Here’s The (Ground) Beef!

I bought 40 pounds of 93/7 hamburger and processed it all into meal sized portions for the freezer last weekend. Whew!

Ground Beef from Zaycon

The Zaycon 93/7 Ground Beef comes in four – 10 pound packages.

I have been buying my boneless/skinless chicken breasts through Zaycon foods for about a year now and just love it!  The breasts (also sold in 40 pound packages) are huge with hardly any fat on them! You can see what I did with all those chicken breasts HERE.

Then I tried their bacon.  Mmmmm…. bacon!   The Zaycon bacon comes in twelve 3 pound packages.  What I like to do is bake an entire package of bacon all at once (yes, I bake mine in the oven – so much easier!) and store them six strips wide on layers of paper towels in the freezer. I don’t bake them until they are crispy, just lightly browned and almost done. Then, when we want bacon for breakfast, or baked in squash, or to crumble on a salad, all I have to do is place some strips in a cast iron pan over medium high heat for just a few minutes to “refresh and crisp”!  It’s a great time-saver.

I was so happy with the chicken breasts and bacon, that I decided to try their 93/7 ground beef.  It’s unbelievable how much cheaper the Zaycon ground beef is than the grocery stores around town, and the meat is also a lot fresher!  Since I got four 10 pound packages of ground beef, I decided to use each package in a different way.  Every time someone uses the link on the right to purchase Zaycon foods, I am compensated a dollar – so, thanks to those of you who have supported this blog with your purchase!  :0  If you would like to see if Zaycon delivers in your area, the link has a map of all the delivery sites in the United States.

Zaycon Hamburger

I got this hamburger press from Tupperware many years ago. It makes perfectly uniform hamburger patties for even cooking! It also speeds up the process of making lots and lots of hamburgers!

The first package of ground beef was made into hamburger patties.  I got this hamburger making press many, many moons ago and have loved it ever since.  It makes perfectly sized hamburgers that are all just about the same weight.  That way, when cooking up the burgers, they are all done at the same time.  Using this press it took very little time to get a bunch of hamburgers formed!  I mean, a bunch!  The only thing I added to  the burgers before forming them was a little bit of sea salt and some black pepper.  That way, in the future, if I have run out of the frozen cooked ground beef, I can always use the burgers instead!  Once the hamburgers were formed, I layered them between parchment paper and placed them in the freezer. When they were frozen solid, they were packaged two by two with my sucky machine (aka Food Saver).

Then, it was time to make meatloaf. Or should I say meatloafs.  Maybe meatloaves?

Whatever.  😉

Hamburger from Zaycon

Some of the ingredients I put in this batch of meatloaf. I don’t think I have ever made my meatloaf the same way twice!

I don’t usually follow a recipe when I make meatloaf, just some of this and a little bit of that.  I always add eggs, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, catsup and onions.  Then, I tend to throw in whatever else sounds good and may be at hand, such as garlic, jalapenos or chiles, rice, carrots, parsley, cauliflower, etc.. Most of the time the combinations are really good.  Sometimes, not so much. Ask me how I know a combo of chiles, jalapenos, garlic and onions may be a bit too spicy in a meatloaf!  I usually combine all the ingredients in my mixer with the dough hook attachment, and then finish off with my hands.  When ready for making into the actual meat “loaf”, I have found that the small aluminum loaf pans or the plastic tubs that sandwich meats come in work perfectly.  We don’t buy sliced sandwich meat anymore, but these tubs seem to last forever, and have come in handy in so many ways! Then, off to the freezer.

Ray and I just love meatloaf and baked potatoes…   mmmmmm,  comfort food.

But I think Ray actually prefers to eat the left-overs the next day in a meatloaf sandwich.

What to do with Ground Beef

Nine dinners (and lunches) all ready to defrost and cook! Easy Peasy!

The next day was meatball day.  I searched for recipes on the internet and found one that Ree Drummond (Pioneer Lady) uses.  It was fairly simple and plain, so I could serve the meatballs in any number of different sauces:  teriyaki, beef gravy, spaghetti., etc..  Ray and I spent a couple of hours mixing together the ingredients, making the meat mixture into balls and then frying them on fairly high heat to get a good brown crust on them, but not cooking them completely through.  The meatballs were then placed on parchment lined cookie sheets and popped into the freezer.  Once frozen, I placed 25 meatballs into gallon sized freezer bags.  I got 4-1/2 bags, or 115 meatballs!  Now, whenever we want to have a meatball sandwich, or meatballs in gravy over mashed potatoes, I just pluck some meatballs out of the bag, let them thaw for a few minutes, then add them to whatever sauce I’m using – easy peasy!

Frying up the meatballs. I am so glad I found Ree Drummond's recipe - the meatballs turned out just perfect!

Frying up the meatballs. I am so glad I found Ree Drummond’s recipe – the meatballs turned out just perfect!

On top of spaghetti,                       All covered with cheese,
I lost my poor meatball,
When somebody sneezed.

It rolled off the table,
And on to the floor,
And then my poor meatball,
Rolled out of the door.

It rolled in the garden,
And under a bush,
And then my poor meatball,
Was nothing but mush.

So if you eat spaghetti,
All covered with cheese,
Hold on to your meatball,
Whenever you sneeze.                 Remember that blast from the past?

Finally, I had one more 10 pound package of ground beef.  Whew – almost done!  I decided to just brown the ground beef, wash it, then package it in 2 cup increments.  This is the perfect amount to make tacos, chili, stroganoff, etc..

Two cup packages of ground beef all ready to be thawed and made into a pasta sauce, chili beans, enchiladas, etc...

Two cup packages of frozen ground beef all ready to be thawed and made into a pasta sauce, chili beans, enchiladas, etc…  In the end I had 15-1/2 two cup packages!

“Wash it?” you ask.  Why, yes, I wash my ground beef by placing the hot ground beef under hot water running from my kitchen faucet. Tilt the pan just a bit. The fat floats up and over the top of the pan and runs down the drain, rendering your ground beef nearly fat free!  Or, you can put the ground beef in a colander and run it under hot tap water.  Either way works.  Yes, a lot of the flavoring does go down the drain with that fat, but if you are adding stuff back like taco seasonings or peppers and onions, you won’t miss the fat flavoring at all!  And it’s much better for you!  Caution: if you aren’t using a fairly lean ground beef, you may have a lot (and I mean a lot) of fat, which could be a potential problem for your plumbing. Try draining the ground beef in a colander that you center over a large pot and run the hot water over it that way.  If you do this, chill the fat/water combo and all the fat will rise to the top, solidify, and now you have tallow!  What can you do with tallow?  Make soap!  Tallow soap is wonderful!  Click on my Soapmaking link at the top of this page for more ideas.Olive Oil and Lard Soap Recipe

So, there you have it!  For a few hours of labor (it was actually fun making meatballs with my dearest) you can prepare lots of freezer ready food.  In the morning when I know I am going to have a busy day, I will place a meat loaf in the refrigerator (on the door where it is the warmest) and then around 4ish in the afternoon pop it and a couple of Idaho’s in the oven for a delicious, easy meal.  But then, the easiest thing for me is to tell Ray it’s his night to cook and have him grill up some burgers! 😉0001

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22 thoughts on “Here’s The (Ground) Beef!

  1. Hi Vickie,
    What a tasty take the post.
    We also eat very much …… delicious.
    We wish you a good appetite.
    Greetings and a Happy New Year
    wish Uwe & Angi

    • Happy New Year, Uwe and Angi! The meatballs are very tasty. I am so glad I found this recipe! I hope the new year brings you two good health, much happiness and great prosperity!

    • Yes, I did! That’s one of the reasons my son got some of the browned ground beef – I just didn’t have one square inch of space left in my freezer! Thanks for commenting, Lydia. I am just in LOVE with that zucchini soup recipe on your blog today!

  2. i think everyone knows that song so you haven’t dated yourself there lol 🙂 So totally awesome and you all are so productive! I used to do similar and then got lazy and quit. I need to get back into this, so easy when it’s time to cook to have stuff partially prepared. I haven’t tried zycon but have heard good stuff, I am going to check into it!

    • Yes, the next year should be super busy for us, building the chicken coop, raised bed garden and, of course, a house – so cooking up a storm in the winter when I have the time only makes sense! I guess I have to stop for a while, however, ’cause my freezer is full! 😉 I hope you check out Zaycon – they are really great!

  3. You are so much like me with your crazy cook-a-thons!! I do things like that also – it’s a ton of work at the time but boy, is it super nice for the next few months to have those easy peasy meals in the freezer! I’m going to check out that company and see if they deliver to my neck of the woods – I have never, ever heard of them! Oh, and I’m going to have to try that meatball recipe, too! One more thing – I though I was the only crazy who washes her meat!! I do it with sausage also – I take it out of the casing, brown it, and then throw it in a colander and wash it. And then freeze some in ziplocs to throw in with pasta! Kindred spirits, I believe! 🙂 By the way I added your blog to my bloglist…I’m hooked!

    • Yes, Debbie, sausage also! Thanks for adding me! I added your blog to my favorites page, but would love to put your button on my sidebar. Do you have a button? I can’t wait to see how No Spend January works out for you. I think I’m just too chicken to challenge myself to something like that right now. Maybe in a couple of years when our new house is built!

  4. Happy New Year! I’ve recently begun cooking and then freezing ground beef to easily pull from the freezer; don’t know why I had not done it sooner.
    Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!
    Blessings,
    Cindy

    • It sure is a timesaver, isn’t it! I have been doing this a long time and just love it! Thanks for commenting today, Cindy!

  5. Hi Vickie,

    I absolutely had to come by to check out your blog after you visited mine. I am quite impressed and happy to find a like minded blogger. I wanted to mention to you that I am starting a group called Fish Friday Foodies in which we all share and post our fish/seafood recipes on the third Friday of each month. I would love to have you join us.

    • Thank you for the compliment, Wendy, and I also believe we are like minded bloggers! Also, thank you for the invite to your Fish Friday Foodies! I hope you send out reminders, because my life is so chaotic right now! Have a great New Year!

    • Yeah – my husband loves the premade meatloaf also – especially when it’s his night to cook! Thank you for stopping by, Sandra!

  6. Love these kinds of fill up your freezer projects! Thanks for sharing these great ideas on the Art of Home-Making Mondays 🙂 P.S. We also like to make lunch meat with our ground beef… Great on the go food!

    Hope your 2016 is off to a good start my friend!

    • Yup – my freezer is full! Except the meat balls were so good that we somehow lost a couple of bags at Christmas time 😉 And then I raved about how good the meatloaf was and ended up sharing some of those also. Of course, my youngest loves the preformed hamburgers and the already ground beef! I am thinking the next time I buy this ground beef, I should have a “ground beef party” and invite my daughters-in-law over and we can all prepare the meat for our freezers together! Many hands make light work!

  7. What an awesome idea. I buy ground beef and chicken in 5lb bulk bags and have always divided it up ready to cook and stored in the freezer, but pre-cooking would save so much more time. Have you found that the cooked/reheated meat does or doesn’t absorb your spices as well? That would be my only concern, although I think you could avoid the bland meat scenario by putting some garlic, salt, pepper and some other “general” seasonings (parsley, minced onion) in there when you cook in the crock pot. I would think these are common enough to most things you do with the finished meat that you wouldn’t endanger the final dinner product.

    • Actually, I haven’t found much difference in the frozen cooked ground beef at all! It seems to spice up just fine. I have found, however, that my favorite way to store cooked ground meat is by canning it in pint jars. Being off grid, we need to watch our energy usage, and when I have ground beef on the pantry shelf, I know I have a safe, ready to eat supply of protein. No refrigeration or freezer needed! Either way, I think the amount of time and mess saved with already browned ground beef can be a lifesaver, especially on “those” days. Thanks for stopping by today, Mary!

  8. I so enjoy your site and your recipes. Would you please consider adding a print option so we can enjoy your recipes a little more easily. Thank you.

    • Hello, Jamie – sorry it took so long to get back to you. I would if I could, but I don’t know how! The truth is, I’m an old school gal and this blogging stuff gets over my head sometimes. I started this blog to keep my family and friends up-to-date with all our shennanigans and never thought that it would have so many visitors! I am sure that someday, when I have the time to figure it all out, I will be able to have the print function on my blog.

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