How often do you get home from work later than expected, or more tired than you thought, and throw something unhealthy in the oven, or resort to beans on toast AGAIN.
If you have a freezer, there’s no need to be resorting to ready meals and stodgy store cupboard staples as there are hundreds of inexpensive, ready-prepped ingredients to look out for, which will save you hours of prep time every week, and mean you can serve up a freshly-cooked meal for you and your partner in minutes.
Our food editor Gregor McMaster is a big fan of making the most of the freezer, and he let us in on a few of his favourite frozen finds…
frozen Edamame soya beans
You may have never heard of these before, but for Gregor they are a fantastic addition to your freezer. The young, green soya bean is also called edamame and you can use them in the same way you would use peas – the main difference is that they’re a source of protein. This means, even if you’re in a hurry and you don’t want to cook meat, you can add these to your meal and know you’re getting a hit of protein.
Gregor says, “These are fantastic to pop last minute into Oriental-style broths and soups for added veg. Not only that, they instantly make a dish look fantastic.”
Fun fact: They are what soy sauce is made from!
Frozen butternut squash chunks
Who has time to cut up a stubborn butternut squash on a busy weekday? Not us. Gregor loves these frozen ready chopped squash chunks. He says, “I use this to blitz up into a pasta sauce such as carbonara - it means I use less cream and still get a silky texture.”
So not only are you saving time, you’re saving calories, too!
These are also great for curries, soups, roasting alongside sausages, and having cold the next day in a salad.
Frozen chopped garlic
Garlic makes everything taste better, but it’s one of the most labour-intensive ingredients around. Enter – frozen chopped garlic. The packet says, ‘No chopping, no mess, no fuss’ and we are very much on board with that.
And, according to Gregor, it’s great if you’re having guests round. He says, “I always have this on standby especially if I have guests round and I don’t want to smell of garlic! You can also make an impromptu garlic bread for unexpected visitors.”
Frozen stir-fry vegetable mix
Stir-fry mix is NOT just for stir-fries! “These cook from frozen,” says Gregor. “I use them along with frozen sausages and frozen onion to make a tray bake or sausage casserole with minimal effort.”
The stir-fry pack, which is a fraction of the price of its fresh counterpart, contains carrot batons, beansprouts, red onions, sugar snap peas, baby corn, water chestnuts, mushrooms, yellow peppers and red peppers – and all for a fraction of the cost of a fresh pack. This is a game-changer, and a massive time saver.
Frozen Yorkshire puddings
If you’re cooking for two, roast dinners are often not worth the effort. But there are ways to minimise the prep time, and still enjoy a cracking roast dinner.
Gregor says, “You can’t have a Sunday roast without Yorkshire puddings, but there’s really no need to make your own when you can throw these frozen Yorkshire puddings in the oven and have them on the table in 6 minutes.”
Plus, you won't waste food if you just get out what you need. Don't limit your Yorkies to just roast dinners either; top hot Yorkshire puddings with a scoop of ice cream and some chocolate sauce for a delicious pud with a difference!