I love to cook! I really do. If I had all the time in the world, I would probably cook every meal of every day. Well, okay, maybe not EVERY meal… sometimes even people who love to cook need a break! But the reality is that I don’t have all the time in the world, and cooking does take a fair amount of time throughout the day! And sometimes we just get so darn busy that heating up a “frozen dinner” is the only way we’re even going to GET a meal on the table.
So the next time you pull one of those frozen entrees out of the freezer, don’t feel guilty! We’re all just doing our best to get through the day, and sometimes a healthy, home-cooked meal just isn’t in the cards. But instead of resigning yourself to a mediocre meal, take a few extra minutes to dress it up! Here are a few easy ways to transform frozen foods into something you’ll be proud to serve for dinner!
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3 Delicious Shortcuts For Frozen Foods
1. Dress Up Your Entree
Recently I had one of those rare nights when I didn’t have anyone to feed in the house except myself. I really didn’t feel like eating fast food, but I didn’t feel like cooking either. So I decided to pull one of my “diet-friendly frozen dinners” out of the freezer. I followed the instructions on the box, but when I pulled it out of the microwave… let’s just say I was underwhelmed.
But then I was struck by a flash of inspiration. The rice and beans weren’t bad necessarily, they just needed a bit more pizazz! So I just added some of my favorite “Tex-Mex” additions, which I usually have on hand anyway. I added some diced tomato, diced avocado, fresh chopped cilantro, a squeeze of fresh lime juice. At the last second, I decided to throw in a little leftover chicken that I had in the fridge. My sad little entree was transformed into a healthy, tasty dinner!
When it comes to dressing up your own frozen entrees, consider the basic elements in the dish and what kind of cuisine it is. Then choose a few ingredients that are commonly paired with that food, and don’t be afraid to experiment! Give it a few tries, and you’re sure to come up with a delicious way to dress up your frozen entrees.
2. Better Burritos
Frozen burritos can be a quick and delicious lunch or snack. I particularly like the Amy’s brand! The one drawback of these burritos (and most frozen burritos, frankly) is that it’s almost impossible to heat them evenly in the microwave. The ends get so hot the explode, while the center remains stubbornly lukewarm. But there’s a better way!
For a more evenly heated burrito, use both your microwave and stove. Start by warming the burrito in your microwave for about a minute. Next, transfer the burrito to a lightly greased sauté pan, and place it on your stove over medium heat. Cook the burrito until lightly browned on both sides, then top with guacamole or sour cream (or both!) and serve. Yum!
3. Wrap It Up
Most frozen dinners are okay… but they’re not particularly attractive or enticing. Adding a fresh ingredient or element is an easy way to elevate that frozen meal!
For this mango chicken entree, I decided to serve it as mini lettuce wraps. I used a head of tender and delicious Bibb lettuce, and simply scooped the heated entree into each lettuce leaf. The addition of fresh lettuce turned out to be exactly what this entree needed, and I ended up enjoying this meal immensely!
What are your favorite frozen entrees to “dress up”?