Kitchn Love Letters

The $2 Target Grocery Find I’m Stocking in My Freezer All Year (So Great for Easy Dinners)

published Jan 11, 2024
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I strive to eat plenty of veggies and I start out every week strong, with my vegetable keeper overflowing with good intentions after doing the week’s shopping. Later in the week, however, I’m often short in the ingredients department — which is a problem because pale celery stalks, a shriveled apple, and part of a lemon does not a meal make.

Credit: Ivy Manning

That’s why I was intrigued (but skeptical) when I came across this Good & Gather Stir-Fry Blend in the freezer section at Target. I have had mixed results with frozen vegetables in the past — some blends can be less-than-fresh-tasting and look like they got run over by a truck. Still, I figured this blend was worth a try as a “just in case” option for a busy night.

I’m happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised. The Good & Gather stir-fry vegetables I had squirreled away in the freezer turned out to be a bright, remarkably fresh-tasting mix of broccoli florets, snap peas, carrots, and other veggies. In fact, I couldn’t even tell they had been frozen. There was also no laborious cutting and prepping of multiple vegetables, so I could focus on the sauce and protein for the stir-fry, which made dinner a breeze. Happily, the on-a-whim purchase was a big win. 

Credit: Ivy Manning

What So Great About Good & Gather Stir-Fry Blend?

The taste of this frozen blend is startlingly fresh. The broccoli florets and snap peas are just as sweet as if I started with raw vegetables. Even after hitting my smoking-hot wok and getting stir-fried, they held up nicely, delivering a crisp-tender crunch. The carrots, red bell pepper, and crisp water chestnuts add to the vibrant blend to make a colorful plate, no matter what you do with them. (I subbed them into this recipe, skipping the broccoli blanching step. Perfection. )

I love the quality of the mix, too. There are very few off cuts of broccoli stems, the snap peas are stringless, and the carrots are artfully julienned, so it looks like I spent a ton of time chopping them. The mix comes in individual pieces, not in one big icy clump, so it’s easy to pour out just what I need and throw the rest in the freezer for another day.

I also appreciate that Good & Gather doesn’t add any seasonings or sauces to this blend, so it’s perfectly adaptable to any direction I want to take dinner. Bottled teriyaki sauce, chili crisp, and fish sauce have all played very nicely with it, and I’ve even served the blend au naturel for a simple side dish at the eleventh hour. I’m aiming to add it to a vegetable lentil soup later this week.

Credit: Ivy Manning

What’s the Best Way to Use Good & Gather Stir-Fry Blend?

I most often use the blend in a stir-fry, as the name suggests. I’ll stir-fry a protein first in a very hot wok with garlic and ginger, set that aside, and then add the frozen veggies to the wok and stir-fry them until they are piping-hot and crisp-tender. This ensures that the vegetables get cooked through without overcooking the protein. The instructions say nine minutes, but I think the vegetables are perfect in about five, with just a touch of sear on the snap peas and bright green broccoli with nice, crisp stems.

The blend also works well as a start for impromptu yakisoba dinners. I use the fresh noodles you can get in the produce department that go directly into the pan, so the whole thing takes maybe 10 minutes. The veg mix has also proved to be a serious time-saver when I’ve got some leftover rice around. I just wok up some frozen shrimp, the frozen veg, ginger, an egg, and soy sauce plus a few cups of the rice, and I’ve got fried rice that will put almost any from-scratch recipe to shame, all without touching a knife or a cutting board.

I’ve also gone super-minimalist with the mix and just microwave steamed it in the bag, dressing with this herby compound butter. It proves to be a nice, quick side dish for fish or steak. 

After discovering this sprightly little bag of vegetables, I am finding it a whole lot easier to get in my five a day in a lot of different ways. There will always be a spot for these handy frozen veggies in my freezer.  

Buy: Good & Gather Stir-Fry Blend, $1.89 for 12 ounces at Target

What Target staples are you stocking in your freezer for winter? Tell us about it in the comments below.