Monday, July 20, 2009

Making Ahead - Ground Beef & Improvising

I had a plan for today. I was going to make yogurt in the Crockpot, finish prepping some ground beef I'd bought on Friday and make a batch of jam from juice in my Dad's freezer.

I started the day well. The kids were well occupied while I prepped ½ gallon of milk for yogurt (recipe here). The milk was heated and cooled and just waiting for me to mix in the yogurt and put it in the Crockpot. When...


The bowl hit the floor and milk went everywhere!

Milk on the floor, milk on the cabinets, milk splattered all over the counters. Ugh. What a mess.

That spill put me an hour behind schedule.

After a planned trip for errands, including the grocery store (I added milk to the list), the library and lunch, the next thing on the schedule was to make the jam.

Blackberry Jam:
While cleaning at my Dad's last week I found two large bottles labeled "Blackberry for Jam". The two bottles together looked like enough to make a batch of jam. I brought it home and put it in the frig to thaw.

After our errands today I pulled out a bowl and my sieve and poured the first bottle in. I let that drain and then poured in the second bottle. But something was a bit off. The smell was a bit different. Not bad, but different Then I looked again, and discovered my dad had marked through the "Blackberry" label and written "Grape". Uh oh. I now had blackberry juice/pulp mixed with grape juice/pulp. Hmmm. What to do?

I checked the pectin label, and the Ball Blue Book and discovered that both the blackberry and grape called for the same ingredients except the fruit.

With that I decided to improvise. I had about 2/3 blackberry and 1/3 grape juice/pulp in the bowl to use. Everything else was the same as the recipe. I cooked and canned the jam. It should be a quite interesting combination. I haven't tasted it yet.

Who knows, maybe I've just discovered a new flavor of jam: Blackberry-Grape.

Ground Beef:
I found ground beef on sale Friday and bought 10 pounds with the intention of putting it into the freezer the same day. Unfortunately I'd forgotten an engagement that night and since we were going to Fort McHenry on Saturday for fee-free days I didn't have a chance to do anything with it until today. This morning when I checked the "Sell By" I knew I had to get it into the freezer today.

Here's what I did with my 10 pounds of ground beef:

4 lbs made into hamburgers (stored stacked in a bread bag!)
3 lbs cooked and frozen in 1 lb bags.
1 lb frozen as is - to be used for meatloaf at a later time
2 lbs made into meatballs - recipe here.

The meatballs were a new experience. I've never made meatballs before and I was looking for a good general recipe - one that could be adapted with sauces for Italian or other recipes. After searching several websites and several cookbooks I finally found one in "Make-A-Mix Cookery", a cookbook of my mother's that I recently re-discovered (You can find this book in my right side bar under "I Recommend"). They took longer than I anticipated; I think that's because my meatballs were smaller and I cooked them before freezing them.

It was quite a day but the end results were really good.

To see what other people are tackling visit Tackle It Tuesday.


Bonnie said...

Wow, yes quite a day indeed.

Great tackle..we have a large family and life just goes so much smoother when meals are pre prepared.

The jam should be yummy.

Susie said...

Great kitchen tackles!! Awesome job:-)

Christy said...

I just did the same thing with ground beef. Great tackle!


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