Thursday, March 11, I did my one-month grocery shop, which I blogged for you here. When I arrived home Thursday afternoon, I unloaded my groceries and got started putting some meals together for the freezer. I new I only had a couple of hours since it was already almost 3:00. The items I managed to get made for the freezer by suppertime were:
- (4) meals of beef stew, one of which we ate for supper that night
- (4) meals of Apple Dijon Pork Loin
- (2) meals of Maple Glazed Pork Loin
- (2) meals of Honey Orange Pork Loin
That’s 12 meals in 2 1/2 hours! Needless to say I was pleased and after a couple hours of shopping, prior to that, I’m not going to kid you; I was tired. But it was definitely a good tired. Here’s how the actual freezer session worked out.
- Once the groceries were unloaded I put about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in my cast iron skillet and started browning all the stew meat I had purchased at Sam’s.
I chopped the vegetables while the meat was browning. My 16-year-old 17-year-old (darn menopausal brains – lol) peeled seven medium russet potatoes for me, at the same time.
- I got all the ingredients except the potatoes into my stew pot and while that was simmering and becoming flavorful and delicious, I got started on the large quantity of pork loin we had also gotten on that trip.
- They were whole loins and about
- With the marinades complete, I pre-heated the oven and pulled some of my freezer biscuits out of the freezer, arranging them on a cookie sheet to thaw a little.
- I moved enough of my beef stew “starter” into my 4 quart dutch oven and added the diced potatoes. The rest of the stew was left to cool.
While the potatoes cooked I folded over the tops of eight, gallon-sized, zip-top freezer bags and placed one pork loin section into each.
- The marinades were added to each bag and the bags were zipped tight with as much air removed as possible.
- I labeled all the bags (I would definitely recommend labeling the bags BEFORE filling them. That’s a tip I learned for next time. - lol) with recipe name, any cooking
instructions and a date. Each bag was placed in the freezer.
- I put the biscuits in the oven and in 10 minutes we had a deliciously comforting beef stew and biscuit meal.
- By the time dinner was done and the dishes cleared, I was able to divide the remaining stew starter into thirds, pour into gallon zip-top freezer bags and label them for the freezer, as well. That’s twelve meals prepared, eleven of them in
the freezer and a happily fed family to boot!
ten pounds each, so I cut each in fourths and then started making marinades.
Glenda’s Beef Stew Starter for the Freezer
- 6 lbs of beef stew meat
- 2-3 cups diced onion
- 2 cups diced celery
- 6 large carrots sliced
2 (28 oz) cans of diced tomatoes, undrained
- 2 cups water
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
- 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbls. Spike seasoning
- 2 Tbls. olive oil
Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet. Add the beef a little at a time, browning it on all sides and then removing it to a platter. Continue browning until all six pounds are
complete. Remove all browned meat to the platter.
Add onion and celery to the drippings in your skillet, sauteing them for 2-3 minutes.
Add the garlic, Spike seasoning and Worcestershire sauce. Continue to saute the vegetables for another 2-3 minutes.
Transfer beef and sauteed veggies to a large stock pot.
Add the two large cans of tomatoes, water and the sliced carrots.
Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for about one hour.
Remove stew starter from heat and allow to cool completely.
To freeze: Divide stew into fourths, placing each fourth into a one gallon zip-top freezer bag. Freeze.
To reheat from frozen: You can thaw
the stew starter in the refrigerator for 24 hours. I usually just put it frozen, right into my dutch oven and thaw it over low heat. Once it is thawed and you have plenty of liquid (you can add a cup of water or tomato juice if you like yours thinner), add 6-8 medium potatoes that have been diced. (Potatoes tend to break down in the freezer when frozen in soups and stews. The texture will likely be more pleasing to your family, if you add them as you reheat the meal. I have
been reading about a method where the raw potatoes are added just before freezing, but I haven’t tested it and so can’t recommend it, yet.) Simmer until potatoes are tender and serve piping hot with your favorite bread. Easy and delicious! One of the heartiest comfort foods ever!
Apple Dijon Pork Loin
(I found this recipe in the $5 Dinner Mom’s cookbook and only made some slight adaptations. – lol – They truly were very small. She used pork shoulder, I used lean pork loin. I used the unsweetened applesauce, I put up last summer and added 1/4 c. brown sugar. I did not have Dijon mustard, so the recipe below, shows my substitutions. I also multiplied this
recipe by 4 and bagged them for the freezer. We tested the results on Thursday night when the kids and grandkids were here for supper. This is going to be a family favorite!)
- 2 – 2 1/2 lbs lean, center cut pork loin
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1/4 cup apple juice
- 2 Tbsp spicy brown mustard
- 1 Tbsp Creole mustard
- 1 Tbsp yellow mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar
Place the roast in your crockpot.
Whisk together remaining ingredients for marinade and pour over roast.
Set crockpot on low and cook pork for 8 hours.
To freeze: Fold the top half of a one gallon zip-top bag down to form a shallow “bowl”. Place the loin in the bag and pour marinade over top. Seal
bag, removing as much air as possible. Freeze.
To cook from frozen: Place frozen loin and marinade (remove from bag) into crockpot. Cook on low for 8-10 hours depending on your crockpot. (Mine only took 8.)
This meat is moist and has a subtle sweet, spicy flavor. I strained the juice from the crockpot and then poured it over the sliced meat. Delicious!!!
Ok, this post has gotten VERRRRRY long and I am incredibly sleepy. – lol – Tomorrow, Part Two and the recipes for Maple Glazed Pork Loin and Honey Orange Pork Loin.