aAgorgeous creole inspired rice dish- literally a ‘jumble’ of delicious foods and flavours, perfect for the whole family!
A friend recently suggested I tried frozen pre-chopped onions, she said it had been a game-changer for her- I had always felt a bit funny about it- maybe thinking it was a bit lazy not to just chop your own onion if you needed it?! But my mind has been completely changed! Why did I not do this sooner? It just makes general meal prep so much quicker, and who isn’t pressed for time these days, plus, I actually really flipping hate chopping onions! The other thing that this revelation has done for me, is halt the gathering of sprouting onions in my fruit and veg tray- I tend to buy a bag in a big shop, use about half of them, and the rest start throwing out sprouts until I remember to throw them away!
It’s not just onions that I’m guilty of throwing away- I’m terrible for forgetting what’s lurking at the back of my fridge and I don’t clear it out nearly enough. Plus I’m not a meal planner, I’m a ready-steady-cooker… I buy things that are on special offer, or reduced, or catch my fancy and then I make up our meals as I go along- sometimes I have a vague plan about what I’m going to do but if I have a strict plan I always find myself not really fancying the thing I have planned when it comes down to it!
So, I have therefore become a massive fan of frozen ingredients- not only has there been lots of publicity about how actually a lot of frozen produce retain their vitamins and minerals a lot better than fresh, but they don’t go mouldy! Or sprout, or go off (quickly)! And what i didn’t know before, is that a lot of fish and meat you can actually cook from frozen- you don’t have to faff around defrosting it first!
UK households waste 7 million tonnes of food a year at a cost of £12.5 billion- worth £700 per family (source: Wrap)! Iceland are incredibly passionate about food waste, and asked me to create a meal from scratch (frozen) for my family leaving as little waste as possible. I had to have a real think about how I use ingredients, and my usual pitfalls for wasting food (sorry courgettes, I always mean to spiralize you but can’t always be bothered to drag out the equipment!), and I had to challenge my own ideas a little bit… for example frozen chicken… never used it before but it’s actually really handy!
So the meal I have created not only uses lots of frozen bits (nothing wasted there as the rest is waiting for other meals to be made), and ALL of the ingredients in this meal are from Iceland, so you don’t need to go to loads of different shops just to make 1 meal. I’ve also listed below* some meal ideas for the unused ingredients!
So here’s what I used (all bought in store in Iceland):
One of my new year’s resolutions this year was to eat together more as a family when we have the chance. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, my husband works away often, and my girls have very extreme differences in taste in what they do and don’t like! However, I have really noticed how much better they both eat when we are all eating the same meal, and the natural flow of conversation around the family dinner table detracts from the usual poking around, picking out bits they don’t like!
Another great benefit to eating as a family is it tends to lead to less waste- we usually have a central dish where everyone can help themselves to what they like, and it means less discarded food left on plates, and then it’s easy to se what’s left to save.
I decided to make a family jambalaya as both of the girls tend to eat rice well, and I wanted to introduce them to prawns, which slot in so seamlessly in this dish that you can’t help but like them! It also has a mix of flavours which aren’t spicy (I love chilli, the girls can barely even handle a bit of black pepper!).
And for anything leftover, I buy these handy storage containers which are the perfect size for a portion, and fill them with leftovers and pop them in the freezer! When you take them out and eat the meals (which usually keeps me going when my husband is working away), you can just wash them up and re-use them! top tip: Always write what’s in there, and the date- it’s so easy to forget and then end up wasting the unidentified frozen meal! I also keep a magnetic noticeboard on the side of my fridge which tells me what leftovers I have in the freezer that need using up so they don’t end up frosty and lonely at the bottom of the drawer!
*meal ideas for the leftover ingredients!
Frozen chicken mini-fillets: It has to be chicken pizzaiola!
North-Atlantic prawns: This firecracker prawn curry is incredible!
Yellow pepper: Knock up this easy hummus and use the pepper to dip in it as a healthy snack!
Slimming World chorizo sausages: Cook them on the bbq and serve with this barbecue sauce, which would go perfectly with them!
Lemons: Try out this summery lemon and thyme chicken penne
Disclosure:I was asked to create a recipe using Iceland’s frozen range and I was compensated for my time. All words and images are my own.