March is National Frozen Food Month and we’re here to change your mind about it! Frozen food doesn’t have to be unhealthy or less flavorful than fresh foods. Just the opposite, actually! So we’re celebrating with seven awesome ideas on how to save money, save time and make your life easier—but just as healthy—by using your freezer to the fullest.
Prep Freezer Meals for Easy Weeknight Dinners
There is no better feeling than having a meal ready and waiting for you after a long day, but most of us don’t have personal chefs to help make that happen. No worries, the answer to your mealtime mayhem is frozen make-ahead dinners.
Here are a few of our favorite recipes that will help make your weeknight dinners a breeze:
Oven-Baked Chicken Strips
Bacon Turkey Burgers
Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups
Twice-Baked Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potatoes
Buy in Bulk, Freeze the Rest
If you live close enough to a warehouse store like Sam’s Club or Costco, you can save a lot of money by purchasing bulk foods and freezing what you can’t use right away. From butter to bread to ground beef, there are plenty of foods that can be frozen, saving you time at the store and money in your bank account! Here’s a great list of foods you can freeze that might even surprise you!
Buy Meat from Your Local Butcher for the Whole Year
This option is for beef-lovers, only! If you own a deep freezer—you may want to consider buying a whole or partial cow. By purchasing meat from a local butcher, you won’t just save money—you’ll also get more quality beef from a local source you can trust.
Freeze Your Scraps for Stock
After peeling and preparing your vegetables, don’t throw away those tasty scraps! Freeze them, instead! Using a freezer bag, store all your leftover veg and save them until you’re ready to make stock. Sound difficult? It’s not! Making your own stock is pretty simple, check out The Kitchn’s article on how to make vegetable stock here.
Make Your Own Smoothie Blends
Smoothies are a great way to kickstart your morning or fuel up after a great workout. Picking up a smoothie from your favorite spot can get pricey, so why not put your freezer to good use and store smoothie packs instead? By doing a little smoothie prep ahead of time, you’ll have perfectly portioned freezer bags loaded with your favorite mix to throw into your blender in a snap. Add your favorite berries, avocados, leafy greens, bananas—whatever floats your smoothie boat, and add to individual quart-sized freezer bags. When you’re ready to make a smoothie, just add to your blender along with your go-to milk, protein powders or nut butters, too!
Use Your Ice Cube Trays in Unique Ways
Buying fresh herbs can be expensive and letting them go to waste is never fun. The best way to avoid throwing away herbs unnecessarily is by freezing them in olive oil using an ice cube tray! You’ll always have fresh herbs on hand, ready for whatever recipe you decide to make.
Store Make-Ahead Meatballs or Burger Patties
Sure, you can buy store-bought versions of meatballs and burgers—but you can also make your own, ensuring the best taste and saving you money at the same time. By making a big batch ahead of time, you’ll be able to whip up a weeknight dinner in a flash and avoid going through the drive-thru.
What’s your favorite way to make the most of your freezer?
Tell us in the comments, below!
The Best Healthy Summer Dishes to Please Any Crowd
Whether you’re headed to a picnic, a pool party, or a barbeque, one thing is for sure – potluck season is in full swing! And while everyone loves a tray of bars or the midwest classic “snicker salad”, potlucks are a great place to try new, healthier recipes. Below are five options to shake up your summer potluck soirée!
Cucumber And Heirloom Tomato Salad
A refreshing alternative to the oily pasta salads or mayo filled cole slaw.
Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
That cheesy barbeque staple everyone loves, with hidden veggies!
BBQ Black Bean Burgers
All the protein with more nutrients!
A classic – with fewer calories.
Traditional Grilled Greek Kabobs
A colorful summer staple, that’s loaded with veggies!
5 Smoothie Recipes to Keep Your Cool This Summer
As summertime heats up, the need to cool down is more powerful than ever! We want you to be prepared, and the best way to beat the heat is a nutrient-packed smoothie that will help you cool off and keep you on track with your health and fitness goals. Whether you prefer a protein-heavy smoothie or like to load up on fruit, we’ve got a smoothie that will be perfect for you.
Check out the recipes, grab some frozen fruit and get blending!
Matcha Mango Protein Smoothie
Pina Kale-Ada Smoothie
Double Chocolate Chunk Protein Shake
Smoothie Breakfast Bowl
Banana-Berry Green Smoothie
Inexpensive 5-Ingredient BBQ Black Bean Burgers You Need to Try
This is a great recipe to keep on hand for when the pantry is bare and the grocery budget or shopping time is low. Each serving costs less than a buck to make—even less if you cook your own black beans from scratch—and it’s packed with nutrition. Sometimes eating healthy on a budget can be tricky, but this recipe makes it easy!
You might be tempted to fire up the food processor for this recipe, but trust me, you want to go manual for these burgers and mash up the black beans with a fork. The food processor takes black beans from, well…bean-like to mush in a matter of seconds. By just mashing your black beans roughly with a fork, you can easily control the texture of your burgers.
Also, when you’re browsing the aisles at the grocery store for barbecue sauce, make sure to read ingredients. There are some great options out there with recognizable ingredients, but there are also a few on the shelf that have artificial flavors, colors, and high fructose corn syrup. Skip those non-food versions and instead pick up a bottle that lists ingredients you recognize (or make your own if you have a rockin’ recipe!).
Top these gloriously healthy burgs with your favorite fixins and enjoy the beautiful weather. Happy patio season!
5-Ingredient BBQ Black Bean Burgers
Makes 3 large burgers
- 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2/3 cups quick cooking oats (see notes)
- Whole wheat burger buns and burger toppings, for serving
- Preheat oven to 400°. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside.
- In a medium-size mixing bowl, mash the black beans with a fork until you have a chunky paste (you’ll want to leave some of the bean chunks for texture).
- Add in the barbecue sauce, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stir until well-combined.
- Add in the oats, and stir until well-combined. You don’t want any lumps of oats.
- With wet hands, form the mixture into three even-sized patties. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, flip over, and then bake an additional 10 minutes or until the patties are slightly brown, beginning to crack on the edges, and feel solid.
- Serve immediately on whole grain buns with your favorite burger toppings.
Don’t have quick cooking oats on hand? Just take regular rolled/old fashioned oats and pulse them in a food processor until they are well-chopped, but not powdered.
Nutrition Per Burger
Does not include bun or toppings
250 calories, 2.8g fat, 46.6g carbs, 10.9g protein
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