This weekend I spent $196 dollars on meat. That sounds like a lot, but that is my meat budget through the end of the year (excluding Thanksgiving & Christmas dinners). As I wrote in a previous blog, I know what I’m having for dinner until the end of the year. One of the ways I make menu planning work for me, is my massive meat shops. I did one in January and the meat lasted through April. Here’s what I ended up getting for my $196 bucks:
3lbs of meatloaf Mix
4 lamb shanks
1 pork loin
2 1 lb packages of mussels
1 bag fish sticks
1 bag of raw shrimp
3 chuck roasts
3 lbs of country style ribs
6 pork chops
2 sirlon steaks
4 lbs of ground beef
3 lbs of bacon
6 whole boneless chicken breasts
3 packages of boneless chicken thighs
1 package of lump crab meat
I’m planning on getting around 115 meals out of this. Probably more. I portion out everything before I freeze it, so all I have to do is pull out the desired portion to thaw and I’ve got the protein for supper all ready to go. The necessary ingredients for filling my freezer are as follows:
Olive oil, quart freezer bags, kosher salt and a super-sharp kitchen knife.
I cut myself while sharpening the knife. Fortunately I had a registered nurse on hand to apply the bandage. But nothing stops me! I could be on Chopped.
I use quart freezer bags. Since there are only two of us, it works out perfectly. Obviously, if you have more people to feed, gallon bags may be the way to go. Make sure to get the freezer bags and not the storage bags. Freezer bags are thicker plastic and do a better job of protecting the food.
Put your salt out in a separate container. You don’t want to be touching salt with meat hands or handling your salt shaker.
You probably should label and date each package. I don’t always do that, though with ground meats and things that could easily be confused in the freezer, it’s a good idea. Actually, it’s always a good idea. I have no clue why I don’t do it every single time.
Let’s start with the meatloaf mix. This is a mixture of beef, pork and veal. Some places sell it as a mix of pork and beef. It’s great not only for meatloaf, but also for meatballs, any kind of meat sauce, lasagna and a variety of other uses. For the two of us, I tend to use it 8 ounces at a time. Before packaging it, I salt it. This helps tenderize and flavor the meat. You’ll also use less salt in your cooking if you do it now.
I press it a little flat for easier storage. I’m into flat. You’ll see why later.
The lamb shanks are also salted and packed two at a time.You can toss them frozen into a slow cooker in the morning along with some potatoes, rosemary and a little broth and have dinner when you get home that night.
One pork loin works as two meals for us. For pork I usually both salt and sprinkle a little sugar on the meat. It helps give it a nice sear when you brown it. Pork loin makes a great braise with apples and sweet potatoes.