A clever way to freeze ground meat is to store it in plastic freezer storage bags, flattening the meat as thinly as you can possibly make it. The rectangular packages of ground meat then stack easily on a freezer shelf. Another wonderful advantage to packaging the meat in this manner is that thawing/defrosting the meat is quick and easy.
Once a year we buy a 40-lb. case of 93/7 lean ground beef from Zaycon Foods. The meat comes in 4 10-lb. “chubs” or tubes. We divide the meat into either 1 lb. or 3/4 lb. portions. The 1-lb. portions are used for chili, casseroles, tacos, and soups while the 3/4 lb. portions make 2-3 hamburgers.
The meat is flattened inside a plastic freezer storage bag as flatly as possible, removing as much air as you can and then closing the bag. The bags are stacked in the freezer like a deck of cards.
To thaw/defrost the meat, place a bag in the sink with some cool water and in just a few minutes the meat will be ready to cook. For many recipes, the ground meat can be placed directly into a skillet to begin the browning process. Continue breaking up the meat as it browns and cooks until it is done.
Zaycon Foods delivers its products to a large area of the United States now. You can visit their website to learn what products are available and when they are available in your area. Their refrigerated trucks park at a specified location (usually a church parking lot) at a specific time for you to pick up your order. Zaycon Foods carries chicken breasts, chicken fritters, bacon, ham, sausage, salmon, cod and more in addition to the lean ground beef, which is currently at a low $3.99/lb. Full disclosure: If you place an order through this link, I will receive $1.00 off my next order with Zaycon. If you then refer a friend in like manner you will receive $1.00 off your next order. Here’s the link: www.zayconfresh.com/refer/zf114297
Tasty Tip: When shaping ground meat into burgers, add some Montreal Steak Seasoning for hearty flavor.
Tasty Tip: When making Turkey Burgers, add 1/2 cup salsa, 1/2 tsp. cumin, salt & pepper to 1 lb. ground turkey. Hmmm, some Montreal Steak Seasoning probably wouldn’t hurt either! (Can you tell I really like it?!)
Now I’d like to share with you one of my favorite recipes using zucchini.
Zucchini Pilaf Casserole
1 pound ground beef or turkey
3/4 cup bulgur – OR – 2/3 cup rice
1/2 cup sliced green onion (or other mild onion)
1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 medium zucchini, cut into small dice (1-2″ pieces)
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano, crushed
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
Dash bottled hot pepper sauce
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
In a large skillet, cook ground meat, uncooked bulgur (or rice), onion, bell pepper, and garlic until meat is browned and vegetables are tender. Drain.
Stir in undrained tomatoes, zucchini, Worchestershire sauce, salt and oregano, sugar and pepper sauce.
Turn into a 2-quart casserole dish. Bake uncovered, in a 350 degrees F. oven for about 40 minutes. Sprinkle shredded Cheddar cheese on top of casserole and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes more or until the cheese is lightly browned.
**Note: If you would like to use brown rice in this recipe, the brown rice needs to be cooked before adding to the recipe.
This recipe for Zucchini Pilaf Casserole yields 6 servings. The flavor intensifiers are Worcestershire sauce, oregano, hot pepper sauce and garlic.
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Savor the Flavor!