Sunday, May 13, 2012

Freezer Cooking with Italian Sausage and Ground Beef

The other day I came across this post with this recipe.

I thought it sounded pretty good and, as we love Mexican food around here, I thought I would try it out.  And in true ME fashion I changed it much so that it might not be recognized as the original any more!!  I used mild Italian sausage instead of the spicy (I bought 10 pounds at Sam's and divided it up between this recipe and the spaghetti sauce)  And I made it in the crock pot.  I added some Mexican spices, 2 cups of chopped tri-colored peppers and some minced garlic.  I also made this recipe times 5.  And I divided the resulting dish into three quart sized baggies without adding cheese.  So, maybe I didn't really follow this recipe at all!!  Do you do that?  We will try this dish out Thursday evening as a quick meal before heading off to Aaron and Kaelan's piano recital.

I also made up a big batch of spaghetti sauce.  I wound up with 7 bags holding about four cups of sauce each.  I usually triple this batch cooking recipe, but this time I used 5 pounds of sausage.  This recipe is from Once-A-Month Cooking by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg.

 Spaghetti Sauce

1 pound bulk Italian sausage   
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1 12-can tomato paste
3 28-ounce cans Italian-style or plain crushed tomatoes in puree (I buy the big cans at Sam's)
2 cups water
4 teaspoons minced garlic
4 bay leaves
2 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley ( I use dried)
2 teaspoons salt

In a large pot, cook and stir the bulk Italian sausage with onions until the meat is brown;  drain fat.  Add remaining ingredients.  Bring sauce to a boil;  reduce heat.  Partly cover, and simmer for 2  hours, stirring occasionally.  Makes 12 cups of sauce.  I then freeze 4 cups of sauce in gallon bags and lie flat on a cookie sheet placed in the freezer.  When frozen I can stack them on top of each other and use my cookie sheet for cookies!!

Devin made up three pans of lasagna plus two mini pans for my mom.  Here is our favorite family recipe from our childhood.  We have since made adaptions as we are trying to stay away from canned soups with their added corn syrup.


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 Meat Loaves

Years ago, I came across these Little Cheddar Meatloaves.  We loved this recipe...except I put the shredded cheese IN the meatloaf, not on top of it.  And now, when I make this, I totally leave out the eggs and cheese so all of us can eat it.  I top a few of the little loaves with ketchup that is mixed with a little brown sugar and cayenne powder to give it a little sweet and spicy kick.  And of course, you know I make a huge batch of these!  I made one pan with a dozen little loaves and two pans with nine loaves.  I also made up a mini-pan for my mom.

Turkey Tetrazzini

And, because I had a good bit of turkey meat and turkey broth leftover, I mixed up a huge batch of what I call turkey tetrazzini.  I cooked up about a pound and a half of spaghetti and added about 4 cups of chopped turkey, a couple of diced onions, a large package of mushrooms chopped up, some salt, pepper, dried chives and then made a sauce with the broth and flour.  All this was mixed up in a huge bowl and then I added in about 3-4 cups of parmesan cheese.  I'll add in a little cream or sour cream before cooking as I forgot all about it putting the dish together.  I packaged this into 3 gallon sized bags.  The last time I made it, my oldest son commented that it really wasn't all that bad.  Which translates into "It's really good and a very tasty way to use up some leftovers!


Cinnamon said...

We love Cheddar Meatloves! Our family favorite. We too leave out the cheese. We also added it in when we put it in. One difference is that we put A LOT of brown sugar not just a little :-) haha!

I just bought ground beef to make spaghetti sauce and am hoping to can it so I will have it on hand.

It's so nice cooking a bunch in one day and then having a weeks worth of resources.

Thank you for sharing! I always enjoy seeing what you have cooking :-)


Michele said...

Wow, you have been busy!! Sounds yummy. I have got to get back to bulk cooking soon!! I tend to slow down in the summer months, but you have inspired me to get back to it.

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