Got a freezer full of frozen ingredients? Good! After all, produce that’s picked, processed, and frozen soon after it’s harvested can retain even more nutrients than fresh alternatives that are trucked from the farm to your grocery store before they make their way to your fridge and—finally!—your table.
Frozen food has other advantages, too: It's already cleaned and prepped—meaning less work for you. And you don’t need special recipes to use up your freezer stores. In most cases, you can simply substitute frozen ingredients for fresh ones in your favorite dishes—no thawing required, save a few exceptions (see below!).
Though most of the recipes below already call for the frozen version of an ingredient, for the few that don't, just swap in its frozen equivalent, and make sure to check recipe notes for defrosting hints and other suggestions.
TIP: To prevent recipes from coming out too liquidy, thaw and squeeze out excess water from frozen chopped spinach.
TIP: While you don't need to defrost frozen fruit when prepping baked goods, keep in mind that it tends to shrink and release more liquid than fresh fruit—so you may want to slightly reduce the amount of liquid you add to a cake batter, for example.
TIP: Almost all the shrimp you buy has been frozen at some point in time—so there's no need to splurge for fresh alternatives. For easy meal prep, buy frozen shrimp that's precooked, cleaned, and deveined. Defrost on a rimmed sheet pan or storage container in your fridge.
Leslie Fink, MS, RD has been working at WW for 20 years. In addition to her role as a WW Nutritionist and Recipe Editor, she works on food and program development for a variety of projects such as the WW cruises, WW Ambassador partnerships, WW Fresh, and WW X Blue Apron. Leslie helps bring delicious food and meal ideas to WW events, program materials, and more.