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(Vacuum) Packed & Ready to Go

Weeknight meals get a family-friendly upgrade with an assist from sous vide.


BY KATIE BIANCO

For busy families, getting healthy dinners prepped and served on school nights can often feel like a Herculean task. Between after-school activities, homework, and other chores, there can be little time for moms or dads to make a kid-pleasing meal.

Thankfully, sous-vide is here to save your evenings. Read on for tips that will turn the technique into your weeknight superhero.

Make Meals For the Week

Skip the weeknight slicing and dicing by making a week’s worth of meals over the weekend. Batch cooking lets you do all the prep work at once and then simply reheat ready-made meals in a water bath on school nights.

In order to safely store your meals after batch cooking, make sure to submerge finished foods in an ice bath for 30 minutes to an hour. This brings the temperature down (below 39.2°F/4°C) and eliminates the potential for bacteria growth. Food can be safely stored in the fridge for seven days, and in the freezer for two to three months (or up  to six for poultry). Be sure to label and date each sealed bag, and then simply follow your preplanned menu for the week.


Cater to a Crowd

If you’re cooking for kids, you know they can be picky eaters. Sous vide can eliminate fussiness at the dinner table because it allows home cooks to prepare individual vacuum-sealed bags with just the right seasoning (or none at all).

The technique is perfect for parents who want protein boasting flavors of a complex marinade, but have kids who’ll only eat juicy chicken breast when it’s sans sophisticated spices. Or, simply sous-vide your proteins and veggies with salt and pepper and let each family member select their own sauces and garnishes at the dinner table.


Have Fun with Healthy Eating

For kids, sous-vide can seem like a science experiment. Get them in on the fun by having them help with vacuum sealing, placing bags in the immersion circulator, and monitoring the temperature. Even better? Add colorful veggies to up their excitement levels about eating right.


Focus on Family Time

The best thing about sous vide on school nights? It gives your family more time to gather around the dinner

table. All you have to do is reheat, plate, and serve—and then you can focus on connecting with your favorite folks.


EASY VEGGIE SIDES

Servings: Flexible / Prepping Time: 5–10 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 hours sous-vide

Pick any of these colorful veggies, or swap in your family’s favorite:
Baby purple turnips, 1/8-inch julienne slices shaved on mandoline
Baby purple carrots, whole, peeled, seasoned
Baby orange carrots, whole, peeled, seasoned
Fava beans, shelled, peeled, seasoned
Morel mushrooms, washed, halved, seasoned
Purplette scallions, whole, seasoned
Romanesco cauliflower, thick 1/2-inch steak cuts, seasoned
Swiss chard stems, seasoned
White asparagus, seasoned

Directions:

Season lightly and evenly with kosher salt and olive oil. In a large sous-vide bag, evenly distribute the ingredients along a flat surface for even cooking. Compress the bags using the vacuum sealer. Place in an 181.4°F (83°C) water bath, and cook for up to two hours, until the vegetables are tender.

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Got a Sous Vide Question?

Ask Dr. Bruno Goussault, the master of sous vide.

Dr. Bruno Goussault pioneered the sous vide method in 1971, forever changing the way we cook. Soak up his knowledge by browsing his answers to questions from Sous-Vide magazine readers—and ask him a question of your own!

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