What to Keep on Hand for Easy 3-Ingredient Fast Dinners from Your Freezer

By: Lauren Grant

A well-stocked freezer is the weeknight cook's best friend. Keep these ingredients on hand in your freezer, fridge and pantry so you're never left empty-handed when the dinner bell rings.

Pictured recipe: Quick Steak Carne Asada Tacos

Sponsored by EatingWell Frozen Entrees 

Your freezer can save you on a busy weeknight when you don't have a dinner plan. Stashing away a few key ingredients—such as frozen vegetables, meat and even normally fresh items like shredded cheese, sauces and bread—in your freezer keeps them fresh for months and ensures you have something on hand to turn into a healthy dinner, fast. These five delicious dinner ideas come together in a flash with just three ingredients you probably already have on hand.

Keep Reading: How to Buy Healthy Frozen Dinner Rolls

Baked Eggs in Tomato Sauce with Kale

Eggs

Pictured recipe: Baked Eggs in Tomato Sauce with Kale

Although simple in nature, saucy baked egg recipes—like eggs in purgatory and shakshuka—require a bit of slicing and dicing in addition to a few different herbs and spices. This quick and very hands-off take is as good as the classics, just made easier.

The Ingredient Staples to Keep on Hand:

  • frozen kale
  • eggs
  • tomato sauce

Our Make-It-Great Tips:

  1. For the most healthful, flavorful dish, use a tomato sauce that isn't full of added sugar and sodium. Since spices and fresh herbs are standard in classic baked egg dishes, opt for a spicy marinara sauce with Italian herbs.
  2. If you have it on hand, serve with a chunk of hearty whole-grain bread for dipping in the tomato sauce.

Try these: Breakfast Recipes with Eggs

Spring Vegetable Brown Rice Pilaf

Pilaf

Pictured recipe: Easy Brown Rice Pilaf with Spring Vegetables

Usually reserved as a side dish, pilafs can indeed be a complete meal with the addition of just an ingredient or two. Even better, this one comes together in no time—plus with frozen vegetables on hand and a pantry featuring a variety of beans and grains, you can cook this dinner without a stop at the grocery store.

The Ingredient Staples to Keep on Hand:

  • frozen mixed vegetables
  • canned chickpeas
  • brown rice

Our Make-It-Great Tips:

  1. For this recipe, chickpeas are the chosen protein, but any kind of bean would work. Try blanched edamame (another freezer item), black beans or pinto beans. Leftover cooked chicken or tofu would also be great options.
  2. Our recipe calls for fiber-rich brown rice, but this pilaf can be made with other whole grains such as farro, bulgur or quinoa. If you have some on hand, a touch of fresh herbs or minced lemon zest offers a bright finish.

Keep reading: 4 Whole Grains You Should Be Eating

Teriyaki-Glazed Cod with Cauliflower Rice

Teriyaki-Glazed Cod with Cauliflower Rice

Pictured recipe: Teriyaki-Glazed Cod with Cauliflower Rice

Restaurant-worthy fare doesn't have to be time-consuming or unhealthy. And this recipe proves just that. The teriyaki glaze makes a great no-fuss marinade and sauce to add some pizzazz to white fish and rice.

The Ingredient Staples to Keep on Hand:

  • frozen cod fillets
  • frozen cauliflower rice
  • teriyaki glaze

Our Make-It-Great Tips:

  1. Keep a bag of frozen cauliflower rice in your freezer at all times: it's not only an incredible time-saver, but it can also be a meal-saver. Cauliflower rice is a great way to get more vegetables into your diet, but the process of turning a whole head of cauliflower into rice can be messy and time-consuming, so for quick meals, turn to frozen.
  2. Mix and match different fish, or even chicken, for the cod in this recipe. And swap in various frozen vegetables for the cauliflower when you're looking for something different.

Try this: How to Make Cauliflower Rice

Chicken Sausage and Onion Pasta

Chicken Sausage & Onion Pasta

Pictured recipe: Chicken Sausage & Onion Pasta

This recipe is about as simple as it gets. For this dish, the key to getting great flavor with very few ingredients is all in the preparation. Everything is cooked in one pan so you don't lose an ounce of flavor from the caramelization of the sausage and onions.

The Ingredient Staples to Keep on Hand:

  • chicken sausage (they keep even longer in the freezer!)
  • red onions
  • whole wheat pasta

Our Make-It-Great Tips:

  1. Switch this dish up by using different pasta shapes, whole-grain pasta or lentil pasta for added protein and fiber.
  2. Looking to go meatless? Swap out the sausage for smoky tempeh or sautéed tofu. If you have a couple of extra minutes, a few minced garlic cloves would bump up the flavor even more.

Try these: All the Quick & Easy Pasta Recipes You Need

Steak Carne Asada Tacos

Steak tacos

Pictured recipe: Quick Steak Carne Asada Tacos

Having a few frozen meals stashed away is great for those busy nights when you still want to eat healthy. The EatingWell Frozen Steak Carne Asada entree has 17 grams of protein plus a full cup of veggies for a nutrition-packed meal on its own, but just add tortillas and avocado and you have instant taco night!

The Ingredient Staples to Keep on Hand:

  • EatingWell Frozen Steak Carne Asada entree
  • tortillas (they store great in the freezer!)
  • avocados

Our Make-It-Great Tips:

  1. Looking for low-carb? Spoon the carne asada into bibb lettuce leaves instead of tortillas. Finish the lettuce wraps with a squeeze of lime or cilantro for a fresh dinner anytime.
  2. Carne asada isn't just for taco night! Try this as an appetizer too by topping tortilla chips to make Steak Carne Asada Nachos.

Frozen dinnerFind this EatingWell frozen dinner and more in the freezer aisle of your local grocery store. Find store locations.

Watch: How to Make Cauliflower Tortilla Beef Tacos

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