Thursday, March 11, 2010

Freezer Cooking: Beef/Sausage Recipes

Today I conquered the ground beef/sausage recipes.

I. am. tired.

For some reason I thought it'd be the perfect day, since my sister was coming into town and I knew she'd be able to corral Mary Ella while I cooked. Unfortunately, I forgot that I would be working this morning, THEN going to meet Betsy for lunch, THEN going to pick up Mary Ella, THEN have to go to Costco and WalMart for everything I needed. Note to self: Working + lunch date + Costco + WalMart should not be performed on the same day. But I was just so excited, I couldn't help myself. And I did it!

table mess

So I started with Brown Bag Burritos. When I researched this whole freezer cooking idea, I noticed that so many of the blogger moms who do freezer cooking make brown bag burritos on a regular basis. It seems to be a staple freezer item. I never order burritos at restaurants, and I don't particularly like them in most cases, but since everyone was raving about them I decided to give it a go. And I must say, I am very impressed with how they turned out! In fact, I devoured a couple of them soon after I made them. Here is the recipe:

Brown Bag Burritos (Makes about 15 burritos)

1 lb ground beef
1/3 cup minced onion
1 can refried beans
1 can enchilada sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 T. chili powder
1/2 T. garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
2 cups shredded Fiesta blend cheese
12-15 burrito-size tortillas

Just brown the ground beef in your skillet. Then add all the other ingredients. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes. It'll get real thick. I would show you a picture but this mixture is very gross-looking, to be quite honest. Don't worry, it tastes great!
Scoop out 1/3 cup portions onto burrito-sized tortillas (I bought whole wheat tortillas at CostCo). Roll them up, making sure to fold in the sides so that the mixture doesn't pour out! Then roll the burrito up in a paper towel, and then aluminum foil. Let them cool and put them in your freezer! I packed about 8 burritos into a gallon-size freezer bag and labeled the bag. Then, when you're ready to eat them, just take out as many as you need, pull off the foil and paper towel, and microwave for 1 minute. (The paper towel apparently keeps the burrito moist.) We ended up just eating these for supper since I had some home made salsa on hand from last week, and because they were easy to eat while cooking everything else!

burrito roll

After these were finished, I made breakfast burritos. Basically, the process is the same. Just brown 1 pound of pork sausage, scramble 8-10 eggs, and add about 2 cups cheddar cheese shreds. Mix it all together, then pile onto your tortillas and roll them up and wrap them up. Make sure you label them so your burritos don't get mixed up!

breakfast mix
breakfast burrito

And finally, I made 2 baked spaghettis and 2 lasagnas. I am sort of guessing on the cooking times here because I couldn't find anything concrete on any website. I figure they will take 1 hour if you put them directly from freezer to oven; if you decide to thaw them out the night before, maybe 30 minutes. I will experiment and let everyone know. (And if you have any idea, please enlighten me!) Here are the recipes I used:

Baked Spaghetti (makes 2 8x8 casseroles)
1 box spaghetti noodles
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion (optional)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
spaghetti sauce, as much as you like; I like a LOT. keeps it moist.

Boil the noodles. Brown the meat with the onion. Then mix all of it with the sauce and the soup and pour into your casserole dishes. Cool, cover and freeze. When ready to serve, bake at 350 for about an hour or until bubbly. You can add some shredded mozzarella for the last 15 minutes or so for some cheesy goodness.

Lasagna (recipe courtesy of Pioneer Woman, with a few tweaks to make it easier and cheaper; makes 2 8x8 casseroles)
1 pkg lasagna noodles
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork sausage
1 - 1.5 jars spaghetti sauce
3 cups cottage cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 cups shredded mozzarella, or you can buy 1 pkg of the sliced mozzarella
1 T. dried basil
1 T. dried parsley

Brown ground beef and sausage together. Add sauce and herbs. In a separate mixing bowl, mix cottage cheese, eggs and grated Parmesan together. Now time to layer your lasagna. Start with cooked noodles, then the meat/sauce mixture, then the cottage cheese mixture, then the mozzarella cheese slices/shreds. Then repeat the layers, ending with the meat/sauce mixture on top. Cool, cover and freeze. When ready to serve, bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle some Parmesan on top when it's done.

Again, cooking times on these last 2 are estimated, so don't take me at my word. Tomorrow I conquer chicken. But for now I will go to bed.

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