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March 2014

  • Kale chips
  • Laurel's Kitchen peanut butter bars
  • Peanut butter, dark chocolate, and oat clusters
  • What you can do with 30 pounds of ground meat
  • Meatloaf in quantity
  • Meatballs in quantity
  • Oven-roasted ground beef
  • Oven-roasted hamburger patties
  • Details for a 30 pounds of ground meat cooking marathon that saves time and money and provides delicious meals for your household for weeks!

Kale Chips 
I know. Kale chips sound so very pious.  But I've eaten them, and they are tasty. Remove the center rib of the kale leaves.  Cut into pieces and place in bowl. Make sure the leaves are completely dry.  Add about a tablespoon of sesame or olive oil, 1-2 teaspoons of soy sauce, and a tablespoon of sesame seed.  Mix lightly until the leaves are coated. Lay the kale leaves flat, in one layer, on a baking sheet (parchment paper is optional). In the meantime, the over should be preheated to 350 degrees.  Bake the kale for about 7 minutes until they are crispy. Watch them carefully because the transition to "burned kale" can happen fast and that's not what you want.  Yes, you can add crushed red pepper or hot sauce to the coating mixture.

Peanut Butter Treats

This is based on a recipe from the Laurel's Kitchen Cookbook.  I first made this recipe in 1977. However, this version is updated for the 21st century and our local food emphasis. The original included processed ingredients like powdered milk and wheat germ.  This recipe makes about a dozen bars or balls, depending on how big you make them, and is easily doubled or tripled.  

  • 1 cup peanut butter (or any other nut butter you like)
  • 1/8 cup bran
  • 1/8 cup honey (diabetics could use a sugar alternative)
  • 1/8 cup organic cocoa nibs (or cocoa powder if you don't have the nibs)
  • 1/4 cup raisins (or more if you like 'em, and you can add additional chopped dried fruit)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: add some toasted chopped pecans or hulled sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut or toasted sesame seed, or a mixture of both

Combine everything except the peanut butter and the coconut or sesame seeds and mix.  Mix the peanut butter with your ingredient mixture.  Roll into balls or roll out on wax paper until its about 1/2 inch thick and slice into squares or bars.  Put the toasted coconut or sesame seeds on a plate, and press each bar or roll each ball into the coconut or sesame seeds to coat the exterior.  Voila, easy very tasty and nutritious peanut butter treat. Refrigerate leftovers (if there are any!) for snacking late!

Peanut Butter, dark chocolate, and oat clusters

  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons milk (or substitute creme or Greek yogurt)
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet dark chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats (not quick or instant oats)

Put the peanut butter, milk, and chocolate chips into a pan. Cook at a low temperature until the chocolate melts. Remove from the heat, stir in the oats. Drop spoonfulls onto wax paper on a plate or baking dish. Refrigerate at least 10 minutes before serving.


What you can do with 30 pounds of ground meat!

  • six meat loaves,
  • 150 meat balls,
  • 4 pounds of cooked ground meat for using in recipes,
  • 4 pounds of hamburger patties, whatever size you like!

Making this the work of an afternoon is a great time-saving idea. 

Meatloaf in Quantity

  • 8 pounds ground beef or bison
  • 2-1/2 lbs ground pork
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 c salt
  • 1-1/4 cup ground onions (or minced very finely)
  • 2 lbs (about 2 quarts) dried bread crumbs, crumbled very finely
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 cups tomato sauce

Blend the meat, seaonings, onion, and crumbs by hand. Using a mixer will likely make the meat loaves tough.  This is a "messy hand" recipe.

Add the beaten eggs, milk, and tomato sauce and mix thoroughly.

Divide the meat mixture into six loaf pans.  It's about 2-3/4 pounds of meat per pan.

Bake in a 325 degree oven for 1-1/2 hours.

Let cool, wrap well in aluminum foil. Freeze.  A well wrapped meat loaf can be frozen as long as six months, as long as it is airtight. Many people use plastic wrap over the aluminum foil. The Rodale Nickel Pincher suggests overwrapping the aluminum foil with wax or butcher paper to protect the aluminum foil from damage.

This recipe is from the book Quantity Cooking, published in 1951. It was a cookbook for executive chefs of cafeterias, and every recipe in this book is composed of basic ingredients, no mixes are used.  I have used this recipe for meatloaf to make "meatloaf for 100" for church dinners.

Meatballs in Quantity

This recipe makes 150 meatballs and uses about 8 pounds of ground meat.

  • 1/4 cup Onion, ground
  • 3/4 cup Lard
  • Ground pork fresh, 2 lbs 10 ounces (about 5-1/4 cups)
  • 5 lbs, 5 oz (4 quarts) Cooked ground beef or bison or lamb (this is about 7-1/4 pounds raw ground meat)
  • 5-1/2 cups fine bread crumbs
  • 1-1/3 tablespoon Salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black pepper
  • 4-1/2 cups Meat broth
  • 1 cup Ketchup
  • 5/8 cup Egg yolks

Fry the ground onion in the lard and mix the lard and onion with the raw ground pork and the cooked ground meat.

Mix the crumbs and spices thoroughly and add to the meat mixture. This is another messy hands recipe as it is best to mix this with your hands, as lightly as possible.

Use a scoop to make meatballs. The recipe says "#30 scoop", which is about 2-1/2 tablespoons of meat mixture.

Place on heavy bottomed trays and cook at 300 degrees Farenheit for about 45 minutes, or until brown and the pork is done.

Serve with your favorite sauce over your favorite pasta, rice, potatoes.  Freeze in airtight freezer containers (Mason jars would work well) and use as needed. Heat the frozen meatballs on a tray in the oven at 350 degrees F for 10-11 minutes and then add to your recipe, or sauce. Make sure that whatever you are adding the meatballs to is already warm.

Oven Roasted Ground Beef

Crumble the raw ground beef into baking dishes. You can add chopped garlic and onion if you like, also crushed hot peppers. Cover the pan with aluminum foil.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 35-45 minutes. Use what you need, and freeze the rest in meal sized portion in airtight freezer containers.

Oven Roasted Hamburger Patties

  • 4 pounds ground meat
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons salt

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Sprinkle some salt on the foil to absorb drippings. Put a wire rack on the pan with at least 3/4 inch clearance between the rack and the pan.

Break the raw meat into small chunks and put into a mixing boil. Add the Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, and salt.  Mix gently with your hands. Form into hamburger patties. I like to do 1/8th pound "slider size" patties because they are so versatile and they fit inside wide mouth mason jars for freezing.

Place the burgers on the racks and bake at 475 degrees F for 10-16 minutes depending on how you like them -- medium rare, medium, medium well. If you have an instant read meat thermometer, you're looking for 130-135 degrees for medium rare, 140 degrees F for medium, and 160 degrees for medium well. If you are eating some of these right now, when they are done put whatever is being eaten on the spot back into the oven topped with cheese for the great melted cheese taste.

How to do a 30 pounds of meat cooking marathon

First things first! Do your mies en place.  Which is a fancy way of saying "get everything you need, ingredients and utensils."

Your master ingredient list is:

  • 24 pounds ground beef or bison
  • 6 pounds ground pork
  • 5 eggs
  • 7 egg yolks (maybe 8, depending on their size)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 3/4 cup lard
  • 4-1/2 cups meat broth/stock
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 2.5 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 6-1/3 tablespoons salt (4 tablespoons = 1/4 cup)

Second things second!  Easiest thing to do on the list (in terms of prep time) is the roasted ground meat. And you need some cooked ground meat for the meatballs. So first we roast the hamburger.  Put 11-1/4 pounds of burger into pans, season as you like it, and bake in the oven according to the recipe above. Resist the temptation to pack the pans too deep with ground meat, as that will lengthen the cooking time.

Third things third! Once the ground meat is in the oven, start the prep for the meatloaf.  After you are finished with that prep, if the ground meat in the oven is not yet done, start the prep for the meatballs. Mix the bread crumbs and spices first, then fry the onions and combine with the pork. Set that aside to wait for the cooked ground meat from the oven.

Then make your hamburger patties, that would be fourth things fourth.

Five:  When the ground meat comes out of the oven, in goes the meatloaves while you take a break and do something else while the ground meat is cooling.  When cool, finish the prep on the meatballs and prep the rest for freezing. 

Six: After the meatloaves are cooked, bake the meatballs.

Seven:  The hamburger patties are cooked last.

Food Safety!

Don't let the raw ground meat sit out unrefrigerated for longer than 2 hours. So when you finish prep on the various steps, depending on how long it will be before they are cooked, you may want to refrigerated them. If this is too much for your tiny refrigerator, get an ice chest.

Wash utensils, bowls, and pans as you finish with them. Clean counters regularly during prep to make sure there aren't any stray meats of meat or food laying around.



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