This week's WFMW (Works For Me Wednesday) tip is about cooking sausage, bacon, ground beef, and chicken en masse. This actually goes along with my OAMC (Once A Month Cooking) tips.
In recipes like homemade pizza, biscuits and gravy, breakfast burritos or omelets, I like to use precooked sausage (Jimmy Dean regular sausage). I crumble up about 2-3 pounds of sausage into a jelly roll pan or 9x13 pan and put it in the oven at 350° for about 30 minutes. I stir it and break up the lumps every ten minutes. I cook it until there is no pink. Then I drain it and then place on a plate with paper towels to soak up the grease. Then I freeze it in containers or a zippered bag. I make sure to label the container with the date and contents.
I also cook up bacon this way. I despise standing over a frying pan with bacon splattering me. If it's going in a recipe like Cheesy Broccoli & Bacon Soup, or Grandma's Corn Chowder, or breakfast burritos, I slice it into 3/4 inch to 1 inch pieces, separate the slices into a pan and cook it the same as sausage. If it's going into BLTs or be reserved for breakfast, I leave the strips of bacon whole. After cooking, I drain it and then put bacon on a plate with paper towels to absorb more grease.
When I cook ground beef I add one cup of chopped onion for every pound of beef. Then I cook it up the same. I usually divide up the ground beef into 3/4 lb. baggies to be used in OAMC recipes. I have found many, many OAMC recipes that call for ground beef and onion cooked together. This is a HUGE time saver!
With chicken that will be used precooked in recipes like Chicken Fajitas, Chicken Tortilla Casserole, Kid-Friendly Chicken Bites, I do the following:
Starting with an empty clean sink with warm water running and a stack of paper towels separated and ready . . .
1. I wash the chicken with my hands until it doesn't feel slimy.
2. Pat dry with paper towels.
3. Place in a jelly roll pan or 9x13 pan.
4. Cook in the oven at 350° until the juices run clear when pierced with a fork or tongs-- may be up to an hour.
5. While it's cooking I sanitize the sink, faucet, and any affected areas with either Comet Cleanser with Bleach and a washcloth (that will go straight to the laundry) or disinfecting wipes. No food poisoning here please.
Of all the meats that I prepare, chicken is my most abhorred. The very thought of getting food poisoning by splattering dishes and surfaces freaks me out. So I definitely cook a lot of chicken (like 10 pounds or more) this way so I don't have to do this for a long while. This also saves money by buying these things in bulk. It works for me!
Bonus tip: If you have stoneware pans with edges (no flat pizza stones or cookie sheets), use them and watch how beautifully they get seasoned while you cook! I've used stoneware loaf pans, mini-loaf pans, jelly roll pans, muffin pans, and 9x13 pans for this.