20 Tasty Ways to Enjoy Frozen Mixed Vegetables
When it comes to cheap food, frozen mixed vegetables are pretty tough to beat. They’re right up there with other well-known cheapies like frozen spinach, split peas, black-eyed peas, and even frozen broccoli. Here are my top 20 picks. I look forward to hearing yours in the comment section below. (See also: 20 Great Once-a-Month Cooking Recipes)
1. Pot Pie
Pot pie is practically synonymous with comfort food. This chicken pot pie from Hungry Girl uses ingredients with lower fat grams to create a version that’s convenient to put together. I might use my own sauce instead of canned soup to control the salt content, but she’s certainly on the right track by using the mixed vegetables to speed things up. It’s just one more way dinner pies can come to the rescue for moms on-the-go.
2. Samosa-Stuffed Potatoes
I don’t know about you, but I’m always on the lookout for unusual potato ideas to use at dinner time. Spuds are a versatile food that can serve you well in your meal planning, but they can easily become boring if you don’t go the extra mile to search out interesting recipes. These samosa-stuffed spuds from the Savvy Vegetarian are one such example. They use separate individual vegetables, but I have also seen these done with mixed vegetables and be equally tasty. Just modify accordingly. One variation I’ve done personally is save the skins for a baked appetizer later on and mix the frozen veggies with the potato insides and seasonings to create potato “cakes” in the frying pan. It worked out well, and I had extra appetizer supplies tucked away for company to boot.
3. Vegetable-Bean Soup
If you’re like me, you live for easy crock pot recipes that can be utilized throughout the week. One of my favorite low-fat ideas is to make a soup out of frozen mixed vegetables, tomato sauce, water, Italian seasoning, black-eyed peas, salt, and pepper. Yup. That’s it. I just dump everything into the crock uncooked and put it on high for 4-6 hours. When it’s done, I only have to add our favorite soup garnishes and perhaps a batch of corn muffins. It’s an easy way to eat vegan on the cheap, as well as feed a crowd affordably.
4. Fried Rice
One of my favorite ways to use rice, particularly leftover cooked rice, is to whip up a simple fried rice dish on the stove. The cost is literally pennies per serving, and it will definitely take the hunger pains away when you don’t have time to prepare a more elaborate meal. This veggie fried rice is one example, but you can also create fried rice dishes with leftover chicken legs, chopped barbecue rib meat, Spam, or inexpensive seafood.
Fans of international cuisines are likely already familiar with these little Indian treats, but in case you’re not, this Cook It Simply recipe for easy samosas uses mixed vegetables, potatoes, seasonings, and pastry dough to create inexpensive appetizers you can feel confident serving to dinner guests.
6. Creamed Mixed Vegetables
If you don’t mind getting back to basics on a Tuesday night, then these creamed vegetables would be a tasty topper to a baked sweet potato served with organic baby mixed greens and your favorite salad add-ins.
7. Vegetable Kurma
The flavors of India make their way to your dinner table with this vegetable kurma recipe. It uses a number of common pantry ingredients, allowing you to through an exotic meal together without a great deal of extra cost.
8. Mixed Vegetables in Coconut Milk
This recipe for mixed vegetables in coconut milk has a Thai flavor to it and uses one of my favorite plant-based diet tricks. By skipping traditional dairy products in favor of things like coconut milk, you are able to keep all of the creamy goodness without the dairy that many of us are trying to avoid.
9. Vegetable Kofta in a Tomato Curry
Of course, you can always skip creamy altogether in favor of a vegetable base, which this recipe for mixed vegetable kofta in a tomato curry demonstrates. Try serving it over rice or with your favorite Indian flat bread.
10. Potato Puff Casserole
Being a fan of tater tot casseroles, I of course had to include a selection on this recipe roundup for mixed vegetables. Use the thawed veggies in a white sauce base as if you were going to create a pot pie. Then add potato puffs on top for a variation that doesn’t involve a pie crust. You can even add a bit of veggie sausage to round out the recipe.
11. Cajun Beef Casserole
If you find yourself with extra bargain beef and need a dinner idea, then this Cajun beef casserole from CD Kitchen might be just what the doctor ordered. It uses mixed vegetables, corn muffin mix, and other simple ingredients to create an oven dinner that will stick to your ribs.
12. Pierogi Skillet Dinner
This pierogi beef skillet dinner from Taste of Home uses ground beef, mixed vegetables, and, of course, pierogi to create a stove-top meal that’s got all of the nutritional bases covered. Try serving this with fresh fruit and iced tea for an evening meal that’s back-to-basics and hearty.
13. Budget Biryani
I’m all for taking the time to prepare the ultimate biryani recipe when you have that time to spend, but sometimes you just need to get dinner on the table in a jiffy. This frozen veggie biryani from the Indian Vegetarian Kitchen helps you do just that. I might toss in a few cashews for extra protein.
14. Veggie Burgers
Many veggie burgers have rice, beans, and maybe one vegetable as the main ingredient. This vegetarian burger recipe from Nutiva uses mixed vegetables to take the nutrition factor to the next level. Try them on a bun or as a side dish.
15. Minestrone Soup
It’s pretty tough to beat the veg factor of a well-done minestrone soup. It’s full of garden goodness and usually makes my short list of vegan items I can order when I meet friends at the Olive Garden for lunch. This recipe for vegan minestrone soup from Spark People has a ton of healthy ingredients.
16. Baby Food
Making your own baby food is a great way to save money, and can easily be stored in your freezer using ice cube trays. Using the frozen organic mixed vegetables from places like Costco can save both money and prep time. There are many baby food recipes on the web, so I won’t bother to list them all here. I will, however, say that I’ve seen vegetables mixed in with rice, turkey, and broth to create a sort of baby stew.
17. Crumb-Topped Mixed Veggie Casserole
18. Tortellini Primavera
If you’re looking for a fresh way to get the youngsters to eat their vegetables, then this creamy tortellini primavera dish is something you might want to take a look at. It pairs the popular filled pasta with cooked mixed vegetables and a cheesy sauce to create an all-in-one dinner.
19. Quinoa Surprise
Quinoa is quite simple to prepare in the rice cooker and pairs well with a number of other foods. This recipe for quinoa with black beans and mixed vegetables from Cook, Eat, Share is a simple one that keeps the fiber count high and the fat gram count low.
20. Chicken and Dumplings
For my money, chicken and dumplings is right up there with pot pie on the comfort food scale. This chicken and dumplings recipe from Real Simple magazine uses mixed vegetables for affordability and ease, making dinner a breeze and keeping things on budget. Chicken and dumpling dinner are also a great way to save money on poultry, as you can use leftover meat.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of ideas for using mixed vegetables. It is however, intended as a launch point from which you can begin to incorporate this inexpensive grocery ingredient on a regular basis.