Dinner in 15 Minutes, with no Guilt?

By Barb Freda

Frozen meals you can be proud of? A solution for nights when you roll in at 6pm with the whole family in tow and need something on the table in minutes—but still want something nutritious? That’s the lure of a number of new frozen offerings available "in your grocer’s freezer…"

Growing up, we loved our TV dinners: turkey slices over dry, sage-y breadcrumb stuffing topped with salty gravy, with sides of watery mashed potatoes, peas and carrots and some non-descript dessert. But trust me it was more about the cool little divided tray than the food. And while your grocer’s freezer likely still chills some tasteless meals, the trend has turned towards healthier frozen meals with top-quality flavors and ingredients.

One company, Amy’s Kitchen, sprang into being when Andy Berliner went looking to buy his expectant wife, Rachel, some well-made, convenient, vegetarian, organic frozen meals. He found nothing. And, of course, the two saw an opportunity; they named the company after their new daughter, Amy, and never looked back.

The first product, a vegetable potpie, was made in the Berliner home kitchen. These days, the facility is bigger, but the food at Amy’s is made the way you would make something in your own home. "We have people chopping the vegetables, making roux. You’d recognize this as food. There are no tubes, no fillers, no viscosity enhancers. This is no different than when you make leftovers and freeze them," says Michelle Erbs, the company’s marketing manager.

Before any new product gets to market, it’s made, frozen and thawed repeatedly. "Some things don’t freeze well," says Erbs, so even if there are dishes the company wants to make, they might not make the grade once frozen and thawed. The end result, of course, is a frozen product the company is always proud to put its name on…and food you can count on in your own kitchen.

Here are RedPlum’s suggestions for frozen you can be proud to put on your table:
• To buy the best, read the labels; the fewer preservatives, fillers and chemicals, the better.
• Look for "use by" dates. Even frozen foods lose quality.
• Consider spending a little extra: quality ingredients mean quality products. Remember that these meals are still far cheaper than a trip to a restaurant on the way home, or a pizza delivered once you get there.

For more info on how to spend less, get more and sweeten your life keep exploring all the info, updates, deals and coupons on RedPlum!