Freezers are wonderful things. They hold ice cream, home cooking put by for later, and frozen convenience foods. Some might say there’s no place for the latter in a the healthy, local, sustainable kitchen. Just look at the ingredients and nutrition label on a frozen lasagna…yeah, they have a point.
Still, I buy things from the frozen foods aisle and I consider myself a relatively healthy shopper/eater. Sometimes, you just need something easy and the freezer is one of the best places to find real food with a longer shelf life than a head of lettuce. Here are a few frozen foods I love:
- Veggie burgers: While I’ve dabbled in homemade veggie patties and enjoyed my creations, I still like to have store-bought veggie burgers on hand. They’re one of my favorite go-to easy, fast dinners and make great hot lunches too. Recently, I’ve been buying a big package from Costco, which cuts down on excess packaging and makes the price a little more attractive.
- Ice cream, of course: I’m actually trying to cut down on my ice cream consumption. It got a little out of hand when we moved ashore from the boat and I was just so thrilled to have ice cream at my fingertips again! Don’t take this frozen treat for granted!
- Frozen spinach: This is my new favorite thing to put in smoothies. With a bag of frozen spinach in the freezer I know I can always make a green smoothie, even if I don’t have fresh greens on hand. Frozen chopped greens also make the smoothie colder and thicker than fresh greens. My favorite combo these days is frozen spinach, frozen mango, whey protein powder, and almond milk. It makes for a wonderfully thick smoothie that I like to eat with a spoon.
- Frozen edamame: snacking heaven. I don’t know how else you’d keep edamame around.
- The occasional frozen dinner…I feel kinda guilty about this one but I can’t help myself. My indulgent, lightning-fast comfort food for nights when I just don’t feel like cooking or don’t have time is frozen mac and cheese. I try to buy the natural/organic brands. It makes me feel better to know I have one of these in the freezer in case of a dinner emergency.
- Misc. frozen veggies: I’m a sucker for brussels sprouts and, lately, lima beans. I have a favorite tofu/lima bean spread/dip recipe that I’ll share here eventually.
Recently, the Foodbuzz Tastemakers program sent me a coupon for a Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers frozen vegetable + sauce dish. Normally I’d steer clear of any sauced vegetable in the frozen food aisle. I was happy to see that the ingredient lists aren’t too weird – there’s mostly just veggies in there! I was also thrilled to find macaroni and cheese with broccoli among the selection. While that doesn’t exactly qualify as enough vegetables for a meal to me, it is a great example of how to incorporate more green stuff in normally not-so-green meals (even my guilty pleasures!).
The Steamer I tried tonight was good! It served Lee and I as a side dish. The sauce was light and with the addition of eggs tortillas, and a few more vegetables (since I cannot get enough of them) made a tasty dinner. I do wish there were more veggies in the bag. The whole thing was about as many veggies as I normally eat in one sitting.
Simple dinner: scrambled eggs and Garden Vegetable Medley + some
additional vegetables + whole wheat tortillas to stuff = sort of egg and veggie fajitas
(This would make an awesome breakfast too!)
When I first started this blog I brainstormed a list of recipes I wanted to try and crazy creation ideas. I haven’t been posting many egg sandwiches because most of the time I just make Lee’s standard favorite: a fried egg on an english muffin with green Tabasco, maybe some cheese, and maybe some Canadian bacon. That’s just what I usually have on hand. I’ve been waiting for some more exciting ingredients to fall into my lap so last night I was really excited to find a tiny bit of refried beans left over from our dinner. Refried beans aren’t normally something I get excited about but combined with the broken tortilla chips at the bottom of the bag (which Lee always saves to use as toppings) they make a new egg sandwich!
This is actually one of the ideas I came up with in my initial brainstorming session. I spread the refried beans, mixed with a little leftover salsa, on half of two wheat English muffins. Then I popped the muffins in the oven to heat up. This is my usual technique for toasting things on the boat. The oven isn’t much bigger than an over-sized toaster anyway!
While the muffins were toasting I fried a couple eggs and dug the cream cheese (Tofutti for Lee) out of the fridge. When the eggs were done, I plopped them on the hot, bean-covered muffins, spread a generous amount of cream cheese on the other half of each muffin, and sprinkled a handful of blue corn chip bits over the eggs. These sandwiches were piled high with hot, Mexican inspired breakfast goodness when I was done!
I made Lee wait to eat them while a snapped a couple pictures. He gave my crunchy Mexican egg sandwiches his seal of approval. They were a nutritious and delicious breakfast after our morning run. With protein from the eggs and beans and fiber from the muffins and beans they should make good fuel for the crazy day we have planned. Our cell phone tethering internet was disconnected last night (apparently it’s not allowed) so we’re going to have to find wifi onshore from now on. It’s kind of a bummer but we knew it would happen eventually when we leave the U.S. Starbucks wifi, here I come!
Crunchy Mexican Egg Sandwiches
(Makes 2 sandwiches)
2 whole wheat English muffins
2 eggs (I like cage-free organic)
1/4 cup refried beans
A splash of salsa
Broken corn chips (I happened to have blue corn and they looked pretty)
Spread the beans mixed with salsa on half of each English muffin.
Toast the muffins in the oven or a toaster oven.
Cook the eggs however you like them (fried, poached, scrambled, whatever!)
Spread cream cheese on the other half of each muffin.
Place an egg (or half your scramble) on the bean-covered half of each muffin.
Sprinkle corn chips on top of the eggs and cover with the cheesy tops.
Get your napkin ready!
It was always my intention to make this blog about whatever I feel inspired to cook, with and emphasis on baked goods, especially breakfast ones’s since those are my favorite! I realized yesterday that I’ve been grossly neglecting egg sandwiches. I make them for Lee almost every day and they’ve only made a couple of appearances here!
When I ask Lee what he wants for breakfast in the morning I usually give him a few choices: Oatmeal? Smoothie? Eggs? His answer, usually: Eggs. What kind of Eggs: Omelet? One-eyed bandits? Egg sandwiches? Lee chooses egg sandwiches 75% of the time. You’d think the same old breakfast would get boring but I make sure that doesn’t happen. I’ll admit, sometimes I fall into a fried egg with green tabasco on an english muffin rut. I often add variety by incorporating last night’s leftovers or the dregs of whatever jarred condiment I want to use up. This makes for some very interesting sandwiches!
This week, I’ve been making egg sandwiches on cinnamon raisin bread. This combination may sound weird – why put an egg on sweet bread? Well, it’s delicious. While I was doing yoga this morning I had an idea for a fabulous raisin bread combination: curry spices. Raisins and cinnamon are both common curry ingredients. Something about the warm curry spices and bites of fruit and onions really works.
When I was done with yoga I asked Lee what he wanted for breakfast (you know what his answer was) and pulled out my sandwich arsenal: large skillet, silicon pancake/egg rings (you laugh but they’re awesome!), bowl, spatula, and whisk.
Curried Egg Sandwiches (makes 2)
2 eggs (or whatever egg/egg white combination suits you)
4 slices cinnamon raisin bread
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
Pinch of cumin
Pinch of paprika
Pinch of cinnamon
2 tablespoons chopped onions (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped apple (optional)
Oil or butter for the skillet
Heat skillet over medium heat.
Break eggs into a bowl and beat in curry, cumin, paprika, cinnamon and onions+apples if using. Beat with whisk until eggs are well scrambled.
Get started toasting your bread, especially if the slices have to take turns in a pop-up toaster.
Spread a little oil or butter in the skillet and place the egg rings on it (if using).
Pour egg mixture into rings or straight into the skillet if you’re not using rings.
Without rings: scramble eggs like you would normally scramble eggs. I cover the pan to heat things up a bit, then stir the mixture around in the pan till everything is cooked.
For rings: fold down the handles and cover the skillet for a couple minutes. Then check to see if the eggs have firmed up enough to remove the rings. Remove rings when ready and flip the eggs. Cook briefly on the other side till eggs are fully cooked.
Plop each egg round, or half of your scramble, on a piece of toast. Top it with some chutney if you’d like, and cover with a second piece of toast.
Enjoy as part of a balanced breakfast with fruit and maybe some coffee or tea with milk!
Also, enjoy explaining what you’re cooking to the next person who enters the kitchen and says “It smells good in here!”
I’m back from a semi-relaxing week on Block Island. The first thing I did was spend a grotesque amount of time in front of my computer on Monday morning. There wasn’t much in the way of internet access on the island, which was a good thing! Now that I’ve readjusted to mainland society there’s a lot of catching up to do. Fall being back to work/school/reality time, it seems like there are a zillion things that need doing every day. A day full of tasks warrants a good breakfast. For Lee, that means an egg sandwich or two.
This morning, it was a protein shake and an egg sandwich. There wasn’t anything special about the sandwich, although my standard, stripped-down version does not include bacon. The bread was a bit of a treat: I normally use english muffins but this morning two slices of Borealis Breads Roasted Pepper loaf sent out an amazing aroma from the toaster. Borealis is a Maine bread company that uses Maine-grown grains in their hand shaped loaves baked on a stone hearth. The Roasted Pepper bread is perfectly spicy and smells so good!
Basic Egg Sandwich
1 or 2 eggs (cage free/organic/fresh from the hen down the road if you can get it!)
2 slices canadian bacon
2 slices hearty bread
When I’m adding bacon to a sandwich I cook the bacon first so the pan has some good flavor going.
When the bacon is browned on both sides, move it off to the side of the skillet and add the egg in the center of the skillet.
Cook the egg briefly on both sides.
Meanwhile, pop the bread in a toaster and toast to your desired amount of toastiness (my dad likes his toast burnt).
When the egg is done, assemble your sandwich! My mom used to cut a slit in the egg and spread the yolk out over it so the whole thing would be gooey and good.
I love getting creative with what I put on egg sandwiches. There are a few obvious additions like salt and pepper, cheese, salsa, ketchup etc. but I have some ideas for tasty additions that I’ll be trying out very soon. Until then, I’m going to drool over this sandwich, which Lee heartily approved of but I didn’t get to taste (due to the bacon).