tumeric pina colada smoothie in glass with garnishes on table

9 Frozen Food Hacks to Upgrade Family Mealtime

By Holley Grainger, MS, RD, and Mommy of Two

Take your frozen foods from “meh” to “mmm” with a few simple hacks to transform your meals in a few easy and delicious steps.  

As a busy working mom with two hungry children, I’ve been known to take shortcuts in the kitchen just to get it all done. One of my biggest tips for livening up frozen foods is to add fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, or bold flavors to give your dish some flair. Here are 9 of my favorite hacks to make family meals easy, delicious and fun.

1. The Easiest Fish Tacos

unfolded fish tacos with avocado slice and sauce drizzle

You’ll need: Frozen fish sticks

Meal makeover: The Easiest Fish Tacos

Remember fish sticks from your childhood? We’re giving this classic a makeover! With fresh salsa, avocado, and a zesty sauce, you’ll never guess that the foundation of this simple and quick recipe is a frozen fish stick.

Recipe from: Lauren’s Latest

2. Turmeric Pina Colada Smoothie

tumeric pina colada smoothie in glass with garnishes on table

You’ll need: Frozen mango, frozen pineapple

Meal makeover: Turmeric Piña Colada Smoothie

Save time washing and chopping fruit by using frozen fruit to fill your smoothie. This tropical cooler balances the sweet flavor of mango and pineapple with the earthy-flavored, super antioxidant-rich spice, turmeric.

Recipe from: Desi-licious RD

3. Hawaiian Chicken Cauliflower “Fried” Rice

chicken cauliflower fried rice in bowls with soy sauce on table

You’ll need: Frozen cauliflower, frozen edamame

Meal makeover: Hawaiian Chicken Cauliflower “Fried” Rice

Whip up a speedy stir-fry that packs big taste and nutrition into one bowl with cauliflower rice in place of rice. Seasonings and stir-ins like low-sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, cashews, pineapple and sesame seeds lend a sweet and salty flavor with a crunchy texture.

Recipe from: RDelicious Kitchen

4. Pizza Salad Entrées

large slice of pizza covered in lettuce

You’ll need: Frozen pizza

Meal makeover: Salad Pizza 

Elevate frozen pizza by topping it with your favorite salad ingredients. It’s an easy way to indulge in your favorite pizza and have a healthy meal at the same time.

Cobb Salad Pizza: Iceberg lettuce + cooked chicken + bacon + shredded cheese + red onions + blue cheese + ranch dressing

Caesar Salad Pizza: Romaine lettuce + Parmesan + anchovies + Caesar dressing

Greek Salad Pizza: Romaine lettuce + olives + feta + roasted red bell peppers + olive oil

Brunch Salad Pizza: Arugula or watercress + shrimp + grapefruit + avocado + champagne dressing

Photo cred: David Berkowitz

5. 3-Ingredient Minty Pea Dip

small glass bowl filled with minty pea dip

You’ll need: Frozen peas

Meal makeover: 3-Ingredient Minty Pea Dip

This fresh dip may just be one of the easiest appetizers you’ll ever make – and no one will guess it started with frozen peas! Blend frozen peas in a food processor (or blender) with lemon juice and a little mint for a vibrant sandwich spread or a healthy dip for grazing with vegetables or crackers.

Recipe from: Jessica Levinson, MS, RD

6. Mini Rosemary Chicken and Waffles

white square plate with five waffles topped with chicken nuggets surrounding a bowl of syrup

You’ll need: Frozen chicken nuggets, frozen mini waffles

Meal makeover: Mini Rosemary Chicken and Waffles

Combine two beloved freezer options into a fun twist on a Southern classic dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Place a baked chicken nugget on a mini waffle then garnish with fresh rosemary and a golden drizzle of maple syrup.

Recipe from: Holley Grainger, MS, RD

7. Flavor-Filled Mac and Cheese 5 Ways

bowl filled with macaroni and bacon in front of box of macaroni

You’ll need: Frozen macaroni and cheese entrée

Meal makeover: Flavor-Filled Mac and Cheese 5 Ways

Use a frozen prepared macaroni and cheese to jump-start your meal. Pop it into the oven or microwave, then stir in the following ingredient combinations to create four new savory takes on dinner. Bonus points for preparing all of these toppings for the ultimate mac and cheese bar:

Southwestern Mac and Cheese: Jalapeños + cumin + green chiles + crumbled sausage

Smoky Mac and Cheese: Walnuts + blue cheese + bacon

Primavera Mac and Cheese: Snow peas + zucchini + asparagus + red bell pepper + fresh basil

Florentine Mac and Cheese: Spinach + tomato + Parmesan + cooked chicken + breadcrumbs

Photo cred: Wonder How To

8. Brussels Sprouts with Grape Honey Glaze

spoonful of brussel sprouts with honey glaze held over bowl

You’ll need: Frozen Brussels sprouts

Meal makeover: Brussels Sprouts with Grape Honey Glaze

All it takes is 5 ingredients to bring frozen Brussels sprouts to life. A quick, sweet homemade glaze made with grape juice and honey will create an unexpected twist on this classic dish.

Recipe from: Amy Gorin Nutrition

9. Fiesta Stir-Fry with Turkey Meatballs

square plate topped with rice, carrots, meatballs and cauliflower

You’ll need: Frozen meatballs, frozen brown rice and frozen vegetables

Meal makeover: Frozen Fiesta Stir-Fry Madness with Turkey Meatballs

Transform your humble freezer staples into a crowd-pleasing entree. Add some bold flavors like red chili flakes, red wine vinegar, and Mirin sauce to spice up this simple and quick stir-fry.

Recipe from: Sarah Koszyk, MA, RDN

Live chat