4 Frozen Foods You Don't Have to Defrost
What you need to know: For every method (aside from poaching or steaming), the first thing they advise is to rinse the seafood under cold water to remove any ice glaze and pat it dry with a paper towel. To broil, brush both sides with vegetable oil, lightly grease a foil-lined sheet, place the fish on it and cook at 450° for 12 to 15 minutes (which is only 7 to 10 minutes longer than you would if the fish had been thawed first). To sauté, heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, brush both sides of the fish with oil, place in pan (skin side up), and cook, uncovered, 3 to 4 minutes, until browned. Turn the fish over and add any seasonings, such as herbs or lemon slices, cover with a lid and reduce heat to medium, cooking an additional 6 to 8 minutes. It's done when it's opaque throughout. (WildAlaskaSeafood.com has helpful directions on other methods.)
What you need to know: The USDA advises factoring in approximately 50 percent more cooking time than the recipe normally recommends, so if the directions say 40 minutes, it'll probably need an hour to hit 165° internally, i.e., fully cooked. From a taste perspective, know that you'll get the best, most even results if you bake the chicken instead of grilling, sautéing or microwaving it.
What you need to know: Not only is it okay to cook steak frozen, doing so can actually result in juicier, better-tasting meat, when you compare it to meat that you've thawed first and then cooked. This fascinating America's Test Kitchen video shows how cooked-from-frozen steaks lose less moisture than cooked-from-thawed steaks. Steaks will take a little longer to get to medium rare (after a quick sear on the stovetop, they need 18 to 20 minutes in a 275° oven, versus 10 to 20 for nonfrozen ones). And to avoid splattering and flare-ups, be sure there are no ice crystals on the steak before you sear it.
What you need to know: Most frozen vegetables you buy in grocery stores are in small enough pieces that won't take long to cook, so add them to dishes such as casseroles, stir-fries, frittatas or soups near the end of the total cooking time. One more thing to note: Starchy vegetables, including peas, corn and lima beans, are more likely to retain their texture and structure once cooked than less starchy ones, such as cauliflower and mushrooms.