Something I realized early on during this simple and natural lifestyle journey is that setting ourselves up for success makes even the most challenging and chaotic days a little more bearable. This past weekend, our homestead was busier than usual, in a good way. (smile) So, I am back sharing three quick tips that we used to make meal planning a little less stressful in the hollow. There really is nothing to these! It does take some prep work on the front side, but on those super “busy days” when we have errands, church or music lessons, I don’t have to sweat figuring out what to cook for dinner and because we prepared it ourselves at home, we can be sure we are using quality ingredients and can control how much of the ingredients we add. This is a healthy option for those who are looking to transition to a healthier lifestyle. It also saves us money in the long run just by preparing these ourselves and freezing ahead.
OPTION #1: Pre-made Hamburger Patties
I thawed several pounds of our grass-fed beef and formed into hamburger patties. I left out the herbs and spices because we like to add those during the grilling process, especially the sea salt to help keep the moisture in. I used a round lid from one of my glass canister jars as a template for making uniformly round patties. I made sure the lid was slightly larger than the buns I typically bake for grilled burgers. Recipe coming soon to our Recipe Box. We also like to use lettuce in place of a traditional bun when we just don’t feel like eating more carbs.
I took a zip lock bag to line the lid to prevent any contamination in the small cracks. Then I grabbed a handful of meat and pressed into the lid. It forms a uniform-sized patty which makes it easier to stack in the freezer and should be easier to grill. I cut out parchment paper in the shape of a square and placed in between each patty to prevent sticking. I lined a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and stacked the patties on top. Then I transferred the stacks onto the cookie sheet and placed the cookie sheet into the freezer for an hour or so. Just until it was solid enough to stack in a freezer bag. I try to remove as much air from the bag as possible to prevent freezer burn. Then I label and date the bag.
OPTION #2: Seasoned Meatballs
I used the rest of the thawed grass-fed beef to form meatballs. I simply placed the remaining ground beef in a bowl, added my favorite herbs and spices, and 2-4 medium organic eggs from our chickens and mixed by hand until well incorporated. Then I placed the balls on a lined cookie sheet and placed it all in the freezer until it was no longer sticky. About an hour later, I was able to place the meatballs into freezer bags and made sure to remove the excess air to prevent freezer burn. Easy Peasy!
OPTION #3: Mini Meatballs
This option is even simpler in that you take the same techniques as mentioned above, but make them into tiny-sized meat balls. Meatballs are a great way to serve as an appetizer, in soup and stews, Italian dishes, and even beef Stroganoff and an easy gyro meal with homemade tortillas and Taziki sauce. Recipe coming soon to our Recipe Box.
There you have it! No excuses for me to stress over what to make on a busy day because I have plenty of options. I’ll be sharing more of what we accomplished this past week soon to help you find simple ideas on how you can set your home up for success this Spring season too! Our pantry is looking pretty well-stocked up!
What ways do you like to help set yourself up for success when it comes to meal planning and preparation?
Until next time, remember to keep it simple!
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