Saturday, June 23, 2012

How to save time (and money, sorta): By Prebrowning Meat

I have the most wonderful Husband in the world! (There are many reasons that I believe that, but today I will share just one :) He browns meat for me. I (for some strange reason completely unknown to me) hate browning meat. Hate it. Maybe it is because you spend a decent amount of time standing there cooking something that is not even remotely impressive, and it is not even a meal of it's own. Maybe it is because I have so many other things to do that I hate to spend so much time on this small fraction of the meal I am making. Maybe it is because generally the rest of the ingredients take far less prep, so if I didn't have to brown the meat I could throw the meal together in less than 10 minutes and then do something else while it cooks, but no, I have to stand here browning meat. I don't know, whatever the reason, I hate browning meat. Fortunately I have the most wonderful husband in the world (as previously stated) and he will actually spend several hours once every couple of months (or whenever we run out of browned meat) browning up large batches of meat for me. He started doing this when I was pregnant and on couch rest (I could throw a couple ingredients together but I wasn't supposed to stand there cooking) and the smell of cooking (and raw) meat was bothering me. He has since continued this because he is as previously mentioned the most wonderful husband in the world (and possibly also because it means I cook some of his favorite dishes more often, but mostly I think it is because he doesn't mind it, I hate it, and it makes my job of cooking sooo much easier, like I said, awesome husband award happening here!)

Anyways on to the main point of this post. How to Save time (lots of time) (and sanity) (and money) by prebrowning meat.

Meat (I use hamburger, chicken, and sausage regularly)
Skillet (I (i.e. my husband) use an electric skillet because we think it is easiest, use what is best for you)
Several Spoons
Plates/Bowls for Browned Meat (lined with paper towels to catch the grease and drippings)
Ziplock freezer bags (I use quart size, for 1 lb increments)

If the meat needs to be cut up do this first (or do it while you are browning the other meat if possible). My husband is as aforementioned awesome, so he cuts up the chicken into bite sized pieces before he browns it.
Brown your meat. You can either do 1 lb at a time, or brown several lbs at once and then split it into 1 lb increments (if you brown 4 lbs at once split the meat in 1/4ths) I always package it in 1 lb increments because almost all of my recipes call for 1lb of meat. If you need larger or smaller quantities package accordingly. We (he) use several spoons because we have one spoon for the cooked ground beef and a couple for the uncooked/cooking ground beef to avoid cross contamination.
If you are doing more than 1 type of meat in the same day wash the skillet out between the different types of meat.
We place the meat on a plate or in a bowl to let it cool down a little bit before putting in in the ziplock, this also helps by draining the grease on paper towels.
Package the meat up and put in the freezer. Make sure you mark the packages well. Trust me, it is very difficult to tell ground beef from sausage in a frozen state.
When you are making a meal that calls for that particular meat browned, pull a package out of the freezer and dump it in.
Easy as Pie! (I never understood that phrase, pie is definitely not easy to make, it is easy to eat though, maybe that it the idea?)

Oh and the way this save you money is that you can buy the big packages of meat at the grocery store since you will be browning them all at once. The big packages of meat generally cost less than the individual size packages. You can also stock up when meat is on sale and use this method to store it in easy to use packages.

I always save a couple of packages of raw meat (frozen in individual packages) for the ocasional recipe that doesn't ask for browned meat (hamburgers, a recipe that uses whole chicken pieces, etc) I usually need more raw chicken than other meat.

Pure awesomeness! (Both my husband and the idea of having prebrowned meat in the freezer that I can just dump into a soup, or casserole, or whatever) This suggestion saves me so much time when cooking meals. I really really appreciate having the prebrowned meat available (In case you can't tell :)

Sorry I don't have pictures of the process. Here is a picture of the 3 type of meat after they are frozen in individual bags.

What type of meat would you love to have prebrowned in your freezer?

Linked Up To:
While He Was Napping, Clean and Scentsible, Uncommon, Cornerstone Confessions, Serendipity and Spice, A Pinch of Joy, Addicted to Recipes, My Favorite Finds, Shaken Together,

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