Five Foods to Keep On-Hand in the Freezer
When I had a family at home, or now that I live alone, there are five foods I keep on-hand in my freezer to help me prepare quick and easy, healthy meals and snacks for myself or when I have a friend over.
NUTS --I store nuts of all kinds in my freezer because it keeps the oils from turning rancid. Nuts are full of healthy fats and other nutrient. They do not require much thawing. I use them daily for snacking, but also throw them on a salad instead of croutons to add crunch, or to top my oatmeal or yogurt in the morning for breakfast. My favorites are pecans, walnuts and almonds. I buy them raw, not roasted and salted. I also regularly make my own almond milk.
SEAFOOD --Fish fillets and shrimp all thaw so quickly. It makes so much sense to have these on hand. Dietary guidelines suggest that seafood intake needs to be increased to provide heart-healthy lean protein. Some, like salmon and shrimp, give us the additional benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. It is easy to find tilapia, sole, and salmon fillets. Peeled, uncooked shrimp is also easy to find. You can take these out of the freezer and put them in the refrigerator before you go to bed at night, and they will be thawed for you to fix for dinner the next day.
VEGETABLES AND FRUITS --Frozen vegetables and fruits are plentiful in the grocery stores, or you can take advantage of all the farmers' markets to buy fresh produce to freeze yourself for later on when things go out of season. I keep chopped onions on hand, as well as strips or chopped sweet peppers--red, green, orange and yellow--in freezer for use later. My other favorite frozen vegetables--broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus. I keep frozen berries on hand year-round, and also freeze ripe bananas to include in fruit smoothies. Other fruit that freezes well, once diced, for smoothies--mango, pineapple, and papaya.
WHOLE-WHEAT PIZZA DOUGH --I buy my pizza dough at Trader Joes (TJs), as I do many of the other things I keep on hand. You can take the pizza dough out of the freezer 24 hours before you are to use it, and it should thaw in your refrigerator. I make a spread of olive oil and tomato paste for a sauce, topping with dried oregano or basil, crushed garlic, and then top with a lot of vegetables, TJs Chicken Italian Sausage, and a sprinkling of low-fat cheese before baking. The same pizza dough can be used to make individual stuffed pockets.
CORN TORTILLAS --I prefer corn to flour tortillas. Wrapped up in a corn tortilla, I can turn any filling into a "taco." I buy them in markets that cater to the larger Hispanic population, where I can get a package of 100 tortillas for about $3.00 versus the American markets, where you may pay more than a dollar for a dozen tortillas. When I bring them home, I separate and package them up into manageable amounts for me, freezing them for later use. I take out a package and they thaw quickly for use in enchiladas or tacos.
With just these five categories, I can make many different kinds of meals with little effort and just a few additional ingredients in my refrigerator and pantry. I keep oats, rice, plain yogurt, cheeses, honey, eggs, potatoes, canned tomatoes and tomato paste, olive oil, garlic, vinegar and spices on-hand.
With these staples and the five foods I keep in my freezer, I can always make a meal for any time of the day or anybody who might wish to join me in a quick bite-to-eat. The possibilities are endless!!
Using these same ingredients, I wonder how many of us from around the world would come up with similar recipe meal ideas and what the variations might be.
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Copyright © 2015 Coral Levang
Adapted from original written March 15, 2014 and published on Bubblews, and removed by author, CoralLevang.
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