Keep a pound of meat in the fridge or freezer for quick, heat-and-eat meals. Add these shortcuts to your dinnertime routine.
- Before freezing cooked ground or cut-up meat or poultry, cool it completely. Otherwise, the steam from the meat or poultry will condense and cause freezer burn.
- Stock up on ground beef, turkey or pork when it’s on sale and make your own signature seasoned grind to keep in the freezer. Thaw and use in chili, Sloppy Joes, tacos, pasta, soup, eggs, lasagna, salad or burritos.
- Shred leftover roast beef for quesadillas, French dips, barbeque sandwiches or beef and vegetable soup.
- Gather up the family for stir-fry night. It’s a fun way to use up leftover veggies and meat.
Crazy for Meatballs
Buy frozen, cooked meatballs and keep a few bags in the freezer for these quick dinners. To use, thaw the meatballs overnight in the refrigerator or bake frozen at 350 F until 160 F in the centers.
- Spaghetti Bar: Combine with a jar of marinara sauce and heat through. Serve with hot, cooked spaghetti and assorted toppings such as olives, Parmesan cheese, sautéed mushrooms, onions and/or zucchini.
- Hot Hoagies: Warm leftover marinara sauce and meatballs, and serve in warmed split hoagie rolls topped with shredded cheese.
- Meat the Pizza: Top a purchased pizza crust with pesto, thawed and quartered meatballs, roasted red pepper strips, shredded cheese and crushed red pepper.
For quick cooking, go thin. Pork, chicken and turkey cutlets take less than 5 minutes to cook in a hot skillet. To make your own chicken or turkey cutlets, slice chicken breast halves or turkey tenderloins in half horizontally.
When a recipe calls for shredded, cooked chicken, first opt for any cooked leftover chicken you can use up. Next, consider a rotisserie chicken from the deli. Remove the meat from the bone and shred it with two forks. One chicken yields about 4 cups shredded chicken. Freeze any extra shredded chicken for up to 4 months, and save the skin and bones to help flavor chicken stock.
Cheap Meat Cuts and Cooking Methods
- Ground beef: sauté, grill as burgers.
- Eye of round steak: marinate and grill, broil, pan-fry.
- Top round steak: slow-cook, broil.
- Sirloin tip roast: roast and cut into thin slices.
- Pork shoulder: bake, braise, slow-cook.
- Ground pork: sauté, grill as burgers.
- Pork cutlets: pan-fry, bake.
- Drumsticks: grill, bake, simmer.
- Hindquarters: grill, broil, bake.
- Whole chicken: indirect grill, roast, braise.
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