I’m not the kind of person who is good at making meals and freezing them, although I will do it if I know ahead of time that I will need the meals (like before I have a baby). And once a month cooking is just WAY too exhausting for me – as if I have that many free hours in one day to cook anyhow.
So I found a little way to save some time in the kitchen without having to set aside 4 hours. I’ve started making meal starters which basically means that I prepare a large portion of the meat, bean or rice part of my meal ahead of time and then freeze it. Then when it comes time to make dinner, it cuts my work in half. Not only that, but it also helps me to cook last minute meals instead of eating out.
The first meal starter you should make is hamburger because it’s cheap and can be very versatile. It takes me about 30-45 minutes to prepare 6 lbs of hamburger and for our family, that lasts anywhere from 2 – 4 weeks. I’m telling you, it’s a HUGE timesaver.
What you’ll need:
6 lbs. hamburger
1 onion, chopped
3t minced garlic
15 oz can diced tomatoes
8 oz can tomato sauce
Use a large stock pot and start browning the meat, adding the onions while it’s cooking. When the meat is done, you’ll need to drain the grease off of it. Add garlic, salt, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce and mix well.
Let it cool a little and then spoon it into 6 quart sized freezer bags, dividing it evenly between the bags. How much meat you end up with will depend on the fat content of the hamburger you choose. Label the bags with “hamburger mix” and the date and stick them in the freezer.
This meal starter will work well in dinners like spaghetti, lasagna and chili.