Monday, April 11, 2011

Freezer Cooking: Tips for Meat

Today I spent some time prepping the meat we are planning to use for tomorrow's freezer cooking day. I wish I could take credit for this bright idea! My friend suggested that we cut the meat and separate it into freezer cooking bags in advance. What you see here is approximately 15 pounds of chicken (my share) and 6 pounds of sirloin (which we are splitting in half). Tomorrow we'll add marinade to these cuts of meat and they will be ready to go in the freezer.

Some additional tips for cutting up large quantities of boneless skinless chicken breasts:
  • Open the packages and look at all the breasts before starting to cut. I prefer to reserve the smaller, neater breasts for the recipes that call for a whole breast to reduce portion size. To reduce size even further, I'll cut off the tenderloin. Identify the small breasts and bag them for the appropriate recipe.
  • Cut some of the chicken for the same recipe in different ways. For instance, after I reserved the smallest breasts whole, I cut some of the larger breasts into large chunks to make kebabs. Sometime I also cut chicken breasts into tenderloin/strip-size pieces, depending on the recipe and where I plan to cook it (grill or oven). Another cut is to slice the breast in half horizontally to make thin, flat pieces, which are good for broiling or stove-top cooking. Marinating these different 'cuts' of chicken in the same marinade is easy, and you will end up with more variety when serving the meats for dinner.
  • This 'messy' double breast is at least ten ounces, and has little pieces hanging off the underside all over. Best to cut it up!
  • Save the largest, 'messiest' pieces for cutting into bite size pieces for stir-fry. Somehow my packages of chicken always contain at least one piece that is either falling apart or has shreds of meat hanging off in every direction. These pieces would be tough to grill, slice, or chunk into even-size pieces, so they work best as bite-size pieces for a stir-fry.
I bagged everything up and stored it all together in a large plastic container. Now I just need to dice some onion and grate some fresh ginger to finish preparing for the big day.

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