From freezer to feast

skl's picture
Posted by skl on 2012-11-21 14:05

Big-batch cooking and freezing foods are so rewarding! A healthy meal can be on the table and enjoyed in a short time if you’ve already done the preparation and put in the effort ahead of time. 

In some parts of Canada, we’ve already had a blast of winter and with cooler temperatures and busy schedules, quick, nutritious and hot meals really hit the spot. With little or no planning ahead, it’s easy to pull together a delicious lunch or dinner using frozen foods.

Our freezer is stocked with pre-made soups, stews, casseroles and pasta sauces. I like to round out the meals with whole grains like brown rice, pasta or bread along with a salad, fruit or vegetables to make a comforting and healthy feast. Just defrost (if necessary), heat and serve! 

It’s easy to transform store-bought frozen foods into healthy meals in minutes. Some flash-frozen foods like fish, shrimp or vegetables don’t necessarily need to be defrosted before using, but can be baked, steamed or added to a quick stir-fry. Try out some speedy vegetarian dishes – I make a version of succotash using frozen lima beans and corn (steam or heat in pot with a little water or broth) and add chopped red pepper and onions, fresh herbs, a splash of canola oil and a little cayenne pepper – yummy! Another great must-have in my freezer is frozen edamame (shelled soy beans), which is a great protein source and can be steamed then mixed with quick-cooking coucous or quinoa, chopped tomatoes, green onions, and few more of your favourite vegetables for a tasty one-bowl meal. 

Did you also know that most whole grains freeze very well and reheat in just a few minutes in the microwave? Keep meal portions of cooked rice, pasta (go with whole-wheat), barley, or others on hand as side dishes or combine them with fresh or frozen vegetables, no salt added legumes (canned) and you’ll have a whole array of healthy options in no time at all. Most legumes freeze beautifully too, so you can have a real variety of mix-and-match combos ready in your freezer! Keep Canada’s Food Guide in mind when preparing your meal for a balance of nutrition, texture and flavour!

Dinner’s Ready!

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Recipe of the Week

Roasted Vegetable Buns with Spicy Spread

Tips of the Week

Include plain frozen and canned fruit and veggies with reduced sodium and sugar in your winter diet.

Question of the Week

Are frozen and canned fruit and veggies a good alternative to fresh produce?