Best Frozen Foods to Stock in Your Freezer

Related To:

Bobby's Peas with Shallots and Pancetta

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Food Network

Tara Donne, Food Network

I’m all for eating with the seasons, but by the time it gets to March (at least in the Northeast, where I live)...there is virtually nothing fresh. Storage crops, like root vegetables and apples are no longer exciting and it'll still be a couple months before green pea shoots and tender lettuce appear in the farmer's market. That's probably why this month has officially been dubbed Frozen Food Month. Before you dig into the abyss of your freezer, know that the secret to using frozen vegetables is to incorporate them into meals, rather than to just steam them as a stand-alone side. Here are a few ways to embrace frozen foods for tasty meals.

Peas: This has to be the most versatile frozen food — the one that makes you wonder if fresh peas are even worth the trouble of shelling them. One easy way to use them is in a quick rice pilaf: saute an onion, add rice and peas and broth or water and you have a perked-up side. Alternatives include a “fresh”  pea soup or a surprisingly easy, yet elegant dish of peas with shallots and pancetta (pictured above). You could add them to the risotto cakes in this Sunday pot roast. Pistou soup will get you some summer flavor when you need it most: in winter.

Frozen berries, peaches and mangoes: Smoothies are a go-to, for sure, but I also sometimes just microwave them until they’re thawed and add them to plain yogurt and granola. You can also bake them into a crisp or a cobbler if you’re feeling like you need a break from apples. Try this peach pie smoothie (pictured) or  French toast.

Broccoli: As with a lot of frozen vegetables, frozen broccoli makes a pretty tasty soup. Try out my recipe for a creamy, dairy-free vegetable soup or try this recipe for creamy broccoli soup. It also works at breakfast, as with this strata.

Corn: Add it to corn pancakes or to add extra texture to cornbread. This healthified five-layer dip is another great way to use it.

Giada De Laurentiis - Artichoke Gratinata

Photo by: Adrian Mueller ©2012, Adrian Mueller / AMueller.com, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Adrian Mueller, 2012, Adrian Mueller / AMueller.com, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Artichokes: Fresh artichokes are kind of a pain to cook with — definitely not worth going through the trouble of extracting the tender hearts, if you’re just planning to use them in another dish — which makes frozen artichokes an excellent freezer staple.  Judging by the sheer quantity of Giada De Laurentiis recipes that use them, frozen artichokes have to rival peas in terms of versatility. A few recipes to try: artichoke gratinata (pictured), soup or  artichoke pesto on ciabbata. You can also add them to your next roast chicken dinner.

Spinach: Again, if you're going to cook with it — and need big quantities of it — frozen spinach is the way to go. Rachel Ray’s baked whole grain pasta uses frozen spinach and artichokes, making it a perfect pantry meal. Two more to try: creamed spinach or salmon Florentine.

Cauliflower: This seems to be everyone’s favorite “sneaky” ingredient for lightening up mac & cheese. Give it a go with Bobby Deen’s recipe.

Next Up

Best Foods to Bring to the Beach

Rather than wasting money and calories on the less-than-stellar boardwalk fare, why not pack a cooler of goodies to keep you refreshed all day long?

100+ Healthy Recipes to Mix and Match

Browse our top healthy recipes from Cooking Channel chefs, from lightened-up comfort foods to full-flavor Asian favorites.

Meatless Monday: Wheat Berry Salad

Wheat berries are an unprocessed whole grain, use them on this Meatless Monday to make Ellie Krieger's healthy, hearty salad.

Meatless Monday: Veggie Burgers

Vegetarian burgers have a bad rep, but can actually be quite delicious. You just need the right recipe, and these really simple black bean burgers are it.

Try Meatless Monday with Kelsey's Garden Vegetable Frittata

We're celebrating Meatless Monday, a movement designed to eat less meat for health and environmental reasons. This week: Kelsey Nixon's Garden Vegetable Frittata.

Dinner Rush! Grilled Garden Vegetable Pizza

Cooking Channel's healthy grilled veggie pizza recipe is quick, easy and a great way not to use your hot oven in the summer.

7 No-Sweat Ways to Burn Calories

These easy, everyday activities burn 100 calories, so why not add them into your routine?

On TV

Simply Laura

7:30am | 6:30c

Simply Laura

8:30am | 7:30c

Simply Laura

9:30am | 8:30c

Brunch at Bobby's

10:30am | 9:30c

Brunch at Bobby's

11:30am | 10:30c

Brunch at Bobby's

12:30pm | 11:30c

Brunch at Bobby's

1:30pm | 12:30c

Good Eats

2pm | 1c

Good Eats

2:30pm | 1:30c

Carnival Eats

3:30pm | 2:30c

Carnival Eats

4:30pm | 3:30c

Carnival Eats

5:30pm | 4:30c

Man v. Food

6pm | 5c

Man v. Food

6:30pm | 5:30c

Man v. Food

7pm | 6c

Man v. Food

7:30pm | 6:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

8pm | 7c

Yum and Yummer

9:30pm | 8:30c

Yum and Yummer

11pm | 10c

Yum and Yummer

11:30pm | 10:30c

Yum and Yummer

1:30am | 12:30c

Yum and Yummer

3:30am | 2:30c
What's Hot

So Much Pretty Food Here