Sunny fruits and vegetables of the season make meals sing with flavor and color – but that doesn’t have to mean more time in the kitchen. In fact, when it comes to convenience, fresh is fantastic, but dried, canned (in juice or water), 100% juice and frozen all count towards fruit and vegetable servings for the day, too. March has been celebrated as Frozen Food Month for over 20 years, according to the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA), so it’s perfect to focus on freezer favorites in springtime meal solutions. This also means that the kitchen never has to run out of fruits and vegetables, setting the stage for healthier family meals every day.
Frozen foods can be just as nutritious as fresh! It’s absolutely fine to use frozen veggies or fruits as a time saver in the kitchen on busy days. The added bonus is that there is no waste on frozen produce and shortened prep time since all the chopping is done!
Breakfast. For a quick and balanced breakfast, swirl frozen berries (no sauce), low fat yogurt and a splash of 100% juice in a blender or food processor for a great smoothie on the go. Add ice cubes if desired, or freeze 100% juice into cubes for smoothies.
One-Dish Dinners. For simple one dish dinners that make great leftovers for lunch, add frozen veggie blends to soups, stews, and casseroles for a burst of nutrition without a whole lot of preparation.
Simple Side. Still short on veggies? Try a simple bag of frozen veggies – they cook up in the microwave in minutes, so can easily be added to any meal without too much trouble. Sprinkle low fat shredded cheese to make it more kid friendly if desired.
Game Day! March madness menus can still include vegetables! Serve up zesty pizza with lower fat cheese, and don’t forget the veggie toppings! Use frozen spinach in a dip – just use lighter sour cream and/or cream cheese when creating your game day concoctions to keep fat and calories in check.
Dessert. Put bowl of frozen mixed fruit by each person’s plate at the beginning of the meal – by the time it’s dessert, it will be thawed just right. Doing this also provides the fun chance to “eat dessert during the meal” [kids will love this idea]. Serve with a dollop of low fat vanilla yogurt for a more festive presentation.
Shopping & Storage
Keep proper temperature in mind from store to table. Shop for shelf staple items first, and fresh/frozen towards the end of the shopping trip. Promptly refrigerate and freeze purchases as appropriate, and remember to always defrost in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Cook foods to proper temperature, remember not to leave foods out too long, and refrigerate leftovers promptly. Be sure the freezer temperature is about 0ºF, and refrigerator is below 40º.
Read labels and compare brands to find the items that taste best and fit the family’s needs. Visit every aisle and each trip, make it a game to find one new item to try that provides some nutrition, from appetizer to dessert. The possibilities are endless, and by reading labels, it is easy to find tasty selections that won’t break the nutrition budget.
Blueberry Banana Smoothie
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: n/a
Amount: 2 servings
- 1 medium banana, cut into chunks
- 1 cup wild harvest™ organic frozen blueberries
- 3/4 cup wild harvest™ organic vanilla soymilk
- 1 tablespoon wild harvest™ organic honey
- 1/2 cup ice cubes
- Combine all ingredients in blender. Blend to desired consistency.
- Divide between two glasses.
1/2 of recipe
Amount Per Serving:
Total Fat: 2g
Saturated Fat: 0g
Dietary Fiber: 4g
Seafood Florentine Bisque
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
Amount: 8 servings
Tips & Suggestions
Leftover bisque may be refrigerated up to 2 days.
- 1/3 cup Jewel® butter
- 1 (10 ounce) package Jewel® frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained well
- 1/4 cup finely chopped Farm Stand® yellow onion
- 1/4 teaspoon Jewel® salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Jewel® black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/3 cup Jewel® all-purpose flour
- 2 (14.5 ounce) cans Jewel® reduced sodium chicken broth
- 4 cups Jewel® half-and-half
- 1/2 cup jarred chopped roasted red peppers, drained
- 8 ounces Arctic Shores™ frozen cod fillets, thawed, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 12 ounces Arctic Shores™ frozen uncooked shrimp, thawed, peeled and deveined
- 12 ounces Arctic Shores™ frozen bay scallops, thawed, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup dry sherry
- In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Sauté spinach, onions, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper until onions are tender.
- Stir in flour; cook 1 minute. Add chicken broth, half-and-half, red peppers and cod; bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- heat and simmer until thickened and cod is cooked (about 10 minutes)
- Stir in shrimp, scallops and sherry; continue cooking until shrimp and scallops are opaque (about 2-3 minutes). Salt and pepper to taste
1/8 of recipe
Amount Per Serving:
Total Fat: 23g
Saturated Fat: 13g
Dietary Fiber: 1g