For years, I've been buying the larger packages (3+ pounds) of ground turkey and sausage, because the sale price per unit is so much better than the smaller packages. I would divide the raw meat into 1 pound portions and freeze individually.
I'm not sure why it took me so long to figure out that browning ground meat and sausage in one big batch will save time in the future. I've changed my ways. Now, I'm still freezing in portions, but I'm browning the meat in one big batch first. This step is saving me so much time with meal prep. Lasagna, tacos, sloppy joes are all meals that I've recently made by using cooked meat from the freezer.
How to Batch Brown & Freeze Ground Meat and Sausage
1. Heat your largest pan (I used my big dutch oven) over medium heat and add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Add the ground meat or sausage to the pan. If cooking sausage, remove the casings before putting in the pan. If your package of meat is too large for the size of you pan, you'll have to brown the meat in several batches.
2. Cook over medium-low heat and break up the sausage while cooking. Allow the sausage to brown a bit on the pan and then scrape the brown bits on the bottom of the pan to add flavor.
3. Once the meat is cooked through (no pink), you can drain any fat if you'd like and then allow to cool.
4. Divide up and store in freezer containers or bags. Stretch your dollar and store in 1 1/2 cup portions, but approximately, 2 cups of cooked meat will equal 1 pound of uncooked meat.
Think about how you will use the meat that you just cooked. Personally, I divide bulk sausage into smaller 1 1/2 cup portions, because I know that I'll likely use it in spaghetti sauce, pasta dishes, and egg casseroles where the meat is not the main star of the dish. While, I divide ground turkey into 2 cup portions, because I use that for tacos and sloppy joes where the meat is the main ingredient.
Do you buy meat in bulk and then cook it in one big batch? Let us know in the comments.
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