HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

Questions about storing meat in single-serve portions?

  • 100
  • Share

First off, I was a vegetarian and/or vegan for most of my life until a couple years ago, so please forgive my ignorance on this topic...

Doctor's orders are to increase my protein intake as much as possible to try and build back some muscle after all these years of illness.

Caveats begin...

I can't stomach any nut butters, beans or legumes, eggs, or seafood/fish of any kind. Also cannot do chicken. And I'm lactose intolerant.

I currently eat around 35-40 grams of protein per day, and it's mostly "incidental" protein via potatoes or carbs. I can eat one small serving of low fat dairy per day.

The only meats I can stomach have to be virtually fat-free, well-cooked, and expensive (high quality).

So far, these include:

-well-done beef filet
-white turkey breast meat
-sparingly can eat 90/10 freshly ground beef from the butcher

All of these have to be eaten in small portions. Hence the issue with storage.

My butcher sells beef filet tails at roughly $35 a pop. I can only eat about 1/4 to 1/3 of one at a time.

Similarly, a turkey breast could easily last me 4 or 5 meals.

How can I portion these meats out so I can freeze and cook as needed? Is it possible to slice up a raw beef filet and freeze 1 oz. portions? How would you cook them? Thaw then grill?

Can you slice up a raw turkey breast and roast small pieces as needed? Thaw then roast?

Ground beef is the easiest of the bunch; I'm thinking of portioning into meatballs or hamburger-like patties and freezing those so I can cook one at a time.

Any general tips on storing, thawing, or cooking frozen meat appreciated. I have no experience cooking meat from the freezer. Thanks.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. You are a perfect candidate for a sous vide cooker, like this one http://www.sousvidesupreme.com/Defaul.... You can freeze single portions, raw or cooked, in vacuum sealed bags then cook/re-heat in a sous vide cooker. Otherwise, cooking meat from the freezer diifers little from cooking from fresh. Just defrost slowly in refrigerator (under 40 degrees F.) to avoid bacteria growth.Filet tails @ $35.00? How much do they weigh? I think you need to find a new butcher! The tail is the least desirable piece from the filet because it's not shaped round enough to make a proper steak.

    6 Replies
    1. re: zackly

      Ooh, interesting about the sous vide. Thank you for the suggestion! I will look into it and perhaps that will be the best thing for me.

      As to the filet tails, I exaggerate slightly maybe... I usually get one for about $23, though the bigger ones run upwards of $35. A large one is plenty for myself and my boyfriend. I eat maybe a 4-5 bite piece and his "half" is easily much larger than a regular filet round. So perhaps they are huge tails??

      I enjoy the cut. My mother introduced me to it years ago and this particular butcher's meat is always impeccable. More importantly, I seem to stomach it well which is a rarity, so I'm scared to stray :)

      1. re: nothingswrong

        Ugh, nevermind about the sous vide cooker.

        I'm not sure I'm a good candidate, as I'm immune compromised and keep coming across articles saying it might not be best for us sick folk.

        I absolutely have to reduce my risk of foodborne illness to the highest degree possible, as that's what landed me in this state to begin with.

        Thank you for the suggestion though.

        1. re: nothingswrong

          Sous Vide is only dangerous if the (simple) rules are not followed. I've been cooking sous vide for several years without incident. A chef's knife is can be a dangerous tool if you put your fingers underneath the blade while chopping.

        2. re: nothingswrong

          Sous vide has the capability to be safer than most other methods of cooking, depending on how you use it. You can pasteurize foods fully and with certainty and leave margin for error. Stove top or oven cooking typically involves some guesswork in this respect, and erring on the side of safety also often means overcooking your foods.

          The safety issues with sous vide come into play when you're flirting with the low end of safe cooking temperatures/times, storing foods after cooking to reheat later, using sous vide to heat foods without pasteurizing them, or fudging the technique in general.

          The downside is that there's quite a bit of reading to do before getting started on how food safety and sous vide intersect. And a lot of the popular articles and sites actually aren't well educated about the technique - just reading random articles isn't an especially good way to learn about the technique. Look up Douglas Baldwin's work if you think sous vide appeals to you ( http://www.douglasbaldwin.com/sous-vi... ). But know that sous vide can be an extremely safe cooking method, depending on how you use it.

          1. re: cowboyardee

            So, just to get a clearer idea...

            Let's say I were to buy a steak or a turkey breast and bring them directly home. Chop into 1 oz (ish) portions, vacuum seal, then stick directly in the freezer.

            Over the next week, I'd pull one at a time out and stick into the sous vide cooker for the recommended time and temp, depending on the thickness of the meat, and cook all the way to 165+ (which is what I have to do for safety reasons).

            Would it be safe to eat no matter what?

            All other variables aside, of course, like improper handling of the meat prior to me purchasing it.

            I can see why this would be theoretically very safe, but got freaked out last night by all the articles I was reading. The issues with anaerobic bacteria are scary, though I'm assuming those don't apply if I'm freezing the meat immediately after sealing, then cooking directly from frozen, one piece at a time to be eaten immediately (i.e. not storing back in the fridge afterward).

            Please correct me if I'm wrong! Thank you.

            1. re: nothingswrong

              The first and most important aspect of food safety that sous vide cooking requires you to understand is that it is not merely temperature that determines how much bacteria is present, but how long you hold food at a given temperature. A piece of meat cooked at 165 could easily be less safe than another cooked at 140 depending on how long you cook it. The traditional food safety 'rules' everyone knows are generally over-simplified.

              That said, I understand that you weren't asking that.

              If you were careful about your technique, yes, sous vide can match or surpass the safety of traditional cooking methods. The anaerobes can be issues when you press your luck in some of the ways I listed above. If you use sous vide with a specific eye for microbial safety, sous vide is as safe as cooking gets.

              There are plenty of downsides of sous vide cooking I could tell you about if you're still curious. But once you understand what you're doing with sous vide, safety is only an issue if you make it one.

      2. Regarding turkey breast, I sometimes buy a bone-in turkey breast but I'm not sure how you'd portion that out before it's cooked. But what about a boneless turkey breast? They are usually around 3 lbs. and with a good pair of kitchen shears, you could cut it up and freeze in small portions. Take it out of the freezer the day before you want to cook it and thaw it in the refrigerator, then cook in the oven.

        Or, I occasionally buy turkey cutlets. By me they come in packs of 4 so you could make 1 and freeze the rest.

        6 Replies
        1. re: valerie

          I was looking at the turkey cutlets at my local grocery store, but I've never had one. My mother always bought boneless or bone-in breasts for smaller dinners and they seem like a nice amount of meat to last me several meals. But maybe due to the storage issues, I'll have to go with cutlets. Thanks for the suggestions.

          1. re: nothingswrong

            I buy turkey cutlets weekly. Trader Joe's and Wegmans sells them year round for a pretty good price. I eat more turkey than chicken and I eat a lot of chicken.

            1. re: fldhkybnva

              I get these, too. The cutlets from both places are quite good.

              1. re: ccbweb

                I slightly prefer TJs as they aren't sliced into skinny long pieces but sort of resemble chicken breasts.

                1. re: fldhkybnva

                  Agreed, actually, but in this case I also thought that the super skinny/small cut of turkey might benefit the OP given their limits on portion size anyhow. Ends up irrelevant as I see in another post there are no Wegmans near the OP.

              2. re: fldhkybnva

                Okay, thanks for the tip. The ones at my expensive local store are EXTREMELY expensive. They have very good meat though, and I won't eat the stuff at the "regular" stores anymore.

                I'll try TJ's next time. There are no Wegmans here.

          2. Can you make a pot of stew? Skim the fat the next day, and freeze in individual portions?

            Also, Greek yogurt is high in protein.

            8 Replies
            1. re: relizabeth

              OP is lactose intolerant.

              1. re: Karl S

                Yes, not sure I can do Greek yogurt. Regular yogurt I can only handle maybe a few tablespoons at a time. I don't particularly like yogurt in general.

                Stew would be wonderful but I can't do many of the things involved. I can eat broths, but not rich or heavy sauces, or things that are very seasoned or fragrant. The blander the better.

                1. re: nothingswrong

                  How about meat/protein intensive soups? I'm thinking beef barley, beef vegetable, chicken soup with chicken meatballs, etc. All of these can be made with fairly bland broth, and you can control how much meat is in each portion.

                  1. re: nothingswrong

                    I'm also lactose intolerant and have discovered that fage and stonyfield greek yogurt are not a problem, you may want to give them a try. One 6oz cup has 20g protein, so even a half serving is a good amount

                    1. re: Ttrockwood

                      Okay, thanks for the tip.

                      I'm actually Greek and I should be all over that stuff but it's a bit too tangy for me. Perhaps I should start using it in savory applications, in lieu of sour cream for instance.

                      1. re: nothingswrong

                        Thats a perfect use! And a little honey can hide the "tang"

                        1. re: nothingswrong

                          This is what I do. I never eat it sweet .

                  2. re: relizabeth

                    Yes you can

                  3. While you asked about freezing, have you tried beef and turkey jerky, very low fat and high protein

                    Some are spicy some are mild

                    Some of my local delis roast turkey and beef in house

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Alan408

                      No I haven't, not in a very long time anyway. I used to LOVE beef jerky when I was younger and carried it around for a snack.

                      I'll look into that again. Thanks for the suggestion!

                    2. Yo can definitely freeze small portions. I would look at a food saver or press and seal wrap. I used to portion, weigh and label my meat into very small portions. Thaw in the fridge, which small portions typically if you put it in in the morning it will be ready for dinner.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: melpy

                        Great, thanks!

                      2. I freeze hundreds of lbs of meat & seafood & chicken a year with great results. .

                        If you have room, a designated freezer that gets limited daily door opening is best if you have the room for it. Basements are the perfect spot for them. Tons of them on Craigslist.

                        Next I would get a good Vacuum sealer and buy the smaller pint size bags in bulk (300 count Vacustrip pint bags @ Webrestaurantstore). Much cheaper than Foodsaver brand bags & most products will hold a year in them.

                        The faster something freezes the better. (fewer ice crystals form). When putting multiple item in the freezer, scatter them around. After fully frozen organize them together. In my freezer empty beer cases fit real nice on the shelves. This makes locating things much easier and reduces cold air loss because I take the case out, shut the door find what I want, open the door and put the case back in.

                        As other have said, slow thaw in the fridge.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: Tom34

                          Thanks for the info. I don't have a basement, my house is fairly small. I recently cleared out and deep-cleaned the freezer though, added shelves and bins and so I've got some room in there to accommodate. I wouldn't load it full of meat, probably would just be buying a piece weekly.

                          I'm kind of a nut about food safety, since a bout of salmonella from a restaurant a decade ago caused all of my current medical issues, and I never leave the door of the fridge/freezer open longer than it takes to just pull something out. I also keep the "super perishable" items in the back, won't put anything hot in the fridge, use ice baths to cool foods rapidly, etc.

                          I think I'm going to buy a vacuum sealer on Amazon this week and some bags (thanks for the cheaper recommendation) and go that route.

                          Thanks for the suggestions!

                          1. re: Tom34

                            I've had a vacuum sealer for years and wouldn't live without one. Perfect for downsizing meals. I always buy in bulk and then portion appropriately. I, too, am a small portion person. (I'd be lucky to eat 1/2 of a chicken breast). But it's the best investment we ever made.

                            1. re: boyzoma

                              I agree and I've only had it for a few days. The cat better watch out, he might get sealed.

                              1. re: boyzoma

                                In today's world, time saved and transportation cost savings (gas + mileage) also have to be factored into the equation.

                                1. re: Tom34

                                  I've done everything with mine. Including sealing my daughter's wedding dress. 18 years later and it's still sealed and white as can be!

                                  1. re: boyzoma

                                    Wow!

                            2. For the turkey breast, consider roasting whole then freezing the cooked meat in portion-sized containers. Easy to add to stir-fry's for quick reheating.

                              1. These ice cube trays might be helpful for freezing small portions: http://thesweethome.com/reviews/the-b...

                                1. I am sorry about your situation and hope you overcome it.

                                  I have 2 recommendations.

                                  =====================================

                                  If convenient for you, search out Longhorn Beef. It is ridiculously low in fat and ridiculously tasty (at least from my local source).

                                  Here is some general info:

                                  http://www.tlbaa.org/breed/longhornbe...

                                  =====================================

                                  My wife and I also eat small portions and freeze accordingly. Our pieces are frozen and stored in one go, wrapped individually in Saran Wrap and placed into a Ziploc. This simplifies thawing whether just setting it out, or placing in a bowl of water on short notice. We do our ground meats this way as well in pre-measured weights for favourite recipes.

                                  =====================================

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: DockPotato

                                    Perhaps I won't need a vacuum sealer after all, if Saran Wrap and Ziplocs work well for others.

                                    I imagine I'll really be eating my way through each turkey breast or steak before buying another, so I don't think they'll suffer much from freezer burn in such a short amount of time.

                                    Thank you for the link about the lean beef. The photos of those cute longhorns makes me not want to eat meat again, ha!

                                    1. re: nothingswrong

                                      I've been using Saran Wrap, freezer paper and foil for years, works well

                                      1. re: nothingswrong

                                        The press and seal wrap is very good for this too.

                                        1. re: melpy

                                          My mother uses that stuff. She's obsessed with it. I'm headed to her house later and will steal one of her rolls from the weekly Costco run.

                                    2. Have you considered protein powder? You could mix it with soy milk or even just water. It would not taste as good mixed with just water but it would give you protein, vitamins, and minerals.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: John E.

                                        Yes, I've tried quite a few over the years but don't stomach them well. Same with Ensure, Boost, Carnation Instant Breakfast, etc.

                                        At this point it seems I tolerate really simple foods the best, and by simple I mean few ingredients, or made from scratch.

                                        1. re: nothingswrong

                                          Odwalla makes a great soy protein dairy free smoothie (near refridgerated juices), the brand Svelte makes delicious organic vegan protein shakes as well.
                                          http://drinksvelte.com

                                      2. I do the same thing as DockPotato. I wrap desirable portions of meat in Saran wrap and place several of these together in a 1 qt freezer quality Ziplock, making sure to press out air from the Ziplock as I close it. Then I freeze it. If you use just one Ziplock per piece of meat, they are easier to defrost, though, as DockPotato says.

                                        I defrost overnight in the refrigerator, or if I am impatient, I will use the microwave on something that I plan to stir fry. I can do that since I plan to cut the meat up further into thin slices, so I only defrost the meat partway in the microwave, and then the slicing and marinade do the rest for me.

                                        I also have frozen small bits of cooked meat that I plan to use up in the various ways one uses up leftover meat, like in bound salad or in fried rice. You could easily add a tiny amount of cooked meat to fried rice if you can handle the fat levels in fried rice. Just omit the egg. I make fried rice without egg every time. I use left-over rib roast in mine, diced, or prosciutto ham, not beef filet, so be careful not to dry your filet out. Just heat the beef a little.

                                        9 Replies
                                        1. re: saltwater

                                          I do the same. Nearly every package of meat that comes in the house gets portioned and wrapped. I usually spend an hour or so after I get home with the scale and a supply Saran Wrap, foil and now I have a vacuum sealer packaging meat into my usual portion sizes.

                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                            And then how do you cook them fldhkybnva? Thaw in the fridge, then cook?

                                            1. re: nothingswrong

                                              First, I'll clarify: we do put several wrapped portions into a single Ziploc freezer bag. And yes we also squeeze out the air.

                                              As to thawing, we take a piece out in the morning and set it in the fridge, or else we make up our minds at the last minute and place it in a bowl of water for about an hour. As a final resort we can use the microwave on defrost.

                                              Your protein list doesn't include fish which I would also recommend.

                                              1. re: DockPotato

                                                DockPotato, I'm sorry if I misunderstood what you meant about how many servings in the Ziploc. I didn't mean to misrepresent you.

                                                Your post here made me think of a suggestion to nothingswrong. If you do defrost an uncooked piece of meat in the refrigerator, be sure to place it on a plate or in a bowl even if you have the meat in Saran wrap. I've had juices escape my plastic wrap alone (not my combo wraps though). The bowl prevents the problem.

                                                1. re: saltwater

                                                  Thanks for the tip. I've read that one before. Even when I just have fresh meat from the store in the fridge, I make sure to put it into a large bag or on a plate or bowl.

                                                  Being such a freak, I also Lysol the shelf it was on afterward :)

                                                  1. re: saltwater

                                                    Hee, hee. I wasn't "clarifying" for what you posted, rather for my clumsy prose.

                                                2. re: nothingswrong

                                                  Thaw and then cook. The fridge if I have time. If not I put it on a cast iron pan and rotate it.

                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                    Thanks!

                                                    1. re: nothingswrong

                                                      Any dark material works even the top of the stove. I avoid microwave defrosting because my microwave likes to cook things or I just don't know what I'm doing. If I really need it fast, well wrapped and in cold water or tepid running water works well.

                                            2. You'll have next to zero cooking control if you cook meats in such tiny portions, and you certainly don't need to thaw them first if they are not more than a half inch thick.

                                              I believe you'd be better off cooking larger pieces, then wrapping portions in Saran, then bagging and sucking out as much air as possible. To "reheat" a portion, just leave it in the fridge for a half day, or on the counter a half hour,
                                              then submerge the bag (weighted down) in a bowl of hot water.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                "You'll have next to zero cooking control if you cook meats in such tiny portions."

                                                This is what I was worried about. Like I said, I've never tried to cook such small portions. But I've always wondered why they don't sell meat in single-sized packages at the grocery store, and I imagine this is part of the reason why.

                                                "and you certainly don't need to thaw them first if they are not more than a half inch thick."

                                                Thanks for this. I wasn't sure, but have cooked small veggies and other things from frozen without thawing with no problem and wondered if I could do the same with thin cuts of meat.

                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                  You really shouldn't defrost in hot water. Cool or cold water is best. Even if very cold, 33F, the water acts as a heat sink and defrosts food very fast.

                                                  1. re: JMF

                                                    If you put it in a container of water and let the faucet run very slowly into it, the convection will speed up the defrosting, too.

                                                    1. re: JMF

                                                      Read what I wrote - two suggestions for defrosting without submersion. REHEATING in a bowl of hot water.

                                                  2. Non meaty ideas:
                                                    Hemp seeds (11g protein)
                                                    Field roast (26g protein)
                                                    Sunshine burger (original flavor, 11g protein)
                                                    Dairy free protein powder (17g, this one is delicious:
                                                    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B007SYT...
                                                    )Edamame (1cup=17g protein)
                                                    Quinoa (1 cup=8 g protein)

                                                    16 Replies
                                                    1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                      Edamame is legumes.

                                                      1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                        Thanks for the suggestions.

                                                        Unfortunately I'm not allowed to eat fiber. Max per meal should fall around 2-3 grams. Max per day would be about 15 grams, though that's pushing it.

                                                        I can actually eat small amounts of edamame and green beans, but no other legumes/beans. Small amounts meaning far less than a cup, more like 1/4 cup, but I guess that's still more protein than a few pretzels or some other snack.

                                                        1. re: nothingswrong

                                                          If it weren't for the fiber I'd suggest natto, though it might be difficult to stomach as well. It is incredibly nutritious, but a serving contains 5g of fiber, but maybe half portions or a spoonful a day would work. It can be an acquired taste though.

                                                          1. re: TeRReT

                                                            I appreciate the helpful suggestion, but fermented stuff and my stomach do not get along :)

                                                          2. re: nothingswrong

                                                            Field roast sausages have just 4g fiber per sausage, and the protein powder is also very low in fiber. The sunshine burgers vary by flavor, approx 8, but they are large patties so you could have a half portion as part of a meal.
                                                            Seitan is another high protein low fiber option, trader joe's refridgerated "chickenless strips" are great stir fried

                                                            1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                              Is seitan low in fiber? I always assumed it was the fiber in seitan that killed me. I can't stomach it at all, nor any other fake meat products I've tried. After getting sick, I swore off meat forever and went back to veganism for a while, but it wreaked havoc on my stomach. I lost so much weight and was sick all the time.

                                                              At this point, my protein options are extremely limited. No tofu, tempeh, seitan, soy, fish, chicken, beans, milk, etc. It's really just the white meat turkey and low fat steak I can do. I do get some protein via my IV solution. I believe it's at around 40 grams of protein per bag but I only use it 3 times per week.

                                                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                No, the seitan is low fiber...
                                                                Dedinately try the Svelte vegan protein shakes, they actually fit all your criteria and taste good.

                                                                1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                                  I'll look for them, thank you for all the suggestions!

                                                                2. re: nothingswrong

                                                                  Bison?

                                                                  1. re: melpy

                                                                    Never had it! Never even seen it here in L.A.

                                                                    It was presented to me once in Idaho but I was young and it scared me.

                                                                    1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                      You can probably find it at any sort of organic-y store. Whole Foods always carries it, mostly ground but sometimes in steaks. It's not too scary, it tastes like a slightly different version of beef and it's not as "messed with" as regular beef so perhaps you might try it to see if it agrees with you.

                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                        I'll admit the vegetarian in me is skeptical, but perhaps I should expand my meat-eating horizons. I'll keep an eye out for it at WF and maybe I'll feel up to it one of these days!

                                                                        1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                          Skeptical of what aspect? Just wondering

                                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                            I have NO idea why I wrote "skeptical." I was multitasking yesterday when I wrote that, and that's not the word I meant to use at all. I think I must have written what I was hearing on the TV at the time.

                                                                            I meant that the old vegetarian in me is kind of put off by adding another animal to my diet, given I've never eaten bison before.

                                                                            But if it's a lean type of meat, I might as well expand my horizons, given I can't eat chicken or seafood.

                                                                            1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                              Yea, worth a try. Btw you're amazing, so determined. It's really inspiring.

                                                                        2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                          Ground bison is very lean, yet far more tender than a comparably lean ground beef would be. To me, it also has a slight sweetness that is lacking in beef. If I could afford the higher price, I would always buy it for burgers.
                                                                          It is too lean for meatloaf or any other ground meat recipe that needs fat for texture.

                                                            2. I just thought of something. You mentioned that you have a doctor. Do you know if the organization the doctor is associated with (clinic, HMO, etc.) has a nutritionist? If so, that person should be able to help you to plan a diet that fits your needs.

                                                              5 Replies
                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                Yes! It's an HMO. I saw a nutritionist through them for a year back when I first got sick but we still didn't know what was wrong, so it wasn't particularly helpful.

                                                                It's been a rough 9 or so years, with not enough stability in my health to even think about seeing one again. I've been IV-fed for the majority of the last year.

                                                                Things are looking up right now and I think this is the perfect time to see a nutritionist again. I'll ask my doctor to put in the referral tomorrow. I'm supposed to start physical therapy too, to try and reverse the muscle wasting.

                                                                I'm strangely excited for all of this positive change, even though it will mean hard work, both physically and mentally. Thanks for the suggestion John E!

                                                                1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                  I hope you will stick around on Chowhound. I think you can see from your thread that this is a group that loves food and helping others in their own food quests, whatever they may be.

                                                                  I had a niece born with genetic complications that forced her to be fed exclusively with a GI
                                                                  tube for the first seven years of her life. Through hard work by the young girl, her family, and some surgeries, she is now getting all of her food intake by eating the food prepared by her parents (she's now 8 years old)

                                                                  I forgot to say that I think your ground beef meatball idea seems easy to do do, just male sure you reheat it with some liquid otherwise it will dry out.

                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                    Thank you, I plan on sticking around! I love food, and I especially love to bake. I can eat more baked goods than actual meals, so I feel I can "participate" in that area more. But I've found everyone here to be so helpful with new ideas, preparation techniques, etc. Case in point with this thread; I have no idea who to ask these types of things!

                                                                    I also just like seeing how others eat. I find it interesting. Even if I can't make a full-on recipe posted here, I'll steal bits and pieces or use it as a base for what I can eat. It's really expanded my meal repertoire in recent months. After eating bland for so long, just adding a bit of fresh ginger or a new herb or what have you makes a huge difference for my taste buds.

                                                                    I'm glad your niece is able to eat real food now. Just last month I was in the hospital and my doctors were trying to force a J tube into me. I had posted a thread about it actually. My doctors don't want me eating by mouth anymore and I found the news devastating. They think my stomach needs an "indefinite break" from food. It's been a really rough couple of years and I'm still on IV feedings at home, but the last few weeks have been amazing! I'm so glad I didn't throw in the towel and give up food, as I've eaten great things recently. I'm praying things stay mellow for a while, or continue to improve.

                                                                    Kudos to your niece's family for being so supportive and accommodating. And to her for persevering. I hope she never needs a tube again!

                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                      This thread has done a lot to restore my faith in humanity on the internet! Such wonderful, helpful, thoughtful suggestions with an absence of judgement or telling the OP they're wrong. It's fantastic!

                                                                      1. re: ccbweb

                                                                        There are some really, really lovely people here on Chow. Very helpful, thorough, and kind!

                                                                2. Would you consider cooking multiple servings, then freezing small portions of the finished dish for later? While many purists would poohpooh this idea, I find that freezing completely cooked portions of favorite dishes really helps me to eat according to my diet needs.
                                                                  It really sounds to me as though you won't need to bother with any sort of sealing device. The machines are really best used when your goal is long-term storage.
                                                                  As to technique... For turkey and beef filet, I would suggest cutting the raw meat into strips/bite sized pieces, which can be quickly sauteed/stir-fried without thawing. If you make the packets flat before freezing, then the small amounts will thaw quickly, sitting on the counter for 10 minutes or so, while you assemble the rest of your meal ingredients.
                                                                  For heating cooked foods, avoid using high heat. A medium heat allows the food to heat through to the center, without increasing the degree of cooking too much. It's totally fine to slightly undercook the items which you plan to freeze and reheat. I have used that technique when cooking for people who are immuno-compromised.

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: KarenDW

                                                                    Interesting, thank you for the suggestions.

                                                                    I guess I could cook and freeze the meat. My mother never ever served us leftovers growing up so I'm a little weird about them, but I guess I should just get over it.

                                                                    So with meats that don't have sauces, how would you freeze and reheat?

                                                                    For the steak, I like it just grilled with salt and pepper or something simple.

                                                                    For the turkey, I'd like to roast it in the oven, but if that's not possible, maybe just in a grill pan or cast iron skillet with some herbs and garlic.

                                                                    Reheat in the oven?

                                                                    1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                      If I'm freezing cooked meat, I always add a bit of broth or even water for extra moisture to protect the protein. For the size portions you are considering, a muffin tin might work well. Fill each cup with meat, add a bit of water/broth and freeze. Once frozen, remove, and either wrap individually or throw a bunch in a zip top bag.

                                                                      1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                        I rarely roast meats in the oven, other than the occasional chicken thigh.
                                                                        Especially for items which will be frozen and then heated, I like to sauté, and make a pan sauce with some wine, juice or stock. Add the sauce to the meat when you package for freezing.
                                                                        For heating: I use a small, heavy non-stick pan on the stove, medium-high heat. Or microwave. Or, just defrost in the fridge, then eat at room temp.
                                                                        Another possibility for the turkey is to cut into small pieces, and then poach in turkey stock.

                                                                        1. re: KarenDW

                                                                          Awesome, thanks for all the tips! Definitely gave me some guidance and ideas on what to do. I'm going to try a few of these methods and see what works best for me.

                                                                          1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                            You can roast a whole breast and package it in whatever size you want. Broth is nice but not necessary. I do this every other week for lunch meat.

                                                                        2. re: nothingswrong

                                                                          Reheated roast meat tastes less like just-cooked the longer/hotter you heat it. I have no idea why but for years it kept me from making roasts, even chicken. Then it occurred to me that cold sandwiches made from roast chicken or beef are fine. So I switched to leaving a portion of leftover roast on the counter to come to room temp, then warming it just a bit in a bowl of hot water, or the microwave. Top it with hot gravy - that way the temp of a mouthful is right, and so is the flavor.

                                                                      2. First of all, I hope your health continues to improve. What an ordeal you've been through!

                                                                        I agree with the different folks who recommended cooking the meat first, then freezing portions. I find that most cooked meats freeze just fine. Currently, I have packages of sliced roast beef, carnitas, curried ground beef and Halal cart chicken in the freezer.

                                                                        This will let you spend less time cooking, as you can make larger batches and get many servings out of each batch. You can thaw in the fridge, or under cool running water if you're in a hurry. For ground and shredded meats, I prefer to reheat in a non-stick frying pan with a bit a water. For roast beef, I usually do a quick sear in a cast iron pan.

                                                                        And while I am in love with my vacuum sealer, if you don't plan on storing the meat for long periods (greater than 2 or 3 months), then saran wrap and freezer bags are just find for your needs.

                                                                        Good luck and keep fighting the good fight. It's great to see you over on the WFD threads!

                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                        1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                          You froze Mr Halal? Brilliant!

                                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                            Heehee, yep. I had a LOT of it with my third batch. :)

                                                                            1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                              I will now be making another batch and freezing it, great idea. My poor new freezer is going to hate me soon.

                                                                          2. re: TorontoJo

                                                                            Great, thank you TorontoJo! I'm glad to hear how others cook this way.

                                                                            And I didn't even think about the vacuum sealing + longevity thing. You're right, I don't see the need for the cost and fuss if I'm planning on eating it all quickly. This is why I posted this thread, I'm pretty clueless about meat still. I guess I will learn with time.

                                                                            1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                              I just got a vacuum sealer but have been without for years. I eat a ton of meat and don't hesitate to buy it if on sale or I spot a nice looking cut so I usually buy way more than I can eat every week. It's done fine wrapped well in a few layers. I defrosted a steak last night that has probably been in the freezer for 6 months and it was fine in saran wrap and freezer paper.

                                                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                Okay. I guess I am just so paranoid about food safety now. Keeping foods, even in the freezer, really freaks me out. I know my freezer is cold, and my fridge is so cold that things sometimes freeze on the top shelf, but I'm so scared it will somehow go bad in there without me knowing and I'll eat it and get sick again. Keeping meat for 6 months in the freezer, I can't imagine.

                                                                                I have food poisoning PTSD!

                                                                                1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                  I would say you don't have to worry that much but I know that probably won't help but "you don't have to worry that much." Handle it with safe procedures out of the packaging and into its freezer apparel and thaw safely.

                                                                          3. Try ground turkey "meatloaf" made in a cupcake pan. Add 1 each red pepper per pound and they veggie-ness of it might make it more enjoyable. Season heavily.

                                                                            1. Have you tried ground veal? It's lighter and easier to digest than beef and makes a good meatball.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                No, I haven't. Not at home anyway. Veal is probably the least desirable meat you could have mentioned to me in my veg years, but now I'm having less of an issue with the idea of it. I believe my mother always used veal in her meatballs but didn't tell us kids so we'd eat them.

                                                                                Is it a very lean meat? I hadn't even thought of it, always assumed it was fatty for some reason.