It is that busy time of year again: new schedules, new activities… it is back to school! It is time to get organized so you can plan healthy meals for your family and not live on fast food. How do you start? Your freezer and pantry can help you make healthy, quick meals for your family every night if you have the right items in them. Remember, that colorful foods are your friend when trying to add healthier foods to your diet. So clean out that freezer and pantry and start over with the following items that will help you create healthy back-to-school meals for your family to enjoy around the table together even on busy nights!
Must-Have Freezer Items:
- cauliflower bits (They freeze beautifully!)
- fully cooked meatballs
- easy peel shrimp (Uncooked, shrimp only takes 3-4 minutes to cook.)
- ciabatta bread (freezes nicely)
Must-Have Pantry Items:
- black beans
- green beans
- hearts of palm
- refried beans
- chick peas
- spaghetti sauce
- fire roasted diced tomatoes
- green enchilada sauce
- red enchilada sauce
- fresh tomatoes
- bell peppers
- fire roasted red peppers in a jar
- Kind bars (A healthy snack for any time of day.)
In a hurry? Try this Easy Freezer Meal using frozen shrimp, frozen peas, and frozen cauliflower bits.
- Thaw and peel shrimp under warm water. (Don’t like shrimp? Try the recipe with frozen meatballs.)
- Sautee 2 packages of frozen cauliflower bits in olive oil or butter (No need to defrost first.)
- Add thawed shrimp to cauliflower and cook 3 minutes on medium/high heat stirring occasionally.
- Add frozen peas to shrimp and cauliflower and cook 2-3 minutes on medium heat.
- Season with garlic, salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with ciabatta bread.
Need a quick side dish? Try this pantry and freezer Black Beans and More side dish using black beans, chick peas, fire roasted diced tomatoes, sautéed peppers, and cauliflower bits. (Add shredded rotisserie chicken or browned ground meat and you’ve got a complete one dish meal.)
- Cut 2-3 yellow or red bell peppers in strips and saute in olive oil until tender.
- Add frozen cauliflower bits to peppers and continue to cook until cauliflower bits begin to brown.
- Add black beans, chick peas and fire roasted tomatoes. (Drain and rinse black beans and chick peas.)
- Cook on medium heat until warm. If you need a sauce for this dish try 1/2 cup picante sauce mixed with 1/4 cup Ranch dressing.
Here are some more easy back-to-school recipes using freezer and pantry items to try.