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Delicious & healthy recipes featuring frozen produce?

skinnytacularskinnytacular Posts: 159Member Member Posts: 159Member Member
in Recipes
Hello! Tell me: what are your favorite recipes calling for frozen peas, corn, squash, kale, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower etc? I am so weary of fresh produce hogging up all of the space in my fridge and then eventually spoiling if we can't eat it fast enough. Also, all of the mess and waste from trimming it all back, etc. I need to make my life easier for awhile. Can you tell me some favorite dishes that call for frozen veg? Thank you!
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  • BarbaraHelen2013BarbaraHelen2013 Posts: 1,040Member Member Posts: 1,040Member Member
    Pretty much any recipe you currently make using fresh produce can be made with its frozen equivalent.

    The only difference would be cooking time required - shorter for frozen, generally, although that’s dependent on what specific vegetable of course. I find frozen broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels, carrots unpalatable due to texture, but lots of veg hold up better, such as beans (broad, runner, fine green, Kenyan). Frozen onion, peppers etc will need less time in a stir fry etc.

    Freezing doesn’t change anything except texture in those veg with high water content. I’m not sure why you think you’d need to use different recipes, really.

  • aokoyeaokoye Posts: 3,497Member Member Posts: 3,497Member Member
    See the above post. The texture is going to be your primary issue. I'm not sure what the problem is with regards to waste from preparing the produce you mentioned. If you're worried about food waste, that's going to be there anyways with something like most winter squashes and corn (though you can use the cobs (and then fish them out) in some recipes - corn chowder for instance). It'll just be further back on the production chain. You can also eat the stalks from broccoli and cauliflower there's going to be next to no waste from something like spinach (which I think tastes significantly better cooked from fresh).

    My general strategy for buying produce that I'm not sure if I'll like is to buy a very small amount of it (typically fresh). That way I won't have to deal with a bunch of leftovers that I have no have no desire to eat.

    For what it's worth, the only vegetables I will buy frozen are peas and corn. I prefer to buy both of those frozen when they're out of season and I froze a bunch of corn kernels a few weeks ago. I'm sure broccoli, cauliflower (which I don't like), and carrots would also fare well but I've never felt the need to buy them frozen.
  • skinnytacularskinnytacular Posts: 159Member Member Posts: 159Member Member
    Yes, I guess I should have been more clear. I was hoping for recipes where frozen vegetables particularly shine without texture issues and you can enjoy them without having to puree them or eat them mushy. For instance, can you roast frozen squash on a sheet pan successfully? I am pretty sure you can with broccoli, although, it's been awhile since I've tried it. Or, I just this weekend I tried a great one pot quinoa and kale recipe where you start the quinoa and add strips of fresh kale after about 10 minutes or something. I wondered if frozen kale would have worked just as well.

    It's not just food waste I'm trying to avoid, it's just all around food hassle. We have a small fridge and we try to just do one food shop a week. So, we have all of these heads of broccoli and cauliflower and bunches of kale and bell peppers and ears of corn and so on and it just takes so much room. The storage and prep of frozen food is so much easier.

    But, for instance, while I think you can use frozen corn in a corn salad type recipe, I don't think you can use frozen bell peppers or frozen onions in the same recipe because you lose the crunch.
    edited September 2019
  • just_Tomekjust_Tomek Posts: 8,487Member Member Posts: 8,487Member Member
    Hello! Tell me: what are your favorite recipes calling for frozen peas, corn, squash, kale, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower etc? I am so weary of fresh produce hogging up all of the space in my fridge and then eventually spoiling if we can't eat it fast enough. Also, all of the mess and waste from trimming it all back, etc. I need to make my life easier for awhile. Can you tell me some favorite dishes that call for frozen veg? Thank you!

    #1. Meal plan.
    #2. Shop often.
    #3. Buy only as much, and only what you need, despite discounts and bulk being cheaper.

    Why? Because frozen veggies will never replace fresh in most dishes. You are dealing with moisture.
  • skinnytacularskinnytacular Posts: 159Member Member Posts: 159Member Member
    Thank you just_Tomek, aokeye, and Barbara for your kind replies. I completely agree that frozen veggies will never replace fresh in most dishes. I'm seeking recommendations for the FEW dishes/recipes (or applications) where frozen, surprisingly, works fine for certain vegetables. I know that there are a few recipes where there isn't a huge loss of quality or texture.

    For instance, I've used frozen broccoli in Melissa Clark's sheet pan broccoli with shrimp in the past and found (pleasantly surprised!) that the dish did not suffer for the substitution of frozen for fresh. https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1012388-roasted-broccoli-with-shrimp (Although, I remember needing to make an adjustment to make it work--maybe preheat the sheet pan so that it was screaming hot at the point I threw the frozen broccoli on? That's the part I can't remember before wholeheartedly being able to recommend this recipe using frozen broccoli.) Maybe I got that from the kitchn? https://www.thekitchn.com/oven-roasted-frozen-broccoli-259041

    Along the same lines, there's this recipe for roasting frozen carrots, but I've never tried it: https://damndelicious.net/2015/08/30/honey-maple-roasted-carrots/

    I think I've heard you can use frozen broccoli and cauliflower in stir fries without a loss in quality or texture. I'm known to throw in a handful of frozen peas into many pasta and grain dishes, etc.

    I'm wondering what other exceptions are out there. Can you roast frozen squash for instance and expect it to caramelize?

    Here's the quinoa and kale recipe I tried this weekend where I wondered if frozen kale might work just as well: https://food52.com/recipes/2434-one-pot-kale-and-quinoa-pilaf (I highly recommend this recipe, by the way, as written with fresh kale).

    I've heard Suzanne Goin recommends frozen pearl onions in some dishes, and I've heard of people successfully using frozen artichoke hearts and frozen haricots verts in certain applications with good results.

    Also, I live in a region of the U.S. where our fresh produce season will end in about six weeks. Then we'll be cooking from our larders and freezers anyway, unless we're importing produce, which I typically prefer not to do.

    I'm just wondering who out there has found a few magical uses of frozen veg and would like to share. I believe in my heart of hearts that these kinds of exceptions must exist and that I'm not the only overwhelmed person with a small fridge who does a big shop only once per week looking for a short-cut without significant compromise of quality or flavor!

    Thank you!

    edited September 2019
  • LyndaBSSLyndaBSS Posts: 6,969Member, Premium Member Posts: 6,969Member, Premium Member
    The only frozen veggies I've found that even come close to fresh veggies is the Cascadian Farms brand. You can use them as you would fresh produce. The only issue is that they don't have much of a variety.

    What brand do you recommend for cauliflower and brocolli that don't turn to mush when cooked?
    edited September 2019
  • ArriannewArriannew Posts: 9Member Member Posts: 9Member Member
    I have picky eaters and I think Broccoli is the biggest offender for frozen texture issues. I only use frozen vegis for making puree or frozen fruits for making smoothies. But, I know peas are not bad frozen, neither are beans or corn kernels. If you're making a dish with a thick sauce, like chicken pot pie or stew, it's less of an issue. People expect these dishes to be very well cooked and moisture is part of the dish. A dish with pasta though, I think texture issues in vegis are just highlighted. Perhaps that is why we crave these kinds of dishes in the winter.
  • ArriannewArriannew Posts: 9Member Member Posts: 9Member Member

    I'm wondering what other exceptions are out there. Can you roast frozen squash for instance and expect it to caramelize?

    I have done it. I have to defrost and drain them in the fridge first. Then I toss them in a little oil and broil them. Texture is softer than freshly roasted.
  • lynn_glenmontlynn_glenmont Posts: 7,732Member Member Posts: 7,732Member Member
    This is a recipe I think was developed by Kraft, if I recall the brand name ingredients that were listed in the magazine ad that we clipped it out of 40 to 50 years ago, and have been having mainly at Thanksgiving and/or Christmas ever since.



    I'm too lazy to go look for the recipe, but basically it calls for two boxes of frozen broccoli spears (each box was about 12 ounces in those days, I think, but manufacturers may have cut back on what they put in a box -- if you can find them in bags totalling close to 24 oz. that's fine). Cook them according to package, but on the low end of cooking time. Drain the spears and line them up in a casserole dish (something in the 9 X 13 inch range) so that the spears are parallel to the short sides of the dish, and the spears alternate which direction their florets point to (i.e., the first spear has its florets closest to long side A, the next has its florets closest to long side B). This is just to give you an attractive presentation.

    Crush corn flakes (not frosted), Wheaties, Total, or other cold cereal that is plain grain flakes. (I prefer corn flakes.) You don't want dust; you want smaller pieces maybe a quarter of the size of the original flakes (you don't need to be measuring or anything -- I'm just saying don't keep crushing until you've completely pulverized the flakes.) You want to end up with about a cup of crumbs -- my best guess is you'll need close to three cups of uncrushed cereal to start with. Mix half of the crumbs with a tablespoon or so of melted butter.

    Meanwhile, make a white sauce from butter, flour, and milk*, and add a lot of shredded, sharp cheddar cheese (the recipe called for 6 oz from one of those long Kraft or Cracker Barrel blocks, but the blocks are 8 oz., so lots of times I just use the whole block, because more cheese is never bad). Stir in one can (12 to 15 oz. is fine) of drained corn niblets (I can't see any reason not to substitute frozen corn kernels). Stir in the remaining half of the crumbs (not the ones you mixed with melted butter).

    Pour the cheese mixture down the center of the casserole dish (from one short end to the other), so that you're covering a good portion of the stalks, but the florets don't get covered. Distribute the buttered cereal flakes on top of the cheese sauce. Bake for about 20 minutes in a 350 F oven. (You can make it ahead and stick it in the refrigerator, although if you could hold off on mixing the second half of the cereal crumbs with the butter and do that just before cooking, you might slightly better results. But I don't think that's crucial -- I've certainly prepared it completely, including the buttered crumbs, as much as a day ahead, and then baked it, and it's been fine. You'll probably want to give it an extra 5 or 10 minutes if it's going directly from the refrigerator to the oven.)



    *If making white sauce is beyond your skill set or time and energy availability, I have successfully subbed canned condensed cheddar cheese soup -- I think I used about half or a little less of the liquid called for to turn it back into soup -- for the white sauce and cheese. Heat it up and stir in the corn and crushed cereal flakes as described above.
  • aokoyeaokoye Posts: 3,497Member Member Posts: 3,497Member Member
    Yes, I guess I should have been more clear. I was hoping for recipes where frozen vegetables particularly shine without texture issues and you can enjoy them without having to puree them or eat them mushy. For instance, can you roast frozen squash on a sheet pan successfully? I am pretty sure you can with broccoli, although, it's been awhile since I've tried it. Or, I just this weekend I tried a great one pot quinoa and kale recipe where you start the quinoa and add strips of fresh kale after about 10 minutes or something. I wondered if frozen kale would have worked just as well.

    It's not just food waste I'm trying to avoid, it's just all around food hassle. We have a small fridge and we try to just do one food shop a week. So, we have all of these heads of broccoli and cauliflower and bunches of kale and bell peppers and ears of corn and so on and it just takes so much room. The storage and prep of frozen food is so much easier.

    But, for instance, while I think you can use frozen corn in a corn salad type recipe, I don't think you can use frozen bell peppers or frozen onions in the same recipe because you lose the crunch.

    I have to leave very soon so I'll might write a longer post later. That said, corn chowder or likely just about any other soup involving corn is a very good use of frozen corn. I performs very well in that. I've also had no problem with the texture of frozen peas in various Indian curry recipes. There are hundreds (thousands really) of recipes that encompass both of those on the internet.
  • skinnytacularskinnytacular Posts: 159Member Member Posts: 159Member Member
    Thank you Lynn! Wow! Corn flakes! Very intriguing.

    Aokoye--Yes, I agree that most people are pretty used to falling back on frozen corn and peas in the off season. Maybe those generally fare better because they are starchy veg? Not sure. And, yeah, you're right, I'm really not in need of recipes for either of those two things--frozen corn or peas. They are just so easy to throw into just about any dish in the last few minutes of cooking.
    edited September 2019
  • skinnytacularskinnytacular Posts: 159Member Member Posts: 159Member Member
    Arriene--thanks for the intel on the squash! I might try that. I'm going to reattempt my roasted broccoli and cauliflower experiment.

    Lynda--I think it's less about brand and more about technique or application, though I could be wrong. Also, you have to be sure that the broccoli has been handled way (ie., kept frozen) all along the supply chain, including in my own car on its way from the grocery store.

    I only tried the roasted shrimp with broccoli a couple of times and it's been awhile, so I don't recall the brand. Probably whatever was on sale. :) I don't think I tried cauliflower, though I keep meaning to try frozen cauliflower in the airfryer.
    edited September 2019
  • VeroniqueBoilardVeroniqueBoilard Posts: 71Member Member Posts: 71Member Member
    We make a lot of sauté /styr-fry with frozen veggies. I buy any asian-type mix for Arctic Garden.

    I pretty much go with how I feel and what I have for spices and sauce. Soya sauce, garlic, honey, sesame oil, ginger... with chicken, frozen veggies ans udon noodle or rice... https://www.epicurious.com/expert-advice/why-the-freezer-aisle-is-a-woks-best-friend-article

    I totally get the need to cut effort to a minimum about cooking. My husband has cancer and my daughter is autistic. Sometimes you need strategies to save your sanity.
    edited September 2019
  • acpgeeacpgee Posts: 4,709Member Member Posts: 4,709Member Member
    My two favourite uses for frozen veg:

    My mom's method of cooking frozen peas to go with asian food:
    Fry a chopped/pressed/grated clove of garlic in a tablespoon of butter in a pan. When garlic starts to colour tip in two handfuls of frozen peas with a large pinch of salt and a tiny pinch of sugar. Stir fry until defrosted and heated through. Peas should be removed from heat and served when still bright green.

    Hack's soupe au pistou:
    Bring a bag of mixed frozen veg to a simmer in a pot of water. Add a few stock cubes being careful not to over salt because the last ingredient of pesto added just prior serving will be salty too. Stir in a two diced fresh tomatoes (I don't bother with peeing them). If you need a heartier soup stir in a drained tinned of plain white beans, such as borlotti beans. Just before serving, add a large dollop of ready made pesto to each bowl to flavour the broth.
  • skinnytacularskinnytacular Posts: 159Member Member Posts: 159Member Member
    Veronique and Acpgee--thank you both! I will try these!

    And, yes, I also have a child who has some special needs, which can be exhausting and time consuming. Plus, he's super picky about food textures.

    Acpgee--are these the frozen round English style peas or snow peas that your mom would cook this way?
    edited September 2019
  • acpgeeacpgee Posts: 4,709Member Member Posts: 4,709Member Member
    Other frozen vegetables where I don't object to the texture are spinach and carrots. For spinach pellets, I sautee in butter and garlic from frozen. For carrots I would use a recipe such as these that specify for carrots being cooked quite soft.

    https://arecipeforgluttony.wordpress.com/2013/09/25/in-portuguese-marinated-carrots/
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/recipes/11701585/Moroccan-carrot-puree.html
  • skinnytacularskinnytacular Posts: 159Member Member Posts: 159Member Member
    Thank you acpgee--these are great! For your mom's peas to serve alongside Asian food, was she using English peas or snow peas?
  • acpgeeacpgee Posts: 4,709Member Member Posts: 4,709Member Member
    Regular english peas, but the smallest youngest you can get. Here is what it looks like as a side.
    b9ychnvpn31b.jpeg

  • skinnytacularskinnytacular Posts: 159Member Member Posts: 159Member Member
    Looks delicious! Thank you!
  • gentlygentlygentlygently Posts: 688Member Member Posts: 688Member Member
    I have a few ‘make from frozen meals’:

    Soinach and mushroom lasagne

    Frozen spinach and frozen mushroom, with frozen garlic (which is fab btw!), heat through and mix with ricotta cheese - and some nutmeg/pepper etc. Layer up with lasagne sheets and bake. (For tye top layer i use a large pot of yoghurt mixed with an egg). A very quick prep meal that cooks itself...

    Quick fish pie:

    Mix a bag of frozen fish pie mix (defrosted) with a couple of beateb eggs, possibly some defrosted veg eg mushrooms, seasoning and eg tarragon or dill. Add a layer of defrosted but was frozen potsto (it comes in little cyclinder shapss) and then some cheese. Cpok im oven (or microwave I guess). Not as good as my ‘from fresh’ pie but certainly quick and good enough for a midweek meal.

    The ready chopped peppers work well - in dishes like stews or tortillas. Ready chopped amd frozen chilli is good too. I sometimes get frizen rhubarb - it is not as good as fresh (but better than tinned!) - gently cooking covered. With in a little sugar oven with extra flavour (orange, or gonger etc) works better than stewing.

    You can also get frozen cauliflower cheese - where you just shake out how much you want - which is rather good. I find this a faff to cook from scratch and was pleased with my trial purchase. Again not as good as homemafe but nicer than ready-meal etc.

    I freeze cooked beetroot - but you have to chill it carefully , to avoid it going mushy. And buy frozen betroot slices. Likewise I buy frozen sweet potato (and normal!) chips ready chopped for oven cooking. They both work well and avoid prep time....

    Hope this helps!




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