Beyond the Bag: Frozen Mixed Vegetables
10 super-easy frozen veggie recipes.
Even the most devout carnivore knows that vegetables are not only good for you, but tasty too, and that eating them will make your mother as proud as if you were president of the United States. (And, hey, Obama, if you’re reading this, elbows off the table and eat your cauliflower!) The downside to veggies: Dicing, seeding, chopping. The upside: Fuggeddabout that stuff and use frozen mixed vegetables.
1. Stir Fry. Toss a 16-ounce bag of an Asian blend into a hot wok with some of your favorite bottled Asian stir-fry sauce. Toss and stir over heat for 1 minute and you’re done. Want more flavor? Add a few ounces of peeled and deveined shrimp to the mix, stir-frying an extra minute until shrimp are pink and firm.
2. Pasta. Cook up some whole-wheat ziti or farfalle according to instructions, drain and put in a big bowl. Mix in a 16-ounce bag of frozen mixed vegetables and some store-bought, reduced-fat pesto.
Crib Notes for Becoming a Fro-Zen Master
- Buy bagged as opposed to boxed, because you can reseal them.
- Look for combos beyond the norm, like Asian combinations with broccoli, mushrooms and water chestnuts, or unexpected mixes like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and carrots.
- Avoid blends made with sauces and blends loaded with corn or lima beans. Both are higher in PointsPlus® values
- The contents of your bag were flash-frozen when raw, so thawing them breaks down the fibers almost as if they’ve been cooked. The gist: When thawed, they are ready to go without cooking, same as fresh vegetables.
3. Soup. Place 1 quart reduced-sodium fat-free chicken broth, one 16-ounce bag frozen mixed vegetables and a pinch each of two dried herbs in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a low simmer, stirring once or twice. Dinner’s on.
4. Pizza. Buy a prebaked, whole-wheat pizza crust and top with jarred
pizza sauce, half a 16-ounce bag of frozen mixed vegetables, some shredded low-fat
mozzarella and a sprinkle of dried oregano. Place it on a baking sheet, stick it into a 450ºF oven and bake for 18 minutes or until cheese melts.
5. Tortillas. Mix half a 16-ounce bag of frozen mixed vegetables in a
medium pot with just enough jarred salsa to glaze them, over medium heat. Stir occasionally,
then serve in fat-free whole-wheat tortillas with some shredded iceberg lettuce
and chopped tomatoes.
6. Couscous. Stir 2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth, 2 cups frozen
mixed vegetables, 1 teaspoon dried thyme or oregano and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a
large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat; then stir in 2 cups instant couscous,
cover, and set aside off heat for 5 minutes. Stir and serve!
7. Fish. Stack a couple sheets of parchment paper on the counter and top them with a couple of thin, white-fleshed fish fillets, half a 16-ounce bag frozen mixed vegetables (no need to thaw), a tablespoon of white wine, lemon juice or broth, a few sprigs of fresh herbs and a pinch of salt. Crimp edges of parchment paper closed tightly to make a sealed packet and place in a large baking dish. Bake in a preheated 450ºF oven for 20 minutes. Let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes, then open packet and serve up those fillets and veggies.
8. Curry. Mix 1/4 cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth and one 16-ounce bag frozen mixed vegetables in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until vegetables are warmed through (about 4 minutes). Stir in 1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt, 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder and 1 teaspoon lime juice. Serve over cooked brown rice.
9. Potatoes. Bake two large russet potatoes in a 400ºF oven until tender (about 1 hour). Cut them in half lengthwise, scoop insides into a large bowl, taking care to keep skins intact. Use a fork to mash potato innards with 1/3 cup fat-free milk, 1/4 cup fat-free Cheddar cheese and half a 16-ounce bag of frozen mixed vegetables. Season with salt and pepper, then scoop filling back into skins and place them in oven for 5 minutes to heat through.
10. More pasta! Heat a 28-ounce jar of marinara sauce and one 16-ounce bag frozen mixed vegetables in a large saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile, cook some whole-wheat spaghetti in a second saucepan according to instructions and drain. Mix pasta into sauce and stir in 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan.