I always try to have some freezer meals on hand for those occasions when I don’t have the time to cook a meal from scratch. They are also great for those nights when you can’t be home to make dinner. If that happens a lot, then you should keep a notebook with instructions on how to prepare your freezer meals.
I usually make my freezer meals when I am making dinner. Just make three times the amount you usually make, and freeze the rest. Don’t forget to label the bags before freezing because once frozen, some items can look alike. You don’t want to thaw sloppy joe mix and find out that it is really corn beef hash.
When I freeze sloppy joe mix, I usually freeze about a cup and a half in one bag. This is enough for two joes for my husband and one for me. I find that half a cup of meat is plenty for us, however, you may want to make one and then see how much meat you like on your bun.
When I make this, I make a large batch, so if you find this recipe too large, just halve it.
- 3 pounds lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion, chopped small
- 1 stalk celery chopped small
- 1/2 green pepper, chopped small
- 1 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 large fresh tomatoes, chopped medium
- 1 10 oz can tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons vinegar (any kind)
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (can adjust this up or down)
- 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon flaked red pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Mix the ground beef, garlic, onions, and celery in a large non stick skillet
- Cook until the vegetables are soft and the meat brown and cooked.
- Drain off fat, if necessary
- Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer on low for 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let cool completely before bagging
Now, lets talk about bags. Personally, I use a Food Saver machine. I know they are not exactly cheap, but if you buy food in bulk, (especially meat) grow your own vegetables or make a lot of freezer meals you will want to invest in a Food Saver
You can use regular freezer bags, but I would suggest that if you do, you eat whatever you are freezing in three months or less, otherwise you risk freezer burn and wasting your food and effort. If you invest in a Food Saver, your food will be safe in the freezer for at least a year or two. That is a big difference! If you would like more information on Food Saver Systems, check out this 10 minute video below. I really liked this video because it is by someone that actually uses the machine. She also has some great ideas on creative ways to use it that I had not thought of.