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using a vacuum sealer for wife's dinner's

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
So, I just got married and I get a vacuum sealer as a gift which I absolutely adore. I work nights and my new bride works mornings so she is on her own for dinner since I don't get out of work until 10 or later.

Now, the issue is she doesn't care to cook much other than hot dogs, microwave dinners, pizza's, those pasta's in a bag things and canned ravioli's and I cant cook for her and shopping with her picking out that nasty you know what just bugs me, it is generally processed, injected with god knows what, unhealthy, expensive and not all that tasty.

So what I am asking all of you is for some recipes or techniques or something for me to utilize my new vacuum sealer and make her some homemade tv dinners. I was thinking some pasta dishes, maybe a soup or stew, par cooked chicken or something along those lines. Something that she can pull from the freezer the night before and follow my simple 5 to 10 minute directions like put in the oven to reheat, microwave or heat in a skillet with a 1/4 cup of water.

And while I have your attention, what do you guys think about that as a business idea? Go to a real small corner store loaded with canned foods and frozen dinners all gourmet and home made. Think there might be a market for that?
post #2 of 7
I haven't used the vacuum sealer for a lot of things yet but one thing we've found to be really good is bbq. You just seal it up, freeze, and when you're ready to heat it up, throw the package into a pot of boiling water. It thaws and warms it up in a hurry so you just cut open the package and put into a serving dish. I'm sure there are other items you could reheat the same way.

I would think things like lasagna would work well. Maybe freeze it in the pan first and then put into the vacuum sealer so it still has the same shape. I freeze a whole lasagna and just put in the fridge to thaw either the night before or in the morning and just have to pop it in the oven when I'm ready to make dinner. I also make extra meat sauce when we have spaghetti and freeze it for use later. I always forget we have the vacuum sealer so haven't tried it on those items yet.

I'll be watching this thread for suggestions! On days when we're out of the house and busy, I try to use the slow cooker but it would be nice to have some other options for when I don't plan ahead well enough!
post #3 of 7
I freeze stuff like that all the time, in just Ziploc though. Whatever I make, a big pot of bean soup, chili, mac and cheese, I've got some cabbage rolls in there right now. The one thing I try to do depending on what it is is use a larger than needed bag and lay it flat while it freezes. Once frozen I can stack them on end like books and they thaw and cook quickly because they are usually only and inch or so thick.
post #4 of 7
I never use ziploc unless I'm going to use it up within 2 days (frozen or refrigerated).

My Food Saver gets used a lot. Baggies are a bit expensive, but getting the oxygen (air) out of the bag, makes for long term storage without loss of flavor or freezer burn.

I grind hamburger myself, put it in the foodsaver baggie, freeze it, then seal it so the blood doesn't sponge out of the hamburger under vacuum.

Same with anything squishable (lasagna, etc.). Actually, we like to make 6 lbs of pasta (penne, usually) at a time, drain and shock it, and put in the foodsaver bags in 1-2 portion amounts. Freeze it then vacuum seal it. They heat up in the microwave at work really well, and we can our own sauces, so we just open up a jar and put some in a plastic lunch container. The heat of the pasta is usually enough to heat up the sauce, but you can mix them together and heat them.

I've saved a bundle not going out for lunch anymore over the last 4 years!

I save anything left over, like a canned ham, meat picked from a cooked turkey carcass (my wife loves to take one of these, thaw it, and have me make her some turkey salad for her lunches). Chicken or turkey roulades with sauce. ANything with sauce or lots of water or moisture works best if frozen first and then vacuum sealed.

I have stuff that has been sealed for over 2 years, and it is fresh as the day it was made when we thaw it out.

post #5 of 7
Lasagna seals well by just refrigerating and slicing into serving size if it is a dryer lasagna. If you like lots of tomato sauce in yours freeze first. Just about anything can be sealed in a vac bag by first freezing and reheating is easy. Just dump the bag in a pot of simmering water.
post #6 of 7
Congrats on your marriage. You should have an interesting relationship as you gently upgrade your bride's tastes and discrimination in food. Sounde like you're pretty well equipped to do that. :bounce:

The foodsaver is outstanding for doing just what you have mind. Mine is an older model and I occasionally lose the vacuum, so I double-seal both ends.

Note the above suggestions to freeze-first-then-seal. Anything squishable - breads and many pastas - works fine with that approach.

The sous vide approach - drop-the-bag-in-boiling-water - is also good for an easy reheat.

Have fun.

travelling gourmand
travelling gourmand
post #7 of 7
I think this is a great idea. I also use my Food Saver a lot. Don't know how I lived without it. Got one of those crockpot things that is supposed to be for heating dips at parties and use it to heat my vacuum-sealed food (I take it out of the bag) at work. That way I can avoid the microwave.
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