What you need:
13 ounces canned kidney and pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 an onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup canned tomatillos
1/2 cup canned and diced tomatoes
3 ounces canned and diced green chilies
5 ounces frozen corn
1 cup low-sodium veggie broth
Directions: For a quick meal, mix all ingredients in a quart-sized Ziploc bag. Add chicken or pork and reduce beans if desired. Tightly seal and freeze. Stick the bag in the refrigerator about 12-24 hours before it's ready to cook. Once the food is defrosted, pour the ingredients into a saucepan and place it on the stove on medium heat for about 15-20 minutes. Top with cheddar cheese and serve with tortilla chips.
Source: Dan Sorrells, owner of The Organic Dish
F reezer foods often get a bad rep but Dan Sorrells, owner of The Organic Dish in Boulder, said freezer-friendly meals are a fast and easy way for busy bodies to eat healthy.
The Organic Dish sells a variety of ready-to-cook, frozen, organic meals ranging from $18 to $30 each.
"We don't technically cater but my wife likes to say that we cater to busy people," Sorrells said. "It's all about making healthy, delicious, organic meals convenient."
The Organic Dish uses only the best ingredients in its meals, which range from macaroni and cheese to vegan stews and slow-cooked jambalaya, but Sorrells said freezer meals are conducive to all tastes and budgets.
Fresh does not always mean quality ingredients, Sorrells said, so don't be afraid to include canned foods or frozen veggies to your prepared meals, just check for unwanted additives on the label.
With one to two hours of chopping and portioning, even a novice cook can prepare a week's worth of ready-to-cook dinners, he said.
Lentils freeze well and cook quickly, making them one of the faster and more popular freezer meals offered at The Organic Dish, Sorrells said. Add some broth, coconut milk, spinach, onions and salt and pepper and toss it in the freezer. Once it's thawed the dish will cook in about 15 minutes and tastes delicious on a bed of rice, he said.
Use quart-sized Ziploc bags -- make sure to get out as much air as possible to avoid freezer burn -- to combine the ingredients for a stir fry, premix your soup or knock out some easy sides that will require little effort when it's time to cook.
Sorrells recommended adding balsamic vinegar and cumin or almonds to frozen green beans for a saucy side.
Sorrells said most proteins, fruits and veggies lend themselves to freezer meals, but if you're struggling for suggestions just head down the frozen aisle of your local grocer for some hints.
"If it's in the freezer aisle, it obviously works," Sorrells said. "That's a great place to find recipes or foods that will freeze well and re-cook later."
Even after a month in the freezer, Sorrells said the prepared dishes don't lose flavors, giving meals the same fresh taste as cooking from scratch.
In some cases, vegetables are even more nutritious frozen, he said, since many companies that freeze them do it quickly to lock in vitamins.
Frozen meals can be cooked on the stove, in the oven or even left in a Crock-Pot, which Sorrells calls "low and slow."
"It doesn't matter what kind of food you're into, freezing meals makes it convenient to cook," he said. "The key is to try new things and get creative with it. Don't be afraid to fail."
-- Follow Whitney Bryen on Twitter: @SoonerReporter.