I received a FoodSaver® FM5000 Series Food Preservation System to facilitate this review and to test it for freezing my Creamy Chicken Enchiladas recipe. Opinions are my own.
Sealing Up Time and Money in the Kitchen
I’m a HUGE fan of bulk cooking, when I have the immediate time to invest. In the long run, it saves hours and hours in the kitchen, plus tons of money from our grocery budget. However, just like you, it’s not always easy for me to find an entire day to set aside exclusively for prepping ingredients and packaging a month’s worth of meals.
The simplest way for me to stock up on pre-prepped meals is to double or triple what I’m already making for dinner, that night. As long as I have the ingredients on hand, it takes little extra effort and time to multiply what I am already doing. Then while supper cooks, the extra meals get packaged for the freezer. Just think! Doing this for 30 days would give you a month (or more) of meals, already planned and prepped for cooking. Imagine what you would save if you plopped one of your freezer meals in the crock-pot, in the morning, or in the oven when you get home from work; INSTEAD of rushing through the drive-up or reaching for the delivery menu.
Vacuum Sealing Saves Money by Cutting Waste and Keeping Food Fresher
Rib eye steaks are the ULTIMATE treat, on David’s list. They’re expensive, though, so reserved for date nights and special occasions. I never buy them until I find them on markdown. Then, I freeze them until the day we plan to enjoy them. Because they are pricey, even on markdown, it makes a huge difference to me that they are sealed and frozen properly, so they will be delicious when we are ready to cook them. Freezer-burned meat is a big disappointment and an incredible money-waster. My new FoodSaver® FM5000 Series Food Preservation System made properly storing those savory treats, so simple! Plus, I tossed them in the freezer with confidence, knowing they would be perfect when I decided to thaw and cook them.
After I vacuum-sealed our rib eyes, I put the FoodSaver® FM5000 into action packaging Christmas cookie treats and my doubled batch of Creamy Chicken Enchiladas. The possibilities for preserving food, preventing waste and saving money are pretty much endless with what is quickly becoming an indispensable kitchen appliance.
Air is the enemy of freshness and the primary cause of freezer burn and drying out for foods stored in the freezer, refrigerator and pantry. Ordinary storage methods like zipper bags, foil, plastic wrap and containers trap air inside, causing food to lose flavor and nutrition over time. The FoodSaver® FM5000 Series Food Preservation System combats all of that! It removes air and locks out moisture using specially-designed bags, containers and accessories to preserve food freshness and help prevent freezer burn.
Previously, when I made Creamy Chicken Enchiladas, I kept containers of individual prepped ingredients in the fridge, so we could put together a quick, delicious lunch, or a weeknight dinner-in-a-hurry. We would whittle down the ingredients, all week long, as someone needed a quick meal. By the end of the week, though, the ingredients suffered from being opened and closed over and over, and from being handled by so many different people. Sometimes, containers weren’t sealed properly or even closed at all. :0
By pre-assembling and vacuum sealing the enchiladas, individually, I completely changed the way I think about making this scrumptious comfort food for our family. It’s a Christmas miracle! lol And I will always store them this way, from now on. They last multiple times longer and are as fresh as the day I originally made them!
Exciting features of the FoodSaver® FM5000 Series Food Preservation System
- NEW Vacuum View Window allows you to easily see where and how far to insert the end of the bag before sealing, allowing you more control and reducing roll waste
- NEW Express Bag Maker cuts bag making steps. Every time you lock down the express bag-maker, it is pre-sealing your next bag.
- NEW Open Roll Storage – Keep track of bag inventory and always know when you’re running low!
- NEW Lower Roll Position allows you to use your counter as your work space for easier bag measurement and less bag waste
- Vacuum indicator valve turns off the vacuum once all air is removed
- NEW Ergonomic Sealing Angle for ease of use and comfort
- NEW Smudge-Resistant Brushed Aluminum Finish – for easier clean-up
- Dishwasher Safe Patented removable drip tray
I’ve only just scratched the surface of food preserving possibility with this gorgeous appliance. I’m going to be trying out the zipper lock vacuum seal bags and the jar sealer and bottle stopper, too! Plus, I can’t wait to get my hands on a couple of the accessories, like the quick marinator, canister set and sealed fresh containers. From leftovers to freezer meal prep, to gardening and gifting the applications for saving time and money in a busy household are tremendous! It’s the perfect thing for the foodie on your Christmas list (and for you)!
How to Make Creamy Chicken Enchiladas
Now, lets make some Creamy Chicken Enchiladas! The day I took these pictures, I actually prepped 32 for a big family dinner. The enchiladas are flavorful, creamy and have a mildly spicy kick. You can roll them and bake them all together in a 9 x 13 pan, but to be honest, we prefer the wonderful soft texture of the shells, when the enchiladas are cooked in the microwave. So, even when we have 15 people for Sunday dinner, we usually do the plates individually.
Even with 15 of us, I still had 10 enchiladas to vacuum seal and freeze for use later in the week, (or in January!). The enchiladas are filling and pure comfort food bliss. Served with some rice and/or a beautiful green salad it is a hearty, satisfying meal, so most people will only be able to eat one.
- 8 cups boneless skinless chicken breast, pre-cooked and shredded
- 32 burrito-size flour tortillas
- 2 (26 oz) cans cream of chicken soup (Those are family-size cans.)
- 5 cups sour cream
- 1 or 2 jalapenos, finely minced
- 8 cups grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
- Mix cream of chicken soup, sour cream and minced jalapeno to create the sauce. (I mince the jalapeno with the ribs and seeds because we like the heat. Remove the ribs and seeds if you prefer milder sauce.) Use appropriate precautions when handling hot peppers. Wear disposable gloves or wash hands thoroughly before touching face or eyes.
- Spread 2 or 3 Tablespoons of sauce down the center of one tortilla.
- Layer ¼ cup shredded chicken over the sauce.
- Sprinkle the chicken with two Tablespoons of grated cheese.
- Roll the tortilla tightly, so the filling is held inside, but the ends are open.
- Repeat to fill all 32 tortillas.
- Reserve the remaining sauce to top enchiladas when you cook them. It keeps about 7 or 8 days in the refrigerator.
- To serve: To heat fresh enchiladas to serve, immediately, place one enchilada on a microwave-safe plate. Spread 2 Tablespoons of sauce over the top and sprinkle with 1 or 2 Tablespoons of grated cheese. Microwave for 1½ to 2 minutes, until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted.
- To heat from frozen: Place one frozen enchilada on a microwave-safe plate. Heat the enchilada for 1 minute in the microwave. Remove from microwave and spread with 2 Tablespoons of sauce and sprinkle with 1 or 2 Tablespoons of cheese. Continue microwaving the enchilada for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted.
- To freeze uncooked enchiladas: Vacuum-seal rolled enchiladas in individual bags. Label. Date. Freeze. You could also place enchiladas on a baking sheet with at least ½-inch of space between them. Freeze for 3 to 4 hours, so enchiladas are flash-frozen. Then place the frozen enchiladas in gallon ziptop bags. Express as much air as possible and seal the bag. Freeze. (Flash-freezing them before bagging them up, means they won't stick together and you can remove one or seven, however many you need, reseal the bag and put the rest back in the freezer.)