made 3 Chicken Chili's, 3 Bacon/Tomato pasta, 3 pans of Lasagna, 3 batches of Ziti, 1 batch of parsley Parmesan Chicken and I have the pork cutlets and pork chops to grill or bake as one meal each.  So that's 14 main meal dishes for $39 in meat cost.  And, the beauty of it is that we have a nice variety instead of chicken, chicken, chicken or pork, pork, pork etc...  It worked out so well that I think next time I'll buy two bundles.

Now, I know, some of you want to have the recipes.  Really, I recommend you take your favorites that use bacon, chicken, ground round etc... but if you'd like to try mine.  Here' you go:
Finished Meals, ready for the freezer
es (don't overcook, just have them slightly al dente) but this time I didn't have the freezer space so I just froze sauces.

Chicken Chili-This one I've blooged on before so you'll find it here.

Parsley Parmesan Chicken- This is one from 30 day Gourmet but it is a password protected one so I'll give you my version.  Just bag up your chicken pieces (in this case the 3lbs of drumsticks would make one meal for our family of 5 who eat meat) and pour bottled Italian dressing right into the bag.  I probably use about 3/4 to 1 cup of dressing.  Now in a sandwich bag put a teaspoon or two of paprika, a little salt and pepper, 1 cup of dry bread crumbs (I use Italian seasoned) and 1/2 to 2/3 cup of Parmesan cheese.  Seal the sandwich bag and put it inside the larger freezer bag with the chicken.  Now seal the large bag and freeze.  When you are ready to cook it just thaw and coat the chicken pieces with the crumb mix and bake at 350 until the chicken is done (time will depend on size of chicken pieces you are using.)

Lasagna-This one is not really a recipe either.  Just make your lasagna however you usually do, only don't precook the noodles.  Layer with the noodles uncooked.  Before you put your pans in the freezer just add water down the side of the pan (so it doesn't "wash" all your sauce off the top) until you can see the water about 1/2 to 2/3 up.  The only trick is it needs to thaw at least 24 hours so that the noodles will "cook".   I layered mine with jarred sauce, cottage cheese, crumbled cooked ground round, basil, and mozzarella cheese.  Feel free to add what you like.

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