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Stone-Cold Stunners

Easy meal hacks for those hidden gems conveniently located in your freezer

When the pantry is bare and the hunger is very real, even the nimblest of cooks struggle with whipping up a wholesome, delicious meal in a snap. Use quality, real ingredients from your freezer to reinvent the kitchen with these 10 meal hacks for dishes that taste like you made them from scratch.

Thank goodness for the bounty of meats, vegetables, pastries and other must-haves conveniently stocked in your freezer—cuisine that can take you around the globe and back again to your wholesome favorites. Here's how to harness the gems in your freezer.

1 Spinach Saffron Dip

It's time to upgrade your usual spinach dip situation. Lots of grated Parm, fragrant herbs and a sprinkle of saffron turn the standard into something more sophisticated without sacrificing flavor. And it's never been easier to whip up a batch when you've stocked up on frozen spinach—flash frozen rapidly at its peak of freshness to maximize nutrients and taste.

Take a tub on the go for a midday snack while picnicking outdoors or serve it as an appetizer for impromptu parties.

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2 Southern Chicken and Waffle Bites

Bust out brunch for a crowd in minutes with adorable but substantial stackers—also simple enough to make for any weekday breakfast.

No need to fuss with a crock of bubbling oil for these Southern-inspired bites. Simply cook frozen breaded chicken tenders, stack atop toasted frozen mini waffles and finish with frozen peaches warmed up with a mouthwatering brown-butter glaze for a breezy meal that requires minimal time and only five ingredients.

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3 Okra Sambar

Forget ordering takeout when your next craving for rich, spice-laden Indian food strikes. Instead, explore the freezer aisle for chef-inspired ethnic cuisine. These heat-and-eat entrées are more flavorful than ever before and are ready in a flash. Get inspired and make this hearty Indian stew year-round with frozen okra. And while you're at it, save even more time with already-prepped frozen carrots and frozen chopped onions.

Bonus: We know okra is guilty of having a few texture issues (face it, it's slimy). Keep your hands clean and snag a bag of frozen okra, already prepped for you.

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4 Pepperoni Pizza Twists

Stuffed with pepperoni, sweet tomato sauce and a double dose of cheese (mozzarella and Parmesan), this French-Italian mash-up is the ultimate comfort food.

To achieve that flaky crust, rely on frozen bread dough. Then get creative with how you shape your pizza twists, whether braiding into sticks or even snaking into a cruller.

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5 Australian Meat Pie

Slow-cooked meat under a blanket of buttery pastry—don't worry, it's not as hard as it sounds.

Treat your Aussie-style meat pie like a sloppy joe, stewing the meat with ketchup and Worcestershire sauce until thick. Then crown it with a layer of thawed frozen puff pastry for a stress-free crust and deliciously crackly finish.

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6 Turkey Meatball Sliders

Hold the noodles this time and customize delicious prepared meatballs with these crowd-pleasing sliders—great for an appetizer or main dish. The only prep work on your end is slicing fresh mozzarella and plum tomatoes and cranking up the microwave to savor in minutes.

Then layer the quick-cooking, juicy frozen turkey meatballs with fresh basil and a glug of balsamic vinegar for a healthier burger alternative.

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7 Brunswick Stew

What your stew is missing: smoky barbecue sauce. The grill master's staple lends a bit of sweetness to this classic Southern stew, which is a cinch to cook when you've got frozen corn and butter beans on hand. Toss in your pre-prepped ingredients, simmer and your dinner is done.

All you need is a panful of warm corn bread or fluffy buttermilk biscuits—go ahead and use the frozen ones—and you've got dinner in under an hour. With frozen biscuits or dinner rolls, you can use however many you need and put the rest back in the freezer, leaving nothing to waste.

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8 Mexican Quiche Lorraine

This unexpected combination of frozen mini tacos was made for quiche. Line beefy frozen tacos along the rim of a pie plate for a crust that doubles as a serving utensil. This protein-packed quiche is perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Scatter frozen spinach, bacon and green chiles in the eggy mixture before baking this over-the-top delicious French-Mex brunch dish that's sure to wow everyone at your table.

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9 Lemon Tart

Stock up on versatile frozen puff pastry to take you all the way through dessert. Here, it saves hours of prep time, allowing you to focus on the lemon curd and blueberry compote using frozen blueberries.

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10 Spring Fling Layered Cake

Grab a bakery-style cake from the freezer for this make-ahead, no-bake layer cake.

This elegant icebox cake is deceptively simple, with most of the ingredients waiting in your freezer. Slather frozen whipped topping and frozen raspberries in between layers of frozen lemon and coconut cakes and top with another one of your favorite frozen fruits.

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