Saturday, April 28, 2012

Where's the Beef?

My uncle and cousin raise Angus cows.  I have often mentioned to my mom that I would love to buy one from them to have processed.  She mentioned it to them in either December or January and, after many phone calls, we now have a freezer full of wonderful  Angus beef.

It is a huge blessing to have all of that tasty meat just ready for the grill, stovetop, or oven, but at the same time it causes a little bit of a problem.  You see, next week we will pick up 100 chickens to raise for meat.  There is absolutely no room in our largest freezer right now!  The chickens will be ready for slaughter in about 8-10 weeks, so I have to get creative.  We had already been trying to eat up most of the vegetables and fruits from the freezer that have been in there since last summer...and some from the summer before.  I do have a large freezer as part of my refrigerator and a 6 cubic foot freezer that we generally use for our home-prepared freezer meals.  I really don't want to purchase another freezer as we would have to put it in our detached garage.  We've had a couple out there in the past, but I find it easy to forget that they are out there.  And then there is the added expense of running them as well.

So, what's a woman to do?  My plan is to can the much as I can!  : )  I plan on canning chili, spaghetti sauce, beef stew, beef tips in mushroom gravy, sloppy joes, taco meat, and just plain ground beef.  When we ordered our cuts from the butcher we requested he save and freeze the bones for us as well.  We had a large box with around 40 pounds of bones!!  This past week I roasted half of the bones and made beef broth and canned it!  It only took 5 days for the entire process, but we got 31 pints of beautiful, wonderfully nutritious beef broth!  This week I will work on getting the rest of the bones processed and that should definitely give us enough beef broth for the year.  What a blessing!

We'll also make many freezer meals using the ground beef such as this family favorite:

LASAGNA--this recipe has been in my family for about 38 years...we all love it.  My brother who was single for many years also makes this recipe and adds lots of veggies to it.

1 lb. ground chuck 
1 cup chopped onion
2 large gloves garlic, minced 
2 tsp. oregano, crushed
2 cans tomato soup
 ½ cup water
2 tsp vinegar
 ½ lb lasagne noodles (cooked & drained)
1 pint cottage cheese
 ½ lb mozzarella cheese, grated
grated Parmesan cheese

In saucepan, brown meat, cook onion, garlic, oregano. Add soup, water and vinegar. Simmer 30 minutes, stirring frequently. In baking dish, arrange 3 alternate layers of noodles, cottage cheese, meat sauce, mozzarella. Top with Parmesan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes. I usually double or triple as it freezes well.

Mini-meatloaves, meatballs, beef enchiladas and frozen grilled hamburgers are also some of our favorite beefy freezer meals.  If you have more canning or freezer ideas for the beef, I would love to hear them!!

I'm learning as I go on the canning and have Jackie Clay's canning cookbook to guide me.  Chicken ala  king, plain shredded chicken to use for salads, casseroles and fajitas, chicken stew, chicken soup, and chicken and rice soup.  And, of course, I will be canning all that chicken broth as well.  I'll also be pulling out some of our favorite chicken recipes for the freezer, too.  Creamy green chili chicken enchiladas for some reason the link is not showing up, but click on enchiladas for the recipe....I recently found that someone had pinned it on Pinterest!!)  are always a hit on our dinner table, a variety of seasoned chicken strips, cajun chicken, a variety of grilled chicken....oh, I'm hungry just thinking about it!!

If you have any canning tips for either chicken or beef, I would love for you to share them.  And, if you need me, you know where I'll be....keeping my busy hands and busy minds in the kitchen!!


Domestic Goddess said...

I can venison and chicken and turkey. I don't do anything special but add a teaspoon of salt to the packed jar and pour broth over the meat. We are raising broilers right now. It has been our worst year. I started with 52 broilers, week three I have had 12 die from leg issues. Once in awhile we would have that but this is the first time we had major loss. we had to move our upright freezer from the garage we had rats chewing on wires. Now I have cats patrolling the garage/barn! Today is being spent cleaning out the barn putting in fresh bedding and cleaning off the sunporch to get ready for a yardsale in a few weeks.

Tonya said...

Do you have one of those big outdoor canners? I have canned some chili, soup, and venison bits before. The only problem I found was that it takes sooo long to can when you do anything with meat (isn't processing like an hour and a half long?). If I ever got to the point where I was going to do a lot of canning like that, I would invest in an outdoor woodburning canner, otherwise I don't know that the cost is effective. My friend got one of those and they use it during deer season when they get a lot of meat at once and also when they butcher hogs. We ended up getting another freezer ourselves b/c it wasn't worth all the time and energy to me unless I got one of those large canners...and we just didn't want the extra expense at the time. Don't mean to be a downer. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the taste of anything I canned of the meat. Just thought I'd give my two cents b/c I know I'd appreciate it if I was about to do all that work! :) Sounds like you have YUMMY healthy food coming your way!! :)

Anita said...

We'll see how far I get with it! I do have older helpers than you do, Farmer's Wife, so that may be what gets me through it!! LOL! And then, we may just break down and get another freezer too. I would love to have an outdoor kitchen. That is in my dream plans for "one day"...after the big barn is finished, after we put in flooring in the house, after the house is paid off (three years!) after we add 1000 or so sq ft to the house to include a new kitchen big enough for us to eat it, a new school room and new bedroom and bathroom and a covered porch off that new kitchen...yes, I dream big!

Anita said...

Domestic Goddess, what kind of chickens did you get? I have heard of some breeds having leg problems. We are getting Cornish Rock X which is what friends of ours get...they have a business selling organic pastured meats. We'll see.. We order 100 'cause we knew we would lose some and we have friends who want some as well.

The Freemans said...

We have Cornish Rock X chickens too. We are going to slaughter them in about a week. We started small, only 30. We are excited, this is our first time to raise meat chickens. Are you planning to can yours?

Christy said...

I have canned beef, super simple just cut it up raw put it in raw with salt and pressure can. Yum!

Abbi said...

We buy beef as well (1/2 beef each year) but I haven't tried canning it. We do have an extra garage freezer that we do have to turn on when we get beef but then after we have eaten on that and our garden stuff which is our other freezer for a while then we are able to go down to just one chest freezer and the freezer attached to our fridge.

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