Freezer to Slow Cooker and Back: Your Kitchen's Dynamic Duo
Every chef knows there are two appliances your kitchen can't live without: a slow cooker and a vacuum sealer. One is essential for preparing your favorite recipes and snacks, while the other is essential for keeping them stored for the long haul.
When you use the two together, your culinary prowess becomes unparalleled. This new year, learn how to use your vacuum sealer and slow cooker to both freeze and prepare your favorite dishes.
Step 1: Pick Your Dish
Start by deciding on the best dish. You'll want to pick a meal that can be traditionally prepared in your slow cooker, like a casserole, meat and veggie combo, or soup.
Step 2: Prepare Your Ingredients
After you've picked your recipe, you'll need to go through the ingredients list to determine which ones need to be chopped, thawed or peeled before you start your dish. Follow the directions of your recipe closely, combining all ingredients as dictated. When the directions say transfer to your slow cooker, instead put the ingredients in a vacuum sealer bag and remove the air for storage.
If your recipe calls for uncooked meat, freeze these items separately from the rest of your recipe. For example, if you're freezing chicken and dumplings to be prepared in the slow cooker, you would freeze your chicken breasts separately from your vegetables and dumplings.
"Store uncooked meat separately from prepared ingredients for the best results."
Step 3: Freeze With Care
For liquid-based meals, like soups or stews, you'll want to freeze your final product for a few hours before transferring it to a vacuum sealer bag. This way, your meal has a chance to solidify before being stored for the long term. This process also ensures the quality of your meal, as prefreezing is a great way to help food retain its moisture.
Using a vacuum sealer, remove the air from your plastic bag and store the ingredients in the freezer. The airtight bag will keep your food safe from harmful bacteria, mold, grime or critters for significantly longer than traditional storage methods.
Step 4: Set Up the Slow Cooker
When it's time to prepare your dish, simply remove your food from the freezer, place it in your slow cooker and follow the recipe directions! Since the meal was frozen, it may add an additional 30 to 60 minutes to your overall cook time, so keep your eye on the dish while it's in the slow cooker.