tumeric pina colada smoothie in glass with garnishes on table

9 Frozen Food Hacks to Revolutionize Family Mealtime

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

Want to take your frozen fish sticks from “ehh” to “ay caramba?” You can when you make a few simple hacks to transform them into a zesty and fresh fish taco.

As a busy working mom with two hungry children I am known to take shortcuts in the kitchen just in order to be able to get it all done. And guess what? As a dietitian, I have NO GUILT about it! Because when you can start with a good food and make it spectacular by just giving it a little “whiz, bang, boom!” then, why not!

One of my biggest tips for livening up frozen foods is to add fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, and/or bold flavors to give the dish some pizzazz. Below are nine of my favorite hacks that we’ve tried at home to make meals easy, delicious and fun.

1. The Easiest Fish Tacos

unfolded fish tacos with avocado slice and sauce drizzle

Use: Frozen fish sticks
Make: The Easiest Fish Tacos

Remember fish sticks from your childhood? They got a makeover! With fresh salsa, avocado, and a zesty sauce, you’ll never guess that the base of this simple and quick recipe is a frozen fish stick!

Recipe by: Lauren of Lauren’s Latest

2. Turmeric Pina Colada Smoothie

tumeric pina colada smoothie in glass with garnishes on table

Use: Frozen mango, frozen pineapple
Make: Turmeric Pina Colada Smoothie

Save time by washing and chopping fruit and instead use frozen fruit in your smoothie. This tropical creation balances the sweet tropical flavor of frozen mango and frozen pineapple with today’s most popular earthy-flavored, super antioxidant rich spice, turmeric.

Recipe by: Shahzadi Devje, RD of Desi-licious RD

3. Hawaiian Chicken Cauliflower “Fried” Rice

chicken cauliflower fried rice in bowls with soy sauce on table

Use: Frozen cauliflower, frozen edamame
Make: Hawaiian Chicken Cauliflower “Fried” Rice

Jump on the cauliflower rice trend and whip up a speedy stir-fry that packs big taste and nutrition into one bowl. Seasonings and stir-ins like low-sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, cashews, pineapple and sesame seeds lend a sweet and salty flavor and crunchy texture.

Recipe by: Julie Harrington, RD of RDelicious Kitchen

4. Pizza Salad Entrées

large slice of pizza covered in lettuce

Use: Frozen pizza
Make: 4 Pizza Salad Entrées

Give frozen pizza a fresh spin by topping with your favorite salad ingredients. It’s an easy way to eat 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

Use: Frozen peas
Make: 3-Ingredient Minty Pea Dip

This bright, fresh dip may just be one of the easiest appetizers you’ll ever make—and who knew it would start with frozen peas? Blend frozen peas in the food processor with lemon juice and mint for a springy sandwich spread or vibrant dip that’s available year round.

Recipe by: Jessica Levinson, MS, RD of Nutritioulicious

6. Frozen chicken nuggets, frozen mini waffles

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

Use: Frozen chicken nuggets, frozen mini waffles
Make: Mini Rosemary Chicken and Waffles

Combine two great freezer options into a simple twist on a Southern classic dish by topping a baked chicken nugget on a mini waffle then top with fresh rosemary and drizzle with maple syrup.

Recipe by: Holley Grainger, MS, RD of Holley’s Kitchen

7. Five Flavor-Filled Family Mac and Cheese Dinners

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

Use: Frozen macaroni and cheese entrée
Make: 5 Flavor-Filled Family Mac and Cheese Dinners

Use a frozen prepared macaroni and cheese to jump-start your supper by baking (or microwaving) and then stirring in the following ingredient combinations to create four new savory dinner options.

Southwestern Mac and Cheese: Jalapeno + cumin + green chiles + crumbled sausage
Smoky and Savory 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

Use: Frozen Brussels sprouts
Make: Brussels Sprouts with Grape Honey Glaze

Just 5 ingredients are all you need to bring frozen Brussels sprouts to life. A quick, sweet homemade glaze of grape juice and honey give this humble side a festive twist.

Recipe by: Amy Gorin, MS, RD of Amy Gorin Nutrition

9. Frozen Fiesta Stir-Fry Madness with Turkey Meatballs

square plate topped with rice, carrots, meatballs and cauliflower

Use: Frozen meatballs, frozen brown rice and frozen vegetables
Make: Frozen Fiesta Stir-Fry Madness with Turkey Meatballs

Truly a meal made from the freezer! Add some bold flavors like red chili flakes, red wine vinegar, and Mirin sauce to zest up a simple and quick stir-fry.

Recipe by: Sarah Koszyk, MA, RDN of Family. Food. Fiesta.

Holley Grainger, MS, RD is a nationally recognized culinary nutrition expert and “Mommy Dietitian in the Kitchen” who instructs families on how to make doable and delicious meals. She’s been featured in hundreds of televisions, print, and radio segments nationwide including The Dr. Oz Show, The Doctor’s, NBC’s Today Show and Weekend Today, CBS’s The Early Show, Fox News Channel, CNN, The New York Times, Travel Channel, Cosmopolitan, MyFitnessPal.com, HGTV.com, and MSN.com among others and is a regular contributor to the Birmingham, Alabama, news outlets. 
Holley lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband and two young daughters, Ellie and Frances, and blogs at Holley Grainger Nutrition. Connect with Holley on social media: InstagramPinterestTwitterYoutube, and Facebook.
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