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There are many groceries with surprisingly long shelf lives, especially when stored in the freezer. Make some room — and the most of what you have — by using up your frozen meats, frozen vegetables, prepared frozen foods and other freezer ingredients with these quick dinner recipes. Just remember, if using frozen meat, defrost it before cooking, or cook your food for 50% longer than the recipe recommends.
These chicken pot pies are the perfect comfort food to make ahead and freeze for a weeknight, yielding four of them in total. Use frozen hash browns, frozen peas and frozen carrots to make the filling and mix it with shredded chicken, gravy and onions.
There are few dishes more comforting than a big bowl of delicious spaghetti. This recipe uses ground chicken you can pull from your freezer and defrost to use instead of beef for a lighter and healthier take on the dish.
Sloppy Joes are a childhood dinner favorite that have never gone out of style. Made with defrosted ground beef, this recipe is easy on your wallet but packs a lot of big flavor. Pro tip: Always have a package of burger buns or Kaiser Rolls in your freezer for those impromptu dinners.
These everything bagel pigs in a blanket are one of the best things you could take to a party, so why not treat yourself at home? Hot dogs keep for longer in the freezer, so combine frozen franks with frozen puff pastry for this fun dish.
Chicken parmesan is one of America’s favorite home-cooked meals, and all you need to do is bread some defrosted chicken cutlets — or buy frozen breaded chicken cutlets, for a shortcut — and cover them in homemade marinara sauce and slices of mozzarella cheese.
Tilapia can almost always be found in the freezer section of the grocery store. This simple recipe sautés the fish in garlic-infused olive oil, which adds extra flavor to the dish.
A popular snack for game day, chicken wings are always a great idea for lunch or dinner. The best and easiest way to prepare frozen chicken wings, believe it or not, is to defrost them and prep them in an air fryer with just some salt, pepper, garlic powder, olive oil and your favorite sauce.
Courtesy of Pillsbury
There are so many great ways to enjoy potatoes, and if you mix frozen grilled potatoes with bacon bits and cheese, they can make for a great filling for crescent dinner rolls. Top these potato pinwheels with sour cream for more satisfaction.
Chili cheese tater tot casserole is the kind of dish you’ll only find in the Midwest, but it’s perfect comfort food no matter where you are and one of the best ways to dress up frozen tater tots.
There’s a lot you can do with a simple meatloaf to make it not-so-simple. This recipe adds bacon, breadcrumbs, mushrooms, sherry, onion, jalapenos, red bell pepper and more to defrosted meat for a satisfying comforting meal.
Courtesy of The Gumbo Bros
Gumbo is a soul food staple, and this spicy chicken and sausage gumbo recipe uses leftover frozen shredded chicken, andouille sausage, frozen okra, bell pepper, onion and celery that’s heavily seasoned and brings some Louisiana to your kitchen.
Courtesy of Pillsbury
This easy chicken recipe calls for cubes of defrosted chicken mixed with butter, cream cheese, chives, milk and pimientos, which are then filled into crescent dinner rolls.
You don’t have to go out to an expensive restaurant to treat yourself to a fancy meal. Try this recipe for Swedish meatballs from Nordic restaurant Aquavit in Manhattan. Instead of making your own meatballs, swap in frozen prepared meatballs and make the cream sauce yourself for a quick and easy meal.
You’ll always find biscuits and gravy on the Southern breakfast table. This cheesy biscuits and gravy casserole adds defrosted breakfast sausage and melted cheese to the breakfast classic for the ultimate Southern comfort dish.
Photo courtesy Intercontinental Buckhead
Shrimp and grits is just one of many Southern foods the rest of the world needs to try. Take your shrimp out of the freezer, defrost it and add in some andouille sausage, scallions and cheddar cheese for even more flavor in your breakfast grits.
There are many regional American chili styles, and the beef-based Cincinnati variant is commonly enjoyed on hot dogs or with a mound of spaghetti. Cinnamon, allspice and bay leaves give the chili its standout flavor. It's a great use for those pounds of frozen ground beef you have in the freezer.
Chicken enchiladas are a simple and delicious way for fans of Mexican restaurants to enjoy some of that south-of-the-border flavor at home. All you need is some leftover frozen chicken, tortillas, enchilada sauce, cheese and if you like, cilantro and avocado.
Perfect for meatless Mondays, these veggie fajitas are fantastic. Pro tip: Cook a massive batch of frozen vegetables at once and portion them into containers for a meal prep hack that will save you tons of time.
Click here for the Veggie Fajitas recipe.
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