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View Full Version : Using foodsaver to prepare meals for my parents?



Laura
12-02-2001, 07:40 AM
Okay, I have seen the infomercial, I am just not sure how it works. I am going to visit my parents after Christmas and am thinking of purchasing a foodsaver so I can basically cook all their favorite meals while I am there and then freeze them. My mom is no longer able to cook, and my dad's talents are limited to the grill at best. They either eat out or eat processed frozen dinners every night and both are on high blood pressure medication. I am hoping a bunch of home cooked meals will help out. I am not worried about things like spaghetti sauce, but there are a number of chicken meals they enjoy. Can you really cook a meal for someone and have them enjoy it later? As I write this I am wondering if they just show that bit on TV for people who won't be freezing the cooked meal but just saving it as a leftover in the refridgerator. Any advice would be appreciated.

catharine
12-02-2001, 08:12 AM
I have the foodsaver and I am very happy with it. I definitely think that it would be great to prepare meals in advance like you want to.

One thing to consider: notice on the infomercial how they use an oval plate in a bag. That's because the bag is too narrow for a regular plate. Personally, I don't have a supply of oval dinner plates. This is definitely something to think about if you are planning on making "frozen dinners."

Anyone have an ideas on this?

Grace
12-02-2001, 09:45 AM
I have a couple of thoughts on this, actually. I have a foodsaver too, and love it, but I don't really use it for making homemade "tv dinners". Besides the issue of the plate size, I think it's a waste of bag material - you have to make REALLY big bags to accomodate the whole plate.

Better (again, IMO) would be those Gladware containers - they make divided ones, and you can freeze in them beautifully. I imagine whatever you plan to make for your parents (which is a lovely idea, by the way!! :) ) would get eaten within two months, thus whatever you're freezing wouldn't really have time to get freezer burn or lose quality. I think that the foodsaver is most useful for stuff that can lose freshness quickly in the fridge (cheese, berries, meats, etc.) and for long-time freezer storage. Anyway, that's just my opinion, and I imagine your parents will be so happy to get wonderful homemade food, cooked with LOVE - however it's packaged!! :D

Terrytx
12-02-2001, 10:26 AM
I have a foodsaver too, and love it, but I have to agree with Grace on this one. I have a son in college who loves Mom's cooking (and free meals), so I fix him up meals and store them in the freezer. He comes home every couple of weekends and takes back a cooler full of dinners. Anyway, I have tried storing them using the foodsaver and have gone back to the Gladware containers. They just seem easier all around and more cost effective. I use the divided ones for meals, and the single serving ones for casseroles, and even the big ones for soup and such. They stack up nicely in the freezer. They do nicely in the microware and are re-usable.

Karen from VA
12-02-2001, 10:44 AM
If your parents have eaten a lot of frozen dinners, they may have containers left that you could reuse. I have about a dozen nice plastic oval plates that some kind of frozen dinner came in years ago which would work well. If you seal them in a FoodSaver bag, they can then reheat the whole thing in the microwave or in boiling water.

Karen

JeanneW
12-04-2001, 11:22 AM
It's funny that you bring this up since I just recently got rid of Thanksgiving leftovers. I wanted to make my own "TV dinners" so I purchased a package of the new reusable paper plates that are microwave and dishwasher safe. They're sturdy enough to stand up to the FoodSaver without squashing and worked great! The dinner plate size(I think it's probably an 8-inch plate)fit just fine in the bags.

That said, I do think the Gladware is a great idea too and I agree that your parents will probably go through your yummy food so quickly that it won't have time to get freezer burn.

P.S. Does anybody else not get the point of "reusable" paper plates? If you're going to wash them, why not just use real plates?

Laura
12-04-2001, 11:46 AM
I guess this is a secondary question, but the reason I was considering a foodsaver as opposed to just gladware is I was thinking of the reheating options. For example, one of my parents favorites is a chicken marsala recipe. I just thought that it would "reheat" better if I could make individual breast packets, and freeze them. I usually don't make meals and then freeze them for later, and really can't remember the last time I ate frozen entree. So that being said, how do cooked chicken meals like the marsala (which has a wine sauce) do once frozen? I really am not going to make "TV dinners" per se as they usually have enough veggies around to round out the meal. Thanks again for all your advice.

Grace
12-04-2001, 12:51 PM
Hi Laura. I think your chicken marsala should freeze just fine. As far as reheating goes, the new wisdom says that reheating in plastic probably isn't the smartest idea, (supposedly the plastic gives off something when heated that can leach into the food), although most people still do it (myself included). That said, to me it's like 6 of one, 1/2 dozen of the other - plastic bags or plastic containers are just plastic. What you could do is freeze in the gladware containers, pop the frozen "blocks" out of the gladware once it's frozen solid, put it in a Foodsaver bag and then vacuum seal it. But that seems to me like making more work for yourself than necessary. Your parents could pop the frozen "block" of chicken marsala out of the gladware themselves and put it on a regular plate to reheat in the microwave, or they could just reheat it right in the Gladware (which I do often). The "reusable plate" idea (I agree - what a wierd concept?!!) is great since the plates fit in the bags and can be microwaved, but, I would still take it out of the plastic bag before microwaving it anyway. So I still say go with the Gladware, since you're not creating a whole meal on a single plate. You can put two servings of the chicken marsala into one Gladware container and let your parents reheat it and then they can dish it up onto their plates themselves, or Gladware comes in a thousand different sizes and you could make individual ones, or you could even use simple small ziploc freezer bags if you want to do one serving at a time. They could take the frozen breast/sauce out of the little freezer bag and put it on their plate to reheat. You can't vacuum seal liquids in the bags, so if you wanted to vacuum seal your chicken marsala, you'd have to freeze it first anyway, so I personally wouldn't bother with it.

I hope that answers your question?