Need healthy and nutritious frozen food
Work has gotten out of hand, so my time to cook has been severely limited.
I need recommendations as to frozen meals (TV dinners) or other foods that are healthy and somewhat nutritious, but that also don't taste like cardboard. I've been subsisting on some passable Lean Cuisines for a week, and need to branch out into other brands.
Suggestions as to things that can be cooked quickly (e.g. 20-30 minutes) and frozen are also welcome.
reenum, I don't like the price and sodium content of frozen foods, or I would use them more.
I find that I can throw together a pot of chili very quickly and it can be frozen. You can make it as healthy or not as you like.
I just made (I won't eat it of course) a massive vegetable/ham soup with red lentils that took only the time it took to clean and cut the vegetables, open the bags of frozen veggies, and defrost the ham bone. It multiplied to an enormous amount of freezer bags!
There are lots of good suggestions in other threads, if I am not mistaken.
I like the Amy's frozen meals and soups. Some can be a bit on the fattening side and some have crazy amounts of sodium, but check labels carefully. If you have time one night, cook a huge pot of soup or chili and freeze it in ziplock bags. To reheat, cut away the ziplock (if it's still frozen) and heat in a small pot. You can also leave a bag in the fridge from the morning.
Quickly cooked items- pasta with a cheater's sauce, salad with grilled or sauteed chicken, rice and beans with cilantro, breaded baked chicken cutlets and roasted asparagus, baked french fry wedges, vegetable stir fry with chicken, tofu, beef
Most of the meals I make take about 30 minutes.. if there's anything else you can think of.. I'm sure I found a way to make it quickly. I also have been buying some items pre-prepped when I know I won't have the time to do it myself
I would agree with most here that it's so easy to make planned leftovers on the weekends and then be creative when you bring your lunch...leftover roast chicken can be chicken salad, wraps, even added to ramen soup with vegetables and just use a small part of that sodium flavor packet that comes with it. However, that said, the Amy's line is pretty good and you can find their frozen foods at a pretty good price at Target super-stores, if one is near you. I bring my own lunch almost every single day to work but I do keep a few Amy's frozen Palak Paneers in the work freezer just in case I'm really late and can't pack anything.
Oh, someone into food subsisting on Lean Cuisine, you poor thing!
For those weeks from hell, I keep my freezer stocked with a lot of good-quality frozen vegetables (a few types of mushrooms, green beans, brussels sprouts, spinach, chopped tomatoes, carrots, artichoke hearts, beans, peas, etc), along with frozen fish filets, seafood, and sausage. I always have garlic, onions, ginger, shallots, and dried sausages in my pantry. If you set the water boiling, then put oil and some aromatics and whatever frozen stuff sounds good in a hot pan, by the time your pasta's done you can toss the two together and have an easy dinner in 15 min or so, most of which you spent sitting down waiting. I do something similar with my rice cooker and the steamer insert.
For crazy weeks at work, I live on Kashi frozen meals at lunch. I've pretty much had them all and they're great (though a few months straight will start to get old). They are made with 7 whole grains (high fiber), are all between 270-310 calories, have low sugar, about 600mg of sodium, and most importantly have high levels of protien so you don't end up hungry again in an hour. Wallmart sells them for about $3 each around here, or they're $4 at the "regular" grocery store.
I have only tried the southwestern chicken Kashi but I find it surprisingly good...I always add a good amount of trader joe's tomato-less corn salsa which I find necessary to give it a boost but it's very healthy, natural and delicious, I'm sure many of their other varieties are good too!
TJ's black bean and corn enchiladas are good but not terribly filling. As for quick to make foods, do you have a pressure cooker? Quinoa is healthy and quick. With a pressure cooker, up to pressure, 1 minute (not a typo) at high pressure and natural pressure release. Hummus is a good, healthy, quick protein available pre-made at most grocery stores. Lentils are quick. Most of the frozen veggies at Trader Joes are no salt added. Sunshine burgers ( http://sunshineburger.com/products/so... ) come in handy for quick meals. Simply Vegan cookbook includes some quick, easy, healthy ideas.