If you live a busy lifestyle, frozen packaged meals can come in handy on those days when you have do not have enough time to look for or prepare fresh foods. You can just buy or cook the frozen meals and stash them in your freezer for use any day. If you have a toaster oven, the thought of using it to prepare the frozen meals could cross your mind. But to your dismay, you may discover that most of the frozen packaged meals you come across have a warning that says that you should not prepare dinner in a toaster oven. The good news is that there is a workaround for this drawback. Using a correct instant-read thermometer, you can easily make sure that the interior oven temperature is where it is supposed to be when you are cooking the frozen packaged meals.
Best Frozen Packaged Meals to Try
The following are some of the frozen packaged meals that you can easily heat or cook in a toaster oven on those days that you feel lazy or do not have enough time to cook fresh foods.
1. Pork and Herbed White Beans
Even though this dish may take a while to cook, you will definitely enjoy the process. You can prepare it over the weekend and then reheat it in your toaster oven during the week.
- 1 cup of dried white beans
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil (divided)
- 6 cups of boiling water
- 1 pound of boneless pork picnic roast (cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
- 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt (divided)
- 2 cups of fat-free, lower sodium chicken broth
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 fresh sage sprig
- 1/2 cup of coarsely chopped carrot
- 2 cups of coarsely chopped onion
- 6 garlic cloves (coarsely chopped)
How to Prepare:
- Put the beans in an oven and then cover with six cups of boiling water. Allow it to stand for about one hour in order to drain completely.
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Preheat the oven over medium-high heat and then add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Swirl to coat and then sprinkle evenly 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper to the pork
- Put the pork to the pan and sauté for six minutes or until it turns brown on all sides. After that, stir in the beans, the broth, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, water, the fresh thyme sprigs and the fresh sage spring and them bring to a boil.
- Cover the food and then bake it at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour.
- Next, you will need to heat a skillet over medium-high heat and then add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of oil to the pan and then swirl to coat.
- Add carrot and onion and then sauté for four minutes while stirring occasionally. After that, add garlic and then sauté for another one minute while stirring constantly.
- Add the onion mixture into bean mixture and then stir. Bake the mixture at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for an extra 1 1/2 hours or until the beans are tender.
- Drain the solids through a sieve. Reserve the solids and cooking liquid and then skim fat from the top of liquid. Discard the fat and then stir. Add the cooking liquid back into the pork mixture and stir.
2. Thai Butternut Soup
In case you have a difficult time finding frozen pureed squash, an alternative will be to cook this soup using four cups of butternut squash. You just need to add about five more minutes to the cooking time.
- 1 teaspoon of canola oil
- 2 1/2 teaspoons of red curry paste
- 1 cup of chopped onion
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of minced fresh garlic
- 1 teaspoon of minced fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons of brown sugar
- 1 cup of fat-free, lower sodium chicken broth
- 2 12 ounce packages of frozen pureed butternut squash
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of fish sauce
- 1 can of light coconut milk
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 cup of cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup of chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
- 1 lime (cut into 8 wedges)
How to Prepare:
- Take a medium saucepan and then heat it over medium high heat. Add oil to the saucepan and then swirl to coat.
- Add onion to the saucepan and then sauté for about three minutes. After that, add garlic, curry paste and ginger to the pan and then sauté for about 45 seconds while stirring constantly.
- Next, you will need to add broth, brown sugar, frozen pureed butternut squash, coconut milk, fish sauce and salt to the pan and then cover it.
- Bring the saucepan to a boil. Reduce the heat and then simmer for about five minutes while stirring frequently. Take half of the squash mixture and put it into a blender. Take off the centerpiece of the blender lid to allow steam to escape and then secure the lid on the blender. Take a clean towel and then put it over the opening in the blender lid in order to avoid splatters and then blend the squash mixture until it becomes smooth.
- Pour the blended squash mixture into a large bowl and then repeat the procedure with the remaining mixture.
- Spoon about one cup of soup into each of the four bowls and the top with two tablespoons of peanuts and a tablespoon of cilantro.
After preparing the above-mentioned recipes, what you will simply need to do is wrap them into plastic paper bags and then stash them into your freezer. Since they take a good amount of time to prepare, it will be a good idea to prepare them on a Sunday. During the weekdays, you can just take an amount of the food that is enough for you, cook or heat it in a toaster oven, and enjoy eating it. You will save a lot of time and energy. If you do not have a toaster oven yet, you will need to buy one if you want to enjoy cooking and eating frozen packaged meals. The good news is that there is a huge collection of toaster oven online, so you should not have a hard time finding the perfect one to use in your kitchen.
Image credit: myrecipes.com