January 22

5 Healthy Freezer-Friendly Meals


5 Healthy Freezer-Friendly Meals

Health experts are quick to advise you to eat more nutrient-dense foods, but during the winter, most imported fruits and veggies are subpar: They’re picked before they’re fully ripe — and are shockingly expensive. Time to peruse the freezer section.

Now, before you give frozen produce the cold shoulder, consider this: Frozen fruits and vegetables are cheaper and just as nutritious (if not more so) than their fresh counterparts. Modern flash-freezing techniques preserve their nutrients, and most companies freeze their items within hours of harvesting. Think of it as Mother Nature’s pause button. What’s more, you’ll save on food prep — since frozen produce is already chopped, pitted and peeled — and will cut back on food waste since you don’t have to worry about eating your greens before your veggie drawer turns into a Petri dish.

Take a dive into the deep freeze and see how these reliable frozen staples can heat up your favorite meals this winter.

Frozen Food Rules

From store to stove-top, here’s how to choose and use your frozen assets.

Give it a squeeze. You should be able to feel the individual contents in each bag. Packages that feel like a block of ice indicates that the product has been thawed and refrozen at least once, leading to degraded food quality.

Choose organic — maybe. Research is inconclusive when it comes to pesticides and whether they linger on frozen produce, but if you’re overly concerned about consuming chemicals, there are plenty of organic frozen options around.

Stay pure. Steer clear of products with added sweeteners, sodium or mysterious sauces. The ingredient list should only contain one item.

Buy bags over boxes. With a bag, you can use just what you need instead of having to thaw a whole block of spinach, for instance.

Match methods. The rules for cooking produce are the same, whether frozen or fresh: Choose steaming, sautéing and microwaving over boiling, which may leech precious nutrients.

Go from freezer to fork. When it comes to using subzero fruits and veggies for smoothies, soups, chilies, curries, stir-fries and stews, don’t bother defrosting them. They thaw quickly when placed in a hot dish and add that frosty texture to smoothies.

Thaw and then gnaw. Don’t refreeze frozen produce once it has been thawed. The flavor and texture — as well as the nutritional value — will suffer.

Stock up. A full freezer means there’s no space for warm air to circulate when you open and close the door, helping it operate more efficiently and shrink your electric bill.

Track the timeline. If stored properly, frozen fruits and vegetables have a shelf life of about one year before their flavor, texture and nutrients diminish. Store and date any extras in airtight bags to prevent freezer burn.

Visit the frozen food aisle last when shopping to keep your frozen foods “fresh.”

Big Green Soup
Big Green Soup

Big Green Soup

Hands-On Time:15 Minutes

Cook Time:25 Minutes

Makes: 4 Servings

Frozen Assets

Broccoli is a surefire way to load up on folate, a nutrient that helps convert carbs into energy. And spinach is brimming with vitamin A to boost eye and bone health.


½ cup shelled unsaltedpistachios2 tsp canola oil1 medium yellow onion, diced½ tsp salt3 cloves garlic, chopped1 tsp dried Italian seasoning½ tsp cumin powder¼ tsp black pepper¼ tsp cayenne5 cups low-sodium vegetablebroth1 cup canned cannellini ornavy beans4 cups frozen broccoli florets2 cups frozen spinachjuice of ½ lemon


Toast pistachios in a dry saucepan over medium heat, shaking often to avoid burning, about 4 minutes. Set aside. Add oil to saucepan and heat over medium. Add onions and salt and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring often. Add Italian seasoning, cumin, pepper and cayenne and heat 30 seconds. Add vegetable broth and beans and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook 15 minutes. Stir in broccoli and spinach and simmer 5 minutes. Add pistachios and lemon juice and mix well. Puree in a blender until smooth, working in batches, if necessary.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 247, fat 10 g, carbs 32 g, fiber 13 g, sugar 7 g, protein 12 g, sodium 541 mg

Creamy Salmon Alfredo Pasta
Creamy Salmon Alfredo Pasta

Creamy Salmon Alfredo Pasta

Hands-On Time:20 Minutes

Cook Time:20 Minutes

Makes: 5 Servings

Frozen Assets

Antioxidant-rich cauliflower produces a creamy pasta sauce with half the calories of a cream-based one, while peas supply protein, fiber and vitamin K, which is necessary for proper blood clotting and optimal bone health.


1 lb center-cut, skin-on salmon fillets½ tsp salt, divided½ tsp black pepper, divided5 cups frozen cauliflower florets2 cloves garlic, chopped⅔ cup grated Parmesan cheese½ cup canned evaporated milkjuice of ½ lemon1 tbsp fresh thyme1½ tsp Dijon-style mustard½ tsp red chili flakes¾ lb whole-grain penne pasta1½ cups frozen peas⅓ cup chopped parsleyDIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 325 F. Place salmon, skin-side down, on a baking sheet greased with oil or lined with parchment paper. Season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Roast until barely cooked through in the center, about 13 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, then break flesh into 1-inch chunks. Meanwhile, heat frozen cauliflower according to package directions, then add to a food processor cup with garlic, Parmesan, evaporated milk, lemon juice, thyme, mustard, chili flakes, and remaining salt and pepper. Puree until smooth. Cook pasta according to package directions, adding frozen peas during the last minute of cooking. Drain, reserving ⅓ cup cooking water, then return pasta and peas to pot. Stir in cauliflower sauce and then slowly stir in cooking water until well-coated. Divide among serving plates, top with chunks of salmon and sprinkle with parsley.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 425, fat 15 g, carbs 38 g, fiber 6 g, sugar 9 g, protein 34 g, sodium 518 mg

Chicken With Cherry-Berry Sauce

Hands-On Time:15 Minutes

Cook Time:25 Minutes

Makes: 4 Servings

Frozen Assets

Blackberries have tons of fiber that can help with weight-loss efforts, while cherries deliver a healthy dose of vitamin C to bolster your immune system.


2 tsp canola oil1¼ lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs3 shallots, chopped2 garlic cloves, minced½ tsp salt½ tsp coriander powder¼ tsp cayenne pepper¼ tsp cinnamon¼ tsp black pepper¾ cup dry red wine1 cup low-sodium chicken broth2 cups frozen cherries2 cups frozen blackberries1 tbsp fresh thyme⅓ cup sliced black olives2 tsp lemon zest2 tbsp balsamic vinegar¼ cup sliced roasted almonds¼ cup sliced fresh basil or mint


Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add oil. Swirl to coat and, once shimmering, add chicken. Cook 3 minutes per side, or until nicely browned. Remove and set aside. Add shallots and garlic and heat 1 minute, stirring often. Add salt, coriander, cayenne, cinnamon and black pepper and heat 30 seconds. Add wine and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook 3 minutes, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pan. Add broth, cherries, blackberries and thyme and bring to a simmer. Add chicken and spoon sauce over top. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, flipping once, about 12 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add olives, lemon zest and balsamic vinegar to pan and turn heat to high. Boil until sauce is reduced by about half. Serve chicken topped with berry sauce and sprinkle with almonds and basil/mint.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 377, fat 13 g, carbs 23 g, fiber 6 g, sugar 16 g, protein 36 g, sodium 473 mg

Edamame Succotash

Hands-On Time: 20 Minutes

Cook Time: 10 Minutes

Makes:4 Servings

Frozen Assets

Corn delivers a hearty dose of the antioxidant lutein, which, according to research published in the journal Nutrients, helps protect your vision. And edamame adds a nice dash of protein as well as protection against osteoporosis.


2 cups frozen shelled edamame2 tsp canola oil1 small red onion, chopped½ tsp salt, divided2 cloves garlic, finely chopped2 cups frozen corn kernels1 large orange bell pepper, thinly sliced1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved2 cups arugula, chopped2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oiljuice of ½ lime⅛ tsp black pepper


Prepare edamame according to package directions and set aside. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium and add onions and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and heat 1 minute. Add corn, peppers and jalapeño and heat 3 minutes, stirring often. Add edamame and tomatoes and heat another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in arugula. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, remaining salt and black pepper. Divide salad among serving plates and drizzle on dressing.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 304, fat 13 g, carbs 38 g, fiber 9 g, sugar 6 g, protein 13 g, sodium 334 mg

Fruity Oatmeal Bake
Fruity Oatmeal Bake

Fruity Oatmeal Bake

Hands-On Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 40 Minutes

Makes:6 Servings

Frozen Assets

According to research published in Antioxidants, anthocyanin, which is found in blueberries, may help shield against memory decline, and the Journal of Hypertension reports that the potassium in peaches helps reduce blood pressure.


1 cup steel-cut oats1½ cups rolled oats½ cup chopped walnuts1 tsp cinnamon¼ tsp ground cloves¼ tsp salt2 large eggs2 cups milk or unsweetened nondairy milk2 tbsp melted unsalted butter, plus more for greasing1½ cups frozen blueberries2 cups frozen sliced peaches2 cups plain Greek or Skyr yogurt2 tsp vanilla extractmaple syrup, optional


Cover steel-cut oats with water, let soak at least 2 hours, then drain. Preheat oven to 350 F and grease an 8-inch-by-8-inch square baking dish. Add steel-cut oats, rolled oats, walnuts, cinnamon, cloves and salt to a large bowl and stir to combine. In a separate large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and melted butter. Add wet mixture to dry and stir gently until everything is moist. Place blueberries and peaches in bottom of baking dish and top with oat mixture. Bake until just barely set, about 40 minutes. Cut into squares. Combine yogurt and vanilla and serve a dollop atop each square. Drizzle with maple syrup (if using).

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 397, fat 16 g, carbs 47 g, fiber 7 g, sugar 15 g, protein 20 g, sodium 158 mg

Frozen Fruits and Vegetables

Ice Picks

Frozen meals can be a lifesaver when you don’t have the time or ingredients to make a healthy meal from scratch. While most options are a nutritional bust, these players won’t thaw your health goals.

Evergreen Zucchini & Carrot Mini Waffles

Move over, Eggo — these toaster-ready whole-grain veggie waffles are great slathered with nut butter and topped with a dollop of yogurt.

$7, eatevergreen.com

Teton Waters Ranch Mushroom & Onion Burger Blend

Grass-fed beef paired with umami-rich mushrooms makes for a frozen burger the whole family will go for.

$10, tetonwatersranch.com

Capello’s Sweet Potato Gnocchi

The almond and sweet potato flours that make up this fork-tender gnocchi upgrades traditional pasta night.

$11, cappellos.com

Evol Balance Bowl

Whole-grain red rice is paired with grilled chicken and a lively pesto sauce, and these bowls also score bonus points for lots of chunky veggies and low sodium levels.

$4, evolfoods.com

The post 5 Healthy Freezer-Friendly Meals appeared first on Oxygen Mag.

By: kmackesy
Title: 5 Healthy Freezer-Friendly Meals
Sourced From: www.oxygenmag.com/nutrition-for-women/5-healthy-freezer-friendly-meals/
Published Date: Wed, 20 Jan 2021 17:16:29 +0000

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