Running low on time? Try these dishes.
With hectic school schedules, demanding jobs, and more, even five or 10 minutes saved when making dinner can feel like a godsend. While meal prep may be the go-to time-saving hack, sometimes you don’t have the energy to whip up a week’s worth of meals on a Sunday. Luckily, there are other ways to save time when preparing dinner—whether you’re cooking a solo meal or a feast for the whole family.
One of our favorite time-saving hacks involves using frozen vegetables like broccoli, spinach, peas, and corn in meals, which can significantly cut down on the amount of prep work you need to do. In other words, instead of cooking corn to use in a side or a soup, simply buy the frozen stuff, which typically costs less than fresh produce, and let the stove do the work for you. Plus, while frozen foods tend to get a bad rap, frozen vegetables are often just as healthy as their fresh counterparts because they are frozen at peak ripeness. This means they will taste amazing and offer excellent nutritional value, not to mention the fact that they can last in the freezer for a long time.
Ready to put those freezer staples to good use? Keep reading for a collection of easy recipes that you can make with frozen vegetables!
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Broccoli, Spinach, and Three-Cheese Lasagna
The recipe calls for frozen broccoli, jarred tomato sauce, and no-boil lasagna noodles, meaning you can make a picture-perfect lasagna in about an hour. Inside, you’ll also find a trio of cheeses—mozzarella, Parmesan, and ricotta—plus some heavy cream for added richness. While the lasagna cooks, use that time to whip up a simple salad.
Smashed Pea and Ricotta Toasts
Frozen peas take center stage on these colorful toasts, which are also topped with fresh ricotta, lemon zest, a shower of pine nuts, and a pinch of flaky sea salt. Once the peas are defrosted, you’ll go ahead and mash them with some fresh mint for some seriously spring-y vibes.
Honey-Butter Creamed Corn
While fresh corn is some of the most delicious produce around, don’t sleep on the frozen stuff when corn isn’t in season. Here, frozen corn kernels and buttery onions join forces with heavy cream, honey, and thyme to create a rich side dish that goes great alongside seared steak or roasted chicken. Do yourself a favor and purée some of the corn to give the dish some generous body.
Creamy Peas With Eggs and Bacon
Frozen peas, crumpled bacon, and a generous showering of herbs form the soupy base of this delicious brunch entree. To guarantee perfectly saucy yolks, you'll want to slowly bake this dish in the oven. Once it’s time to serve it, make sure you have plenty of crusty bread on hand so you can sop up all the eggy goodness.
Slow-Cooker Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna With Romaine Salad
Whip out your slow cooker to make a drool-worthy lasagna that’s as delicious as it looks. This traditional take on the Italian staple is made with frozen spinach, lasagna noodles, marinara sauce, ricotta, Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella.
Potato Tot Breakfast Casserole
This casserole is technically made with frozen tater tots (not potatoes), but it’s too delicious not to include. The frozen tots are joined by eggs, hot or mild breakfast sausage, fresh vegetables, and plenty of spicy add-ons like hot sauce and jalapeño slices. If you need an easy breakfast that can feed a crowd, give this recipe a try.
Zesty Corn Soup With Chicken
The use of shortcut items like frozen corn kernels and rotisserie chicken mean you can make this tasty soup in about 20 minutes. The dish, which is inspired by Mexican street corn, also includes fresh cilantro, savory cotija, spicy cayenne, and tart lime juice. Serve it with tortilla chips and you’re all set.
Crispy Rice Bake With Shrimp and Peas
If you hate doing dishes, give this one-pan meal a whirl. It’s basically an oven-baked take on paella that includes arborio rice, fire-roasted diced tomatoes, large shrimp, and frozen sweet peas, and plenty of spices. Once you take the dish out of the oven, be sure to serve it with the garlicky mayonnaise for even more flavor.
Croque Madame and Tot Casserole
More tots! This time, the frozen potato bites are joined by plenty of eggs with jammy yolks, and hefty pieces of ham in a creamy, mustard-spiked cheese sauce. This recipe calls for an impressive helping of fontina cheese, but feel free to swap in Swiss or Gruyere instead.
Pulled Pork and Poblano Bake
In this hearty dinner, roasted poblano peppers are stuffed with smoky pork, canned kidney beans, melty cheese, and frozen corn that’s been thawed and charred. To save even more time, use pre-packaged pork. You can find smoked pulled pork (without the sauce) at your favorite BBQ joint, or near the bacon at the grocery store.
Classically made with a spinach-feta cheese mixture, this easy spanikopita pie recipe adds in a generous serving of fresh spring peas. The frozen veggie star here is actually the spinach, which, as mentioned, is combined with the feta, plus a leek, garlic cloves, dill, and lemon zest. Another shortcut you can employ with this recipe is to use sheets of frozen phyllo dough to make the pastry portion.
These vegetarian nachos are piled high with paprika-spiked frozen corn (that’s been thawed) for pops of smoky sweetness, tender bits of sautéed zucchini, and a creamy avocado-yogurt topping that adds a dash of decadence to each bite. Serve ‘em as a taco night appetizer, or make it a meal by adding shredded chicken, beans, and more satiating toppings.
Spinach-and-Artichoke Quinoa Casserole
In this recipe, spinach and artichoke dip is reimagined as a hearty, vegan casserole using frozen chopped spinach. The luscious texture, created by cashew butter and non-dairy milk, is balanced by tangy marinated artichokes and a crushed potato chip topping, which adds a welcome crunch. Adding fiber-filled quinoa to the mix takes this dish from an appetizer to dinner in no time.
Lemony Fish With Orzotto
Yes, you can use frozen veggies in a fish dish! This recipe calls for frozen sweet peas in addition to mahi-mahi fillets. Those two ingredients are joined by quick-cooking orzo, which takes the place of rice in a creamy risotto-esque part of this meal that also includes Parmesan cheese, heavy cream, and lemon zest.
Simple Shepherd’s Pie
This comforting family meal requires just 40 minutes of hands-on-work thanks to shortcuts like frozen peas and easy-to-make buttery mashed potatoes. Underneath those mouth watering potatoes you’ll find the aforementioned peas, as well as a hearty beef and mushroom filling. Save this recipe for chilly nights and you won’t be disappointed.