Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tip-Worthy Tuesday: Freezing Cooked Meat

I know some of you will read my tip today and go "Duh." That's ok. It took me a long time to figure this out and maybe there are a few other people out there who haven't thought of it either.

My very simple tip for the day is...cook your meat before you freeze it. Genius, right? It seems so simple, but it's something I just started doing. It takes a little bit of planning and preparation (not much!), and it is such a time saver.

It seems like I was constantly forgetting to thaw the meat I was planning to use for our meal that evening. Then I would have to microwave it, stick it in water, or just cook it from its frozen state. Maybe it's just me, but I feel like the meat has a different texture when you implore one of these thawing/cooking methods rather than letting it thaw completely before cooking.

Because this was an issue, I would occassionally resort to buying (don't judge me)...canned chicken. Honestly, I don't think canned chicken is that bad...other than the smell. For me, though, it seemed ridiculous to spend $2.00 or more on a can of chicken when I already had chicken in my freezer.

Finally, a solution! It took me awhile, but I finally had a great revelation. Instead of cooking just one or two pieces of chicken at a time...I could cook the whole bag! Instead of cooking just part of that ground beef...I could cook all of it! Sometimes the simplest things are the most exciting to me.

So now, I frequently cook big batches of meat at a time, and freeze them after they have been cooked. For the chicken I usually drizzle it with a little olive oil, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, and bake it. For my ground beef, I usually brown it in the skillet, seasoning it with just salt and pepper as well. If you had certain dishes in mind, you could season the meat any way you wanted. I just find it easiest to keep it simple and add seasoning or other flavors later on.

I put the cooked meat in freezer bags and label them, so I know how long they've been in the freezer. Then, when I'm in a pinch, I pull out whatever I need, and it's ready to go.

Hope this helps you like it has helped me!

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