Monday, December 21, 2009

Food Saver

This summer I bought a FoodSaver and I have to say I love it. It is nice to be able to make food and store it in individually sized portions for later. It's like having TV dinners, but food that I have prepared (with ingredients I know I like and usually lower-sodium and tastier than traditional frozen meals). I was doing well with this for awhile, but with the hectic-ness that was this semester, I fell off the wagon and stopped using the FoodSaver. I have gotten a second wind over break and have been using it a lot.

So far I have made a couple things. I have more on my list to make this week.

One thing I made was Lentil Sausage soup. I'm typically not a soup person, but trust me this soup is good! I doubled the recipe and made a huge pot. In retrospect, that may have been a bit much as the recipe as written produces a ton of soup. However it is really really good, and nutritionally and taste-wise this soup is a winner. Lentils are high in both fiber and protein. I used Sam's chicken apple sausage in the recipe as well and let me tell you that is delicious! Highly recommend that to the Sam's Club members out there. I will be enjoying this soup for months to come.

Here's the yummy soup.

Note that FoodSavers don't really like packaging liquids. They will suck out all of the juice and leave only the solids behind, so you have to trick it by freezing the liquids first. First divide your soup (or other liquid) into the size that you'd like to freeze.

Then put them into the freezer. I did not let the soup freeze all the way, but only to the point where it was sludgy. This way, the FoodSaver would not suck out the liquid (it was frozen), but the soup sludge was pliable enough that I could manipulate all the bags so that they would lay flat. This way, they take up less space in my freezer.

I have also made shrimp and cheese grits to freeze this break. I fell in love with this dish when visiting a friend in Atlanta, and so I was excited to make it myself. It's not too healthy, but the portions suggested in the recipe are huge. Believe it, I could easily make it by on a smaller portion. 12 points per portion, now frozen away for treats at a later date.

I also made this cranberry sauce extraordinaire. I doubled the recipe, saved a fourth of it to enjoy over the holidays (i.e., half of the recipe as written), and packaged the rest into three bags to enjoy later. I love cranberry sauce and am delighted that I will be able to enjoy this throughout the year rather than just at Thanksgiving and Christmas (the kind you make yourself is SO much better than anything you can buy from a store!).

I give the Food Saver a good review. It sucks all the air out of the bags, and then seals them. This leaves your food much less susceptible to freezer burn. I find the food moist and flavorful when I reheat it; the texture rarely seems affected. That having been said, there are foods that freeze well (most meats and lots of casseroles) and things that don't (tomatoes and some other fruits and veggies), but you can usually get some indication as to whether or not your food will freeze well by googling around.

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