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How to Make Frozen Veggies as Good as Fresh

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5 Easy and Delicious Recipes

As cold weather approaches, the fresh produce you want can be difficult to find or very expensive. Frozen vegetables can be a scrumptious alternative — and a terrific time-saver. Think of all the time it takes to wash and cut up veggies! Bonus: Vegetables grown for freezing are picked at their peak and flash-frozen, preserving much of their nutrient value.

Here, delicious recipes that bring out the very best in frozen veggies…

Indian Spiced Carrots

Frozen sliced or crinkle-cut carrots are available in most markets. Adding Indian spices adds zing. Spices lose their flavor and color over time. If yours are more than six months old, it’s time for new bottles.

1 Tablespoon canola oil

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons mild curry powder

1 pound sliced frozen carrots (about 4 cups)

1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger

½ cup water

½ cup light coconut milk

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 Tablespoons chopped cilantro

Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cumin, coriander and curry powder. Cook about 30 seconds. Add the carrots, ginger and water. Cover with a lid, and cook five minutes. Remove the lid. If any liquid remains, cook uncovered until it has evaporated.

Remove from the heat. Add the coconut milk and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the chopped cilantro on top. Serves four.

Roasted Baby Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

Look for baby Brussels sprouts. The roasted sprouts will be crisp on the outside and tender inside-and the bacon adds a delectable smoky taste. If you don’t like bacon, you can sprinkle a little smoked paprika over them.

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 pound frozen small Brussels sprouts (about 4 cups)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 bacon slices, diced into ½-inch pieces

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Add the oil, and roll the Brussels sprouts in the oil making sure all sides are covered. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and toss well. Spread them in one layer on the sheet. Place the diced bacon over the Brussels sprouts. Roast 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and turn sprouts over. Roast another 10 minutes. Serves four.

Thai Green Beans

Look for thin, whole green beans. Toasted sesame oil has a rich sesame flavor, but regular sesame oil can be used.

2 Tablespoons crunchy peanut
butter

1 Tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger ­(optional)

1 pound frozen whole green beans (about 4½ cups)

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 Tablespoons peanuts, chopped

Mix the peanut butter, soy sauce, one tablespoon of the toasted sesame oil and ginger together. Heat the ­second tablespoon of toasted sesame oil in a large, nonstick skillet over ­medium-high heat. Add the green beans. Sauté for five minutes. Add the peanut butter mixture, and stir to combine with the beans. Add black pepper to taste. Sprinkle peanuts on top. Serves four.

Hot Pepper Succotash

Hot pepper jelly adds zip to this American staple gleaned from the Native Americans who grew corn and beans side by side in the fields and cooked them together and called it succotash. Any type of hot pepper jelly can be used.

¾ cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth

2 Tablespoons canola oil

3 cups frozen corn kernels

3 cups frozen baby lima beans

5 Tablespoons jalapeño pepper jelly

3 scallions, thinly sliced

Salt

Warm the broth and oil in a large, nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the corn and lima beans, and sauté for five minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high, and add the jelly. Stir until the jelly melts and coats the vegetables. Add scallions and salt to taste. Serves four.

Creamy Spinach

Frozen chopped onion can be found in most markets. If it is not available, use fresh chopped onion and add it to the spinach while it is defrosting in the microwave.

1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 cup frozen chopped onion

¼ cup light cream

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the spinach in a microwave-safe bowl, cover and microwave on high for five minutes to defrost. (Or ahead of time, remove the spinach from the package, and place in a bowl in the fridge for 24 hours or on the counter top for several hours.)

Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat. Add the spinach and onion. Sauté for five minutes. Remove from the heat, and add the cream. Mix well. Add nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine into the spinach. Makes two large servings or four small servings.

Quick Soups from Frozen Vegetables

You can make these four delicious soups quickly and easily using frozen vegetables.

Savory Mushroom Soup

Sauté two cups of frozen chopped ­onion in one tablespoon of butter in a nonstick pot until starting to color. Add one pound of frozen mushrooms and one tablespoon of flour. Stir. Add one quart of chicken or vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove one cup of vegetables, and purée in a food processor or blender. Return to the soup. Add salt, pepper and one teaspoon of nutmeg. You can add a little cream, two tablespoons of dry sherry and/or one-quarter cup of parsley.

Greek Minestrone

Defrost one 10-ounce package of whole-leaf spinach. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a nonstick pot, and add two cups of frozen chopped onion. Cook until the onion starts to color. Add one cup of frozen cut green beans, one cup of frozen sliced carrots, the defrosted spinach and two teaspoons of minced garlic. Sauté for a few minutes. Add one quart of chicken or vegetable broth and one cup of canned petite diced tomatoes with their juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle crumbled feta cheese on top. You also can add one-quarter cup of chopped fresh oregano leaves and/or defrosted cooked shrimp.

Creamy Corn Soup

Sauté two cups of frozen chopped or sliced onion in one tablespoon of canola oil in a nonstick pot for several minutes until starting to color. Add one pound of frozen corn and one quart of chicken or vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat. Simmer for five minutes. Cool and purée in a blender or use an immersion blender. Add salt and pepper. You can add hot pepper sauce for an extra kick, one-quarter cup of chopped fresh ­cilantro and/or a little cream.

Curried Cauliflower Soup

Sauté two cups of frozen chopped or sliced onion in one tablespoon of olive oil in a nonstick pot until starting to color. Add two teaspoons of minced garlic, one pound of frozen cauliflower florets and two cups of chicken or vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add one teaspoon of curry powder and two cups of milk, and cook to warm the milk. Cool slightly, and purée in a food processor or blender or use an immersion blender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Optional: Sprinkle on one-quarter cup of chopped parsley and/or one-quarter cup of chopped walnuts.

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Source: Linda Gassenheimer, an award-winning author of several cookbooks, most recently, No-Fuss ­Diabetes Desserts and Simply Smoothies: Fresh, Fast & Diabetes-Friendly Snacks & Complete Meals (both from American Diabetes Associaton). She writes the syndicated newspaper column “Dinner in Minutes.” DinnerInMinutes.com. Date: November 1, 2014 Publication: Bottom Line Personal
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