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Healthier foods: Combine fresh and frozen for the perfect mixed vegetable blend

More and more people are looking to eat a healthier and balance diet in the new year. One way to do this is incorporate more vegetables into your diet. You can use a mix of fresh and frozen veggies to create your own, custom-made mixed vegetables rather than buying frozen or canned vegetables.

Healthier foods: Combine fresh and frozen for the perfect mixed vegetable blend
Rachael Monaco -- not to be used without prior permission or credit

According to a report in the Daily Herald on Jan. 11, more and more people are seeking a way to find balance in their diets and eat healthier with the beginning of the new year. A good way to do that is to make food from scratch rather than to use convenience foods. The problem with most frozen or canned mixed vegetables is that they contain mostly corn, peas and carrots, all of which are not that great for you because they contain too many carbohydrates. Canned vegetables often contain too much sodium, and low sodium or sodium-free canned vegetables are often quite a bit more expensive than their regular counterparts.

Use a mix of inexpensive frozen vegetables and seasonal, inexpensive fresh produce to create a healthier, custom-made vegetable mix for your family. Use frozen vegetables like corn, peas and chopped spinach in the mixture. Use fresh produce such as zucchini, yellow squash, green beans, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, onion and bell peppers with the frozen vegetables.

The best part of making your own mixed vegetable blends is that, if desired, each person can create their own combination of veggies. All you need to do is have the vegetables thawed or cut up and then each person can take a microwaveable bowl, add what they like and microwave until cooked through to the desired doneness.

Vegetables that will take longer to cook should be microwaved first. If you are using broccoli or cauliflower or carrots, put them in the bowl with a little water and microwave until about half cooked. Vegetables like onions and bell peppers should be added next, followed by green beans. Add zucchini and yellow squash into the mix and then the thawed frozen vegetables.

The time it takes to cook your custom-made vegetable blends will vary based on the size you have cut the vegetables into, how many vegetables you use and the desired doneness of the vegetables. Some people like their vegetables just barely cooked, others like them soft.

There is no limit to the mixed vegetable combinations you can make. When in season, tomatoes and eggplant with zucchini, yellow squash, garlic and onion is a delicious combination as accompaniment to a pasta dish.

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