Forget about oven fries and frozen-ready meals you might remember from the 80s, these tasty, nutrient-rich and money-saving meals using natural ingredients are incredibly handy to have when cooking.
It couldn't be simpler, cooking something straight from the freezer and having a delicious meal on the table in next to no time, so here are our top frozen food saviours you may have never considered before:
Frozen Food Saviour 1: Frozen king prawns
Why? Ready to eat once defrosted, these tasty prawns can easily be combined with a pasta dish for a seriously speedy dinner.
A hot tip to defrosting your prawns quickly is to take them out of the freezer and place them in a large colander. Place the colander in running cold water for a few minutes, moving the prawns so they can evenly defrost in no time. The water can strictly not be warm otherwise the prawns may cook.
Remember to never refreeze prawns that have been defrosted. You can cook prawns once defrosted, and then refreeze them. You can refreeze cooked prawns once, as long as they have been cooled before going into the freezer. If in doubt, do not refreeze.
Frozen Food Saviour 2: Frozen sweet potato fries
Why? In the last few years, sweet potato fries have been popping up on restaurant menus across the country, so it was only natural that we’d see them become a favourite in family kitchens, too. A healthier alternative to chips that goes towards your 5-a-day, they are notoriously difficult to get right at home. Rather than painstakingly peeling, boiling, cutting and frying your evening away, instead pop some frozen fries straight in the oven with a little oil and some seasoning.
Buy it: McCain Crispy Sweet Potato Fries
Frozen Food Saviour 3: Frozen chopped onion
Why? Onions: a pain for cooks everywhere – but they add flavour to almost every meal. Unless you’re a skilled chef, not only does onion chopping take time but we're often reduced to tears in the process! If a recipe requires one or more, it’ll serve you well to skip the fuss altogether by using a pre-chopped frozen onion instead. Onion soup, anyone?
Buy it: ASDA Scratch Cook Diced Onions
Frozen Food Saviour 4: Frozen casserole mix
Why? Casseroles are one of the heartiest homemade dishes but can take hours of preparation and constant tending to – hardly what you want on a weeknight! There's an easy hack though: have a bag of frozen casserole mix ready to go, along with pre-sliced meat and a slow cooker, combine the ingredients in the morning and let the slow cooker work its magic while you get on with your day.
Frozen Food Saviour 5: Frozen rice
Why? Rice is another food that's difficult to cook perfectly – either it's too al dente, overcooked or even burnt! Keep it simple and cut down on cooking time with a frozen alternative – no one will know the difference.
Frozen Food Saviour 6: Frozen herbs and spices
Why? A cook’s secret weapon, fresh herbs and spices can add that something special to a dish. But prep can be a pain. From crushing to slicing, we often end up with more product on the worktop than in the dish. Cut out the fiddly bits with frozen varieties – once cooked they'll have the texture of fresh, with all the convenience of dried.
Buy it: Asda Scratch Cook Crushed GarlicMinced Chicken with Coriander and Fish Sauce
Frozen Food Saviour 7: Frozen stir-fry mix
Why? Stir-fries are one of the quickest and healthiest midweek meal choices as they're loaded with vegetables. There’s just one catch and that’s the prep time. While washing, peeling and chopping all takes time, you can cut out the middle man with a frozen vegetable mix. Not only can you just pour the veg straight into the pan, but you'll have leftover veg in the freezer for next time too.
Frozen Food Saviour 8: Frozen mash
Why? Making lump-free mash can be a bit tricky and chopping and boiling potatoes all adds to your prep time. If you don't fancy giving your biceps a workout, a frozen mash mix will work wonders as a topping for most fish, cottage and shepherd's pies, while giving you more of your 5-a-day too!