Microwaved frozen vegetables may be the fastest veggie to make on a busy weekday night, but they are usually not the tastiest or healthiest, with one exception. Frozen sweet baby peas are tasty, and work better than the fresh version for a quick mid-week meal. Unfortunately, half of my family dislikes them at the moment (the kids tend to go in picky cycles, and have been fighting peas for a couple of years, it has been a long and bitter battle that I hope will end soon). I have been inspired to win this battle by bumping up the flavor of the peas, and here are some of my favorites ways:
I tried to replicate a pea dish I had out at a restaurant and came pretty darn close with this recipe: Freeze 2 slices of bacon for 20 minutes, take it out of the freezer and cut into small pieces and cook in a skillet until crispy. Remove the bacon and add one shallot diced. Salt the shallots and cook for 3 minutes while microwaving a package of peas. Once the Shallots are soft, add the almost cooked pease (if the package says cook time is 6 minutes, then only cook them for 5 minutes) to the pan with the drippings and shallots and add back in the bacon (if there is too much bacon grease, dump some out).
Stir the ingredients around over medium heat for a minute or two, grind a bit of pepper and salt over them and serve. This has a fantastic sweetness from the peas and onions as well as the little surprise of the salty meatiness from the bacon. Peas and pork seem to be good friends, I can remember my mom making homemade pea soup with that big ham swimming in the thick green liquid.
Peas and Carrots
Use a vegetable steamer to cook 4 carrots (peeled and diced into whatever shape or size you like) until they are halfway cooked (for carrots the size of above picture I steamed for 4 minutes, then another 4 minutes after adding the baby peas). Pour the frozen baby peas (no sauce) into the carrots and steam for 4 or 5 minutes depending on the package instructions. Hit it with a tablespoon butter and freshly ground salt and pepper, stir and then serve hot. When the kids pick out the carrots, they are bound to get some peas snuck in there once in a while, and maybe they will stop squirming about it already!!
Most of my one dish meals do really well with the addition of a handful of frozen baby peas. Chicken pot pie, beef stew, meat pie, soups, risotto, and goulash, all taste better with some peas (although my kids may not agree). Peas cook very quickly, so add them near the end of cooking, almost as you would a fresh herb but giving them 5-10 minutes heating time within the sauce or soup, so they are cooked all the way through.