Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Frugal frozen food

When the fresh produce doesn't look so hot, I pull our daily green from the freezer.

Here's what I *always* toss in the cart during Kroger 10/$10 sales:

  1. Chopped spinach--from quiche to chicken florentine
  2. Pepper & onion mix--fajitas and frittatas
  3. Peas--thaw for salads
  4. Cauliflower--steam and mash like potatoes
  5. Gumbo mixture--for soups of all kinds

Garden goal: grow enough to eliminate items 2 and 5!

What do you think about the new steam-in-the-bag frozen vegetables?

50 comments:

Amiyrah said...

they are great...if you don't actually steam the veggies in the bag lol. Lots of chemicals inside those bags. I say they're great because I've been able to get them for free lately, with coupon.

Frozen veggies are a great staple around here. I do freeze fresh veggies as well, when there are good deals on them.

Anna said...

I think the steam-in-bag veggies are a gimmick, but I steam veggies in the microwave, anyway.

Speaking of steamed, I found out that steamed sweet potatoes make it taste JUST as good as restaurant versions. I'd been boiling and mashing, and they're much grainier that way.

Jenny's Vegcafe said...

My family doesn't eat enough at a time to make steaming the whole bag of veggies a good idea. They do taste good steamed in the bag but normally I just cut it open and take out what we need.
My Mom is a huge fan of Krogers gumbo mix. I guess I'll have to try it.

Mod Girl said...

Steam-in-the-bag veggies? When I prepare them, after buying them super cheap, I just cut open the package and steam them on the stovetop as usual. I won't pay extra for special, microwaveable packaging.

Mrs. Mordecai said...

I haven't done much with steam-in-the-bag vegetables, although I got some ravioli once and it was super easy! I try not to cook in plastic most of the time, though.

I love frozen vegetables, too! They're so easy and convenient, and often cheaper than fresh.

Laura said...

I wouldn't want to steam in the bag with all of the chemicals in plastic. I just buy regular frozen vegies and steam the old fashioned way.

Janette said...

I am beginning to wonder if all of the things that we microwave in plastic could be what is causing the rise in autism....
No steaming in the bag at my house.

Renee said...

I'll buy them on sale with a coupon. But I'm another one with the "no-no" to cooking in plastic. They get taken out of the plastic to cook.

Anonymous said...

No plastic around our food when cooking here either. I have read negative reports on the carcinogens in plastic wrap. Standard cooking is great with us.

The Chambers Family said...

I've been able to get the Green Giant Fresh Valley Steamers for very cheap (around 40 cents) and I really like them. Don't like the bags though.

Barb said...

Hooray for Kroger 10 for 10 deals! I just picked mine up today -- various combinations including the ever-popular gumbo mix. Haven't tried the steam-in-the-bag veggies, and go along with those who avoid microwaving in plastic.

First time commenting. Congratulations on your new little one, and a very fine blog. How you can manage both astounds me.

Nancy said...

No cooking veggies in the bag at my house. I too have concerns over cooking in plastic.
Love frozen veggies though; always a staple I have on hand.

Becky said...

I very often cook rice or pasta and steam veggies in the same meal.

To save on gas during cooking, I just cook the rice in a deep kettle or stockpot, and when it plumps up, I set the steamer basket (or a stainless steel colander) in the top of the kettle to steam them to crisp tender. It usually finished just about the time that the rice does.

I can't bear the thought of cooking anything in plastic, what with all the chemicals leaching out into the food. No sense in adding toxins to food if you're going to buy organic, you know?

Mary Ann said...

I've gotten a lot of those steam-in-the-bag veggies free or nearly free with coupons. The veggies are great although I wouldn't pay full price for the special bag, plus they're smaller packages(10-12 oz.) than the 99 cent (16 oz.) options at Aldi. I prefer to cook my veggies in a dish or pot, though I have used the bags on occasion.

gclyne said...

When I got married, we received an electric steamer as a gift and used it for years. Then somewhere along the line, I started 'steaming' veggies in a splash of water in the microwave for a few minutes. Haven't noticed any difference, though I usually cut the time down from what's recommended on the package so they're still tender-crisp. Don't think I'd be into the steam in bag veggies. Plastic in the microwave gives me the willies since the whole BPA thing with baby bottles. Love the Kroger mirepoix mix, chopped onions, and pepper/onion mix (which is way cheaper than buying fresh tri-colored peppers, not to mention less work).

Sirena said...

I would love to live somewhere that I could grow peppers and onions with any success.. too cold here!

Anonymous said...

considering i NEVER microwaved in plastic and have an autistic daughter i doubt it is as simplistic as that....

anyhow....

frozen veggies up here (canada) are often a great deal off season....we don't have a 10 for 10$ here but i always get peas...corn niblets... so easy on the fly...and easy to add a handful to soups or pasta..

celina in canada

Mrs. Byers said...

I like the veggies...but don't cook them in thier bags or the microwave. I don't care for the microwave for any cooking really. Considering microwaves are used for the sterilization of many things...I don't want all of the vitamins and minerals sterilized out of my food. Just a thought...

Lura said...

We've tried the peas and really like them. Very convenient too! I like not having an extra pan to wash.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Meredith,

Our Kroger is also having 10 for $10 frozen produce.

No gumbo mix that I've seen though!

I think I'll stock up on bell pepper mix and frozen spinach.

Jora

mama k said...

cooking in plastic bags gives me the heeby jebbies. Yick!

But frozen veggies are the next best thing to fresh when it comes to nutrition. Some might say even better because they are picked when ripe and frozen immediately unlike the fresh produce which spends a lot of time in transport and sitting in the store before you eat it. So that's my 2 cents. LOL

I'm always buying the organic frozen mix veggies and tossing them in pretty much everything.

50s Housewife said...

We LOVE the Birdseye steamfresh super sweet corn. Wal-mart often has it on sale for $1 per bag and there for awhile I had $1 off 2 bag coupons. We call it "the best corn you ever put in your mouth". :)

Alex Hall said...

I LOVE the Green Giant Steamfresh veggies. Contrary to most that have commented, we do microwave them in the bag and love the way they taste. I guess I just feel like there's always something we could be worrying about. I try to pick and choose rather than stressing about everything.

They taste BY FAR better when cooked in the microwave bags than when cooked on the stove. I'm thankful to have a freezer stocked full of those delicious veggies!

A.D. said...

I also like to buy those veggies on sale and with coupons, but I don't cook in the bag either. Sounds like so few people do that it's a waste of time to manufacture those silly bags. If the manfr only knew what we REALLY do with the bags...

Ms.Moxie said...

I have never bought the steam in bags. I get the largest bag for my buck then I just steam it in a pyrex dish with a lid with a bit of water. I just store the leftovers in the very same dish to reheat as needed. Works for me :)

Anonymous said...

How do you use the gumbo mix, Meredith? I'm not sure we have it here in Illinois, but it might be fun to try it.
Susan

Christi said...

I love it when Kroger has that sale. I don't have a Kroger near me, so my mother-in-law stocks up for me.

The steam in bags - I haven't found them to be all that great, and definitely not worth the price. I have had them at my mother's & really couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about. But, I steam in the microwave anyway, so maybe that's why I wasn't that impressed.

WhiteStone said...

I don't like the idea of cooking in the plastic! Storage, yes. Cooking, no. All the hoopla lately about plastics....

Dana said...

I was kind of skeptical about the steam in the bag veggies, but I got some coupons for 1.00 off and then there was a sale for 10/10.00 so I used all my 1.00 coupons and got them all free, my hubs likes them and its easy to just pop a bag in to the microwave and let the microwave do the work while I am working on something else. Its one less thing to have to watch when I am cooking, especially when I have my kids running all over the place.

I probably would have never bought them if they weren't free after coupons but I am glad I did!!

Meredith@MerchantShips said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

I think most people must serve them right out of the bag, thus saving a dish to wash? Maybe that's the big draw.

I was just surprised because last time I bought frozen corn, there was only ONE BRAND in my little Walmart market that *wasn't* steam in the bag.

Cynical prediction: steam in the bag will one day be all that's available, thus forcing us to pay more for less...even if you don't use the bag steaming capability.

Meredith@MerchantShips said...

Gumbo mix--I never knew it wasn't sold everywhere! I use it for gumbo, but also for my regular vegetable soup.

Okra is a natural thickener. Plus low carb and wonderful if you are omitting potatoes for health reasons (diabetes).

Come to think of it, I remember our Ohio cousins visiting and having never heard of this strange thing called okra...

Kylie's Mom said...

Darnit! I want a Kroger's in Canada!!! 10 for $10 sounds amazing!!!

Kylie's Mom said...

...and I didn't know what okra was either, until I started reading blogs lol.

Anonymous said...

Steam in the bag veggies are more money for less veggies.

It's a good idea for those with more money than time. I'll save my pennies and steam my regular frozen veggies :-)

Roxanne said...

Meredith, I don't like the Kroger gumbo blend, but I always have their mirepoix (sp?), pepper blend, chopped spinach and chopped broccoli on hand.

Those pre-chopped frozen veggies are my biggest time saver!

Janet said...

I always keep a bag of the frozen green peppers and the frozen onions in the freezer for those quick meal preps. I also keep bags of fried up ground beef, so making chili, tacos, etc. is a snap. I find buying the green peppers frozen is less expensive than paying the outrageous fresh prices. And how many times I've went to grab an onion and had it squish in my hand (ick) frozen is a good backup. My husband and I also love frozen leaf spinach. Cook it up in a little chicken broth with a dash of salt and pepper and cayenne. Yum!

Tubo Family said...

Here in Sacramento CA we don't have gumbo mix but we do have something called California mix. I depend mostly on fresh from my CSA box and frozen veggies for the rest--better price & quality than what sits on a grocery shelf for weeks. I wouldn't spend the extra money for steam in bag and I try hard to not cook in plastic BUT a family member brought some over and made them and they were tasty (an Asian seasoned mix). I would consider them when traveling, such as cooking in a hotel room.

Anonymous said...

I take them out of the bag and cook them in the microwave in a glass bowl. I'm a little scared of the chemicals in the plastic bags. I'm sure they are perfectly safe but why risk it. My family LOVES brussels sprouts, asparagus, and brocolli!

Kristina

Janel said...

I'm in the "cooking in plastic is baaad" group. I don't buy them, don't use them.

I keep a big stock of frozen veggies too. I get mine at Trader Joe's. Up here they have organic for the same price as supermarket. And the veggies are better. Nice! I make a trip about once every 3 months with a couple coolers to stock up.

Anonymous said...

I used to buy the pepper strips in the frozen bags till I had a garden. Now I plant extra peppers in all colors so I have a lot to cut and freeze. Just put them in a layer on a cookie sheet {cut in strips or chopped},and freeze them. Put them into ziplock bags and when you need them they seperate just like they do in the store bags. You can freeze the whole peppers for later use when you want stuffed ones in the middle of winter. I cut the stem out and take the seeds out but leave the rest whole. I usually put the amount for one meal of the whole ones in my food saver bags as I will use them all at one time. I loved hearing all the tips...Jody

Kelly said...

I think frozen veggies are great. Steam in a bag- plastic? Yuck. I think that you can steam any frozen veggies successfully quickly without that. We are very fortunate to have both a garden and a deep freeze, so usually peppers and onions all year long. Last years peppers all died- still no idea why! I think frozen veggies are more healthy economically, and are usually grown in the USA. Fresh veggies this time of year? They are not so fresh after traveling from S. America.

Jordana said...

I like the frozen bags of Edamame. You can steam them in the bag, although I prefer to boil them on the stovetop in salted water. Some years I have had great success with bell peppers and other years hardly a pepper at all. Okra always grows well for us though.

Kristen said...

I really, really miss our Kroger and those 10/$10 days.

Harper said...

I don't particularly like frozen vegetables (although peas are fun to eat frozen). I grew up on them, and I think the texture is kind of weird. That said, the price of frozen vegetables is almost never lower than the price of produce in my area, so when produce prices get high I tend to scale back to salads and things involving onions and cabbage as those are always cheap.

Anonymous said...

I get them free all the time with coupons, and they are great for a quick meal.

Plastic bags may not be the best thing, but the comment about steam in bags veggies the causing autism is a little over the edge. Let's use some common sense.

Melanie said...

The frozen pepper and onion mix is also great on top of a baked potato with some salsa and sour cream for a cheap, easy and filling meal!

Marcy said...

I *love* steam in the bag veggies. I wait until they go on sale for $1, use coupons and get them for 30 cents or less.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to let you know that I hit up Kroger's sale today:

5 bags onion-celery-bell-pepper
5 bags bell-pepper
5 bags onion
4 bags cauliflower

(Good thing I used up a turkey from the freezer this past week! It's the only way I had room.)

Jora

Anonymous said...

Meredith - I gotta be honest - I'm a canned food fanatic, because of all the 20 cans for 10 bucks sales -
I have 'some' frozen veggies - but not many since I've committed to diluting my canned beans, peas, corn and carrots (with the occasional wax beans)
ha ha ha
latrice - love that skillet!

Sandyp said...

I have read that freezing in plastic will cause leaching as well as heating so we are sunk. Also that canned goods and cardboard juice containers are lined with a BPA product. Although rinsing canned veggies prior to heating helps it does not completely eliminate the risk. Guess I'll stick with the outer aisles and shop often.