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Want Tasty? Think Frozen!

So often I’m asked how frozen food can possibly be convenient when everything needs to be defrosted first. What most people don’t realise is that it’s not necessary to defrost most foods (particularly vegetables), and that there are even fish and meat products available that can be cooked from frozen in the oven (I got mine from Tesco)!


Shop-bought frozen foods are such a great way to have a nice healthy, home-cooked meal, cooked quickly, with absolutely no waste.


And considering the average family wastes over £700 every year* throwing away food that they could have eaten, reducing your food waste can be great for your wallet too.


This week (5th - 11th September) is the UK's first ever Frozen Food Week and I am delighted to be part of the campaign to raise awareness around the value and benefits of frozen food!


Not sure where to start? Why not give my Freezer Stash Pineapple Chicken a try?!





Freezer Stash Pineapple Chicken


Ingredients (2 People)


· 3 frozen chicken thighs

· Splash of vegetable oil

· 85g frozen red onions

· 85g frozen peppers

· 85g frozen pineapple chunks

· ½ tsp frozen garlic

· ½ tsp frozen ginger

· 90ml pineapple juice

· 30ml soy sauce

· 40ml chicken stock (1/2 stock cube with 40ml hot water)

· 40ml hoisin sauce

· 30g brown sugar

· 1 tsp corn flour

· 1 tsp sesame seeds

· ½ spring onion (the green tops)

· 150g white rice



Method


1. If the chicken is ‘cook from frozen’, follow the instructions on the pack to cook. You can start the following steps whilst your chicken cooks.


If the chicken thighs are not ‘cook from frozen’ or if you prefer, you can defrost the chicken following the instructions on the pack, dice into bite-size pieces and pan-fry before adding the vegetables as outlined in step 4.


2. In a small jug, mix together the pineapple juice, soy sauce, chicken stock, hoisin sauce and brown sugar. Set aside.


***


FREEZER TIP: The excess pineapple juice and hoisin sauce can be frozen in ice cube trays (then moved to freezer bags) or frozen flat in freezer bags if you’re not likely to consume them soon. Be sure to label the bags with the date, the quantity and the contents. If flat freezing you may wish to split up and freeze in small usable quantities as they shouldn’t be re-frozen after defrosting.


***


3. In a separate pot mix together the teaspoon of corn flour with half a tablespoon of cold water and stir until smooth. Set aside.


4. Wash your green onions thoroughly then trim and slice up the green section of one spring onion. Set aside.


***


FREEZER TIP: The excess spring onions can be frozen. Simply wash thoroughly and dry, then slice up and freeze open on a lined tray. Once frozen move to a labelled freezer bag; next time you want to cook with spring onions you can add them to your dish straight from frozen!


***


5. If cooking the chicken from frozen, around 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time, put the rice on to cook following the instructions on the pack. Whilst cooking, continue with step 6.


6. In a large frying pan, heat the oil and then add the onions straight from the freezer over a fairly high heat, stirring regularly to help evaporate off the excess water. Add the frozen peppers and frozen pineapple and cook for around 3-4 minutes, continuing to stir.


7. Check that the chicken has cooked through (I like to use a food probe thermometer to ensure my thigh meat is 80°C) then remove from the oven and allow to rest under a food net whilst you finish off the rest of the dish.


8. Add the frozen ginger and garlic to your vegetables, stir and cook for around 30 seconds.


9. Now add the sauce mixture you made in step 2 and bring to a simmer.


10. Stir the corn starch mix you made in step 2 and add to the pan, then stir thoroughly. Bring to a boil and cook for around 60 seconds or until the sauce has thickened.


11. Slice up your chicken, then drain and rinse your rice before serving into 2 dishes along with the vegetables in sauce, chicken, spring onions and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.


***


FREEZER TIP: If you won’t use the remaining sesame seeds for a while, consider storing them in the freezer (in a freezer bag) to keep them fresh!


***


12. Enjoy!



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