Meal Prep Question

Hi All,

Looking into buying one of these for myself but had a question revolving around meal prep.

I plan on buying a large amount of meat/veggies and then placing them in bags, sealing them and then freezing them. Once I want one I plan on either thawing it or just directly dumping it into the hot water bath to make dinners/lunches super streamlined and easy to go through.

My question to all is if anyone else has experimented with this for a while and found a “perfect method” of implementation. My original thinking is to have all the ingredients needed in the bag and then freezing its contents so I literally just pop it into the bath and wait for the meal to be finished.

So my other question really revolves around whether or not its a good idea to freeze sauces/seasonings with this or is it better to do it ont he day of cooking and simply just adding it to the bag before dropping it into the bath.

Thanks in advanced for the help/advice!

Unless you’ve got a chamber vacuum sealer, vacuum sealing solid items along with liquid sauce/marinade is going to be tricky. I’ve had a lot of success by freezing individual portions of marinade/stock in small zip-loc bags, then when they are frozen solid, vacuum seal them with a chicken breast. I use chicken breast because when cooked sous vide it is unbelievably juicy but also acts as a great flavour sponge, soaking up the taste of whatever you cook it in. Thai spices, chili/garlic, and ginger paste work very well, and I’ve got a whole bunch in the freezer ready to go. I normally bulk buy four chicken breasts (cost saving), cook them at the same time with a variety of marinades, have one for dinner that night and use the other three for work lunch sandwiches (wraps or lebanese bread with crunchy salad and dijon or grain mustard) over the next two weeks. The cooked, vacuum sealed chicken is good in the fridge for at least two weeks, so you don’t have the hassle of freezing, then thawing, then cooking. All you have to do is yank it from the fridge and eat it cold, or reheat it before cooking since it’s already cooked and pasteurised. 

I have previously vacuum sealed and frozen steak, and on the night of cooking pulled it from the freezer and dunked it into the cold bath, then started the Anova. I’ve found that by the time the APC came up to cooking temperature the steak was sufficiently thawed, but your results will depend on too many variables for me to recommend it to you. Plus, I don’t like seasoning or marinading steak before bagging it. It works well enough, and would probably be more practical than the above chicken breast method if you bulk-bought more meat than you could eat in a two week period.

The few times (not sous-vide related) I’ve tried freezing and thawing vegetables have been a disaster so I haven’t tried it with a vacuum sealer and the APC. Perhaps someone else can chime in here?
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As far as sealing marinades with the meat I was thinking of just using the water displacement method to avoid the sauce getting sucked up in the vacuum process, I don’t know if this is a wise choice or not so I’m hoping someone out there may have some insight to help out :slight_smile:


I do exactly what you describe. In fact, I just got done breaking down two chickens that are on sale this week. I do the same with other meats. I do not use sauce, per se, as the SV cooking will create a sufficient liquid to make a sauce. I will season and coat the meats with a marinade and vacuum seal them. I do not have a chamber sealer so I do get a little liquid sucked out of the bag, but not much. If you do use sauces, then the displacement method works surprisingly well. I use zip locks when I cook somewhere outside our home and take my Anova with me. To finish, I cut a corner from the bag and drain the resultant sauce, leaving the bagged meat in the bath. I then season and thicken it for serving.

When I cook frozen prepared bagged meats I allow an additional 30 to 60 minutes of cooking time at target temperature. The amount of additional time will vary with temp, thickness, and shape of the product.

If you read up on the origins of modern SousVide cooking you will find that the original purpose of the method is exactly what you want to do. It was to easily cook prepared foods, or reheat previously cooked foods in bags.                
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Before doing sous vide I have been  in the habit of freezing 1/2 the meat I bought seasoned or marinated. I would buy a New York Strip and cut steaks and freeze 1/2 marinated and half not. Buy three chickens and cut then in half and preseason 3 halves and freeze 3 plain. Same with pork or chicken legs etc.

Overall the preseasoned ones are the best, but sometimes you want them not preseasoned.

When I started sous vide I already had a lot of premarinated meat. I just took them and either ziploced or food savered them. Since they were frozen no problem with liquid in the food saver.

Overall I prefer them premarinated in the freezer, sous vide or not, but often want to try something different.

To avoid liquid getting sucked up prefreeze portions in soft flexible (cheap) bags, preferably on a tray with a weighted tray on top so they are flat on both sides as it makes pan searing easier. Then you can vac pack them or put in heavy duty freezer bag.

Pros and cons

Ziploc  is much cheaper.You can open and reclose it to check progress.

Sometimes it doesn't stay sealed and water can get into the bag.if it falls in.

Vac pack is neater in the freezer. Maybe longer shelf life. No worries if it falls in.

Bags are 5x more expensive. Not easy to open and reclose.

If you already have a food saver etc. try both a few times. Same with premarinating. Try several methods with the same cut of meat. See which you prefer either sous vide or not.

@Simon_C said:
Unless you’ve got a chamber vacuum sealer, vacuum sealing solid items along with liquid sauce/marinade is going to be tricky. I’ve had a lot of success by freezing individual portions of marinade/stock in small zip-loc bags, then when they are frozen solid, vacuum seal them with a chicken breast. 

This is a great tip, glad I came across it. Don’t know why I didn’t think of it