Frozen foods have been around since the 1920’s, believe it or not. In this modern day, they are truly a far cry from their humble, vegetable, beginnings with Clarence Birdseye and his contemporaries. Just about any type or style of food can now be found in the freezer section of your local grocery. How you prepare them is plainly laid out on the package, but how you serve them can be another matter all together.
Let us take the simple burrito. While it can merely be heated and eaten, it can also be so much more. Lay out thawed burritos in a baking dish and cover them with chili and cheese, then bake until everything is heated through and the cheese is all melty. Serve up with freshly sliced avocado, sour cream, salsa or pico de gallo, and fresh greens for a more TexMex flair that feeds the soul as well as the stomach.
Have a taste for lasagne? Pick one up for supper tonight, but be sure to grab some extra mozzarella, grated dry cheese such as asiago or parmesan, pesto, and fresh basil. Cook the lasagne as directed, but when the cover comes off to allow the top cheese to melt and brown, smear on some pesto and sprinkle on the extra cheese before popping back in the oven for that last five or ten minutes. Serve with a fresh side salad featuring strips of fresh basil, and a warm and crusty garlic bread.
Pretty much everyone is aware of pigs in a blanket, or klobásníks. Sausage wrapped in a bit of dough and baked up for a hand sandwich. Use croissant pastry and fill it with sausage, cheese, cheese sticks, sliced chicken, or even sliced steak sauteed with onions and peppers for that Philly take.
Eggs are another ubequtious ingredient that many overlook. Crack some fresh eggs onto a frozen pizza before cooking for a sunny side up surprise. Add a fried egg to a cheeseburger, or make it scrambled if you prefer. Turn breakfast into dinner or dinner into breakfast!
Coffee is another kitchen wonder. If you have some leftover from the beginning of your day, use it to end your day in a delightful way. Put a scoop or two of ice cream into a dish or cup, then pour the cold coffee over it to make an Italian cafe classic – an affogato. Top with sliced almonds, whipped cream, even sprinkles to customize your dessert or evening sweet tooth offering.
Give these ideas a try, or better yet, try out your own. Let us know what you come up with so we can give your ideas a whirl in our own kitchen, too.
— Ann Cathey