Meals to make from your freezer
The freezer is a real lifesaver, it helps us reduce food waste and means we can have meals at the drop of a hat.
But what healthy and cheap dishes can you rustle up using freezer food?
Using some store-cupboard favourites with frozen veg and meats means there's no risk of food being wasted and you can make meals with little effort.
Veggie Fried Rice
Fresh fruit and veg go off quite quickly so frozen veg is a great solution and means you don't lose out on well-needed nutrients.
1. Crack your eggs into a frying pan and stir them around, barely cooking it.
2. Add your cooked rice, a little oil and turn up the heat until it's sizzling. You should see the egg form tasty chunks and stick to the rice.
3. Throw in your corn, peas and a splash of soy sauce. Stir fry for another 3-4 mins and serve up!
To add extra flavour, chop up some garlic and ginger and add it in with the rice.
Spaghetti & Meatballs
Mix up your usual spag bol dish and use frozen meatballs and onions instead to whip up this homey dish in no time. You can always throw in other frozen vegs such as spinach or carrots too.
1. Add your chopped onions to a saucepan on a medium heat with a little oil and cook until soft.
2. Meanwhile, put a handful of your spaghetti in a pot of salted, boiling water.
3. Add the tin of chopped tomatoes to the onions with some salt and pepper and stir.
3. Put your frozen meatballs into the tomato mix, stir and cover with a lid until they are piping hot in the middle.
4. At this point, your spaghetti should be cooked. Drain and add to the sauce and meatballs.
5. Serve with a little grated cheese.
If you have some, use dried herbs and garlic to flavour the sauce. Simply add in garlic with the onions and any herbs with the chopped tomatoes. Chilli flakes will also give it a nice kick!
Butternut Squash & Carrot Soup
You can pretty much pick any veg you have at hand to make a soup and they're the ideal lunchtime meal to avoid snacking, especially when eaten with a nice slice of bread!
1. Heat your oven to 180°C.
2. Add the diced squash, salt, and pepper to an oven tray. Place in the oven and cook for around 15-20 minutes, or until very soft, then mash with the back of a spoon and set aside.
3. While the squash is roasting, heat some oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and some chilli flakes. Cook until soft (about 5-10 minutes.
4. Add the stock and bring to a boil and then add the mashed squash and stir to combine. Bring back to a boil and simmer for about 12 minutes.
5. Puree the soup using a blender or a hand blender until smooth. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
Speedy Shephard's/Cottage Pie
A little unconventional but a great way to use up some items in your freezer. If you don't have hash browns, make some mashed potato (you could use sweet potatoes as a healthier option) and spread it over your mince.
1. Take your hash browns out of the freezer and leave on the side for later.
2. Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and lamb/beef mince and fry for 8-10 minutes, stirring regularly, until the meat is cooked. Sprinkle over 1tbsp of flour and some curry powder(if you have it.)
3. Add the tinned tomatoes, 75ml water and some mixed herbs to the pan and stir well to combine. Crumble over a beef/lamb stock cube and stir again. Season with some salt and pepper.
4. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring regularly, until the mixture has thickened.
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan
5. Once the filling mixture has simmered for 10 minutes, stir in the frozen mixed veg and remove the pan from the heat. Transfer the mixture to a pie/oven-proof dish.
6. Break the thawed rostis or hash browns into smaller pieces and scatter them over the filling.
7. Put the pie dish onto a baking tray, then cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the potato topping is cooked through and the filling is bubbling.
If you're heading home soon for the summer holidays, now is the perfect chance to start using up all your frozen and store-cupboard ingredients so you don't have to take it home with you (avoid throwing anything away!)
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