October 4, 2023


Appreciate your health

10 Fresh, Healthy Recipes That Transform Canned and Frozen Foods

In the face of a global pandemic (see: coronavirus), social distancing is of upmost importance. This means you should try to stock up on two weeks’ worth of food in order to minimize trips to the grocery store. If you’re trying to order online, you’ll find delivery slots are hard to come by (and should be reserved for people who really need them). As such, you’ve probably found yourself with a stockpile of pantry staples, like dried and canned goods, and a freezer full of frozen foods.

That doesn’t mean every meal needs to involve canned tuna or some iteration of pasta swimming in jarred sauce. You can enjoy fresh, zesty meals that incorporate pantry staples and fresh produce.

Here are 10 healthy recipes that transform canned and frozen foods. Let them take the guesswork out of this month’s lunches and dinners.

Spanish-Style Chicken in Tomato Sauce (above)

Use frozen chicken thighs, canned or frozen mushrooms, and canned tomatoes to cook up this easy dinner. You can also swap the fresh bell peppers for frozen—or use any other canned or frozen vegetables you have on hand.

Serves: 4


  • 1-1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 green bell peppers, seeded and cut into ¼-inch strips
  • 10 ounces white mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)
  • ¼ cup halved and pitted green olives, for garnish (optional)


  1. Season both sides of the chicken with 1⁄4 teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes, flipping once, until both sides are browned. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.
  3. In the same skillet, over medium heat, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion and cook until translucent, 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the peppers and mushrooms, and cook for 5 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes and bring the mixture to a boil. Return the chicken to the skillet and toss to coat. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Add the remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon salt and remaining ⅛ teaspoon pepper, and stir to combine.
  5. Serve warm garnished with parsley and olives, if desired, or freeze for later.

Recipe and photo copyright Toby Amidor, The Easy 5-Ingredient Healthy: Simple Recipes to Make Healthy Eating Delicious, Rockridge Press, 2018. Photo courtesy of Hélène Dujardin