Sunday, January 10, 2010

Frozen Food

and I'm not talking about Lean Cuisine or Nutrisystem or any of those shitty frozen meals. Ugh, Lean Cuisine is alright, but having them for most of my lunches for a while has totally put me off them. And they only taste like pepper. I like pepper, but I don't want it to be the only spice in my meal. They smell good when they're in the microwave, but all I get is pepper. But I digress...

I'm talking about other offerings in the frozen food aisle, specifically frozen bagged veggies. These gems are often overlooked as being unhealthy, but the only preservative is the cold, and frozen veggies are fresher than what you'd find in the produce section, as the are frozen within days or even hours of picking. Fresh vegetables have a few days to even weeks journey to your grocer and are often picked before they are ripe, and are then chemically ripened as they travel.

One of my favorite grocery products are the bagged mixed veggies. California blend (broccoli, cauliflower and carrots) is probably my favorite because it's so basic and versatile and goes with everything, but I will buy anything without celery. (I don't like celery) Best things about bagged frozen veggies: they're cheap, easy to prepare, super healthy and very low calorie.

My favorite way to prepare veggies is with a microwave steamer. I put any liquid seasonings (Worcestershire, soy sauce, hot sauce) in the water in the bottom, place the center tray down, dump the veggies and top with any dry seasonings. Place the lid on and throw the thing in the microwave for 10 to 15 minutes. When it's done you have a great side dish or even a meal. A little cheese garnish is welcome, too. But only REAL cheese... please stay away from the mom favorites of Velveeta or Cheese Whiz, they are not food!

If you don't want to purchase a steamer, the same principle can be used in the oven. Drizzle some olive oil along with seasoning over the veggies in a 9*13 pan and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the veggies are hot. Or use the stove and cook in boiling water.

The next time you're at the grocery store contemplating another frozen pizza (if there's spinach on a pizza, it's healthier, right?) take a few steps and visit the frozen vegetable section and do your body and your wallet a favor.

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