once a month shopping for large family series part 4 preparing

After we have done all of our shopping and put everything away, it is time to prep  the meat that we purchased in bulk.

This month I happened to get the following from our meat store:

  • 20 lbs ground chuck
  • 8 whole boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • roast
  • turkey bacon
  • breakfast sausage
  • minute steaks

For the roast, I place it into the crock pot and let it cook on low for hours. It makes it very tender this way. I then cut up and place it into containers, depending upon the meals.  For this month, I planned on steak fajitas, beef tips, and beef stew.

The bacon, sausage, and minute steaks I just had my butcher freezer wrap and I just place them “as is” in the freezer.

For the chicken, I placed 2 whole breast in individual ziploc baggies. I then wrote on the bags which recipe they were for. Chicken parmesan, creamy chicken pasta, honey chicken, and chicken fajitas. In the summer time when we do a lot of barbecuing, I usually pour a bottle of italian dressing right into the bag and let it freeze. It is an excellent marinade for chicken. Plus cuts down on the time to marinade it, as it thaws it does the work.

For the hamburger, it takes some prep, but well worth it. Here is what we did:

I place 15 lbs of the hamburger in a large mixing bowl. I then add to it the following:

  • 13 eggs
  • 1-15 oz container of bread crumbs
  • 4 cups oatmeal
  • 2 teaspoons of salt and pepper



I then mix it thoroughly by hand.



Now for my hamburger I need to make the following out of this:

  • cheeseburger meatloaf
  • 2 servings of meatballs
  • 2 serving of  hamburgers
  • Salisbury steak

For the meatloaf, I put down a piece of parchment paper.  I used to use waxed paper but it tore so easily, I would rather spend the extra and use this stuff.

Pat the meat into a large rectangle shape



Place some cheese slices on top of your meat form.  I had some nacho cheese leftover and decided to use that.  I just smeared it all over the top.


Then squirt some ketchup and mustard on top of the cheese.  I sprinkled it with minced onions, but you can use “real” chopped onions.  We used to add diced up pickles but have since realized we do not care for warm pickles.



Carefully do a jelly style roll of your meatloaf.


Here is what it looks like all rolled up.  I then wrap this whole form in tin foil and freeze it until it is time to make this dinner.055

I then roll out some hamburgers for a meal.  I am going to make homemade hamburger buns and mini burgers this month.

Here is a tray of meatballs and Salisbury steak

047and some more meatballs and hamburgers.  


I then place these in the freezer for a few hours until completely frozen.  I then put them into labeled ziploc baggies.  The hamburgers I place on a single layer in a gallon sized bag.  The meatballs and Salisbury steak I just place in the bags, I cook those from a frozen solid state.   The hamburgers I thaw a bit and I do not want them to get mushy and stick together.

I then cook the other 5 lbs of hamburger and place it into quart sized baggies in 1 lb sizes.  This is great for cooking because you don’t need to cook the meat first before adding it to your casseroles.  All you need to do is thaw it.  Simplify your life.

Now my freezers are full of easy to make meals.  I am ready for the month.






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10 responses to “once a month shopping for large family series part 4 preparing

  1. I really enjoy this series! I often wonder about the logistics of running a big family well, and this series is quite fascinating.

    A question about monthly shopping: 1) in my small family, I have to run to the store for produce like fresh lettuce and tomatoes, and soft fruit frequently – sometimes more than once a week. Do you just do without these foods for most of the month?

    (BTW -You look WAY too young in your picture to be a Mother of teenagers! : )

    • Ha you are way too kind. I am old almost to my forties:) but having these babies keeps me young, I have no time to sit around and melt away, I have to keep up and moving—I have learned over the last year, especially with all my weight loss how important it is to stay fit and active. I want to be around for my grandchildren and great grandchildren, playing with them as much as I do my own babies:)
      And yes we do a huge once a month trip, through the months where there is more good produce like in the summer and fall months, we usually go once a week on our errand days and grab some fresh fruit. Through the winter months, I usually buy apples by the bushel, we have 4 for this winter and will just eat those for fresh fruit and as far as other fresh stuff, we get carrots, green onions, celery, mini colored peppers,and I buy a box of organic greens and those usually last us 2 weeks. We freeze blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, pureed tomatoes, applesauce, and peppers and will use those through the winter months.
      I used to think it was so important to have lots of fresh produce around and would do much driving and buying and then I realized that we have put up so much fresh fruits and veges that they are just as nutritious because they don’t contain all the stuff that those in the store has on them to endure through their long trips from farm to store.
      Hope that helps explain some of it. God bless, Amy

      • Thanks so much for your thoughtful response! I totally agree that food that is “put up” is very nutritious, and fresh isn’t a health necessity.

        Perhaps it’s because I’m vegetarian, I just have trouble imagining foods like burritos, sandwiches, or, well, almost anything – without some crunchy lettuce & tangy tomatoes atop.

        Almost-40 is not old AT ALL! I’m of the life-begins-at-40 mentality – since God wisely waited to provide me with a family of my own till about that age : )

  2. Lisa Pollard

    Ok So how many meals does this make for your family? Are the meatballs for spaghetti or a stand alone meat? Could you tell us how you cook your meats? I have the ground burger bought just waiting for more instruction on how to do it your way lol 🙂

    • hello Lisa—–the meat if we get 15 lbs I split that particular batch into the following: 3 lbs for cheeseburger meatloaf, 2.5 times 2 batches for meatballs, 2.5 times 2 batches for hamburbers and 2 lbs for salsibury steak. that would give us 6 meals. For the meatballs, to cook them I just put the frozen meatballs into a 9×13 baking pan and cook in the oven at 400 until browned. I do not cover them. Then we usuallly like BBQ meatballs—I add homemade BBQ sauce and pour over top and cover with foil and cook until meatballs are thoroughly cooked. We have used in spaghetti, just depends upon the month:) hope that helps

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  6. Desirée roman

    I am jus wondering how big your portion sizes r cuz I have to cook for a family of 12 an the way u explain ur meals they don’t sound quite big enough I spend around $150 at save a lot an that’s only DINNER for one week an sometimes it’s still not enough I really need help figuring out how to save money an have more food

    • Hello Desiree, I know it is difficult to manage meals for a large family. When I wrote that series, I had 6 little children under 8, they didn’t eat as much as they do now. I keep my grocery spending to about 200-250 per week and that includes all of our paper supplies, cleaners, toilet paper, shampoo, etc. It isn’t what I spend every week. I normally go once per month and get the base and then I have found a few discount stores that I like to goto each week and see what I can pick up. Moving here has been a more expensive area and my food bill was much more than I was used to, but I have found like save a lots where I go in and find random things on sale each week and buy them to stock up. For our meat, we mix it with the bulgur burger in even amounts. This spreads out our spaghetti and things like that. Search on my site and you can see how we make it. I get my bulgur in a 50 lb bag every two years and make it as I get low. Make a menu for the month and make the meals simple. Repeat ones like spaghetti, soups, casseroles, the ones you can stretch. Then make a list of food that you need to make them. If you notice your grocery list has a lot of “convenience foods that you don’t need” look into if you can make them instead of buying them. I know when I first did it years ago, I would notice that I had things like BBQ sauce and I thought—I could easily make it with ketchup and brown sugar and spices. So I marked it off the list. Go over your list a few times and see if there are things you can make instead. Look at your menu and think what you can make a bunch of to spread. Do soups, lasagna, spaghetti, chili, nachos—-we can get a big can of cheese for around $6, Aldi’s (check that store out cheap) has chips for $1.20 per bag, homemade refried beans, a big bottle of salsa (or make your own for even cheaper) and if you can do some meat do meat. If you can’t put it over chips,put it over rice. Last night I made a big crockpot full of chili. So to spread it more, I made a small pot of rice. We sprinkled some cheese and added a dollop of ranch and called it good. Now tonight we will have it again as I stretched it with the rice. I hope any of this helps. I know it is difficult in making meals for a large family—-there has been times when I didn’t know what I would be able to buy and then we got through some how:) God’s help. We have learned that foods are for nutrition and they don’t always have to be rich tasting:) We still enjoy rich tasting, but that isn’t all our meals. We will still go back and have hamburger gravy and call it a meal during the month sometime. If we were low that week—pb and saltine crackers filled tummies in between meals for snacks. I’d like to say we always have fresh fruit and veges but that isn’t the case. Sometimes we rely on white crackers and pb. We do what we can. I pray this helps. be blessed!

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