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Meal Planning

How to Save Time and Money While Preparing Healthy, Delicious Meals


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Depending on your schedule, you can either just season and seal uncooked food in their pouches ahead of time and cook it later from a refrigerated or frozen state, or you can also pre-cook the food ahead of time and store in the fridge or freezer to be reheated later.

Please see the following guidelines for timing, and remember to quick chill  cooked food before refrigerating or freezing.

 

Pouches of seasoned uncooked food Cook immediately Refrigerate up to 2 days Freeze up to 2 weeks
Pouches of cooked food Serve immediately Quick chill  (see below) and refrigerate up to 2 days Quick chill (see below) and freeze up to 1 year for meats, and up to a few weeks for vegetables.

How to Cook Sous Vide from Frozen

One of the great advantages of sous vide cooking is leveraging your cooking time. Cooking batches of meat, fish, poultry, or vegetables at once, then quick-chilling, and freezing them for later use means that dinner can be ready quickly when you arrive home tired and hungry.

Just follow these easy steps:

  • Buy the economy pack of steak, chicken, or fish.
  • Portion the proteins as individual servings (or servings suitable for your needs) into cooking pouches.
  • Add your favorite seasonings and vacuum seal.

There are two ways of using your freezer to save you time:

OPTION 1: Cook - Chill - Freeze - Reheat

  1. Season and vacuum seal batches of foods that cook at the same temperature and cook them all together to save time. (Beef, lamb, and pork together at 134F/56.5C to 140F/60C; white meat chicken or turkey together at 146F/63.5C; dark meat chicken or turkey together at 176F/80C.)
  2. When they've finished cooking, quick chill the pouches in an ice water bath (half ice/half water) for at least 30 to 45 minutes.
  3. Label with contents and date and freeze for up to one year.
  4. Reheat the cooked food from a thawed or chilled state in the SousVide Supreme at the cooking temperature for 45 minutes per inch of thickness. If reheating from frozen, please allow an additional 30 minutes.
  5. Sauce or sear the food, as usual, if desired.

OPTION 2: Freeze - Cook

  1. Season and vacuum seal individual portions of meat, poultry, game, fish or seafood.
  2. Label with contents and date and freeze the pouches, uncooked, for use up to 6 weeks.
  3. Cook from thawed or frozen in the SousVide Supreme at the ideal (desired) cooking temperature, adding 30 minutes to the cooking time to allow for thawing in the water bath if cooking from frozen.
  4. Sauce or sear the food, as usual, if desired.

Another helpful hint: Different types of previously cooked foods in pouches can be reheated at the same time in the water oven, even though they might have cooked at different temperatures originally. For instance, vegetables that were cooked at 183F/84C can reheat in the water bath with meat that cooked (or is cooking) at 134F/56.5C. Always select the lower of the ideal cooking temperatures to reheat different types of food together, in this example, set the temperature to 134F/56.5C.

 


 

How to Cook Meat and Vegetables Together

Beef cooks to a perfect medium-rare at 134F/56.5C and to medium at 140F/60C, but the fiber in vegetables won’t soften and become tender until 180F/82C. And that means that meat and vegetables don’t want to be cooked at the same temperature.

Here’s how to bring the meat and potatoes to the table, perfectly.

  • First heat the SousVide Supreme to 185F/85C and cook the vegetables (potatoes, carrots, onions, celery – whatever you like) for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Reset the SousVide Supreme to the desired temperature for the meat you wish to cook.
  • Remove several cups of water from and add several cups of ice cubes to the bath to quickly drop the temperature of the water.
  • When it reaches the desired temperature for the meat, drop in the vacuum-sealed pouches of, say, steak bites and cook at the lower temperature for another hour.
  • The vegetables can hang out in the water oven to keep warm while the steak cooks.

 


 

How to Marinate Foods

Unless you have a chamber vacuum sealer, you will not be able to vacuum-seal liquids. However, here’s a great tip that works well for advanced meal prep while also allowing you to cook food in a marinade using the sous vide cooking technique.

  • Put the food you wish to marinate (meat, fish, poultry, or vegetables) into a vacuum-sealed pouch and pour in your favorite marinade.
  • Remove as much air from the pouch as possible just by pressing with your hands and seal the pouch (do not vacuum, just seal) near its open end.
  • Put the pouch into the freezer until the liquid marinade has frozen.
  • Remove the pouch from the freezer and cut the pouch open just below the existing seal.
  • Now vacuum/seal the pouch as usual and cook in the preheated water oven. Add an extra 30 minutes to 1 hour to your cooking time for the frozen food to thaw.

 


 

How to Save Time with Grouping "Like with Like"

  • Vegetables: Since most all vegetables can cook in the 183F/84 C to 185F/85C temperature range and generally will be tender within 45 minutes to 1 hour, you can fill the SousVide Supreme with pouches of several different kinds of vegetables to usefor several days and cook them all at once. While the prep time is hands-on, the cooking time is totally unattended. You can cook all the vegetables you'll need for the next two or three days while you’re at the gym working out or on a run or watching a movie or playing tennis with your friends.

  • Meat: All red meat (beef, lamb, bison) and even ostrich and duck breast can cook together (in separate pouches) at the same temperature, which for perfect medium rare is 134F/56.5C. (The length of time depends on the thickness and toughness of the cut of meat.) If you prefer your meat cooked to a higher degree of doneness, no problem; just set the SousVide Supreme to 140F/60C for medium or 150F/65C for medium well and the meat will come out just the way you like it, perfectly cooked from edge to edge. Season these meats as you like, vacuum/seal them in portions suitable to your needs, and cook them all at once for their designated period of time, which will be based on their thickness. Simply pull out the pouches as when their cooking time elapses, quick chill them in ice water, dry them off, label with contents and date, and refrigerate for up to 48 hours or freeze for up to 1 year. (See Time and Temperature Table for recommendations.)

  • Poultry: White meat chicken or turkey and pork can cook together at 140F/60C to 146F/63C for about 2 to 2.5 hours. You can fill the water oven with up to 8 turkey breasts or 12 chicken breasts or 12 to 16 pork chops or 6 pork tenderloins or some combination of these foods. When the time elapses, remove the pouches, quick chill them in ice water, dry them off, label the with content and date, and store in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours or freeze them for up to a year.

    • Reheat the cooked meats in the SousVide Supreme for dinners throughout the week. (From refrigerator, reheat at 140F/60C for 30 minutes. From frozen, reheat at 140F/60C for an hour.)
    • Thaw the meat and add to soups or stews.
    • Use the cooked turkey or chicken breast to make turkey or chicken salad or for sandwiches or wraps.

     

  • Tougher cuts of meat: Cook tough cuts of meat (roasts, spare ribs, grass fed beef, game) that may need 8 to 10 or more hours to tenderize overnight while you sleep. You can’t get more hands-off than that!

  • Multi-task cooking: Remember that even though you might be using the SousVide Supreme for a lengthy cooking project, such as pork spare ribs, which need to cook for 30 hours at 176F/ C, it’s not out of commission. If there is room in the water bath, you can cook pouches of any other foods that would cook at that temperature, such as duck, turkey, or chicken leg quarters or reheat pouches of cooked vegetables.

  • Reheating: Reheat pouches of previously cooked vegetables while fish or tender meats cook. The delicate flesh of fish needs only to be brought to temperature to be perfectly cooked, moist and delicious. For a 1/2-inch filet of fish, that may take only 20 to 40 minutes. While the fish is cooking, drop a pre-cooked and refrigerated pouch or two of vegetables into the water oven along side the fish to reheat at the same time. Dinner will be ready in 30 or 40 minutes; it will be nutritious and delicious; your house will not smell like fish; and clean up will be effortless!

With just a little bit of planning, you can turn minimal hands-on time into gourmet quality meals with amazing simplicity.

 

 


 

Other Money-Saving Tips

  • Buy in bulk, on sale, and in season. Purchase more expensive foods (meat, poultry, seafood) in family-sized packages and spend a few minutes when you get them home seasoning and vacuum sealing in portions suitable for yourself or your family. Watch for sales at your local grocer. More expensive cuts of meat are often the ‘loss leader’ for grocery stores. Take advantage and buy what’s being featured.

  • Vacuum/seal individual servings of steaks, chicken breasts, chicken leg quarters, filets of fish. Cook immediately or label with the contents and date and store in refrigerator for up to 48 hours or in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.

  • Let the sous vide process make tough, inexpensive cuts of meat meltingly tender. Inexpensive eye of round can become as tender as filet mignon after an 8 to 10 hour swim in the SousVide Supreme while you are at work or even asleep!

  • Select vegetables that are less expensive and plentiful when in season at your local grocer or farmer’s market. Bring them home and wash, prep, season, and vacuum/seal them each in their separate pouches at one time. You can refrigerate the prepared pouches for up to 48 hours to cook on subsequent days. Or you can cook them all immediately to enjoy some tonight and quick chill other pouches to store in refrigerator for up to 48 hours.

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