Last September, I participated in a little something I like to refer to as “The Ground Beef Fiasco”. Tricia here at Once a Month Mom heard about it and thought you all might be interested in it. So, here I am. But let me give you some background first. I love to stock my freezer. While I don’t actually do once a month cooking, I do lots of freezer cooking in other ways to stock the freezer. For instance, for one or two meals a week I typically double and freeze one set. I also like to bake muffins and breads and stick them in the freezer. I love the convenience of being able to just pull something out of the freezer. That’s why I love Once a Month Mom! It gives me lots of recipes and ideas and really makes me want to get organized enough to do once a month cooking. I digress. Early in my marriage, my mother taught me that one way to have quick meals is to buy a large amount of ground beef and brown it right away. Then separate into one pound packages and freeze. This makes it easy to pull out for quick tacos, sloppy joes, hamburger helper, and more! I have been doing this with 5-10 lb. packages of meat ever since.
I was noticing in Sam’s Club one day the price per pound of a case of ground beef. I love the quality of meat at Sam’s and the price for 90/10 (referring to the percentage of meat to fat) was $1.76/lb. I thought that was a terrific price, but I could never purchase 80 pounds of ground beef by myself! I started talking to my sister and my mom and we decided to make the purchase together and split the meat. But we didn’t just split the meat, we had a once a month cooking day of sorts.
Here’s what we did:
- We picked a date that worked for all of us (I live 2 hours from my sister and my mom lives 4 hours away.) We tried to pick a date a few weeks out so that we could save up our grocery money that month or week based on our budget. The week of the big purchase, my sister called her Sam’s to make sure we did not need to place a special order.
- We decided who would get what. Mom got 20 lbs and my sister and I each got 30 lbs.
- We decided what we wanted to do with it. Between the three of us, we wanted hamburger patties, browned meat in 1 lb. packages, meatballs, and meatloaves, We decided how much of each item we wanted (in pounds) and then my sister got organized. She made a chart with who wanted what and what ingredients were involved and in what portions. For instance, Joy -3 lbs meatballs-6 eggs 4 cups breadcrumbs, etc…
- We decided what tools we would need and who would bring them. We brought things like cookie sheets, foil, my large Pampered Chef 12 inch skillet, coolers, breadcrumbs, Ziploc bags, etc…
- The night before we bought the meat, my sister cleaned out her fridge and cleaned up her kitchen. She also pre-measured ingredients into tubs for meatballs and meatloaves and labeled the tubs like this:
- On cooking day, I picked up the meat and took it to my sister’s apartment. It was packaged in eight 10 lb. packages so that made dividing it a little easier. I started two 12 inch skillets browning 5 lbs. of meat in each one and the others started making meatballs right away. We worked at those two tasks until they were done and then we worked on the meatloaves and hamburger patties. We all worked together instead of each person doing their own stuff.
It took us about 3 or 4 hours of hard work, but it was so worth it! My portion alone included 15 lbs. of browned ground beef in 1 pound packages, 130 meatballs, and over 30 hamburger patties (I don’t like meatloaf). I packaged everything in Ziploc freezer bags (the hamburger patties were wrapped in foil first) and I have had no issue with freezer burn yet! And I believe I am not even halfway through all my meat! It was a fun adventure, saved us some money, and stocked my freezer!
Joy is a stay at home wife and mother of 2 great kids. She enjoys writing for her blog “Frugal Menu Mamas” so that others can eat well and spend less money. She loves trying new recipes and getting creative in the kitchen.