So, how are things going for you? COVID-19 cases are growing here in Charleston and I think (and hope) a stay at home order is coming. We need to flatten the curve so we can save lives.
I know you’re not here for news, but for food help. If you haven’t already seen the pantry and fridge posts, give them a peek. This one is all about what we keep in the freezer and how it helps us get through the busy days and when we just don’t feel like hitting the grocery store. Believe me, those days were many when my back went wonky a few months back and walking was an ordeal. Grabbing a bag of veggies and a veggie burger or sausage out of the freezer made meals so much easier.
What are our freezer staples?
- Veggies – blends, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, Brussels sprouts, greens, and okra
- Beans – either cooked from dry and frozen in 2-cup increments or store-bought
- Fruit – whatever happens to be on sale but usually berries, mango, and pineapple
- Veggie meat – burgers and sausage
- Vegan meals – occasionally homemade leftovers, skillet meals, and individual meals
- Tofu – firm and extra-firm
It’s a short list, but these staples paired with pantry and fridge staples result in fantastic meals and snacks all day long. Sometimes just the frozen options can make nice meals. These are goodies I’ve made in the past, present, and future.
Smoothies with fruit and greens (or cauliflower rice) make a nice breakfast or snack. I’ll add oats sometimes to make it a heartier drink or make a smoothie bowl topped with oats, nuts, and fresh or thawed frozen fruit. Sometimes, I’ll blend tofu and berries to make a mousse as a snack or dessert. Topping it like a smoothie bowl also makes a nice breakfast – one I ‘ve had a few days this week.
A veggie burger with or without a bun served with fries and baked beans is a standard go-to when I’m not feeling creative. When I am feeling more creative or feel like re-creating my old favorite tv dinners, I’ll turn the burger into Salisbury Steak with mashed potatoes, mixed veggies, and a fruit crisp or brownie for dessert. I’ve also turned burgers into meatloaf when I want a lof but not lentil loaf.
Vegan sausage is perfect on a bun with sauteed peppers and onions, sliced up and mixed with beans (who didn’t like Beanie Weenies as a kid?), or sitting on the side of red beans and rice. For a snack, a link with brown mustard and pickles is nice for a lower carb day. Beyond Sausage and Lightlife’s new Sausage are in the freezer now. I found them on sale a few months back and stocked up for a rainy day.
Sometimes all I want for dinner are beans, greens, and rice. Throwing the rice in the InstantPot and thawing cooked beans and greens on the stovetop or microwave makes a healthy comfort food meal easy. Hitting them with a little hot sauce or bbq sauce always does it for me. And if there’s time, some cornbread will seal the deal. There is no shame in using cornbread mix, y’all.
Frozen planned overs or leftovers help me get a homemade meal ready to go quickly. Right now there is chili and a black beans and rice casserole waiting for their time to shine again. When you freeze, make sure to put the name and date on the container. I’m not always up for “Vegan Surprize” after a long day.
Gardein Skillet Meals are a store-bought option that will work well if you’re in a hurry. Keep in mind that these will not feed more than two people. Or one really hungry person. I have Chik’n Florentino and Italian Style Rigatoni and Saus’age on hand and am looking at the Porkless Thai Curry as the next one to try.
Frozen veggies are perfect to round out a meal or as a meal in themselves. I’ll serve cauliflower mashed, as wings (breaded or not), straight up with a sauce of some kind, as a low carb potato substitute in home fries or salad. Why? Why not. Cauliflower rice is also a nice side option some days. A stir-fry blend is nice for a quick curry or with teriyaki, hoisin, or orange sauce. Classic mixed carrots, peas, and corn can be a nostalgic side or added to soup, a pot pie, or veggie fried rice. See where I’m going here? Ask me for more examples or my recipes and I’m happy to share.
I hope that these last few posts have given you idea for meals that won’t bore you while saving you from extra grocery stops. Remember, there is no shame in convenience foods. Do whatever you need to do to make healthy, filling meals that make you and yours happy. Please be safe out there and wash your hands.