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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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