Last night as I was getting ready to brown close to 6 lbs. of ground beef and 4 cups of chopped onion I realized my stoneware bar pan would overflow with grease when it started cooking down. So I took out a little more than a quarter of it and put it in my round stoneware pan. The plan was to alternate the two pans between the racks in the oven.
But then I had a lightbulb moment. No not that kind of lightbulb moment. An AHA! moment.
I put that round stoneware pan (I think it's called the Deep Dish Baker) in the microwave with three coffee filters on top to prevent splattered microwave carnage, and nuked it about 5 minutes.
When both pans were done, I just kept thinking, why have I NEVER done this before?! Holy moly that saves time! Hurray I have my Works-For-Me-Wednesday post!
A long time ago, when baby number 4 was in utero, I posted about how I cook large quantities of meat at a time. Feel free to read it.
I'm going to hit on the main points here and if you have questions, just leave a comment.
Why cook a lot at once? Isn't that a pain?
1. Usually, you can buy meat at a better rate per pound when you buy large packages.
2. After cooking up a 3-10 lbs. or so at a time and dividing into approximately 3/4 lb. baggies, you will have your meat ready when you need it. This makes dinnertime so much easier having skipped the step of browning the meat (and we add onion) and washing the skillet, spoon, and collander. And your hair doesn't smell like hamburger grease that night.
3. Cooking a lot at once means sticking it all in a pan with edges and in the oven or now I know, the microwave-- if it's microwave safe of course.
4. It's hardly any extra work than cooking a single pound.
What kind of pans work for this?
Bar pans (cookie sheet with edges), 9 x 13 pans, loaf pans, muffin pans, mini-loaf pan, circle, ovan, square casserole dishes.
1. Glass are more likely to burn.
2. Metal and non-stick pans work great in the oven.
3. Stoneware is my personal favorite because it helps it season the stoneware as it cooks and it's also microwave safe.
Use a pan with edges. You do not want the grease that comes from cooking down meat to flow off the edges and all over your oven. or microwave. So, use a pan with edges.
My totally organized, artsy, and frugal coupon-queen sister, Leslie, told me about a woman she knows who couldn't stand the smell of meat cooking when she was pregnant. Sound familiar? This woman was able to benefit from the loving efforts of her hubby. He went to his mom's house, cooked it all up, divided it, and brought it home to freeze. How freaking awesome is that?!
What kind of meats are you planning on cooking in the microwave?
Ground beef and ground sausage (Jimmy Dean) come to mind. I'm still thinking I'll use the oven for mass cooking chicken. And I am not a fan of microwaved bacon. So I'll stick to cooking that in the oven chopped up in the bar pan and saving the grease of course.
This post is also linked at Tuesday Tips and Tuesday's Tip Jar.