How I pre-cook and freeze ground beef, sausage and chicken:
I pre-cook almost all of our ground beef, ground sausage and boiled chicken. Having these meats precooked, and in the freezer, is the best way I have found to put together a quick meal.
I usually brown around 6 pounds of ground beef or sausage at one time. I put the meat into a soup pot and stir with a long-handled wooden spoon.
While meat is cooking, I line a large metal colander with several layers of paper towels.
When the meat is done, I dump it into the colander with paper towels.
I let the meat sit in the colander for few minutes, allowing the paper towel to absorb most of the fat. I then ease the paper towels from under the meat. Don’t leave meat draining on paper towels too long, or you won’t be able to slip the paper towels from under the meat.
Once I’ve removed the paper towels, I run very hot water over the meat in the colander. I then allow meat to drain. After the meat is drained, I run very hot water and a bit dish washing liquid down the drain. I’ve done this for years without causing any problems with my pipes. If you have sensitive plumbing, you might not want to rinse your meat in this manner.
Once the meat is drained, I place two heaping cups of meat (this is about a pound of meat) into a plastic zippered sandwich bag.
I remove any air from the bags and flatten them.
I place the individual bags into a gallon freezer-weight bag.
The things I like about doing it this way are:
1. All the bags of one kind of meat are in the same bag. To me, it's easier to locate these in the freezer.
2. I don't have to label each individual bag - just the gallon-sized bags.
2. The individual lighter-weight bags allow the meat to thaw quicker when ready to use, and they're less expensive, too.
3. When I remove the next-to-the-last small bag of a particular meat, I add that meat to my grocery list.
4. I toss the light-weight sandwich bags, but I reuse the gallon freezer-weight bags. I just change the date.
I usually cook a batch of chicken for the freezer when I am preparing a recipe that requires both chicken and broth. I just cook extra chicken for freezing. You can freeze the broth, too!
Keeping pre-cooked meats in the freezer has really revolutionized my being able to put a meal on the table quickly.