Are you looking for healthy recipes with frozen vegetables and proteins? I'm sharing 7 recipes using what you have in your freezer plus a few pantry staples. Frozen can still be super tasty!
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If you're used to using fresh produce and proteins for your meals (hand raised high over here!), it's a bit of a shock to walk into the grocery store and see the produce section bare.
How are we supposed to cook healthy meals when fresh food isn't available? It's not always easy but, fortunately, frozen produce can be just as healthy as fresh. Furthermore, many of the recipes you know and love can be made using frozen vegetables and proteins, it just takes a little creativity and a few adaptations! Let's take on that challenge together.
Here are some recipes that can easily be made using frozen meat and produce, as well as some tips on how to cook with frozen vegetables. I sincerely hope these help you create healthy and delicious meals for your family during this challenging time.
Recipes with Frozen Vegetables & Protein
Use frozen chicken and whatever salsa you have on hand. While the tomatoes and cilantro definitely add some nice fresh flavor, you can totally make this dish without them in a pinch!
I love chorizo but any sausage, or even ground beef or turkey, will work for this versatile recipe. If you don't have tomatoes or bell pepper, try adding frozen peppers and onions or frozen corn to add some bulk.
This recipe is packed with produce, but can also be made with only frozen ground beef and a few pantry staples. If you have frozen carrots or peppers, throw those in! If you don't have any sweet potatoes, you can also serve these sloppy joes over brown rice, in a wrap, or on a bun.
This super simple stir fry sauce relies on pantry ingredients like rice vinegar and coconut aminos. Sub garlic powder and ginger powder for fresh garlic and ginger if you don't have them.
Stir fry is so versatile, you can use whatever protein you have in the freezer and frozen veggies like broccoli, corn, or edamame to put together a complete meal.
The only non-freezer or pantry ingredient in this one is an onion, which lasts for a super long time and you can definitely keep on hand. Slow cooker Moroccan chicken is a good one for when you're craving some healthy comfort food.
This meal feels a little fancy but you can make the entire thing with frozen salmon and a few pantry ingredients like pecans and spices. Roast some frozen broccoli to serve on the side and you have a full meal that doesn't feel like it came from the freezer.
The combination of cornmeal and Cajun seasoning definitely brings to mind catfish, but sub any fish you like for this one!
How to Cook with Frozen Vegetables
Frozen vegetables really can be good, you just have to know how to cook them! They have a reputation for turning out mushy and water-logged and yes, that can totally happen, but it doesn't have to. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
Don't thaw: Unless a recipe specifically says otherwise, it's better to cook frozen vegetables without thawing first to avoid mush!
Roasting: Some vegetables are just as delicious roasted from frozen as from fresh. Frozen broccoli, cauliflower and green beans are all good roasted. Drizzle the vegetables with oil and add some spices just like when roasting from fresh. Then make sure to stir halfway through cooking. The oil and spices don't really stick to the veggies when they're completely frozen so this will make sure everything is evenly distributed.
Also, smaller pieces roast better and will turn out less watery. If your frozen veggies are large, you can either cut them before roasting or cut halfway through cooking if it's too hard to chop when they're fully frozen.
Check out more tips on roasting frozen vegetables here!
Steaming: Steaming is also a good method for cooking frozen vegetables. Just make sure not to over-steam or you will literally have mush. Steaming is always better than boiling though as it cooks more gently and results in a better texture.
Souping: Okay, that's not really a word, but you know what I mean 🙂 Throwing frozen vegetables into a soup is one of the best and easiest ways to use them. Don't thaw first, just toss them in and let all of the yummy seasonings from your soup add flavor.
How to Cook with Frozen Proteins
Most proteins freeze really well, but there are a few important things to keep in mind for both flavor and food safety. If you're not used to using frozen meat, here are a few tips!
Thawing: Thaw meat in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave to prevent it from siting in an unsafe temperature range for too long.
If you forget to thaw your meat, cook it in the Instant Pot! You can cook fully frozen meat in the Instant Pot, but NOT in your slow cooker. Putting frozen meat in the crockpot results in it siting in an unsafe temperature range for too long.
Nutrients: Studies show that freezing meat does not take away from its nutrient value.
What are some good sources for frozen protein?
Now is a great time to consider ordering your proteins to avoid those extra trips to the grocery store.
For more ideas on how to use pantry and freezer ingredients, make sure to download our full Prep Dish-style pantry / freezer menu here!
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