Making homemade Frozen dinners: best methods?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by decrotie2004, Oct 6, 2014.

  1. decrotie2004

    decrotie2004

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    Recently my Fiancé has decided she wanted to do an Advocare 24 day challenge, after some heavy persuading I talked her out of it and into something a bit healthier than powders and pills.

    In turn she needs a structure meal plan but there are nights I can not cook for her from scratch. So I came up with a simple meal of boiled chicken breast in a sweet chili sauce over "instant" white rice cooked with diluted chicken broth and bagged frozen stir fry vegetables. 

    I made roughly 9 servings of each component of the meal, only to realize I do not own enough containers to store them in. So I resorted to plastic bags (ziplock style). and froze the chicken in 4 oz individual servings and combined 1 cup rice with 1 cup vegetables into a separate bag and froze it flat in the freezer ( standard home freezer) .

    The next day I re-heated one "meal", placed all the contents of the bag on a ceramic plate and microwaved until hot.

    Overall: the food was... dare I say "OK" but I could tell it was not as fresh as the day I made it. I'm thinking there maybe a better way to do this, and I was wondering if anyone has experience with something like this and keeping the food fresh(er)?
     
  2. wlong

    wlong

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  3. eastshores

    eastshores

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    You need a FoodSaver or something that offers the same ability. That is vacuum packed food. Putting things in zip lock bags can work if they are surrounded by a liquid, but with things like chunks of meat, rice, odd shaped vegetables, etc. you need the ability to reduce the oxygen present around the food which is what leads to "freezer burn".

    I recently smoked 12 chicken breasts and packed them so this is what it looks like to give you an idea:


    You can microwave this food directly in the bag, or if you have the time a better method in my opinion is to have a rolling pot of boiling water and just drop the bag down in it. That can take some guesswork on the timing but it is a gentler heating method than microwaving (which usually needs venting) so you will lose less moisture in the food. If you come up with a few different meal formulas you could even experiment to get the timing just right. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2014
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  4. maryb

    maryb

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    I have used gallon zip lock bags and divided disposable plates to make meals in advance of surgery, stored fine for 6 months when I didn't eat 2 of them
     
  5. decrotie2004

    decrotie2004

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    Has anyone tried the Ziploc Vacuum freezer bags? im wondering if this can be a cheaper alternative to a foodsaver.
     
  6. maryb

    maryb

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    The ziplock machine does not draw a good vacuum. The FoodSaver will crush a can for example.
     
  7. decrotie2004

    decrotie2004

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    Just an update for anyone interested:

    I have successfully made 3 different "frozen/EZ prep" meals that have come out fantastically.

    Asian style boiled chicken with white rice and stir fry vegetables

    MEAL 1 -2 bags:

    bag 1:1 cup rice, 1 cup stirfry

    bag 2: 4 oz cooked chicken, 2 tbsp sweet and sour duck sauce ( store bought).

    MEAL 2- 1 bag, 1/2 cup sealable lunch bowl 

    Bag 1: 4 oz oven baked homemade chicken nuggets

    *1/2 bowl: 1/2 cup apple sauce

    Meal 3: 2 bags:

    Bag 1: 2 oz ground turkey taco meat

    *Bag 2: EZ fill taco shell, sliced tomato, onion, cheese, lettuce

    * noted items are never frozen

    As for the freezer bag/ Vacuum bag, i press as much air our of the ziplock as possible and if possible use a straw to suck out remaining air before sealing as tight as possible. 

    Luckily these meals are being eaten within a week of being frozen and none have come out tasting freezer burnt or even changing too much flavor wise.
     
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  8. eastshores

    eastshores

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    Glad to hear you've had some success! Another good way to get air out of a ziplock is to fill your sink full of water, and then immerse the bag under right up to the opening and then seal it. The water forces all of the air out similar to the vacuum sealers and might keep you from inhaling a piece of stir fry /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
     
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