They help me get meals on the table fast.
Reviewed by Dietitian Victoria Seaver, M.S., RD
I’m a lady with a career and a busy tween. I’m also the one who makes dinner most nights of the week. And while I try to make most of our meals from scratch, I just simply don’t have the time or energy to do that every night. While I love takeout as much as the next person, I don’t like the dent it makes in our food budget—nor do I like the wasteful containers it’s packaged in.
That’s where Costco comes into play. Not only do I buy many of my pantry items from the warehouse store, I also keep my freezer stocked with several items that make answering the question of “What’s for dinner?” a whole lot easier when I don’t feel like cooking. Here’s what you’ll definitely find if you peek into my freezer.
1. Potstickers or Dumplings
My family adores dumplings and potstickers. We eat them a couple of times a month, if not on a weekly basis. They’re the foundation of our most frequent I-don’t-have-a-plan dinners that I pair with not-really-fried rice (more on that below). They’re also delicious cooked into a soup or stir-fry. I often fry some up for a weekend lunch, or I’ll cook some in the morning and pop them in a thermos for our daughter’s lunch. But lest we forget breakfast, our daughter even makes them for her morning meal.
2. Mixed Vegetables
I use frozen mixed vegetables in a variety of ways, but most frequently I use them to make not-really-fried rice to serve alongside those dumplings or potstickers above. I always have cooked rice in the freezer to use as a base. I’ll stir-fry grated garlic and ginger in some hot oil and add any other veggies that need to be used up. Then I dump some thawed cooked rice and mixed veggies into the pan. I also use this frozen veggie blend in soups and chicken pot pie.
Cooking a pot of pasta and pairing it with jarred marinara sauce is a no-brainer for most people. To give the meal more staying power, I cook up some frozen meatballs. They cook up fast in our toaster oven, or I’ll sometimes simmer them in the marinara sauce for more tender results.
I have a confession to make. I kind of love frozen pizza. Don’t get me wrong, if I had a choice I’d eat one from a local pizzeria, but Costco’s pepperoni pizza is one of the best frozen pizzas I’ve ever had. We also like the cauliflower crust pizza with roasted veggies. (Our daughter hates bell peppers but she likes this pizza, go figure!) Paired with a bagged salad (also from Costco) or crudités and ranch dip, it’s a great easy dinner or weekend lunch.
5. Wild Salmon
We eat so much more fish since I started stocking it in our freezer. I can pull out a few fillets in the morning and thaw them in the fridge while I’m at work. Or if I’m in a pinch (or forget to thaw in the morning) I can quickly thaw them in a bowl of water while I prep the other ingredients for dinner. I like making glazes and sauces from condiments to put on the fish while it cooks—Miso-Maple Salmon and Dijon Salmon make frequent appearances on our dinner table. If I think ahead, I’ll cook extra fish to turn into salmon cakes.
6. Grass-Fed Burgers
Not one to typically buy premade patties, I first had these at a neighbor's barbecue and was pleasantly surprised. Ever since, I’ve kept a sleeve of them in our freezer. They’re convenient, particularly because my husband avoids beef, so I can make him a salmon or veggie burger and our daughter and I can have these. Plus they’re made with grass-fed beef, which is raised in a way that may help mitigate climate change.
7. Yasso Frozen Yogurt Bars
OK, OK, I know this isn’t dinner, but what’s dinner without dessert? My husband and daughter have sweet tooths, so I typically have a box of these in the freezer. They even saved a dinner party once! I hadn’t read a recipe I was making for dessert until the last minute and it took much longer than I expected. So I pulled out a box of these frozen yogurt bars as an alternative and everyone was so excited.
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Read the original article on Eating Well.