Even when you’re in desperate need of groceries, you can usually count on having a bag or two of frozen vegetables hidden somewhere in the freezer. Luckily, you can put your icy veggies to good use by incorporating them into easy and delicious dinners. Whether you’re craving a hearty broccoli-cauliflower casserole or are in the mood for a savory turnip greens stew, there is a recipe here to satisfy any stomach. Here are seven dinner recipes that see frozen vegetables take center stage.
1. Tortellini Primavera
Using frozen vegetables in Eating Well’s creamy pasta dish creates an unbelievably rich and savory supper. If you’ve got a few frozen veggies left and would like to serve them as a side, follow Tablespoon’s suggestions on how to add zest to your plain produce.
- 1 (14-ounce) can vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 cup shredded fontina cheese or ¾ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon, dill, or chives or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 4 cups chopped vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, and snap peas, or 16-ounce bag frozen mixed vegetables
- 1 (16-ounce) package frozen cheese tortellini
Directions: Put a large pot of water on to boil. Meanwhile, whisk broth and flour in a small bowl. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until just beginning to brown, 1-2 minutes. Add the broth mixture to the pan, bring to a boil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in cheese, tarragon, and salt. Add vegetables and tortellini to the boiling water; return the water to a simmer and cook until the vegetables and tortellini are tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain; add to the pan with the sauce and stir to coat.
2. Creamy Egg and Vegetable Bake
Better Homes and Gardens’ meatless dish consists of a creamy cheese sauce, vibrant veggies, and hard-boiled eggs. This super simple recipe yields 4 servings.
- 2 cups cubed peeled potatoes
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
- 1¼ cups skim milk
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons instant bouillon granules
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
- 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
- Nonstick spray
- 4 hard-cooked eggs, sliced
- 1 small tomato, halved and sliced
Directions: In a saucepan, cook potatoes and onion, covered, in boiling salted water for 5 minutes. Add mixed vegetables and cook 5 minutes more or until tender; drain well. Meanwhile, for sauce, in a medium saucepan, stir together milk, cornstarch, bouillon granules, and pepper. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in cheese and mustard until cheese is melted.
Spray a 1½-quart round baking dish with nonstick spray coating. Spread the vegetables in the bottom of the dish. Top with the egg slices. Pour sauce over all ingredients in dish. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 20 minutes. Arrange tomato slices atop. Bake, uncovered, 5 minutes more or until heated through.
3. Broccoli-Cauliflower Casserole
Frozen vegetables make Recipes.com’s dinner dish surprisingly simple. You can also prepare it ahead of time by assembling and then refrigerating the unbaked casserole for up to one day. Looking for a side to pair with your supper? Cooking Channel’s Homemade French Baguette is the perfect complement and requires minimal prep time.
1 (16-ounce) package frozen cauliflower florets
1 (16-ounce) package frozen broccoli cuts
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
2 tablespoons margarine or vegetable oil spread
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dried basil, crushed
¼ teaspoon pepper
1¼ cups milk
2 (3-ounce) packages cream cheese, cut up
¾ cup soft bread crumbs (about 1 slice of bread)
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons margarine or vegetable oil spread, melted
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook broccoli and cauliflower according to package directions. Drain well. Place in a large saucepan. Set aside. Meanwhile, cook onion in the 2 tablespoons of margarine or vegetable oil spread until tender but not brown. Stir in flour, salt, garlic powder, basil, and pepper. Add milk.
Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add cream cheese. Stir until cheese melts. Stir into vegetable mixture. Turn into a 2-quart casserole. Toss together bread crumbs, cheese, and the 2 tablespoons of melted margarine or vegetable oil spread. Sprinkle over vegetable mixture. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until heated through.
4. Turnip Greens Stew
Using frozen turnip greens and a zesty seasoning blend, you can easily prepare a warm, steamy bowl of soup for supper. Southern Living’s recipe yields 6 to 8 servings. While you’re at it, consider adding some crunch to your dinner by making Cupcake Project’s Homemade Oyster Crackers. Feel free to prepare the crackers ahead of time; they’ll keep for up to one week.
- 2 cups chopped cooked ham
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2 (16-ounce) packages frozen chopped turnip greens
- 1 (16-ounce) package frozen seasoning blend
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
Directions: Sauté chopped ham in hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add chicken broth and remaining ingredients; bring greens mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 25 minutes.
5. Cheesy Vegetable Lasagna
AllRecipes.com’s lasagna is loaded with vegetables, many of which are probably already residing in your freezer. Feel free to include additional veggies in this dish, which you can easily make healthier by using low-fat cheese. The recipe yields 12 servings.
- 12 lasagna noodles
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 heads broccoli, chopped
- 2 carrots, thinly sliced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 green bell peppers, chopped
- 2 small zucchini, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups milk
- ¾ cup Parmesan cheese, divided
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
- 1 (8-ounce) container small curd cottage cheese
- 24 ounces ricotta cheese
- 2½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add lasagna noodles and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot add broccoli, carrots, onions, bell peppers, zucchini, and garlic. Saute for 7 minutes; set aside. Place flour in a medium saucepan and gradually whisk in milk until well blended. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook 5 minutes, or until thick, stirring constantly. Stir in ½ cup Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat; stir in spinach. Reserve ½ cup spinach mixture. In a small bowl, combine cottage and ricotta cheeses; stir well. Spread about ½ cup of spinach mixture in the bottom of the prepared pan. Layer noodles, ricotta mixture, vegetables, spinach mixture, and 2 cups mozzarella cheese, ending with noodles. Top with reserved spinach mixture, ½ cup mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Cool for approximately 10 minutes before serving.
6. Spiffed-Up Shepherd’s Pie
Perfect for any night of the week, this hearty dish is bursting with vegetables, beef, and superb seasonings. Babble’s recipe, which was adapted from the Beef Information Centre, yields 4 to 5 servings.
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 pound ground sirloin or extra-lean ground beef
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
- 1 cup low-sodium beef stock
- Buttermilk mashed potatoes
- ½-1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook onion, beef, thyme, and pepper in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up meat with wooden spoon until beef is browned and onion is softened, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; stir in Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, and flour. Stir in vegetables and stock; simmer until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Divide into ramekins or small gratin dishes. Stir half of the cheddar into the potatoes; spread evenly over beef mixture.
Top each with remaining cheddar; bake until lightly golden, about 25 minutes. Broil until topping is rich golden-brown, about 3 minutes. To make the potatoes, cover 1½ pounds of potatoes, peeled and cubed, with cold salted water in medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and return to pot over medium heat; heat until dry, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in ½ cup buttermilk and ¼ cup butter; mash until smooth.
7. Pan-Roasted Corn Risotto
Frozen corn works just as well as fresh in Food & Wine’s Pan-Roasted Corn Risotto. You’ll pan roast your corn before adding the rice, giving this delightful dish deep and delicious flavors throughout. It yields 6 serving.
- 5 cups light chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 shallots, minced
- 3 cups corn kernels
- 1½ cups Italian medium-grain rice
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Directions: In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil over moderately high heat. Lower the heat to keep the stock at a bare simmer. Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in the olive oil. Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Raise the heat to high, add the corn, and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Add the rice and stir until the grains are thoroughly coated with fat, 1 to 2 minutes.
Pour in the wine and continue stirring until most of the wine has evaporated. Add 1 cup of the simmering stock to the rice and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the stock has been absorbed. Continue adding stock, one cup at a time, stirring the risotto until the stock is absorbed before adding more; the risotto is done when the rice is just tender and the sauce is creamy, about 22 minutes. Stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano, parsley and the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Season with salt and pepper and serve at once.