Is there such a thing as a healthy frozen meal?

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    Sep 10, 2012 3:11 AM GMT
    Here are some healthy frozen meals for you - my chicken stew, bulk cooked and frozen into about 50 individual meals I later eat "as is" or doctor into various meals like burritos, soups, sloppy joes, Indian or asian fusion:

    345kkfo.jpg

    vdo479.jpg

    2n8r5h2.jpg

    Bulk cooked it comes out to $1.25 per meal (I get chicken breast on sale for $1.99/lb) for a container of chicken breast, brown rice (or quinoa), black beans, lentils, various root vegetables and spinach leaves. Base ingredients:

    $25 boneless skinless chicken breast @ 1.99/lb (wait for a sale if need be to bulk cook and fill your freezer)
    $25 various diced root vegetables, whatever's available: yucca, yam, parsnip, onion, carrots, butternut squash, rutabaga, leeks
    $10 various: black beans, brown rice, quinoa, chicken broth, spinach leaves

    Soak and crockpot cook black beans and lentils from scratch and put aside. Then dice (also if you're inclined, brine and pound beforehand) chicken breast. Slow cook the chicken with a little low sodium broth, water and the root vegetables and you'll find that the veggies will develop the taste and texture of potatoes, so if you like chicken and potatoes you'll love this. Make brown rice and quinoa. Assemble your cooked stew, black beans and lentils, cooked brown rice and quinoa and spinach leaves and portion into individual food containers and freeze. Relatively unspiced, use it as a base as chicken stew, add cumin and chile pepper and put in an Ezekiel wrap and top with plain yogurt and salsa for burritos, add broth to make hearty chicken soup, add with Thai sauce and and unsweetened canned chunk pineapple to asian noodles, spread hot on a spelt roll as a sloppy joe or cold as a chicken salad, or add a Tasty Bite brand flavoring packet with a sliced banana and raisins for Indian.
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    Sep 10, 2012 3:22 AM GMT
    for once i read a sensible exchange here; no bitching et al. soups are 1 of the best to make your own & freeze / most frozen foods have to much salt, guar gum etc. make your own fruits are great also - be aware of the fruit sugar, that can be considerable. buy certified organic ingredients in whatever you plan to make, & dont forget to graze between meals! bon apetit!
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    Sep 10, 2012 3:25 AM GMT
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    something like that doesn't seem so bad
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    Sep 10, 2012 3:25 AM GMT
    Frozen food isnt the worst for you, it's a better for you than canned stuff or fast food. There's actually not that much/no preservatives in them, since freezing the food is pretty much all the work needed. If you want to eat the healthiest of frozen foods go for lean cuisine and the likes, just look at the nutritional content
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    Sep 10, 2012 3:28 AM GMT
    eagermuscle saidHere are some healthy frozen meals for you - my chicken stew, bulk cooked and frozen into about 50 individual meals I later eat "as is" or doctor into various meals like burritos, soups, sloppy joes, Indian or asian fusion:

    345kkfo.jpg

    vdo479.jpg

    2n8r5h2.jpg

    Bulk cooked it comes out to $1.25 per meal (I get chicken breast on sale for $1.99/lb) for a container of chicken breast, brown rice (or quinoa), black beans, lentils, various root vegetables and spinach leaves. Base ingredients:

    $25 boneless skinless chicken breast @ 1.99/lb (wait for a sale if need be to bulk cook and fill your freezer)
    $25 various diced root vegetables, whatever's available: yucca, yam, parsnip, onion, carrots, butternut squash, rutabaga, leeks
    $10 various: black beans, brown rice, quinoa, chicken broth, spinach leaves

    Soak and crockpot cook black beans and lentils from scratch and put aside. Then dice (also if you're inclined, brine and pound beforehand) chicken breast. Slow cook the chicken with a little low sodium broth, water and the root vegetables and you'll find that the veggies will develop the taste and texture of potatoes, so if you like chicken and potatoes you'll love this. Make brown rice and quinoa. Assemble your cooked stew, black beans and lentils, cooked brown rice and quinoa and spinach leaves and portion into individual food containers and freeze. Relatively unspiced, use it as a base as chicken stew, add cumin and chile pepper and put in an Ezekiel wrap and top with plain yogurt and salsa for burritos, add broth to make hearty chicken soup, add with Thai sauce and and unsweetened canned chunk pineapple to asian noodles, spread hot on a spelt roll as a sloppy joe or cold as a chicken salad, or add a Tasty Bite brand flavoring packet with a sliced banana and raisins for Indian.


    Holy crap that looks and sounds delicious! Seriously I'm getting saliva all over my keyboard. Thanx for the great suggestion as well as recipes!
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    Sep 10, 2012 3:37 AM GMT
    Art_Deco saidIs there such a thing as a healthy frozen meal?

    Yes, it's called ice cream. icon_biggrin.gif

    Well, maybe not healthy, but it tastes so good, and hardly any preparation.

    Actually I do think many frozen vegetables are good, I find consistent quality with major US brands like BirdsEye. And they microwave quick and easy, some in their own single-serving steamer pouches, though that's a more expensive cost per ounce than buying a large bag and resealing in plastic containers.

    As for the main course I'm a big fan of supermarket rotisserie whole chickens. They're already cooked and hot when you bring them home, just heat up your veggies in the microwave while you carve. Good source of protein and no greasy frying.

    The leftovers in the fridge can provide a single guy several more meals, either cold in sandwiches, salads, or warmed in the micro. I cover it to reduce drying out when reheating. And in many stores those chickens are between $6 and $7, you get about 3 or 4 meals and they did the original cooking for you. I think a great choice for keeping your kitchen time to a minimum, relatively low cost and healthy, so long as you like chicken.

    If baked potatoes are on your diet you can mic them, too, for a quick meal that's leaves you with almost no clean-up, especially if the veggies are in steamer pouches. The potatoes take the longest, about 7 minutes for 1 medium size, so I start them first, the veggies next.

    Clean the potato in its skin, and perforate with a fork in a few places. Wrap it in a plain white paper towel, safe for microwaving (some print designs get too hot). Place right on the turntable and cook 7 minutes, turning it once halfway through. You'll need to experiment based on potato size and oven power.

    Next you place the potato on a sheet of aluminum foil and remove the paper towel, then wrap the potato tightly. Now you can cook your vegetable, most single-serving pouch varieties needing about 2-3 minutes. I really like that method, BTW, the steaming inside the sealed pouch helps preserve a fresher taste, and there's no pot or container to clean, the veggies go right onto your plate.

    The potato will sit in the foil for 5-10 minutes while you complete everything else, the last item to go on the plate.

    For other kinds of meats when we're lazy or pressed for time we'll resort to our Foreman countertop grill, which does an adequate if not outstanding job on steaks, pork chops, chicken breasts, etc. The results are fairly quick and consistent once you've done it a few times. Our model has removable non-stick cooking surfaces that go right into the dishwasher, because otherwise cleanup can be a chore with those grills.

    Hope you're getting some info in this thread you can use, and bon appetite!


    Thanx Art_Deco for the great info (and everyone else of course!). I work at a supermarket and have gotten a rotisserie chicken from there, and it was pretty awesome, however I was concerned about what oils they used to cook it in. I'm not eating regular potatoes at the moment however, I will use your suggestion when baking sweet potatoes as I tend to under cook them and they turn out super raw. Also I'll definitely be cruising the frozen veggies aisle from now on. I had asked a personal trainer this same question and he recommended canned foods for a quick fix which was a bit mind blowing to me. Aren't they pretty much sapped of all their nutrients, thus really not providing any substance?
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    Sep 10, 2012 3:58 AM GMT
    censorthis1 said
    Art_Deco saidIs there such a thing as a healthy frozen meal?

    Yes, it's called ice cream. icon_biggrin.gif

    Well, maybe not healthy, but it tastes so good, and hardly any preparation.

    Actually I do think many frozen vegetables are good, I find consistent quality with major US brands like BirdsEye. And they microwave quick and easy, some in their own single-serving steamer pouches, though that's a more expensive cost per ounce than buying a large bag and resealing in plastic containers.

    As for the main course I'm a big fan of supermarket rotisserie whole chickens. They're already cooked and hot when you bring them home, just heat up your veggies in the microwave while you carve. Good source of protein and no greasy frying.

    The leftovers in the fridge can provide a single guy several more meals, either cold in sandwiches, salads, or warmed in the micro. I cover it to reduce drying out when reheating. And in many stores those chickens are between $6 and $7, you get about 3 or 4 meals and they did the original cooking for you. I think a great choice for keeping your kitchen time to a minimum, relatively low cost and healthy, so long as you like chicken.

    If baked potatoes are on your diet you can mic them, too, for a quick meal that's leaves you with almost no clean-up, especially if the veggies are in steamer pouches. The potatoes take the longest, about 7 minutes for 1 medium size, so I start them first, the veggies next.

    Clean the potato in its skin, and perforate with a fork in a few places. Wrap it in a plain white paper towel, safe for microwaving (some print designs get too hot). Place right on the turntable and cook 7 minutes, turning it once halfway through. You'll need to experiment based on potato size and oven power.

    Next you place the potato on a sheet of aluminum foil and remove the paper towel, then wrap the potato tightly. Now you can cook your vegetable, most single-serving pouch varieties needing about 2-3 minutes. I really like that method, BTW, the steaming inside the sealed pouch helps preserve a fresher taste, and there's no pot or container to clean, the veggies go right onto your plate.

    The potato will sit in the foil for 5-10 minutes while you complete everything else, the last item to go on the plate.

    For other kinds of meats when we're lazy or pressed for time we'll resort to our Foreman countertop grill, which does an adequate if not outstanding job on steaks, pork chops, chicken breasts, etc. The results are fairly quick and consistent once you've done it a few times. Our model has removable non-stick cooking surfaces that go right into the dishwasher, because otherwise cleanup can be a chore with those grills.

    Hope you're getting some info in this thread you can use, and bon appetite!


    Thanx Art_Deco for the great info (and everyone else of course!). I work at a supermarket and have gotten a rotisserie chicken from there, and it was pretty awesome, however I was concerned about what oils they used to cook it in. I'm not eating regular potatoes at the moment however, I will use your suggestion when baking sweet potatoes as I tend to under cook them and they turn out super raw. Also I'll definitely be cruising the frozen veggies aisle from now on. I had asked a personal trainer this same question and he recommended canned foods for a quick fix which was a bit mind blowing to me. Aren't they pretty much sapped of all their nutrients, thus really not providing any substance?


    Don't talk to that trainer anymore. haha. Canned foods are usually full of salt aka sodium. Very few are not. Again always check the can and if the sodium content is high then stay away.
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    Sep 10, 2012 4:33 AM GMT
    censorthis1 saidThanx Art_Deco for the great info (and everyone else of course!). I work at a supermarket and have gotten a rotisserie chicken from there, and it was pretty awesome, however I was concerned about what oils they used to cook it in. I'm not eating regular potatoes at the moment however, I will use your suggestion when baking sweet potatoes as I tend to under cook them and they turn out super raw. Also I'll definitely be cruising the frozen veggies aisle from now on. I had asked a personal trainer this same question and he recommended canned foods for a quick fix which was a bit mind blowing to me. Aren't they pretty much sapped of all their nutrients, thus really not providing any substance?

    Canned vegetables are so 1950s. And yes, nutritionally they leave much to be desired, not to mention taste and texture. Buy fresh or frozen. The advantages of frozen are that they have a longer shelf life in your home, and many seasonal vegetables can be sold 365.

    Although be aware that frost-free freezers will eventually cause freezer burn on foods, due to the warming & cooling cycles they go through, in order to prevent ice build-up. That's why many people have a separate true deep freeze that doesn't defrost, to enable longer storage periods. Meats are the most sensitive, vegetables do a little better. There are online guides for using frost-free freezers.

    Other than basting I wasn't aware rotisserie chickens are cooked in oils. It's a combination of baking and broiling, or is there an additional cooking step I haven't seen?
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    Sep 10, 2012 4:59 AM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    censorthis1 saidThanx Art_Deco for the great info (and everyone else of course!). I work at a supermarket and have gotten a rotisserie chicken from there, and it was pretty awesome, however I was concerned about what oils they used to cook it in. I'm not eating regular potatoes at the moment however, I will use your suggestion when baking sweet potatoes as I tend to under cook them and they turn out super raw. Also I'll definitely be cruising the frozen veggies aisle from now on. I had asked a personal trainer this same question and he recommended canned foods for a quick fix which was a bit mind blowing to me. Aren't they pretty much sapped of all their nutrients, thus really not providing any substance?

    Canned vegetables are so 1950s. And yes, nutritionally they leave much to be desired, not to mention taste and texture. Buy fresh or frozen. The advantages of frozen are that they have a longer shelf life in your home, and many seasonal vegetables can be sold 365.

    Although be aware that frost-free freezers will eventually cause freezer burn on foods, due to the warming & cooling cycles they go through, in order to prevent ice build-up. That's why many people have a separate true deep freeze that doesn't defrost, to enable longer storage periods. Meats are the most sensitive, vegetables do a little better. There are online guides for using frost-free freezers.

    Other than basting I wasn't aware rotisserie chickens are cooked in oils. It's a combination of baking and broiling, or is there an additional cooking step I haven't seen?


    Thanx again guys for clarifying that whole canned veggies debacle. Like said, I was taken aback when I was recommended it so I'll be steering clear from that guy. Art_Deco, a friend who had worked in a deli once told me that they cooked the dunked the chicken in some sort of oil before they are cooked. Since I occasionally work in the deli department I'll ask the chicken cookers how they do it.

  • metta

    Posts: 54513

    Sep 10, 2012 8:04 AM GMT
    I don't eat a lot of processed food....but there are a couple that I will do sometimes.

    Hmm....I don't know if they have any preservatives...I would guess that they probably do.

    Kashi Pizzas
    http://www.kashi.com/products/category/Pizza

    Trader Joes
    http://traderjoes.com/

    Masala Dosa
    Bean and cheese burritos

    Field Roast

    Frankfurters and whole wheat hot dog buns
    http://www.fieldroast.com/

    Dream Fields Pasta (you still have to boil it and add sauce to it.)

    http://www.dreamfieldsfoods.com/

    Annies pastas are organic and all natural. Those are quick and easy.

    http://www.annies.com/


    I'm super fortunate.... I have a friend that comes over and cooks most of my meals....
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Sep 11, 2012 4:29 PM GMT
    JR_RJ saidFrozen fruits and vegetables. icon_wink.gif


    +1 they are perfect for smoothies, stir frying, etc. Plus you can fill your freezer and not worry about it expiring.

    What you want to avoid are the premade microwavable meals in plastic containers. They cause problems you want to avoid, like high blood pressure from too much sodium. Most of these meals are high in carbs, plus the plastic leaches into the food when you microwave it.icon_confused.gif
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    Sep 12, 2012 9:34 PM GMT
    HottJoe said
    JR_RJ saidFrozen fruits and vegetables. icon_wink.gif


    +1 they are perfect for smoothies, stir frying, etc. Plus you can fill your freezer and not worry about it expiring.

    What you want to avoid are the premade microwavable meals in plastic containers. They cause problems you want to avoid, like high blood pressure from too much sodium. Most of these meals are high in carbs, plus the plastic leaches into the food when you microwave it.icon_confused.gif


    icon_eek.gif Blegh, I totally did not take into account the plastic leaking into my food when I had bought them before. Definitely not buying them again. Thanks man, you saved my life!
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    Sep 13, 2012 1:18 AM GMT
    censorthis1 saidArt_Deco, a friend who had worked in a deli once told me that they cooked the dunked the chicken in some sort of oil before they are cooked. Since I occasionally work in the deli department I'll ask the chicken cookers how they do it.

    Please do, I'd be interested. I could certainly believe that given the quantity they are required to cook, that they would dip the chickens into the basting solution, rather than brushing it on, and which also do the inside of the cavity. But it would only be a warm basting, perhaps even helping to defrost if frozen, but not a high heat step to cook them.
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    Sep 13, 2012 3:05 AM GMT
    ART_DECO said
    censorthis1 saidArt_Deco, a friend who had worked in a deli once told me that they cooked the dunked the chicken in some sort of oil before they are cooked. Since I occasionally work in the deli department I'll ask the chicken cookers how they do it.

    Please do, I'd be interested. I could certainly believe that given the quantity they are required to cook, that they would dip the chickens into the basting solution, rather than brushing it on, and which also do the inside of the cavity. But it would only be a warm basting, perhaps even helping to defrost if frozen, but not a high heat step to cook them.


    I'm working tomorrow, so I will definitely ask them about the whole chicken thing. As you said; they may dunk it in something in order to produce a high quantity of the stuff, but I'll see what they say...
  • LJay

    Posts: 11644

    Sep 13, 2012 3:19 AM GMT
    Chili freezes well. Make a big batch and divide to freeze. Several good suggestions above. Just get used to making a recipe for about four to six and freezing the leftovers carefully. Be sure to date or code your freezer parcels and eat the oldest ones first, aiming to keep them no longer than about a month.
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    Sep 14, 2012 3:05 AM GMT
    ART_DECO said
    censorthis1 saidArt_Deco, a friend who had worked in a deli once told me that they cooked the dunked the chicken in some sort of oil before they are cooked. Since I occasionally work in the deli department I'll ask the chicken cookers how they do it.

    Please do, I'd be interested. I could certainly believe that given the quantity they are required to cook, that they would dip the chickens into the basting solution, rather than brushing it on, and which also do the inside of the cavity. But it would only be a warm basting, perhaps even helping to defrost if frozen, but not a high heat step to cook them.

    Well Art_Deco, I've solved the case of the chickens! At my work I was told that since the chickens are cooked in a rotisserie no oils are put on them and instead the chicken's natural juices helps give it flavor! Guess what I'm having for dinner now!icon_biggrin.gif