Convenience is one of many reasons to use frozen foods | Rural Life

For me, an interesting part of the grocery store is the frozen food section. It is interesting to see the many types of frozen dinners, pizzas, and other prepared foods, such as sides and desserts, in the coolers.

As many lifestyles have changed some people do not want to take the time to cook, have the time to do so, or they are unable. Diets have also expanded to other types of easy to prepare dishes.

Food processing companies keep a close eye on what the public demands and emerging market trends. They also may be involved in foreign markets. Much additional research is done as to the difference in prepared frozen food to cooking a meal, technical advances, geographical break downs and ease of preparation. Storage and reheating have been improved. The store-bought meal may be as nutritious as a home-made version. However, the store-bought meal may be higher in sodium. Our palates are used to the taste of sodium which manufactures have added to enhance the taste. The food may not be labeled healthy if it exceeds 480 mg of sodium. Calories are listed, plus nutrition facts.

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Sales of prepared foods has increased dramatically during the past four years. An increase in population has also contributed to the demands for assorted types of food. Various diets and gourmet meals are also available,

Frozen foods cut down the time to prepare with easy preparation, such as just heating in the microwave. Be sure to read the back for an ingredient list plus follow listed directions. The meals can also avoid much food waste.

Purchasing frozen dinners may not be for everyone yet for those who do, the convenience outweighs the cost and preparation time. Food waste becomes minimal as the items are kept frozen until use. Do not refreeze the food as water crystals will form and the quality will be degraded. Also microbial contamination may occur.

Busy people do not have time to cook a meal, nor even plan and go shopping for ingredients. Special ingredients may have to be purchased that may not be used again very soon and may spoil. Switching also takes up many hours. Families with children purchase 19% more fast food then those who do not have children. Many elderly people have no interest in cooking, or cannot cook the way they should anymore, or have no one to cook for but themselves. A frozen meal will give them a variety to help them stay healthy.

Some businesses provide store-to-door delivery. Complete meals with recipe instruction cards come in a box and take around 30 minutes to prepare. Each week a variety of menus are available to choose from and the insulated boxes are sent on your schedule. One also has to figure in the cost of postage with the cost of the meal. These types of meals may not be for everyone yet they also fill the gap for those who do not want to spend the hour or two at times to prepare a meal. Also, the meals may be more convenient for one or two people.

Vegetables and fruits have been frozen and sold for many years. There are also strict food and safety procedures required in this processing. Within hours of harvesting the ripened fruits and vegetables will be cleaned, washed and blanched. They are packaged and flash frozen in a matter of hours of harvesting. Some may be flavored with sauces, fungi, or other additions.

Something to think about: “Nearly 40% of all food in this country is wasted, and there are over 49 million food-insecure people in the United States.” Dana Cowin

1 package active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water (110 to 115 F.)

2-1/2 cups packaged biscuit mix

1 pound bulk Italian sausage

1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed

1) 4-oz. pkg. or 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a mixing bowl soften the yeast in warm a water. Stir in the cooking oil. Add the biscuit mix, stirring just until all is moistened. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Divide dough into 6 servings.

On a lightly floured surface roll each piece of dough into a 5-inch circle. Place on greased baking sheets. Crimp the edges. Bake in a 425 F. oven for 5 minutes.

In a large skillet cook the Italian sausage until browned; drain off the fat. Stir in sour cream and salt. Spread the meat mixture onto each crust. Top with tomato slices; sprinkle with a little additional salt. Sprinkle with basil and thyme. Top each with some mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese. Return to a 425 F. oven. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until heated through.

FRUIT TOPPED RICE DESSERT

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup chopped almonds, toasted

One 10-oz. pkg. frozen red raspberries or frozen sliced ​​strawberries

In a heavy 2 quart saucepan stir together the 3 cups milk, the uncooked rice, and the sugar. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat. Cook, covered, about 45 minutes or until the rice is tender, stirring occasionally.

Soften the unflavored gelatin in the 1 cup milk. Stir the gelatin into hot rice mixture until the gelatin dissolves. Stir in the chopped toasted almonds and vanilla. Chill to the consistency of unbeaten egg whites, partially set.

Fold the whipped topping into the rice mixture. Turn into an 8x8x2-inch baking pan. Cover and refrigerate dessert 6 to 24 hours.

Before serving place the frozen raspberries/strawberries in a bowl of hot water to thaw for abut 10 minutes. Cut the rice dessert into squares. Top with the thawed raspberries or strawberries.

1/2 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing

2 teaspoons dried basil, crushed

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Assorted fresh vegetables for dipping

Stir together the mayonnaise, sour cream, basil and garlic powder. Cover and chill in the refrigerator 2 to 24 hours. Serve with cut up vegetables.

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