A few years ago, I broke down and finally bought a Food Saver. I'd been eyeing them for a long time. I haven't regretted the purchase. In case you're not familiar with a Food Saver, it's a system that allows you to vacuum seal bags, keeping air out and allowing the food to stay fresh for a much longer. You can also seal already opened bags of snack foods and basically, anything you want to keep dry and fresh. Here's my Food Saver:
You have to purchase bags specifically designed for the system; they come pre-cut in a variety of sizes, or you can simply buy a roll of the plastic and create your own. I usually buy the rolls as it's less expensive and you can make the bags whatever size you need. They sell an accessory that allows you to vacuum seal jars and containers these are specifically designed for the Food Saver. I haven't used this feature yet, but I might in the future.
So far, I've mainly used mine to freeze meat. We stock up when it's on sale, then I vacuum seal and freeze the meat. It's a great way to save money, not just because you're buying the meat at sale prices, but because the meat is unlikely to spoil and need to be thrown out. I also like the fact that you can thaw the meat out in your refrigerator without worrying about messy leaks. I've also used it to seal and freeze fruit when it's in season.
I really would like to start using my Food Saver to prepare freezer meals. I can see where this would save so much time, money and energy, perfect for those of us who have a chronic illness. I'm trying to get a freezer session planned for my daughters and myself. They both work full-time, and my youngest is expecting a baby in November (you probably already know that if you're a regular reader). Besides having some complications with her pregnancy, she also has several chronic illnesses. She's exhausted by the time she gets home from work, so I think she'd love to have some meals already prepared that can be popped in the oven or microwave as soon as she gets home from work. I know that would come in handy once the baby gets here, too. I've been looking over recipes from Pinterest. Dump recipes are usually whole recipes that you prepare ahead of time and freeze. In the morning you simply dump the thawed out bag into your crockpot. No morning prep needed; sounds good to me! You can also freeze casseroles in disposable or other freezer-safe containers. Some freezer meals are completely prepared ahead of time, then frozen; but, I think I like the idea of the dump recipes the best.
Freezer cooking seems like it could be a bit overwhelming. I've seen recipes that have you prepare and freeze 20, 30 plus meals at a time. I'm sorry, but for those of us with chronic illnesses, preparing 30 meals in four hours sounds exhausting. So, we are going to start small; I figure, with all of us working, we can food prep for about two hours. Depending on how we do, the next session may be a bit longer. I'll be sure to post how it goes, along with recipes and pictures. Stay tuned!
*I am not being paid or otherwise compensated by Food Saver; I'm just a satisfied consumer. I know there are other vacuum sealer systems available for purchase.