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post #12 of Old 01-14-2003
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Menu Planning

The most valuable tool I have for good boat meals resides in my kitchen at home--a vacuum packager. They''re available at Costco. I prepare almost all of our dinners in advance of the trip, freeze, and vacuum package. Everything goes into the ice box already frozen, helping the ice box hold over far longer. All cheese and sliced meats are vacuum packaged in meal-serving sizes so the remainder stays sealed and fresh (and DRY) for days. They are also great for boil-in-bag reheating, saving a tremendous amount of time washing pots and pans. You can''t vacuum seal liquids (it gets sucked into the machine), so pour soups and stews into the bags, freeze with the bag open, then vacuum seal. I''ve done an entire pot roast dinner for eight this way and just threw in the potatoes on the boat. Vacuum package coffee, tea bags, matches, clothing, shoes, cookies, batteries, a handheld GPS, anything you want to stay dry and fresh until use. Throw them in the bilge if you like, it won''t matter. Seal packaged frozen vegetables (or freeze your own) and never find them soaked in the bottom of the ice box. Get all your chicken or tuna salad ingredients chopped and mixed, vacuum seal, and all you have to do is add mayo when you''re ready to eat. Make extra servings when preparing your shore meals, vacuum seal the left overs, store in the freezer, and you have an entire selection with no additional work when you''re headed for the boat. The possibilities are endless. It''s the best $150 investment I ever made and has easily paid for itself by eliminating food waste. We eat very well on our boat!
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